Saturday, April 29, 2006

Smooth music for Cool Cats

Take one part bossa nova, one part lounge singer, and one part electronica, and what do you get? Bitter: Sweet. You'll want to kick back with a martini in one hand and a lovely lady in the other while listening to these smooth tunes. I'm telling you, I haven't heard anything this suave and sophisticated since the Rat Pack ruled Las Vegas. Check out these high rolling babies:

Bitter: Sweet - The Mating Game (mp3) - The Mating Game

Bitter: Sweet - Dirty Laundry (mp3) - The Mating Game

And if you're digging these tracks like a dirty martini, you might be interested in the Ultra-Lounge site and it's collection of swinging tracks. The "Tiki Sampler," "Mambo Fever," and "Cocktail Capers" are just a few of the swell albums you can check out. To give you an are a few to listen to:

Alvino Rey - Night Train (mp3) - Ultra Lounge 4: Bachelor Pad Royale

Dean Martin - Cha Cha Cha D'amour (mp3) - Ultra Lounge 9: Cha-Cha-Cha-D'amour

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Time to get up already!?!?!

So let me tell you how difficult it was to get up at 5:30 this morning after getting to bed at 1:30...4 short hours before. I sure wish that awake was in fact the new sleep...cuz I'd be snoozing the day away! Was it worth it? Absolutely.

My amigos and I got into Boston a little early and grabbed some dinner at T's Pub, just a few doors down from the Paradise. After consuming a few Harpoon's, we mosied on over to the club and still had to wait a little while for Rachael Cantu to come on. I had listened to her first album Run All Night half a dozen times and was excited to check her out live. I have to say, I love the album, but as I said yesterday, it's on the quieter side and focuses more on her voice and the lyrics. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, her beautiful voice was drowned out a little last night at the Paradise. It wasn't that there was a huge rocking band behind her...just a drummer and another band member on a I'm not sure if the mixing was a little off on the soundboard. Regardless, I'm still a newly minted Rachael fan and would recommend her album to you without reservation.

Up next, Jake Brennan...minus the Confidence Men. Unlike Rachael, whose album I had plenty of time to digest, I was only able to listen to Jake's album, Love & Bombs, once on the drive into Boston so I was less prepared for his contribution to the evening. The album struck me as a little twangy...not hillbilly twangy mind you, but definitely a little country flavor to it. Jake jammed for us solo for 35 minutes or so, and struck me as a mix between Buddy Holly, Tom Petty, and John Cougar Mellencamp. While enjoyable, some of the songs could have used some backing firepower behind them.

Last, but certainly not least, the man of the hour...Ben Lee himself. I saw Ben a month or so ago in Northampton, but this show was a vastly different set of songs. Sure there were some tunes from his new album Awake Is the New Sleep, but there were also plenty of oldies and oddities ("Don't Leave" from Grandpaw Would, "Brick" by one of the other Bens (Folds that is), "Hard Drive" from the Into the Dark EP, etc...) mixed in as well. I also have to say that of all the many concerts I've been to over the years, Ben's are the most crowd participatory by far! sum it all up in a nice little easily consumable package...the show rocked and was worth the trip. Here are a couple more songs from those who entertained me for one evening of my life.

Rachael Cantu - I Know You Will (mp3) - Run All Night

Jake Brennan & the Confidence Men - Believe Me (mp3) - Love & Bombs

Ben Lee - Hard Drive (mp3) - Into the Dark EP

For those of you looking for part 2 of the Smashing Pumpkins's coming soon, I promise!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Why Not?

So last night I was talking to one of my friends about a Ben Lee show they are going to tonight at the Paradise in Boston and I said "what the heck...I'm gonna go, too!" Who cares that it is a school night? Who cares that I won't be home until 1 or 2 in the morning probably? Not me, that's for sure! (or at least not until tomorrow morning when I have to wake up for work)

Rachael Cantu and Jake Brennan are opening for Ben tonight, and sinced I hadn't heard of either of them, I downloaded some of their music last night off of eMusic. I've had a chance to listen to Rachael today and plan on listening to Jake on the way into Boston to prep myself for the show and pretend that I know some of their songs when they come on!

Rachael's album, Run All Night, is a fairly short 8 track EP. With the exception of the second track, "Saturday" (which is quiet catchy) and sixth, "My First War", the music tends to be dark and quiet, not the sort of album to be blaring while rolling in your 5.0 with the ragtop down. Not to say that is a bad thing! Rachael's husky voice sings some enchantingly moody and emotional lyrics. ("I Know You Will" comes to mind as a favorite)

Anyway, here are a couple tracks from tonight's entertainers:

Ben Lee - Catch My Disease (Demo) (mp3) - Catch My Disease Single

Rachael Cantu - Saturday (mp3) - Run All Night

Jake Brennan and the Confidence Men - You'll have to wait until tomorrow when I've actually had a chance to hear these guys and pick out a track.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Smashing Pumpkins...and it's not even Halloween

OK, so where have I been hiding? I freely admit that I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but how did I not find out until today that the Smashing Pumpkins were getting back together to record some new material for a new album???? According to the SP / Billy Corgan website,

"It's official, The Smashing Pumpkins are currently writing songs for their upcoming album, their first since 2000. No release date has yet been set, but the band plans to begin recording this summer."

I can still remember watching James playing his guitar with a Laser Tag gun (AMAZINGLY, these things are still around...although they look quite a bit fancier than the ones I remember. Check out LASERTRON's website on becoming a "Professional Laser Tag Operator"!!!) on the live version of Silverf**k on the Vieuphoria video a la the Siamese Dream years.

I have to admit that the Pumpkins lost me with the over-the-top Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness double album, but no one rocked harder than they did in the Gish / Siamese years with Billy's trademark screeching wail of a voice. Anywho, here is the first half of a live show from the good ol' days: (look for the second half in a day or two...or whenever I have enough spare time to upload 7 more songs!)

Smashing Pumpkins (part 1)
Live in Den Haag, Holland
January 19,1992

1. Suffer
2. Rocket
3. Bury Me
4. Snail
5. Tristessa
6. Window Paine
7. Siva

Buy Smashing Pumpkins stuff here!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The birthday girl

This post is dedicated to my daughter Meghan, who turned two today! It's amazing how fast the time goes by, isn't it? It seems like just yesterday that I was bringing her home from the hospital and driving 5 mph BELOW the speed limit the whole way.

I guess it's the same with music. I can remember copying my dad's Doors' albums onto cassette...or buying the Beastie Boys' "Licensed to Ill" on cassette when it first came out...or joining the Columbia House Music club and getting my first 12 CD's for the price of one! Now it's all about mp3's and iPods. What's next, do you think?

The Beatles - Birthday (mp3) - The Beatles (White Album)

Ben Lee - Birthday Song (mp3) - Breathing Tornados

Cibo Matto - Birthday Cake (mp3) - Tibetan Freedom Concert

Oh yea, and since today is also Earth day, here's another one for the third planet from the sun...may you have many more Earth Days before we totally use up all of your resources.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Mother Earth (Natural Anthem) (mp3) - Ragged Glory

Happy birthday sweetie...dada loves you lots.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Josh Ritter - Coming to a town near you

OK, so I just bought my tickets to see Josh in a couple of weeks and decided to write a post to let all of you know. There have been mucho posts lately about Josh on other blogs, including the following to some wonderful live recordings with great audio quality:

DoCopenhagen - live show from Galway and rbally - live show from Berlin

If you don't have the new album, The Animal Years, you can stream it off of Josh's website if you need to be convinced that it is an album that you should go out and buy. (it is, and you should)

I must admit that I am a late convert to the church of Josh. Sure there are oodles of singer/songwriters out there, but not so many of them do such a fine job of creating songs that not only are gentle on the ears, but also have lyrics of some depth that you can actually hear, understand, make sense of, and sometimes connect to. That being said, check out some of my personal favorites:

Girl In the War (mp3) - live on KRCW (album version on The Animal Years)

Kathleen (mp3) - 4 Songs Live (originally came as a bonus disk with Hello Starling)
"All the other girls here are stars—you are the Northern Lights
they try to shine in through your curtains—you’re too close and too bright
they try and they try but everything that they do
is the ghost of a trace of a pale imitation of you"
I absolutely love this description of love and how incredibly powerful it can be.

Paths Will Cross (mp3) - Josh Ritter

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More monkey business

So tonight is the big debut of the missing 4th episode of "Love Monkey." Hopefully all of you are going to watch it, or have watched it, depending on when you read this post. Aimee Mann is supposed to be tonight's musical guest, so to get you excited to see her, I give you the following tracks from other screen appearances she has made (albeit only auditorily) :

Aimee Mann - Save Me (mp3) - Magnolia Soundtrack

Aimee Mann and Michael Penn - Two Of Us (mp3) - I Am Sam Soundtrack

On an unrelated note, I was talking to some friends earlier today about our first concerts. I had to admit that the first concert I went to was Motley Crue and Tesla on the Dr. Feelgood tour. Needless to say, that was quite a while ago and I have atoned for my sin by attending numerous concerts since then. Not to say that Crue doesn't rock...or at least they used to. Take a trip down memory lane with me when all it took to be a star was big hair...

Motley Crue - Shout At the Devil (mp3) - Shout At the Devil

Monday, April 17, 2006

A shameless plug - Love Monkey

I know what you're thinking. This is only my second post and I already think I hold enough clout to affect the viewing habits of people around the world. Pretty egotistical, eh?

But seriously, if you didn't give "Love Monkey" a chance when it played over on (lame) CBS a few months ago (and even if you did and you liked it), please, please, PLEASE watch the never before seen 4th episode playing tomorrow night on VH1. I have to admit that when "Ed" went off the air a few years back my heart broke like it hadn't since I lost my 5th grade crush. And although "Love Monkey" hadn't hooked me as much as the story of a bowling alley lawyer did, Tom Cavanagh's new gig as record exec Tom was growing on me.

But regardless of my intense desire for prime-time TV fullfillment, "Love Monkey" does spin some pretty good tunes...including youngin' Teddy Geieger, who was a finalist on VH1's "In Search of the Partridge Family." (although I don't hold that against him) Teddy just released his first album, from which come these tracks:

Teddy Geiger - For You I Will (Confidence) (mp3) - Underage Thinking

Teddy Geiger - Love Is A Marathon (mp3) -
Underage Thinking

Unrelated to "Love Monkey," here's another track from a young song writer / guitar playing child prodigy early in his career.

Ben Lee - A Month Today (mp3) - Something to Remember Me By

(Curious George yesterday...Love Monkey today...I hope this isn't an omen of what direction this blog is going to take)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

El Posto Numero Uno

Ok, so right off the bat I'll tell you that I have no indie cred, no contacts with any record labels (major or otherwise), no inside links that leak anything to me, no friends who run the soundboard at local concerts, and not nearly enough time to peruse albums from obscure bands with the hope of being the first to post them. My wit is about as sharp as a banana (already peeled) and I have more skill drawing ligers then writing HTML.

With that said, what I do have is a love of music that runs a pretty wide gamut. Admittedly, most of the music is fairly mainstream (by music blog standards), but that doesn't mean I don't like sharing it with others.

Jack Johnson - The Sharing Song (mp3) - Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies For the Film Curious George

I'm going to hazard a guess that there is a distinct possibility that not a single person in the entire world (or galaxy for that matter) is going to read this, but heh...that's fine with me. To help commemorate my first post, where I feel like I've been touched for the very first time, I give you the following:

Teenage Fanclub - Like A Virgin (mp3) -The King

Mr. Brown - Madonna Speech (mp3) -Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack