Nothing like a good old fashioned one man’s brawl on a Friday evening. “Sweetness”. Drunken dudes will do just about anything, including fight with oneself. Not sure if that’s what this song is about, but that doesn’t matter because the music intrigues and creates some interesting dance moves guaranteed to make me lose a few of the pounds I ate this week. The bass player is very exciting and makes this song a must-listen. Ferris Wheels moves the party forward. “I don’t know who I am, I don’t know who you are; but when I touch your hand I see shooting stars.” The dancing continues with Someone Like You “is not without their contradiction. Someone like me is a living work of fiction.” Creative fun. Thanks! I Am Kloot
The song starts off like 1968 with bass drums and guitars accompanied by flutes and a whole myriad of players, feeling like those great bands with 14 integral, necessary players on stage doing a good mix of jazz rock excitement. Those were good days, and faithfully recreated here. The lyrics even flow freely with full stream-of-consciousness tradition, “For some strange reason we decided to talk about sex, it was a Wednesday and half past nine. The conversation just seemed to wander there.” The song goes back and forth between lyrical beauty and tremendous excitement. Well done. “Somewhere in this living city, the beats are hot I’m told.” Shout out for the total exhilaration of Celebrity Puree. Tangent
“I’ll find my way back from the stars and the sea. This kind of journey just means nothing to me.” Stoic declaration with a dancible rock beat flavor. The kind of taste that livens up a Friday evening and keeps the beers flowing freely. Not too sure where all the stoicism is going to land the narrator’s feet, but he is insistent that I pay attention and “don’t make promises.” Boy Kill Boy
“A robin flew by my window, I thought it just might be you, judging by the color of its breast and the sound of its song.” Beautiful line to introduce what sounds like a love song, but turns out to be a thoughtful meditation on how the economic conditions our nation faces does not allow for lasting relationships. He speaks of the girl he loves living in what was once termed fertile California, “but when I came not a single fertile patch could be spared for you and me.” I know what he’s talking about because I left California expecting to return, but when I tried to return the prices of the land would not allow a person living on a schoolteacher’s wages to survive. So life goes on, and as the narrator walks “back home, I don’t care if it takes years or more,” he can’t keep the thoughts of the one he loves out of his mind. The story is well written, and fun to listen to, but I also have to shout out the playing on this rock album. Its rock played on instruments I’m not used to hearing, and it turns out wonderfully. Ben is an accomplished cello player, and on this cut he takes a finger-picking solo on the cello that blows me away. Huge shoutouts for A Few Honest Words, which tells another story about the land we live in, and Panning For Gold, which has lyrical and musical poetry speaking brilliantly about the way we are destroying our planet and turning it into something unrecognizable. Thanks Ben, for both a new way to rock and roll and for the clear messages you have to share. “We don’t choose our leaders, they choose themselves. Tell me again about democracy.” Ben Sollee
A ship is shot into space as a dance beat to make this hump-day satisfyingly margaritable. Just the right amount of bass and drum. The narrator wants to take a break from her relationship, and even decides to use poetry to describe her need for “a breather from the flavors of entanglement”. Yummy words. And, on hump day, the relationship could be a short break from work, doesn’t necessarily have to be a personal friendship, so yes, works great as a break from the strains of work. The song can be heard whatever way the hearer needs to hear it, so great job, Alanis. Shoutouts on this album include the more subdued In Praise Of The Vulnerable Man, which also keeps from getting extremely personal, and also Not As We, where we find that when starting over, “step one is still not making sense.” Thoughtful album. Alanis Morissette
The distorted guitars promise blues, the organ player promises soul, and Ruby enters in delivering both. “You don’t go to sleep to dream.” Short concise words that poetically explain pain felt when two lives move in different directions. A few songs later our narrator becomes a Mistress Of The Devil, who “told me you’d never leave me but now you’re nowhere to be found.” There’s no doubt she is feeling these depths. “When I needed someone to save me, he was the only loving man.” Right after these words, a tasty guitar solo emphasizes the words. Excellent. Things pick up rhythm-wise and emotionally when Ruby decides to sing about what will happen When I’m Gone (“You only say you love me when I’m gone. It’s a shame to leave you honey, but I’m afraid the time feels right.”) Kinda makes perfect sense, knowing the love is only there when she’s gone, that she leave permanently and let the sucker be in total love forever. Of course, nothing’s that easy, and this concept album ends with the narrator intimately talking one on one with the person who brought her into this world in the song Oh Mama. “I’m learning that I can’t seem to be all the things everyone wants me to be.” A beautiful song to cap off a fine journey through a life deeply lived. Ruby James
“A mind is often chasing a thought – so what?” I’m starting the week dancing, with a male/female vocal interacting that encourages me to get up and go, and be conscious of the child whose eyes are on me but whose miond is racing a million other places. “Nothing’s ever what it seems, I’m getting used to reading your mind. And if you never see my tears, it doesn’t mean I’ve never been crying.” Sounds like a bit of a downer, but the band keeps us getting washed up, clothed and ready for the week, prepared for whatever it wants to bring. I never know in my classroom which child is glad to be back in school after living through a weekend of hell. I know there’s a child or two that wish they could sing these words out. “Nothing’s ever what it seems, I’m getting used to reading your mind. And if you never see my tears, it doesn’t mean I’ve never been crying.” I only pray that my classroom is a place of refuge for those children. And, the narrator speaks directly at me as the song closes, “Just learn the eyes aren’t always willing to see – just be.” Thanks! Discrete Encounter
“Always after my lucky charms, looks like I’m gonna hafta throw one in there.” And everything gets thrown in – flavors from all over the house. Is that blipping from a cell phone? The car beeping in the garage? And some kid’s toys blissfully join in to keep the ears happy. The vocalist travels all over, from TommyRoe to TomJones to TomWaits, and - of course, he’s none of these. He’s just playing his good old happy self, dancing all over the stage with complete abandon. The drummer and bass player are awarded a patience prize for keeping this organized chaos from getting out of hand. Very cool. Afterthem
The water trickles over rocks to open an infinite afternoon of ice drinks melting slowly on our tongues as I return to forever and recall a moment in time when music changed for me for all time. I had been playing folk music, and played with a coupla guys in bars around Monterey, as well as hitting the wharf with our guitar cases open. Three part harmony with songs that were as simple as we were. Jazz was something that belonged to my father’s world. I appreciated it, but did not participate beyond trying to figure out why it was so important that a trumpet player could hit a clear high C. I was trying to understand the dynamics of music on the written page, and considering making a life in music in college when a voice came out of some speakers Light As A Feather. I knew that music learned in college would never produce that sound. So, I went on to study writing and dreaming as I continued playing music with passion. Which turned out to be the best thing because I still play music with passion, but would have made a horrible music teacher. I am an excellent teacher, but my passion in music also leads to impatience with musicians who do not share the passion. I can appreciate and help young writers grow, because I have learned writing as a craft. Music can be a craft, but I am not attracted to that aspect of music. Which brings me full circle to the Butterfly Dreams of Flora Purim. Hearing her passion made me realize that true passion was deeper than any professor could teach, so why bother? I listen to her records often, but have to admit I have not heard her voice on new material for some years. My loss. Her voice is still strong and exudes poetry with splendid ease. “I woke up this way, with a warmth within. Could it be a dream, an illusion, or a heart’s lies?”
Café Jobim returns me to reality, with Flora whispering the love of samba flavors in my ear. Largely instrumental, with trumpets seducing the guitar toward the beach, the voices return and make the sand sparkle as the guitarist reaches higher and higher with shred flavored runs that would tear the skin off the fingers off most men. The guitarist here is Lawson Rollins, and let’s just say, this is truly his album. But I do have to thank him deeply for reminding me that Flora is still alive and singing as beautiful as ever. “The pain that opened my heart gave me the strength to find you and ask your forgiveness.” Flora Purim with Lawson Rollins
Voices chanting a welcome to life start this cut off like a sunrise. The percussionists join in and I’m entranced, up and moving through the world as a dancer without feet, flying freely. The world is no longer a collection of nations, but one place of peace with every voice singing in harmony. The guitar playing is being fed by the musicians and vice versa. I float over the world hearing one instrument from the west, another from the east, with harmonies from the north and south, and realize east and west never meet, but run arund each other in perfect unison. Powerful tune feeding a life of pleasure, scenes far removed from reality. Thanks! Shoutouts for the dance Through the Night, the meditations of Streets of San Miguel, and the love of For JoAnn. Lawson Rollins
“I’ve been knocking on your door. Please don’t turn me away from the light. This world’s been beating me down so bad.” Victoria brings the spiritual reality back to my consciousness with her pleas. The good news is that we know the One who can show her light. The bad news is that it’s not obvious in the world or in any congregation of people. The search leads to a path where we finally find the answer is deep within, not found without. Jesus himself said it; the Kingdom of God is within. But He does allow you peace when you seek it. Amen for that. “Do you hear me when I’m crying out from my soul? I need you, yes I need you to make me whole.” Shoutouts for Grateful and Smiling. Victoria White
Dancing with controlled distortion and loud guitars, the narrator is ranting about how we are going to hell. He could be making either a spiritual or political judgement, or perhaps both. The players are going along with his script with the strength of JonesCookVicious. All the exciting drama comes to a wonderful show of emotion and beautiful vocal harmony in the powerful shoutout tube, Prayer. The Time Of The Assassins
“All the lies that you tell, I believed them so well.” Okay, you’ve heard this before, but Scarlett has brought a different sort of life to the song. So we are allowed to re-question, who are you? When is the last time you’ve taken the breathing space necessary to dig into this depth? Who am I anyway? The wall of sound is thick but manages to allow ask questions. “Do you cry? Do you pray?” “Are you pretending to love?” “Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?” And I love the invitation, “Go on ahead and take this the wrong way.” Scarlett Johansson
The guitar player allows my arms and feet to make their own planet to travel through while he silently moves the strings and permits me to feel I am in control. There is a space here I’ve never been to before, and though I’m loving every moment, I have a feeling that without guidance I’d quickly get lost. The percussion is complementing the voyage and grounds me occasionally, for specific effect. The bass player helps me keep parts of my spirit here on earth. The sun is down and the stars are hidden beneath a cloud cover has traveled 450 miles from the gulf, slowly slowly up the hills with watery dreams of its own – and the music is harmonizing with the humidity with decency. I am above the cloud layer, lost in the music. Shoutout for the the visions of Dead Sky and Janus. Omni
Slow dancing on the floor, with funk and soul the king and queen of love. The horns are winning everyone over on the dance floor, with the narrator seducing us with pure spirit and tons of humor. You need to hear the story, so I won’t spoil it. Let’s just say you won’t feel cheated. Okay, I gotta give you a hint. “He set fire to the kitchen floor and made noises like a bee.” See, I didn’t give away the story. Love the break also, “God’s directing traffic, everybody’s laughing, enemies embrace!” Lots of shoutouts. Semi-Interesting Week, From The Head To The Heart, Big Black Hole, Forget Everything, and the great fun of Forget Everything. A special shoutout for Green Pills In The Dresser, which has me longing for a full album of Kris having fun. Was Not Was
“Can you the one minute and take a good look around?” Last year I drove from Texas to Los Angeles to visit Tower Records. Not really, I went to see y grandson, but being as I was there anyway. . . well, let’s face it, old habits die hard. There were still addresses in the phone book, but the stores had literally disappeared. Tower Records had been the impetus for the loss of all the great mom & pop record stores. I used to work at Al’s Record shop on F Street, just one block over from the infamous E-Street of shuffle fame. I had done that shuffle myself, once having bricks thrown at a small group of us. There were sides of the street you just were not supposed to walk on if you were of one persuasion or another. But Al’s was a place of refuge where color didn’t matter. Janis Joplin has a home next to Otis Redding, and Alice Cooper lived safely with Sly and the Family Stone. Rainmaker has made a beautiful tribute to the fact these refuges no longer exist. “Sit and watch your long slow fade, all the promises that we made are disappearing by the day.” Kinda like the way I feel about many many things. My country is fading into an era I do not recognize, where the statue of liberty no longer has meaning. “What else are we willing to trade?” Shoutout for the Reprise, which neatly ties a bow on the themes expressed through the album. Rainmaker
It’s okay to meditate about the last record store finally closing, but let’s recognize that music doesn’t stop just because no one’s buying anymore. There are still fabulous thinkers reaching deep into themselves and challenging us to extend our taste palate. Spoonfork is making no bones about bringing their virtuosity to a new sound that reflects some thought on our circumstances on this planet. “In the coffin there’s a note you might steal if you feel like dancin’”. And you know I am always looking for a new dance. These guys keep it going with Continuum, where they proclaim “we came to place, we came to make room for the invisible alien and you.” Along the way Spoonfork makes it clear they don’t want to be “the puppets that they make to entertain you,” but they manage to keep me thinking how interesting they are able to make me dance along with their philosophizing, even to the tune of Bustin’ Heads For Dr. Death (“freedom leaves a distinctive mark”). Shoutout for the hilarious Kid, Ain't Got No Love (“found there’s a breeding ground just outside my door.”). Spoonfork
A guitar strumming, a keyboard tingling, and a bass player laying down an airy rhythm while the singer asks, “what’s that song you used to sing? I want to hear it again and again.” The drummer brings in a wall of sound for the chorus, the wall stopping just short of distortion. “Here we are singing ‘our love will never die’” repeats with a chorus of voices bringing to mind many images of days gone by yet still to come. “It’s good to feel alive!” Sure is. Thanks Mike. Shoutout the slow meditation on love Mike calls Staring At The Sun (“she dances into danger like a child”). Mike Musick
“I’m a treetop glider, I never leave the track” Thanks for that promise, because this track is fun to listen to. Somewhere between Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings rides this alt-rock country flavor of sweet tea that includes some guitar work playing for keeps as the narrator clues us in that he has “wings for hire”. Old fashioned trucking down the highway in the hot summer sun covering highway 10 from Tallahassee to Los Angeles and back in an hour or two, I thank these guys for making this summer one filled with rock and roll excitement. "I'm a radar hider, turn your head and I'm gone." Shoutouts for The Wrong Thing To Do, Scare Easy, Orphan Of The Storm & Crystal River. Mudcrutch
“This nightmare waits in shadows” the narrator exclaims, and then says “I’m filthy, you’re right there with me.” The past is chasing the narrator, who is singing of the nails in his hands. “I’m guilty, yes I’m guilty, and you’re guilty right there with me.” Whether he’s digging into the depths of spirituality or simply philosophizing about the hopelessness he’s feeling at the moment, this narrator is carrying me along in the story while a guitar lovingly solos a very tasty riff that keeps my ears dancing in deep wonder at the beauty of this moment. The shoutout tune shares a character name with Tom Jones, Oh Delilah. Quite different than the Plain White T’s, this Delilah suffers the same fate as Mr Jone’s famous MymymyDelilah, but with a much different acoustic attack at her fate. Delilah and her cohort are met by the narrator who is willing to sing to her a “last lullaby” and then bury her “beneath the maple tree where nobody’ll know” except the people smart enough to dig deep and discover this CD by Ross Shifflett.
“All dressed up like a switchblade knife let's hang in love from the gallows.” PlainWhiteT’s meet halloween imagery to welcome the summer and wake me up pleasantly happy. The lyrics continue a bit more gleefully like popcorn in this movie, “we can take a walk around the lake, there's a garden in the park there.” So, it’s not all doom and gloom. The wake-me-up 60’s garage dance party is even more energetic with Stop, Drop, and Roll (“your lips are like a cherry bomb with teeth”), and the wonderful psychedelic flavorings of Sally (“Singing ‘Ride, ride Sally, ride’ like the speed of light on a road rage suicide”). More fantabulously hip shoutouts for Pieces Of Truth, Dark Side Of The Night, and Red Tide. Ah, heck, we’ve come this far, let’s shout out this entire lost in the 60's album! The Foxboro Hot Tubs
“Got flavor like ice cream.” Fair enough, gonna be the chick that tastes of ice cream you know this eartaster is going to have a great time on the dance floor listening to your tales of love. From the first oo-oo-wee to the final uh-huh we can’t help but hit the floor and thank Mariah for continuing to keep them music flowing through our bones. Shoutout & thanks for the slower dance flavors of Thanx 4 Nothin' & Heat. No need to wait for the sun to go down to sweat to these tunes. Mariah Carey
“Every day I wake up, I choose love, I choose life!” With guitars joyfully tickling my earbuds. Singers “fighting the good fight” to keep all the instruments tied together in the center of the universe handclapping with the bass and some sorta toy piano keeping the music all light and airy. The shoutout is more acoustically upbeat singing love is a Swimming Pool with no bottom (“never mind what logic says – logic’s a guy who should empty his pockets”). The Submarines
Psychedelic instrumentals start off my Friday night dance with a heavy slapping joy. The instruments move quicky up and down the rings of Saturn with a happiness that prepares my feet for an eartaste festival of solar system dimensions wandering yet never lost. Did we say mellotrons beholding Pluto in all its glory as a newly crowned dwarf. Shoutout for Orffyreus' Wheel. The Crystal Sun
“Come back to comfortable.” The band asks us into their world and it’s a challenging journey filled with pleasant friendly surprises. Like a kazoo here and gone, a whitenoise there, but only briefly. The guitars stay pretty well moving throughout, and the vocals are fabulous. There is an on-going effort to stay several flavors ahead of the listener, a voyage I take great pleasure in sharing with these companions. Shoutouts for Why Did You Happen (“I’m the iceberg breaking off slow, you are a desert and you’re all alone. Is it by choice that you choose to be? And why did you happen to me?” and So Kind (“to be alone alone with myself, content”). Nice work. Too Dark for a Picture
“I can’t remember how you taste.” It’s been awhile since this guy hung around with his friend, but it’s obvious he’s still thinking about the past. “Ran out of time to say I’m sorry, wasting my life in made-up stories.” I have friends I think of often that I’ve lost track of, so I appreciate the acoustic reminder that we keep on with our fantasies of what could have been. Even though I prefer to keep my mind on today, I do have the same tendency as this narrator to desire to “give up all I have to hear you cry again.” A 750ml Affair
“You drive me wild!” Hump day always welcomes Al Green because after the first two notes I can’t help but get up and move. Funk is the beat and love is the heat. “Our love is more than giving.” Corinne Bailey Rae joins Al on Take Your Time, which will for sure be the last song of every party I’m playing this year. Slow, smooth, perfect sensuality. The song you carry home from the dance floor to the bedroom. We don’t have enough songs like this anymore, and I thank you Al, for remembering the power of music to move every neuron in our being. The rest of the album is going to keep this party moving all night long, with an extra shoutout for All I Need. Al Green
“I was an empty vessel, you filled me up inside, and with amazing grace restored my pride.” The poetry of a solitary man, the melodies are similar and the visions still fill a place that felt empty. There’s always been a spiritual nature to Neil’s voice, and this time it comes out more clear than ever. I love this line, “look in a mirror, I see your reflection.” Equivalent of Jesus saying the spirit of God is within. Shoutout tunes tonight are also reflective, If I Don't See You Again & No Words. Neil Diamond
The Pocket Gods return with a new dance craze, and I am proudly pogoing around the room as I listen intently for the hidden message deep within the lyrics. If I find the answer I won’t tell, it’ll be one of those you need to discover for yourself to appreciate the subtleties. In the meantime, pogo. With pride. Once the appetizer is done, the meal served up with a deeply satisfying feeling of not filling me too much, but the perfect serving so I have no need of further dessert or escape into aural wines. This meal is tonight’s perfect shoutout tune, Night Lights, a three minute pop tune that fulfills in every velvet way imaginable. Pocket Gods
“Out here in deep space, nothing’s for sure.” The folks who brought us the great fun single Gravity Rocks last year return with an album of space-themed songs which satisfy all my cravings to float to other planets. Gravity Rocks is inclluded on this album, along with the fun fun fun Radio Free Alpha Centauri. Fun wake-up the week music, with an earthly song mid-way through. We’ve always had people walking the streets, but now there seem to be more and more. It’s not that there are more weird people, but it’s the fault of technology, and makes for a fun song, Cell Phone Or Schizo. The Larch
“I don’t know what spell I’m under, feels like something’s chasing after me.” That’s actually how this fun new album ends, and exactly how I feel as it fades out. Batdorf & Rodney were some of the albums I digitized myself back in the 90’s when it felt like there were some albums that would never come out on CD. These are guys who had a bright light shining on them for awhile, but 30 years go by and I only hear them when I pull my “old records off the shelf”. That’s actually the title of the first Batdorf & Rodney album – from 1971. A wonderfully mixed up time for me, with Vietnam looming over society as cities were burning (I lived in Asbury Park in this era, which burned due to lots of anxiety over racism). I understand the place I’m living now was even worse because they were quietly hanging blacks and Jewish people in the name of freedom. The hangings made the front pages of the local weekly, but never made the news outside of the area. A sad era that has never been publically talked about. Where some of the cities were pushing for integration, the countryside was killing people making sure segregation was permanent. Why do I bring this up? Nothing really to do with Batdorf & Rodney, except that one of my favorite jams of theirs was simply called Farm. Their albums were pleasant acoustic jams, with the flavors of America and Seals and Crofts. Not political in the least, but they were definitely acres removed from the inner-city plights. “From the dark side of the great divide where hope is buried with dreams that died, there’s no escaping from the mountainside.”
This album starts with the wonderfully sunny Summer Of Love, performed in a much different manner than Fogerty’s song of the same name; but recalling the innocence with the same emotion. “It was a time of change, and it was so beautiful and strange. And nothing’s been quite the same since the summer of love.” I still live there, in many ways, mostly musically.”You can never forget that sound that moves you still, it was state of the art. And it beats in your heart, and it always will. It was a time to sing. It was a time we began to dream. And music meant everything in the summer of love.” John Batdorf has lyrically caught my inner being fully.
The rest of the new album is a collection of some of their best songs re-recorded in the studio sounding just great. The digital recordings I made were off records that were 25 years old when I was making the transition, so I am very glad to hear them this clear. Not sure I ever heard them this clear – ever. You’ll know several of these songs because they were played on what we used to call “underground radio”. Weird, that thought. Everyone was listening to underground radio, so what made it underground? No commercials, and super-cool music. One Day recalls the emotions going through all of us during those days of turmoil and hoping for a peace none of us felt but wanted to feel really bad. “One day I’m sure we’ll all be happy. Peace will soon find every one. One day we’ll wake up in the morning, all our troubles will be gone.” Explains why there’s so much censorship today – people really have no sense that a war is killing off young Americans until a family member or immediate neighbor comes home. We don’t see the thousands, just the few. The government and large businesses running the war have learned how to control our emotions so people don’t have the same anger over what the government is doing to all the innocents overseas. But this album reminds me deeply of all those emotions. “Today should be my best day, all my best days are burning” is a brilliant line that cuts deeper in me today than it did 30 years ago, from the jam song Let Me Go.
Home Again bursts with the same power of joy it always had, with guitar interplays that inspire thoughts of deep understanding of why we are even here. “The daylight found me sitting underneath an oak tree clearing up what once was cloudy, knowing most of all I’m happy.” And alive, feeling alive, truly alive. A quick shoutout for a dear old friends, Where Were You And I, and Can You See Him? I hope it does not take 33 years for another album from these guys. The two new songs create an anticipation that these guys still have many eartastable moments left to share.
Along the sidewalks cafés acoustically send musical invitations to stop awhile and listen carefully and maybe even dance a bit, with a horn player sometimes joining along in a manner reminiscent of the mariachis strolling through San Antonio. The lyrics send out pleasant dreams and understandings toward me – making me wish a day trip to this island was not deemed illegal by the US Government. I’m hoping that someday soon someone will investigate the folly of that decision and allow us again to travel in freedom around the world. Till then Putumayo is doing a fine job keeping us abreast of the music around the world.
Rene Ferrer in Como a Cada Mañana enlivens me with this: “I feel every morning and I have to shout – to give thanks to life and getting to see it pass by”. José Cónde with El Chacal makes me dance freely through the yard, “through a path of violence we will never arrive.” Lena Ferrer with Ay, Mi Vidita investigates sharing culture with the poem “when you decide to give a bouquet of yourself things will change.” Amen to that. Let’s hope we learn that lesson sooner than later. German Obregón in his song Pincel Campesino sings “I have a place of my own in front of a beautiful palm tree.” Asere brings several horns into the café to play the beautiful Corazón, a song to a lover who is “my most precious and beloved happy distraction.”
The music is very important here, but I’d like to mention my grateful eartaste shoutout to Putumayo for graciously including a recipe for Salsa de Mojito to make the music taste even better, especially with a drop or two of rum. Thanks! I should also take a moment to mention the musicianship and songwriting on this CD are superb. While the songs have definite flavors of the island and beyond (I tasted a bit of Brazil for example), there are some very interesting arrangements that expanded my musical horizon. For example, the ending of Corazón enters a musical realm that is satisfactorily surprising, and the musical break in Pincel Campesino is pure ecstasy.
“I’m gonna spend all my money tonight.” The guy finally got a date, and he’s excited. Really excited. This song is abundantly exciting, with a guy who just can’t hold it in – he’s excited. Okay, that outta the way, this is a summer blast-off song that excites me to hear it, and I’m starting off my Friday night loud bbq dinner with lotsa beans and cornbread with these punk flavored shouters who have a just a slight taste of loud rockin’ country. Oh, and in case you missed it, these guys are excited! Let’s hope summer radio programmers make this one a classic for future prom nights. Stampead
Summer continues to blast my speakers proudly with “maybe we can set aside our debts till it’s over!” Maybe. Let’s make some new ones, some purty big ones actually, ‘cause if I hear this tasty dessert correctly, we are truly blasting off, going to a parallel universe, and returning in 20 years. “Why can’t we just forget about these grains of sand here? When we return they’ll be beneath our feet along the shore evaporated when the sun expanded like a red-nosed drunk whose parallel self never drank at all.” This fun continues with the shoutoutTommy Hall (“I will plant tomatoes in the asphalt cracks so the crazies won’t be left behind.”) A joyful summer approaches wildly! You Me & Iowa
Guitar buddies who seem to love making music together, with a touch of texas blues. “Mama’s got a voice like sugar, it’s so sweet and fine. Sister sings amazing grace, she’s right in time. And they’re laying poor papa low in the ground, so now they’re waiting in the Jackson Station for the train to roll.” The next verse comes in with a new vocalist, and soon the chorus enters with 3 part harmony. “Lay me down where the river lays wide and strong. Sometimes you buy a ticket home.” Lots of fine, down-home playing with a recording that makes me feel like I’m in the living room with some mighty fine players complete with a mandolin and harmonica player. Get the bbq on and be ready to be transported. A bottle of lonestar will complete this meal just fine. Shoutouts for Cornbread & Nine Steps Down. Come prepared to dance. The Band of Heathens
The band starts this humpday album out with a rocking, repeating chord. Sounds recorded live throughout! “Whatever I said about you, I didn’t say it behind your back.” Maybe my memory is shot, but I don’t recall Elvis Costello reaching for a na-na-na chorus before. It’s good to hear him running out of words, proves the wordsmith is human. “I pay for my immortal sins!” The music is exactly what you’d expect from an up-beat Elvis, they lyrics as difficult as ever to decipher (is he saying “my mind’s a terrible disgrace” or “my, my, a terrible disgrace”?) Doesn’t matter, the band is rocking, there’s a new voice singing back-up harmonies, and it’s fun to dance to. “True love is rocking up and down!” I’ll let the critics jabber on about the relative merits of Watching The Detectives vrs American Gangster Time, and just let you know the American Gangster Time dylanfarfisa is my shoutout tune tonight (“I’d rather go blind for speaking my mind”), along with the always drippin’ future of Go Away. Dance on! Elvis Costello
“I’d to meet you someplace dark, but under light if that’s alright.” Schizoid anxieties? Deal with it. Fun disco joy for a humpday dance party. Shoutout for Mary The Inventor [the superhuman blowtorch + she’s way ahead of her time] (“There’s no way out of here. I’ve looked around, I’ve checked it twice”). Ash Koley
I walk out into the wilderness of west Texas, look over the canyons and open my ears and I hear the Sun Giant echoing through hills valleys and cactus coyotes chasing armadillos swiftly through the shoutout memories of Drops In The River far below. Voices from the past dwelling in the future visions dreaming of “years ago birds of a feather” fleetingly visiting “on the shore, speak to the ocean and the sea silent” down near the Brownsville drainage of the Rio Grande stretching smoothly into an ocean-like bay. Grand echoes from the upcoming knowledge of voices. Fleet Foxes
No sacrifices needed to wake up shouting with this guitar focused song. “Your heart’s pumping blood and you’ve always got the time for it!” I’m up, raving, and raring to go. Guitars pounding a rhythm and guitars screaming a lead that make my ears smile and re-write the lyric a bit to say “my ear’s pumping blood and I’ve always got the time for it.” Shoutout for the beautiful rock ballad You Don't Know. Robby Lochner
A slow fade into a Sunday afternoon with a big bowl of raisin oatmeal fulfilling all cravings for crackling energy release. Keny’s slow dance to afternoon weather promising to bring some spring rains to my garden is a good soundtrack to my emotions today. “Trouble with the wind. There’s not much left to say. What is blowing in my face keeps on pushing me away. Can you feel the heat burning on your face? Is it time I knew something about you?” The banjo used as a mood instrument is a good example of how Keny uses traditional instruments in non-traditional ways. Shoutout for A Thousand Ghosts. Keny Butler
Chambao earned a place in my heart back when I was writing for an ancient invention called paper. Their music has never strayed far from my party table, and this new release is no exception. There seems to be more slow songs this time out, however that’s not a bad thing because they do intriguing things to create mood of other-worldly while maintaining a firm footing in rhythms of moorish spain. Shoutouts for Duende del Sur and Respira, which join old favorites like Rosa Maria, Pokito A Poko & Los Muchachos De Mi Barrio on my dance party table. Chambao
“There's a government whip cracked a across your back where the order of the day is don't listen – attack! See the blood run down in your blood swept town.” There’s a lot I feel about this song, besides it’s fun to listen to, but I realize the lyric is reminding me no one’s listening anyway. “Talk don't talk if you've nothing to say. Walk don't walk if our feet don't know the way.” There’s a lot to say, and places I wish I could go – like another planet. Our fellow men seem to have no belief in the fact we’re living on this world together. It’s easier to say screw it, let’s dance. But Flogging Molly won’t let me give up. “See the terror in the eye of the bloodshot child, only rubble in his belly is the promise of lust. Operation? Liberation? Tell me. You can decide.” Huge shoutouts for Float, On The Back Of A Broken Dream, and The Story So Far. Flogging Molly
“He’s a mess, but he’s really pretty.” The album is called Funplex, so I didn’t go into this expecting much more than fun. And, as usual, the B-52’s deliver a full punch-bowl filled with fun. “Hey y’all, last call! Last chance to dance!” Shoutout for Keep This Party Going! B-52’s