Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ruarri Joseph - Infant Eyes

I know the truth is you can never trust an artist, they are simply narrators of lives they see. But from time to time I hear someone I feel I can trust to be telling a deep-seated truth from within themselves, and the public face of Ruarri feels like he is sharing his life as honestly as he can. If this is true, he’s the kind of guy you’d love to have for a neighbor. He enjoys friends, he loves his kids, and would rather be home with the wife than out on the road. Not the formula one expects of a great performer, but I can say that whether or not the words are from his heart, the performance is superb. This song, for example, speaks so gently and beautifully to a young daughter that it makes me ashamed of the father I was. These words speak of a powerful relationship.

“That picture that you drew of me, I want to get it framed, or stick it to the fridge with magnets that spell out your name. My eyes are green, my hair’s not black, I only have two hands, my head is on my shoulders and my feet are made of sand. Tell you what – it’s more like me than anything I’ve seen. If toys could talk I’d bet they’d say they never felt so loved.” The instrumental solo even sounds like it was created on a child’s toy. Very nice. Shoutouts for Patience and Faces, Movements And Cheats. With a special thank you for the endpiece, Summercourt Fair. Ruarri Joseph

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fjord Rowboat - Shootin' the Breeze

The bass creates a hypnotic suggestion of peace and the guitars form an other-worldly haze of emotion as the narrator spins his tale on this tapestry. The muse invites me to the landscape, which is common for the narrator (“just sitting on a hill shooting the breeze”), but the cool backdrop is far from the hills of Texas. On a hot muggy day, I am fully prepared to search out the countryside being described by the instruments. A huge cup of sweet mint-laced iced tea, swirled to a consistency where you can still see the sugars floating as the first sips are taken. Fjord Rowboat

Red Button - Press Release

Well, I wish this was about a new album release, but it's still a cool thing. I'll cut and paste the entire release:

LITTLE STEVEN NAMES “CRUEL GIRL” BY THE RED BUTTON AS “THE COOLEST SONG IN THE WORLD”!
* * *
Syndicated/Sirius Satellite Radio Show Little Steven's Underground Garage Picks "Cruel Girl" as 'The Coolest Song In The World' This Week In His Chart In Billboard Magazine's July 28th Issue

* * *
The Red Button To Perform A Rare Acoustic Set At The International Pop Overthrow Music Festival At Spaceland, August 7th

Little Steven knows a thing or two about great pop songs from underground garage bands. This week the radio host of "Little Steven's Underground Garage," on Sirius Satellite Radio and syndicated around the country on 300 plus terrestrial radio stations, has chosen “Cruel Girl” by The Red Button as "The Coolest Song In The World This Week" according to his chart running in Billboard Magazine’s July 28th issue.

The Red Button is made up of two brilliant and highly accomplished L.A.-based singer-songwriters: Seth Swirsky (who has written hits for everyone from Al Green to Taylor Dayne to Rufus Wainwright) and Mike Ruekberg (formerly of the Geffen Records band, Rex Daisy). Their debut album of 11 melodic pop songs, She’s About To Cross My Mind, has won the highest praise from critics and pop fans worldwide:

Shindig Magazine has called them “the pop princes of 2007” while pop historian John Borack wrote in Goldmine Magazine that She’s About To Cross My Mind" is pop the way Paul McCartney and God must have intended it!”

David Bash, renowned pop music journalist and Founder/CEO of The International Pop Overthrow Music Festival wrote in Bucketful of Brains Magazine that “Swirsky and Ruekberg are the best pairing since peanut butter met chocolate” while Amplifier Magazine says She’s About To Cross My Mind “is nothing short of a clinic in sheer pop velocity."

Even Norman “Hurricane” Smith, who engineered every song by The Beatles from 1962 through 1966, said "If The Red Button had been around in the '60s when I was producing, I would have signed them to EMI."

The Red Button will perform a rare acoustic set at The International Pop Overthrow Music Festival at Spaceland in Los Angeles on Tuesday, August 7th at 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, August 7
Spaceland / International Pop Overthrow Music Festival
1717 Silverlake Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-4380
21 and over, $8

To hear what everyone is talking about (and see the video to “Cruel Girl”), visit The Red Button at www.myspace.com/theredbuttonband or www.theredbutton.net

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Buffalo Tom – Pendleton

“She ain’t got no pictures. She ain’t got no shoes. She’s our Mona Lisa we painted black and blue. Crushing acorn footpaths under painted nails. The stones mark the fields where we walk so aimlessly.” Meditative words with a meditative melody. Perfect song for this stormy Sunday afternoon. “All of my life in this lonely town.” The piano powers against the drums and bass with a hollow feel. “Winter kisses springtime, clothes dry in the sun. It’s not the only reason folks come to Pendleton.” The second chorus adds a trumpet-like blast that emphasizes the feelings evoked. Beautiful composition. Shoutouts for some very different flavors; Good Girl and Lost Downtown. Buffalo Tom

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lost Vagueness

There are times when manna comes in buckets. Every day I find the manna that makes Eartaste what it is, but the wonderful meal I unwrapped today is a full 7 course meal, with the appetizer right up front – a dance beat vocal version of Peter Gunn. Might as well cover that – every song on here is a dance number, so I won’t keep repeating the obvious.

The appetizers continue with jalepeno-stuffed olives by Lemon, a bass-powered re-make of Suzi Q. Rather than tell you track by track what’s great about this album, I might as well just say – after listening through 4 times today, there’s simply not a clunker on here, otherwise I’d just pick out the highlights. There aren’t any because every song is shout-out worthy.

All the segues are well-done, but some are worthy of special mention. Pairing Amy Winehouse with Koko Taylor is a work of genius. The last four songs form a theme that keeps me rotfl – starting with Don't Try To Keep Up With The Joneses, followed by Bad Bernie, then A Boy Named Sue, followed by Bank Robber. Philosophy here is that we are a product of our environment, not our genes. Not 100% convinced by that philosophy, but the songs sure make it fun.

Some new names for me that I’ll try to dig out more of are Voodoo Trombone Quartet, De-Phazz, Ska Cubano, Balkan Beat Box, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Puppini Sisters, Topcats, and Last Man Standing. If these are new names for you, then this 2 CD set is as good a place as any to start learning about them. Names you will already be familiar with are Screaming Jay Hawkins, Lou Reed, Chumbawamba, John Holt, Shirley Bassey and Willie Bobo.

You already know my philosophy here is that mixing different genres of music makes life fun, and the folks who put together this compilation are obviously true believers in that philosophy. Put this on at your next party and you’ll have your friends dancing tangos, mambos, and 39 other various forms of bodily movements through the clouds of rum-soaked fun. The dessert for this album is very simple – after two and a half hours, start all over again. Scrumptious. Lost Vagueness

Friday, July 27, 2007

Turbonegro - No, I'm Alpha Male

Splashy Rock entry into Friday – “Let’s go! Alright!” These guys do not plan to surprise us musically, and that’s okay, because their sense of humor carries the day. “Is this my body or an empire of fun?” I’ll go with fun. “I’m alpha male, my DNA’s for sale.” Shoutout for Boys From Nowhere. Turbonegro

Reel Big Fish - Party Down

What can I say? These guys may be humorous, but do not tell lies. They have lots of instruments with myriads of flavors and really Party Down. “We just came to party hearty! We won’t let you down.” Shoutouts for Live Your Dream and My Imaginary Friend. Reel Big Fish

Datarock - I Will Always Remember You

The bass opens this cut with a dance beat, and it’s all fun. As the beats keep me dancing, let me try to describe. It’s seventies disco retro with a bit of 50’s vocal retro. Perhaps Cary Grant. If this doesn’t make sense, don’t think about it, cause it’s 2007 Data Rock. “I remember all the ways you made me feel.” The broadway show enters with another singer playing Marilyn Monroe, singing “I had to go.” Great fun for any party. Datarock

Ijamr Magazine - Issue 4

Ijamr Magazine issue 4 is up and ready for your perusal. An on-line magazine that deals with new artists and topics on the music industry. I read with interest the ideas that one of the writers had on why music is not selling as much these days. Everyone's got their own theories, but mine is very simple. Check out the Billboard to 100. You know there used to be 700-800 songs per year that radio stations played? With lots of variety. Now it's down to 170 per year and they fall into very distinct categories, there is no longer a "top-40" radio for mainstream listeners. On last years top 100 Billboard charts there was 3 rock songs, 5 ballads, 4 country songs, and the rest were hip-hop. Gone are the days when you could hear Little Green Apples one minute and Purple Haze the next, on the same radio station - unless you happen to listen to an oldies station. Even then, they tend not to play Purple Haze because that's been relegated to another genre known as Classic rock. What's really really sad is most of those "classic rock" fellows are still alive, and when they release a new album they are ignored by the media because they are "classic", not hep.

Nuff rambling. Would like to know if there is any mixed-music radio stations anywhere in the world today. Feel free to add comments below. Also, if you used to buy albums, but no longer do, would be curious as to why. My theory, more simply stated, is that people are not fully aware of the sheer variety of music available for purchase. Of course, if you've found eartatse, you are already keen to variety, so I'm asking the wrong crowd =:-)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Victoria Hart - Sunny Afternoon

“I am sitting here sipping on my ice-cold beer.” Classic song re-cast for a breezy calm jazz beat. “Help me sail away!” Solid entertainment. I love the guitar & organ interplays, and the sax snaking in sneakily. “I love to live so pleasantly.” Shoutout for the latin-beat flavors of Girl Like Me. Victoria Hart

Ben's Brother – Live

“I used to be a dreamer, couldn’t fall asleep. Trying to find an answer, a reason to believe.” With some guitar strumming, this heart on the sleeve song is very easy on the ears, and gives me pause to think about my place in this world. “Living in between worlds, this one and the next. Trying to make my mind up which one of them is best.” Well, I’ll tell you, while I’m looking forward to the next, for me right now at this moment, this one is definitely the best. Add a glass of chianti to this song and I am very glad to be here with my very happy ears. “Everytime I thing I got it right, it just slips away from me.” I really love where he takes the lyric. “I’ve crossed seven different oceans cause I’m looking for escape, tired of emotions getting in the way.” Ben's Brother

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Velvet Revolver - Let It Roll

Get out those cherry brandies, these guys know how to kick off a hump day party! Quick guitar run starts us off, with snappy cymbal & power drums quickly joining in. I’m on my feet before thinking, and it’s not a night a for thinking. “Can’t put her out of my head or drink her off of my mind, let it roll!”. Good, old-fashioned no excuses lots of guitar rock and roll. Shoutout for Get Out The Door. Velvet Revolver

Young Pony Club - Hiding On The Staircase

“It’s the sound of confusianity.” Cool line, with a great dance beat. The story appears to be the kids listening to parents doing their arguing thing in the kitchen bedroom, wherever. Kids always hear. “It’s the sound of revolution in the bedroom, but we know there’s nothing doing ‘cause we’re hiding on the staircase.” Fun polyrhythmic dance. Shoutout for another dance beat - The Get Go. New Young Pony Club

12 Stone Toddler - Tragic Comedy

“The devil on my shoulder says, ‘Go right ahead, if you want it.’” Well, my little guy is telling me to complain about the day I had. A completely unexpected mess. Complain, complain, complain. But these guys are weird enough to take all the aches and pains of a bad day away. If I had to describe the music, I’d say circus. Some sort of extravaganza, where people are kicking back and enjoying a show. And, of course, 12 Stone Toddler is the show. “The poison and the remedy, they’re in cahoots, you see, running a racket. Listen to this cacophony.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, to me a cacophony is too much noise. Yes, there’s noises here, but the meld together into some fun music. “I’m from this planet, but feel like I just landed.” LOL!!! Ah, it feels great to know others feel like I do. Lots of shoutouts for this cacophonic chile con muchos frijoles y queso: Come back, The Rabbit & Balloonatics. Fun album, with many flavors. 12 Stone Toddler

Gogol Bordello - Harem In Tuscany (Taranta)

Picking a song to represent this group was not easy. Every song on this album is energetic & party-ready. The singer goes beyond singing here, well into the role of actor extraordinaire. He sings these songs with such seriousness it’s almost tempting to think he’s putting you on. But, don’t let him fool you; these songs are fun because they were meant to be fun. The fact that anyone can do this with a straight face is a measure of their boldness.

I don’t want to do this, because people will get the wrong idea about Gogol, but very few artists can pull this off, and the only one that comes to mind is Tiny Tim. Now, see, I knew your mind would go there, but I love Tiny Tim because he was completely sincere, and could only pull off what he did effectively because of that genuine, heartfelt honesty. If you haven’t heard Gogol yet, trust me, they do not sound like Tiny Tim, they simply have an inner strength to put on a show that we will all enjoy. “After getting his political message across, Uncle Sam had a devastating, excruciating sense of lust.”

Shoutouts for Tribal Connection, Ultimate, American Wedding & Super Taranta! Gogol Bordello

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mooney Suzuki - This Broke Heart Of Mine

The bass drum introduces this great Monday wake up song for me very satisfactorily. The strumming guitar rouses me outta the bed to start hollering and bouncing to a good old fashioned mungo gerrymanderish summertime reaching right up to touch the sky. Wonderful beat for a sunny day! “When it’s gone, then it’s gone, your lovin’ is gone!” Okay, so the words aren’t exactly as happy as the way I feel, but as some bunny said wonsuponatime, it’s better to have love and lost, blah, bleh, blug. In other words, it’s okay, we’re feeling great. “I re-read your old love letters, the kind lines sincere and sweet. But your heart must of tired of what those words had inspired, for I’m back here on the street.” Singing proudly, and making me feel inspired. Thanks for the great wake-up, and shoutouts to 99% and Good Ol’ Alcohol (this one’s six minutes of hilarity inspired rotfl). Mooney Suzuki

Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

“Now you know your way back from the spirit bar, brush your teeth for bed, blow out that cherry bomb for me.” Best I can figure is this guy is in an explosion-type of relationship, and he’s finding a nice way to say ‘cool it’. Maybe. Maybe not. But the music is great and the words are amusing to listen to. Overall sound is softly smashingpumpkinish. Shout-outs for Rhythm & Soul + Underdog. Spoon

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ari Shine - Beirut 1978

“Dance dance dance – everything else can wait.” I absolutely love this song. The music is great, that’s important. And the words are extremely potent. I am thinking of how I am always seeking songs that make me dance. This song works very well in that department. Ari, however, points out a truth that I have thought about from time to time – why am I dancing while my countrymen are killing innocent people on the other side of the world? The whole concept sickens me, so I push it aside and dance dance dance. Ari does something important, I think. He takes a scene from 30 years ago and talks about it in the present tense.

“The Paris of the Middle East. A tourist trap, or a hedonist feat. The disco doors are open late in Beirut.” We’re placed right in the middle of the scene. “Two drunken girls like to flirt and tease, they’re shouting come-ons in Lebanese. Exchange rates are bad, but the coke is great in Beirut.” A break with a pensive guitar solo, then. “The morning after is a bitter pill, we see the soldiers come over the hill.” And that’s the strength of this song for me. The major point is we never know when tragedy is going to strike, or when soldier types will decide their training needs to be utilized. So, do we dance until that time? Do we dance despite that time? Do we dance because we have this tremendous need to show our freedom despite the obvious oppression around us? No answers are easy, and it’s fantastic to me that a pop song can bring out these depths of thought.

Thank you, Mr. Ari Shine. Fun percussion & guitar. A huge shoutout for Keep You In Cabs. Ari Shine

Seth Swirsky - Ordinary Man

“Now I’m standing in my garden, with my blue watering can. And I’m feeling undistracted, just an ordinary man.” Perfect song for me today. Helps me to remember that despite all the grandiose ideas I have of how to fix this mean old world, I am, in the end, just a regular guy with no access to the movers and shakers. Heck, last time I write an e-mail to my senator, he answered 4 weeks later. And, the e-mail was a form letter on another subject altogether. Course, I didn’t give him a $500,000 get re-elected campaign donation, so I really don’t count. So, yes, I need songs like this. “I’ve trade in my cell phone for a book of poetry, and I read it to my lover as she’s lying next to me.” The music is beautiful. Shoutout for Butterfly on Jupiter. Seth Swirsky

Blues Before Sunrise

I have to share this right away. I may wake up tomorrow (later today?) and forget this experience. I'm experiencing a bout of insomnia and decided to turn on the radio. Usually radio puts me to sleep. But not tonight! I've discovered Blues Before Sunrise, which has me up and dancing instead of falling asleep. Lots of classic music (this particular show is the eartastes of 1955), as well as some extremely fanstastic 'obscurities' (translate that to mean I've never heard them before).

Just finished ROTFL at two hilarious songs in a row - The Gambler's Prayer by Tommy Brown, and Radar by Mr. Bear. Lots of great R&B - I'm excited because this is apparently a regular show that's been going on many years and has completely escaped my radar. The mere fact that I can listen to this in the hills here has got me excited about Saturday nights from here on in.

List of Radio Stations

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Arms Of Kismet - Outbound Train

“All Aboard!” Yep, I’m ready to ride this choo choo as I move around the room for the next four minutes. With just a taste, however slight, of Johnny Cash, it is definitely 21st century chick-a-boom, “Show me to your sweet soul garden so my heart won’t harden.” And where is he train heading? Well, let’s see. “What’s your name, brightly painted ingénue. Outbound train, take me out to Timbuktu.” Is this the real destination? I’ll let you find out. This dessert will help me lose some of the calories from my hamburger, with a side of asparagus and corn. An exhilatating ride around and around the room. “All Aboard!” Shoutouts for Auriculara (Listen To Me) and Pinnacle Of Same (“Who’s the optimist who said you can’t help living until you’re dead”). The Arms Of Kismet

Sam Sparro - Cottonmouth

“It was just an ordinary afternoon,” croons Sam Sparro to a dance beat. The story becomes “complicated”. “In my attempt to drive away my blues, I got discombobulated.” It’s great fun to find a six syllable word in a song, especially one that, in my memory, hasn’t been overused. A dance of delight, in my discombobulated eartaste fashion. And when as I dance the night away, I can sing with Sam, “I need some H2O down my throat.” Entertaining song, with shoutouts for Sam Sparro and Black and Gold. Sam Sparro

Friday podcast is here

After a few days of storms knocked our server into crazee land so we could not upload anything except text, we were able this evening to sneak this podcast in. Click here to listen as you read about Friday.

Please note this week was great fun, but as with all fun, tis will be the last week of picking out 7-8 choices per day. Back to regular summer schedules starting tomorrow. Hope this week was as fun for you as it was for me! -Rich

Linkin Park - Hands Held High

The organ starts the hymn, then a marching drummer joins in. “When the rich wage war it’s the poor who pay.” The words are important, and I think you should hear them, not read them. So I’ll just mention that the music fits the mood of the lyric completely, and I hope everyone listens. Amen. Shoutouts for Bleed It Out and In Pieces. Linkin Park

Travis - Eyes Wide Open

Plugged in guitar starts it’s strumming, joined quickly by a drum and bass. “All these visions in my head. . .some are live and some are dead, makes no difference when they're in your head” I have no idea what that means, but the beat is easy to dance to and the singer convinces me he’s serious about his insomnia. Shoutout for One Night. Travis

The Nightwatchman - California's Dark

Mostly guitar and voice, with eerie sounds wandering in from time to time. “I turned on the TV, don't believe a word they say.” Well, that’s nothing new, I’ve heard that since I was a kid – no one trusts the television. But, the lack of trust is not the basis of the story. Apparently there’s a riot going on, and the narrator feels the need to leave town for awhile. Sounds like he takes off along highway 10 toward Joshua Tree based on his imagery here.

“Come stand among the rattlesnakes
At the side of the desert road
And close your eyes and listen
To the music hard and cold

Tonight the moon is blackened
Tonight the doors are shut
Behind the shuttered windows
We pray the sun will come up

For something walks across these fields
For which there is no name
You might have heard different
But I was there when it came.”

Beautiful verses for a beautiful song. Shoutouts for One Man Revolution and The Road I Must Travel. The Nightwatchman

Runrig - Year Of The Flood

Runrig picks up the energy of the party, still with guitar and voice to start, but louder and faster. Of course, the band joins in for the rousing and fun chorus. And, what a chorus! “You may walk and you may run. You leave your footprints all around the sun. And every time the storm and the soul wars come, you just keep on walking. It’s been this way from the start. Everybody walking round with holes in the heart. Everybody holding up skies in the dark as the stars keep falling.” Made more powerful by exquisite harmonies and an attentive drummer. Wonderful spices for my hungry ears. Shoutout for An Dealachadh. Runrig

Maccabees - All In Your Rows

Okay, time to start the real dance. These guys had me up on my feet bouncing along with the bass and drums within seconds. “Domination fading with war-torn tradition/Picking holes in holy/And in blinkered vision/You left us standing with no understanding.” Best as I can figure, the song is about conformity and tradition. And these folks are bound and determined to get out of that rut. With energy this high and songs this exciting, I’m sure they’ll make it out. Shoutout for Toothpaste Kisses. Maccabees

Stinking Lizaveta - Scream of The Iron Iconoclast

This instrumental piece made me think of what life would have been like if Coltrane had picked up a guitar instead of a sax. The drummer here thrashes as great as Elvin Jones or Rashied Ali, and the bassist is keeping the piece together like Jimmy Garrison. This is most reminiscent of the mid section of Prayer and Meditation Day, although there are definite flavors from Sun Star. Nice work, Stinking Lizaveta.
Lazaveta

Tom McRae - Keep Your Picture Clear

Tom McRae - Keep Your Picture Clear Bringing the sound level temporarily back down to earth, we leave the earth with some excellent musicianship backing up a poet singing his thoughts out. “Here I go, back again, sliding off the ceiling. Was I gone for long? Did I just flick the switch? Across the street away from me a man is singing ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, and he's getting all the words wrong. His newspaper flies desperately but words aren't wings like gravity. They'll keep you here. It's a theory to subscribe to, but you know you're being lied to.” The music slowly builds from an acapella opening to a full out drum tour-de-force, with emphasis on force. “The leaders need a bloody war. Congratulations, this is yours. Looking through the history books of liars, cheats, and petty crooks; they'll print your picture clear.” Excellent composition, worthy of many tastings. Shoutout for One Mississippi. Tom McRae

Ne-Yo - Go On Girl

We can’t end this first set of our Friday night dance without at least one true dance tune, and Ne-Yo is a dance artist. The song starts of sweet and prepares us for a slow dance. “I was inviting her into my heart.” Well, the song is really a story that bears some listening as we dance. Hopefully we’re luckier with our dance partner tonight. He narrator’s song took off with another guy. “She was my night time, thought I was her star. Guess I was wrong, but see I'm strong. Won't take me long for me to move on.” Narrator takes it okay. “Not a single salty tear. Not a feeling in my chest.” I trust him when he says he’ll be okay, but I think he’s naïve when he thinks he’s “only going to play the fool one time.” Most of us spend our whole life in that condition. Nice song, and wonderful dance to end a set. Ne-Yo

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sittin' In - Thursday Eartaste Podcast

Click over here and allow the musicians to sit in with you while you read about 'em.

Carla Bruni - If You Were Coming In The Fall

“If you were coming in the fall, I'd brush the summer by with half a smile and half a spurn, as housewives do a fly.” Sounds like the narrator does not believe the person is truly coming. Also sounds as if this narrator is a fine poet. “If I could see you in a year, I'd wind the months in balls, and put them each in separate drawers until their time befalls.” Turns out the narrator is none other than Emily Dickinson, with her fine-tuned irony. Some of you thought Bukowski was the ironic one. Well, if he’s the King of Irony, then Emily is the Queen. The music fits the lyrics perfect, and brings the words up to the 21st century, where they probably always belonged anyway. “But now, all ignorant of the length of time's uncertain wing, it goads me like the goblin bee that will not state its sting.” Nice work, Carla – the entire album is a pleasure. Shoutouts for Promises Like Pie Crust and Ballade At Thirty Five. Carla Bruni

Fountains Of Wayne - Fire In The Canyon

“An eerie kind of sadness of the highway today” the narrator says in this upbeat kick up my heels and yodel song. A concept album on traveling, probably best listened to while driving. People living in the moments described may not be amused, but I had a great time listening. Those very few times I’ve traveled by air are remembered by Fountains of Wayne very well, as well as the driving song we’re listening to today. “Was it driving together that drove us apart, or did we change directions?” Little slices of real life with real people. “Lead us to be born into a path straight and narrow on every crooked road we travel down.” Shoutout for the completely different mood set for Michael And Heather At The Baggage Claim. Fountains Of Wayne

Vatican DC - Keep On Cutting

Bass & drum into warn us of impending excitement! “I’m gonna keep on cutting till I get to the bone.” Sounds like a warning, but it’s too much fun to take seriously. “I want to dance dance dance on your grave tonight. Well, you gotta catch me first, cause I’m dancing with ya. Exciting tune, would make the Ramones proud. Makes me very happy that there’s still folks around loving to share their energy with the rest of us. And, just like I always wanted to hear the jacketed boys on the radio, I’m just as sure Vatican DC would make a lotta ears happy this summer if the radio would loosen up. There’s my new mantra – I’m gonna dance dance dance on the grave of radio programmers. I keep telling the music industry bigwigs that if you want people to buy music you need to let them hear the great music that’s being produced. Free the airwaves again! Vatican DC

Fury Of The Headteachers – Fables

Start right out with energetic drums! Never mind the story, the voice is here to add to the excitement. The bass is pounding, the guitar is sparse, but pertinent. Definitely not a song to sit around on your rear and listen to. Start jumping! Shoutout for Right Is Right Is Right. Fury Of The Headteachers

Trademark - More Than I Deserve

No pretension here, go right for a quote from Baba O'Riley, but mellow it out. Makes the song both familiar and new at the same time. “Seven years on, times have changed. Life is moving and nothing’s the same.” Melancholy look at aging. The composition turns hymn-like. “There’s nothing certain but the final curtain.” Nice job, fellas! Trademark

Alex Gaudino - Destination Calabria

This song has to be on the radio. It has everything you need to dance and have fun in the summertime, complete with squawking sax.”Follow me, and let’s go. Destination unknown.” If it isn’t on your radio, call up and insist. Better yet, buy your own copy and dance to it several times a night. I know they’re playing it in clubs as I speak. “Let’s go to the place where we belong and leave our troubles at home.” Great fun, and guaranteed to help you lose a few pounds. Alex Gaudino

Art Brut - People In Love

Well, by now you all know the best way to get me to listen is to a) have a dance beat and b) make me laugh. Art accomplishes both in 20 seconds. “People in love lie around and get fat – I didn’t want us to end up like that.” You can go many different places with that intro, and Art is glad to tell you his solution if you can stop laughing with him long enough to hear. “To every girl who’s ever been with me – I’ve gotten over you, eventually.” It’s great fun laughing and dancing at the same time, and boy, oh boy, do we need that these days. “You can learn to enjoy this kind of upset.” Shoutout for Past Soothing Out, which continues the humor with a completely different dance beat. Thanks, Art! Art Brut

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Podcast Of The Wednesday Flavors

Listen along as you read the posts for Wednesday.

Andrew Bird – Cataracts

“When our mouths are filled with uninvited tongues of others” starts this ballad. My first thought is, wow, I like the music, but, come on, do I have to listen to these words? Well, the laugh is on me. After listening a few times I realized this is a song about kittens. At least, I hope so. LOL. “The strays are pining for their unrequited mothers” is how is continues, and a bit later Andrew sings “scribs and tangles between their ears/faceless scrumbled charcoal smears/through the coppice and the chaparral/the thickets thick with mold/the bracken and the brier/catchweed into the fold.” Pretty poetic for a pop song, but it works for me. Andrew Bird

Michael Buble & Ivan Lins - Wonderful Tonight

Pop music used to be full of covers, an artist taking a great song and making it their own. Well, that seldom happens anymore. Is it that there are no great songs, or simply no artists capable of making songs their own? I don’t know the correct answer to the question, and perhaps there is no correct answer. Maybe it has to do with profits. If a singer sings their own songs, they make more money? Well, talking about things that can’t be answered only makes this song so much more interesting to me. I always thought it a great song, and I love the original. So, can someone convince me, a skeptic, of their interpretation? Well, these two guys working together have convinced me the song is theirs. Putting a sweet little Brazilian samba setting to this song is genius, and yes, I love this as much as the original. And the guitar work is simply delicious. Michael Buble

Maria McKee - Late December

Why pick this song for a mid-summer review? Easy. To cool me off. The humidity is 90 and it’s 90 degrees outside. Best laid plans. This is a hot cut, very nice for dance. Even with the line “frozen around my shivering shoulders” trying to cool me off. I can’t help but move around. At least it’s a beautiful slow, soulful dance. “The relics of the holy find their sacred spot.” Shoutout for Cat In The Wall. Maria McKee

Ocean Colour Scene - These Days I'm Tired

Guitars strum and a luscious lead guitar plays from a dream. The narrator seems to be talking about what happens to us when we’re sleep deprived. “Then you forget the time to be free, you walk in the light. . .You don’t care what you find, you’re losing all touch of it.” Thought provoking, with music that is very tasty for the ears. Shoutouts for You'll Never Find Me and Daylight. Ocean Colour Scene

Jane Monheit – Surrender

“Never mind the dishes all high in the sink. Never mind the weather, or your work day. You’ve been running all day long trying to be everything to everybody.” We all wish we had someone who saw this in us. Of course, the important people in our lives are running arund all day, too. Seems to be the way of this century – always running. Not this song, it’s exquisitely slow, with flavors pouring into my ears. “Let’s be still and see what a little silence can bring. Go on and lose yourself for just a little while.” An elegant dinner album to enjoy in the evening with a glass of Petite Sirah and candlelight. Shoutout for So Tinha De Ser Com Voce. Jane Monheit

Tori Amos – Big Wheel

The beat is attracting me to listen over an over. It’s be nice to know what the lyrics are. It’s hard to write them down as my fingers want to dance with the rest of my body. Some really cool lyrics. “You think I am your possession but you’re messing with a Southern girl.” Love the sassiness. “Get off the cross, we need the wood.” Now I’m ROTFL. “Don't you throw that shame on me - I've been drinking down your pain.” Getting a bit serious here. Then there was a reference that was completely new to me. The narrator says, “I am a M.I.L.F don't you forget.” Maybe it’s because I’ve been holed up in the hills so long, but I was not prepared for what I found when I googled that one. Guess I’m the last person in America who has heard that term. I’ll have to ask my wife, who qualifies as a MILF as a mother of 4. This song jumps off the album on first hearing, but the entire album is great fun. Shoutout for Yo George and Digital Ghost. Tori Amos

MacDonald Bros - Shang A Lang

Bubblegum joyous. “Oh the music – hey! Hey! Rocking to the music. Rockin’ every night and day.” Filled with lots of heavenly cliché’s, both musically and lyrically, this enthusiastic song is fantastic for me. It makes me feel happy, makes me feel joy, makes me want to hear it again, as well as dig out my old records. Bay City Rollers, Tommy James, the Archies, the Lemon Pipers, Ohio Express. I’m in eartaste heaven – these Bros have managed to dig up some graves that needed digging up. Thanks! Shoutout for the completely different flavors of When You Say Nothing At All, a “country” song from the 80’s. MacDonald Bros

Hanson - Been There Before

We start in the present. “There's a downtown corner, people downtown know, and a back beat rhythm on the radio. The girl who listens to a young man's song on the block I live on, in the place I'm from.” The scene is set and we are transformed to focusing on the past, the history song that’s playing on the radio. “With a young man sitting on a dock of the bay, he took a long term trip on a first class plane. Now the whole world listens to that one man's song on the block I live on, in the place I'm from.” Excellent writing, it works, and the power of the lyrics is matched by the music, which grooves along perfectly. The chorus had me singing along almost immediately. “Tell me, does it move you? Does it soothe you? Does it fill your heart and soul with the roots of rock & roll?” The answer is yes, it does all that for me. Thanks! Hanson

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happy Tuesday Podcast

Click over here to listen to the podcast as you read about the seven Tuesday songs.

Art Brut - Pump Up The Volume

You got me hooked when you make me laugh. This narrator is a guy involved in an enjoyable kiss fest that he needs to break away from to turn up the radio. “I know I shouldn’t, is it so wrong to break from your kiss to turn up a pop song?” The instrumentation is full & fun, especially the little guitar break. The ending is also different from most, but fits perfect. Shoutout for St Pauli – extra fun. Art Brut

Calvin Harris - Merrymaking At My Place

“Come into my house, you’re invited into my house.” Dance beat fun. “We’re merrymaking, all the stuff that we’ve been taking.” What makes this cut fun is how carefully he cuts just short of being obnoxious. All the stops are pulled out to be sure the repetition gets me up to dance, and the lyrics do their best to make sure I don’t think of anything beyond the merrymaking. “Loads of people come to my house.” Calvin Harris

Annuals - Carry Around

“I got lots of things in my pocket, if you want some I’d like to share with you and everyone that you care about.” Summer sounds, perfect for a beach party, or a backyard bbq. Even with the joy evident in the music, there is a drama going on underneath. “I don’t know what to do for you, I don’t know what’s best for you.” Shoutout for Ease My Mind. Annuals

Maps - So Low, So High

Sound layers that uplift my soul. Imagine. It’s midnight. It’s summer. “Think I’ve lost my girl.” Should be sad, but oddly it’s not. There’s a power in the music that pushes up above the stars. “Spending most my time forgetting at all costs.” The music is arranged so I can make choices. I can stand still and stare at the midnight universe, or I can dance around the backyard free. “Strange you feel so low, then you feel so high.” Shoutout for Lost My Soul. Maps

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky

Soft strum guitar. Reminds me of the small town I live in, but I suppose the scenes could just as well take place in a city. “The drunks were ricocheting/The old buildings downtown/Empty so long ago/Windows broken and dreaming/So happy to leave what was my home.” The narrator is thinking back and seeing reasons why he was happy to leave home. But, after some years of life experience he realizes some truths. “With a sky blue sky/This rotten time/Wouldn't seem so bad to me now/Oh, if I didn't die/I should be satisfied/I survived/That's good enough for now”. The music is properly as melancholy as the lyric – pleasant composition. Shoutout for the completely different flavors of Hate It Here When You’re Gone. Wilco

Anjani - Innermost Door

“Nowhere to go. Nothing to say. You won’t hear my voice till it’s far far away. I’m too tired now to fight anymore. We’re saying goodbye at the innermost door.” The drama is immediately understood, with the excellent vocals pulling me into the story. The instrumentation is slight, a jazz piano and bass outside the door, enhancing the mood. “When I am alone you’ll come back to me. It’s happened before, it’s called memory.” The entire album is wonderful to sit and listen to under the stars with a bottle of wine and a good friend. If it’s cold winter, then in front of the fireplace is fine. Or simply light a candle and darken the room. Shoutouts for The Mist and Thanks For The Dance . Anjani

Clinic – Majestic

Sound to create a tone poem describing the feelings emoted by the title. That’s how I would describe this most intriguing album. I was attracted right off because, as an album concept, this was brand new for me using 2007 instrumentation, harmony and electronic filters. 30 years from now, when a filmmaker is looking for music for his version of Austin Power’s bachelor pad for 2010, this is the type of music he’ll be digging for. Interesting compositions, with shoutouts for Christmas, You Can't Hurt You Anymore, and Golden Rectangle.
Clinic

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Podcast - Listen While You Read

The seven songs talked about today - click here to listen.

Ari Shine - Cooler Than Me

The drums are an instant Monday wake-up call! As the band join in, the promise of a great week of music is an eartaste pleasure. “We are merely players in your night-time nursery rhyme. You’re cooler than me, city girl. Way smarter than me, pretty girl. You’re better than everyone you know.” I’ve never written this before, but it really fits here – rollicking fun! Red Buttonish harmonies add the spices to the tasty lead guitar parts. “Dancing like a dream, it’s a bohemian extreme. I know what you mean when you say I’m not nearly as old as I seem.” Shoutout for (You Can Use Me As A) Flirtation Device. Ari Shine

Shark Island - Blue Skies

“You were the one who always used to tell me ‘live for the moment, take it day by day’. Always believed that your time would come. Now your time is here and you’re standing out there in the sun.” Good rocking radio going on here. I’m loving the beat – making me feel great about Monday! The song sounds pretty optimistic, up to this point. Then the drama starts. “You’re forgetting where you come from. Now that all of your skies are turning blue, can you face the illusion? Now that all your dreams are coming true, can you beat the confusion?” I like the think the writer is thinking about himself and the fame this record will give him. Dunno for sure, but it’s a exciting song and the message is one worth thinking about it. “Lady Luck has come your way, will you still get down on your knees and pray?” Shark Island

Brothers Dimm - Princess Whenever

A gong opens this song. That’s right, a gong, with some excellent percussion to give lots of exotic flavors to this fascinating pop song. “You could meet somewhere outside of that coma she’s in after she’s through that river of glue she’s trying to swim. She’ll, of course, be running late, but don’t say you can wait or you’ll be there right through the next ice age.” A fun, poetic, portrait of a person who is has that ‘princess’ personality. “She thought you got that telepathic message she sent.” LOL!!! I know people like this. “On the other hand, she’s pathologically sincere.” Never short on irony, these guys.

The shoutout is for Uncertainty. “I haven’t lost my way although this road has been uneven. I haven’t turned the page on everything I believe in for there is hope, still in my heart.” The song develops depth, and I really love this line because it speaks words for me I’ve always tried to say but never got it out as clear: “Is there another God besides the one that those who hate pray to?” Brothers Dimm

Kowtow Popof - Life As Hobby

Get out your giggle box! “Breathing is involuntary, life is just a hobby. Bury me in your backyard. Freeze me like a splendid splinter from a termite taut in amber, bury me beneath the molded logs.” Funny. Yep, to me, it’s funny. And there’s more great lines like this to keep me chuckling. Until. Well, a good song needs to have drama and a message. The narrator wishes to be buried “until the planet’s safe from suffering and all the wars of worlds has ended.” The music accents the words, delicious. Shoutout for the fun dance, Tribute 2 Mice Elf. Kowtow Popof

Elkano Browning Cream - 16F

An exciting jazz-soul-dance instrumental. The drums and drums set out the rhythm, but the main flavor here is the organ, which brings in spices from all over the world. The main flavor is Memphis, but my ears taste a lick here from New Orleans, a lick there from Calcutta, and much more. Great fun for any party! Elkano Browning Cream

Dave Rave & Mark McCarron – Sunday Tears

Oboes and Clarinets on a pop record? Why not? Through in a flute and bassoon while you’re at it. “War is over. Where are my fears? Out the window fly Sunday Tears.” The guitar work alone is nice, but add all the spices of tastily arranged instruments and this is a full meal of delight. Shoutout for the instrumental Not This Time. Dave Rave & Mark McCarron

Terry Lee Hale - Big Sigh

A big, happy sigh actually. Imagine that? A song about being content with life. Try making that exciting to listen to. Well, Terry Lee has pulled it off. “My dreams about your loving and what you like to do with your King King daddy in the afternoon. It’d be little toe chains, and just to see you smile I’d dance for you naked slow for awhile.” LOL!!! “She’s a big high, she’s a big honey, and it’s a big sigh.” Shoutouts for No Distance Left To Run and Work Song. And a special shoutout for Streets of Stone, which proves that Terry Lee can sing the blues with the best of ‘em: “It’s a hard wind tonight that blows, tips the nests of all the crows.” Terry Lee Hale

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Robert Greenberg – The Symphony (Teaching Company)

A month or so ago I discussed another group of lectures by Professor Greenberg, Bach and the High Baroque. I enjoyed the lectures and felt well-educated, so I asked to hear more. The second series I listened to was 8 Concert Masterworks, with 4 lectures about each. I decided not to write about that series because it was pretty detailed. Interesting, but nothing I’d ever listen to again. But never say die.

The 24 lectures that make up The Symphony are excellent. Professor Greenberg presents these ‘lectures’ in a documentary style that educates while enjoying, amplifying one of my core beliefs – learning is fun when the presentation is fun. In one of the early lectures, Greenberg admits to wanting to be a DJ when he was growing up, and uses this opportunity to live his dream. Oh, sure, he talks about the composers and the times, but in a manner that makes listening easy. There are, however, good stretches of music to exemplify the words.

Here's a taste of the professor’s humor and style of delivery, “An amazing passage, in which four different rhythmic patterns are superimposed one atop each other creating an effect that is, for me, like four individual gamelan orchestras simultaneously performing different parts of Stravinksi’s ‘The Rite Of Spring’ after having consumed quadruple expressos spiked with Barcardi 151 and way too much sugar.” With teaching like this you can’t help but learn.

When I lived in a city I had season tickets to the Symphony many years in a row. While always an enjoyable experience, I look back and think how much more I would have enjoyed them armed with some of the knowledge gleaned from these lectures. I highly recommend this series, whether you are brand new to Symphonies, or if you are a long-time symphony listener who wants to enhance your listening experience.

The Symphony

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday Night Dance Party Podcast

Click here to listen as you read the posts.

No Logo - Party Animal

It’s a full 16 degrees cooler than last night, and the weather is just right to return to full party mode! And, what a tune to start off a party with – the bass immediately pulls me up and starts the bliss. “I’ve been stung by a bee.” Well, if that’s what gets her up and singing, so be it. This song and the accompanying shoutout come from an album called Mambo 2007 from the folks at Café Ibiza. Can’t help but shake to a mambo. Nice collection & a great workout. Shoutout goes to Guem Et Zaka - Le Serpent. Mambo 2007

The Polyphonic Spree - Running Away

“I’m protecting a reflecting desire for you to come into my life.” Cool flute trilling here above a whole wall of guitars and swirls. The high energy here will melt another pound of me, for sure. “I feel so excited and delighted today!” Yep, a happy song with happy sounds, a real fun party animal song. There’s even some beatleish trumpet blares briefly flourishing to round out the joy. Shoutout for Guaranteed Nightlite! The Polyphonic Spree

Editors – Bones

“In the end all you can hope for is the love you’ve found to equal the pain you’ve gone through.” The narrator sounds a bitter about his friend being a little late to the party. But, he’s quick to forgive. “Are your eyes showing off for mine? Your face in my hands is everything I need.” The voice here is a blaring instrument, adding to the emphasis that the body was built to move. This song has the air soaring like a pitcher full of rum spiked soda. “Bones, starved of flesh surround your aching heart full of love.” Not sure exactly what that all means, but it’s a cool line. Editors

Siobhan Donaghy – Sometimes

The party slows down, but only a little. The dance beat continues with a steady drum, and some outta space synthesizers. “You tell me you love me then you tell me you don't. You tell me little lies and I wish that you won't .” Fair enough request. What’s wrong with the joker she’s hanging out with? Make up your mind, dude. Or don’t. At least we’re getting a party out of the narrator’s anguish . “Your friends all adore you, say I’m losing the plot. How can I grumble when I've got what I've got?” Well, as your friend I say, you have every right to grumble, and you have every right to get out of a relationship like this and move on – don’t listen to the adoring friends. Well, no one listens to me anyway, and if they did they wouldn’t come up with these cool party songs that get us to thinking about our own relationships. Dance on! Shoutout for 12 Bar Acid Blues – a really funny travel song (“I went online and booked a trip”). Well, I should say it’s funny for the audience. The narrator, well that’s another story (“I've eaten fish and I'm feeling sick”). Siobhan Donaghy

Paramore - Misery Business

The manic energy of the party returns with this song! “It just feels so good!” Okay, that’s not really where the story starts. The narrator is, after all, “in the business of misery, let's take it from the top.” Apparently her friend has a wandering eye. “She's got a body like an hourglass it's ticking like a clock.” After “eight long months she finally set him free.” Then our poor narrator is full of self delusion, “I told him I can't lie, he was the only one for me.” It gets worse, but the story does have a happy ending – she seems happy with the two-timer in the end, blaming the other girl for his weaknesses. Well, it makes for a great dance, even tho it’s fiction. Shoutouts for When It Rains and Let The Flames Begin. Paramore

Marion Raven - Set Me Free

The dance is on full blast, and we’re ready for this anthem that has everyone baring the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Yep, the rum is running free tonight. Watching the faces of the singers, I’d say this is a full blast healthy person’s song of praise. “Love makes you feel bad, makes you so sad, but that's the way it goes. Hate makes you feel good, like only pain could, but that's the way it goes.” Sure looks bad on paper, but watching this song work it’s cartharsis is pure joy. “I won't feel bad, and I, I won't miss you when you're gone.” Now, that’s my kind of narrator. Dump the jerk and dance! And when he comes back around? “Talk - well no one is listening, all I hear is: ‘Blah, blah, blah...’ LOL!!! Good for her. She’s got her head on straight, and the audience knows it. They dance and sing. The guitar solo is great fun. “All you do is hurt me, you do not deserve me, I won't miss you when you're gone!” Shoutout for Heads Will Roll – “I'm back in control!” Great fun. Marion Raven

Trouble - Pictures Of Life

A bit of rock and roll to keep this party on track. “Thought that I could change the world.” The good news for this particular party is these guys are singing about life, being “alone with the earth and sky.” The guitars are energetic, with some tasty guitar work, with some sweet doubling near the end. “Touch the sky!” At one this song the narrator is thinking about “the dead – their voices calling me to the sunrise in my mind.” Trouble

3 Inches Of Blood - Rejoice In The Fire Of Man's Demise

I’m ending the first set of this party with an instrumental – an irish jig played loud on guitars and drums. It’s great to end a set with people sweating. And 3 Inches Of Blood sure play great – shredding guitar to please the savage eartaste hunger. A ten minute break and I’ll be back at the party playing songs from earlier weeks. See y’all tomorrow, same time, same station. Thanks for the energy, and feel free to stop by one Saturday evening. 3 Inches Of Blood

Asthmatic Kitty Records – Saturday Morning Special Report

I listened to these next three artists yesterday, again last night, and again this morning. I’ve decided these folks deserve their own separate section here on Eartaste. They are not artists that I’d put on a high rotation list, because they challenge my ears to focus and concentrate. Difficult to dance to, difficult to sing along with, but still exciting to hear from time to time. You can read more about them at the Asthmatic Kitty website.

Listen to the eartaste podcast as you read below.

Rafter Roberts – Inspiration/Split Decision/Your War

This three song medley seems to work together as one symphony. “When you meet someone inspirational, it is wonderful.” There is indeed wonder and inspiration here. The next song in the series actually imitates a debate musically, with the end an aural ‘split decision’. The final song in the set has the aural representation of war, with brief periods of silence to enhance the reality of a battlefield. It’s easy to be fooled by the sound of slapped together. But, each of these cuts develop with a planned personality, which informs me that this is not music to dismiss, but consider deeply. Shoutouts for Interlude, Merchandise and Peace. Rafter Roberts

Shapes and Sizes - The Long Indifference/Can't Stop That (Sinking) Feeling

Shapes and Sizes is an assembly of musicians who truly believe in group interaction. As I say when a visitor comes into my classroom, “This only looks like chaos. There is methodology here, it’s organized chaos.” Both songs I chose have similarities. They both start like normal songs, but quickly start exploring the depths of the lyrics with sound. So much sound, in fact, that it makes it very difficult to decipher the lyrics. In the end the lyrics do not matter, the voice is the main melody instrument. And the stereo mix is exciting.

‘The Long Indifference’ actually begins with a strong free-jazz flavor with percussion and saxophone, but quickly melds into a rock beat. “They’re filling my head with nothing but stuffing.” The main vocalist on this composition is female, but the equal stars are the percussion and the guitar. “Here I am, once again.” The power build of this song is amazing – this is the actual wall of sound that folks were pretending to attempt in the 60’s and 70’s. It seems anything you can find nearby that will make a sound is relevant to describing the feeling the singer is expressing with “Here I am”. For me she’s saying ‘here I am, watch out – you’d better be ready for a confrontation.’

‘Can't Stop That (Sinking) Feeling’ starts of sneakily as a good old fashioned guitar ditty. “Can’t stop yourself from sinking”. The drums blast everywhere keithmoon-like, but then suddenly the rock beat stops. “You don’t go out much anymore” the male vocalist explains as he realizes that he in a life process. “I grow old” he repeats with a co-singer. Then the rock feeling returns. And the narrator considers his teenage sister for a second then digs into air guitar for the finale.

So, while the story is important for creating the picture, the story becomes irrelevant as the painting gets started. Shapes and Sizes have full command of their musical palette. Shout-outs for Highlife (I Had Been Duped), Teller/Seller and Grassy Corner, A Sunset. Shapes and Sizes

Future Rapper - Silk Siren Sports Bar & Grill

The hip-hop beat is clear, but the added instrumentation is non-standard hip-hop faire. Experimental hip-hop? Why not? “Music is patriotism. . .music makes you sweat.” So far so good, but the ending is what made me stop and go back to this song several times. “Music makes you think, let's turn it off.” We’ve had to deal with that sort of discussion before. As long as you’re dancing and enjoying your life and your country, then music is okay. But once it makes you start thinking, no more. Music used to be an important curriculum in the schools. Look back to when they started weeding it out of schools – right about the time musicians and songwriters became politically active in the late 60’s & early 70’s. Shoutout for Factor IX For The Headwound, “hide you dead, your sick and your poor. watch your tv dinners while you eat your wars.” Future Rapper

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Night Eartaste Boil

Usually around here it’s the Friday Night Fish Fry Dance, but it rained here for 47 days in a row, and today, although beautiful, it was 96 degrees outside. Mix all that water with all that heat and you boil, you don’t fry. I’m not complaining. At least I won’t have to try to find a sauna bath. Plus, I’m hoping that some of this sweat pouring off of me will equal a few pounds. Anyway, it’s too hate to dance. So, even though it’s Friday, I’ll be writing about music to listen to this week.

Candie Payne - Girl On A Swing

“She’s got a feeling for the spring. I’ve got another song to sing.” Hopefully she’s also got a feeling for the hot summer nights as Candie’s nico-ish voice is layered over piano arpeggios. “She’s not a victim of despair, she’s just a feeling in the air.” A full salad this is, complete with shredded carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes and a forkful of capers. Cooling. “She sways, silently she sings. Her song gives my body wings.” Candie Payne

Gareth Gates - Talking Minds

A casio-like background intros into “empty noise instead of sound – empty thoughts all gather ‘round.” Pleasant sound, perfect to keep cool with tonight. Tastes just like ice tea with a splash of lime. “If you think you’ll find the answers in her eyes, if you seek the silent language of the mind. . .” Shoutout for Changes. Gareth Gates

Polly Paulusma – Mathilda

“It started slowly. First a finger, then a thumb. Mathilda started disappearing in front of everyone. No one noticed how transluscent she’d become.” Chording piano helps to tell this story. A full meal of rye with dark mustard and cool swiss garnished with spots of feta, lettuce and thinly sliced mint. “If I wiggle my toes, you’re gonna come find me.” Shoutout for Back To The Start. Polly Paulusma

Glenn Mercer - Whatever Happened

“Go where you want to go. Do what you want to do.” Fair enough, since you’re giving me permission, I’m trading in this empty glass of iced tea for a very cold Shiner Boch. Thanks! “What do you want to know?” Ah, great question. Of course, I want to know how you managed to get all those fine sounds to come out of a piece of plastic? Magnificent. I wonder what Galileo would have thought? And, I want to know how to convince radio programmers all around the world to play this cool song. You just know if people heard great music that people would buy great music. But, alas, we leave it up to the chance meetings of friends to spread the word. Slower, but probably just as effective in the long run. Where were we? Oh yes, another slug from the long tall amber bottle. Long Tall Texan. We digress. The song keeps layering and building – very nice. “Making me want to shout!” Well, go for it. I love how long the guitar stays on that note till it starts the melody again. I also love the live sound on the drums. Keep rocking! Shoutouts for Here and Gone & Within You, Without You. Glenn Mercer

Catherine Feeney - Always Tonight

Well, what a break. The sun has slipped below the horizon and we’ve developed a slight breeze enough o get up and dance to this slice of strawberry cheesecake dessert. “I’m driving home, good thing that it’s Friday. Another week is gone, half the days slipped by me.” True for almost all of us, I suppose. True for me, at least. Can’t believe how fast this funny phenomena called time slips away. Think Willie said that 50 years ago. Anyway, the song is slipping by as I think this and dance and smile and feel great to be moving with the tasty flute singing along with Catherine. “I remember when I was a child and my parents told me how time flies. I thought it was a lie.” Of course, at a certain age everything our parents tell us is a lie. Until we reach 35 or so. Normal. What isn’t normal is putting these everyday discussions into fantastic musical form that gives us pleasure to listen to. “Sitting on top of my hands watching the world go by, tapping my feet on the floor.” Thanks, Catherine. Shoutouts for Hurricane Glass and Mr Blue. Catherine Feeney

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Little Barrie - Green Eyed Fool

Fuzz bass psychedelia! “You know your clothing doesn’t hang the same. You sounded southern when you took my name.” The narrator is talking kindly to a friend with just a slight hint of bitterness. “Been hit in places that I’ve never been.” After listing a litany, he admits “some call me bitter, but I love the taste.” No matter, the music is rocking and pulling me all over the dance floor. “You sweated blood and now you’re seeing stars. I’m in the gutter with my ego scarred.” The break is exciting, complete with a short drum solo. A great jalapeño popper for a Thursday night. Shoutout for Pin That Badge. Little Barrie

Jamie T - If You Got The Money

“All the boys they go da-dit-da-do-da, dit-da-do-da, dun-dun-day-do-dun-dun, dun, da-di-do-dun-da-do-dun.” Am I loving this? You bet! It takes a lotta fun to make happy music, and this one is a full powered popcorn with cheese snack to the max. “We’ll be near heaven by a quarter to eleven. By three we are thinking of the love we lost. By four we’ll be high of the girl we lost.” There’s many little side-remarks by the boys in the band that I’m not going to spoil by writing them out. Just think summer power in the sun, and you know this song will take you there any time of the year. Picture me bouncing around with a smile bigger than my face. This is great fun! Shoutout for the different flavors of So Lonely Was The Ballad. Jamie T

Reuben - Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin

“I wanna be just like you, get myself a job and a really cool tattoo.” I’m loving the music here, and the words are just plain anthem-like fun. The band works together well drums, bass and guitar. The composition even allows for a bass solo. “You’re dressed like a Victorian at a swimming pool - all in black.” Complete with vocal harmony. Shoutout for Act Of Kindness (“Your mother was sick or kind when she gave her child away. But what she did, she did out of love. She must have known it as an act of kindness.”) and Agony/Agatha (“Just a big bass line and drums, the guitarists sucking their thumbs”). Fun group. Reuben

Jason Spooner - All That We Know

The beat, the bass beat catches me right off – here I am jumping up on my feet to celebrate hump-day. “Lies turn true and wrong’s no different than right. The air turns heavy like words at a burial site. But just how longs will the lights stay on when the dark is all that we know.” The poet in Jason is powerful and seldom at peace on this album. His stories are little tastes inside the heads of some interesting characters. We get murdered by the plans we make, slowly turning from the cradle to the grave. Little children learn to turn away, solid as stone, brittle as bone.” Don’t let the poetry fool you, there’s a band here sharp as a razor fence adding to the emotion of the songs.

I also have to mention the artwork on this CD. I was pulled into the art enough to do some research, and turns out the artist, Oana Lauric, has an on-line studio. Start with this link to one of the pieces featured in the CD, and then explore the rest of her work by following this link.

Don’t know what it says about me this hump day, but both songs I’m talking about tonight by Jason have dead bodies in them. The shoutout is the brilliant band rave-up Fight The Fire. Jason Spooner

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kate Walsh - Don't Break My Heart

Kate gives me the opportunity to sit down for awhile, drink some Shiner Bock, and simply appreciate her voice. “Don’t you be saying that I’m lucky. Don’t you, no, no don’t you dare say it’s okay. Don’t come around being happy.” Bossy lady, despite the fragile sounding beauty of her voice. “Don’t you go rolling them blues eyes, don’t you go pissing on my fire.” Shoutout for “French Song.” Kate Walsh

Enrique Iglesias - Somebody's Me/ Alguien Soy Yo

There’s no surprises here lyrically. A good old fashioned love gone wrong song. But it sure tastes good this evening. A nice, slow dance with the past in my arms. “You’ll always be in my life even if I’m not in your life.” Memories flood the brain, and I love that this song is on the CD in two languages. The shoutout for my friend Enrique is Ring My Bells – love the piano on this one. Enrique Iglesias

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Andrea Corr - I Do

I just love these little surprises tucked into an album, where the artist just lets go and doesn’t care about the critics or the people who turn up their noses at fun. This sounds like a child’s xylophone going up and down the scale with a metronome as percussion. “I want an open chariot, black horses and shiny shoes. An off-white vintage lacy gown (like Juliet’s hand-me-downs). But Romeo ain’t my lover, and all that really matters is – Hey! I love you!” Go ahead, laugh – I love it! And I think it’s a summer tune that anyone with sense would love to hear on their radio a few times a day. Shoutout for Ideal World, which is a totally different flavor with acoustic guitar, violins, and a great story. Andrea Corr

White Stripes - You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)

Rock rhythms from the get-go, I just know I’m on my feet for the next four minutes with my hands in the air while singing along. “In some respects I suspect you’ve got a respectable side. When pushed and pulled and pressured you seldom run and hide.” Stadium rock – play it loud! Shoutouts for Bone Broke and Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn. White Stripes

Kelly Clarkson - Never Again

The lead guitar plays arpeggios over the rock voice getting ready to spit in my eye – fantastic! “I hope the rainy day to her turns her finger green. I hope when you’re in bed with her – you think of me! I would never wish bad things, but I don’t wish you well. Could you tell by the flames that burned your eyes? I never read your letter cause I knew what you’d say. Give me that Sunday school answer – try to make it all okay.” And that’s only 45 seconds worth of this vitriolic catharsis. It keeps going, wildly and wonderfully spiteful! The band backing up the voice manages to keep up, and makes this an ideal radio song. Shoutout for Be Still. Kelly Clarkson

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ghosts - Stay The Night

The drums wake me up and the bass starts my legs to moving. “It’s four o’clock in the morning and I can’t take another second of this…” starts the drama. “I can’t decide if you’ve given me a sign, or maybe you’re just like this all the time” - the narrator seems to be talking to himself, and he decides to talk the his object of affection and says “stay the night.” “My heart beats a little louder” he says several times as the music crescendos. The music is great fun and extremely danceable! Ghosts

Ryan Adams - I Taught Myself To Grow Old

The harmonica moans in pleasurable pain for awhile. “One little rose beaten by the rain - in the wind, in the gale, thunder and the hail.” The narrator is comparing himself to the rose, and it works for me. The tune is mournful, and for some reason just feels good to hear as the floods in this part of Texas take a few lives away this year. That’s just one of many reasons why there are children that will be teaching themselves to grow up over the next few years. War, divorce, prison, whatever the reason, it’s always hard, and this song is a good companion for me as I begin planning my work with elementary children for another year. Thanks, Ryan. Ryan Adams

Avant & Keke Wyatt - Your Precious Love

This beautiful remake of the great duet by Marvin & Tammi is a must-hear. While some of the flavors of the original remain, these guys add their own selves to the tune deep enough that it is much more than a tribute. The album, A Tribute To R&B – The Collector’s Edition, must be available somewhere, I received a promo with no sales info. Usually I ignore those – what’s the use of talking about something you can’t find? I imagine this will come out soon enough – as soon as I get info, I’ll let you know. It includes tributes from Usher, Alicia Keyes, Dru Hill, K-Ci, JoJo and more. The shoutout tune on this album is also by Keke – a sincere reinvention of Patti’s If Only You Knew. Keke Wyatt

Pearl Jam - Live At The Gorge

What do you do when you open up a 7 disk set and try to find the “best song” in 100? Well, you can do exactly what I’m doing after listening for 8 hours – give up. This is a live album, recorded on 3 different days – one set in 2005, and 2 days last summer, July 22 & 23. Once upon a forever Pearl Jam let folks download for free all their live shows. That was cool, but also overwhelming. I like this approach – let folks purchase 7 CDs for $40. Not a bad cost, and anything I say about the shows will sound like worship, so I won’t go there. Just let you know this is a set worth spending 8 hours on, and a great investment for your ears to taste. For anyone who’s wondering, they did not repeat very many songs – and given the rock background of these guys you’ll know the very few that are repeated have different eartastes each time you hear them. This is beyond one meal, and perhaps those saner than I will taste these 7 CDs over a 3 night period. I was fascinated and couldn’t stop. I think I lost 7 pounds dancing. Pearl Jam

Sinead O'Connor – Theology

This double album set is, like the previous set I listened to today, impossible to pick a favorite from. This is priced as a 2-fer. The two sets are almost identical song-wise, with set one (Dublin - my personal favorite) being intimate, and set 2 (London) featuring a band setting. My guess is that Sinead is doing her best to reach fans of all her complexities. I know if I heard only the London set I’d probably never listen more than once; and I’d guess there are fans who feel the exact opposite. It works well for me as a reviewer, because since the consumer cost is exactly the same as a single album, I can highly recommend this album. I really love the first cut – “I want to make something beautiful for you.” I feel Sinead has indeed, accomplished this goal. But that leads directly into another cut I love – “We people who are darker than blue. . .” – biting, bitter, true, and passion filled. “Out of the depth I pray to thee, oh Lord – don’t let my cries of mercy be ignored” – powerful song – “I’ve heard religion say that you’re to be feared, but I don’t buy into everything I hear.” “Dark I am yet lovely” is played with a harp-like guitar background. Maybe it is a harp, it’s certainly entrancing and a wonderful prayer. The intensity I feel listening to this album cannot be overstated, but I don’t want to overwhelm readers, so I’ll shoutout all the rest of the songs. Ranks right alongside the latest Rickie Lee Jones album as one that keeps me rooted in keeping my thoughts beyond my self.
Sinead O'Connor

Fil Campbell - Free My Soul

It’s been a full day filled with music, and this song rounds out a wonderfully spiritual day. Listen to this wonderful prayer:

Free my soul, let it find its own road
Free my heart, let it show me the way
Free my mind, let it find its own truth
At the end of the day.

The simplicity of the chorus is only veneer, however. The depths of this beautiful song can be found in the verses. “So open your heart and share the madness – see what you gain. How I wish I could show you who I am. How I wish I could show you the storm beneath the calm.” Marvelous. Shoutout for Touch Of Your Hand. Fil Campbell

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arms Of Kismet - Sail Seven

The tune starts off with a narration of the first few lines in Genesis and quickly brings us through time with a heartbeat dance. “We were born to sail the world, sail it to its end. On the stars we could depend. We were born to drift the earth, letters home to send.” The poetry intrigues and enhances the music. “We were born to touch the sky, touch it with these dreams. We were born to burst it at the seams.” It’s not often lyrics leave me speechless, but those with ears open will understand. Nice work. Shoutout to Sepia Eyes, a beautiful poem with a beautiful tune. “Forgotten worlds beneath my feet.” Arms Of Kismet

Secret Show - Impressionist Road Map Of The West

“The road up ahead has a fork that’s telling me which way to go, and where I’m coming from to find my way home. In the light of my mistakes, I’ll try to work it out. And I hope I find a place where I can be myself again.” This song excites me because it depends wholly upon a man and his guitar and a character who has strayed. It’s not easy to pull that off in 2007 in a manner that will attract people to listen, but Secret Show has accomplished it very well. As soon as the song starts I’m pulled in and entranced. “And I can’t relate to the words that you say. And I can’t hear any sense. Not a hope, not a prayer.” I can definitely relate myself. The person giving “advice” to the narrator is not a supportive person, but the narrator has the strength to move on beyond the bad advice, and I can tell in his voice that he means it. Nice work. Huge shoutout for Mañana – listen to the different character voices, excellent writing. Secret Show

Alex Arrowsmith - Missile Silo

I’m so glad the Alex comes around once in awhile to sing me back to surreality. “In the ice creamed flavored future I have my own missile silo. And everyone you know has a missile silo.” Okay, maybe it’s not surreal, perhaps it’s prophecy. With everyone hating their neighbors for things they express out loud, it’s not that hard to imagine that Alex is on to something. But, then when we find out there’s a steak house in each missile silo I’m finding myself wandering around to look at the hummingbirds. Oops, nope, that’s another cool song. Well, at least I can admire his gas station jacket. Oops, that’s another album. I still want to share that with anyone who hasn’t found the last Alex album I talked about. Anyway, back to wandering through this song. “I’ll make a scientist out of scraps of tissues.” Hmm, enough scientists so we can put them to work creating new drugs to destroy our livers and kidneys. Ah, heck with it, dance and sing! “I’ll make a man out of you! I’ll throw you a perfect siesta!” Thanks Alex! Shoutout for Hummingbird, “one more trip to the birdfeeder.” Alex Arrowsmith


Screaming MeeMees - Because Of You

“I came by Friday night, there’s nothing else to do. Remembered everything that you and I had been through. I thought I’d tell you I was okay and I’m doing fine, so I parked my car and I noticed that your lights were on. I think it’s very clear you ain’t got time to walk the dog, saving me the trip of ringing on your doorbell. Why not just pretend that we are friends and try to get along? I am sorry, I’d forgotten you were married.” This is just the start of a wonderful short story, and regular readers know I am a sucker for story songs – especially when a fun melody and dance-inducing rhythm accompany the story. Excellent work! Screaming shoutouts for bowlingforsoupish 20 Stupid Ways and Dakota. “You’re so special that there’s two states named after you!” Screaming Meemees

Friday, July 06, 2007

Smug - Passing You By

Instant, on your feet opening. I can’t help it. Bass, guitar and drums pull me up with imperceptible strings from heaven. My feet are all the place. [Sidetrip = Some people reading these blogs may get the impression I’m a good dancer. HA! Just because I love to dance doesn’t make me good. I love to sing, too. I simply feel we should all sing and dance to the best of our ability.] “I got two tickets to the Friday night show. I called you, but you said you couldn’t go. I turned around and I called you again, ‘Hey, give me the number of one of your good-lookin’ friends.’ Life’s too short to sit on the side and wait.” Peek back up and re-read my sidetrip and you’ll see I agree with the guy’s philosophy. The music is great fun, with a really sweet guitar solo. Smug

Smug - Shoulda Wrote A Ballad

This was too much fun to leave as a shoutout, so we get a double eartaste of smug tonight. “I’m trying to write a hit song, hoping this is is song, sounding like a **it song, think I better quit song.” Slow dance, we can even call it a danceable 3 minute ballad . “I’m checking all the videos, all the dog and pony shows, does anyone care to know the emperor’s got no clothes? Guess I shoulda wrote a ballad and talk about how much I miss my girl. Guess I shoulda wrote a ballad, but another dumb love song won’t change the world.” Again I need to highlight the guitar playing in this group. But that’s not their only strength.

The group works together, and knows many musical tricks to get you up close to the speakers, such as dynamics. These guys can play soft to make a point, and bring the sound back up to blasting – a trait that shows they think about presentation more than most groups. “I cling to a pipe dream connected to the music scene. Girls and booze and limousines, it’s really kind of obscene. For he who has the final say is quick to put your money away. It happens each and every day, the industry is so cliché. Guess I shoulda wrote a ballad and talk about how much I miss my girl. Guess I shoulda wrote a ballad, another corny song gonna make me hurl.” Shoutout for It’s Me, with lots of intriguing time changes while still remaining danceable. Smug

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Seth Swirsky - It's Always the Same

“What happened to the dreams I had long ago? I opened a jar and let them all go.” Okay, it’s Thursday, and we all have bad days. What makes these songs good to listen to is the realization that others also have bad days, and the melody is just so badfingerish fantastic you can’t help but listen. So you don’t wanta listen to the words? Don’t. Just enjoy the great music, especially the tasty slide guitar and harmonies. “I wish I was anyone and nobody else.” Shoutout for Bike Trip, a very cool song about enjoying the moment. Seth Swirsky

Brokenkites - Beta Eight

This is truly a soundtrack record for the head. I chose Beta Eight for the podcast, but this instrumental mood album is one to appreciate all the way through. It’s kind of a modern tone poem, using synthesizers instead of orchestra to describe the “Dynamics Of Darkness.” The best description I have is taking the trail with Dante through the first book of his Divine Comedy. The CD is bookmarked by two compositions – Into the Darkness and Into The Light. Along the way we meet up with the Fifth Demon, Mephistopheles and Metempsychosis. A nice walk. I chose the opening cut for the shoutout – Into The Darkness. Brokenkites

Brothers Dimm - Probably Wrong

“Don’t ask me anything ever again, cause I don’t know why and I don’t know when. I don’t know who, don’t know where, don’t know what even was it you asked me just then.” Well, it’s easy to tell the narrator is having a bad day. Luckily his music is great, and it makes for a great eartaste of flavors from fingerpicking to good solid strumming, and a superb pop voice feeding every neuron pleasurably as a string quartet in the background adds the spice to make a good meal turn gourmet. The poetry continues. “Deep in a vault of amnesia I keep a life written in disappearing ink, and I’d be the last one you’d ever find reading a book so unwritten, I think.” Shoutout for the strong title cut, To Oblivion.
Brothers Dimm

Emerson Hart - I Know

“You’d never admit you played a part in ripping us both in two.” The voice is blasting out of the speakers, and there’s no mistaking the emotion. After this burst the whole band joins in, but what a powerful opening. I can’t help by stop and listen to what this narrator has to say. “It’s easy to walk when you run from all the years I stole from you.” It’s difficult to tell just how much blame the narrator places on himself, but there’s a glimpse that perhaps he’s willing to share part of the blame. Maybe. “There’s no harder life that I can lead than when I am with you.” Whatever the problems between these characters, it doesn’t matter because the music is happening and exciting, so the entity becomes one great pop song you should be hearing over a radio near you this summer. “Yes I know that you still care.” Shoutouts to Friend to a Stranger and If You're Gonna Leave. Emerson Hart

Smug - They Never Read The Book

Start off with a cool scat, play some rock drums with lots of cymbals and then say “Jennie Lynn, she wears clothes that show a lotta skin” and you have a beach song ready for summer boys to dance to in a fun and exciting way. But the story isn’t as rockin’ as the music. There’s some serious messages being put out by these guys, and they’re worth hearing. Jennie Lynn, for example, is bolemic. Carol Anne has problems, but at least she has parents who “try to understand”. The next character we meet is a guy who “kept his feelings locked inside.”

As we briefly meet these characters I realize these are people I know in my life, and at times in my life these characters were myself. “Is it in act 3 that we confront our insecurities?” The point of the song is that there is no book on life, we’re all in this a day at a time. Let’s take care of each other, and one way to start is by dancing. Great song. Shoutout for Change, which is about change, but includes changes in rhythm and emotion to enhance the meaning if the song. The arrangement is well done, and the lyrics are great fun. “A friend once said that no one’s happy till their dead. He got that from a book he read. I’m glad I don’t read.” Some very nice guitar work. Smug

Kinion - Pa Lalu Paya

Very tasty psychedelic guitar work leads this tune off and wakes every electron in my body. This is excitement, and I love it. “I know that you’re taken in by everything life has got to give.” So, you caught me. And why not? I’m here for the duration, and I plan to spread the love around. The bass guitar is the star of this song. The singer sorta hangs out behind the corner, and when the lead guitar sneaks in he also sounds like he’s over in the other room, tho it is clear enough. Even the drums, while understandable, are outside in the yard. The description sounds weird, but this is great entertainment – worth seeking out. The shoutout is for the equally exciting Freedom - “Isn’t it better to educate oneself than listen to the words of a wooden professor?” Interesting question. Kinion

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Billy Harvey - Poisoning The Pool

“There was an ambush in the desert, they were 40 feet tall with hands like hand grenades. They blew up everything in sight when they waved goodbye.” All this is played out with acoustic guitars and what could be someone clapping on the back of a guitar. Then the electric guitar joins in with “we never saw it coming, but we couldn’t turn our eyes away. Even though we knew better we kept staring at the light.” An infectious melody – hard to sit still listening, but it’s clear enough to listen to as we move to “the sky was raining poison. There was poison in the pool, but everyone kept swimming.”

A poem about reality we can dance to, what else can we ask for? Some time to stop and do something about it? Hum. Well, at least it’s a thought. “The evidence around us is kind of overwhelming – but the future is here.” The story continues, and moves from the global to personal and back again – very neatly done. I won’t give away the entire story, but it’s really a great 3 minute pop song that, to paraphrase another great pop song, teaches more in three minutes than you’ll ever learn in school. Thanks Billy! Shoutouts to Scribblers Heart and Soft Blade. Billy Harvey

Sean Wiggins - Old #7

“Some people may think that I’m a little high-strung, but I like to believe I’m the type that gets things done.” Well, the guitars and vocals are hot enough to cook my dinner tonight, so go ahead and get’rdone. “Got three dogs with mouths to feed, I got a bunny and a bird, and five fish last I heard.” Well, the narrator is on top of most of the fine details. There’s tons of fun here, so let’s cuts to the chase here. Sometimes even the most well-rounded person can get the blues, so the narrator her will “pour myself a glass, and try to make it last, that Old #7.

In these politically correct and sue-happy days we can’t say what we used to say in song, so we are down to using nicknames. What’s cool about that is the nicknames will eventually become as popular as the real name and then there’s no difference at all so there’s probably a lawsuit brewing in Tennessee right now because I used the nickname on a website. Well, that’s distracting from the music at hand, and we are reminded that a few sips of Old #7 has the ability to get a person “half-way to heaven”.

“Well, I don’t take Prozac or those other drugs. Seen what it does to my friends, it doesn’t impress me much. I got problems like most people do, and my friends have told me I have a screw loose or two. Need a little help every now and then, and just to be sure I don’t wind up in the pen, I make myself a drink so I don’t have to think, with that Old #7.” Escape from life for awhile. Used to be acceptable. Still is, if you use a doctor-prescribed drug instead of stuff Jesus turned water into. I love the fickleness of humanity, and I’m glad Sean is willing to put the truth out there in a fun, but meaningful way. And you have to hear the slide solo! And, to keep the naysayers happy, the narrator even promises to call a cab, “if I start to see double.” Shoutout for Watchin' The World Go By. Sean Wiggins

Phil Ayoub - Mother's Day (Run)

“You want to run. How long, how far, how fast? You want to run, but you can’t outrun the past.” This is a slow-down song, but it’s really good to slow down from time to time and think things over. “Under the cover, it’s yours you discover – what feeling that you might find the moment it slips your mind.” The music is swirling, keeping me in vision of a person running, but apparently in circles. Like real life. Rolling around the drive. When you get to the end of the road, you’re still there. “You want to go under the covers alone.” Beautiful song. Shoutout to Carnival Days. Phil Ayoub

Monday, July 02, 2007

Paris Luna - So Unlike Me

“I’m more than than a shoulder for you to cry on.” The credentials are up front, and honest. Better than that is the funky band adding many delicious flavors to this cut. The drummer and bass player are working in tight unison, with the guitars adding perfect spices in just the right amounts. I can’t help but dance, and this, my friends, is a start of a great Monday party. “It’s so unlike me that I ever let him in. . .” starts the story. “Nothing in this world could ever justify the way he treated me.” Sounds pretty prosaic? Not when you hear it – the rhythm flows like a carefully crafted poem. Well done. The shoutouts for two more relationship songs are completely different flavors, which showcase the versatility of the musicians: Tell Me Why and Having A Hard Time. Paris Luna

Seth Swirsky – It’s Still Love

“You don’t need an invitation to go and plant one seed.” With that permission I shall plant the seed of advice to eartaste readers – this is a fun album. You’ve heard me rant on and on about The Red Button. Well, as I begin this rant about Seth you’ll understand why – he’s one of the creative voices in The Red Button. Does this reach the self-established standards Red Button has set? Yes. And, in truth it is an earlier album, but I was curious as to the roots of these guys. “It’s still love, I believe, that the world’s aching for.” I’m old enough to remember how we believed that was going to happen. So, I was naïve about the imperialism that is the United States. No matter, I still believe it’s possible with good leadership, and I’m agreeing with Seth – “It’s still love that we need.” The shoutout tune is a totally different type of song – a poetic meditation on a friend – Roger. Outstanding production. Seth Swirsky

Paul McCartney - Nod Your Head

Fun stuff. The anger burst in the vocals decries the lyric – “If you really love me, baby, nod your head.” Superb irony here in this tasty morsel. “Nod it up nod it down, side to side, round and round.” Two minutes of rousing, energetic monkberry moon delight and as danceable as the shoutout tunes, Dance Tonight and That Was Me. Paul McCartney

Nataliya Medvedovskaya - String Quartet #1

This composition has the traditional instruments – cello, viola, and 2 violins, but not a traditional arrangement. Although the general layout of the piece could be considered a classical arrangement, you can rest assured this is a 21st century sound and one worth seeking out. The start of the piece lets you know in seconds that there is something different happening. The cello starts as a percussion instrument. I can imagine tympani in my head, but I know this is a string quartet.

Nataliya wisely chose not to name this piece. Let the listener decide it’s meaning for themselves. For me this piece reflects struggle or conflict. The voices are almost constantly bickering with each other, with one, then the other winning an argument. The arguments get softer, louder, quicker, and for certain brief periods of time an agreement is reached.

For me this piece represents struggle on many levels. An inner struggle we all must face when reaching a decision. A family struggle is easily heard by me another time – kids and parents reaching feverish pitches. Another hearing takes me to times at work we’ve had discord. And on to governments clashing with each over childish reasons. “You have weapons of mass destruction!” “No I don’t!” “Prove it!” “I can’t prove what I don’t have!” “You dare to talk back to me? Then I shall kill you!” And on and on.

I love the presentation. There’s a spot almost ½ way through when the deep voice seems to take control. It’s easy to say male voice, because it’s deep, but let’s just say the voice of authority. The others are listening, taking the melody (argument) into consideration, and there is peace for almost 20 seconds. Then the viola (mom?) adds a few carefully chosen phrases, and all is seeming well. After that everyone seems at peace – the music is only slightly distressed, but as the peace lengthens the discords begin coming out again. Near the end the higher voices (children?) seem to have found a way to express themselves peacefully. I love the way the music doesn’t end. There’s two notes that feel like they’re leading up to yet another burst of emotion.

Excellent flavors and a composition I’ll be returning to often. I am looking forward to hearing the growth of Nataliya as a composer.

Nataliya Medvedovskaya