Friday, December 26, 2008

Vampire Weekend (CD)

What a joy. My daughter pulled this one out while we were at grammie’s house. It told me many things, but the most important is that there was an album put out this year that appealed to grandma, my son, my daughter, my wife, and myself. Think about it. I’m going back to my post earlier this month and add this to one of the top albums of 2008 in my book. The excitement of the musicians is contagious.

Every time I listen to this album I’m thinking of one of my favorite musicians. Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon solo, Jonathan Richman, Rickie Lee Jones, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Steve Forbert, Soko, etc. What ties all these folks together? Their first albums are energetic all the way through. And often the message didn’t mean much. Like these guys are obviously college dudes who like girls. But they don’t hide their lives. I don’t identify much with college life, but that’s not the point. I didn’t identify myself much with the “swamps of jersey” either, but I loved the music. Some of it makes no sense at all to me. “I see a mansard roof through the trees. I see a salty message written in the eaves.” ??? But that’s no different than “madmen, drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat. In the dumps with the mumps while an adolescent pumps his whey into his hat.” Yeah, whatever. But I memorized the lines 35 years ago. Because they made no sense, but were fun. I’ll be memorizing the stuff on this album too, because it will be a part of my playlist every time I feel like being happy. I don’t have to agree with the guys and their plans to love the energy they put behind it. Just like we didn’t have to all be Psycho Killers “Qu'est-ce que c'est? fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa.”

Back to the Vampire Weekend. First the music. There’s touches of world music, as well as string quartet sounds. But mostly a bunch of guys sounding like they picked up their instruments a year ago and figured out how to play them well enough to make something fun to listen to. Oxford Comma strikes home to me because I was an English major, and I understand very well the pretentiousness of what these guys are singing about. Been there, and will attest to the truth of the song and the joy of the music. A-Punk is about lifestyles and broken promises. Again, with the music lifting us above the expressed emotions. Campus is great fun because it’s emotions we all share, “How am I supposed to pretend I never want to see you again?” My favorite lyric is in the song Boston: “A morbid steak runs through the whole of my family, but for you I could put it to rest.” The things we do for love. LOL!

I don’t see any need to keep going song by song. My bet is most of you already know this group. That was another lesson I learned. I get kind of stuck here listening to all the CDs that arrive at the post office every day – and there’s another whole world of music out there by folks that haven’t heard of eartaste, and vice-versa. This album has been out a year, and I’m just now getting to hear it. No prob to me. I often hear smaller groups and labels a year or two late because small bands are slow to learn publicity. But apparently these guys were instant media darlings – with good reason. I just missed out because I keep my head in the boxes and don’t look out beyond. This is a big “beg” to let me know when something is out there I should hear. When you let me know, I let others know, etc etc.

And, FYI – Vampire Weekend is a good deal right now. The entire CD can be downloaded from Amazon for $5. If you love being happy while listening to music, this is a very inexpensive way to have a very cool album in your collection today.

Vampire Weekend

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Weezer - We Wish You A Merry Christmas


Shoutouts for O Holy Night & Hark The Herald Angels Sing.


Mary Chapin Carpenter – Come Darkness Come Light

Come darkness, come light
Come new star shining bright
Come love to this world world tonight

Come broken, come whole
Come wounded in your soul
Come any way you know

There's a humble stable and a light within
There's an angel hovering and three wise men
Today a baby's born in Bethlehem

Come doubting, come sure
Come fearful to this door
Come see what love is for

Come running, come walking slow
Come weary on your broken road
Come see him, shed your heavy load

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mary Chapin Carpenter – Still Still Still

Still, still, still
One can hear the falling snow
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping
Winter Star, it's vigil keeping
Still, still, still
One can hear the falling snow

Sleep, sleep, sleep
'Tis the eve of the baby's birth
The night is peaceful all around you
Close your eyes
Let sleep surround you
Sleep, sleep, sleep
'Tis the eve of the baby's birth

While guardian angels without number
Watch you as you sweetly slumber
Dream, dream, dream
Of the joyous day to come

Still, still, still
One can hear the falling snow
For all is hushed
The world is sleeping
Winter Star, it's vigil keeping
Still, still, still
Still, still, still
Still, still, still
Still, still, still

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Jamshied Sharifi - Setaa

There are voices on this album, but they are powerfully and completely part of the composition and blend beautifully. I have used this album many times to travel to places deep within myself, and saved it for tonight to talk about because of the spiritual nature of the music. Our culture tries its best to trivialize this evening, but for most of us the spiritual meditations on creation, salvation, birth and death all come to a focus during this season each year. Having music that enhances these intellectual journeys and brings unity of spirit to the emotions that accompany our internal confrontations makes for a potent examination of purpose. Shoutouts for A Charlotte Sky, Darfur Is Burning, Ghanima, and the religious depths inspired by Requiem. Jamshied Sharifi

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Golden Animals - Darkness & Light

“I’m leaving tomorrow, I’ll love you tonight.” Lyric could be from Townes Van Zandt, or any number of rock and roll groups who floated through towns in the 1960’s. Since this is 2008, why bring this all up? Because Rock & Roll is being played again more and more, and Golden Animals takes in all of them. Beatles, Byrds, Turtles, and yes, even Eric Burden meets some tasty John Fogerty licks. “There’s joy and there’s sorrow, there’s weakness and might.” I’ve thought about these songs for awhile. There’s nothing adventurous, but I’ve decided that’s the point. Gotta love anyone who points to the “temples of light”. These folks are not making a tribute to the 60’s album, they are simply making a fun album that happens to have some flavors borrowed from the classic rock stations these artists grew up listening to. I picked Darkness & Light to feature because if these guys go on to make more albums my bet is they will quickly grow into a sound uniquely their own, and this cut is the least identifiable with other artists on the record. Well, maybe a little bit of Tommy James. What I’ve decided to focus on is the fact that the early beatle albums had many covers of soul records, the early stones were covers of blues records, etc etc. They showed their roots gleefully, and we still love them for it. So, welcome Golden Animals. Thanks for being so open about sharing your roots & I am looking forward to your growth as artists to learn to appreciate more and more with each album. Shoutouts for the blues-rock of Steady Roller (“no secret left to hide”), the folk flavors of Ride Easy (“load a flower in your gun”), the creedence surf jeffersonairplane flavors of Try On Me (“free your mind and win a pony”), the rocked-up version of the traditional folk gospel tune (Don’t Let Nobody) Turn You ‘Round), and the guitar blues picking and sliding through Follow Me Down (“they’ll be magic on the mountain for all the kids”). Golden Animals

Monday, December 22, 2008

Miley Cyrus - Breakout

Wake up! “Every week’s the same! Stuck in school! So lame!” It’s Monday! It’s a nightmare about school! “My parents say that I’m lazy! Getting up at 8 am is crazy!” We’re on vacation, take a break! “Tired of being told what to do! So unfair! So uncool!” Ah, what the heck, get it out! Fun way to start a vacation week – screaming about school, parents, and waking up. “We’re gonna have some fun, we’re going to lose control. It feels so good to let go!” Shoutout for 7 Things I Hate About You (“if you text it, I’ll delete it”). BubblePop! Miley Cyrus

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Joan Osborne - Hallelujah In The City

A Christmas meditation for reconciliation. “I have been unfaithful, I have been untrue. Now I’ve found the road that has brought me back to you. Hallelujah!” The arrangement is masterful, acoustic strumming to voice for a few moments, with a build up of a full heavenly choir of electric instruments. The star of this show, tho, is the clear honest voice of the narrator facing her loneliness when she had neglected her relationship with her creator. My quip about Christmas is simply because of the season I write this in. This song will sound good and affect the soul for good all year every year. Shoutouts for The One I Love (“In a gypsy cab on the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise we are going home, and the lust is flirting in your eyes”), and Daddy-O (“can I dream that parachute dream again”). Joan Osborne

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Datsuns - Cruel Cruel Fate

Song titles aside, this upbeat tale rocks the Saturday night party with lots of pogo style smiles. “I see the clouds a rolling, then watch them roll away again.” Don’t know for sure what all the shouting is about, but the music is joyful and the drummer is exciting. Shoutout for the even more energetic Cry Crybaby. They don’t make blues like they used to, but that’s all right – the Christmas spirit is in the air. Let’s dance! Party at Dairy Queen in 10 minutes! Make mine a banana split with extra whipped cream with my car ramoning past the drive-thru at 18 miles per hour! The Datsuns

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Vines - Hey

“Hey, what are you doing today?” I’m listening to some great psychedelic distortion, feeling great! “I’ve had enough of your smile, and so I’m letting it go.” Okay, whatever – you steal smiles, I’ll pogo around the living room feeling happy inside. Keep playing loud and you can keep my smile. Hey! Shoutout for the equally energetic angst of Scream. Listeners should know that Scream includes a few “ooos” for good measure, along with beatle hand claps to move my feet – fun for all! Hey! The Vines

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shwayze - Lazy Days

“I don’t know if you know what I mean, but it’s love in Los Angeles.” Kick back, groove, smoke something wild and everyone’s head is in the right place, looking for a bit of love in a wild wild world. “We just want to get our kicks for free.” California dreaming, as always. A bit of sexism, but the teenage lustful type, the style of LouReed meets JimmyBuffett flavors that both parties use for personal gain. Everyone using everyone else, so long as the party happens. And it happens, even under the hot Texas song, because these musicians carry the atmosphere with their joyful party beats. Lots of nachos with cheese, jalapeƱos with a tad of refries and sour cream. Goes well with the shoutout Corona Lime, and Don’t Be Shy. Shwayze

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jamie Foxx – I Don’t Know

“I don’t know why she just keeps passing me by.” Fun hump-day dance, with a boy meets girl tale of woe. “I ask her for her name and she gave me no reply.” Lust’s labours lost. With a wonderful MarvinGaye flavor I am glad to see the dance floor fill with “strange pleasure for going through this pain.” We’ve all been there, and the feeling has no true word – strange pleasure fits the bill. Like raw shrimp cooked only in the juices of a raw jalapeƱo and eaten whole while dancing. Of course, we are human, so the seeds have been scraped out. Jamie Foxx

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bee And Flower - Two Makes One

"We are side by side, not forever, not for long." The melody meanders like a bee floating from flower to flower, making the name the musicians chose for themselves to be absolutely appropriate. The beauty we fall into is marvelous, a tide of solid dream. “Take my shadow” the singer says, and I know it’s absolutely possible. The compositional skills of these folks inspire new floating neuron dance movements. Shoutouts for Planets Fall (“what could lie inside tonight?”) and Minx (“she was dancing in a commissary corner of my mind”). Bee And Flower

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dr. Dog – Hang On

“Why d’ya think we need amazing grace just to tell it like it is?” Great question. The problems people have with honesty create wars where many innocents die. “There’s no answer, what do ya do?” We maintain, and better yet, wake up to music that grooves our socks off. Dr Dog has made this Monday rock with joy so my work week will find success. “What you thought was a hurricane was just a rustling of the wind.” Shoutout for The Rabbit, The Bat, and the Reindeer (“I don’t have no time to kill on your dime.”) These songs will be played many times while I live and breathe in my favorite rock and roll shoes. Thanks! Dr. Dog

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tony Joe White – Set The Hook

A percussion set-up for some smokin’ swamp guitar with a harmonica floating over the lousiana pines. Al right, all right, that’s right, that’s right”. This mostly instrumental dance encourages my Sabbath prayers to dwell on my creator. I especially enjoy the violin twirling in the mist. Shoutout for Run With The Bulls, which features some fine acoustic pickin’ to help my soul reach beyond the heavens. The spell enticed by this meditative music goes well with BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes & green beans. Tony Joe White

Cameron Matthews – C. C. Mama

“Singing’s gonna bring mama back to her place.” An acoustic guitar sets the mode for Cameron to whisper secrets about CC Mama that I may not want to hear, but his music insists I listen, so I may as well enjoy the tale. “It’s hard to say you’ve lost when you’ve already died,” he whispers melodically. The guitar does all the emoting in this song, and by the end is filled with vengeance. Delicious vengeance. At first the rhythm supports the narration, but before 2 minutes and 20 are over the rhythm argues with the narrator, creating an atmosphere of ‘watch out for me world, I’m coming’. Nice work. Cameron Matthews

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Come On Over (Turn Me On)

“Is it any wonder on a Sunday soon I see the light?” The troupers who brought Hank’s Ramblin’ Man barging gleefully into the 21st century have returned with a Frank&NancySinatra sultry love lesson blasting directly 40 years into now. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an old song, but it has the SomethingStupid melodic appeal of 1968 while maintaining 2008 production values. “Tell me baby, tell me pretty lies. See the spider, been out catching flies.” Scrumptious stuff, this. Chocolate chips melted over fried tortillas with a few marshmallows and raisins. The shout-out tune, Who Built The Road, is just as much fun. The duet sings of “the devil at my side, dark angel within the everlasting fire” with beautiful gleeful la-la’s on the path. We never really find out who built the road, but then, that isn’t always the point, is it? There’s a path to be followed, whether we are pilgrims or followers. The question, of course, is what is at the end of the road. FYI the new US release includes the import EP in its entirety, so we are getting a double deal here for being patient. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kaiser Chiefs - Never Miss a Beat

“Why did you go to school? I don’t know! What did you learn in school? I don’t know!” Great Friday song, with the reminder that no matter how boring school is all week, real learning still takes place because “the kids on the street never miss a beat.” And so life goes from generation to generation – school unrelated to the reality around us, yet we’re forced to go until we obtain a piece of paper to say nothing except that we persevered in the weird world of adults as we lived despite their oppression. Shoutouts as the party continues with Good Days Bad Days (“Can’t stop me from having a good day”) and Always Happens Like That (“we made it up as we went along”). Kaiser Chiefs

Rise Against - From Heads Unworthy

“We are the children we reject and disregard. These aching cries come from the bottom of our hearts. You can’t shut us out, we’re your own flesh and blood.” The financial stresses of our current society makes for some tough family relationships. Some artists are able to express these pains while maintaining a rock relationship with dance to unleash these emotions. Rise Against does a fine job of reaching deep within but allowing physical release here. “I’m not after fame and fortune, I’m after you.” Shoutout for Hero Of War (“The children, they cried. But I got my man”). Rise Against

Thursday, December 11, 2008

School Of Seven Bells - Half Asleep b/w Caldo

“Sometimes I go whole days
listening bored, half sleep
I won't say anything
that's worth a thing to me
One day, suddenly, time
took a turn that once felt so brief
I blinked to see polite ghosts fading quickly

What begins as an unguarded
train of thoughts slowly can become
an addiction to the slumber
of disconnection and the resonance
of memory that no longer has a shape
but keeps you numb through
the hours till gone is another day

Be aware, my darling
these things I say I mean
are just traces of something
I long to feel again
I see our time expand
in the air almost forcibly,
spreading thinner till it dissolves completely”
School Of Seven Bells

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

School Of Seven Bells - Face To Face On High Places

“Two winters gone in a blur of sleepless nights
Day in, day out, I worked through the same old plight
By then I'd stopped looking for my way out
Somehow I thought I wasn't worth the fight

It's safe to say, saving you, saved me

All those times I'd hung my head to keep the peace
I had buried all my strength and will down deep
When you came I woke from many sleeps
One day I'll tell you what you did for me

It's safe to say, saving you, saved me”

Shoutout for Chains:

"My sleep burrows me a chain of monochromatic rooms
that jangles in the day and recalls a samey drone
Day has drawn out from the night
what's been lacking in its wage
reviving eyes that choked the light
with no extraction for the page

I can not seem to remember my dreams lately

If the moon defines the night and illuminates without direction
could the obscured that steered my life illuminate its intervention?

I fought so long for an explanation planting
the seeds that took root in my mind explaining
into dust what was a lucid situation"

School Of Seven Bells

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

School Of Seven Bells - Iamundernodisguise

"I am neither breather nor speaker
I am neither walker nor sleeper
I am neither sister brother son nor daughter
Solely in my chest is my heart a drum of water

I am under no disguise"

Shoutout for Wired For Light:

"I'm sleeping to develop my dreaming skill
I'm going to build, I'm going to build
If the space is malleable the contrast must be too
It changes shape with you, it changes shape with you

Wishes turn out orphans, skip on the surface of the
sky and sink, sky and sink
They break into the air with little faith and heap
a desert full of dunes, a desert full of dunes

The space is wired for light
Light for gaze, gaze for intent
The space is wired for light
Light for gaze, gaze for intention

A body disassembled still assembles its
memory as a whole
Recognition renders composition
Intention begins resurrection"

School Of Seven Bells

Monday, December 08, 2008

Delta Spirit – Strange Vine b/w People, Turn Around

“The sun came while you were shining. The tide flew when we were writing a symphony.” Some poetry about working with other musicians. More important is the beat. These guys rock the week into a good feeling, touching all levels of the tide – surfing or flying, doesn’t matter much. “Songs that had lost their luster, finally they found their color”. The tide around here is more of a Monday party atmosphere with this CD going round and round.

The merriment includes time to think through some important issues with a very special sing-along tune called People, Turn Around:

eighteen and jaded with guns in their hands
they were fighting for freedom and just what is that?

bills to the banks and food for the kids
money for college but couldn't get in

made all the grades but got taken to task
by a man in an alley wearing a mask

screamed and she begged as the people walked by
the man he just laughed and the woman she cried

well its time all you people, turn around
for the life we've been living, messing around
the blood we've been spilling will bleed us dry
the life we've been killing is the life like mine

the needle is sweet and the snow it is pure
the pain I've been hiding from I'm finding a cure

the night it is warm well the light it is cold
the family I'm loving I'm calling them home

my heart it is thumping, the veins they've been blue
the blood that’s been pumping still hasn't met you

the beard that I'm growing, not fully grown
the years are not coming the way I thought they would

hoping and waiting for something to sing
like the angels in heaven, the bones on the street

hoping for love to find a new voice
the song thats needs singing has already been sung before

Many shoutouts, including Streetwalker (“Oh Lord, set me free”), People C’mon (“there'll be peace on my soul someday”), Children (“you're the ones to lead”), and Tomorrow Goes Away (“in the evening when I wake up I would love to hear you say, ooh-ooh-ooh”). Delta Spirit

Sunday, December 07, 2008

James Galway & Tiempo Libre - Contradanza

Piano flute swinging in conjuction is always a joyful sound. Add some superb percussion and bass and we join a wild party in action that calls for lots of dance. I love that in this short tune the pianist and flute player make way for both a bass solo and a percussion solo to keep the excitement of life screaming in total fulfillment of aural pleasures. Shoutout for Espiegle/General OReilly, which starts off with the piano, but is quickly echoed by the flute who then merrily manages to take the tune to the heavens. Half way in the piano starts to bring the tune down to earth – for a brief time, then the pianist takes wing! James Galway & Tiempo Libre

The Jazz Factory - Sunset

The title of this CD is tranquility, and the Jazz Factory has found a way to create a CD of total relaxation without becoming boring. Sunset opens with a saxophone inviting us into his world and exploring each corner of his vision of the sunset, always announcing silently that this is an important part of our creation worth relishing. The other players on the CD wrap around the clouds, the treetops, the birds flying in the distance, and the cats at my feet as the sun slowly travels over the rooftops of my neighbors. Beautiful. The Jazz Factory

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Phineas and the Lonely Leaves - When We Were Young

“I called you in hopes we could still be friends, please don't tear me apart for the things I did back then.” The pleasure of this song is the conversational tone of the lyric. It is like the guy is sitting here in my living room on a Saturday afternoon talking and rambling on, apologizing for being young while we sit together drinking a beer. He doesn’t try to be arty about it, just humble and sincere. I know by the time three minutes are up we’ll be sitting here laughing about the fact that I was young also, and it’s the job of the young to mess up while they learn the ropes of growing up. After two more beers we’ll admit we still don’t know what the heck we’re doing. But it’s the relaxed atmosphere of the album that sets off all this honesty. “I got some things off my chest and it seems like we might even speak again, maybe even become friends again. Like when we were young...”

Shoutouts for Time To Kill (“I always talk too much in the company of strangers”), Stay Crazy (“I thought about the time you used your own blood to paint that bird. You said it needed more color a little more depth and that was just something I didn’t get, but for you babe I'd believe your every word”), Amy (“I think sometimes I drink till I get sick but last night you meant everything”), Do You Lie (“Its crazy how you could ruin someone’s year and not even really care, not even really feel bad for doing it”), and Love What Lies (“Love what breathes and love what lies. Love what lives then one day dies. And love me now, because now’s the time, we're still young we're still alive”). As you can tell by these brief excerpts, these are small tone-poems disguised as short stories about real people with totally open thoughts about their lives. Or maybe it’s just Phineas that is totally open. Doesn’t matter, it’s a great weekend being able to spend time with these characters, getting to know their dreams, their memories, what makes them tick, and getting to appreciate the fact they are willing to share their lives through the voice of a friend.

What makes this journey really special is that throughout there is not one sense of judgment. Everyone in these stories is accepted for exactly for who they are - people I know I’d have fun with sitting around the living room talking, playing guitars, and imbibing a few beers with. Phineas and the Lonely Leaves

Friday, December 05, 2008

The King Blues - I Got Love

“This feeling, I can’t let it go!” It’s exciting to have high-energy pop songs joyfully singing about the power of love. The development of the song is pure pop – an acoustic guitar starts off the track, with an organist and several percussionists quickly joining in the fun. Fun to hear, fun to jump around to. “These walls, they can’t contain us!” One of the singers throws in enough of a twist on the word ‘walls’, that it can almost be heard as “these wars can’t contain us.” Very nice twist, and perfect sentiment to share with the old folks who think either way – because neither walls nor wars are necessary when love is in control. Shoutout for the even more jumping ska flavors of The Streets Are Ours! The percussion break is pure perfection. King Blues

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sharon Robinson – Invisible Tattoo

“There’s a lasting impression of you all over me.” Sensual music backs up these memories, with a voice hovering over the music with a mystical quality. “Lovers entwined in sweet rendezvous.” A slow intensity with accents in just the right emotional places makes for a full 6 course dance meal. “When I close my eyes all the colors arise.” Shoutout for soulful realities of The High Road (“I’m not gonna fight about something that just ain’t there”). Sharon Robinson

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Anastacia - The Way I See It

“Pardon me for living, expressing my opinion. That’s just the way I see it.” Opinionated with a soul-dance beat, its infectious! “I won’t apologize for being strong!” No need to, Anastacia – you have upped our party emotion 150%, and we will keep our boodies on the floor with the high tinaturnerlike standards you’ve set. Shoutouts for the tasty retro-disco of Absolutely Positively, high-energy aerobic dance of Heavy Rotation, tender soul of You’ll Be Fine, and joyful gospel of Beautiful Messed Up World! Perfect hump-day 3 margarita dancefloor record. Anastacia

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Jolie Holland – The Future

“Everything around you is so beautiful. Everything’s part of the dreams we will paint.” Jolie’s vocal dynamic is more felt than heard. A unique voice which strums its vibrations through my synapses without effort. The musicians seem to recognize they are there to add the vegetables to the main course, and appear to relish the role because they never make the effort to push the music further than Jolie’s voice is willing to haunt. Makes for a deeply beautiful mix of colors. Shoutout for Mexico City. Jolie Holland

Monday, December 01, 2008

Eartaste Albums of the Year 2008

2008 has been an outstanding year for listening to new music.

This year I stopped trying to figure out which are indie labels and which aren’t. In the past I’d pick one indie label and one major release each month. Turns out the major labels have cool ways of making us believe some of these are indie releases. Most of them are pretty transparent, but not all. So, I simply made a list of the albums that play all the way through every single time. Not single cuts that sound great every single time – that’s what we specialize in here daily; but those few, really special complete albums that are fully worthy of your investment of time and $$$.

The statistics. Over 200 cds arrive here every month. Of those, I pick a song or two off 30 of them to feature on eartaste. About 2 a month (less than 1%) stay on my cd player a lot, months at a time, and are always within handy reach. There are many different styles – style isn’t important. These are chosen because there is not one clunker on the album, and most of the time the songs add depth to each other by playing straight through.

So, here we go, in no particular order, the 24 best albums of 2008 – planned to give 24 hours of amazing music to listen to any day of the year.

Echoes Therein Gale - Echoes Of Darkness
Jazz Side Of The Moon
Phil Keaggy - Phantasmagorical
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Ruthie Foster - Phenomenal
Heath Street – Heath Street
Songdog - Wretched Sinners Song
Dax Riggs - We Sing of Only Blood or Love
Soko - Not Sokute
Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves - Roll with You
REM – Accelerate
DigJelly – ParaNoize
Maggie Walters – Midwestern Hurricane
Bravo Johnson - The Crooked And The Straight
Batdorf & Rodney - Still Burnin'
The Foxboro Hot Tubs - Stop Drop And Roll
The Acorn Project - We'll Be Fine
John Mellencamp - Life Death Love and Freedom
Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
BB King – One Kind Favor
Susan Tedeschi – Back To the River
Marianne Faithfull – Easy Come, Easy Go

Edit: December 26: My daughter sprang this one on me at Christmas, so this one will be late, but it's definitely one of my top favorite albums of 2008:
Vampire Weekend

So now there's 25. Life goes on! It's worth staying up an extra hour each day just to hear these jokers!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Singles

Pete Best Band – Grey River

Arthur Joseph & the Lonely Astronauts - Good Friend

The Maybes – I Want You Around

Attic Lights - God

Sway - Taxi

Robin Thicke - Shadow of Doubt

Mary Mary - Sound

Lil Chris - Great British Summer

Cat Power – Fortunate Sun

Bands Under The Radar

Cool podcast. She does what we used to do, but has deeper pockets. The license fees for this type of work are horrendous, and Kami is doing a great job at sharing new bands. Add it to your sites to visit often. A permanent front page link has been added to "More Music" below.

The particular podcast I listened to introduced me to The Heroines by Tony Joe White. I missed it when it was released, but I'm making up for lost time. Played it three times so far today, well worth a few bucks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vetiver - Hey Doll Baby

Rockabilly Everly style in the Vetiverse of love. “You walk around here looking so fine, just about makes me lose my mind!” Just like the early 60’s we are not looking for deep poetry, just pure old fashioned lust in this cover tune. Well, there’s one line here that may be poetic, “I’m going to roll back the rug and nail up the door.” If you know what that means, let me know. Rollicking fun, fully captures the Everly spirit for a new generation. Shoutout for Just To Have You. Vetiver

Joey + Rory – Cheater, Cheater

“Did she smile your way, twirl her hair and say how cute your dimples are?” Yep, I know. Cheating’s not as popular as it used to be, at least in your neck of the woods. That doesn’t make this 3 minute song about Ernie’s Bar any less funny. “Loser, loser, hope you love her,’cause you’re stuck with her now. Take your sorry butt and all your stuff and get the hell out of my house!” LOL! Good old fashioned twirl your partner acoustic country shuffle. Sing along with some hot fiddle, “I wish her well as she rots in hell, and you can tell her I said so.” Shoutout for an unexpectedly cool acoustic version of Freebird. Joey + Rory

A Cuckoo - Adore

“You came over and you talked to me, I brought us both a drink.” Saturday bar music dance music for lovers of pop. Goes great sprinkled over pumpkin pie smothered with whipped cream. "I woke up with you laying next to me in some foreign bed." The story masterfully covers a year in the life of the narrator in 4 minutes. And wait till you hear the guitar break. Yum. A Cuckoo

The Sacred Sailors - Run With Me

Unleash the party with a wall of guitar sound. “You better watch yourself.” The excitement is infectious. The narrator is calling us to run with him through “all this mystery” or “all this misery.” No matter, it’s fun either way. Has a sixties spice because even the drummer gets a solo part in this 3 minute escapade. 2008 flavors for all other reasons – excellent soundscape production. Let’s pogo! Shoutout for Nighttime! The Sacred Sailors

Bryan Scary - Son of Stab

It’s very difficult to believe all the flavors Bryan Scary manages to squeeze into 3 ½ minutes, but what fantastic fun. This one has all the party folk wondering ‘just how do I dance to this?’ ‘dunno, honey, but let’s just do it!’ I’m not too dang sure what the song is about yet, but no matter, it’s a blast just trying to keep up with the music! Must be heard to believed. A cross between FrankZappa and GoodVibrations, if that’s possible. Bryan Scary

Lauren Harris - Get Over It

“As crazy as you seem to be, I know you’re just afraid.” Keen insight with upbeat rock guitars. Dance floor rock and roll romance. “Turn off the lights, see how this goes, you’ll thank me later on.” Fun party record. Lauren Harris

Lenka- The Show

“I’m just a little bit caught in the middle of life.” LOL! A fun pop with a slight flavor of bubblegum, definite fun. “I’m so scared that I don’t show it.” Fun description, especially of adolescence, but I’m afraid to tell you these feelings come up from time to time, even when you’re well past what others call ‘prime’. As Lenka says, “Let it go and just enjoy the show.” Shoutouts for Don't Let Me Fall (“here’s a little heart for you”), Trouble Is A Friend ("no matter what I feed him he always seems to grow") and Like a Song(“you left a light on inside me”). Lenka

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mike Moreno - I Have A Dream

The guitar opens this tune from 1969, with the percussion quickly adding magic. Then all stops, and the bass build and invites the keyboards. The ensemble seemingly appears together rapidly exploring the depths of this 40 year old tune. While not especially obscure, it impresses me that a younger player would be aware of it. I especially enjoy the band leader, while evident, gives the other musicians plenty of room to stretch. It sounds as if the group enjoys this also =:-)

Mike is a young Texan with the ability of doing it all. He can act as a sideman, as related below on Jazz Side Of The Moon and over 16 other albums, and he can act as band leader as evidenced here. He can interpret songs by masters, such as Herbie Hancock (I Have A Dream) & Wayne Shorter (Children Of The Night), and write his own superb tunes (Third Dream). An artist worth knowing, and following – we’ll be hearing a lot more from this guitar player. Shoutouts are due for Kevin Hayes on keyboards, Doug Weiss on bass, and Kendrick Scott on percussion. Delicious. Mike Moreno

Jazz Side Of The Moon (CD)

Five years ago we lived with a Dub Side of the Moon, which was fun in many ways, but in the end was simply an oddity. This re-creation project has been undertaken by others, and I’m enjoying all the incarnations. Taking an icon and re-interpreting it is what classical music is all about, and the ability to do this with a rock and roll icon means great things for the future of music. Which brings me to this interpretation.

What makes this CD so dynamic is that the players take the improvisational aspect of their musicianship very seriously, and it shows on this collection. This one can sit proudly on the shelf not as an oddity, but a fully realized work of dignity in its own right. Very special, and will be a wonderful gift for any 50 -60 year old you’re wondering what in the world they need this Christmas. Yes, before you ask, this will also be a gift younger folks will enjoy also. The music of this Pink Floyd album is so ingrained in our collective sub-conscious that this new elucidation will thrill us for many years to come.

This album is recorded live by four master musicians in a church, with the mikes centralized in one spot, facing different directions to add a live depth to the recording. I sit hear listening and feel like I’m sitting on stage with them, swaying back and forth learning new spiritual solitudes. Rather than simply shout-out all the tunes on the album, I’m going to shoutout the musicians. Sam Yahel smiles upon the organ, Mike Moreno dreams on guitar, Ari Hoenig drives the drums, and Seamus Blake loves the saxophone. A must-have CD. Jazz Side Of The Moon