Thursday, December 31, 2009

Say You Do

i'll fall no further
i'll speak no more words
i shouldn't have to
if you love me like you say you do

i'll work no harder
cross no more borders
there are no guards here
nor walls to climb over

you say you see me in your nightly dreams
you want everything from me

so come on, come over
please hear me whisper
come be my lover
i'll scream no louder
i shouldn't have to

if you love me like you say you do

my love has been proven now
time tested and true
and everything that i'm doing now
i'm doing for you

Daisy McCrackin - Say You Do (removed at label's request) : The Rodeo Grounds EP

Visit her website, her label Aeronaut Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maybe Next Christmas

maybe next christmas she used to say
we'll find a new life and well both run away
maybe next christmas i won't be with him
maybe next christmas we can start fresh again

maybe next christmas we'll reap what we've sewn
maybe next christmas we'll pay what we owe
maybe next christmas we won't be afraid
maybe next christmas we'll both be ok

you can't pull the truth out of thin air
you can't manufacture what ain't there

and maybe next christmas we'll be by a fire
and maybe next christmas she won't be a liar

maybe next christmas i'll be in your arms
the scent of the evergreen
pushing us strong

maybe next christmas i'll finally get to see
you wearing that dress that you bought just for me
maybe next christmas you'll be by my side
relentlessly prove to me that i'm worth the fight
maybe next christmas i'll have more to say
than "i gave you everything and you gave me away"

so you can pull the truth out of thin air
you cant manufacture what ain't there

maybe next christmas you won't be thinking
that i'm just a criminal and you're still the queen
yeah maybe next christmas well have more to say
than "i gave you everything and you gave me away"
yeah, i gave you everything and you gave me away

For those of us whose Christmas wasn't everything we hoped for.

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

Friday, December 25, 2009

12 Days of (YouTube) Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone!

(Norah Jones' new album is out now by the way, with a Chasing Pirates Remix EP coming out in a few weeks.)

Visit her website, her label Blue Note Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Soul - Help Me Make It Through the Night

take the ribbon from your hair
shake it loose and let it fall
laying soft upon my skin
like the shadows on the wall

come and lay down by my side
till the early morning light
cuz all i'm asking is your time
help me make it through the night

O.C. Smith - Help Me Make It Through the Night : Help Me Make It Through the Night (find it on Greatest Hits)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stocking Stuffers

I apologize about the crickets that have been chirping around here lately. I've been on the run lately, seemingly non-stop. I've been having the feeling that I always have at least 3 things that should have been yesterday that I have to get done now. Anyway, I figured I'd share these holiday odds and ends before 'Tis the season became 'Twas the season. Happy holidays if you (or I) don't check in before then.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Neil Young Dreamin' Contest

'Tis the season of gift giving, and today I've got a gift to give to one lucky reader. It's a copy of Neil Young's latest release, Dreamin' Man, which came out last week. The album is a distant relative to his classic release Harvest Moon, which came out 17 years ago. On it, you'll find live, intimate, solo acoustic versions of all ten tracks recorded before the actual release of the Harvest Moon album, collected from various performances Young did at the time.

All you have to do to have this show up under your tree is leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and you'll be on the wish list. I'll choose a winner Mondayish and let them know pronto. It won't get to you in time for you to open gifts to it, but I'm sure it will get there in time for you to celebrate Arbor Day.

and a favorite from an older live disc from 1991, the year before:

Visit his website, his label Reprise Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Anjulie / Soulive / Raphael Saadiq

So I apologize for taking almost a week to get around to sharing this, but last Wednesday I was able to catch a show at the House of Blues in Boston that was PHENOMENAL. First off, I hadn't been to the HOB since it was in its original rinky-dink location over in Cambridge. Since then, it moved to Lansdowne Street right next to the Green Monster (Fenway Park, for those of you scratching your head) and the new spot is HUGE. Grabbed some dinner beforehand (a cajun chicken sandwich named "The Elwood," yes, after Elwood Blues) along with some beers ($6.50 for a pint of Guinness - a little steep and my only complaint about the evening).

The first act up for the night was Anjulie, a singer who I wrote about a few months ago back here. her self-titled debut came out this year, and she was obviously trying to get it out to a wider audience with this opening opportunity. She wasn't on stage long, only 5 or 6 songs or so, but while she was up there she was going at 110%. The crowd hadn't built to critical mass this early in the night, but she was trying her best to get them energized. The best song in her set was probably the first track I had heard her from her, Boom, way back one year ago. Check it out here if you missed it:

Visit her website, her label Hear Music, and become her friend on MySpace.

Next up was a group I caught live earlier this year at the Royal Family Get Down!, which they actually hosted. Soulive didn't disappoint this time around, either, laying down a gritty heater of a set of funk and soul that was thick enough to cut with a knife. About half way through, vocalist Nigel Hall joined the group, as he often does, to take things up a notch. Highlight of their set: moving from their cover of Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up into Maze's Joy & Pain (the song that Rob Base sampled for his song of the same name) and back into Mayfield. It was insane. Almost as good was the James Brown medley that they wrapped things up with.

Visit their website, their label Royal Family Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

To wrap up the evening, the man of the hour appeared, Raphael Saadiq. To say I was excited to see him would be an understatement. For those of you not familair with Saadiq, he started his musical career as lead singer for Tony! Toni! Toné!. When the group disbanded in 1996, he set out on his own, working as a session player, collaborator, and producer on a few different projects before releasing his first solo album, Instant Vintage, in 2002. Late last year he released his third solo album, probably the best received of his albums, The Way I See It.

Saadiq opened up his appearance with the stage dark and him singing the Star Spangled Banner in Marvin Gaye mode. As the song ended, the lights switched on, and he took center stage dressed to the nines and resplendent in a bright red tux. He never looked back from there. Along with two back-up dancers (who doubled as vocalists at various points in the evening), Saadiq burned up the stage, always moving with plenty of funk in his step. A lot of his material came from his latest album, with the beginning of the set sitting squarely in the 60's, and progressively feeling more modern as the evening progressed (with him even changing from his retro red tux to a more timeless black number).

Even with the $6.50 Guinness', the night was one tight package of musical goodness. Unfortunately, they're done for this tour, but look for them in 2010.

Visit his website, his label Columbia Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jazz Brunch Jam - A Crazy Cool Christmas

For today's jazz jam, I decided to pick a seasonal pick from New Orleans' ambassador Kermit Ruffins. You might remember me writing about his last album, Livin' a Treme Life, which came out earlier this year. Last month he released his second album for the year, Have A Crazy Cool Christmas, which as the title suggests, is geared towards holiday enjoyment.

Kermit and his horn are 101% quintessential New Orleans' jazz, and he brings that home here on thirteen tracks, some traditional Yuletide standards (Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Bells, etc.) as well as some Ruffins originals (the title track Crazy Cool Christmas and A Saints Christmas, which you can hear below) and a Donny Hathaway cover (This Christmas). Regardless of the song, Ruffins inflects it with his New Orleans' jazz sound that is recognizable whether you've been to the Big Easy or not.

Visit his label Basin Street Records and become his friend on MySpace.

Sunday Soul - Early Georgia Anne Muldrow

Perhaps you might not instantly recognize her name, but Georgia Anne Muldrow has been kicking around the game for a little while now. Although her first full length only dropped in 2006, she's been in heavy demand from all corners as a guest vocalist, working with the likes of artists such as the Platinum Pied Pipers, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Shawn Lee, Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Madlib. And those are only the names I can come up with off the top of my head. This year, she's ripped out three different albums. Three. This Year. Yeah, how about that?

The latest of the three, Early, is actually technically the oldest, as its name implies. On it, you'll find ten tracks completely written, produced, and recorded by Muldrow at the ripe ages of seventeen through nineteen. While not as experimental as her more recent work is noted for, these tracks are mature well beyond her age and experience at the time of their recording. It's draw dropping to listen to these cuts and think they were laid down by a teenager. Seriously awe-inspiring to say the least. For those of you not familiar with her, think Nina Simone meets Erykah Badu meets Ursula Rucker. Powerful vocals, needless to say, and clearly developing as she tucks more and more recordings under her proverbial belt. For those who want to see where she came from though, this disc is for you.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Run Away : Early

a new one from another of this year's releases:

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Uhuru Flight : Umsindo

an upcoming one:

Georgia Anne Muldrow - King's Ballad : King's Ballad (Coming 2/10)

and a collaboration:

Bei Bei & Shawn Lee - Make Me Stronger (ft. Georgia Anne Muldrow - Floating Points Remix) : Beauty and the Beats EP

Visit her website, this release's label Animated Car Tunes, and become her friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Want You Back

An acoutisc country version of perhaps one of my favorite Motown songs (and certainly my favorite J5 track) of all time. I'm not going to lie; I was seriously worried that this would suck. Thankfully, it doesn't. I threw up a track from Vermonter Jer Coons' debut album Speak a few months ago, and today he's releasing this single. Which he's offering for free, so.... Not sure why you'd buy it, but it's definitely worth the $0.00 price tag. Although the words are instantly recognizable, the accompanying guitar COMPLETELY reinterprets the original instrumentation.

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ain't No Chimneys

So the other day I wrote about the dope Christmas funk compilation that Strut Records put out. Not ones to be outdone, the fab folks over at Daptone Records have put together their own holiday funk courtesy of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Binky Griptite. They're giving away the digital free, and you can also order the vinyl to spin some Christmas cheer (or better yet, get a copy of it for free when you spend over $30 ordering from the Daptone website starting tomorrow).

Visit the Daptones Records website.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday Soul - A Dream I Had

you said that this morning
as i lie awake
the tears falling from my...
ohhh, yeah

if the little girl would mistreat me or hurt me in any kind of way
do you know?
if i should lose the little girl's love
i'd rather die
oh yeah
cuz i love her
yes i do

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Love Will Follow

you're lost
don't want to be found
where do you go
when no one's around?
you get further away
with every day
what do you look for?

lay in bed and lose yourself
run away if you choose
love will follow you

Haroula Rose - Love Will Follow : Someday EP

Become her friend on MySpace.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Goodnight Lover

Goodnight, lover
Lover, goodnight
Will we meet each other in a dream tonight?
And will you remember the color of my eyes
Set in a million tigers sleeping on their sides?

Dawn Landes - Goodnight Lover : Fireproof

Visit her website, her label Cooking Vinyl, and become her friend on MySpace.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Play those Trombones!

So since my last post was about Christmas, I figured I'd next write about an album that would make a great gift for many people on your list I'm guessing. It's titled 76 Trombones and it's the latest album from ex-Del Fuegos front man Dan Zanes and friends. For the last decade or so Zanes has directed his musical talents into the children's music field, and while that might scare you off, don't let it. He plays some of the hippest, most diverse children's music around, and his latest is no exception.

On 76 Trombones, Zanes takes Broadway hits and stamps his own brand of musical genius upon them, turning them into rootsy, Americanified tunes that, while playfully appealing to younger listeners, will still be welcome to the ears of adults. Some songs include Hello Dolly (from Hello Dolly), I Like Everybody (from The Most Happy Fella), I Don’t Need Anything But You (from Annie), I Can Do That (from A Chorus Line), Before the Parade Passes By (also from Hello, Dolly! and featuring Matthew Broderick), and Tomorrow, Mañana (a bilingual version of the classic song from Annie).

Tired of listening to Disney soundtracks? Wish Hannah Montana would go the way of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson? Know someone else who's a parent and fits this bill? Then this is the CD that you should be getting for them. Trust me, they'll be extremely thankful for it. There is a genuinely large amount of musicianship here that isn't always evident in the recording of children's music. I had a chance to see Dan live a month or so ago, and he and his band were really great entertainers. Even if you don't have any kids, I'd still wager there's a good chance that you'd enjoy the seventeen tracks here.

and an older one:

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In the Christmas Groove

Considering that it's December 1st, I do not feel at all guilty for posting up a cut from In the Christmas Groove, the latest bad ass compilation release from Strut Records. I usually can enjoy most Christmas albums, but this one is the absolute best I've heard in a long time. This thing is so darn funky that you could overlook all the holiday cheer and listen to it year round. I would even go so far as to say it is funkier than It's Christmas Time Again, the Stax Christmas album that came out back in 1990. Tis the season folks - to get funky and festive!

JD McDonald - Boogaloo Santa Claus : In the Christmas Groove

Mack Rice - Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' : It's Christmas Time Again

Visit the album's official website and the Strut Records Website.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nitzer Ebb on Tour!

So normally I'm not one to just throw up tour dates for the heck of it, but I literally just found out that the British 80's industrial band Nitzer Ebb are touring over the next few weeks here in the States in support of Industrial Complex, their first new album in fifteen years! I haven't heard it yet, so I can't tell you anything more about it, but if I had found out about these tour dates earlier, you can bet I'd have been in Boston this week to check them out.

12.1 Toronto @ Mod Club
12.2 Montreal @ Le Foufounes
12.3 Boston @ Paradise
12.4 New York @ Gramercy Theatre
12.5 Philadelphia @ The Starlight
12.6 Fairfax @ Jaxx
12.8 Jacksonville @ Jackrabbit’s
12.10 Atlanta @ Masquerade
12.11 New Orleans @ The Hangar
12.15 Tucson @ The Rock
12.16 Tempe @ Marquee Theatre
12.17 San Diego @ Brick By Brick
12. 18 Ventura @ Majestic Ventura
12.19 Santa Ana @ Galaxy

Nitzer Ebb - Never Known : Saw VI Soundtrack

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

Black Merda

So if you were asked to come up with a list of ten black rock musicians, would you be able to do it? What about if you were asked to name some all black bands? And finally, could you name the first all black rock band? Yeah, I couldn't either until I got a hold of Force Of Nature, an album that came out earlier this year from Black Merda, a band that could qualify as the answer to that last question if you were playing Trivial Pursuit.

The foursome got their start in the late 60's, playing fuzzy, funky, psychedelic, blues laden rock that was part Jimi Hendrix and part B.B. King (listen to Maintain below to pick up on it for yourself). The group only recorded a couple of albums (two to be precise) before fading into obscurity, only to be brought back to life by Vampi Soul Records to cut a new round of tracks which would become Force of Nature. Listening to it reminds me of another experimental funk/jam band from the 70's, Mandrill (who enjoyed somewhat more success and are still alive and kicking as well).

So, if you're down on a little history listen, pick up the album, which includes liner notes much more comprehensive than my little summary above. You can also find some comp's that bring together their older work to check out as well (which I've just started to do myself).

Visit their website, their label Vampi Soul, and become their friend on MySpace.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Soul - Shining Star

Shining star come into view,
To shine its watchful light on you.
Gives you strength to carry on,
Makes your body big and strong.

So, if you find yourself in need,
Won't you listen to these words of heed.
Be a giant or grain of sand.
Words of wisdom- Yes, I can.

You're a shining star, no matter who you are.
Shining bright to see what you could truly be.

Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star (stereo) : Shining Star 7"

Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star (mono) : Shining Star 7" B-Side

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why you listenin'

If you're in an alt-country, Neko Case/Stevie Nicksish mood, you could do much worse than check out the debut EP from Rock Island, IL native Lissie. It was recorded at her current home in Ojai, CA, and at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, NC, with her friend Bill Reynolds (of Band of Horses). The EP's lead-off track, Little Lovin', is a rousing, foot stomping rambler, and you can hear it below. From there she does a haunting cover of the old country song Wedding Bells, that is very evocative of Case's dusty voice. The mood turns gospelish with the hymn-like Oh Mississippi, and her voice begins to soar in a more soulful pop persuasion on Everywhere I Go. The EP comes to a close with Here Before, a track that really highlights her melodic voice. The five tracks do a nice job of imaging Lissie's potential and is worth a check-out for certain.

Visit her label Fat Possum Records and become her friend on MySpace.

For the Love of Pop that's not Love

El Perro Del Mar (aka Sarah Assbring) is back with her third album, Love Is Not Pop, and it's just as lovely a slice as electro-pop as you hope for coming from the Swede. For me at least, one of the fascinating aspects of her music is the almost inhuman artificiality of the instruments in her music paired against her lyrics of pure human sentiment. One of the tracks on it is her cover of the Lou Reed song Heavenly Arms, which you can watch (and listen to) above.

and an older one:

Visit her website, her label The Control Group, and become her friend on MySpace.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rene wants to be a Matador

To start off this week I've got a fun, slightly kitschy Cake meets a twenty-first century Tito Puente slice of goodness. It's titled Johnny Wants To Be A Matador, and is from artist Rene Lopez's EP of the same title that is scheduled to come out on the first of December. I really don't know much about Lopez, but the five tracks on this EP are all upbeat Latin infused numbers (I do know that his father was a trumpet player in the renowned Latin salsa band Tipica 73). Anyway, here it is. Download it, spin it, then keep your eyes open on the 1st for the EP's other 4 tracks.

Rene Lopez - Johnny Wants To Be A Matador : Johnny Wants To Be A Matador EP

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Soul - Compared To What

i said i love the light
the light of love
hanging on
with push and shove
possession is
the motivation
hanging up the whole damn nation

looks like we always end up in a rut
trying to make it real
but compared to what?

Roberta Flack - Compared To What : First Take

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Daptone Gold

So unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you've got to have heard of Daptone Records. And if you HAVE been listening under a rock, I hope it's got a turntable or record player so you can listen to their latest release, Daptone Gold. It's a twenty three track collection of hits and obscurities, album favorites and unheard exclusives from the Daptone Records catalog. For those of you who've seen Sharon Jones live, you'll recognize the voice behind the album's intro, Binky Griptite. From there you'll find cut after juicy cut of soul, funk, and gospel goodness that's became their status quo. You'll hear Sharon Jones, The Dap Kings, The Budos Band, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, Lee Fields, Antibalas, Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band, and The Sugarman Three. To top it off, you can get all 23 tracks on a single CD for the ridiculous price of $11 OR, even better, a double LP version in a gold foil gatefold jacket for only $22 (that includes a coupon for mp3 download)!

Here are two tracks from the collection. The first is from Dap-Dippin with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, their debut album. The second is from a 45 RPM only release from 2006.

Visit the Daptone Records website

Friday, November 20, 2009


well i reached to grab the glowing rose
but instead i burned my hand
it was just a thousand moths
covering a light
hoping that they'd eat that night

life could be a luxury
if life forfeited time
cuz all that time's done to me
is give and take what's mine

well it's not mine, it's not mine
i ain't gonna waste more time
honey i'll be gone before the nightfall

This song comes from Before Nightfall, the sophomore release by Robert Francis, and a warm slice of classic, Americana rock.

Robert Francis - Nightfall : Before Nightfall

Visit his website, his label Atlantic Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DOOM, and his Unexpected Guests

"Listen up you punks..."

If you're a fan of hip hop, especially of innovative, noncommercial hip-hop, then DOOM is either on your radar screen or darn well should be. For old fans and new alike, his latest release Unexpected Guests is an insane collection of tracks that you'll be salivating over. Over the course of his career, DOOM has worked with the cream of the crop, artists like Talib Kweli, J Dilla, Scienz of Life, Ghostface, and many others. This album culls through his deep catalog and pulls some of the most masterful collabs that he's put together, as well as some new, unreleased ones. Unless you're a DOOM fanatic with his complete works, chances are there's a bunch here that you'll want to get your ears on. Check out a sample below (one of the previously unreleased cuts), then investigate this track line-up on your own by picking up the album.

Visit his website, his label Gold Dust Media, and become his friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Malaria No More

‘Tis the season of giving, and today I have another charity project that could use your support. In previous weeks I’ve written about the Playing For Change project and Funk Aid for Africa. Today I want to share news about a benefit album that just came out today titled Indie Rocks! A Benefit Album For Malaria No More. It’s been put together by RED Distribution, and its aim is to raise money for the organization Malaria No More, whose mission, in their own words, is as follows:
Malaria No More is determined to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds, but it doesn't have to be this way-m alaria is a treatable and preventable disease. Luckily, the world is mobilizing to end the disease. In the past few years, new tools and increased awareness have pumped new energy into the fight against malaria. Individuals all over the world are helping parents keep their children safe from the deadly bite of a malarial mosquito with a simple, $10 mosquito net. Millions of individuals across the globe are helping to make malaria no more once and for all.
The album is comprised of fourteen tracks from a wide variety of artists, some from previously released albums, some recorded especially for this charity. Here’s the listing for you to check out:
1.) Peter Bjorn & John - Summer Breeze (Exclusive)
2.) Juliette Lewis - Fantasy Bar , from Terra Incognita
3.) Jeff The Brotherhood - Bone Jam , from Heavy Days
4.) The Grates - Two Kinds Of Right from Teeth Lost, Hearts Won
5.) Third Eye Blind - Bonfire (Exclusive, Live in NYC)
6.) Dirty Little Rabbits- Hello , from Simon
7.) Wild Light - Adult Nights , from Adult Nights
8.) The Walkmen - Four Provinces, from You & Me
9.) State Radio - Let It Go , from Calling All Crows
10.) Those Darlins - Wild One , from Those Darlins
11.) Great Lake Swimmers - Pulling On A Line , from Lost Channels
12.) Kate Miller Heidke - Politics in Space , from EP Kate Miller-Heidke
13.) Yonder Mountain String Band - Fingerprint , from The Show
14.) Youssou N'Dour - Fight Malaria
Starting today, and for the next four weeks, the album will be exclusively available through Amie Street, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Malaria No More. After that, it will be available through other digital store fronts. When purchasing the album, you’ll be able to choose your donation, starting at $10 and going up to $20, $50 or $100, again, with all proceeds going to the charity.

For a sneak peak, listen to Peter Bjorn & John’s cover of the classic Seals & Croft tune Summer Breeze below, and then consider purchasing the album.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Barel Coppet et Mister Lof

There really isn't any better time to be a musical collector than the present. There are just so many great smaller labels putting out some phenomenal stuff, both new and old. An excellent example of the latter is Soundway Records. I wrote about them earlier this year, during the summer, when talking about their excellent Latin release, Panama! 2: Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical and Calypso Funk on the Isthmus 1967-77. Go into your local music store and I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to find any Panamanian music (unless of course you live in Panama and you're reading this), which makes it all that much more necessary for a small label like Soundway to do the great work they do to make it available for all of us who can't fly around the world digging for records.

Well, last month, they've dug even deeper into Latin America, and as if Panamanian music wasn't getting nitty gritty enough, they've zeroed in on an even smaller target: Guadeloupe and Martinique. Heck, ask the next ten people you talk to if they can tell you where those two countries are and I'm guessing 1 or 2 of them might be on target (for your info, they're two islands which are part of the Lesser Antilles, the eastern Caribbean island chain that also includes Dominica, St. Lucia, and Marie-Galante). The two islands are overseas departments of France (i.e. I guess they're rough equivalent of Alaska and Hawaii?), and have a lengthy history of outside influence of all sorts, not just French. The musical output of these two islands far exceeds what one would expect from their size, and it's documented on Soundways' latest release: Tumbélé! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds - French Caribbean 1963-73.

The album's twenty tracks (all previously unavailable outside of the islands and their near neighbors) attempt to represent this varied yet distinct musical identity which draws upon French, African, and Latin influences. Accompanying the music are liner notes that detail the development of the islands' sound, as well as song by song notes explaining their origins and how they fit into the islands' musical histories. Try out two of the CDs tracks below.

Visit the Soundway Records website.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jazz Brunch Jam - September Blues

"The premise: the loss of love. This universal theme is handled here in uniquely Ethiopian manner. The inspiration comes from an old Ethiopian song, where a woman leaves her husband just before the Ethiopian New Year (which is in September). Jorga Mesfin's sax plays a mournful refrain lamenting the loss of his love. Andrea Fabbri's playing, on the other hand, represents a former scorned lover, still seething, which boils over into a rant. By the end, both remember what it was like to love this woman, and they sing the mournful refrain together, almost as one."

- from the liner notes for The Prester John Sessions

This song is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a while. The first time I heard it, it struck me as something powerful, and I listened to it several times over. It comes deep in The Prester John Sessions, the first solo album from Tommy T (a.k.a. Thomas T Gobena), bassist for Gogol Bordello. Born in Ethiopia, Gobena draws upon his native's country culture to create an album here that explores his country's musical diversity, blending dub reggae, funk, and jazz into music that flows between the mystical and worldly.

The saxes in this piece, trading space back and forth, interacting, conversing, mourning, pull you through to share their sadness. Sheer beauty. Listen and be prepared for melancholy.

Visit his website, his label Easy Star Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Double Dose of Nick Cave

For all you Nick Cave fans out there, I've got two Caveities to share with you. One to read, one to listen to. The first is something for your nightstand: The Death Of Bunny Munro. It's the second novel by Cave, and came out in September. For those of who familiar with Cave, this novel is everything you'd expect from his twisted mind and so much more. It opens with:

"I am damned, thinks Bunny Munro in a sudden moment of self-awareness reserved for those who are soon to die. He feels that somewhere down the line he has made a grave mistake, but this realisation passes in a dreadful heartbeat, and is gone - leaving him in a room at the Grenville Hotel, in his underwear, with nothing but himself and his appetites. He closes his eyes and pictures a random vagina, then sits on the edge of the hotel bed and, in slow motion, leans back against the quilted headboard. He clamps the mobile phone under his chin and with his teeth breaks the seal on a miniature bottle of brandy. He empties the bottle down his throat, lobs it across the room, then shudders and gags and says into the phone, 'Don't worry, love, everything's going to be all right.' "

Of course, as a reader, you KNOW that everything isn't going to be all right with an opening paragraph like that! The book chronicles the accelerating demise of it's title character, Bunny Munro, a man whose lusts guide his bearing, ultimately leading him to a cracked, premature ending. The book starts with his wife committing suicide, and although one never knows for sure, it's fairly easy to guess that it's as a result of her husband's wanton ways. He is left to handle their nine year old son, Bunny Jr. as he careens toward the death that even he subconsciously realizes is fast approaching.

While you're reading, you can also be listening - to White Lunar, the latest audio release from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, his long time collaborator for more than fifteen years with The Bad Seeds, Grinderman and The Dirty Three. It's a double disc release and its sleeves describes itself as thus:
"White Lunar is a selection of pieces taken from various motion pictures and documentaries that we have been involved in, namely The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition, The Road, The English Surgeon, The Girls of Phnom Penh and a variety of pieces selected from our vaults. White Lunar was recorded in Air Studios and Air Edel, London and Scuzz Studios, Ivry Sur Seine between 2005 and 2009. The first CD has the big themes, the orchestra and the songs and the second CD is fractured, haunting and sometimes badly behaved."
As presented by Cave and Ellis above, these are cinematic pieces heavy with portent. On disc one, you'll also find a sneak peak from the soundtrack for The Road, whose full soundtrack doesn't come out for another few weeks. I'm not sure you can listen to both of these atmospheric discs back to back, but they provide an ample of dose of just how powerful Cave's soundtracking efforts are. Stark, haunting, sometimes unsettling, and never trite.

Visit his website, his label Mute, and become his friend on MySpace.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Cherry Cherry Christmas

It's getting to be that time of year. The time for egg nog (preferrably spiked), candy cane colored underwear, and Christmas CDs. I know what you're saying, "It's WAY too early to be listening to Christmas music." Well I say, "Stop bah-humbuging the seasonal grooves and start ordering them now so you'll have them in time to spin for your Black Friday suicide shopping mission."

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, it's time for the first Christmas CD review of the year here at MISB. I'll straight out admit that I get into the X-mas jams, so long as it isn't the same tired tunes over and over again. My love of the holiday music goes deep; as a kid I can remember listening to the Beach Boys' Christmas album every year (on vinyl never the less). While today's review doesn't come from them, it does come from an artists who's been around almost as long and who I have almost as old a connection with: Neil Diamond. It's titled A Cherry Cherry Christmas (a play on a very merry Christmas perhaps?), but isn't Diamond's first foray into the field. He's released two previous albums, aptly titled The Christmas Album and The Christmas Album, Volume 2, some of whose songs appear in this latest release.

Of this new collections fourteen tracks, four are pulled from his first Christmas album, five from the second, and five are new songs for this album, including the title track and a cover version of Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song. While a few of the recycled songs feel very much so, there are few many that hold their enjoyability here, fifteen plus years later. The title track, on other hand, is pure and timeless Diamond. Those fans out there who've enjoyed his stripped down sound under the guidance of Rick Rubin might be disappointed here. This is your parents' classic Diamond. Come into it with that in mind, and you might just enjoy it regardless.

Visit his website, the compilation's label Columbia Records, and become his friend on MySpace.