Monday, December 31, 2007

Final Singles of 2007 – Looking Forward to 2008!

My desk is close to being cleaned off and ready for lots of new music. Thanks to all the artists & their management & publicity teams for a great year here at eartaste!

While still not perfect, more and more the record companies are allowing the sale and download of single tracks so you can have a full ear taste of what an artist sounds like. I applaud this movement, and here are some singles I’ve tasted that you should take some time out to hear – for all the various reasons I’m always blabbing on about – the most important being these are great entertainment. Enjoy!

Alter Bridge - Watch Over You
Steve Earle - Satellite Radio
Carter USM - Perfect Day To Drop The Bomb b/w The Impossible Dream
Switches - Give Up The Ghost b/w Killer Karma
Ocean Colour Scene - I Told You So
Kissaway Trail - Smother + Evil = Hurt
Iron and Wine - Devil Never Sleeps

Friday, December 28, 2007

Singles You Should Hear

More and more the record companies are allowing the sale and download of single tracks so you can have a full ear taste of what an artist sounds like. I applaud this movement, and here are some singles I’ve tasted that you should take some time out to hear – for all the various reasons I’m always blabbing on about – the most important being these are great entertainment. Enjoy!

Nine Black Alps - Bitter End
Saves The Day - Lonely Nights
Serj Tankian - Sky Is Over
The Hoosiers - Worried About Ray
Stephen Duffy - No Direction
Wombats - Tales of Girls, Boys & Marsupials b/w Let’s Dance To Joy Division
Changes - When I Wake

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place

“Just as you take my hand/just as you write my number down/just as the drinks arrive/just as they play your favorite song”. The sound is surprising – like any decent garage band. That’s a compliment. They’re not going out of their way to be “different”, but to rock my socks off. That’s cool, very cool. “Before you run away from me/before you're lost between the notes/Just as you take the mic/just as you dance, dance, dance/Jigsaws falling into place/there is nothing to explain/Regard each other as you pass/she looks back, you look back/Not just once/not just twice”. Poetry for the ears. Shoutouts for All I Need (“I am a moth who justs wants to share your light. I’m just an insect trying to get out of the dark”), Nude (“Don't get any big ideas, they're not going to happen”) & House Of Cards (“I don't want to be your friend, I just want to be your lover, no matter how it ends”). Radiohead

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Karmic Whiplash - Pool

First there’s the lyrics. “Just because I genuflect doesn’t mean you have respect.” No, don’t ask me if I’m sure I know what it means. Just sounds really cool when he sings it. But, better than that. It really sounds like he’s dribbling a basketball back and forth between his hands as he’s singing. Really. Now, that’s cool. Never heard that done before, and I have respect for that. A bit into the song there is a guitar entering, but the ball still dribbles. Then, we’re back to the lyrics. “We were chained together by the things inside that let us fly.” Catchy enough to make me think it’d deeper than it probably is. Okay, picture the scene by the pool, and he sings: “You keep standing more erect, you have a steel rod in your neck.” There’s a lotta things happening in this song, and it bears up to repeated listening and contemplation. A+ in eartaste’s view. Shoutouts for Second Brain and Blindfold. Karmic Whiplash

Eat Sugar - I'm A Carrier

This humpday party continues on the dancefloor. Fun organ-like sounds run a riff, and the drums make sure my feet stay moving as the singer repeats “be yourself, not someone else”. The bass takes a quick solo that adds to the general attitude of joy. The shoutout tune is also a blast of energy, Sixteen. “Go girl!” Eat Sugar

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Lancashire Hotpots - I Met A Girl On Myspace

You can’t enter this joyful day without a joyful group to listen to. I won’t give away too much of the fun stuff, just be prepared to LYAO. “Oh, I got myself a myspace page, it really is the best. I logged onto it t’other day, it said 'new friend request'. It were from a lass in Lancashire, and I logged onto it. I saw the pictures in her profile. She had absolutely massive a-toora-oo-ly-ayes.” And on the story goes, with wonderfully natural Lancashire accents. Huge shoutouts for He’s Turned Emo & Christmas In Lancashire. Lancashire Hotpots

Monday, December 24, 2007

Jaymay - Hard To Say

“When will I get my chance to make the lilacs bloom, to decorate the tomb.” Definitely a wake up-song, complete with just the right amount of humor to make this Monday morning wake-up song a pleasure to hear. Bouncy, happy, and off-the wall. “Some children are so strange. I love the energy, especially when she becomes the scatting trumpeter. Shoutout for Grey Or Blue, a new favorite love song. "I watched you very closely, I saw you look away. Your eyes are either grey or blue, I'm never close enough to say." It’s exciting when one word can transform a life. The word here is “shake”. I am transformed. “I notice she’s your lover, but she’s nowhere near your heart.” Jaymay

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dion - Son Of Skip James

What a wonderful way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon. The voice has spoken to me personally since I first heard Runaround Sue & The Wanderer. Later, it was Abraham Martin & John. A few years passed and I discovered there was joy in Christian Music when Dion put out a trio of superb albums to dance and sing praise with. That was back in the days before Christian Music became a genre, and there were folks like Keith Green and Larry Norman along with Dion simply pouring their heart out in song. The days before dollars and greed ruled. Well, never one to be a part of a trend, Dion is now convincingly singing the blues starting with last year’s Bronx In Blue, which has shared many a moment on my turntable. I can assure you that the Son Of Skip James will also be next to the player for many months to come. Right from the opening bars of Nadine I knew I was hearing an instant classic. Acoustic blues, as if played on a modern recorder sitting next to Chuck’s bed as he was writing a blues that a few hours later in the studio would became a rock and roll classic. Shoutouts include the whole album. Dion - Son Of Skip James

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Celine Dion - Can't Fight The Feelin'

“I don’t know what it is, I really like the change.” That about says it all – I am excited by this new incarnation of an artist I usually can’t listen to longer than 5 minutes. “I’m hooked on a feeling, a natural high! You better believe it!” Celine has pulled out all the stops and put together a dance record worthy of any dance floor. Cute little line here “Love, love, love. And John Lennon said that’s all you need.” Not quite as cute as Larry Norman, who said “The Beatles said ‘all you need is love’ and then they broke up.” But then, Larry is in it for the irony & laughs. Celine is in this for entertainment, and she’s convinced me she wants to extend her audience to include fools like me. Shoutout for the soulful That's Just The Woman In Me. Celine Dion

Wyclef Jean - Fast Car

“Yeah, it’s those Jersey boys.” This Saturday night dance continues with a bit of fun and a lot of energy. “Every day is like the wild wild west, some of us are bad boys – some of us are outlaws.” The musicians carry on the beat of fun with obvious pleasure and joy. But the buildup of fun is quickly devastated as the fast car story expands is at the foot of a sixteen year old who will not see 17 because she was hit by the fast car. Excellent build-up, and a fascinating downer moment that knocks our emotions around – as they should be from time to time. Literature hidden in the form of popular music. I love it. Shoutouts for Any Other Day, On Tour and Heaven's In New York. Wyclef Jean

Friday, December 21, 2007

Kid Rock - Rock 'n' Roll Jesus

“Get up and dance, I’m gonna set you free.” Gotta say, as much as I think there’s a bit of sacrilege going on, it’s all done in fun. “Just like a cold wind blowin' can you feel me comin' for you/Just like a freight train rollin' packed tight full of rhythm and blues.” Rock this Friday night away with total freedom, while Kid Rock is spitting out vindictive against racism and the control big business has over our lives. “Sittin' high on a mountain top, holdin' shop singin' the raw dog blues like in old Mississippi's dirty cotton fields, or in Detroit City's unforgotten wheels. It's the same song spinning but the same song's always been true.” Shoutouts for Amen, All Summer Long, Roll On, New Orleans, and Lowlife (Living The Highlife). Kid Rock

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Killers – Tranquilize

“Silently, reflection turns my world to stone/Patiently, correction leaves us all alone/And sometimes I’m travel man/But tonight this engine's failing.” Advertised as a collection of b-sides and rarities, it’s all new to me, and I had a great time listening to this song. The voice can’t be hidden, so if you haven’t heard it yet, this is one of Lou Reed’s most energetic performances in a long time. I love Lou Reed, but lately he hasn’t made me dance this hard. Or pray so hard. “We’re the ones who still believe/And we’re looking for a page/In that lifeless book of hope/Where a dream might help you cope/With the Bushes and the bombs/Aha, Tranquilized.” Shoutout for the wonderfully retro-flavors of Take Me To The Place Where The White Boys Dance.” Killers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Michelle Shocked - Lonely Planet

Marguaritas on a hump day on my lonely planet. Michelle whispers in my ear and I am not reluctant to dance in my backyard with the trumpets blaring. “Te quiero, te amo. ¿Quieres casarte conmigo?” I am pleased to sing in the chorus. “Me gustaria que quederamos como amigos.” I am pleased to know that loneliness can be shared. Shoutouts for Wanted Man, Picoesque, 180 Proof, Weasel Be Poppin' and Blackjack Heart. Wait? What am I saying? You got it. The whole album is great fun. Enjoy! Michelle Shocked

Monday, December 17, 2007

Richie Kotzen - Can You Feel It

It’s Monday, and having wake-up songs is important to me on Monday. This definitely foots the bill. The lyrics are a good-old-fashioned love song, but the star here is the guitar playing. I can feel it, and I’m very glad to feel it. “I have a feeling you’re gonna make me love again, I really mean it.” Don’t judge a lyric on a page – you need to hear it with the shredding guitar solos. Great fun, and perfect wake-up tune. Richie Kotzen

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Boyz II Men – War

“War has shattered many young man’s dreams, made him disabled, bitter and mean.” Excellent album. These men (no boys here anymore, except in spirit) add subtle changes to classic Motown tunes, making them their own without overwhelming the power Motown has always held over our hearts and minds. I chose war to discuss, but all the tunes are good listens. “They say we must fight to keep our freedom, but Lord knows there's got to be a better way. “
Boyz II Men

Saturday, December 15, 2007

SPiN – Playing Dead

I love it when a group is truly a group. This cut starts with the drummer keithmooning all over the place, and the lead guitar player chasing a metal pop sound through the heavens of beautiful noize. The lead singer convincingly growls “first impressions can delight me”. My first impression of these guys is absolute delight, especially as the song progresses and band members vocally join to create harmonies that are especially delicious in this power-pop tune. ½ way through they begin a vocal call & response that has me hopping all over the room in glee. Exciting! SPiN

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ween – Fiesta

Friday party album. Good for every flavor you need. Fast dance, slow dance, old dance, new dance, stodge dance, freak dance. These guys pull it all off, with their tongues deep in their cheek as I chew up each piece with pleasure. Shoutouts for Shamemaker, Sweetheart In The Summer, Woman And Man, and Your Party ( great way to end a party – “I could have danced all night”!). Ween

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rocky Velvet - Poor Poor Lonely Me

I hope your rubber souls are siliconized, because you’ll be burning. I prefer leather, stuck some cardboard in the holes because the blisters on my feet kept smoking off. These guys have no mission in life other than getting us all out on the dance floor. Retro? Maybe. Sounds kinda like a good 50’s R&R band, but the clarity of the sound lets you know this was recorded more recently. Shoutout for Built Like a Rock & Screamin' Mimi Jeanie. Rocky Velvet

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Modest Mouse - Missed the Boat

“While we’re on the subject, can we change the subject now?” The music is focused on invited me to dance, and it does a good job of that. The narrator begs me to listen, and I try (while his bandmates keep adding curious little flavors of enjoyment making it difficult to focus). Who wants to focus while dancing? Sure, there’s probably a good story here, but my feet are happy enough for you to figure it out yourself. “We didn’t read the invite, we just danced it all away.” Shoutouts for Dashboard, Education and Little Motel. Modest Mouse

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Alicia Keyes – Superwoman

“Put an ‘S’ on my chest.” I’m one of those guys who think this song should be in the repertoire of all women who deal with the crap dealt with them by society every day. “I hang my head from sorrow/Slave to humanity/I wear it on my shoulders/Gotta find the strength in me.” My favorite piece of crap philosophy handed out by our government is that a mother can be ‘non-working’. “For all the mothers fighting for better days to come. . . no one knows me underneath these clothes/But I can fly. . .we can fly!” Tasty & danceable. Shoutouts for No One & Lesson Learned. Alicia Keyes

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brian Setzer Orchestra - Wolfgang's Big Night

Out A full album of stand-out cuts. Wolfgang woulda been dancing with me. In fact, he is. He’s not rolling over in his grave, he’s here dancing with me. These are Brian’s arrangements of some classical tunes, including Mozart’s 5th Symphony. If you’ve somehow missed Brian’s work, this is 40’s jazz in full bloom with great sound & fuller depth of field due to current recording techniques. Deep, rich sonics. And, just as some folks have put lyrics to some classic jazz tunes, Brian has added some up-to-date boogie lyrics to go along with a few of these boogie classics. I’ll never hear Grieg exactly the same again! Thanks, Brian, for the blast! Mozart is very close to a Spike Jones send-up! The Blue Danube is another trip altogether. And, how the heck is God going to let those Meryy Gentlemen ever rest again? They are the new dancin' fools! A full album of fun. Brian Setzer Orchestra

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blake – Hallelujah

While this is not a Christmas album, per se, the choral arrangements make the release of this at holiday time make sense. Hallelujah, the old song by Leonard Cohen, is surrounded by angels here, despite (or perhaps because of) its thoughtful questioning of "god above". The shout-out tunes also work well as holiday music. Vide Cor Meum (“I am in peace my heart”) is performed in the original latin written for the movie Hannibal, based on a sonnet by Dante. In The Bleak Midwinter, the poem by Christina Rosetti, speaks eloquently of the birth of Jesus:

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate, Jesus Christ

The final verse is one we all ponder. What gift can I bring to my Savior? Of course Christina provides the answer of the catechism, one I’ve never found a way to improve upon: “Give my heart”. Blake

Norah Jones - Peace

An old song, re-released for Christmas 2007. Still beautiful.

there's a place that i know where the sycamores grow
and daffodils have their fun
where the cares of the day seems to slowly fade away
and the glow of the evening sun
peace when the day is done

if i go there real late, let my mind meditate on everything to be done
if i search deep inside, let my conscience be my guide
then the answers are sure to come
don't have to worry none

when you find a piece of mind
leave you worries behind
don't say that it can't be done
with a new point of view
life's true meaning comes to you
and the freedom you seek is one
peace is for everyone
peace is for everyone
peace is for everyone

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dana Fuchs Band - Oh! Darling

This cut is featured in the soundtrack Across The Universe. Let’s not talk about the album. The performances by the Dana Fuchs Band, tho, are great fun; truly believable. The other shoutout by this band is Helter Skelter. One other cut on this set worth hearing many times is Joe Cocker pulling out all the stops on Come Together. The link that follows will allow you to download single cuts. Across The Universe

Metal Friday – Hammerfall & Helloween

Hammerfall - Steel Meets Steel: Ten Years Of Glory
I don’t often review the “best of” collections that come here, but Hammerfall is not a household name. Should be. The musicianship is excellent, the song composition, tho retro, is well done. The focus of these guys as songwriters appears to be an age of glory with heroes,swords & dragons. Pure fanstasy, pure fun. Hammerfall

Helloween - Gambling With The Devil
These folks are much more well known, a great group of musicians from Germany. While I might quarrel with their theology, that’s not what makes for good music. I admit I am not enthralled by people encouraging young folks to gamble with the devil – the truth is Dante wrote a long treatise on Hell that is not supposed to steal a young man’s faith. These guys are definite masters of the genre, and perform with an intensity worth enjoying. As I listen along to these guys, I kinda get the message that they feel the gamblers will win. “The saints are marching again and harvest souls/the saints are marching again in harmony”, and “I Don’t Know If Heaven Tells No Lies” give new the impression that they are leading the listener into different mindscapes worthy of the journey. A youngster needs to question their faith so that they become stronger on their understanding of why they believe what they believe. If a pop group leads them “astray”, chances are very good their faith was not deeply rooted in truth. Helloween

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Andy Votel - One Nation #3

Humor and music have always been friends. I’m thinking of this guy as a one-man Spike Jones Orchestra. His instrument is old records, with bits taken off to become new creations. Sounds a bit off? It is, but also, obviously took a lot of time and energy because it all works seamlessly. None of the cuts have titles, so I have simply called this one #3 because it’s the third cut. Starts of with a guitar, some horse-like yelling, some German sounding pop-soul. Although the back covers makes it clear it could also be Finnish or Swedish, or even Japanese. Sounds like “Who culled the booze from Harvey Benershein?” This morphs into some 70’s funk, complete with horns. “Ich mienen singin kann.” Returns to 60’s psychedelic, and beyond. “Cinderella’s seen her day.” Great fun, from a funny guy. Andy Votel

Music Trivia Contest!

NOTE: The contest is officially over. I am leaving the folder available for download for those folks who enjoy playing parlor games with their friends. The answers are posted below. Lots of ways to play - make up your own rules =:-)

Welcome to our music trivia contest. There are 31 songs (one for each day of December) that were huge hits between 1950-1999.

The rules are simple. Listen to the few seconds of each song, write the artist & song title down next to the file #. [Example: 000 Beatles - Hey Jude.] When you are finished send your answers to eartaste(at)

The first 5 people to send in a complete list will receive 4 random disks from my desk.

As a bonus, if you include the year in which the song was a hit, I'll send 10 disks from my desk. [Example: 008 1968 - Beatles - Hey Jude].

Right-click on the url below to download the 31 files (1MB)

Have fun, and good luck! EDIT: Still need 2 winners!!!

EDIT Dec2: Tony from Noises626 sent in 24 correct answers just a few hours after this was posted. There's still a lot of time this month, so he may just find the rest! Great work, Tony!

EDIT Dec2: Jorge from Argentina is our first winner. Package will be in the mail soon.

EDIT Dec2: 2nd winner - Erin from California! Package will be in the mail soon.

EDIT Dec3: We have our 3rd winner! Judy, the manager of the Eartasted band, The Spoon Benders, sent her list in, complete with dates! Her package will be in the mail soon!

EDIT Dec4: 4th winner is Brett from Maryland!! Package soon!

EDIT Dec 5: This contest is officially over. John from Wisconsin shall receive a packet in the mail.

I've also decided the right thing to do is award a small packet to Tony, who was the first responder and is too busy creating music for us to enjoy nest year to focus on 7 stray cuts =-) Tony, by the way, recorded one of the top 23 albums of 2007 on eartaste's lists! Thanks to all the participants, and thanks for the encouragement to try this again in the future. I'm thinking of something a bit harder, like name the song that instrumental break comes from =:-) We'll see.

001 1957 - Chuck Berry - Rock and Roll Music
002 1954 - Big Joe Turner - Shake, Rattle & Roll
003 1968 - Steppenwolf - Born to Be Wild
004 1966 - Percy Sledge - When a Man Loves a Woman
005 1971 - Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
006 1976 - Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town
007 1982 - Joan Jett - I Love Rock N Roll
008 1989 - B-52s - Love Shack
009 1994 - Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
010 1990 - Sinead OConnor - Nothing Compares 2 U
011 1965 - Rolling Stones - I Cant Get No Satisfaction
012 1956 - Elvis Presley - Hound Dog
013 1991 - Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
014 1987 - U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
015 1972 - Stevie Wonder - Superstition
016 1957 - Buddy Holly - Not Fade Away
017 1979 - Donna Summer - Hot Stuff
018 1976 - Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
019 1965 - Temptations - My Girl
020 1964 - Bob Dylan - The Times They Are a-Changin
021 1956 - Little Richard - Long Tall Sally
022 1963 - Kingsmen - Louie Louie
023 1971 - John Lennon - Imagine
024 1971 - Marvin Gaye - Whats Going On
025 1967 - Aretha Franklin - Respect
026 1965 - Beatles - Yesterday
027 1954 - Ray Charles - I Got a Woman
028 1972 - Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side
029 1973 - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
030 1970 - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Who'll Stop the Rain
031 1968 - Otis Redding - Sittin on the Dock of the Bay

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Olympic Lifts - I Am Cursed

Give me a monkey laugh and I am ready to party. This record starts off with a great monkey laugh, then jumps right into a bubble-gum babble of barely beveled eye-I-eyes. This first single from an album to be released next month is truly fun stuff. “The best song title ever written in the history of the world, I wrote it on the back of my hand” begins the narrator. The battle of the background horns alternate between sounding brass and sounding plastic, which is not as bad as it sounds on paper. You just have to hear some things to appreciate them, and this is worth digging out. Remember how good Charlie Parker sounded in Canada with a plastic saxophone, and you’ll understand. “Monkey, monkey do, I am cursed!” Olympic Lifts

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

John Fogerty - River Is Waiting

An anthem of hope. I need hope, and John is helping me face the future with this small island of understanding that everything we are facing can change by a simple election. Now, if only we can get these gals and guys who want to be President to start talking about their plans for the NCLB, I’d have some true hope. In the meantime, I’ll allow John’s music to help me float away down the river and hope that one, just one, will stop accepting the money from the testing companies and rise up against the collateral damage caused by the sad state of corruption present in our public schools. Thank you John, for helping me to maintain some sense of hope for the future, and the prayer that I can soon “lift my face to the new day that’s rising.” Shoutouts for Somebody Help Me & the cow-bell ridden Longshot. John Fogerty

Monday, December 03, 2007

Aly & Aj - Potential Breakup Song

Wake up this week dancing to high-energy pop! With a fun lyric. The song starts like a 60’s song in space (“as I walk along I wonder”), but quickly pops my brain into 2007 when the synthesized drum pops the speaker out about two inches! “It took too long for you to call back, and normally I would just forget that, except for the fact it was my birthday, my stupid birthday.” I can hear the fireworks slamming hard, and the title tells what the narrator is thinking. Fun song, fun beat & great start to a work-week. And, hey, if your girlfriend’s birthday is this week, pay attention! Shoutouts for Bullseye, a treatise on sexists (“every guy is out for the kill”), and Like Whoa (“Life is good, I can’t complain. I mean I could, but no one’s listening.”) Aly & Aj

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Jade Gallagher - Leavin'

The guitars & bass make this Sunday afternoon come alive as Jade doesn’t “mind leaving the lie.” Actually an upbeat song where she is free to closes her “eyes in freefall” and steadies herself on the freeway. “I look over my shoulder and don’t see you anymore.” The town nearby has a factory closing after the first of next year, and there’s lots of bitterness in the air about that. 250 people will be out of work. In a town of 9,000 folks, that’s a huge amount – especially since it’s the only employer that is not a school or a walmart. I’m sure with all the bad tastes in people’s mouths, they’d love to be singing this song as they leave to find their future elsewhere. “Got a trunk full of tricks, gotta lotta ideas flying through my head!” Shoutouts for Iris, Haunting Me, and the beautiful cover of The Way You Look Tonight. Jade Gallagher

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Time Is Here Again

The Beatles sang this little ditty on their 1967 fan club recording and for some reason it comes back to my ears every year. It’s time to buy some holiday music, and I will again recommend the
New Fountain Christmas
as a good place to start if you enjoy good old fashioned down-home holiday music floating around the air where you live. I’ve pulled it out again this year, along with a few new ones that popped in that make me reach for eggnog & cookies. I’m not going to bother with the loads of compilations that came in this year. They are all fun, but I know you can find them just about anywhere you’re shopping this season. I saw some at my local food mart. You know those – Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Elton John, etc. I’m going to focus on those you’ll need to purposely seek out that are worth the search.

Deviations Project - Hark The Herald Angels Sing
An interesting concept – mix what we used to call “new age” music with a great violin player, and a drop or two or ginger with the sugar and you have some cookies worth eating all season long. What we call in the trade – a fun stocking stuffer. However, I just read in their blog that the actual album has been delayed, so you will need a fast download site to access the album from emusic or itunes if you want your copy this year (which you should). That’s actually pretty cool, cause you can stuff the stocking with an mp3 player this year.

Joe Wrabek - I'm Giving Mom A Dead Dog For Christmas
I have to let you know I’ve been listening to this song since early Spring, and I have been itching to tell you about it forever. Sure, it’s a Christmas song, but it’s also just plain fun. I almost did a mid-summer Christmas special for this one, but decided to wait till now. This one is a classic that will ride along with Grandma got Run Over By A Reindeer for years and years to come. The link I found to this song includes the lyrics, so I won’t bother to re-create them here. Well, since you insist, I’ll share just one line, “I know she’ll think that he’s all right ‘cause he don’t bark, and he don’t bite and he’s not the kind of dog that runs away…” Now you should add a bit of brandy to your eggnog right now (unless you’re a Christmas beer fan only, then go raid the fridge), go read the rest of the lyrics, and be ready to laugh this Christmas season away with honest, heartfelt joy. Thanks, Joe! And thanks also for the shoutouts, Santa’s Fallen And He Can’t Get Up, and the equally hilarious Can I Have Your Car When The Rapture Comes?

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Donovan - Love Floats

And so do I. With just a slight taste of Barabajagal. Floating is my way of surviving, and I manage to do that every day. This guy doesn’t put out many albums anymore, but when he does they are worth savoring. Shoutouts for Poor Man’s Sunshine, The Way, Beat Café, and a re-visit of Season of the Witch. Donovan

John Fogerty – In The Garden b/w She’s Got Baggage

Yesterday’s album left me thirsty for more John, and I played this album several hundred times today, so that’s all I really have to talk about, and I don’t care. I’m real keen on talking about new music, but this one is good enough for you to drag out of the closet, so I’m simply in the position to remind you to do just that! Shoutouts for every song on this sexy album. John Fogerty – Deja Vu

Thursday, November 29, 2007

John Fogerty - Summer Of Love

I talked up many of the cuts of this album when it first came out, might as well fill you in on the rest because this album can’t stay off my turntable. Summer Of Love is a fun visit of many songs from that era, while still managing to sound distinctly Fogerty. I hear Hendrix, Airplane, Fish, and so much more in a brief three minutes. It helps to remember that the four guys were playing local clubs in and around SF & Oakland in the “Summer of Love”, and it’s obvious the influences were deeply soaked in. Shoutouts for Somebody Help Me and Don't You Wish It Was True. John Fogerty - Revival

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eartaste: The 23 Top Albums of 2007

I will stand by every single I've reviewed this past year. I still love listening to every song. Albums, though, are another whole animal. To be able to listen to a full set by one artist, well, they just have to be extremely special for me to enjoy them. I have many albums in my collection, of course, but end up bookmarking favorite cuts off albums and listening to them over and over. It's a rare pleasure to find an album that holds together listen after listen, and provides a full enjoyment for these ears. My plan was to select the best 23 albums of the year. I know, a bit corny, one indie release per month, and one major release per month. Also, I figured 24 albums would give approx 24 hours of pure pleasure. In the final run-through, I couldn't find more than 23. I had no desire to list an almost-ran, as that wouldn't be fair to the absolute best. 15 are indie (I couldn't decide if Tiny Masters was on a major label, so I decided to include them as major label), and 8 major label releases. I list them now because if you are looking for Christmas gifts for a friend or relative that loves music, I will stand by all of these.

These are listed in the order they appeared on eartaste. All are equal favorites, so give them all a #1, or 5 stars, or however you rate your albums.

The Histrioniks - About This Girl
Alex Arrowsmith - Applewine
Roy Davis - Grey Town
Talia Segal - Nonprophet
Ben Godwin - Skin And Bone
Koopa - Blag Steal and Borrow
Mooney Suzuki -Have Mercy
Rickie Lee Jones - The Sermon On Exposition Blvd
The Red Button - She's About To Cross My Mind
The Aggrolites - The Aggrolites
Threshold - Sum Blues
Swampdawamp - Swampdawamp
Kemp Harris - Edenton
Bowling For Soup - The Great Burrito Extortion Case
Noise626 - An Infinite Shade of Gray
Landonband - Defying The Stereotype
Smug - Freshly Stained
Evan Page (Screaming Mee-Mees) - No Ordinary Girl
Tiny Masters Of Today - Bang Bang Boom Cake
Olivea Watson - Way Down Deep
Patti Scialfa - Play It As It Lays
John Fogerty - Revival
Ray Davies - Working Mans Café

If your music-loving friend stays current with every new release they can get their hands on, chances are they'll have many of the above. If you want to buy a gift that'll last a lifetime of appreciation, you'll never stop hearing thanks if you gift wrap any one of these expensive box sets:

Motown Complete Singles Vol 1
Motown Complete Singles Vol 2
Motown Complete Singles Vol 3
Motown Complete Singles Vol 4
Motown Complete Singles Vol 5
Motown Complete Singles Vol 6
Motown Complete Singles Vol 7

Northern Soul Story Vol 1-4

Vol 1 Twisted Wheel
Vol 2 Golden Torch
Vol 3 Blackpool Mecca
Vol 4 Wigan Casino

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

46Bliss - This Light

A tinkle sound, not quite a child’s piano, but something like jars filled with water to different depths introduce us to a dirge “inside my mind” Very effective. Dirge perhaps is a wrong term, perhaps more of a hymn of meditation. There is only one line, repeated twice, where we find the author’s mind is “washed in this light.” Shoutouts for Joan of Arc, 2B1, and All Over Now. Thanks! 46Bliss

Johnny Bennett - Chance Meeting

The background organ from 46Bliss keeps droning for awhile and a lightly handled bass bass enters the proceedings, then Wham! The narrator says “Thanks for keeping me in the mix.” You’re very welcome. “Then she’s gone.” That’s it. The guitar enters and we’re having a rock and roll party! “It’s like broken dreams.” The drums play just enough to make my feet move, and the occasional stop is great for a giggle as my feet tangle. “I said now come on over here, make up your mind.” I have my mind made up – this is fun, and worth savoring. Shoutouts for This Year’s Lie & Exit Sign (with his best Jagger impression, the narrator says “I’m crashing everything, I can’t believe I’m still alive”). Johnny Bennett

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Donnas - Save Me

“I want it louder/I want it wreckless/you know I want it all!” Ain’t no better way to wake up than pure rock and roll reminding me “I’m going to party till the day I die!” Up-beat, loud and angry, even with the up-beat lyrics. “Take me away tonight!” We’re even graced with a good, old fashioned lead-guitar solo. Shoutouts for the mostly instrumental Bitchin', Don't Wait For Me, & Here For The Party. The Donnas

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

David Jordan - Sun Goes Down

Hump day high-stepping. "Open your eyes 'cause another day is dawning." Mix a bit of soul with some fun dance music and you are going to join me on the dance floor – “Dance like you are the only one around . . . dance as you want till the sun goes down!” Shoutout for Move On. David Jordan

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Neil Young – Believer

“Like that songbird singing, whether it’s red or blue.” I always love this guy, sneaking in a slight little political statement into a cute little song about trusting those around him. After all, that is truly what life is about, isn’t it? Trusting those who are holding you up. “Just like those church bells ringing, I’m keeping my faith in you.” The entire album is a retro ride back about 30 years ago, maybe more. The production values are wonderfully retro. The question I’ve wondered before, and wonder again is – can a guy who has been churning these out for 40 years be retro, or could we simply call him naturally & honest old? Whatever your decision, the album has a classic feel of integrity. Neil Young

Eagles - No More Walks In The Wood

“This is the aftermath of afternoons in the clover fields where we once made love then wandered home together.” Gotta admit I thought this was a Crosby, Stills & Nash outtake of a Graham Nash song. Doesn’t matter – it sounds great & makes my ears thirsty for more. We’ve discussed retro/old guys very recently, so we’ll leave this short. “Lasted as long as we could.” The album will not disappoint any Eagles fans. The Eagles

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Angie Stone - My People

“How can we stay strong?” While it sounds simple – hold up your head and stay strong, it’s very obvious that we are living in a country that does not want the people holding their head up or staying strong. Keep citizens in deep debt so they need to work 2 or 3 jobs to survive, using their strength to survive day to day, not to hold our heads up and see the truth of poverty and oppression around us. Songs like this tell us it’s possible to rise up out of the poverty and oppression on an individual basis. But not as a group. The group “rise” won’t happen until the people band together in strength and purpose against the oppressors. Important song because it makes me think about the individuals that have broken the mold and the need to focus on the group being able to "rise up". Besides, there is pure fun is at the very end of this song, and I’ll leave that for you to discover. Shoutout for Go Back To Your Life and Happy Being Me. Angie Stone

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Retro Saturday

In honor of Newsweek quoting so liberally from the philosophy of eartaste in their cover story this week, 60’s R&R flavors are featured tonight with blues –rock circa 1966 (The Shake), psychedelic flavors circa 1967 (Last American Buffalo), Americana rock circa 1968 (1st CCR album appeared and celebrated in 2007 by John Fogerty), and huge stadium aor rock circa 1969 (Ian Gillan).

The Shake – Outcast

Recalling the era of 1966 when many US bands were imitating the British bands who were imitating the R&B stars of the 50’s, this fun music starts the party with excitement and the irresistible “yeah”. Tough-guy stance, with a snarl that is indecipherable but fun to listen to. The story seems to be making fun of a guy whose girl the narrator is going to steal. “You can’t sleep without your lights, and you know it’s not alright.” And this cute remark: “all the pictures that I’ve seen of you look out of place”, along with “at a party the the one who doesn’t get the gag.” Yep, people are mean to each other, but it’s fun. In real life, I probably woulda been the butt of this song, but that’s okay, it’s great fun, but better yet – the music is real & exciting. Shoutouts to the equally retro songs Devil’s Side & Manic Boogie. Definite party enhancers. The Shakes

Last American Buffalo - She's Alright

“Stoned in paisley, summer stolen February, Portugese suntanner lips and sympathy. . .” Psychedelic lyrics and psychedelic music recalling the flavors of the summer of love with honest retro instrumentation and fuzz vocals. “Catchy catchy catholic cigarillo, shaken hands to stunt the afterglow.” Got it? Neither do I, but the fuzz guitar solo and wonderful organ playing take me back forty years with much pleasure. Last American Buffalo is not all retro, tho. They shine at some 2007 country with Pistol, and the end-of-a-2007-credits-music-for-an-unknown-film-where-the-credits-music-is-better-than-the-2-hours-that-preceded-it-song called Sunshine. “In the bright-lit expanse of you, the space in this room is too small.” Last American Buffalo

John Fogerty - Creedence Song

Okay, I admit it’s cheating a bit to include John Fogerty in a 60’s retro night. Can it be called retro when he’s sounding as great as he did in 1968? Probably not. Doesn’t matter. Creedence song is great fun ‘cause it’s about a band on the road that “can’t go wrong if you play a little bit of that Creedence song.” LOL!!! And, to make it a true R&R song, the last verse promises that you can make some time with the girl you plan to marry “if you play a little bit of that Creedence song.” Great fun all around, especially with the guitar and bass steadily groovin’ the rockin’ night away. From a wonderful album, filled with many musical and good old-fashioned philosophical flavors. Shoutouts for the hot Natural Thing & slow dance ready Broken Down Cowboy. John Fogerty

Ian Gillan - When a Blind Man Cries

“If you’re leavin’, close the door. I’m not expecting people anymore. Hear me grievin’, lyin’ on the floor. Whether I’m druink or dead I’m really not too sure.” You really shouldn’t give people ideas about getting this wasted at a party, I know, but this is such a beautiful tune I have to play it for my own sanity. The guitar and organ solos are wonderfully moving and emotionally perfect. “When a blind man cries you feel it from his soul.” Shoutout for Sugar Plum. Ian Gillian

Free Albums from our Saturday Night Gift Exchange

EDIT: Both CDs were claimed SUNDAY morning, when I woke up and had barely poured my first cup of coffee. Burgandy's album will be heading toward C.B. in Wisconsin, and the Tango album will be heading toward L.C. in Florida. Great job, quick response!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We have two gifts this week, in exchange for whoever answers the questions first by sending an email to [removed after winners announced to discourage spam].

Luck Media has sent us a copy of Burgandy Brown's "My Lucky 13" to send out to the 1st person who can tell me what song of hers was reviewed at Eartaste.

Putumayo World Music has sent us a copy of Tango Around The World to give away to the 1st person who can name every Putumayo recording we featured this year.

Good luck! -Rich

Friday, November 16, 2007

Putumayo Presents: Tango Around the World

I recently had the privilege of watching a DVD set of all ten hours of a TV broadcast from Buenos Aires, Días Y Noches De Tango. I know that watching a TV show is a far cry from making one an expert on anything, but I do feel much more informed. I learned, not because they said it, but because I experienced it, that Tango goes far beyond music and dance. Music and dance is integral, of course, but the deepest magic of Tango is it’s poetry. As I watched the words in English flash along the bottom of the screen I grew to realize just how shallow most of the music I listen to is. Even in translation the words were bleeding emotions we seldom explore.

In one of the interview segments I learned from the Tango philosopher Mayoral that "A tango is a tuxedo that's been taken off and laid in the mud outside a brothel and maintains it's dignity when worn."

Jorge, a friend in Argentina who shared the DVD series with me also shared a place to read Tango lyrics translated by a poet instead of the very rough translations offered on the DVD set: Planet Tango. Well, life doesn’t live itself in a void, so the day after I finished watching the set, in popped this marvelous new Tango compilation from Putumayo. The flavors are modern versions of Tango from some of the best Tango conclaves around the world. Argentina may be the birthplace, but the Tango has continued to grow and survive in Africa, Greece, Norway, Finland, Brazil, and others all featured in this set.

The entire album made for a pleasant Tango evening here at the eartaste residence, with some drinking a sangria style wine and others drinking Heineken. The food was what we call Mexican pizza – tortillas with beans, cheese and salsa baked open-faced in the oven. Scrumptious flavors, tasty beverages and world dance music, a very pleasant evening indeed. Shoutouts go to M.A. Numminen & Sanna Pietiäinen from Finland for Kangastus, Florencia Bonadeo & Melingo of Argentina for Lionel the Ugly, and Ariel Prat & Juan Cáceres also from Argentina for the wonderful African flavored tune José Mármol y Tarija.

The point of all this is that Tango, a huge early 20th century art has gracefully entered the 21st century with flavors that transcend time and continue the growth of an art that is committed to sharing the spiritual depths of philosophy in a way that entertains and pleases. Tango Around The World

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anna Stafford – Bread

An interesting year for this reviewer. Not one original string quartet composer, but two. The composers travel on two different planes. Where Nataliya Medvedovskaya was traditional, and told a full story with her pieces, Anna is reaching for an audience with pop sensibilities, like myself. I appreciate both approaches to composition. I found that Bread introduced me to the value in a light-hearted piece of serious composition, nothing to challenge my expectations, but lovely enough for me to think how this would sound great live at a dinner party, whereas Nataliya’s work would sound perfect in a concert hall. Besides that, what eartaster would ever leave bread on the table? This one is worth savoring.

The shoutout tune, Green Walls, is also intriguing – it starts off very light, almost Beatlesque in tone, and half way through develops a voice of its own, exploiting the strengths of the voices working together to create storm-like tonalities for a climax, with a repeat to reassure us that composition still includes anti-climax to bring the listener down. Feels like a love song, with an argument in the middle. Of course, they kiss and make up by the end. Traditional pop with strings, complete with a totally expected ending. Fun stuff. Anna Stafford

Monday, November 12, 2007

Alex Arrowsmith – Nuke (from Missing Briefcase)

“I feel good every time you test a weapon.” Yep, good old fashioned patriotism. Kill ‘em even before they think about killing you – just in case. “I’m so glad that I grew a third eye.” Gotta make sure you can see the truth, right? Nuke ‘em. What good is the world anyway? “If you wanna claim Palestine, you’re gonna need an expert web design.” Lots of people making bucks off this, so why not some poor old web designer? Nuke ‘em. Nuke ‘em good. Does Alex have his tongue deep in his cheek? Dunno. Not sure I do either. Some days I think a strategically placed nuke atop the white house would do this entire globe some good. Course I could probably be tossed in jail for saying such a thing in public. Oh well, maybe my tongue is deep in my cheek. Let’s hope so anyway.

Back to reality – Alex Arrowsmith has rocked my world and helped me view the globe from many perspectives, and I am very happy that his music has become an integral part of my listening pleasure. I won’t repeat all the cool characters he’s written about that have enriched my life. Click here for tastes of that.

I will say that this new album rates up there with the rest of his classic output. He is into indie rock for the long term, and that is indeed a pleasure to know. This new album is called Missing Briefcase, which sounds like the scenario of what it’ll be like when the President loses his. Or simply the one that got lost when the rabbit was running into the hole too fast and forgot which hole he left it at. Life happens. Click here to see his other thrilling albums.

Some of the shoutouts on Missing Briefcase are Eternal Return (“Messing with time and space is as easy as it sounds because I’ve been in love with you before”) and The Zaps (“My mind is out of phase, it stays in a daze”). I’ll write more about the rest of the fun tunes on this album in January, 2008 or before I can’t help myself (like tonight). “My mind is incomplete.” In the meantime, stayed tuned at Alex’s World.

PS: Do not listen to High Speed Chase while driving. I got my purple 3 cylinder Geo Metro all the way up to 76 MPH without thinking while listening to this tune. Just imagine if I had 4, 5 or 6 cylinders!

PPS: If it's not obvious about my tiny comments about talking about the rest of this album at a later date: what that means is that this entire album is worth your ears taking the time to taste over and over. Some very cool stereo effects, as well as tasty guitars when needed, and "Elvis Presley coming back for more." Goodnight. All is well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jill Scott - Celibacy Blues

A jazzy Sunday afternoon is always a pleasure. The song title gives away the emotion and tension involved with the passion in Jill’s voice. Lite bass, guitars and drums meander around the voice in total concentration. “This here celibacy is workin’ for me.” Jill Scott

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We Start Fires - Wicked Spell

“Your face in a mirror, you haven’t changed. I thought I knew you, now it goes to show they could have saved you if you’d just gone home.” So starts this tale, with the narrator asking many hard questions of herself. Most of the album rocks derivatively, so this cut sticks out – a thoughtful meditation with music that keeps the narration moving in a rock steady manner. “Nothing ever turns out…” brings out some personal thoughts, but then I’m hit with the whammy – “time moves faster when you’re broken.” Something for me to meditate on because I’ve often felt the opposite. Do we each experience time in a different way? Has anyone investigated this possibility. What does it mean? Nice tune, great words, fine single with honestly tough production values. I love the way the opening flavors come back to enhance the ending. We Start Fires

Friday, November 09, 2007

SixNationState - Caught The Sun

“Tonight I caught the sun and took it out for everyone. Last night I stole the moon in front of me for everyone to see.” Well, one never knows what a guy whose “love has gone away” is gonna do, but the one narrating this tale is having a good time doing it. Music is upbeat rock with lotsa little wonderful flavors for this eartaster to enjoy. Shoutout for Taken Me Over. SixNationState

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Milburn – Lo And Behold

“Time has taken its toll. You say that you’re in control, so now’s the time to be bold.” Fun lyric, sung acapella, then ska, then full-bore rock. Sounds profound, but relax – it’s pure entertainment with an everlasting upbeat. Milburn

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Burgandy Brown – Basics

Ouch, I am experiencing this exciting hump day with some hot guitar pickin! We are flying all around the floor. “Let’s get back to the basics!” What basics you ask? Easy! “Live more, laugh more, love more, and hug more! That’s what we need.” Amen to that. The band on this entire album is outstanding. Shoutouts for Sounds Like Cryin’, Porcelain Doll & Lady Like. Many flavors worth tastin’ over and over. Burgandy Brown

Steve Richard – Stomp

Burgandy started this hump party evening off hot, so let’s keep it going with some southern flavored Stomp! A banjo starts off this tune, but don’t sweat, the Skynyrd flavored guitars enter quick enough to bring this dance to a full rockin’ pitch fever: “Like a rock and roll rodeo, you make me want to stomp.” Shoutouts for the tasty dramas We Ain’t Saints, and Faster, Faster. Steve Richard

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Elastic No-No Band - The Guy Who Dies

You know, there are things that happen that make me want to throw up my hands and simply give up. Diane Feinstein, for example, today said she voted for this dude to be attorney general even though he was openly willing to commit illegal acts in the name of our country. Why? This is paraphrased, but basically she said he was honest about his willingness to do illegal things. Implication is - everyone else lies. So, let’s go ahead and take the guy who is open about his filthy inner desires. Stuff like this makes me want to cry. What’s left to do??? Hide my head in a shell and puke for hours? Doesn’t hurt Feinstein or Mukasey if their fellow citizens cry about the state of our country. Especially since neiother gives a twat and they are leading us. So, puke away, Eartaste, puke away.

But there is a solution! A wonderful solution! The Elastic No-No Band to the rescue!!!

“I am running from disaster! I am running from aliens!
I can’t outrun them, I can’t outsmart them!
I’m not gonna make it, I’m not Tom Cruise!
He might get cut up – a little bloody,
But I’ll explode leaving just my shoes. Because
I’m the guy who dies in the first reel of the film
In some disgusting way.”

Lest you decide that this song was written just for me to make me feel better this day, forget that noise. The next verse makes that very clear. “This is NOT a metaphor.” Forgive me for using it as one, I needed a laugh really bad today. Shoutouts for Cheese Fries, Nobody’s Wife, and the re-run (Everywhere I Look) I See Your Face.

Elastic No-No Band

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ray Davies - Vietnam Cowboys

Last year, when Other’s People’s Lives was released I knew music had regained an important place in my life. “The world will never change, so we must dig inside and crawl outside ourselves,” he wrote. I knew as I listened I had to climb outta my self-imposed retirement from writing about music to joining the ranks of the living again. I haven’t looked back.

And, a new album comes out! Is he going to push me back into my shell? Turns out, and this is hard for me to believe, that this album, Working Man’s Café is even better! Starts off with Vietnam Cowboys, which explains quickly how all the old protestors have joined the capitalist system to make lotsa $$$ over the trauma our country inflicted. Of course, the song is really about our current situation, ‘cause in the end all war has the same end “take our culture right to the third world.” More markets to exploit. Besides, what were our current leaders doing while the rest of their generation was being killed in Vietnam & attempting to take over their business interests? Yep y'all, they were playing cowboys and getting drunk in Texas. All fine and good, but does this translate into great rock and roll? Absolutely – guitars shine and sparkled. Shoutouts for No One Listen (“Why is it difficult to get things done in the age of computers and communication?”) and Hymn for a New Age.

Hymn for a New Age is especially hitting for me because I am a believer in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ; yet I am painfully and sorrowfully aware of how the American church & political system has completely distorted His message. I try my best to think through issues, but I have no idea how in the world one can bring the words of Jesus back into a discussion without bringing up the pain the world is currently feeling caused by people who claim to be his followers. Well, I can’t imagine anyone being swayed by the words of a music reviewer about spiritual matters, but I will say that Ray Davies continues to renew my faith in Rock and Roll!

Ray Davies

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vashti Bunyan - Some Things Stick In Your Mind

“Why must their be so much hate in our lives?” Is it worth digging out old scratchy records? What can they possibly ad to our current culture? In this particular case we hear songs that were flops in the sixties but had a profound influence on the progress of music – folk with a rock flavor. What is now called “indie” has that feel – folk music (music that talks about our everyday lives) with a beat. Since Vashti has rejoined the ranks of working musicians, I am fascinated listening to her work from 40 years ago. Excellent Sunday afternoon flavors. Vashti Bunyan

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Rich Woman

Ready to dance? Can’t help but move to this party record. Excellent melding of voices on this cut. See ya on the other side of the dance floor! “She give me a Cadillac and diamond ring, she told me Daddy, don’t you worry ‘bout a thing.” What, me worry? Shoutouts for Fortune Teller, which has my favorite combination lyric of all time, “I’m as happy as we can be!” ; and Gone Gone Gone. Special shoutouts for the Zeppelin flavor of Towne’s song ‘Nothin’ & the Union Station flavor of Your Long Journey. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spleen – Nocturne

It’s Halloween & hump day – a perfect combination for this dance on your grave tune with the lyrics repeating “The moon is a-risin’.” The spooky guitars and steady bass keep the thrills comin’ at a pace that resembles the children knock knock knockin’ in full costume dress. Yes. Shoutout for Pointless Satire. Spleen

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Digby - New America

“You don’t give any direction, you just create demand.” What a wonderful, coincide definition of a greed-orientated capitalistic society. No allowances for creativity or thought. Create a demand and fill it. But, it’s also true of abstractions, such as war. We created a demand for war that wasn’t there (remember it was Saudi Arabians and Egyptians in the planes on 9/11 – not Iraquis or Afghanis, so a story was invented about invisible weapons of mass destruction). “We’re selling lies. It’s just like Halloween, everyone’s completely disguised.” Fun song, lots of energy with a wake-me up beat. “In your highest Cabinet, there’s nothing on the shelf.” LOL! It’s either laugh or cry, and I choose to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, the music is serious, and it isn’t presented lightly. It’s just the way I choose to hear these truthful indictments about my country. Very cool guitar playing. Shoutouts for the completely different musical flavors of Bad Swing and How Long Digby

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Eric Dodd Band - 1 Night (Undercover Angel)

It’s Monday! Wake up! And there’s no better way to wake up than with rock and roll blasting “Woke up this morning, you were lying in my bed!” Hard driving, wake me up, with a good time vision to go along with it. “You turn to me and say, oh my, what a night!” The band calms down for a few seconds as she whispers “in my ear”. Nice touch. Shoutouts for Welcome Back and Heal, which show off the versatility of the band. The Eric Dodd Band

The Histrioniks on MTV

Hey Rich,
How you be?
I wanted to tell you The Histrioniks had a song selected by MTV. A new reality show called "Pageant Place airs this Wednesday at 10:30 EST and our song "Saints in Atticus" will be played in whole or in part.
Hope all is well with you,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Patti Scialfa - 23rd Street Lullaby

“It takes more than clean hands to catch angels as they fall.” The lyrics wanders around the avenue in the evening, but fits well with any good Sunday afternoon listening party, slightly hungover maybe, but still able to enjoy the organ fuzzing along with the bass player and sha-la-las in the background while the narrator is “high on faith.” Shoutouts for Rose, a fully developed song story, and Stumbling To Bethlehem, a seeker’s party song. Patti Scialfa

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Patti Scialfa - City Boys

A few weeks ago I slobbered all over myself talking about Patti’s new album. At that time I also made a promise (mostly to myself) to dig out the album I never listened to. Well, I dug it out, and it’s definitely an improvement over her very first album. While definitely a transition album, this one, which includes the shout-outs Romeo & Lou Reed flavored You Can’t Go Back, is another very fine listen. It’s just been released overseas because of the strong current album, so you’ll find it around for over $50 with import fees. Save yourself, and buy it straight from Amazon for around $12. Tasty Saturday night on the streets rock and roll. Patti Scialfa

Friday, October 26, 2007

Robert Plant & Justin Adams - Win My Train Fare Home

Slow burn Friday night blues with intriguing flavors floating around the background. This is a featured cut from a free CD compilation that comes inside of Uncut magazine. This was originally issued 5 years ago on a covers album that Robert Plant released, but is just as powerful today. The voice, of course, supplies some of the emotion, but the guitar is no shy flower on this cut – digging deep through the bloodstains left lying on the floor. Other shoutouts on the Global-a-go-go album are Manu Chao with Mama Cuchara, Ry Cooder & Ali Farka Toure with Diaraby, and Ali Farka Toure with Penda Yoro. Uncut Magazine

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Martyn Joseph - Things That We Have Carried Here

“Beautiful. We can be beautiful.” A few guitars, a bass player and a thoughtful song with a vocalist intent on sharing his passion with a solo violin player. “Freedom needs a volunteer.” Works wonderfully for me – carries me over the wind so I can float lovingly in the thought streams of my life. “If loved ever kissed you, if your face ever cried, well maybe then my hope is justified.” Exquisite. Shoutout for I Have Come To Sing. Martyn Joseph

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LeAnn Rimes - Nothin' Better To Do

A hump day dance that makes my feet travel willingly all around the floor. It’s easy to forget all my past experiences with this artist, she has won me over all again with a spirit of down-home boogie movement. The band deserves a ton of credit, however that voice is definitely a solo instrument worth grasping a hold of and keeping it playing all night long. Shoutout for the slow-down soul spirit of One Day Too Long. It’s scary to say this, but I’ve allowed my brain to think this is where Janis was heading with her voice on any future albums she would have produced – it’s there, it’s tough, it’s tender, it’s pained, it’s torn apart, it’s a pleasure to hear. LeAnn Rimes

Will Hoge - The Highway's Home

“Beat up and kicked around, I pick myself up off the ground.” It’s a life that works for the narrator in this song “with a suitcase full of empty dreams.” Country all the way to open this hump day party on a steady note, complete with a nod toward Hank Williams. Slow moving but steady, no surprises, yet the performance draws my ears close and encourages a smile from my lips. “A guitar with broken strings and a busted heart that longs to sing the blues.” Will Hoge

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Colbie Caillat – Capri

“She’s got a baby inside, and holds her belly tight all through the night just so she knows she’s sleeping sound, safely, to keep her growing.” Very tasty guitar work keeps this beautiful song floating. “Things will be hard at times, but I’ve learned to listen patiently.” Shoutouts for The Little Things with its slow dance flavors, Bubbly plays happily just like it sounds, and Midnight Bottle with an island blues flavor. “Kissing me carefully on the corner of my sleeping eyes.” Colbie Caillat

Monday, October 22, 2007

Annie Lennox - Dark Road

A different sort of Monday song. One longing for escape, but thoughtfully and longingly. There’s no rash decisions going on here. “I look at that open door, I’m going to walk there by myself.” The voice is familiar, yet seems more alive without the throbbing 80s synthesizers that placed it deep in my memory. “Maybe I’m still searching, but I don’t know what it means – the fires of destruction are still burning in my dreams.” Beautiful intro to a powerful album. Shoutouts for Lost and Fingernail Moon. Annie Lennox

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gwyneth Herbert - Lay You Down

The bass sets the lenses widely open. “Snapshot of heaven, warm paradise. Frozen sunlight – just pretend to kiss me twice. Cold winter morning way up on the ground, I lay you down. Holes in my stocking, snack in your smile. Stay forever, I would go the extra mile. Hide from the bright lights, far away town. I lay you down. ” I get the picture of a couple sneaking away from town in the winter to be together, possibly in the woods based on the line “freckles of daylight”. What is most impressive is the movie-like quality of Gwyneth’s stories. Visual, complete short stories with the rhythms varying in the story in much the same way a film would change tempo when there’s a switch of mood. “They can’t touch us here. They come and go outside their sad and busy lives. The time is different here, it flows against the tide and gently takes it’s time. It’s captivating here, we talk about it all and try to understand.” The flavor is jazz with just a sprinkle of folk seasonings. Shoutouts for Woman Meets The Wiseman, Morning After, and Sweet Thing.
Gwyneth Herbert

Mary Gauthier – Snakebit

I often have to listen to teachers complain about things like “The parents won’t even sign their children’s homework – it only takes 5 seconds – shows how little they care.” It hurts me to hear grown adults speak this way because they have absolutely no concept of the poverty and pain around them. The parents of these children are both working two and three jobs just to pay the rent each month. Time? What does that mean when a parent is working 18 hours a day and can’t afford food for their children? Does it mean they love their children less because they’re willing to scrape together something that resembles a meal and do not find the time and energy to scribble on a piece of paper?

I love this song.

“The children are crying, they never got their supper
Where would you run to, in the darkness of the night?
Even shadows fear to wander
They gather round me in the candlelight

Your crucifix lies broken, bloody, sharp and shattered
I smashed it to pieces on the bedroom floor
Pain and prayers and promises scattered
Then I pulled the pistol from the dresser drawer

Oh Lord, Oh Lord,
Oh Lord, What Have I Done?
Everything worth holding slips through my fingers
Now my hand’s wrapped around the handle of a gun.”

Desperation. Sure, there’s a truth that we all live lives of desperation; but this is the desperation of poverty in a society that prides itself in “only 5% unemployment”. The figures do not take into account how many people are living on sub-standard wages and what the heck are those 5% supposed to do? Plus, there are the hidden folks that can no longer collect unemployment because their allotment has run out. They don’t work and don’t collect unemployment, so they’re officially no longer a statistic.

My own daughter gets paid $2 an hour at a restaurant here (Applebee’s in Uvalde). They legally get away with not paying minimum wage in Texas because waitresses receive tips. Ha! She sometimes gets a nickel, and relishes the occasional quarter. The government allows some classes of worker to get much less than minimum wages based on theory (people pay tips), not facts (most people do not tip). And the boss says, with a wonderful grin, “You don’t get tipped because of your service” to all his employees. Using the profits they make by not paying employees, Applebee’s is able to open 2 new restaurants a week (100 a year according to their website).

So, my daughter’s working her tail off, but cannot afford to live on her own. She’s in the process of moving back home because she cannot afford rent, much less food. She works at a restaurant and can’t afford to eat. Something’s wrong with this full employment picture.

Sure, we can judge the narrator of this song. We do not know exactly what she is contemplating. Should one shoot the children to save them from the pain caused by society, or just shoot oneself and pray the Lord will forgive the broken crucifix and take care of the children better than he took care of this mother? I enjoy contemplating questions like this on Sunday afternoons while my fellow 'Christians' wallow in church pleased with the lives they lead while children in their neighborhood go to bed hungry 3 or 4 nights a week.

I love this song because it offers no easy answers and fits the life here in rural Texas with such clarity. I have a trust that this song fits life in many other places in these here United States also, and more likely than not, its anxieties are true around the entire globe.

“The chair that I sit in I got from my daddy
Carved from the hard wood of a bitter tree
When he was alive he used tell me, kid
I knew when you were born you’d end up snake bit like me.”

Powerful music, powerful lyrics, and powerful singer. Thanks, Mary for giving me time to pause and reflect. Shoutout for Before You Leave: “The darkness that shadowed you was mine, it was never yours at all”. Mary Gauthier

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Deborah Harry - Two Times Blue

The dance beat is familiar and infectious, and the voice starts with depth and grit that only comes from maturity. “When you tell me that I’m a double-timer, well to me this doesn’t add up. You can call me miss calculation, but I won’t give up, I love you through and through.” I admit it doesn’t read as good as it sounds, so it’s important to remember this is a musical composition. The younger voice returns with and confession of sorts, one you wouldn’t expect from a punk weary world traveler; “Well, maybe I could have been better.” Then the full 80’s sound of Atreyu riding Falkor fills the air and the never-ending-story continues with a retro sort of timelessness. “When the taste is too hard to swallow, well, that’s what the sugar’s all about.” Shoutout for Necessary Evil, with a hilarious story (“Well, I beat up Miss Fortune, told her to get out. I sold the last things on Ebay. I was without doubt.”); and some huge shoutouts for the Saturday night rockers Whiteout and You’re Too Hot. Deborah Harry

Siouxsie - One Mile Below

“You and I know sometimes you lose when you win.” Another Saturday night dance beat, this time the beat is from Texas pop rock king Buddy Holly. Take Not Fade Away and add some top-notch guitar work that bring the beat up to date and I’ve found a classic song that takes me time traveling through 5 decades of music without a struggle. “I gotta know how far below can I go?” Siouxie’s voice, like Deborah Harry’s, has matured wonderfully – deepened, but still contains the youthful angst that makes the song wonderfully current for 2007. “You get so low, only one way to go.” Siouxsie

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cindy Alexander - This Is What You Get

The drummer sounds almost ominous, then the guitar sorta falters in until the groove starts. And, it all fits wonderfully with the lyric. “I pull my license from my wallet, it expired today. I don’t need it just to drive you and everyone insane!” Great fun, a wonderful anecdote for a stress-filled day is to listen to someone else’s stress. “Okay, I know, I dramatize.” Sure, but the music helps to make the drama fun. “My doctor Sherry doesn’t care what the excuses may be. No walking sideways ‘stead of head-on towards transparency. I know the source for the solution for the problem at hand, understand that I should maybe get away with it. Okay? I know. I criticize. But this is what you get for standing way too close to me. This is all that’s left when you pick me apart.” There’s more, but you’ll love hearing it first-hand. Shoutout for Normal. Cindy Alexander

Speed Of Life - Water Planet

The sky is dark, beautifully ready for this lyrical instrumental to soar through the air looking for the autumn insects breathing through the night sky. We have this one moth that is nearly the size of a bat that transverses the air currents in a manner that dances with the music breathing from the speakers. I’m wondering if the waves of music are affecting the air currents, but it doesn’t matter when I get lost in the sounds of the synth flavored guitar. Shoutout for Father's Daughter A soft, lovely coming of age song; “He swims into her stare. She takes him to her eyes. Fingers through her hair, reflections of her sighs.” Speed Of Life

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Beyoncé - Amor Gitano

The tune starts us in Northern Spain, but quickly takes us around the world for a hump-day dance full of pure hip-shaking joy. A stop in Northern Africa as we head toward Brazil then back to Europe for a string quartet, then over to the US for some soul based vocals. Beautiful depths of emotion fill the air as we circle one another on the floor, which is exactly what this music is for, sin fronteras. Shoutout for Beautiful Liar. Beyoncé

Filewile - Stamp Your Feet

The dance continues with an obviously titled dance tune. This is hip-hop reggae at its best, keeping my feet moving while filling my heart with joy with the vocal gymnastics jumping over and through the percussionists. Shoutout for Weatherman. Filewile

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yoni - Being 13

“Close your eyes, come for a ride as I take you back in time to an age in every boys life when you feel like a man and it all seems right.” Tough picking a song from this excellent album to represent Yoni. This guy is musically eclectic and fill my ears with many aural pleasures. Straight rock or rocking jazz, serious to simply hilarious, a fun ride. I picked this particular song for no other reason than it rocks out in a close-to-garage band way about some of the things kids do at 13, although the narrator is looking back at it from 10 years later. “Late at night we’d all sneak out – never knowing why – we just had to be out.” Shoutouts for A Lesson In Freud and Maybe This Time. Yoni

Monday, October 15, 2007

Alabama 3 - Lockdown And Loaded

“I’m gonna put another dollar in the jukebox, baby. You ain’t coming home. Woop woop woop is the sound of the police, blue lights in a red light zone.” It’s not the music that wakes me up, it’s the voice. The music is fine, don’t get me wrong, but as the song opens, it’s simply setting a mood for the first minute or so. Then the whole band joins in and the party starts. There’s no way I can lie in bed following the story – I’m up and dancing like any decent crazy man. I’m not going to try to describe this, except there’s lots of horns with a definite rock & roll mentality. Lots of celebration going on here – and I really get excited when the chorus joins in towards the end, and the key changes keep moving upward toward to higher reaches of consciousness. These guys would be welcome at any gathering of one or more people. Preferably 350,000. Shoutouts for Monday Don’t Mean Anything To Me, Middle Of The Road, and Work It All Night Long ("she shoke it and now she's shaking that tail feather down and she ain't committed no sin."). Alabama 3

Edit: I enjoyed reading the essay these guys wrote up about themselves on myspace.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ayo - Down On My Knees

The narrator is begging her baby not to leave her for another person. “I don’t believe you’d really leave me just because of her.” Despite her baby’s infidelity, she sings, “I love you unconditionally.” Okay, so why am I so joyful and pleased to tell you about the tune? Obviously it’s not the words. It’s the performances, both by the band and the singer. This album is definitely eartastable and despite the bluesy quality of the words, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Pure, gentle pleasure. The band is subtle, with just the right accents to make this meal completely satisfying. I’m also pleased to say this album will be available here in the US in about a month, which means with a bit of patience you can get this jazzy folk flavored album at a pretty decent price. Shoutouts for Without You, And It's Supposed To Be Love, and Help Is Coming. Ayo

CD Sampler #4 Released

Standing Souls, Abigail Hopkins, Seth Swirsky, The Arms Of Kismet, Smug, Brothers Dimm, Tim Ratcliff & Ken Bailey, Fjord Rowboat, Sean Wiggins, Tony B, Mike Mangione, Wildphyr, Fil Campbell, Kinion, Satellite State, Brokenkites, Elkano Browning Cream, Standing Souls, The Proper Authorities, Pocket Gods, and Nataliya Medvedovskaya will turn your wildest dreams into a musical extravaganza designed especially for your hungry ears. SEE MORE INFO.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Patti Scialfa - Town Called Heartbreak

Patti returns for the third time this week with a soul song that grooves the leaves of the trees in the backyard. As the trees dance, the birds echo “gotta work” in the background. I am having the time of my life dancing on the tops of the trees. The music has that effect on me. “They say love has it’s very own light that can shine through the darkest night.” The band never stops the dance as the singer pours every drop of her inner being into remembering the paradise of “when the world was young.” Classic performance, a full meal easy that satisfies and makes me want to ask the chef for the recipe so the groove will keep playing all night. Shoutouts for Like Any Woman Would and The Word. Patti Scialfa