Friday, July 31, 2009


Every year that I celebrate the anniversary of this blog I relate how I never imagined it lasting so long. I certainly never imagined writing my one thousandth post, which is what I'm doing today. One thousand times I've shared a song or two (or five), or a video, or a contest, or a concert review, or some such music related content. It kind of snuck up on me, too. It struck me in the early nine hundreds that I might make it, but then it slipped out of mind, until just a few days ago.

I'm not sure how much longer MISB will last, to be honest with you. I'd taken a few weeks away from it. Needed the time to listen to some music and just listen, not worry about what to write about it. Dug out some old albums that, although nothing cutting edge, just felt right.

Or maybe you didn't notice that I had taken a few weeks off. It's hard to tell how many of you are regular readers and how many swoop in for a song or two and then move on to the next blog out there. A few months ago, I celebrated MISB's third birthday and asked readers to leave a note sharing what they've uncovered while reading. I had five comments. Five readers who I'm sincerely grateful to for taking a minute (or less) to leave their mark. I had hoped for a little more outpouring of support to be frank.

Yesterday I posted after my two week hiatus. An apt song - Coma. Time to wake up. I've still got some music in me to share, so don't expect MISB to turn into a ghost town yet. For those of you who've been with me for a while, even if I don't know you, even if you've never left a comment, thanks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wake Up

wake up the rain is falling
wake up the world is calling
wake up
wake up
wake out of your sleep

tell all the urban sprawlers
tell all the deep sea trawlers
and the technological creep

it's time to come out of your coma

Kevin Hearn And Thinbuckle - Coma : Havana Winter

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Words

it has gotten out of our hands
and all of our fantastic plans

aren't for me to keep

it has gotten out of control
and all of the dreams you have stole

haunt me in my sleep

Emilie Mover - No Words
: Good Shake Nice Gloves

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beach Frolicking

So, yeah. It's been about a week since I've thrown any tunes up for you all to listen to. What can I say? It's summer. It's finally stopped raining every day up here in New England and the temp's are getting up into the darn hot range. Darn hot and sticky I should say.

That being said, I'll give you the above picture, some frolicking on the beach, not that I've done any of it lately, but the couple (musically known as Charlotte & Magon) pictured probably have. And on top of all that frolicking and getting sand in places you don't want it, they've also put out a lovely little half hour album of music. The reason I share it with you now (besides the lovely beach picture above and cover art of a similar beach) is the sultry and sweaty love story behind the album that just screams summer romance.

It goes like this. The pair the band is named after, Charlotte (from France) and Magon (from Israel) communicated via that breakthrough technology known as the "Internet" for two years before meeting up to record Love Happening over the course of twelve days. In addition to composing and recording its twelve tracks in twelve days, the pair also went so far as to fall in love. Hence, Love Happening. It's really rather romantic if I may say so myself, almost sickly so (although I say that with nothing but jealousy).

Besides displaying the obvious chemistry between the couple, the music hearkens back to the 60's and the sensual musical foreplay of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, both in terms of texture as well as the languages employed. Check out the opening track below to hear what I mean.

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ancient Astronauts: Sonic Explorers

Although not new to the scene, having remixed tracks from Fort Knox Five, Up Bustle & Out, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets, Zion I, and Dr. Rubberfunk, Ancient Astronauts released their debut album of original music last month. It's titled We Are to Answer, and I'm telling you, there's something mystical and magical about it. As their name suggests, their music is a divergent blend of new and old, resulting in an album that seems to travel from here to the edge of the solar system and back. Think Sun Ra brought into the 21st century, and you'll get something like Ancient Astronauts.

The album opens with From the Sky, in which the duo of Kabanjak and Dogu, who hail from Germany, mystically descend into this world, with a beat flaunting some Middle Eastern flair and sound snippets mixed in that previews what's to come. Those instrumental attributes continue into the next cut, I Came Running, and take you on a magical voyage that reminds me of an old group that you may or may not be familiar with, Enigma. Track three, Classic, brings the music down to earth with the Pharcyde laying down some rich rhymes.

From their the album continues, laying down some thick beats blending hip hop, funk, and dub, as well as other vocal visitors including Azeem, Tippa Irie, Bajka, Phat Old Mamas, Ulf Stricker, Raashan Ahmad and Entropik. At points things get sultry and sticky (A Hole to Swallow Us), other times take it back old skool style (Risin High), occasionally traveling dipping back into luxurious middle Eastern haziness (Lost In Marrakesh), heading to the islands for some reggae flavor (All of the Things You Do) getting downright funky (Everybody), dipping into some acid jazz (Seventh Planet), slowing down to some semi-spoken word reggae (Surfing the Silvatide), and heading back into space with the final track, Cresent Moon.

And all of this flows smoothly together like you wouldn't believe.

Visit their label Eighteenth Street Lounge Music and become their friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Killing Me Softly

"Love is this sudden crash in your path, quick and to the point, and nearly always it leaves someone slain on the green."

from Adverbs,
by Daniel Handler

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday Soul - Think

come'on give it up
i gotta think
what the future holds for me
is too far ahead to see
i don't need no heartache
i can't stand no misery
let me think

it takes two to make a thing go right
it takes two to make it out of sight

The Lions - Think (About It) (Feat. Noelle Scaggs)
: Choices Vol. 1

Visit their label Ubiquity Records and become their friend on MySpace.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Classic Sinatra

"His songs are his home and he lets you in, but you know that to sing like that you've got to have lost a couple of fights. To know tenderness and romance you've got to have had your heart broken."

-Frank Sinatra, as described by Bono
upon receiving the Grammy Legend Award

So looking back through the archives, I realized that Frank Sinatra's music has appeared in fourteen different posts over the last three years. Fourteen and counting I should say, as I'm not planning on putting him aside and hitting endsville anytime soon. At this point, I'm not sure I have anything left to say about Ol' Blue Eyes that I haven't already admitted, but go back and read for yourself if you'd like to see what I've already penned.

I'm sure that in many of you readers' eyes, Sinatra made music for a couple generations back, and that's fine. But if you've never given the man a chance, you might be surprised and find out why he is the titan of 20th century music that he is. The man knew how to win, how to live life to the fullest, and to celebrate life from one cuff link to the other. More importantly, as Bono summed up above, he know how to lose, and still come back out of his corner swinging.

A little over a year ago I wrote about Nothing But the Best, a collection of twenty two tracks from his Reprise years that although nowhere near complete, was a nice place to start for his best songs from that period in his career. Well tonight I'm sharing a similar, more recent release with you, Classic Sinatra II. Compiled as a follow-up to double platinum selling Classic Sinatra, this album culls twenty one tracks from his Capitol years (the label he was at before he founded Reprise Records under Warner Brothers Records), including one unreleased track, This Can't Be Love. Just as with Nothing But the Best, it's clearly impossible to gather all of his greatest work on one disc from this period, and for a more thorough job, do yourself a favor and get yourself the three disc set The Capitol Years. BUT, if you don't want to listen to three full discs, Classic Sinatra II is a great place to head.

Visit his official website and this release's label Capitol Records.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Time to Lose

darling take me by the hand
some things we can't understand
i had my bad times but i never got to choose
but i got time to lose
i got time to lose

fell asleep down on the ground
i woke up in this texas town
i spend my money just to leave those city blues
but i got time to lose
and i got time to lose

been let down a thousand times
should have read between the lines
i go my own way and i could heal every bruise
and i got time to lose
and i got time to lose
and i got time to lose
and i got time to lose

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

Ray Charles goes country

"The words to country songs are very earthy like the blues, see, very down. They're not as dressed up, and the people are very honest and say, 'Look, I miss you, darlin', so I went out and I got drunk in this bar.' That's the way you say it. Where in Tin Pan Alley will say, 'Oh, I missed you darling, so I went to this restaurant and I sat down and I had dinner for one.' That's cleaned up now, you see? But country songs and the blues is like it is."

-Ray Charles in Rolling Stone Magazine, 1973

So a few months ago I mentioned the release of Genius! - The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection, a collection of twenty-one songs, some of Ray Charles' most well known and popular hits from over five decades of music making. While talking about the album, I also mentioned that Concord Music was re-releasing dozens of Ray's albums, some of them for the first time in digital format. I ALSO also mentioned that one of the things that made Ray so great (in my humble opinion) was his ability to craftily work with almost any genre and still make great music, two such examples of said ability being Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 and 2.

Well, the day has come for those monumental albums to see the light of day anew. And to put the icing in the cake, Concord has put both volumes together on one CD. Both albums were originally recorded in 1962, and turned out to be two of the most celebrated albums of his career. In fact, the first volume was one of the best selling country albums, and as a result of its release, country music saw a huge increase in its listenership. On each of the volumes, Ray takes country songs, some which had been hits previously and others not, and puts his Genius touch to them, fusing their country origins with big band R&B stylings, producing music that had an incredibly wide popular appeal, and really cementing his place in popular music.

Initially his label ABC Records was very much against the idea, being unable to understand the musical powers of Ray Charles and his vision. Luckily, he persevered, resulting in an artistic and genre defining set of albums that, much like Dave Brubeck's Time Out, really deserves to be listened to by any self professed music fan. Enclosed with this re-release are the original liner notes from both volumes as well as newly penned notes about the making and influence of the album. Below you'll find a song from the first volume, Bye Bye, Love, originally a hit for The Everly Brothers, and from the second volume, Making Believe, a real tear jerker.

Visit his official website, the re-release's label Concord Music, and become his friend on MySpace.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Simply Stanley

Tonight I have a little morsel of audio confectionery for you courtesy of a south London sextet named simply Stanley. I can't say I know all that much about them other than they just released a five track EP deceptively titled Nothing To Say. It's very Belle and Sebastianesque: light, jangly, yet substance there for the taking if the mood strikes you. Hazel, the lead vocalist, reminds me somewhat also of Lenka. Come to think of it, the overall texture of the EP is a lot like Lenka's album. So, if you like one, you'll probably like the other, and vice versa. Here's the lead off number for you; you can check out the rest on the group's MySpace page.

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.