Happy Valentine’s Day

14 02 2011

The timing of Valentine’s Day this year makes for a weird posting day. With the Grammy’s being last night, I’m inclined to write a bit about the events of the evening. But if given the choice, I’d much rather share a little song I have been digging lately. It couldn’t be a more appropriate song choice for V-Day. It’s “All I Want Is You” by Barry Louis Polisar. This song is really fun and the lyrics are very sweet. With a wedding in my near future (yes, The GG is getting married), I have been considering this tune for some part of the big day. Stay tuned for more on that.

You may actually recognize this from the Juno soundtrack. Check it out… and share it with your Valentine on this special day.





Damn! Jake Shimabukuro Ukelele Covers

28 10 2010

There are not too many videos of Jake Shimabukuro out there but the ones that do exist are pretty fantastic. Jake is an exceptional ukelele player, maybe even a virtuoso. He has some incredible originals but it is his long list of covers that make him so appealing. There are three below that are pretty impressive. The first is George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. He does a bunch of great Beatles covers but this is really cool.

This next video is Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Obviously a great song, this cover is amazing. The coolest thing is to see how he breaks down the arrangement and translates it to Ukelele.

This next one is pretty cool too. It’s Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Like the Queen version, it starts out pretty mellow and then gets really intense in the latter half of the song. Again, amazing arrangement and some down right crazy chops… for a Uke.

For a few more cool covers check out these links:

Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California”

The Beatles’ “In My Life”

Cindi Lauper’s “Time After Time”





Sneak Peek: Weezer | Hurley

10 08 2010

Have you seen this new album cover for the forthcoming Weezer album, appropriately titled Hurley? It’s a hilarious picture of Lost character, Hurley (actor, Jorge Garcia).

When asked about it by Pitchfork.com, frontman Rivers Cuomo explained the rationale behind this odd choice, “We just wanted to use that picture of Jorge Garcia’s face on the cover. It’s such an amazing album cover, and we didn’t want to have any other words on it, so we just figured everyone was going to call it Hurley, so that’s what we call it.” I can accept that. Given a few of their other albums have just been self-titled and otherwise referred to by their colors (i.e. the green album, the blue album, the red album) this seems like a slight shift in protocol. Hurley comes out on September 14th but they released a single entitled “Memories” early to create a little buzz. Honestly, I like the picture of Jorge more than this song but I’m sure there are fans out there that are excited about it nonetheless. Below is a sneak peek of the new track for those loyal Weezer fans… I know there are still quite a few.

I’m more partial to their old tunes but I suppose they can’t just keep doing that stuff anymore. Anyway, it’s nice to see they still don’t take themselves too seriously. It is actually their sense of humor that I appreciate most about them these days. In fact, I think they might be getting sillier with age. Check out some of their music videos from the last decade+ below and tell me if you agree.

References:

Pitchfork.com Article/Inteview

More info on Weezer

More info on Hurley

Weezer’s Complete Discography





July 4th

5 07 2010

Independence Day has come and gone… hard to believe we’re this deep into the summer already. Hope everyone had a great weekend filled with BBQs and fireworks. A few songs always come to mind when I think about July 4th. The first is Paul Simon’s “American Tune” from his 1973 solo album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. It’s a great song from his early years (I love that mid-70’s stuff). This 1975 BBC performance is very intimate and really captures the essence of the song. The tone is cool and the lyrics are full of imagery that paints the picture of the true American spirit.

The second tune is an incredible performance from one of my favorite musicians David Bowie. It’s actually a cover of yet another patriotic Paul Simon song, “America”, from the post-911 concert for NYC. This live version really displays Bowie’s prowess as not just a musician but an artist. The arrangement is really cool. He plays a toy keyboard while sitting cross-legged at the front of the stage all by himself. Although you will hear some strings behind him at points, it’s all him… out there, front and center doing what he does. I love this one so much I often bring up this clip just to check it out, regardless of the time of year.

References:

More info on Paul Simon

More info on “American Tune”

More info on David Bowie

More info on “America”

More info on Concert for New York






New Avalanches Album… Coming Soon

28 06 2010

According to a recent Pitchfork.com article, The Avalanches are nearly ready to release a new album. This new work would be just their second but is very highly anticipated after nearly 10 years since their initial debut, Since I Left You. For those that are not familiar, The Avalanches are an Australian band, turned DJ troupe, that has become a quiet sensation after their first official full length release. I must say, all the accolades are 100% well deserved as it was truly a masterpiece. Since I Left You is a collection of 18 tracks that were created from some 3,500 samples. It was not originally intended for wide release, which lead them to disregard any concerns about copyright restrictions and therefore paid little attention to keeping track of the samples of music they would later need to clear. Although the band started as a noise-punk outfit, they became interested in the potential of mixing and the “mash-up”. Armed with an extensive vinyl collection from artists, both popular and obscure, from all over the globe, they turned out a fluid, thoughtfully conceived and flawlessly produced album that has not lost it’s luster since the initial release in November of 2000. Essentially, what started as a concept album for a mere side project soon turned into a permanent gig. They spent the last decade touring the world, both playing their material live and performing DJ sets. During that period it has long been rumored that they have been working on a new album based around a similar premise. The rumors have wavered considerably so it’s tough to tell what is what, but many sources close to the band feel that this is finally it… the new album is on it’s way with a release date yet to be announced. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this time, it’s for real. I, for one, can’t wait to see what they do as an encore to their breakthrough coming out.

Below is the official video for the title track, “Since I Left You”. It’s one of two singles from the album. They had a really tough time selecting the singles, not just because many of the tunes are so good but because the entire album flows straight through from one song to the next. It’s like one continuous piece that mimics the seamless feel of a DJ set. But, I actually would liken to something more in the realm of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon because it is cleverly more deliberate than a bunch of cut up dance tracks. You will notice the faded ending, which is not how it appears on the album but, with the help of the cinematic subtext, it works for this format.

Here is the video for the other single and perhaps the most radio friendly of all the tracks because it stands up really well out of the context of the album, it’s “Frontier Psychiatrist”. This one contains a sample from the film Polyester as well as numerous others from artists like Flip Wilson, Enoch Light, Wayne & Shuster and many, many more. One of the toughest things about releasing a project like this is that you have to get the proper approvals to use such samples. It has been said that the new album has been complete for a few  years but is still awaiting clearance. Perhaps it’s just a rumor but it sounds like typical industry red tape, which I believe to be true. They were able to get permission from artists as large as Madonna for the first one, so it’s only a matter of time before they get it all cleared and ready to roll.

The Avalanches have a pretty good website that keeps their fans up to date on the latest developments. You can find news about the new album and other mixing projects or performances. They often have info about what samples they are using so you can check them out in their original state, which is really cool. They also have a forum that has been very helpful to sort through all the release rumors and other BS. Check it out to keep on top of the status of the forthcoming album.

References:

The Avalanches Official Site

The Avalanches on MySpace

More info on The Avalanches

More info on Since I Left You

Track Listing: Since I Left You





Lee Fields & The Expressions | Ladies

27 05 2010

When I hear a song like this, I ask myself how it’s not ubiquitously known by all music fans. It’s one of those tunes that’s so good you would just assume that it has made the rounds on radio, TV and all the internet music outlets already. It was featured in the credit sequence of an Entourage episode a while back but even with that flash of exposure it still remains a hidden gem. It’s a total mystery to me but is, perhaps, telling of what today’s music scene is seeking. It’s almost like Pitchfork and all the other musical taste-makers don’t give any love to artists who A) are not younger than 26, B) don’t possess shabby, unkempt facial hair, or C) are not making cheap viral videos of their act. Because of such bias, the old talented guys like Lee Fields get swept under the rug. “Ladies” was released on the 2009 album My World, from Truth & Soul Records based out of Williamsburg, NY. El Michel’s Affair is on the same label. You may even hear a bit of their sound coming through in the arrangement as some of the players overlap. Blend that aesthetic with Lee’s incredible raspy soul-soaked vocals and it’s a no-brainer. Check out “Ladies”  and you will likely run out and buy this album right away. Be sure to look into some of the other bands on the label too.

References:

Visit Lee Fields & the Expressions online

More info on Truth & Soul Records








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