Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame Inductees: Week of Blogs

The 2014 Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held recently. As with each passing induction, more and more of the singers and bands I listened to are being inducted. This year proved to be a stellar and wide ranging array of artists. I am going to try and blog on each of them throughout the coming week. The list was as follows:

Cat Stevens
Hall & Oates
Nirvana
KISS
Linda Ronstadt
Peter Gabriel
The E Street Band
Andre Long Oldham (mgr of the Rolling Stones)
Brian Epstein (mgr of the Beatles)

Many hours of music enjoyment comes from this list of inductees.
     I can’t say I’m a huge Cat Stevens fan and his “Wild World” is not a favorite of mine but his career is extensive and influential to many song writers.
     Hall & Oates dominated the pop charts throughout my junior and high school days.
    Nirvana ruled the scene when I began college in 1991. Their influence is undeniable and I still love their music to this day. They changed the music landscape at the time as did Pearl Jam at the time. Hair metal took a dive from the pop scene and anything grunge was in. Although don’t worry, hair metal will never die but that will be for later blogs.
    Speaking of hair metal and the band that many hair bands looked up to is KISS. I was afraid of Gene Simmons as a small child but by the 80’s the make up was off and “Heavens On Fire” was a major hit during junior high. But with age comes a nostalgic look at the band as they started out. Make-up, pyrotechnics from Hell and guitar riffs that will live on forever. You can be critical of them but they do have a place in the Hall of Fame.
     Linda Ronstadt will be that sexy dark haired woman of the late 70’s and early 80’s. I loathed her Disney and adult pop crap of the late 80’s and 90’s.
     Peter Gabriel was the original frontman of Genesis before Phil Collins took over and made them radio darlings of the 80’s. Luckily, we have Peter’s solo career and the amazing album “Us”. And of course his unforgettable hit “In Your Eyes”.
     Lastly, The E Street Band. I love their music. The box set that came out while I was in high school gave me hours of pleasure and dreaming of getting out of my small hometown. Incredible music and Bruce Springsteen fronting them, it was powerful American Rock n’ Roll.
     I will be taking sometime throughout the week to devote specific blogs on Hall and Oates, Nirvana, KISS, Linda, Peter and The E Street Band.
     Rock on and as KISS says, “Lick It Up”!

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I’ve Heard That Song a Million Times!

Now that I’ve come up with a new slant for my music blog, I had the thought that I will be commenting on songs I’ve heard a million times. How do I uncover new meaning in those songs? Have I taken them for granted perhaps?
     It’s like that question you’ve been asked, ‘If you were stranded on an island forever what music/ CD’S/ albums/only one iPod/New music player on the market that could never be updated ever again, what songs would you want with you forever?’ Not that I’m going to attempt any such list here (although maybe some of you could give me a top 10 to see what that yields), but it is a thought, if I never heard a new song ever again and only had one device that played music never to be updated ever again, what would I choose? Of course it’s easy to think of the songs and artists you could do without (send me those lists too!)!
     Back to my original thought: finding meaning in songs you’ve heard a million times. For example: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. Unless you truly live in a hole where no music gets through or you literally only listen to anything other than pop rock and you know absolutely nothing about the show “Glee”, I think we can all say we have heard that song a million times.
     First, I like the song. It pretty much captures pop rock in it’s purest form. Girls like it, guys like it, it doesn’t irritate senior citizens too much and the song will never die. It is used in sporting events (living in San Francisco, the Giants use this as an anthem all season long), it is sung in karaoke bars across the world, it has made the writers of the song: Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon very, very wealthy, assuming they haven’t sold the rights.
     Currently I am a bartender at two gay bars in San Francisco, 440 Castro and Trax. My theory is that if a fight broke out or everyone’s mood was sour, I could put this song on and instantly moods are lifted and fighting ends. In straight bars I imagine girls wooing and guys singing like Steve Perry. It will liven any party up, guaranteed!
     Now with every huge selling, beloved song are people who would rather stick glass in their ears than to hear that song again. Would ‘Don’t Stop Believin” be on the island with you or not?
    Below is the YouTube link to the song as well as the Wikipedia entry on the history of that song! Send me some lists and sometime I will blog my list!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PBEXSiFzOfU

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_Stop_Believin’#

Reviving my Blog (again)

I have decided to revive my blog that I started about 3 years ago. The topic will remain about music but not necessarily reviewing music.
     I was thinking of music and how it relates to my memories of people and places. Break that down and music will make me remember a specific time frame in my life. It does that in two ways: 1) When the music was originally released but 2) if the music was released before I was born, now it is music that isn’t tied to its original date of creation/release but it is now attached to a different place in time in my memory. For instance, Janis Joplin’s music was made and released in the 60’s but for me, it will always be tied to the years 1991 and 1992 because my first college roommate, Pat Bynane, owned that CD and it was played constantly. Thus, music will always transcend it’s creation date and be a part our lives on any given date and time.
     My main purpose for reviving this blog about music is to perhaps get in touch with people through music we shared together. Or let them know that when I hear this song or that song, I think of you instantly and that might be something they never realized. I will also be adding my thoughts and feelings about the artist as well and may be the commentary of what was going on in the world socially and economically and how music shapes those areas of life as well.
     Please feel free to give me feedback and even share stories of music and how it works in your life and relationships. As Shannon sings “Let the Music Play”!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpUbIjZBODE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-0sUuGufmw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Begin Anew

It’s been a little while since I posted but tonight I’m determined to post something.  I get into “funks” every now and again so my creative outlets loose steam at times (ie: photography and blogging about music) BUT, I then have to look to music and photography as inspiration and begin anew.  Thus the theme on this post, “Begin Anew”.

And what delighted music do my ears hear upon going over to one of my favorite websites: www.hypem.com but a wonderful song called “Eyes Wide Open” by Gotye.   From Wikipedia findings, seems he has had 2 hits down under, “Eyes Wide Open” and a song called “Leanalilgivinanlovin” which is another bright musical gem. I would say from these 2 songs that Gotye is infectious and fun!

Here are the 2 songs via YouTube:

The video for “Eyes Wide Open” is pretty amazing!

And the video for “Leanalilgivinanlovin” is fun and animated too!

I would say this music has fit the past week’s weather in SF and gives hope to my friends and family in the Midwest and East coast that the sun will shine again!

And I also want to plug my friend Richard aka “Disco Pup” has he has added some great music which he dubs “Nu Disco“! Here is the link to his podcast, the current one titled “Aumentare”.  I am also posting the release statement he sent me via Facebook describing the songs he has included in the podcast. Enjoy!!

Podcast Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/discopup-presents-danceteria/id386464658

Danceteria by Disco Pup:

As previously noted, I had intended to do an unabashedly disco mix featuring reboots of some classics, plus explore a genre that is being called Nu Disco.  Then Sharam released “Fun”, and I knew I had to do something else.  So, this became the 20th episode in the Burning Man Trilogy.

Take Me Over (Mylo Remix) – Cut Copy

Thanks to the boys at DOPE and Ben Holder for alerting me to new music from Cut Copy.  This is the first single off the new album, Mylo giving the track an electro spin.

Complete – Code Talkers

Niko Its  A Bad Dream (Sean Palm and Matt Xavier Gravity Pimps Remix) – One Of Them

These two are arguably examples of minimal, a genre I’ve rarely featured. It’s almost chill-out, but good beats and bass keep them from nodding off. After the mix was done, I actually had to go back and write down the times of the transition, as I couldn’t tell.

Come Home (Sasha Remix) – Yousef

This opens the new Global Underground mix from Dave Seaman.

Dog Tag (Sébastien Léger Rmx) – Format:B

One of two tracks brought to my attention by dj spaceotter, who wrote “I love the slinky bassline, the stereo panning effects, and the great build.”

Brainstorm – Re-Zone

From a George Acosta compilation, this hints at the progressive and trancey beats to come.

Fun (Funhouse Mix) –  Sharam featuring Anousheh Khalili

And here, 35 minutes in, we have the reason this set exists.  It starts out wonderfully typically Sharam, great drum loop, deep bass, perky synths… then it stops, cold.  And when I first heard it, I thought there was a glitch in the file itself.  Then Anousheh begins to sing, and the song rebuilds itself around her.  And sets you up for the rest of the set.

Thrive (EDX’s Fe5tival Mix) – EDX

The other track dj spaceotter alerted me to: “This is the kind of epic progressive/trance that reminds me of earlier, more optimistic times in electronic music–the ennobling, joyous nature of progressive & trance in the late 90s. Nice synth triplet chord progression over a sustained choral note.”

Die For Love (Original Vocal Mix) – Klingenberg and Dave Darell

The mix is called “Original Vocal”, but something tells me there’s a version with actual verses somewhere.

Belfunk (Original Mix) – Sasha

I’m going to pick up pretty much anything Sasha puts out. He is easily one of the most original dance music producers out there, stretching genres and challenging listeners.

The Far Side (Original Mix) – Soundprank

Beautiful – George Acosta featuring Fisher

A couple of fun proggy/trancey tracks that continue to ramp up the energy.

9 PM – (Dj J3H 2011 Remix) – ATB

A nice little reboot of the classic ATB track.  Reminds me of sweating my ass off at the Factory.

Ready (Maarten De Jong Dub Mix) – Giuseppe Ottaviani, Walsh and McAuley featuring Emma Lock

Ottaviani is a protege of Paul van Dyk and this Dub Mix featured more vocals than any of the other dubs.  I found the full on vocal to be a bit much, but it may appear on the next Alternative.

Hand (Next DJ mashup of JvD mix) – Jorn van Deynhoven and Temple One vs El

From the mix name to the list of artists, I have to believe that this is a combo of two or more tracks.  If anyone knows what the originals are, let me know.

Be.Angeled (Paul Van Dyk Club Mix) – Jam and Spoon featuring Rea

From 2001!  I know!  Be.Angeled is a German film that follows a group of young people as they attend Berlin’s Love Festival.  The vocalist Rea would go on to sing for Paul van Dyk on his “Reflections” album.

Many thanks to DJs Pete Savas, Matt Consola and spaceotter. And thanks to Randy Moore who continues to push and promote.

v.3.46
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/discopup-presents-danceteria/id386464658
The first Danceteria of 2011 features an exploration of progressive, tech house and minimal tracks. But true to the cover art, the set takes a sharp turn about 35 minutes in with a brand new track by Sharam. After that, it’s nearly non-stop switch-backs and rabbit hops until the very trancey last 20 minutes.

Musical Interludes for the Weekend

As usual on a late Friday night, I start to browse through the web for new and old tunes to add to playlists for the 2 bars I work at.  One bar where I work, Trax (Haight St, SF, CA) is what you might expect from a dive bar on Haight (yes, that Haight St, yes those hippies back in the 60’s) is a very laid back dive.  The regulars are musically savvy ranging from jazz to current music and everything in-between.

The bar I work in
Trax: Where Destinies Collide

I love playing a song and seeing that misty look in their eyes as memories drift back to them.  Playing a tune they haven’t heard of in a long time or thought of for that matter.  I love playing for all ages, it’s a challenge that I look forward to fulfilling weekly.  I try to stay within certain parameters for a bar crowd: ie: nothing too depressing, nothing really slow and something that makes people generally happy and in a good mood.  Sometimes I strike out, but I think every DJ/bartender who brings their IPODS strike out at some point or another.  Music is a journey and sometimes, you step in shit just like in real life!!

So some music I stumbled on for this weekend:

Peter Bjorn and John“Second Chance”: They were the guys behind the mega hipster hit “Young Folks” in 2007.  That nice little whistling tune you would have stuck in your head for days on end.  Well now they are back with something a little more grittier and a departure from the whistling.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the tune “Young Folks” but this track kicks some serious ass for 3 guys that are listed in Rhapsody under the category “Dream Pop” (how the hell they come up with these genres are beyond me..?) And it seems they replaced the whistling with a cow bell! Gotta love the cow bell!  Check it out:

Now I’m a sucker for a rap song that loops a song in a decent manner.  I admit, I’m picky about my rap.  I can’t do gang bangin’ rap, I’m a 38 year old white gay male…I just don’t get the gang bangin’ rap.  Now if that is what you like: cool. To each his own.  I mostly favor women rappers vs male rappers ie: Missy Elliot, Lil’ Kim, etc. But I found this nice little rap jam via Gorilla Warfare Tactic with a tune called “Temptations” which I’m thinking is a double meaning: one being they sample a Temptations song (“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”) and from what I can gather lyrically, maybe temptation is a theme as well..? Anyway, I think it’s a cool song so take a listen:

Another element in a song that will probably catch my attention is when a song starts out one way, then changes into something else in the middle and then go back to its beginning.  A good example is from way back in the day (well at least for me anyway) is Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”, its 3 songs in one! Starts out slow, then gets mid tempo on your ass and then goes into full kick ass mode by 2:54!

So the song that I’m currently referring to with this element is Memory Tapes “Today Is Our Life”: it starts out slow and moody then it bursts into bright pop sweetness! Then by the end of the song you just have quiet synthesizer playing to fade. Below I have posted Billy Joel’s way of using the element of a song within a song and Memory Tapes after that:

Billy Joel – Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

Memory Tapes – Today Is Our Life

So that concludes another post here in Xanadu! Have a great weekend everyone!

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Who Cares that I Don’t Know What They Are Saying?!?

Found this clip on one of my favorite music blogs: Dipped in Dollars (http://dippedindollars.com/)!  Sometimes a song is just fun, infectious and in this case, just a little crazy!! So in those cases, you can forgo meaning and depth!

Let’s just say there are 10 Asian kids in wonderful choreography, brightly colored clothes and as the blogger “Danger” said “pretty sure one of the dudes is wearing a sweater dress” how can you not like this video and dance around your office or where ever you are!

Also, what I like about this is that you finally have tweens not being overtly sexual or in scantily clad clothing just to get attention! Not that I’m a prude but sometimes I feel kids under 15 just shouldn’t be modeling themselves after hookers. Ok, maybe I’m a little bit of a prude in my old age lol.

Anyway, have fun with “(Bbiribbom Bberibbom) (Dance Ver.)” by Coed School!

 

Album Review: Cold War Kids: Mine Is Yours

Cold War Kids
Image via Wikipedia

Today the Cold War Kids have a new album out, Mine Is Yours, that I’m very excited about. A band that I thought was becoming a one hit wonder with their song from 2006 “Hang Me Out To Dry”, are no longer in that category and I couldn’t be happier for them.

A few months ago I got to hear a song off this new album called “Royal Blue” and that is when I knew this band was no longer a one hit wonder on my charts! Nathan Willet, the lead singer, has this amazing voice which has a high range but yet can also have a dark side to it not heard on many guys with high vocal ranges. That was the hook to “Hang Me Out to Dry”, it was raw vocally and with that great bass line, the darkness was always present.

Before I wrote my review and heard the entire record, it seems the consensus is that they are going “soft” and being compared to Toad the Wet Sprocket??? Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some 90’s Toad, but I wouldn’t put them in the “Adult Contemporary Category” just yet!

This album is big on the sound scale. At times it seems as if it was recorded live in a bar. Nathan’s vocals soar throughout the album. The band is cohesive and there was a vision in this album and they met it and surpassed it! I would love to turn off the vocals for a few tracks (not because they are bad or annoying) but so I can hear every detail that is going on in the background.  There is no wasted space musically on this album.  They accomplish mixing genres a bit too (punk, pop, alternative, soul; heck there is still a “garage band”/lo fi effect on the track “Cold Toes on the Cold Floor”).  There is still the “alternative” Cold War Kids (like on “Sensitive Kid”, “Bulldozer”) but there is a nice soul/pop sound too but doesn’t seem contrived or “planned”. In other words, the Cold War Kids are growing up but they are not becoming boring.  They can still be minimalists as well as full on in your face musically.  Every track grabs you and never lets you down.

Below are some of the tracks from this album! Enjoy and buy it now!

(Excuse the friggin’ advertisement before the song on this first video from YouTube..sorry..but its a great live performance!!)

Louder Than Ever -Live

Royal Blue – Album Version

Skip the Charades – Live

Digging for Gems: From Classic Rock to New Rock

I work at two gay bars here in San Francisco and I’m in charge of music on my shifts. It is one reason I started a music blog because I was spending so much time researching new and old songs (cause I get tired of listening to the same stuff over and over) that I figured I might as well blog about songs I discover.

Last night I Goggled “rare classic rock songs” and found some gems I had never heard of so now I’m sharing them with you!

Also, I found a band by the name of Cosmo Jarvis which is really just one person, Harrison Cosmo Krikoryan Jarvis, who was born in New Jersey but moved to Devon, UK according to Wikipedia. He has a song called “Gay Pirates” which is a sweet pop tune with a great message. I think if you heard it without knowing the title you might not even realize its about two gay pirates!

And lastly, posting the new song by Cold War Kids “Mine is Yours” from the album with the same title. The album drops on January 25th and I’m excited about it so will probably be reviewing it later this week! If you don’t remember who Cold War Kids are, I will post their first hit “Hang Me Out To Dry”.

Have a great weekend everyone and as my friend Dave and I say to each other when ending emails: LICK IT UP!!
**********************************************************************************************
First is a song called “Fast Bluesy Woman” from a band called Tucky Buzzard, 1972. Simply awesome!

Another classic rock gem by Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys called “Good Old Rock N’ Roll”

This is a down and dirty classic by Moxy called “Midnight Flight”, 1976.

Music in the now, “Gay Pirates” by Cosmo Jarvis! Great pop and great message!

Lastly, the new song by Cold Wark Kids, “Mine is Yours” then followed by their first hit “Hang Me Out to Dry”!

Pearl Jam: 20 years

 

Pearl Jam
Cover of Pearl Jam

 

Like my 20th  high school reunion approaching and catching me off guard, knowing that Pearl Jam with their amazing first album, Ten, debuting in 1991 caught me by surprise as well.  Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands of all time.  Unfortunately I have only seen them in concert once (wish I could say more) and when I did see them it was way after their initial success.  But don’t get me wrong, that show was amazing and it only reconfirmed why I will always love and respect this band.

When I think of Pearl Jam, some great memories rush into my head.  First they always make me think of one of my greatest friends from college, Bryan R.  When Pearl Jam’s 3rd album, Vitology, came out, we drove from Ashland, OH where we were attending college to Cleveland, OH to stand in line at midnight to be one of the first to get the CD.  And as I think about this, I think that is the one and only time I ever did that.  And when we got back to our dorm room, we played the crap out of that CD for weeks and weeks.

Pearl Jam are a hard working band; not prone to stereotypical excesses of other rock bands.  They just do their thing, work, tour, make music from their heart and minds and have always rebelled against corporate scum (ie: the Ticketmaster boycott in 1994).

Of course you can’t really talk about Pearl Jam without mentioning Nirvana.  Nirvana introduced the world to grunge and killed the declining popularity of hair metal back in the early 90’s.  But Nirvana and Pearl Jam are so different musically speaking.  Cobain had issue with Pearl Jam at the time because he said they were “commercial sellouts” and that the album Ten was not a true alternative album due to its number of guitar leads (cited from Wikipedia.org and Rolling Stone).  And Cobain is correct, their are the standard rock guitar leads on many Pearl Jam songs but that is what makes them great for they integrated the essence of “grunge” into rock n’ roll giving an expansiveness to their music where as I feel Nirvana’s music is so alienating at times (and I feel that is what Cobain was striving for most of the time) that you get caught up with the loss of Nirvana and what could have been.  Pearl Jam had many dark messages but there was always hope and a sense of moving forward no matter what life dealt you.  With Nirvana, it was just dark and not much hope.


(Photo by: Shandopics: http://shandopics.paradepro.com/)

Below are a few of my favorite Pearl Jam tracks!

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Tron vs. Tron (But Journey is the real winner!!)

I could give a crap about which Tron is better. I vaguely remember seeing the first one in the movie when I was in middle school (the video game version was kind of cool as I recall) and I haven’t bothered to see the new Tron: Legacy.  But I was going around on the net listening to music and came across an article called “Top 10 Journey Songs” on the following website:  http://music.ign.com/articles/712/712553p1.html

I didn’t quite agree with their list, there was a song that I was not familiar with and did not know they were on the original Tron soundtrack back in 1982!! The song is called “Only Solutions” and it a sweet Journey tune full of everything you expect from them!  It instantly makes me think of sweet summer nights in my small Ohio hometown.  Hanging out in parking lots and driving around aimlessly.

It begins with a sweet, low key guitar lick.  Not an in-your-face lick but a good, slick one that you know it’s the 80’s!  And then it’s Steve Perry with those distinct vocals of his that no one can match! (Well except for the dude they found to replace him but we will pretend he doesn’t exist!!)  Then there are the unforgettable harmonies of Journey…sweet nectar to the ears!

The new Tron: Legacy soundtrack is quite different than its ’82 predecessor.  No London Philharmonic Orchestra for this one!  We need something the kids will really dig these days..hey let’s get Daft Punk to do the entire friggin’ soundtrack (Yawn!)  I like some Daft Punk, but not an entire soundtrack by them.  All the geeks had a hard on for it these past few months but I can’t get into it.  I guess cause I just don’t care about the film at all I suppose.  I’m just glad I found a new Journey tune to groove to and to share with all of you!  So thank you original Tron soundtrack for giving me this Journey moment in music!

And I decided before the end of this post to give some of  Tron: Legacy soundtrack a listen…and I am pleasantly surprised to find that Daft Punk did a couple orchestral numbers minus synthesizers! Such as “Adagio For Tron” (which I think would make a great name for a band actually!) So I will be posting that below as well!  So for two movies I could care less about, they have given us great music..how about that?

And I just had a crazy idea: Daft Punk should have covered the Journey song!!! That would have been sweet! And I’m realizing how many times I used the word “sweet” in this post…oh well! Sweet!!

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