Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Donkeys - "Living On the Other Side" (2008)

The Donkeys second album has the band moving to the Dead Oceans label who's name is fitting as the band clearly has its sails unfurled in California waters. Hailing from San Diego, these beach town boys sound like they've spent many a lazy afternoon in an oceanside garage with their instruments, a couple bottles of Pacifico, and some Workingman's Dead era Grateful Dead boots. I first came to know them, not as The Donkeys, but as Geronimo Jackson, the bellbottomed fictional band on LOST sporadically mentioned throughout the series. When the 1970's came into play on the show, a song called Dharma Lady could be heard at points in the background. It turned out to be The Donkeys doing a reworked version of their song Excelsior Lady which closes out this album. I knew I had to check this band out and was glad to find The Donkeys are as groovy as Geronimo Jackson and clearly drank the Dharma brand Kool-Aid. -- Chris Baginski

1. Gone Gone Gone
2. Walk Through A Cloud
3. Dolphin Center
4. Pretty Thing
5. Traverse Wine
6. Bye Bye Baby
7. Downtown Jenny
8. Nice Train
9. Dreamin’
10. Boot On The Seat
11. Excelsior Lady

Dharma Lady

See The Donkeys on Tour

Friday, May 21, 2010

T. Rex - "Electric Warrior" (1971)

Marc Bolan's fever infused swagger on stage as leader of T. Rex helped bring to bear the glittery glam side of fellow Brit rockers David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Rock & Roll was already sexually charged, but Bolan's amped up style and flirtatious voice reshaped the rock archetype in a way that was heard decades later in the music of Prince and Beck. The crunchy guitar licks and lip curling grooves forged a sound that rippled well past their time, seeding the last decades raw rock resurgence in bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes, and The Vines. Be sure to grab the mirror ball and feather boas for this slinky dance bash. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Mambo Sun"
2. "Cosmic Dancer"
3. "Jeepster"
4. "Monolith"
5. "Lean Woman Blues"
6. "Get It On"
7. "Planet Queen"
8. "Girl"
9. "The Motivator"
10. "Life's a Gas"
11. "Rip Off"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Living Sisters - "Love To Live" (2010)

Now this is comfort music. The most delicate of songs that sway you in harmony's arms and playfully move and float you on a cloud of soul and lullabies. This angelic trio of pixies blend their voices in the tradition of the greatest 1940's radio booth groups and evoke the same firefly chasing, wrap around porch sitting nights where time moves slower and the days are filled with heavy eyelids and the softest of smiles. The combined talents of these three enchanted singers spin you a dreamy pillow and ease the hardest of troubles away with simple warmth and celestial delight. -- Chris Baginski

1. "How Are You Doing?"
2. "Ferris Wheel"
3. "Blue"
4. "Cradle"
5. "Good Ole Wagon"
6. "Hold Back"
7. "The Mountain Has Skies"
8. "Double Knots"
9. "(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am"
10. "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down"

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - "Follow The Lights" EP (2007)

I was a little miffed to hear Ryan Adams had injured his hand again right before the start of his Summer 2007 tour to promote Easy Tiger. While this time it was the result of a skateboarding accident and not falling off stage during a concert, I wondered what the shows would be like with Ryan unable to play guitar and only sing. With band and audience all seated and hushed, Ryan intently focused on his vocals creating pristine and sharp performances with emotion wrapped around each note. Coupled with his new found sobriety and ever maturing songwriting, Ryan and the Cardinals turned out one of my favorite tours they've done to date. He began playing guitar again mid way through the tour and when it ended they thankfully went into the studio to record this EP. The seven tracks capture the band during a peak in their cohesion and snapshots one of the many variations of Ryan's live performances. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Follow the Lights" (3:03)
2. "My Love for You Is Real" (4:52)
3. "Blue Hotel" (5:11)
4. "Down in a Hole" (4:37)
5. "This Is It" (3:32)
6. "If I Am a Stranger" (4:44)
7. "Dear John" (5:12)

Blue Sky Blues - BBC4 Sessions

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gillian Welch - "Revival" (1996)

The pastorale folk music that emerged from the rural prairies and wooded hills of America’s rustic yesteryear finds a new home to embody in the songs of Gillian Welch. Accompanied by her longtime musical partner David Rawlings, they create harmony that goes beyond voices and instruments and lets you see a soul that has been humbled by warmth and haunting honesty. Here on Revival, the T-Bone Burnett produced debut offering from Gillian, the pair are roving buskers on a road filled with rest stops and wrong turns that equally imbues their music with the bitters and the sweets. Each song walks a line where the slightest breathe could tip you towards damnation or eternal reprieve and every image is a blink away surrounding you with acorns and burning moonshine, old boxcars and fallen angels sitting in dusty rocking chairs waiting for salvation. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Orphan Girl" 3:56
2. "Annabelle" 4:02
3. "Pass You By" 3:56
4. "Barroom Girls" 4:12
5. "One More Dollar" 4:34
6. "By the Mark" 3:39
7. "Paper Wings" 3:56
8. "Tear My Stillhouse Down" 4:26 *
9. "Acony Bell" 3:05
10. "Only One and Only" 5:30

See Gillian & Dave on Tour
Elvis Presley Blues

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Buddy Tate & Claude Hopkins - "Buddy and Claude" (1999)

Former big band players gather here for two easygoing but still swinging sessions held in 1960. Anchored by saxophonist Buddy Tate and pianist Claude Hopkins, the seasoned group of musicians run though standards and gems pulled from various jazz forms of their time. Originally released as two separate albums on the Swingville label, the long out of print records were unearthed by Prestige and combined for this 1999 release. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Is It So?" (4:18)
2. "Yes, Indeed" (6:57)
3. "What's Your Story Morning Glory" (3:23)
4. "Willow Wee for Me" (7:17)
5. "Empty Bed Blues" (6:23)
6. "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" (5:30)
7. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" (4:24)
8. "Buddy's Tate-A-Tate" (4:09)
9. "Groun' Hog" (8:11)
10. "All Too Soon" (4:12)
11. "Snatchin' It Back" (5:34)
12. "# 20 Ladbroke Square" (6:15)
13. "Take the 'A' Train" (7:02)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Willie Nelson - "Willie and Family Live" (1978)

Willie once said, “The biggest killer on this planet is stress" which might explain why he only really does two things, play music and golf. Well that and smoke a lot of pot. This laid back credo has kept the American Icon sharp witted and out there recording and touring for nearly half a century. His career has spanned numerous record labels, even more music genres, he's played with everyone from Johnny Cash to Snoop Dogg and on top of being a musician he's also a author, poet, outlaw, actor and activist. Here in 1978 Willie finds himself in beautiful Lake Tahoe with his extended touring family band bringing rowdy Texas barroom fun to the larger concert setting. Stream some of the highlights below and get out there on the road and see him live yourself! -- Chris Baginski

Disc 1

1. "Whiskey River" 3:39
2. "Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)" 3:25
3. "Funny How Time Slips Away" 2:44
4. "Crazy" 1:48
5. "Night Life" 4:07
6. "If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time)" 1:31
7. "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys" 3:34
8. "I Can Get Off on You" 2:09
9. "If You Could Touch Her at All" 2:59
10. "Good Hearted Woman" 2:59
11. "Redheaded Stranger Melody"
12. "Under the Double Eagle"

Disc 2

1. "Till I Gain Control Again" 5:58
2. "Bloody Mary Morning" 3:33
3. "I'm a Memory" 1:49
4. "Mr. Record Man" 2:02
5. "Hello Walls" 1:29
6. "One Day at a Time" 2:01
7. "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" 2:09
8. "Amazing Grace" 5:13
9. "Take This Job and Shove It" 3:09
10. "Uncloudy Day" 3:41
11. "The Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" 1:28
12. "A Song for You" 2:42
13. "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms" 1:57
14. "Georgia on My Mind" 4:08
15. "I Gotta Get Drunk" 1:22

See Willie On Tour

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Elvis Presley - "From Elvis in Memphis" (1969)

I like many in my generation never really got Elvismania. Somewhere amidst the rhinestone jumpsuits and the impersonators and the sightings, everything to do with Elvis just seemed silly and dated. A distant obsession from another era that would never resonate on the younger population the way a band like The Beatles still do. His huge place in Rock & Roll history is undeniable though so I was glad to finally come across From Elvis In Memphis. After a decade of making bad movies with equally bad soundtracks, Elvis returned to his southern home and his southern roots. You won't hear the overplayed hits, or the cliches you've come to associate with him. Just a soulful Elvis getting back to Rhythm & Blues with a fantastic backing band and fantastic results. -- Chris Baginski

1. Wearin' That Loved On Look
2. Only The Strong Survive
3. I'll Hold You In My Heart
4. Long Black Limousine
5. It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'
6. I'm Movin' On
7. Power Of My Love
8. Gentle On My Mind
9. After Loving You
10. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
11. Any Day Now
12. In The Ghetto

bonus tracks

13. The Fair's Moving On
14. Suspicious Minds
15. You'll Think Of Me
16. Don't Cry Daddy
17. Kentucky Rain
18. Mama Liked The Roses

Saturday, February 13, 2010

John Prine - "The Missing Years" (1991)

John Prine has a way of calming you down. He pushes all else away for the simple stories he'd like to tell you. He's a guy you can't help but grin around. Never taking himself all too seriously, he always speaks his music with a son of a gun smile. And he gives all those qualities to you when you hear his songs. On the Grammy award winning The Missing Years, John does what he does best - sing unvarnished tales of life with a rolling ease that makes you feel like you're listening to him on his back porch with a couple cans of beer between you both. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Picture Show" (3:22)
2. "All the Best" (3:28)
3. "The Sins of Memphisto" (4:13)
4. "Everybody Wants to Feel Like You" (3:09)
5. "It's a Big Old Goofy World" (5:10)
6. "I Want to Be With You Always" (3:01)
7. "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" (2:41)
8. "Take a Look at My Heart" (3:38)
9. "Great Rain" (4:08)
10. "Way Back Then" (3:39)
11. "Unlonely" (4:35)
12. "You Got Gold" (4:38)
13. "Everything Is Cool" (2:46)
14. "Jesus the Missing Years" (5:55)

See John Prine on Tour

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nouvelle Vague - "Bande à Part" (2006)

French band Nouvelle Vague might not write their own material, but their unique take on songs puts them above the simple label of cover band. Digging through New Wave and Post Punk songs from the 80's, they reinterpret them as swanky 60's-style bossa nova numbers that drop you into a café sipping coffee in their native land. One trick in making the songs they select uniquely theirs is to only cover numbers the two female leads have not heard before, further distancing the cover from the original. Here on their second album Bande à Part, they put a fun spin on some gems from acts like Blondie, Billy Idol, U2, and The Smiths. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Killing Moon" (Echo & The Bunnymen)
2. "Ever Fallen In Love?"(Buzzcocks)
3. "Dance With Me" (Lords of the New Church)
4. "Don't Go" (Yahzo)
5. "Dancing With Myself" (Billy Idol)
6. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2)
7. "O Pamela" (The Wake)
8. "Heart of Glass" (Blondie)
9. "Confusion" (New Order)
10. "Human Fly" (The Cramps)
11. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (Bauhaus)
12. "Shack Up" (A Certain Ratio)
13. "Let Me Go" (Heaven 17)
14. "Fade To Grey" (Visage)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Justin Townes Earle - "Yuma" EP (2007)

Justin Townes Earle carries the names of two big figures in country-folk music. His middle name comes from Townes Van Zandt who never found mainstream success but influenced the likes of Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Justin's father, Steve Earle. Here on Justin's debut he shows those names run deep and that he too can craft a powerful story in his own songs. Recorded by himself so he'd have something to sell on the road, the Yuma EP bottles up Justin on guitar, a sprinkling of mandolin and harmonica, a go with the wind grin, and a great sign of things to come. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Ghost of Virginia" (3:39)
2. "You Can't Leave" (3:34)
3. "Yuma" (3:05)
4. "I Don't Care" (1:54)
5. "Let The Waters Rise" (2:43)
6. "A Desolate Angels Blues" (4:03)

see Justin live on Tour

Grooveshark Stream

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Seu Jorge - "The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions" (2005)

Wes Anderson has a knack for picking charmingly appropriate music for his films and for The Life Aquatic, a stand out is Seu Jorge's David Bowie covers. Preformed solo acoustic and in Portuguese through out the movie, several were included on the official soundtrack but this album collects many more from a Rome recording session put together after the film's release with Anderson producing. Some of the best song selections for Anderson's film soundtracks always have a worldly joy to them while remaining warmly familiar. Here that idea is expanded upon with fantastic results. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Rebel Rebel" 2:46
2. "Life on Mars?" 3:29
3. "Starman" 3:16
4. "Ziggy Stardust" 3:41
5. "Lady Stardust" 3:31
6. "Changes" 3:40
7. "Oh! You Pretty Things" 3:32
8. "Rock N' Roll Suicide" 3:10
9. "Suffragette City" 3:10
10. "Five Years" 3:59
11. "Queen Bitch" 3:42
12. "When I Live My Dream" 2:55
13. "Quicksand" 4:35
14. "Team Zissou" 2:32

Life On Mars? Studio Video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Whiskeytown - "Pneumonia" (2001)

Before his solo debut in 2000, Ryan Adams fronted the North Carolina born band Whiskeytown. Pneumonia, the band's 3rd and final album, sat shelved for nearly two years after its recording due to Outpost Records folding during a label merger. It eventually saw the light of day and bridges Ryan's alt-country defining days in Whiskeytown with his bountiful songwriting output that spanned the last decade. Beneath both periods his band members changed as much as his perceived persona, but his drive to write honest, American music only increased. Here you can listen to him on the cusp of greatness on an album that's for sure a desert island necessity for me. Such artists gracefully command your attention with no more than a constant drive to express their soul, and once they have it, there's no mistaking such genuine endeavor from all else. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" (3:04)
2. "Don't Wanna Know Why" (3:59)
3. "Jacksonville Skyline" (3:01)
4. "Reasons to Lie" (3:30)
5. "Don't Be Sad" (3:21)
6. "Sit & Listen to the Rain" (4:05)
7. "Under Your Breath" (3:28)
8. "Mirror, Mirror" (3:15)
9. "Paper Moon" (4:42)
10. "What the Devil Wanted" (3:38)
11. "Crazy About You" (2:46)
12. "My Hometown" (2:46)
13. "Easy Hearts" (5:08)
14. "Bar Lights" (3:56)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Phish - "Rift" (1993)

On 1993's Rift, Phish created a dreamworld concept album that brought together their complex music stylings with well crafted songs and lyrics. As usual, the tracks run the gambit of genres from rock and classical composition to bluegrass and ballads. But this doesn't take away from the cohesion that runs through the album of a forlorn man battling his emotions while he sleeps. The band is in tip-top form showing clear mastering of their instruments, the results of heavy touring and practicing during this time. It's the first Phish album that grabbed me and I was immediately drawn into a phishy world of ignited souls, icy doppelgangers, limestone blocks, and bitter blues. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Rift" (6:13)
2. "Fast Enough for You" (4:51)
3. "Lengthwise" (1:19)
4. "Maze" (8:13)
5. "Sparkle" (3:54)
6. "Horn" (3:37)
7. "The Wedge" (4:07)
8. "My Friend, My Friend" (6:09)
9. "Weigh" (5:08)
10. "All Things Reconsidered" (2:32)
11. "Mound" (6:02)
12. "It's Ice" (8:14)
13. "Lengthwise" (0:34)
14. "The Horse" (1:23)
15. "Silent in the Morning" (5:28)

Rift Cover Art Puzzle $10

Dave Brubeck - "Instant Brubeck" (1954)

If you ever find yourself around the Quartier Latin in Montreal be sure to check out Beatnick Music. This cavern like record store offers a great selection of music that's spaciously organized for easy browsing. The owners are always aquiring new records and will point you in the right direction if you're up for a conversation. I came across this Dave Brubeck album, took a chance based on the cover art and discovered it works perfectly for the music inside. Too bad the re-release of this record uses a different cover and changes the title to Brubeck Time. But the music remains the same offering the sunnyside up jazz that Brubeck's Quartet is known for. This is the first studio outing for the band and it showcases Brubeck's unique compositional style and his equally important saxophonist, Paul Desmond. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Audrey" 3:33
2. "Jeepers Creepers" 4:56
3. "Pennies From Heaven" 6:27
4. "Why Do I Love You" 5:41
5. "Stompin' For Mili" 5:26
6. "Keppin' Out Of Mischief Now" 5:05
7. "A Fine Romance" 3:48
8. "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" 5:17