October 15, 2016

Here’s our continued look at “What We’re Listening To”……….

neilNeil Cowley Trio: “Spacebound Apes”. One of the best jazz albums of the year and the kind of album that should appeal to anyone who simply loves music. They venture in to “rock” territory (Cowley has worked with Adele, Zero 7 and Brand New Heavies) just as The Bad Plus has done, though their music is a bit “richer” in content. The closest I can come to a comparison is e.s.t. (if you haven’t heard their albums you are missing out). A record you need to hear. Cowley and company are visual artists as well. (click here).

untitledLuke Winslow-King: “I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always”. I am a recent addition to Luke’s fan club. He isn’t an artist that you can easily pigeonhole. See our notes on the free sampler at NoiseTrade (Oct.2 edition) and give it a listen. The album is even better (click here). We also recommend his 2012 album “The Coming Tide”; here’s a video (click here).

slothrustSlothrust: “Everyone Else”. An impressive album and a band I have to admit I was totally unfamiliar with (this is their third album). It is extremely difficult in many cases to get a real sense of bands today. It’s too easy to correct recording mistakes; too easy to hide the flaws. And that can make it hard to connect on any level, so it’s no wonder that fans move on. Slothrust grabs your attention with music that is engaging and fun to listen to; the kind of music that makes you wish you could see the band “live”. Here’s a sample; (click here)

teethTeeth & Tongue: “Give Up On Your Health”. The New Zealand by way of Melbourne artist/band serves up a batch of songs that some might categorize as 70s electronica, with hints of the B52s. Rolling Stone listed them in their “10 New Artists You Need To Know”. (click here)

lisaLisa Hannigan: “At Swim”. MetaCritic gave this an 80 so you know the critics liked it. What I found impressive (besides the album itself) were the 17 reviews from individuals at Amazon who bought the album (this is Lisa’s third long-player). There wasn’t one review that was less than 5 stars: “impressive”, “unique”, her gorgeous voice”, “haunting”, “rich” and the lists goes on. (click here)


Flock Of Dimes: “If You See Me, Say Yes”. One of the more interesting full-length debuts of the year. Jenn Wasner is half of Baltimore’s Wye Oak, but if you’re expecting something comparable be prepared. Flock of Dimes is a side project that has released the occasional single or two over the past four years. It’s indie-pop loaded with remarkable melodies and more hooks than a tackle box. Here’s a streaming video. (click here)

And Finally………………….


Junior Parker: “Tomorrow Never Knows” from “Love Ain’t Nothin’ But A Business Goin’ On”. I came across this free download at Aquarium Drunkard. It’s from the late bluesman’s 1971 album and featured 3 more Beatles’ covers. Download it here.

We’re on vacation for the next three weeks……..

“The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.” Roy Ayers




October 2, 2016

givemeyourmoneyHere is what’s in store for October including some new Christmas albums….

October 7:
Glen Phillips: “Wallowed By The New”
Green Day: “Revolution Radio”
Hiss Golden Messenger: “Heart Like A Levee”
Kate Tempest: “Let Them Eat Chaos”
Loretta Lynn: “White Christmas Blue”
Meshuggah: “The Violent Sleep Of Reason”
NOFX: “First Ditch Effort”
Norah Jones: “Day Breaks”
One Republic: “Oh My My”
Phish: “Big Boat”
Pitbull: “Climate Change”
Sum 41: “13 Voices”

October 14:
Benoit Pioulard: “The Benoit Pioulard Listening Matter”
Conor Orbest: “Ruminations”
Frankie Valli: “Tis The Season”
Gucci Mane: “Woptober”
Jamie Lidell: “Building A Beginning”
Kings Of Leon: “Walls”
Mike Mills: “Concerto For Violin, Rock Band And String Orchestra” (ex-REM)
Mono: “Requiem For Hell”
The Dillinger Escape Plan: “Dissociation”
The Mavericks: “All Night Live Volume 1”
The Orb: “COW/Chill Out, World!”
Two Door Cinema: “Gameshow”

October 21:
Beck: no title at this time
Crocodiles: “Dreamless”
David Crosby: “Lighthouse”
Jimmy Eat World: “Integrity Blues”
Korn: “The Serenity Of Suffering”
Lady Gaga: “Joanne”
Leonard Cohen: “You Want It Darker”
Sarah McLachlan: “Wonderland”
Syd Arthur: “Apricity”
The Pretenders: “Alone”
Various Artists: “Lazarus: Original Cast Recording” (contains 3 unreleased David Bowie songs)

October 28:
Crowbar: “The Serpent Only Lies”
Helmet: “Dead To The World”
Kenny Chesney: “Cosmic Hallelujah”
Neil Diamond: “Acoustic Christmas”
She & Him: “Christmas Party”
The Pop Group: “Honeymoon On Mars”

Coming In November:
Bon Jovi: “This House Is Not For Sale”
Common: “Black America Again”
CRX: “New Skin” (the Strokes’ Nick Valensi)
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions: “Until The Hunter”
Jim James: “Eternally Even”
Lambchop: “FLOTUS” (not that one)
Ryan Adams: To Be Announced
The Darcys: “Centerfold”
Enigma: “The Fall Of A Rebel Angel”
Luke Temple: “A Hand Through The Cellar Door”
Martha Wainwright: “Goodnight City”
Simian Mobile Disco: “Welcome To Sideways”
Sleigh Bells: “Jessica Rabbit”
Sting: “57th & 9th”
The Rolling Stones: “Havana Moon” (live album)
Bruno Mars: “24K Magic”
Metallica: “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”
Miranda Lambert: “The Weight of These Wings”
Thee Oh Sees: “An Odd Entrance”
The Whores: “Gold”

chair_76412What We’re Reading…….

From The Austin Chronicle: Austin Author Ed Ward Revisits Rock’s First Guitar Hero……a commentary on the author’s newly revised and expanded biography “Michael Bloomfield: The Rise & Fall of an American Guitar Hero”. (click here)

From The Guardian: From Dave Grohl to Ringo Starr: The Secrets Of Star Drummers…must reading for anyone who’s played, fantasized about playing or thought “I can do that”. (click here)

From Recode.net: It Took A Couple Of Decades But The Music Business Looks Like It’s Okay Again……not sure I totally agree but maybe/hopefully. (click here)

From POWERevolution: Why Are SO Many Millennials SO Uncool? From last year and sent by a friend who called it “satirical”…….hmmmmmm. (click here)

and finally from BBC News: Playlists ‘more popular than albums’….not exactly a revelation but interesting. (click here)

4944908_f496What We’re Listening To…………………

From NoiseTrade: Here are some wonderful “free” downloads that we heartily recommend. The first is the hard to find 1974 self-titled album by G.T. Moore and The Reggae Guitars (click here). They were more than just another “white-boy reggae band” as you can hear on their stellar 1975 live album “Reggae Blue” (if you can find it). They were doing reggae versions of Bob Dylan songs before Clapton. I am a big fan of Luke Winslow-King. The New Orleans-based slide guitarist/singer-songwriter plays everything from blues to jazz and country swing to rock ‘n’ roll. Every album is an adventure. His latest album “I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Always Last” is superb and you can sample it here. We also recommend new samplers by two of our favorites: Trampled By Turtles “Burn For Free” (click here) and Aoife O’Donovan “Selections From ‘Man In A Neon Coat: Live” (click here).

If you’re a jazz fan, here is a link to one of my favorite labels Motema Music, a “label that specializes in jazz and other creative music that spans genres, cultures and generations”. Download their 2016 sampler; it’s free (click here).

Now for the albums……….


De La Soul: “and the Anonymous Nobody”. As you have probably guessed, I am not a big rap fan. Having made that concession, if all rap albums were as good as this I’d have a really really large collection. Here’s a YouTube audio (click here).


Nashville Opera/ Dean Williamson: “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat”. You are probably wondering why I am leading this edition with music I am not particularly fond of? Rap is one of them; opera is another. Sorry. However I am a huge Michael Nyman fan. His music for The Piano soundtrack is one of my favorites. His chamber opera is adapted from the neurological study in the book by the same name by Oliver Sacks (just finished Sack’s autobiography “On The Move” and it is well worth the read). Here’s an audio clip (click here)

loamlandsLoamlands: “Sweet High Rise”. Kym Register has forged a reputation as a member of the folk-punk scene in Raleigh, N.C. and as a LGBTQ activist. But when she fell in love all over again with the music of Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and Kim Deal, Loamlands was born (with the assistance of her friend Will Hackney). The results are impressive to say the least (click here).


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: “Skeleton Tree”. Nick Cave’s 16th album just might be his best. It’s raw and emotional though some might be surprised to learn it was written prior to the untimely death of his son. It’s the kind of music that would be a welcome companion to a new season of “True Detective” and worked so well as the soundtrack to “Hell Or High Water”. It also has one of the highest scores of the year from MetaCritic (94). (click here)


Ian Hunter & The Rant Band: “Fingers Crossed”. I wonder if Ian Hunter has ever made a bad, even mediocre record? With 23 albums (not counting Mott The Hoople), you’d think he’d have slipped at least once. Not yet anyway. The album is worth the price for his tribute to David Bowie. Here’s “Dandy”. (click here). You also might want to hear his 2012 ode to a Presidential election (I wonder if Bernie Sanders used it). (click here)



September 1, 2016


September looks interesting (August didn’t turn out so bad after all). Here’s what’s on tap………

September 2:
Angel Olsen: “My Woman”
Eluvium: “False Readings On”
The Divine Comedy: “Foreverland”
The Fleshtones: “The Band Drinks For Free”
The Moles: “Tonight’s Music”
Zomby: “Ultra”

September 9:
Billy Ray Cyrus: “Thin Line”
Daniel Lanois: “Goodbye To Language”
Gavin DeGraw: “Something Worth Saving”
Jack White: “Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016”
Jason Aldean: “They Don’t Know”
Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau: “Nearness”
KT Tunstall: “KIN”
M.I.A.: “A.I.M.”
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds: “Skeleton Tree”
Okkervil River: “Away”
Snowblink: “Returning Current”
Tennage Fanclub: “Here”
The Head and The Heart: “Signs of Light”
The Minders: “Into The River”
Wilco: “Schmilco”

September 16:
Aaron Lewis: “sinner”
AlunaGeorge: “I Remember”
Chivalrous Amoekon: “Fanatic Voyage” (Will Oldham and Angel Olsen)
Cymbals Eat Guitars: “Pretty Years”
Elephant Stone: “Ship Of Fools”
Kool Keith: “Feature Magnetic”
Meatloaf: “Braver Than We Are”
Still Corners: “Dead Blue”
Taking Back Sunday: “Tidal Wave”
The Handsome Family: “Unseen”
Touche Amore: “Stage Four”
Trentemoller: “Fixion”

September 23:
Bruce Springsteen: “Chapter And Verse”
Devendra Banhart: “Ape In Pink Marble”
Dwight Yoakam: “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars..”
Idina Menzel: “Idina”
Kristin Chenoweth: “The Art Of Elegance”
Marillion: “F.E.A.R.” (their 18th album)
Neurosis: “Fires Within Fires”
Vangelis: “Rosetta”

September 30:
Banks: “Altar”
Bob Weir: “Blue Mountain”
Bon Iver: “22, A Million”
Craig David: “Following My Intuition”
Danny Brown: “Atrocity Exhibition”
Drive-By Truckers: “American Band”
Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch”
Phil Rudd: “Head Job” (ex-AC/DC drummer)
Pixies: “Head Carrier”
Regina Spektor: “Remember Us To Life”
The Wytches: “All Your Happy Life”
Van Morrison: “Keep Me Singing”
Yellowcard: “Yellowcard”

ramble onHere are links to some articles we’ve come across lately that the staff feels we should share:

“How The World Plugged Into The Electric Guitar”: a fascinating article from The Guardian (I didn’t realize it was developed back in the 40s by country music legend Merle Travis and instrument maker Paul Bigsby). Here’s the link.

“World’s Highest-Paid DJs: Electronic Cash Kings 2016”: If I had only known. This is from Forbes. Here’s the link.

“I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But I Miss My CDs: This from Wired with the following explanation, “these are not real real problems, especially not in 2016, aka Our Year Of Perpetual Suck”. Here’s the link.

We’ve also found a couple of wonderful mixtapes at Aquarium Drunkard you need to check out. “The Now Generation” (click here) features songs by The Seeds, Ten Years After, Captain Beefheart and Fat Mattress (Noel Redding from The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a member). The other mixtape is called “Vox Scapo” (click here) and features music by Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, Passport and Deodato. Good stuff.

And finally word that Lifetime is preparing a Britney Spears bio-pic for release sometime in 2017. To quote Hughie (Billy Connolly) from “Still Crazy”, “We wait with bated breath”.


27ea2a48db533ec284b362709bf49e8aWhat We’re Listening To:

untitledAaron Neville: “Apache”. At 75 Aaron still “sings like an angel who’s swallowed a wah-wah pedal” (according to NPR). And “Apache” is the best thing he has done in years. He wrote most of the music and leaned heavily on the gospel-infused funk that has come to define The Neville Brothers. A great album. Here is a YouTube video of “Stompin’ Ground” live (click here).

untitledMaya Beiser: “TranceClassical”. Maya is a master of the avant-garde cello though the title of the album is a bit misleading…..Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No.3 in D Major” doesn’t exactly fit the profile. Nevertheless this is an album for people who appreciate a sense of adventure; her use of electronics is inspired. By the way the scratches you hear on the Bach cut are intentional; just the way she heard it as a child. Here is a link to a YouTube video. click here.

untitledJD Souther: “Black Rose”. I am a huge fan and still wondering WHY this uniquely talented singer-songwriter isn’t as popular as he should be. “Black Rose” was supposed to be the album that would make him a household name. The critics loved it, everyone (and I mean everyone) at the label was 110% behind it, and every promotion man/woman worked the record harder then I had ever seen before. It didn’t happen. The album was full of hits and even after 40 years, it still sounds as fantastic as the first time I played it. Here is Bob Lefsetz’s take on the album: click here.

imagesHaley Bonar: “Impossible Dream”. I can be excused for being a Haley fan, after all she was raised In Rapid City, South Dakota. Fortunately she has also become a fascinating artist to follow as she has migrated from indie-folk heroine to indie-rock stalwart. The power-pop, dream pop and hints of alt-country and punk that populates “Impossible Dream” make for a exceptional album. Here is a YouTube video for “Kismet Kill” (click here)

untitled“Calentura: Global Bassment”: Found this on NPR’s list of the “30 Favorite Albums Of 2016 (so far)”. These are remixes of classic 70s salsa from the Fania Records catalog and like the Verve Remixed series, it’s totally fun. It’s the ultimate dance-floor experience and one I highly recommend. Here is a link to a YouTube streaming video (click here).

images1t3lh61tSnoh Aalegra: “Don’t Explain” (A Mini Album). Snoh is a Swedish neo-soul singer-songwriter of Persian descent who has drawn comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Ray. I think she’s better; a lot better. She describes her music as “cinematic soul”…..not sure what that means but okay. Here is a link to a YouTube video (click here)

untitledCarrie Rodriguez: “Lola”. Carrie is the kind of artist that generates a lot of press; she’s been called “the hardest-working woman in American roots music”. We got to see her perform at the Austin Music Awards this year, so we were looking forward to the new album. It doesn’t disappoint. Even after 8 solo albums and another 5 with Chip Taylor, this is her best yet. A bicultural extravaganza of what one reviewer called “Texas fusion music”. Here is a YouTube video (click here).

And Finally: Some great new music from the NoiseTrade web site. First up is Luke Brindley’s latest “Invitation To Joy”. Too often acoustic guitar albums are more flash than substance; not so here (click here). Next up is Charlie Faye & The Fayettes :”A Modern-Day 60s Girl Group on the Rise”……talk about truth in advertising (click here). And finally the latest from Lauren Mann, “Dearestly”. Another singer-songwriter who begs the question, “why isn’t she/he famous?” (click here). A reminder: you can listen to the albums at the site and pay what you want.


“The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.” Roy Ayers


August 10, 2016

gymnasticsI’m sure anyone who has watched the incredible gold medal performance of the US gymnastics team has asked the same musical question as yours truly. This morning I came across the following article. It should answer a lot of questions and perhaps provoke a few new ones………..click here.


buffalo-chip-2016I am sure you have heard about the accident at the Chip a few nights ago when a bike went off the stage and into the crowd. I wasn’t there but as with Steven Tyler’s fall a few years ago, I’m sure tens of thousands of people were within 50 feet of the accident. Luckily no one was seriously hurt….here is a YouTube video. click here.




August 3, 2016

ramble onAs we enter the first days of the Sturgis Rally (76th) and the ensuing insanity we are also preparing for some interesting musical events. We’ll have Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Miranda Lambert, Elle King, Ted Nugent (ugh), Foghat, Kid Rock, Sturgis’ official band Lynyrd Skynyrd and lots lots more. It isn’t SXSW, Lollapalooza, or The Pitchfork Music Festival but we’ll take what we can get…

If James Taylor and His All-Star Band are ANYWHERE near you, go! I hadn’t seen James since my days In Chicago and that was nearly 40 years ago. It was an absolutely incredible evening. The All Star Band was no exaggeration: Steve Gadd, “Blue” Lou Marini, Michael Landau, Luis Conte, and more. And James was wonderful; I believe Kathy (my wife) said it best……”he was gracious”. In the extreme. The crowd loved every minute.

I don’t usually reference other web sites, but Fluxblog (one of the oldest and best music sites) has been compiling the best songs of the 80s by year for download. If you are interested (and you should be) here is a link. click here.

One of the benefits of attending SXSW is being on their email list. They compile loads of interesting articles from publications and sites around the world. Here is one from The Guardian that asks the question: “Where have country music’s women gone?” click here.

I have a bunch of new albums to listen to and lots of down-time (because of the Rally) this week to do it. All come highly recommended: Haley Bonar, Carrie Rodriguez, Owen, Maya Beiser, Pylon Live, Mitski (had this for awhile), and lots more. Stay tuned.