Thursday, December 31, 2015
And here's that inevitable list again, mi amigos da musica. Presenting the toppermost of the poppermost of 2015: seven heavenly albums one shouldn't be without.
1. Phil Cook - Southland Mission
Phil Cook - Sitting On A Fence
2. Ryley Walker - Primrose Green
Ryley Walker - Love Can Be Cruel
3. Meg Baird - Don't Weigh Down The Light
Meg Baird - Mosquito Hawks
4. Giant Sand - Heartbreak Pass
Giant Sand - Heaventually
5. Calexico - Edge Of The Sun
Calexico - Tapping On The Line
6. Simon Joyner - Grass, Branch & Bone
Simon Joyner - In My Drinking Dream
7. Dave Rawlings Machine - Nashville Obsolete
Dave Rawlings Machine - The Last Pharaoh
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Patience, people... The famous For The Sake Of The Song end-of-year list will be revealed shortly, but let's start with the best of the oldies-but-goldies bunch released during 2015. Don't you dare miss 'em.
1. Bob Dylan - The Cutting Edge '65-'66 - The Bootleg Series Vol. 12
Bob Dylan - Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (Take 13 Alternate)
2. Miles Davis - Miles Davis At Newport '55-'75 - The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Miles Davis - Directions
3. various artists - Ork Records: New York, New York
Richard Lloyd - (I Thought) You Wanted To Know
4. various artists - Punk 45: Extermination Nights In The Sixth City - Cleveland, Ohio
Pressler-Morgan One Plus One - You're Gonna Watch Me
And talking about oldies but goldies, I just got the sad news that Lemmy has passed away. The Motörhead frontman was 70. Miss him.
Motörhead - Love Me Like A Reptile
Friday, December 25, 2015
Cuba calling. I've loved these guys ever since their Ry Cooder produced eponymous smash appeared out of nowhere back in '97, although it soon got a little tiring hearing it in every restaurant, bar or chiringuito you found yourself in. But that was then and this is now, and there's a new compilation called Lost And Found to be enjoyed. A bit of a ramshackle collection of live tracks, outtakes and rest material it may be, but listen closely and you'll unearthen some real gems for sure. Take the infectuous Tiene Sabor for instance, sung by the wonderful Omara Portuondo. Tastes good, huh?
Buena Vista Social Club - Tiene Sabor
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
As it's officially winter as we speak, relatively high temperatures notwithstanding, here goes with a fitting song. I never had much time for Lindisfarne's particular take on folkrock to be honest, but this baby's quite pretty. "Or do you pull the bed-clothes higher, dream of summertime instead?"
Lindisfarne - Winter Song
Lindisfarne - Winter Song
Monday, December 21, 2015
The impeccable Punk 45 series on the Soul Jazz label brought us two new volumes this year, covering Akron and Cleveland. The former (Burn, Rubber City, Burn! Akron, Ohio Punk And The Decline Of The Mid-West 1975-80) is a decent collection featuring the Bizarros, Tin Huey and Devo amongst others, but doesn't surpass Stiff's ancient Akron Compilation. The Cleveland one (Extermination Nights In The Sixth City - Cleveland, Ohio: Punk And The Decline Of The Mid-West 1975-1982) is a dream come true though. Incredible how such a truckload of great bands thrived there in relative isolation. Pere Ubu, the Pagans, Electric Eels, and Mirrors all make an entrance, and nearly all those adventurous stabs at artrock still sound remarkably fresh today.
The Bizarros - I Bizarro
Jazz Destroyers - Love Meant To Die
Friday, December 18, 2015
Listening to their second effort For Use And Delight, you probably wouldn't have guessed that Promised Land Sound hail from the Music City, as that slick Nashville sound is nowhere in sight. This is modern country rock, quite mellow but with a raw edge here and there, and that's exactly how we like it. A real grower. Find it on the always wonderful Paradise Of Bachelors label.
Promised Land Sound - Otherworldly Pleasures
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
As a known sucker for the exotic, I stumbled across this beauty in a record store last week and simply couldn't refuse. And indeed, my instinct followed the shining path, as there's some seriously weird shit going down on this album. Two fine examples below.
Black Sugar - Funky Man
El Opio - Una Bruja En El Cuzco
Monday, December 14, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
A shameless, but well-deserved plug for a band of a friend of mine. Quartet To Three hails from the fair city of Barcelona and its jazz nuevo inspires like a Sunday morning stroll down the Ramblas. Modern with a respectful nod to the classics, Ornette and co are never far away, but these guys don't shy away from bringing out a psychedelic wahwah guitar or a latin touch if they feel like it, either. Their cd debut, called Sin Pies, is out as we speak on the Whatabout Music imprint. ¡Vaya!
Quartet To Three - Uno Y Medio
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
An indie rock opera about a day in the life of a cat? And told from a feline perspective, no less? Just my cup of tea, fellow cat lovers. Especially when Centro-matic foreman Will Johnson's side project, South San Gabriel, is involved. The Carlton Chronicles escaped my attention when it came out about ten years ago, but I'm glad this cat's finally in the bag now. Meow!
South San Gabriel - I Feel Too Young Too Die
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I'll be away from my desk for a week or so, but I'll leave you with this old fashioned ten pack. After all: "I'm just a soldier, fighting the sorrow..."
James Taylor - Soldiers
Neil Young - Soldier
Bob Dylan - Mary And The Soldier
Calvin Russell - Soldier
Palace Music - The Weaker Soldier
Arthur Alexander - Soldier Of Love
Bettye Lavette - Talking Old Soldiers
Jah Lloyd & King Tubby - Soldier Round The Corner
Spizz Energi - Soldier Soldier
Renzoku Shasatsuma - I Don't Want To be A Soldier
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thanks to the unsurpassed New York Taper, here's yet another fine live cover by my fave band of the last couple of years, Durham's Hiss Golden Messenger. These guys can boogie, lord. Most of you will know Lonesome, On'ry And Mean by way of Waylon Jennings, but it is in fact a Steve Young original.
Hiss Golden Messenger - Lonesome, On'ry And Mean (live Brooklyn 2015)
Steve Young - Lonesome, On'ry And Mean
Waylon Jennings - Lonesome, On'ry And Mean
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Americana? Sure sounds like it, but no cigar, folks. Ernie Graham was a Belfast pubrocker who recorded the eponymous album pictured above back in 1971, with the great Brinsley Schwartz helping out. A true nearly-forgotten classic.
Ernie Graham - Don't Want Me Round You
Monday, November 23, 2015
You may know Southern soul singer supreme James Carr from the immortal Pouring Water On A Drowning Man or You Got My Mind Messed Up, but there was much more to the man of course. How about these three beauties, you soul groovers you?
James Carr - Coming Back To Me Baby
James Carr - I'll Put It To You
James Carr - Forgetting You
Friday, November 20, 2015
And then there's the ongoing joy of Zimmy's Bootleg Series of course. The new Volume 12 is probably the strangest one of the bunch so far. After all, it's made up of numerous works in progress: trial runs of songs that would end up in their final - and best - form on his classic sixties albums Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde. Here you can find out how he got there: a fascinating look inside the mind of a musician in true peak form. Cutting edge? But of course.
Bob Dylan - Desolation Row (take 2 piano demo)
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Elyse Weinberg's second album should have appeared in 1969 but was was never released, a production role for Neil Young sidekick David Briggs and participation by such heavyweights as J.D. Souther, Nils Lofgren, and even Dinosaur Sr. himself notwithstanding. This year finally, the cool diggers over at the Numero Group have set the record straight. If you like a bit of a raw edge to your Laurel Canyon sound, Greasepaint Smile might be right up your alley.
Elyse Weinberg - It's Alright To Linger
Monday, November 16, 2015
Some more British freakbeat? Why not indeed. This beauty from 1967 comes courtesy of Yorkshire combo The Accent and has long been a personal fave, because it's just so plain weird. "I can see dawn breaking, what's that strange glow..."
The Accent - Red Sky At Night
Friday, November 13, 2015
The Open Mind, a late sixties quartet from Putney, really lives up to its name here with a fine garage scorcher. "How do you feel? I feel fine..." The vinyl original must be nearly impossible to track down, but take a tip from one who tried: you can find it on the first installment of the famed Perfumed Garden series, too.
The Open Mind - Magic Potion
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Monday, November 9, 2015
"No matter where I go, I will always see your face..." Why the long face, people? After all, it's the return of the fabulous six-pack. Rejoice.
Love - Always See Your Face
Bobby Charles - Long Face
Mallard - Your Face On Someone Else
Emitt Rhodes - With My Face On The Floor
Tortoise - I Set My Face To The Hillside
Smog - Your Face
Friday, November 6, 2015
Going Dutch today with Hallo Venray and a gently rocking track from their recommended 2005 album Vegetables & Fruit. Watch out for that wonderfully distorted guitar break. Are you the captain of this ship?
Hallo Venray - The Captain
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Joanna Newsom's new offering sure is a tough nut to crack. Ambitious it may be, but Divers is so densely arranged it just might be too clever for its own good. Developed a weak spot for this time travelling folky ballad though. "Honey, where did you come by that wound?"
Joanna Newsom - Waltz Of The 101st Lightborne
Monday, November 2, 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
Hola, my fellow flamenco enthusiasts. Got a real treat for you today, from a recently released project called Caijeré. So please welcome Juan Villar on vocals, aided by guitarist Niño Jero. Deep stuff. ¡Toma!
Juan Villar - En El Reloj De Mi Vida
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
In case you're not familiar with the universe of brilliant jazz avant-gardist Sun Ra, a new double disc compilation on the Strut label just might be all you need. Curated by London dj Gilles Peterson, the aptly titled To Those Of Earth... And Other Worlds looks like a fine fine introduction to all things Arkestra. Out this November.
Sun Ra Quartet - When There Is No Sun
Friday, October 23, 2015
"A local and statewide newsbreak, then a weather alert announced another hard rain coming. I could already feel it in my bones. The song Your Protector by Fleet Foxes followed. Its melancholic menace filled my heart with strange adrenaline. Time to go..." That's from M Train, the delicate new memoir by Patti Smith. Often filled with a certain sadness, but always uplifting in the end, it's a tonic for the soul, just like a good cup of strong black coffee.
Fleet Foxes - Your Protector
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Today's a good day for a mighty fine live quartet by Sir Van, dug up from the early seventies bootleg vaults. Sail into the mystic and listen to the lion, my amigos da musica.
Van Morrison - Dead Or Alive (live '71)
Van Morrison - Friday's Child (live '71)
Van Morrison - Everybody's Talking (live '73)
Van Morrison - Since I Fell For You (live '73)
Monday, October 19, 2015
Underrated Canadian singer/songwriter David Wiffen soon found out that being on the road to make his fortune and fame didn't suit him very well. To quote: "Halfway through my last trip West I was making plans for home..." From Coast To Coast Fever ('73), an album you should own. Really.
David Wiffen - Lucifer's Blues
Friday, October 16, 2015
Horns and jungle drums unite as Scratch & company dub it up dreader than dread. Trust me, this is upsetting. Find it on Blackboard Jungle Dub, a true reggae masterpiece. This one goes out to Marlon James by the way, first Jamaican to win the Man Booker prize. Can't wait to start reading his Brief History Of Seven Killings, my brethren.
The Upsetters - Elephant Rock
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015
"At the whispering stream, at the bubbling brook, the fishes leap up to take a look..." From the impeccable Lyre Of Orpheus album, here's Saint Nick the lover, and at his pastoral best at that.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Breathless
Friday, October 9, 2015
"Pink is the colour of my true love's dress, and black is the colour of her heart..." Lovers of all things Americana take note, please. Known best for his rootsy guitar work under the orders of Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings has just released his second solo effort Nashville Obsolete and a good 'un it is, too. The wistful sample trip below reminded me of Dylan's masterful Brownsville Girl quite a bit, which is not a bad thing of course. Skyline dated? Not at all.
Dave Rawlings Machine - The Trip
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015
Was gone, am back. To make it up to you, here's a genuine psychodrama from the psychedelic sixties. And a very special one: this nugget must surely be one of the weirdest songs ever committed to disc. "The spider's coming closer..." Bad trip, dudes.
The Monocles - Spider And The Fly
Friday, September 25, 2015
How about some Bowie today? Ok, so enter the Thin White Duke, majestically live during his Station To Station tour. It's 1976, and that guitar tandem of Carlos Alomar and Stacy Haydon sure is hot.
David Bowie - Stay (live '76)
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Good ole Keef, known reggae enthusiast, shows his good taste by covering the Cool Ruler on his new Crosseyed Heart album. Even brought in a real flesh and blood horn section. The original remains unbeatable though.
Keith Richards - Love Overdue
Gregory Isaacs - Love Is Overdue
Monday, September 21, 2015
Friday, September 18, 2015
Chris Forsyth took some time off from his Solar Motel Band chores last summer, teaming up with electronics wiz Koen Holtkamp on the Jersey shore. The instrumental result, called The Island, comes out medio October. If kosmische desert rock is your thing, and why not, you've been duly warned.
Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp - Long Beach Idyll
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Original and cover. Written by Joe South, the bittersweet Down In The Boondocks was first recorded by Billie Joe Royal, who took it to the charts in '65. Nice one, but Ry Cooder's slower and grittier version from 1980, with Bobby King on lead vocals if my ears don't deceive me, may very well be the definitive interpretation.
Billie Joe Royal - Down In The Boondocks
Ry Cooder - Down In The Boondocks
Monday, September 14, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
The Knitters were basically a sidetrip of X, with Blaster Dave Alvin in tow. Here they cover the Hag classic Silver Wings, making a surprisingly rootsy job of it. Just so you don't expect any cowpunk, y'all.
The Knitters - Silver Wings
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
Vince Martin once formed a folk duo with the better known Fred Neil, but he could hold his own as well. Cue the album pictured above, recorded in '69 with the same guys who had just played on Dylan's Nashville Skyline album. Price track? The shimmering Jasmine: sweet sounds playing with my mind indeed.
Vince Martin - Jasmine
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Just got the sad news that legendary ska and reggae trombone player Emmanuel 'Rico' Rodriguez has passed away. The man from Wareika, who shone on the Specials' 2-toned version of A Message To You Rudy, was 80. Miss him.
Rico - This Day
The Specials - A Message To You Rudy
Friday, September 4, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
"A true song as real as my tears..." Lovely sentimental chestnut this, from the solid Shotgun Willie album. Bonus: a surprising one-off cover by his Bobness, recorded live in Mainz this summer.
Wilie Nelson - Sad Songs And Waltzes
Bob Dylan - Sad Songs And Waltzes (live Mainz '15)