Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Halloween!

Music Is Awesome. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's also the name of the latest soundtrack for the entertainingly off kilter TV show Yo Gabba Gabba!. You might remember that about a year ago, I wrote about the show's first musical release. This new album is longer (21 tracks vs. 13) and has about 2/3rds of the songs from the first release. Just like the first album though, the tracks speed by at the speed of light, and although the tv show is marketed for kids, the soundtrack features some great artists (The Shins, Biz Markie, Chromeo, The Roots, I'm From Barcelona, Of Montreal, etc.) performing songs that are just as enjoyable for adult ears.

Below you'll find a song just for today (not released on the album) by Shiny Toy Guns, and another classic track which will help you Get the Sillies Out! For those family listeners out there, the Gabba crew is hitting the road for a few dates on what they've dubbed There's A Party In Your City tour. If they were playing any closer to me, I'd definitely be there with my daughter (I don't think they'd let me in without her after all). Enjoy your Halloween and these songs!

Visit the official Yo Gabba Gabba! website.

Upcoming There's A Party In My City Tour Dates


14 Los Angeles , CA - Shrine Expo- 11AM and 3PM
15 Los Angeles , CA- Shrine Expo- 11AM and 3PM *
21 New York , NY- Beacon Theatre- 11AM, 2PM and 5PM*
28 Dallas , TX- Dr. Pepper Arena- 11 AM and 3PM*


5th- Chicago , IL- Rosemont Theatre- 11AM and 3PM

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jealous Swingers hit the reception

This video cracks me the frick up. Seriously. And the song thumps pretty well, too.

Genuine Guy - Jealous Swingers : Jealous Swingers EP

Visit his label Tigerbass Records and become his friend on MySpace.

Spilt Milk

now you say it's better to have loved then lost

maybe you never loved me at all
have you ever been a victim
of a hit and run
you never turned to see what you'd done

so don't say i'm crying over spilt milk again
don't say i'll bounce back
cuz i won't
don't say a word
or i might lose control
cuz this time i lost it all

Tonight I've got something a little jazzy for you. Something a little silky smooth. Something by the name of Kristina Train. Her debut album, Spilt Milk, came out last week, and listening to it you'd think that this was at least her third album or so. She's got such a sense of poise to her voice that you can only imagine where her music might head as she progresses deeper into her career. You can check out the album's lead off title track below, and hear a free, live, online concert of hers on November 2nd HERE. The album has got a Norah Jones type of sensibility to it (pre- her latest single, which has Jones heading off on a new bearing). It displays a maturity to it that indicates (at least to me), that she's got a career ahead of her. Try for yourself:

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jazz Brunch Jam - C.T.A.

Here's a classic bebop cut from an album recently remastered by recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, featuring a handful of jazz luminaries (not only including Trane, but also Donald Byrd and Art Taylor) just tuning into their personal musical paths. Its freneticness calls forth images of rush hour on the C.T.A.

The Red Garland Quintet with John Coltrane - C.T.A. : Dig It! (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster)

Visit the Prestige Records website.

Sunday Soul - All For the Love of a Woman

every man out there
is trying to find
a woman somewhere

if she's a woman that's true
there ain't nothing he won't do
to show her how much he cares

some men will lie
some men will cry
some men will even go out and die

all for the love of a woman

William Bell - All For the Love of a Woman (stereo) : All For the Love of a Woman 7"

William Bell - All For the Love of a Woman (mono) : All For the Love of a Woman 7" B-side

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Day After Forever is Today

Just a quick post today with a couple of tracks suitable for weekend enjoyment from Oakland's Crown City Rockers. Their latest album, The Day After Forever, dropped at the close of last month, roughly five years since their last, which is, in a way, unfortunate, because this feels like a summer spin if I've ever heard one. Embracing the new direction in hip hop, CCR hits it up with an album full of fresh, live instrumentation and feels cleanly refreshing. Even the smoother ladies' tracks here make you want to bounce your body to the beat. You'll find a mix of some smooth flowing rhymes here alongside silky R&B vocals on top of beats that feel human.

Anyway, enough with that. Here are a few tracks to entertain you for the weekend. The first, Soul, is an uptempo number that you've got to move to. Astroshocks, the second you'll find below, is straight up hip hop with rhymes coming fast and furious and a futuristic line threading behind it all. Pick this up, even if you just put it aside till next summer.

and an old favorite:

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

Friday, October 23, 2009

Last Night I Awoke in the Midst of a Dream

waking up beside you

last night i awoke in the midst of a dream
you were beside me again
with a love in your eyes you looked at me
like i don't remember when

i try not to think about you at all
runnin' round out there
without me

and i know you're happy now
i know you're free
but i prefer not to think about that at all

see i used to know you
i was your friend
i'm sure i could take you for granted again
once in a while i wonder
if i'll ever find someone to take your place
time to time
i do
i do miss your face
but mostly i don't think about you at all
mostly i don't think about you
at all

it's just that
last night i awoke in the midst of a dream

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Woman's Work

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

All the things we should've said,
That we never said
All the things we should've done,
But we never did
And all the things that you needed from me
And all the things that you wanted for me
And all the things I should've done,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go
make it go away


The original was by Kate Bush. The cover, by Greg Laswell, who just released his latest EP consisting of five covers, aptly titled Covers. The other artists he interprets include Echo & the Bunnymen (Killing Moon), Morphine (In Spite of Me), Mazzy Star (Take Everything), and Kristin Hersh (Your Ghost).

watch the video for Greg Laswell - This Woman's Work (Kate Bush cover) : Covers EP

the original:

Kate Bush - This Woman's Work : The Sensual World

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Win some Kings, Queens, & Jamie T

Jamie T - The Man's Machine

Jamie T | MySpace Music Videos

Do you ever buy an album thinking "I hope it's as good as the last one," and then realize it's been over two years since the last one? Time flies sometimes, as is the case with my bloke Jamie T. He just released his sophomore follow-up to his Mercury nominated debut a few weeks ago, and it's titled Kings & Queens. Obviously when you get nominated for a Mercury prize right out of the gate, there are even heavier expectations placed on future endeavors, and thankfully Jamie delivers straight out of the gate with this new one. On it, he's still the youthful dynamo that unapologetically laid everyone out at full throttle and attitude. I find it difficult to place my thumb on it, but there's just something about his music that makes you want to jump around with youthful abandon.

Want a chance to find out for yourself? First off, check out the video for the first single, The Man's Machine, above, then download it below. On top of that, I've got a brand new copy of the album sitting in front of me that's burning to be given away. Just leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and you'll be in the running. I'll choose a winner next Wednesdayish and notify them pronto.

and an older favorite:

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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Win Rosanne Cash's List

Today's selection is a guest post from a long time reader of MISB and frequent commenter Jane. Previously this year Jane wrote a lovely review of Kate York's album For You, and today she was kind enough to share her beautifully written opinion of Rosanne Cash's latest, The List.


Rosanne Cash's The List is not the typical covers album. It features the singer-songwriter's contemporary interpretations of twelve classics selected from a list written for and passed down to her by her father, the legendary Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash wrote this list of 100 Essential Country Songs in the summer of 1973. Rosanne, eighteen and eager to be a musician, accompanied her father on tour. While riding in the back of a tour bus, the two discussed country songs and, as Ms. Cash tells us in the liner notes, her father "became alarmed that I was so steeped in the rock and pop music of my time that I did not understand the vital importance of the songs that were my musical genealogy ..." Cash intended the list to serve as a template for his daughter's musical education, and it spans American genres: country, gospel, folk, Appalachian, rockabilly, and Southern blues. But Ms. Cash was not yet ready to fully embrace her father's legacy, and for the next thirty-five years she forged her own identity as a successful performer, songwriter, and author.

With The List Rosanne Cash comes full circle, and redefines herself as one of country music's finest interpreters. She connects past and present with complex performances of songs by Hank Snow, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, A.P. Carter, and other celebrated songwriters. Husband and producer John Leventhal provides subtle arrangements that showcase her soulful vocals. Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, Rufus Wainwright, and daughter Chelsea Crowell each make an appearance, but the album is pure Cash.

With her clear alto, Ms. Cash bends each song to her will. And as on her own albums, she excels at the melancholy moments. With Hy Heath and Fred Rose's Take These Chains from My Heart, for instance, she steers clear of Hank Williams' sharp, honky tonk pleas. Instead, Ms. Cash relies on the power of understatement. She gently asserts, "set me free," with just a touch of a vibrato that only hints at the deep sorrow running through her words. Soft percussion, Wurlitzer piano, and a lovely fiddle solo complete the portrait of heartbreak.

Ms. Cash sheds the heartbreak on the next track, I'm Movin' On, and we are rewarded with a number that is all blues and bravado. Like her father before her, Rosanne Cash defies categorization. At times playful, sultry, wistful, but always compelling, her voice allows these timeless lyrics to resonate. The List is both a reflection of Ms. Cash's musical heritage as well as the representation of an artist at the height of her artistic performance.


If you haven't picked up the album yet, and are drawn in by Jane's review, I've got a CD with (potentially) your name on it. All you have to do is leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and you'll be in the running for the copy that I have to give away. I'll pick a winner next Mondayish and notify them via email. In the meantime, enjoy one of the tracks from the album as well as the original.

and the original:

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Soul - Is It Love Or Desire

When it comes to smokin', sizzlin', gritty, sexified funk, there's only one stop you should plan on making: Betty Davis. Although commercially a failure in the early 70's, her music artistically outclassed its contemporaries in ways that just weren't appreciated at the time. Thankfully that's changed with time, and there's been a resurgence in interest in her material. With that resurgence comes some amazing releases from Light In the Attic Records, including Is It Love Or Desire, the previously unreleased fourth album from Davis. On it, Davis shows how strong a woman she was and doesn't pull any punches. Check out the title track below, but seriously, this album is one that you need to listen to for yourself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do What You Want, Be What You Are

In the past I’ve mentioned the early roots of my musical education, much of it revolving around my parents’ record collection. One of the artists that I enjoyed discovering during my childhood that slipped away from me as I set out on my own was the duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates, otherwise simply known as Hall & Oates. Not to date myself, but this was around the time of their musical heyday in the 80’s, a time when they dominated nearly numerous genres of musical expression.

Over the years, I’ve always enjoyed the Hall & Oates’ tracks that I’d hear on the radio, in a store, wherever, but for whatever reason I didn’t revisit their treasure trove of music. Until now that is. Just this month, Sony Legacy released an awe-inspiring box set of material from the duo’s four decades of music making crunched down into four CDs titled Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music Of Daryl Hall & John Oates. Yeah, four decades. Think about how many other artists can boast of such a career. To top that off, think about how many duos actually stuck together for that long: Simon & Garfunkel – nope, Sonny & Cher – nope, uhhh, yeah, that’s all I’ve got. Can you think of anyone else that has even close to that amount of stage time together under their belts?

Both men, before meeting to form their own group, played in soul groups in the 60’s (Hall worked with such men as Leon Huff, Kenny Gamble, and Thom Bell – the forefathers of the Philly soul scene) and that fact clearly shaped their music from then on out. The first couple of tracks on the first disc of this collection come from this period in their careers, and listening to them will reveal the roots of their musical ideology. Eventually the two came together, recording music that was more folk orientated but still retaining their R&B roots (the two would never completely abandon their soul sides). As they continued to develop under the guidance of Atlantic records, the pair would begin to hone their pop/rock/soul mixture that would serve them well in coming years. These early years and albums are covered on the first disc of the set. Closing out the first disc are some live, previously unreleased recordings from London in 1975.

The second disc moves forward in time to their time at RCA records when they really started perfecting their style and scored their first top ten single with Sara Smile (which you'll find here) and eventually their first number one single with Rich Girl (which is also here). This is the period when they first started scoring pop chart success and creating songs that you'll still here today. The hits REALLY start coming on disc 3, and for many listeners, this is the disc that will feel most familiar. On it, you'll find them at the top of their game in the 80's, churning out classic cut after classic cut: You Make My Dreams, Private Eyes, I Can't Go For That (No Can Do), Maneater, Say It Isn't So, Out Of Touch, Method Of Modern Love, etc., etc., etc... This disc is practically worth the price of admission by itself. To close it out comes a live track from the Apollo theater with a couple of the duo's musical heroes, Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin, on a classic Motown medley of The Way You Do The Things You Do and My Girl.

The final disc brings material from the end of the 80's, the 90's, and 2000's. Although less prolific than previous decades, the pair proves that they've still got some gas left in the tank and aren't quite ready to hit the retirement home circuit yet.

Put all this together and you've got a staggering amount of good music, including sixteen previously unreleased tracks. And what really seals the deal for this box set (at least for me) is the equally amazing are the liner notes. Besides doing a great job presenting the pair's history, Hall and Oates provide background information and stories for every single one of the set's seventy-four tracks. And I'm not talking about one or two sentences for each, there's at least one or two paragraphs for each. They're extremely personal and revelatory, and make each song, regardless of its chart performance, seem equally important and demanding of a listening. Although I'm a big liner notes fan anyway, I actually read through the whole thing in one sitting.

All that being said, I know it's a little early, but this would make a grand, smile inducing Christmas present (for someone else or for yourself - wink wink). Speaking for myself, this set has re-stoked my appreciation of this pair and their music after quite a hiatus. Try it for yourself to see if it has similar results.

Hall & Oates - She's Gone : Do What You Want, Be What You Are:The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates [box set Disc 1]

Hall & Oates - Out Of Me, Out Of You : Do What You Want, Be What You Are:The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates [box set Disc 2]

Hall & Oates - Out Of Touch : Do What You Want, Be What You Are:The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates [box set Disc 3]

Hall & Oates - Starting All Over Again (Mel & Tim cover) : Do What You Want, Be What You Are:The Music of Daryl Hall & John Oates [box set Disc 4]

Visit their website, this release's label Sony Legacy, and become their friend on MySpace.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Feel Like a King...Pluck a String!

I really can't tell you much about Sneaky beyond what I know listening to his debut release Feel Like A King...Pluck A String and from having dug around a little on the net. I do know he's a European based musician/composer/producer/DJ who's worked with or remixed a whole slew of artists, most notably appearing on Mr. Scruff's big hit Get A Move On! playing bass (on which he's classically trained). He's worked as a session musician for years now, but this album marks his first foray into self elevation.

While there are a few vocal cuts amongst the album's eleven tracks, Sneaky's apparent strength is his beat generating prowess. Much like the DJ Spooky album I commented on last week, you'll find a wide breadth of beats here, wide enough that its eleven tracks do actually feel like eleven separate and distinct entities. There's really no recycling going on here, with each composition having its own personality, from the contrasting duality of the opening track Frieden Schlieáen's strings and electronic elements with a film projector (?) running in the background to the Trickyesque trip hop of Mental Origami to the whistle-happy On My Way to the techo house raver Grind the Coffee (and those are only the first four tracks).

Below I've included a few tracks that two different sides of the album. The first, Beduija, soars in exoticism like a middle-eastern bazaar. The second, Feel Like a King, is one of the album's few tracks with real vocals and has an almost retro 90'sish dance thing going on to it. Like I said above though, by no means would I portray these as stereotypical of the album, as there really is nothing stereotypical to the whole thing. Head to his MySpace page, listen to a few more tracks, and see what I mean.

and one he appears on:

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Lesser Known Sister

Canadian singer/songwriter Carolyn Mark has returned, and this time around has enlisted fellow Canadians N.Q. Arbuckle to help out with her latest album (her sixth), titled Let's Just Stay Here. And to say their addition only strengthens the album is an understatement. For those of you not familiar with Mark, earlier in her career she performed alongside another fellow Canadian, Neko Case, as half of The Corn Sisters. As their popularity rose, the pair decided to go their separate ways and embark on solo careers. Obviously Case's star has risen higher and shown brighter, but that doesn't mean Mark's work doesn't deserve your attention any less.

Listening to Mark's voice will immediately make you think of Neko. It's got that dusty twangy feeling to it which would make you believe that the two are honest to goodness sisters, and not just previous bandmates. It makes one wonder why one has become relatively well known while the other has comparatively hovered under the horizon. What makes this album so enjoyable is the pairing of her voice with Neville Quinlan of N.Q. Arbuckle. Although more of the album's tracks are written by Mark, the album is truly a work of equal contributions, and its strength lies in that fact. The pair sings with a hard won wisdom of life that isn't always roses, and that character is shown in the majority of the album's tracks. Listen to the lead off track, All Time Low, below, alongside some various older cuts.

and some older favorites:

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Breakestra lasts from Dusk Till Dawn

I know I'm a little behind dropping this track as the album it comes from, Dusk Till Dawn, came out at the end of last month, but I still felt it was worth sharing in case you haven't heard it elsewhere. It's the latest release from LA funk collective Breakestra, and if nothing else , proves to the bands critics that they've got the skills to be more than a good times party cover band of beats gone by. If you're not familiar with the group, they got their start playing music they loved in a never ended homage to all that got the body poppin' - classic sounds of back in the day funk and hip hop. All that started to shift with their last album, Hit the Floor, and it's nothing but set in stone with this new album.

As you might surmise from the group's name, it's an orchestra which celebrates in pumping out a classic breaks sound with instruments instead of turntables and combines it with the funky flavor of The Meters (they flow free into the instrumental jam with no hesitation), James Brown, and even a little dash of Jimi Hendrix's guitar work (listen to Show You The Way to catch that element of their vibe front and center). Check out a pair of tracks below before exploring on your own.

and a favorite from their last album:

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chasing Pirates

So if you think you know the kind of music that Norah Jones plays, think again. I just got a chance to check out a track from her upcoming album The Fall, and all I can say is wow. Without doubt, I'd describe it as a new direction for her. Upon first listen, I found it hard to believe that it was Norah that I was listening to at all. I really like the driving instrumentation behind her voice that makes the song move in a way I wouldn't normally associate with her. If the rest of the album is like this, it's certainly a re-imaging of her style. Not to say that I didn't enjoy her style in the first place, but this new Norah has got me hooked again.

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

In Spring Alchemy

i'm cleaned out
i'm sobered up
hands flowing too fast for words
or recognition

and in spring alchemy I wake up not alone, though
old mistakes follow me and wake me in the night
cuz I was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1999
and without words what do we have?
oh, I said without words what do we have?

Emily Rodgers - In Spring Alchemy : Bright Day

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

beats antique

If you REALLY want to talk about mixing old school and new school together, then check out beats antique's latest EP Contraption EP vol I. On it, you'll find an amalgamation of sounds that come from centuries apart. On one hand you'll find traditional middle eastern instrumentation and rhythms, and on the other electronic elements fused in, around, and under, all melded together in an electro-techno-house package that will leave you bouncing between old and new. A perfect example of this is the fourth track, She's Looking for Something, a slow churning, deep throbbing, mysterious number which I can just picture a crowd slowly pulsing to on a dark dance floor.

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Soul - H.O.E.

For those of you out there who are Light In the Attic Records fans, a couple of weeks past they put out a follow up volume to their 2004 release, Wheedle's Groove - Seattle's Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-75. The original volume collected twenty one cuts of prime northwest funk and soul, the majority of which were resurrected from dusty vinyl, with a few from modern day soul outfits. It was a smoking collection of cuts that you should definitely score one way or another if you don't already have it.

Fast forward to 2009, and the folks over at LITA have brought together some of the original artists from that first recording, artists who learned how to funk things up decades ago, and artists from the retro-soul outfits who also were included to record an album of brand new material. The album, titled Kearney Barton, is named after famed recording engineer who polished the new album, as well as some of the tracks on the old album. The album is a masterful stroke of funk and soul just like the original, but also an innovative contemporary product that shows it is possible to teach an old dog a new trick.

You'll find this out right from the first track Babyback, am instrumental funk number that feels like it should be from some futuristic blaxploitation flick. From there, the group gets a little more traditional with H.O.E. (House of Entertainment - which feelss a whole heck of a lot like a Solomon Burke tune), which you can hear below. The third track is perhaps the most inspired of the lot, a cover of Soundgarden's Jesus Christ Pose which just cooks with its choir-like vocals. Another futuristic instrumental rolls out next with Humpty Dumpty, and then the soaring Everything Good Is Bad, a rocker that feels like it could have been a hit at Woodstock. The entire album is like that, craftily switching from old to new and back again, and from instrumental jam to vocals. Through it all though, you'll find some incredible Hammond action that fills a crucial spot in the album's groove.

and one from the original volume:

Jazz Brunch Jam - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I've stated it before on this blog, my favorite jazz artist would be Art Blakey. Another artist high up on the list though is the High Priest of Bebop, Thelonius Monk. Give me an album with both of them on it, you're talking home run time. Said album can be found, titled simply Monk. It comes from 1954, during his short tenure at Prestige Records, and this latest release of it is remastered by none other than celebrated recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, the man who was responsible for committing the first of the album's two sessions to tape back in '53 (the second was in '54). Even though relatively early in his career, you can still sense his own unique style behind those piano keys. Check out his interpretation of the golden oldie Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (best known as recorded by The Platters) to see how he can even manipulate pop standards in new and innovative ways.

Visit this re-release's label Concord Records.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Toxic Remixes

I've been a big fan of the Scion A/V series for a while now, and while I'll admit that I don't go ga-ga over every one (they do a great job of presenting such a wide range of artists), I completely appreciate what they've got going on as their philosophy: bring in diverse artists, turn them loose in the studio with free rein, kick out some singles and compilations, and send all the proceeds right back to the artists.

Their latest project brings Simon Delacroix, a.k.a. The Toxic Avenger, into the game along with a stable of producers to remix some of his electro thrash tracks. The result is some heavily aggressive electro assaulting music that doesn't have a soft corner anywhere to be found.

Visit the Scion A/V website and become his friend on MySpace.

Friday, October 09, 2009

DJ Spooky's Secret (Song) is out

Earlier this week, The Secret Song, the latest album from Paul Miller (A.K.A. DJ Spooky) hit shelves everywhere. It's been a while since he's put out a new album of his own material, but that's for good reason; he's most certainly a renaissance artist, with his creative hands in film, print, visual arts, and music. And when I say music, I mean a wide swath of everything from remixing artists from Metallica to Yoko Ono to compiling and editing Jamaican dub and reggae (the excellent In Fine Style: DJ Spooky Presents 50,000 Volts of Trojan Records).

On this newest collection of materials, Spooky draws in a diverse range of collaborators such as Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, The Jungle Brothers, The Coup, Rob Swift, Mike Ladd and many others. The resulting notes are just as diverse, pulling in slices of this and slices of that, everything from hard hitting hip hop beats to reggae to jazz to a dub interpretation of Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused. If you're already familiar with Spooky, you know what I'm talking about. If not, be prepared to be amazed by the sonic distances covered in these twenty tracks. On top of his explorations, or perhaps more adequately, alongside is an exploration of the current global economic situation within sound bytes and lyrics.

This collection is really a dizzying assemblage of sounds and ideas that I've been enjoying for weeks now. The distance it travels really begs you to follow it numerous times, each time discovering a new aspect that reels you in that you might have missed previously because you were drawn to some other facet. In many ways it feels more like a compilation rather than an album of original material because of its breadth. I'll share two of the album's twenty tracks below, but they can't really represent the full range. For that, check out the complete album.

Visit his website, his label Thirsty Ear Recordings, and become his friend on MySpace.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Gilberto Legacy continues

Maybe it's just me, but lately there seems to have been a giant upswing in interest and listening to Brazilian music. And where would Brazilian music be without the name Gilberto? Looking back you find Astrud and João, and returning to the present you have Bebel, daughter of João, whose latest release, All In One, just came out last month. It's on the Verve label, home to some of the most classic Brazilian artists of all time, including the above named Gilbertos as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz.

Knowing the familial legacy that Bebel deals with, you might be worried about her relying on the surname and tradition in her own work, but this album clearly shows that isn't the case. While there is a clear musical connection to her home country, and even some interpretations of older songs, baggage of the past is set aside for an honest and current exploration of Brazilian music that highlights Babel in her own right and not just her inheritance. To do so, she enlists some current musicians, including Mark Ronson and the Dap Kings on the Stevie Wonder penned song The Real Thing. Most of the record is sung in Portuguese, with a few exceptions, including this one. That's not to say she completely severs ties to her forebearers. Take for instance Chica Chica Boom Chic, originally a Carmen Miranda, the first Brazilian artist to strike it rich outside her own country.

The resulting mix of songs, twelve in total, really feels like a contemporary album that still bears the imprint of tradition, while not leaning on it as a crutch.

the classic original:

João Gilberto - Besame Mucho
: Amoroso

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

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Where The Wild Things Listen to Music

"Hey king, what's your first order of business?"


Yes, I'm dying to check out this movie, but I've got to convince my daughter that it isn't too scary. How could wild rumpuses be scary?!?! The soundtrack, which I have listened to, is fun, exactly what you'd imagine Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) putting together for a kids album. She's brilliantly suited for the story of crazy exuberance gone wild.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Haven't Met You Yet

Watch more AOL Music videos on AOL Video

For all you out there who dream of romantic encounters in supermarkets, this video is for you. For all you who enjoy hook laden, poppy expressions of love, this song is for you (find it on Michael Buble's upcoming release Crazy Love, out this Friday). For everyone else, you don't deserve a gift for next Valentine's Day.

Visit Michael Buble's website, his label Reprise Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

They Might Be Giants Science Contest

I've been listening to They Might Be Giants for a long while, ever since Flood in fact, quite possibly the quintessential TMBG album of all time. A few years ago (gosh, it's hard to believe it's been that long) I wrote about The Else, the last adult orientated album the group released. Since then, they released Here Come the 123's last year, and just last month Here Comes Science, both of which were marketed to be kids albums. Looking back at what I wrote about The Else still sticks in my head, its overall feel was fairly straight forward and lacking the quirkiness that had been so much a part of their earlier work. Thankfully, they've returned to their old antics on this new one.

On it, they tackle a subject that they first visited with their Why Does The Sun Shine? EP, the title track of which is quite possibly my favorite TMBG track of all time. John and John (or should I call them John squared) quickly scoot through nineteen tracks all about science, everything from dinosaurs to planets to cells to the scientific method (and a remixed-revamped version of that favorite song I mentioned as well as a follow-up: Why Does the Sun Really Shine?). As such, the subject matter is geared for older children than their last few kids albums which focused on letters and numbers, but even if you're not a lab rat, the zaniness here is sure to pull you in. To top it off, there's a companion DVD with some crazy videos that go along with the album's tracks.

If you want a chance to check out the album, just leave a comment with your name and email address (or email me) and you'll be in the running for a brand new copy. You don't even have to provide proof of a child under 13 in your household to be eligible. I'll pick a winner next Tuesdayish and notify them via email (so make sure to leave yours!).

Visit their website, their label Disney Sound, and become their friend on MySpace.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Jazz Brunch Jam - The Afterthought

So here's a little insight into my life. Whenever I hit up record fairs, I'll buy anything from Roy Ayers that I come across that I don't have. The man's been on the scene for five decades, and he's still keeping it just as fresh as he did back when he released his initial release, West Coast Vibes. A lot like Miles Davis (but not nearly as well known, unfortunately), his sound has evolved through several genres as he's progressed as a musician. And damn, does he know how to make some sweet music with a vibraphone!

That being said, when I caught wind of contemporary vibraphonist Stefon Harris, I was eager to check him out. His latest release, Urbanus, came out late in August, and as vibes aren't exactly common stock on 99.9% of albums out there, I felt the need to check it out to see how it stacked up against the master. Truth be told, Harris and his group Blackout do a great job pulling on the vibe of early Ayers' vibes. And when I say early I mean his first few 60's albums where he fit more neatly into the straight out jazz spectrum while still fronting that unique vibraphonic sound of his. The Afterthought, which you can check out below, is a perfect example of this. Urbanus as a whole feels like it could slot somewhere in Ayers' early discography for the most part, although there are moments when they pull forward in time to a more progressive place as well as some dashes of funk and electrification: on three of the tracks, you'll find some vocoder work that weighs heavily in the 80's camp. Unlike much of Ayers' later work, Harris' vibes remain clearly front and center throughout this album.

If you end up feeling Harris and his vibes, there's an opportunity for you to win some sweet prizes from him as well. Check it:
Inspired by the original artwork of the album which was then animated for the video, Stefon Harris and Blackout are challenging you to create your own remix of the video for "Gone." Simply download the music and the art, rework it and remix it, using free online software (or your own of your choosing), and post your video to the contest page on YouTube.

The winner will be chosen by Stefon and the graphic artist/video designer, and the winner will receive a video premiere, autographed lithograph of the album art and a copy of the CD.

Download all the necessary tools and get more info HERE.

Even if making videos isn't your thing, check out the following cuts. The vibes are a difficult instrument to pull off and to maintain as integral to a single song, never mind an entire album, but Harris does the master proud with Urbanus.

and one from the master:

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