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#95 – Green River (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

In musings, Top 150 on September 24, 2013 at 10:00 am

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival is some of the best classic, American rock in my opinion. Their sound incorporates this Americana sound that is hidden underneath strong guitar riffs that I’m sure sounded far more hard-rock than they do now. For me, listening to “Green River” was literally an “Oh yeah, this rocks” kind of experience. You have to love CCR.

Also released in 1969 (like so much good music), this album is a sweetly succinct and cleanly produced album. It’s got intention, it’s got drive, it’s got variety, and it’s got strong stories behind it. But again, it stays committed to the kind of Americana, classic hard rock. They are one of the most clearly recognized classic rock bands. John Fogerty’s vocals on tracks like “Tombstone Shadow” and “Bad Moon Rising” are unmistakeable.

In this album, I hear the clean guitar lines that are typical of rock during this time, backed by noisy and persistent drumming, and topped off with the reverb-laden vocal tracks. It creates a harder sound that is still accessible, but distinguishes itself from other bands of the time.

This is a great album, plain and simple. Nothing wild, nothing long and epic, but it’s so great and so easy to listen to and enjoy.

Track Listing

Side One

  1. Green River
  2. Commotion
  3. Tombstone Shadow
  4. Wrote a Song for Everyone

Side Two

  1. Bad Moon Rising
  2. Lodi
  3. Cross-Tie Walker
  4. Sinister Purpose
  5. The Night Time is the Right Time

27 Songs for Spring 2013

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on May 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

It’s Spring. Everybody is seeking out new music. I always am! So here’s a list of 27 songs that you might love for Spring this year, if you haven’t heard them yet. And if you have, then great. Its an eclectic mix but I think you’ll love it. Highest rated are last, lowest rated are first!

27. Shine (Wild Belle)

26. Riptide (Vance Joy)

25. Diane Young (Vampire Weekend)

24. Love in 100MB (Sand Tiger)

23. Childhood’s End (Majical Cloudz)

22. Every Night (Lane 8)

21. On Your Own (Fryars)

20. Big Things (Fiction)

19. Float (The Ecstatics)

18. You Can’t Be My Girl (Darwin Deez)

17. Brown Bear, Brown Bear (Bronze Thesaurus)

16. Loh Dalum Bay (Baobab)

15. Close (Atu)

14. Light & Love (Teen Daze)

13. I’m Not Through (OK Go)

12. Made To Stray (Mount Kimbie)

11. Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me (London Grammar)

10. Cut To Black (Lemaitre)

9. Lady, You Shot Me (Har Mar Superstar)

8. Say When (Generationals)

7. If You Didn’t See Me (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.)

6. My Orbit (Coma)

5. Holding On (Classixx)

4. Little Numbers (Boy)

3. Ocean’s Deep (Born Ruffians)

2. Treehome95 (Tyler, The Creator)

1. Hard on Me (Robby Hunter Band)

Happy 2013, folks!

In musings on January 17, 2013 at 1:19 am

Hello music fans. 

Long-time no see. Life has gotten in the way of my latest musical adventures, and as such, I’ve been MIA for sometime. But I need to share some great successes with you that I am so excited about. 

Last year was fantastic for earphone adventures! Year-over-year, the number of views on EA grew by almost 500% (yes, that’s right).

 

Average Unique Views per month: 1200

Posts Written in 2012: 67

Number of Visiting Countries: 119

 

Next up on the list of albums….Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning, followed by a smattering of others. In the meantime, have you been following the success of  the HAIM ladies? Check out our post about them from March last year!

Many thanks for your support in the last year, and here’s to the future.

Best wishes to you and yours for 2013.

Cheers,

Brady

Carried Away (Passion Pit)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on July 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

Scheduled for release on July 24th.

Manners was a kick-ass release from this radical band we know as Passion Pit. I can’t tell you the number of spontaneous dance parties I’ve had to songs like “Sleepyhead” and “Little Secrets”.

When Passion Pit released one of the tracks from Gossamer about a month ago, I was not so impressed. It didn’t really do it for me. That easy catchiness of my favourite Passion Pit songs was missing. I was a little concerned about what the next Passion Pit release might hold. Would it evolve in a way that was exciting and still just as fun? Or would it fizzle?

With the release of Gossamer only one week away, NPR has been streaming the full album on its website, but I still haven’t listened to it in its entirety. I’ve heard a few songs briefly, here and there. I am excited to get the whole album and listen start to finish.

BUT in the meantime, I was cruising on The Hype Machine today and found “Carried Away”, which caught my attention right away. It has a fun upbeat sound that I loved right from the start. Its high-energy, with the synth-backed chorus that I loved in their previous sings. It also has a bit of a mysterious sass to it and I like that.

Check this song out, and let me know if you’ve listened to the album yet! Do you like it? How is it different from Manners? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts…

#138 – Rejuvenation (The Meters)

In 150-125, Top 150 on May 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Oh yeah, this groovy album by The Meters makes me feel gooood. I’m just saying!

I thought I knew The Meters from somewhere, but had no idea where. When I got their album into my iTunes I realized that one of their tunes, ‘Liver Splash’, was on Jack Johnson’s Thicker Than Water soundtrack, and so I already knew The Meters! Incroiable!

So damn, this album has got some groovy tunes on it.

Rejuvenation Album Art (July 1974)

Track Listing

  1. People Say
  2. Love Is for Me
  3. Just Kissed My Baby
  4. What’cha Say
  5. Jungle Man
  6. Hey Pocky A-Way
  7. It Ain’t No Use
  8. Loving You Is on My Mind
  9. Africa

The Meters have some serious funk happening on this album. It reminds me of the movie Anchorman, to be honest. Which is hilarious, but a true fact. It’s got some guitar-riffs and heavy, driving riffs on the keys that are typical to a lot of music in the 70s! It screams Ron Burgandy!

The Meters are based in New Orleans, Louisiana, as I’ve read, which explains why there’s also a Nola flair to the syncopated rhythms and subtle, sexy bass guitar. It’s a great combo! And it’s a great album to listen to on a Summer day or when you’re feeling a bit wild and ready for a little bit of lovin’.

The album starts off with a quiet and funky electric guitar before some drums and equally funky bass guitar and keys are added in, building into a layered, driving, funk-combination. There’s also a heavy use of horns on this album, which adds a bit of sass into the entire sound (and again, reminds me of New Orleans). I actually also read that The Meters played some backing for other New Orleans artists, such as Dr. John the Night Tripper. And that makes perfect sense because Dr. John also played with another of artists. Ah, the connections between all this music are starting to make sense, aren’t they? Very cool!

Anyway, this is a fun album and unique to anything I’ve listened to on the list so far. Again, its so wild, because I went from Phil Spector’s Christmas album, to U2′s attempt at re-establishing their musical Greatness, to this radically free-spirited, but musically tight album by The Meters. I love the diversity on this list.

Give The Meters a listen. What do they make you think of?

Barton Hollow (The Civil Wars)

In albums, current listenings on April 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

If you haven’t heard any of the music from this hauntingly-beautiful duo, then you need to drive yourself to HMV, or click yourself onto the iTunes music store and check them out.

The Civil Wars have only been known by that name for a year and a half. In fact, as I just read on their website, Joy Williams and John Paul White met at a call for country writers. Basically, they were in a room with a bunch of writers who were together trying to come up with a few new singles for a country band. From there, they connected really well (emotionally and musically) and started to write songs together. They aren’t married though! No White Stripes or anything.

Some of you may know their single ‘Poison & Wine’ from Grey’s Anatomy, and some may know their title-single, ‘Barton Hollow’, which has got a rockin’ guitar riff that drives the song with a mix of some seriously sassy vocal harmonies reminiscent of any sort of Alabama, Southern-U.S.A. music you might here. Their album is spectacularly simple: its just Williams, White and a guitar piano (and I guess bits of percussion added in too). Its a fantastic album to listen to, start to finish, because each song is a beautiful but secretive story that’s sung with conviction, passion, and emotional clarity that pours out of your speakers as you listen.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates a little Nashville mixed with some really special vocal duets.

Oh, and I should mention: you can download a free live recording from their website, and its their second show ever. The album is Live at Eddie’s Attic, and I’m about to have a listen to it as well!

Enjoy, and special thanks to Alex Lepinski for another great find!

Album Art

Track Listing

  1. 20 years
  2. I’ve Got This Friend
  3. C’est la Mort
  4. To Whom It May Concern
  5. Poison & Wine
  6. My Father’s Father
  7. Barton Hollow
  8. The Violet Hour
  9. Girl With the Red Balloon
  10. Falling
  11. Forget Me Not
  12. Birds of a Feather
  13. I Want You Back (Bonus Track)
  14. Dance Me to the End of Love (Bonus Track)

#144 – Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.)

In 150-125, Top 150 on April 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

This was shocking. I went from the smoothly orchestrated, sexy-but-department-store-esque Steely Dan to some pre-mainstream hip-hop featuring Ice Cube and Dr. Dre in their early days.

I’ve gotta say, I love the diversity that this album added to the RS150 so far (even if I’m only 7 albums in, which is wild in itself).

Released in 1988, Straight Outta Compton features Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, The D. O. C. and the Arabian Prince.

Straight Outta Compton by American rap group N...

Image via Wikipedia

N.W.A. is like the launching point for “gangsta-rap”…or at least close to it. And its really characterized on this album by insane amounts of explicit lyrics, with a lot of guns and drugs, and rebellious lyrics.

Track Listing

  1. Straight Outta Compton
  2. Gangsta Gangsta
  3. F— Tha Police
  4. If It Ain’t Ruff
  5. Parental Discretion Iz Advised
  6. Something Like That
  7. 8 Ball (Remix)
  8. Express Yourself
  9. Compton’s In The House (Remix)
  10. I Ain’t Tha 1
  11. Dopeman (Remix)
  12. Quiet On Tha Set
  13. Something 2 Dance 2
The album starts with an intro of the rappers  who are, Straight Outta Compton, California. It also has tracks like ‘F— Tha Police’, which focuses on racial profiling and police brutality. The lyrics were so explicit and controversial at the time that a lot of N.W.A. was blocked from radio play and even banned from concerts. If I’m not mistaken, their record company may have battled with the authorities because of such violent lyrics. I’m not sure about that 100% though.
So really, I was totally shocked when I listened to this album after Steely Dan. That wasn’t a joke. It was like doing a 180. But my first impressions (which were supported by a bit of research on the inter-web) were that this album was genre-defining and really established hip-hop and rap in a new way. The lyrics are powerful on this album, even if they are explicit. And the beats on this album remind me of albums that are being released now. The tracks on this album are really up-to-date, but they were recorded in 88 – thats more than 20 years ago! The emphasis and the style of rap accompanying the drum tracks definitely remind me of any late 80′s early 90′s rap that I’ve heard, but I really think that the beats could easily be re-used in a current release (perhaps with a bit of re-mastering) and they would sound great.
So there are two major parts to this album that I was really impressed with: my first realization, which was how their beats/drum tracks are apparently timeless, and second, the power of the lyrics (again, even if they are super explicit and/or violent).
I totally see how this album fits into the RS150. Check out ‘Express Yourself’ for a James Brown-esque tune in the middle of the album that’s got a great groove to it (and is mostly free of profanity, actually). It’s also a theme that speaks on the idea of censorship, which was a huge issue with N.W.A.
Also, if you want a blast from the past, check out some of their videos on YouTube.
I think Dr. John is next, who I hadn’t heard about until this list. We’ll see how that goes!

#145 – Aja (Steely Dan)

In 150-125, Top 150 on April 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Although I’ve been reading today that Steely Dan tends to be played in department stores or on elevators, this album, Aja (pronounced like “Asia”) has got some sexy, sexy jazz-influenced pop-rock sounds. They’re great!

Steely Dan is really made up of two guys, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who had many different artists work with them in-studio on their albums. Their first platinum album, Aja, was released in 1977.

I listened to a remastered version of the album, although it would be really cool to listen to the original LP.

Here’s the track listing:

 

Aja (album)

Image via Wikipedia

Album Art for Aja, 1977.

Side One

  1. Black Cow
  2. Aja
  3. Deacon Blues

Side Two

  1. Peg
  2. Home At Last
  3. I Got The News
  4. Josie

Apparently Steely Dan are known for being perfectionists in the recording studio, and that definitely comes through when you listen to this album. Start to finish, it’s got crisp orchestrations that go beyond just the recording quality (which really, the quality could be due to remastering). The tracks on this album ring with a very cohesive and intentional, groovy sound. The first track, “Black Cow”, sets the tone of the album with slow mix of synths, guitar, and some smooth-sounding horns. Its a great combo. That said, the first track isn’t one of my favourites, but it definitely captured my interest.

I’ve listened to this album a few times, and what I’ve noticed is that there are lots of intriguing lyrical references (Black Cow is actually something like a mix of coke and root beer, sometimes with ice cream…or alcohol. am I right?), but all those lyrical references are intermingled with songs that sound pleasant and have enough of a pop-twinge to fool you into thinking that they are sweet love songs. Most of them have to do with getting high, drunk escapades, or various ladies. At least I think so?

So what to say about this album…I can definitely hear the department store/elevator song on these albums, but I really dig the groovy jazz-rhythms and the precision on each recording. I looked up a photo of Steely Dan from this year, and they do not look like rockin’ gentlemen – they look like established, theoretical, and very-carefully orchestrated musicians. But what do I know?! Oh, and that was a total judgment. I know.

Again, great album, and I would recommend a listen. My advice would be to stick it out and listen to the entire album. Don’t turn it off after “Black Cow” like I wanted to.

Enjoy, friends!

#146 – Surrealistic Pillow (Jefferson Airplane)

In 150-125, Top 150 on April 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm

 

Album Art for Surrealistic Pillow, Jefferson Airplane‘s 1967 release.

Surrealistic Pillow is the album that brought Jefferson Airplane into international eyes and really helped the band take-off, from my understanding. Marty Balin, the band’s founder, had a desire to combine elements of The Beatles’ brit-rock influence with a more folk sound. The result of this desire was Jefferson Airplane, and their second album was Surrealistic Pillow, a 60s-70s flower-power, psychadelic, folk-rock album that has a few standout points and a few really recognizable tracks.

Side One

  1. She Has Funny Cars
  2. Somebody to Love
  3. My Best Friend
  4. Today
  5. Comin’ Back To Me

Side Two

  1. 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
  2. D.C.B.A. – 25
  3. How Do You Feel
  4. Embyronic Journey
  5. White Rabbit
  6. Plastic Fantastic Lover

For reference, I’ve been listening to albums a few times as background music, and a few times just listening to the lyrics and instruments. I’ve also been researching some basic information through Google and Wikipedia, to get some kind of understanding of the situation surrounding the release of different albums. I’ve also been checking out lyrics online.

As I mentioned, there are a few really recognizable tracks on this album that most people (including myself) would recognize, even if you didn’t realize you were listening to Jefferson Airplane (exhibit A, me). “Somebody to Love” and “How Do You Feel” both are familiar tracks. Oh, and “My Best Friend”.

Throughout this whole album, I definitely can hear that West-coast U.S.A., San Francisco free-spirited rock sound in this album. Especially in “My Best Friend”. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album, actually. I love the transition from verse to chorus, and the great vocals to back it up. This is just a really great, laid back tune that shows off how tight they play together.

Now at this point, I’m not sure what else to write. Listening to this album, once again, I guess I can hear why this is an iconic album. Like I’ve already mentioned, its got that sort of flower-power, San Fran sound that combines a more rootsy, folk sound with some great rock elements. I’m not sitting here listening to this album thinking “WOW, I LOVE THESE TRACKS”, but I definitely appreciate the significance of them in the evolution of music over the last 60 years. (Oh, I should mention that “Embryonic Journey” just came on as I’m writing this, and that’s definitely a track that stands out to me on this album. Funny, but true. It’s a really beautiful guitar track with a great sense of clarity from start to finish. It kind of feels like a 2-minute breath of pure, fresh air. I love it.)

In my research, I found that “White Rabbit” was one of two singles off this album that did really well. The other was “Somebody to Love”. I didn’t love White Rabbit actually, but I loved the album-ender, “Plastic Fantastic Lover” and how the lyrics forever place this album at the beginning of the personal computer era.

Interestingly enough, Jefferson Airplane only played together for about 6 years, and played their last gig in ’72. There were other bands that formed after, including Jefferson Starship and just Starship. Still, the original band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for a band that only last 6 years. Very cool.

Have a listen to this album. I think you’ll enjoy it. Or at least most of it.

Go (Jónsi)

In albums, current listenings on March 30, 2011 at 11:45 am

album art

Wow.

So first off, serious thanks to Alex Lepinski for this find. Alex and I were rehearsing a tune for the open mic on Jeju when we got side-tracked (surprised) and she played some of this awesome (literally, awe-some, as in…awe-inspiring) album for me.

Jónsi is the lead singer of a beautifully explorative band known as Sigur Rós (pronunciation here!), which, if you don’t know already, then there’s another new music suggestion for you. They’re an Icelandic, atmospheric-rock band (I made that up, but that’s what I think) with really powerful and intentional compositions that create a really liberating listening experience. Sigur Rós has a number of studio albums out. All of them are great, really but my favourite is probably ( ), released in 2002,  (yes, just parentheses). Favourite tracks are Untitled 4 and Untitled 8 (both from ( ).

Now, back to Jónsi. This album is a short, start-to-finish work of beauty and genius. I don’t really want to say much about it, because I feel like it’s better to explore it on your own, if you choose. It kind of feels like an art-project recorded onto a CD and presented for your ears to enjoy while your mind paints whatever pictures come to it. Seriously.

The album plays about 40 minutes in length, I believe. And once you’ve done that, you can check out the beautiful YouTube videos of the Go Quiet film, which was included in the deluxe edition of the disc as a DVD. It’s the entire album played as an acoustic set. And then, if you still haven’t had enough, check out some of the YouTube videos of the live performances. Jónsi and his new band (Sigur Rós is on hiatus for now) performed an extensive world-wide tour, which, I sadly missed. But watching these videos will make you fall even more into fascination with this fantastic album.

Check it out, and let me know what you think. I love it.

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