Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Waiting

I gotta post this again, because the performance is so fucking good.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bad As Me

I read a quote somewhere from Sam Cooke in the mid-60s, where he said singing is not about how pretty the voice is; it's about believing that the voice is telling the truth. Tom Waits is one of those singers that embodies this quality. Bad As Me, his first album in seven years, can stand up with past classics like Rain Dogs, Small Change, Mule Variations and Swordfishtrombones. Simply put, Bad As Me is BAD. It's fierce, exciting and full of surprises. Lots of different musical styles -- Howlin' Wolf blues, film-noir ballads, gospel, waltz, R&B and soul, post-modern vaudeville, plain kick-ass rockabilly, and Waits and his band of talented musicians (including Marc Ribbots, David Hidalgo and Flea) excel in all of them. Keith Richards also sings and plays guitar on several songs, including Satisfied, a humorous sincere nod to (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, where Waits namechecks Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards. The songs are short as they are catchy; I'm surprised how terribly accessible this record is. No duds or anything, and the second last Hell Broke Luce is hot shit wicked. It's basically a rap tune in the form of a military march, and it blows away every other hip-hop/rap song out there now. If you feel down like the world has fucked you over, this is THE record to listen to. Do yourself a favor and get it.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams

When Hank Williams died in 1952, he left behind personal notebooks containing a wealth of written lyrics, finished and unfinished. This new compilation brings together American artists of different generations and genres, using those lyrics to record songs that he never got a chance to, with some of them adding their own words. It's a similar concept to Billy Bragg's & Wilco's Mermaid Avenue, in which they used Woody Guthrie's lyrics.

The artists try their best to convey the mood one gets from listening to a Hank Williams tune, just with added instrumentation, and I think most do a fairly good job -- Alan Jackson (the first song being the best song), Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Patty Loveless, Levon Helm, Holly Williams (granddaughter of Hank), Merle Haggard, and even Bob Dylan, who brings a waltz-like touch to The Love That Faded. One thing still rings true; the words of Hank Williams cut like an extremely sharp knife; nothing but truth and honesty in them. It's common to hear this kind of personal songwriting these days, and we all know who to thank. All in all, Lost Notebooks is a more than decent tribute to the greatest country music artist in history. It's best to familiarize yourself with his music before getting into this.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


U2 has done right this time, to the official fan club members that is. subscribers have the chance to decide the tracklist for an upcoming live double-CD compilation from the 360 tour (fan-club-only exclusive). Below is a list of 46 songs played throughout the two-year worldwide trek, and all the 30 countries that U2 performed in are represented. The ones in bold are what I voted for (top 22) -- being a more-than-casual fan, I'd naturally go for the lesser known and played stuff. At least this and the Achtung Baby boxset will keep me company till their next album.

All I Want Is You/Love Rescue Me
Angel Of Harlem
Beautiful Day
City Of Blinding Lights
Electrical Storm
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Get On Your Boots
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
In A Little While
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
I Will Follow
Miss Sarajevo
Moment Of Surrender
Mothers Of The Disappeared
Mysterious Ways
New Year's Day
No Line On The Horizon
One Tree Hill
Out Of Control
Party Girl
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Return Of The Stingray Guitar
Spanish Eyes
Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
Sunday Bloody Sunday
The Fly
The Unforgettable Fire
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
Unknown Caller
Until The End Of The World
Walk On
Where The Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You
Your Blue Room (perhaps the rarest of all)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bridge School Concert

Big thanks to the organizers and YouTube for putting up a live stream for Saturday night's Bridge School Benefit show. I only started watching at the halfway point, where Ed performed his acoustic set. Didn't catch Mumford & Sons.

Eddie Vedder:
1. Don't Cry No Tears (kinda fucked it up and stopped at the start)
2. You Gotta Hide Your Away
3. Don't Cry No Tears (full)
4. Rise
5. Without You (using that 'Clarence' uke)
6. Tonight You Belong To Me (with Regine from Arcade Fire)
7. Just Breathe
8. Porch (nailed it big time)
9. Sleepless Nights (with Beck)

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds:
1. So Damn Lucky
2. Save Me
3. Crush
4. Out Of My Hands (Dave on piano)
5. Two Step (Tim killing it on the solo)
6. Oh Susanna (with Neil Young)

Arcade Fire:
1. The Suburbs
2. Empty Room
3. Month Of May
4. Rebellion (Lies)
5. Intervention
6. Helpless (with Neil)
7. Wake Up

Neil Young:
1. Comes A Time
2. Sugar Mountain
3. Long May You Run
4. Heart Of Gold
5. Get Together (with everyone)

An absolutely awe-inspiring performance from Uncle Neil, and it was really something when he played to the Bridge School kids behind the stage.

CLICK HERE to re-watch tonight's stream.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Final R.E.M. Retrospective

CLICK HERE to listen to the last song R.E.M. ever recorded.

Disc One
Gardening At Night
Radio Free Europe
Talk About The Passion
Sitting Still
So. Central Rain
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville
Driver 8
Life And How To Live It
Begin The Begin
Fall On Me
Finest Worksong
It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
The One I Love
Pop Song 89
Get Up
Orange Crush
Losing My Religion
Country Feedback
Shiny Happy People

Disc Two
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
Everybody Hurts
Man On The Moon
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
New Test Leper
At My Most Beautiful
The Great Beyond
Imitation Of Life
Bad Day
Leaving New York
Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Supernatural Superserious
Oh My Heart
A Month Of Saturdays
We All Go Back To Where We Belong


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gaslight Anthem: iTunes Session

This newly released EP is their last with indie label, Side One Dummy Records. The band recently announced that they'll be moving to Mercury/Island Def Jam Records. Let's hope they maintain their integrity and not sell themselves out. This seven-song set was recorded for an iTunes-only release, and contains a couple of fantastic rock covers, Baba O'Riley, Refugee, State Of Love And Trust and the Animals' House Of The Rising Sun (which I think is the best). Also included are three of their own, a slowed-down Boxer and a new one called Fathers And Sons, and the highly underrated The Navesink Banks. Brian Fallon's voice has never sounded better, and so has the band. If all goes well, we'll be getting the new Gaslight record next summer!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Wheel's On Fire

That's the title of Levon Helm's autobiography released in the early '90s. It's essential reading about the history of The Band; written very informally like almost conversation style, and includes their stints with the Ronnie Hawkins and Dylan, in which they've honed their craft on the live stage for several years before finally making Music From Big Pink, which singlehandedly changed American music forever. I've always had a fondness for Big Pink, but after reading the book and listening to the album again, I was taken aback even more. It still sounds so revolutionary. On the other hand there's also the darker and more bitter parts of their career, covered thoroughly, especially The Last Waltz. I didn't realise how much Levon hated doing that farewell show and in particular how much he 'hated' Robbie Robertson towards the end, who was portrayed by the press as being the frontman of the band and took most of the credit for the songwriting and music, which led to the reason why Rick Danko and Richard Manuel got tired of composing after the first two albums. Also Levon describes both Rick's and Richard's deaths in heartbreaking detail. Richard died a week after I was born. Robbie's autobiography is due next year, so it'd be interesting to read his perspective on things. Hopefully we'll finally get the other half of The Band's real story.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Achtung Baby, Q Magazine has put together a tribute cover album, its CD to be included in its latest issue. CLICK HERE to check out Jack White's cover of Love Is Blindness (note: it's fucking intense).

CLICK HERE for Patti Smith's rendition of Until The End Of The World.
CLICK HERE for The Killers' Ultraviolet (Light My Way).
CLICK HERE for Nine Inch Nails' Zoo Station.

1. Nine Inch Nails – Zoo Station
2. U2 (Jacques Lu Cont Mix) – Even Better Than The Real Thing
3. Damien Rice – One
4. Patti Smith – Until The End Of The World
5. Garbage – Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
6. Depeche Mode – So Cruel
7. Snow Patrol – Mysterious Ways
8. The Fray – Trying To Throw Your Arms Around The World
9. Gavin Friday – The Fly
10. The Killers – Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
11. Glasvegas – Acrobat
12. Jack White – Love Is Blindness

P.S. For those planning to buy the Achtung Baby box sets, get 'em from Amazon; they got the cheapest deals.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Do you believe in love?

It's funny the best records of the year always come out during the last quarter, at least in recent times. I think I may have found the album of the year, and it's Ryan Adams'. My expectations were riding high for Ashes & Fire, his first proper record since 2008's Cardinology with The Cardinals (last year's released III/IV was actually recorded few years ago and Orion was a heavy metal concept album which saw a limited vinyl-only release). It's Adams at his mellowest and most tender, kinda like Heartbreaker and 29 mellow, but not as depressing as the latter. For me personally, this is the album I can most easily relate to, with Easy Tiger a close second.

The melodies and chord progressions and instrumentation here are things that won't surprise a longtime Ryan Adams listener, cause it's nothing we haven't heard before from the man. The songwriting gets to you, words that cut extremely deep like you wouldn't believe. But it's not only that; it's the marriage of the words and the music, and the results are stunning gorgeous and seductive. They just get into your head and remain there. And trust me, I've never heard him sung this good in a long time. The legendary Glyn Johns is back behind the board to produce, and the Hearbreakers' Benmont Tench plays the keyboards, instinctively filling in the spaces where appropriate. Wife Mandy Moore and occasional collaborator Norah Jones (piano) also help sing background.

It's really hard to single out any of the eleven songs, because I think they're all equally amazing. Digressing a bit, when it comes to reviewing or talking about albums and songs on this blog, I've come to a point where I've more or less run out of interesting vocabulary to describe how good they are. The bottom line is it's always hard to talk music, but for those of us who love it to death and write about it, we try our best to convey our thoughts, enough to hopefully encourage others to listen. Anyway, I can't even begin to talk about the songs on Ashes & Fire, other than to say they're among the most beautifully crafted by Adams. Just let the music take over your soul. It helps particularly late at night with a bottle of wine in hand -- it's one of those records.

Adams has suffered one of the worst possible illnesses imaginable for a musician, a rare condition known as Ménière's disease, which affected his hearing, that could very well have ended his career few years ago. Ashes & Fire is proof that he not only overcame the illness, but he's back to creating masterpiece records again. Despite having made music for more than fifteen years now, I feel that with this album, Ryan Adams' career is really only beginning. Get the CD or vinyl.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye, Steve

Since everyone's saying something, I might as well too. If it wasn't for Mr. Steve Jobs and his revolutionizing the music industry, my immense music collection would be in a big mess. So I'm forever thankful for him for coming up with iTunes, and also not forgetting the Macbook Pro, which has made my life so much easier and fun. And the iPod -- I've stuck with it for the past seven years (only changed twice), long enough to realize that I shouldn't be sticking headphones into my ears so much and instead, move back to the old days of just buying the physical CDs and listening to them at home on the hi-fi. But I'm still holding on to the iPod, and while I don't listen to it as much as I used to, I still treasure the fact that I can store my entire Springsteen live bootleg collection and travel around the world with it in my pocket. Also I can't believe the countless ideas I've had just by listening to it, riding on the bus and train. For example, the overwhelming amount of playlists I've created on-the-go as I scroll through the artists and albums and songs. Playlists, when done right, are one of the best tools for creating and fostering relationships with people. Meanwhile, the man tried his best to save the music industry. Obviously it couldn't be saved, but if it weren't for him, the business would have been in much deeper shit than it is now, probably even gone. He and his gang were goddamn geniuses. Rest in peace, Steve.

Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition

Heads up -- a 3DVD and 2CD compilation will be released later this month, featuring some of the most unique acoustic performances, culled from the past 25 years of the Bridge School benefit concerts. Proceeds go directly to the Bridge School.


The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition DVD

Disc 1:
Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA”
Patti Smith, “People Have The Power”
Pearl Jam, “Better Man”
David Bowie, “Heroes”
Ben Harper, “There Will Be A Light”
Bob Dylan, “Girl From The North Country”
R.E.M., “Country Feedback”
Emmylou Harris & Buddy Miller, “Love Hurts”
Fleet Foxes, “Blue Ridge Mountains”
Devendra Banhart, “At The Hop”
Bonnie Raitt, “The Road Is My Middle Name”
Billy Idol, “Rebel Yell”

Disc 2:
Brian Wilson, “Surfin' USA”
Gillian Welch, “The Way It Will Be”
The Pretenders, “Sense Of Purpose”
James Taylor, “Fire and Rain”
Simon and Garfunkel, “America”
Tom Petty, “Shadow Of A Doubt”
Dave Matthews, “Too Much”
Neil Young, “Crime In The City”
Tom Waits, “16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six”
Elton John and Leon Russell, “A Dream Come True”
Paul McCartney, “Get Back”
Metallica, "Disposable Heroes”
The Who, “Won't Get Fooled Again”

Disc 3:
Bridge School Documentaries:
Backstage At The Bridge School Benefit Concert
• The Bridge School Story

• Special Feature - Student/Artist Interviews

The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition CD

CD 1:
Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA”
Dave Matthews, “Too Much”
No Doubt, “Magic’s In The Makeup”
Jack Johnson, “Gone”
Fleet Foxes, “Blue Ridge Mountains”
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, “Love And Only Love”
Sonic Youth, “Rain On Tin”
Pearl Jam, “Better Man”
Gillian Welch, “The Way It Will Be”
R.E.M. & Neil Young, “Country Feedback”
Willie Nelson, “The Great Divide”
Nils Lofgren, “Cry Just A Little”

CD 2:
Sarah McLachlan, “Elsewhere”
Paul McCartney, “Get Back”
Elton John & Leon Russell, “A Dream Come True”
Band Of Horses, “Marry Song”
Metallica, “Disposable Heroes”
Thom Yorke, “After The Gold Rush”
Sheryl Crow, “The Difficult Kind”
Tony Bennett, “Maybe This Time”
CSNY, “Déjà Vu”
Norah Jones, “Jesus, Etc”
Jonathan Richman, “I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar”
Brian Wilson, “Surfin' USA”
The Who, “Won't Get Fooled Again”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alice Cooper Gig

When the band played School's Out towards the end of the concert, I kinda knew that Alice would put in a little of Another Brick In The Wall (Part II) in there. And he did. Other than that, I only recognized like five other songs from the setlist. But it was a pretty high energy show throughout, filled with plenty of Halloween props, including a giant-sized Frankenstein and a guillotine!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mockingbird Time

"I want to make something for you that brings you joy", sings Mark Olsen in the title track of the new Jayhawks record, the first since 1995's Tomorrow The Green Grass to feature the two founders and principle singer-songwriters Olsen and Gary Louris. I love all the stuff they've done together, so this one is no different. They've got some great harmonies and melodies going and because both their voices sound so different, when put together it sounds magical. This is an album with no skippable tracks and it's always a huge plus if there's some sort of narrative or musical flow from song to song. If there's one that jumps out at me, it's Cinnamon Love -- I'd imagine it's something Buffalo Springfield or CSN would do if they were recording today. If you like your rock & roll, country, blues and folk jumbled up together, then this is the album to get! At the end of the day, any record that has pedal steel always brings me joy.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

A HOAX: New Springsteen Album

Some fucking troll on BTX posted this fake news (see below) and it has spread like wildfire over the past few days. Now it has shown up on Twitter and even music press like NME. Remember, all this is NOT TRUE. What's true however, is that the E Street Band will be getting together soon to discuss their future, according to Steve Van Zandt.

Bruce Springsteen's 'Arcade At Night' Set For November 8 Release On Columbia Records

Bruce Springsteen's new album 'Arcade At Night' has been set for November 8 release on Columbia Records. 'Arcade At Night' was recorded with current and former members of the E Street Band including Steven Van Zandt, David Sancious and Roy Bittan. 'Arcade At Night' features twelve new Springsteen compositions plus one bonus track written in memory of Saxophonist, Clarence Clemons, who was lost from complications of a stroke in June 2010. It is the first collaboration between Springsteen and Ron Aniello, who produced and mixed the album.

1. Beneath The Floodgate
2. Arcade At Night
3. Stuck
4. Times Two
5. Turned Away
6. You'll Never Know
7. Figure It Out
8. Lost Soldiers
9. Caravan
10. Dead Of Night
11. Out Of Tune
12. Wake Me Up
Bonus track:
Bigger Than Life

'Arcade At Night' is Bruce Springsteen's twenty-fifth album and was recorded and mixed at Thrill Hill Recording* in Colts Neck, NJ with additional recording in New York City and Los Angeles.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Immersion into The Dark Side

What makes The Dark Side Of The Moon the classic that it is? The repeating chord progressions throughout the songs, the talking heads ("I don't know/I was really drunk at the time" is my favorite), the lunatic laughing, the orgasmic singing on The Great Gig In The Sky and my god the most beautiful piano intro of any Floyd song ever, the delaying synthesizers on Any Colour You Like, the grand swirling chorus of Us And Them, the sax solo on Money, the explosion at the end of On The Run, the clocks going off in Time and the following drum solo during the ominous build-up, the transition from Brian Damage to Eclipse, the perfect unison and rhythm of the cash register sounds and Roger Waters' thumping bass, the way David Gilmour sings "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way", and so on and so on.

I believe the newly released immersion edition of The Dark Side is a must-get for all Floyd fans. The 5.1 Surround (also included are Stereo and Quad) mixes on DVD and Blu-Ray are simply out of this world; it's like listening to this album for the first time. You get the '74 Wembley concert -- the album performed in its entirety, featuring some outstanding extended jams on Money and Us And Them. Play this loud, and if your hair doesn't stand upon hearing "I've been mad for fucking years", then better get your pulse checked. Finally included in this boxset is the original mix by Alan Parsons; surprisingly good, initially I found myself listening to this more than the final album. Lotta subtle but noticeable differences. And a lot more eerie laughs from the lunatic.

Other than Dark Side, I only got the remastered Animals (mindblowing) and A Momentary Lapse Of Reason; I'll stray away from the first four albums for now as I still can't get past their ultra-psychedelic weirdness yet. Next up: Meddle, Obscured By Clouds, Division Bell, Wish You Were Here (in November) and the big one, The Wall next February!!!


P.S. As part of Pink Floyd week on The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, CLICK HERE to check out Pearl Jam performing Mother and Foo Fighters & Roger Waters doing In The Flesh?.