Monday, June 30, 2008

Pocket Gods - Weekend Revulers

The drums start off this ear blast with full wake-me up power juice! The guitar and bass enter with a tambourine and I am up and running, ready to face the week. Enter the narrator, who wisely points out I “gotta get the weekend outta my mind. Got the Monday -> Friday gig one more time.” Probably coulda easily forgotten the weekend, as usual, but when reminded to get it outta my mind, well, you know how it goes. Can’t forget what’s upfront and waking you. That’s okay, I forgive him because right away he reminds me, “put on a clean shirt, then have a shave”. Yep, it’s Monday again. Here we go. Oh, there’s more to bring the weekend back to mind, “I don’t remember much ‘bout Friday night.” Well, suffice it to say this narrator had a great weekend. Then, back to the task at hand, “gotta catch the bus just because I need some money for my weekend party.” There’s much more, all fun to listen to. Every time I hear these guys they seem to get better and better. Maybe they’re growing on me, maybe I’m catching up to them. However, they seriously seem to be getting better with each release. This whole album is great energetic fun, and every song has its own mood and meaning. Shoutouts for Jomble Party, Jomble Bells, I Love The World, Sussex, and the intense velvet flavors of My Next High. Great job! I’m already hungry for the next chapter of the Gods. I think that’s what makes them so good, they play what is important to them, and with such passion that their importance becomes my importance. They could care less if anyone listens, they’re going to make music because they love making music. I love them for that. Pocket Gods

Pocket Gods on Eartaste

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nigel Kennedy - Where All Paths Meet

I earned this today – was working on cleaning up, dusting, fixing various things & listening to loud music the whole time. Then came time to relax and I pulled out this one. I once saw Nigel guest performing with a symphony orchestra some many numerous years ago when I lived near such an animal. The performance was superb and all was well, but then – wait – an encore? Three or four members of the city orchestra came out with him and they proceeded to blow the house away with a set of jazz standards. Of course my mind proceeded to forget about the classical music and think of Duke Ellington every time I saw Nigel’s name. He’s done several jazz settings on record so far, but this double cd set is special because it includes largely his own compositions. And all paths meet here today. The players Nigel has blowing with him are superb, and like all great jazz composers he gives his players room to excite the audience (me) with their improv skills. The many little ‘tricks’, or abilities he has on violin show up especially in this track. Even with the sax going wild I hear little violin finger-picking rhythms to thrill and surprise this eartaster. A shoutout for the slower aural pictures of the Hills Of Saturn. Nigel Kennedy

Peter Gabriel & Friends - Shadow

This album allows me to travel around the world and my favorite place in the world is in the shadows, especially when it’s 102 degrees outside. The guitars take me to the hills of Spain, through Northern Italy, and up toward the Romany region with its timeless gypsy flamenco feel. Very tasty. The shoutout tune takes us to the other side of the world to visit the marvingaye blues soul feel of living on the Big Blue Ball, “no trouble at all.” At least it seems that there's no trouble when viewing this beautiful world from the vantage point of a spaceman looking down on us. Peter Gabriel & Friends

Carly Simon - The Last Samba

“Soon this crescent moon will fade, becoming only broken shell and half-remembered tunes. So take me then, here on this sand in the midst of these stars, swaying enthralled to the fading guitars.” Carly sings this Jimmy Webb tune with a jazz pianist and convinces me that she is able to take me off to the beaches of Brazil. “Lost in the beach in this trance, they’re playing the last samba – shall we dance?” It’s a slow dance, but I’m enjoying it, especially the flute fade-out. Nice work, unexpected. I can close my eyes and know I’m on the beach. Jimmy Webb has been able to take me to Phoenix, Galveston, Wichita, Oklahoma, Up Up and Away, and even to a park where someone left the cake out in the rain over the years, so why not the sandy beaches of Rio? Shoutout for a tune a bit more contemporary, So Many People To Love. “What’s an angel gonna do when she needs some loving too?” Carly Simon

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Artur Dyjecinski - A Song About Her

“It’s those shoes that you wear that make your feet drag along, and the hair across your face and the reason that you grew it long.” A pleasant-seeming fella singing about pleasant people. The tune is kinda bouncy, and the narrator is observing everyone. Keeping his eye on one guy who is “looking at your hips.” Things do get involved, like all good short stories. “Baby you’re too far away to listen close though you’re standing next to me holding onto my hand.” I like the way he’s able to pick up on a person who keeps an “attitude so no one knows how happy you are.” I’ve met those folks myself. Much more to this story, so I’ll save some for you to discover for yourself. Very cool song, well-written and perfectly performed. A shoutout for Untitled #1, which I woulda called beautiful duet with Sharon. “In my hopes and dreams I get carried away with music playing over fields of flowers for me.” Artur Dyjecinski

Brokenkites - 1961

This instrumental album for the soul starts off with a modern dance tune called 1961. I don’t know why the composer decided upon the title, but the tune is a good dance-floor dream. Hopefully the composer will slip by and add a comment. The rest of the new album, Our Souls Are Electric, deals wonderfully with the soundtracks of the mind creating mini-stories from dreams within each individual psyche that happens across it. Very intriguing. Shoutout this time around is for an older album that walked in the door with the new one, S is for Silence. Shoutout tunes from that album are Hidden & Impulse. Thanks!
Brokenkites - Our Souls Are Electric

Brokenkites – S Is For Silence

Brokenkites on

Friday, June 27, 2008

Putumayo Presents - Quebec

It’s been 100 degrees every day this week, and it stays in the 90’s in the evenings. Makes it difficult to want to get up on the dance floor and dance. Putumayo read my mind this week and released this compilation of excellent slow dances from French Quebec. Jazz stylings with a dance beat makes for a great cool-down evening. Sips of iced teas between songs helps! As usual, all the cuts on the album are well-selected and my ears are grateful for the editor who programmed the selections. There are eleven artists you’ll want to become more familiar with on this CD. Shouts for Martin Léon ("are you avoiding the stare of a lover?"), Marie-Annick Lépine ("listening to Neil Young in the living room. . .we put our small sorrows aside") & Myreille Bédard ("chilled white wine under the wisteria"). Putumayo Presents- Quebec

Putumayo on Eartaste

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arturo Sandoval - A Mis Abuelos

The flamenco guitars treat me to a sublime introduction to the beautiful horn of Arturo laying out a deep memory. Then the guitars return with a full dance band bringing the memories smashing into today full swing. A wonderful composition that knows when to pull out every stop and reach for the tops of the clouds. An instrumental with extreme taste satisfaction. Arturo Sandoval

Habib Koité & Bamada - Batoumambe

Bright guitars introduce many instruments that allow me to feel bathed deeply in the earth. The wonderful singer is sincerely telling me a tale in a language unknown to me, but it doesn’t matter because with the flutes and the air filled with love of a nature that does not require translation to fulfill. A beautiful dance. Thanks!
Habib Koité & Bamada

Post 1000

Hard to imagine. 1000 of these posts over two years. We've been through quite a party! Those of you who have followed since the beginning know the big plans I had, many of them carried out. For example, there was a weekly podcast of all the songs I picked out as the top songs of the week. That was great fun, but destroyed by lawyers. Then there were the samplers - songs that were selected by me that bands were willing to share and gain new fans from. Four of those were released till one of the bands deservedly got a contract with a major label, but the major label forced us to stop selling those. The price was affordable - $6, and featured 20 bands. No one was getting rich off that, trust me.

So, all the multimedia dreams of eartaste fell by the wayside. But, I'm still here. Everyday I get 10-12 CDs in the mail from all around the world, and it's always exciting. I've been asked about the process. The ones that are from major studios get set aside. Oh, they're still important, but I figure they're being written about everywhere. The 2nd stack are ones from publicists from indie artists. I love publicists, and see their role as very important. But these are still artists one rung up the ladder on their way to getting seen and heard by the masses. The third stack is the most important. That's the ones direct from the bands, sometimes not even released beyond that one CD burned on their computer. Those are the people I love listening to and talking about the most - they are still trying to find an audience for their music and much of my joy comes from helping them find new members of their audience. That may be 10 people at this point in their career, but what a difference it makes when you can talk to and argue with an artist. The layers of people involved in publicity and major labels makes that communication almost impossible, tho there are the occasional artists in those situation who will reach out personally. Most are just too dang busy.

So, I start there, with the indie releases, listen through. If one of them hit the right spot in my aural cavity, it will be the one discussed that night. If I find nothing there, I move on to the indie publicists pile. I feel some of these folks are friends - we occasionally share opinions on different things and try to analyze viewpoints, etc. Not the same as talking to the artists direct, but a very good 2nd. If I can't find the eartaste of the day in that stack, I move on to the majors. That's the process, simple yet efficient. I look for one artists each day., I try my best to keep my desk clear, but sometimes there's 2 or three artists worth telling you about, once in awhile even more. So the stack gets huge. Then, once in awhile, to I try not to do it too often, I'll simply list favorite singles. Not as interesting, but it exposes names. Almost always those are major label artists anyway who you can read about just about anywhere.

I had my first music review published in 1967 in a school newspaper, and haven't looked back. I've been in many bands myself, several of which recorded, none of which went nationwide. Had a few regional "hits" for whatever that s worth, played many many gigs, opened for some pretty big stars. Perhaps my favorite memory is playing in a punk group that got a spot on the local Muscular Dystrophy Telethon where many local bands were playing. The band just in front of us was a really decent Beatles cover band, and the band after us was a fantastic Elvis covers band. Our 45 minute set was all originals, and people were genuinely supportive. Interesting night. But, as all bands know, most nights are grinds. The stage part is great - I don't think anyone will argue with that, but the 'dressing rooms', the smells, the business folks, the promised money that never appears, everything off the stage was plain ugly. Simply getting to gigs 200-300 miles away in a van with 4 other smelly people was often gross. There's a tiny bit of glamour, but not enough to make it all worthwhile. I lasted 16 years, mostly because I was willing to play just about any kind of original music, my own preferably, tho I was more than willing to share that spotlight. I really enjoyed co-writing and found many good friends that way.

So whether I've written music, or written about music, it's always been a part of my life. My take here at eartaste has been to ignore the past and the hype of an artist and simply write about the great songs. I know most of the music business centers on hype, and that will never change. But I like this one little corner of the world where the guy who just started recording a month ago is just as important to me and the readers of eartaste as the guy who has been recording for 40 years.

So, warts and all, this more or less acts like a faq. Many of you have received notes when you've asked me some of these details. Now I can tell people to see Post #1000. LOL!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tom Fuller - Sunglass Wardrobe

“I admire your sunglass wardrobe. Do you want to be a movie star?” It’s summer, it’s humpday, let’s have some fun. Tom is willing to satisfy the fun thirst in these ears. “Glitter, glamour, and all the fame, I can see the star in your heart. Heard you had 88 shades of lipstick. I love cherry berry the best.” Fun tune keeps me up on my feet moving. “A dreamcatcher is what I’m looking for.” Entertainment at its best. Shoutouts for the completely different flavors Tom serves up with Midnight Pass and Franklin Street (“spent a lifetime people pleasing”). Tom Fuller

Genuine Sun - You Said Love

“Lay your hand in my hand, feel the rhythm of our souls.” A cooling off hump-day song for the genuine sauna bath sun of Texas. The slow dance rhythm includes a nice guitar solo. In this lonely old world with all the lonely people the lyrics make me wonder just what went wrong in the lives of these folks. The story is interesting but painful to hear. The music makes it all interesting and bearable for repeat listening. “So get up, get dressed and walk out that door. I don’t need to be seen with you anymore.” Genuine Sun

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amos Lee - Street Corner Preacher

“He got a new mercy, a new grace, street-corner preacher with an angry face. He got two years off for good behavior, back in the neighborhood working for the savior.” A fine guitar blues, with a fine story line. The character has trouble “getting a job with a felony charge.” In today’s atmosphere of ‘justice’, one only needs to be accused to be considered guilty, this said from personal experience. Being found not guilty by a jury of my peers did not erase the false accusations. I can’t even imagine the folks who are guilty but serve their ‘debt to society’ and come out of prison free of that debt, yet unable to find folks to give them a break. Working for the savior is one path allowed, but won’t pay the bills so the character in this story found a job washing dishes. There’s more, I’m not going to give the whole story away. It’s a story worth hearing, and with the music it’s a story worth hearing over and over. Shoutouts for the soft rock flavor of Jails & Bombs, the country taste of Ease Back, the jazzy smiles of Baby I Want You, and the deep soulful seasonings of Won’t Let Me Go. Thanks for the variety of eartastes!
Amos Lee

Al DiMeola & Leonid Agutin - Nobody

First of, I must say – cool! Thisthree year old album is finally available in the US – long overdue. One would think DiMeola’s name alone would have insured success in the US. I have no idea of the reasons why this escaped our visions for so long, but here it is, and deserves a bit more elaboration than I normally get into. Leonid is a singer who is popular in Russia, and he managed to get Al in his back-up band. In many ways it sounds like those records Carlos makes with other people, where the guitar is simply jamming along, albeit played with true excellence. Still makes for some real tasty listening, especially when the guitar is allowed to solo. DiMeola graces this album with both acoustic and electric guitars, therefore many jazz flavors are enjoyed here from flamenco to salsa to rock & roll and beyond. Nice work. Shoutouts for Cuba Africa, Smile, and Cosmopolitan Life. Extra shoutouts for the less adventuresome but still tasty listens of Tango and Portofino. Thanks! Al DiMeola & Leonid Agutin on CD + Al DiMeola & Leonid Agutin on DVD.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eisenhower Field Day - On In Stereo

“We are talking to each other. We are adding to the clatter. We are dissonance together, but it’s just the noise that matters. On in stereo. A chance to feel alive.” This high-energy wake me up song is a short story about a trip a family is taking to a funeral. One of the characters drank too much, all the characters over-talk to try to fill the void of their feelings. I really like the way the narrator explains the events in small vignettes of the day. On the drive home the character that had a bit too much to drink will “be crying for the widow, her head against the window.” Good work. The shoutouts also have stories worth listening to. Shoutouts for Flatlands (“there we are, well rehearsed and thirsty”), Brave Daughters (“our thoughts have stretched and yawned”), and Pardon My Strangeness (“I am a tangle of weakness and lies”). Eisenhower Field Day

Eisenhower Field Day on Eartaste

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dan Craig - Further to Fall/No Rain Tonight

“You’re backslid up to the curbs again where the words don’t keep you warm.” We’ve all been there. Well, that’s not fair. I’ve been there several times in my life, and knew what was happening, I just didn’t have the words to describe it. “Walk out onto that old dark road, the one that used to bring you down.” The spiritual poetry Dan is able to share with me gives me an explanation of those times when I thought I had hit rock bottom only to find out it wasn’t quite true. The music complements the words in a way that it’s not difficult to understand everyone involved understands the depths being reached here.

I had a beautiful day in Lost Maples, observing animals that have been hidden for a week or so because of the oppressive heat. A coolness came, along with a bit of rain overnight, and the temperature went down to 90 from 105. It’s noticeable. Kinda of interesting when 90 degrees feels cool, but even the animals noticed. Great day, and interesting to come home and hear Dan on the stereo. I’ve been listening for several days, and feel he’s definitely found a communication tool that should reach into the souls of many people. This meditation comes about because of the poetry of No Rain Tonight.
“There’s a new moon shining like she stole the sun from June. She knows morning’s gonna come too soon, but she smiles cause there ain’t no rain tonight.” This warm up metaphor prepares us for the gut-wrenching of the second verse. “There’s a front porch sent all his best boys off to fight your wars. Swears he’s seen it all before.” And we have. Grandfathers who saw their sons killed for no reason other than stubborn refusal to face reality are now watching their grandchildren killed for no reason other than a stubborn refusal to face reality. “And in these moments we hold tight, hoping just to be alright.” Beautiful lyrics giving voice to emotions we can’t express with music that swells our souls with the splendor of simplicity.

Shoutouts for So Strong (“underneath the strength of these sturdy arms I am just a kid”), Come the Morning Down On Me (“we sing to the savior as the sun’s going down to say we hope to see your face here”), Breaking Hearts Tonight (“it’s like someone took the stars and set them softly in your eyes”), and Skin Grows Thin (“the mountains sing to me how creation seems to be a window for my eyes into God’s arms”). Great work, Dan. Thanks! Dan Craig

More Dan Craig on Eartaste

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Diplomats of Solid Sound - Plenty Nasty

Get down! This is a full band like I haven’t heard for 30 years. I remember crying when the jukes laid off their horn section. Try carting all these guys from town to town and making a profit! Who cares about profit when you can dance? I’m glad these guys don’t mind starving for our entertainment. This cut is an instrumental goodie with a full dance horn section bringing smiles to my feet and ears. The shoutout tunes are joined by three Diplomettes, filling the stage with beauty for these ears to thirstily soak in. These ears are invited to Come Into My Kitchen and take in all the flavors, including a solo appetizer by a saxophone master and scat styling desserts by all three singers. Then the party slows down for minute or so as we are treated to the slowburning funk dance of Hurt Me So. Not to worry, we are back into full swing with the soulful rock beat blues of Trouble Me. Scrumptious. A full album of party favors. Sweet! Come on to the party and dance – BYOB and be prepared for your feet to fly on solid sound! Fireworks! Diplomats of Solid Sound

Anthony Smith's Trunk Fulla Funk - Freaky Revelation

“It was just like we see in the movies, saucers rain from the sky.” Steviewonderesque funky beat with a story that will keep me dancing toward the space oddity I have always wanted to participate in. Great laughs and thumbs up fulla funk boogie with the heat near 100 and just a slight breeze to cool down the party. The shoutouts for this festival are the thoroughly modern lyrics and slow funkdance music of My Own Show ("I was tired of my obscurity so I took matters into my own hands”) and the dance jazz stylings of Marching Orders (“how will we survive when so many follow?”). Extreme party! Anthony Smith's Trunk Fulla Funk

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chris Difford - Come On Down

“We dug ourselves together into a deeper hole.” A familiar voice with new songs, come on down and enjoy. Stories of economics, love, families, good life and living life to its fullest with flavors of texas country slide guitars, rock and roll, soul, and dance. “Will you let me stay in love with you?” Shoutouts for Broken Family, On My Own I'm Never Bored, Never Coming Back (rotfl!!!) & Good Life. Chris Difford

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Omar Sosa - Ollú

Travel around the world with Omar. From New Orleans with perfect jazz containment, to the rhythms of Africa, the horns of Cuba, all the towerofpower bass playing stylistics. Rhythm changes make for sincere dance balancing for dramatic breathing excercises. The vocals pull at my soul and bring to mind Joe Henderson and friends taking over the fault lines in California. Omar bings my thoughts to a full comprehension of why music has power in my life. I am often aware that others do not enjoy this happiness. Omar allows all members of his band to stretch and contribute. Beauty in listening close to each other so the fresh improvisation sound purely realized. Shoutouts for the understated D'Son, the dance rhythms of Tres Negros, and the authoritative introspection of Why Angá. Omar Sosa

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Ting Tings - Shut Up and Let Me Go

“Shut up and let me go!” It’s Wednesday, and we have a hopping happy hump day dance party in for us. Be ready for some aerobic smiles. “For the last time, you won’t kiss my lips!” Fun lyrics to some extra fun dance guitar beats. “I’m not containable!” Shoutout for retro dance beats of Be The One ("making all the noise"). “Hey!” Pass the chips! Where's the margaritas? Do I have to everything? Dance with me! Life is a joy. The Ting Tings

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lyambiko - Mawe Mawe / I Sing Just To Know That I'm Alive

This medley captures the vocal qualities of Lyambiko’s voice with a slight bass accenting a percussionist. I enter into a deep space of understanding why music moves me as my body swirls and twirls to the peace that passes dreamstates. Nina comes through and smiles and giggles at the small peeks of her music over a 20 year period being reinvestigated for a new generation, a generation seldom introduced to subtleness. Nina, of course, brought Nat King Cole and Jaques Brel to her generation. Fascinating thinking about the how paths of music integrate cultures where nothing else does. Suddenly the music quickens and yes- there is the piano introducing the second part of this mix with total immersion into the knowledge that even as she sings, I dance “just to know that I’m alive, and I place just to know that I survive.” She’s singing my name. I’m pleased. Shoutouts for Four Women, Ne Me Quitte Pas, and the subtle passion of the piano on My Baby Just Cares For Me. Lyambiko

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weezer - Everybody Get Dangerous

Fun song about an elder citizen of say 35 or 40 remembering what it was like when he was a kid doing kids stuff (“65 in a 25 zone”) and then wondering what kind of answers he’ll have when his kids ask him if they can do the same things. The quandary of the ages. At least he remembers “there must be a guardian angel or some sorta destiny we have cause we shoulda died a long time ago”. We survived, and our kids survive. As the great statesman George Bush said, “When I was young and impressionable I was young and impressionable.” Love the Stones-like ending! Fun wake-up song, guys! Shoutouts for Troublemaker (“doing things my own way, never giving up”), Pork and Beans (“I’m doing things I want to do, I don’t have a thing to prove to you”), Heart Songs (“for goodness sake, these are the songs I keep singing”) & Thought I Knew (“thought I knew, but I didn’t have a clue”). Weezer

The Zutons - Always Right Behind You

Loud, fun and wake up the sunshine morning. “You can sleep with one eye open”. It’s summer, get up, let’s go to the beach, whatcha waiting for? “I even got money to spend.” BBQ, beer, chips, sand in the hot dogs, pickles on the cheese. Enjoy the day and the fun solo guitar. Shoutouts for Freak (“it’s a funny kind of business when you’re in demand”), Don’t Get Caught (“don’t let them stop you believeing”) & Dirty Rat (“you think I don’t remember what happened last week”). The Zutons

The Ting Tings - Great DJ

The Monday fun continues with a band who obviously think fun is important. “Battle with your indigestion, swallow words one by one.Folks got high at a quarter five, do you feel you’re growing up undun?” Flavors from all over the map, from folk-rock to disco. “Imagine all the girls and the boys!” Throw in some strings and heavy drums “and the drums, the drums.” I’m dancing in circles with my “head in the clouds.” Let loose! Shoutouts for the hilarious Fruit Machine, the sexy Traffic Light, and the dance-floor ready We Walk. The Ting Tings

El Madmo - Nonny Goat Mon

The bass gets this wake-up fun-filled ditty that’s just great for all the June weddings we’ll be attending. “You’re getting married, so we thought we’d like to point out all the things you’re missing out on.” Let your imagination go wild. These youngsters hold back nothing. Small taste of the hilarity; “we hope ye loves you as much as he loves his saxophone, his little horn.” Ha! Percussion rules this cut, with the bass not far behind. The male chorus joining in keeps me rotfl! Hard to dance in that position, but at least I’m ready for another week at work! Thanks for the Monday wake-me-up! Shoutouts for bluesy harmony of The Best Part & the midnight jazz spice of I Like It Low. El Madmo

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Costanza - I've Been Waiting For You

Fading into Sunday afternoon with just a slight breeze as the thermometer wavers at 105 degrees. The barbeque is done, father’s day is a distant memory and sharing this peace is the music of Costanza whispering through the leaves of the fig bushes, “fading away”. The beat of the music is just below the beat of a heart, thus affecting a slower pace than I normally take, effectively allowing relaxation. The album travels through many spheres of reality, including a very personal take on an Odetta song from Johnny Cash’s final album, God’s Gonna Cut You Down (“I’ve been down on my bended knee talking to the man from Galilee”). Shoutouts for Tuoi Occi - Sono Pieni Di Sale, Silence, and Coming Home. Costanza - thanks for helping the humidity feel less oppressive because of your aural presence. A special shoutout for the experimental tune Just Another Alien, which has Costanza's music in the background of the spoken words from US Immigration Form DS-156 recited as 'poetry.' Costanza

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Scrapomatic - He Called My Name

“Hey, fate, you’re getting slack. Get outta my face, get off my back.” A bluesy Saturday night party with absolutely no socially redeeming values, just spiritual depths - my kind of party. Some nights you just have to get lost in the music and dance. “Take me back to school. It’s the natural place for a natural fool.” These songs wander around the run-down backstreets with all the glory of a good, gut-wrenching backstreet blues. “They say the truth comes at you in a whisper. Holler, I won’t complain.” And, just to be safe, the blues bring out our spiritual needs with a deep beauty for the natural man seeking for the fisher of men; “I don’t need a preacher telling me that I gotta get saved. I’m drowning in the river. Tell the fisherman that I took the bait.” The party continues with lots of shoutouts: Drink House (“as far as you can tell I’m someone you can trust”), Killing Yourself On Purpose (“my wife got all nervous, she said man there’s gotta be a better away”), I Want The Truth (“you’re out with such-and-such and so-and-so, that little chicken-headed lick-spiffy has got to go”), and The Old Whiskey Show (“did life bring you wisdom or just piss on your dreams”). Thanks for the party! Scrapomatic

Friday, June 13, 2008

Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper

This party gets off to a rousing start. The first cut is the title cut and rocks every tastebud in these ears right down to my cheerful toes! Largely instrumental in power, there is a chorus that come in and reminds those who have slept through the first 60 seconds to wake up! My bet is they don’t really have to say that, it’s impossible for the energy of this song to not wake us up. Unless, of course, they are speaking of the metaphorical sleepers. I have another idea – that they are speaking of those who are sleeping through the political times and not participating in making the world a better place to exist. I make that judgment based on some of the other songs. The second song tells me that “tonight you’re going to overload your mind” and then reminds us that “life moves faster than the speed of sound”. The next powerhouse rocks the party with the reminder that “I have the best of everything” as the “tears of the world keep falling.” Powerful writing with exciting playing, a great party is promised.

Two confessions. First, Uriah Heep was important to my early adulthood as I dealt with some issues between choosing war or sanity. As I maneuvered my way through the system to get honorably discharged from the war that I was dragged into, the music of Uriah Heep helped bring a peace that wasn’t available from other sources. The second album, Look At Yourself, was played over and over as I made my arguments to my “superiors” about the immorality of the war we were engaged with at the time. It took many inner reflections as those around me were claiming I was was a coward, etc, etc. I’m not going to tell the tale here, only explain that Uriah Heep held a powerful place in my life in the early 70’s with songs like Look At Yourself, I Wanna Be Free, July Morning, Tears In My Eyes, Shadows Of Grief, and What Should Be Done. Love Machine was icing on the cake. The good news is I was eventually honorably discharged without needing to carry a weapon to kill people I had no reason to see as my enemy.

Second, I followed Uriah Heep’s career throughout the 70s. I still own ten of their albums. But somehow we lost touch. I seriously had no concept that they were still a working band. Even though I hang out with musicians and the music business, their output had escaped my detection. Well, I’m glad that this little blog was noticed by someone overseas that decided to mail a copy of the CD. I feel re-united with some powerful musicians and songwriters, but turns out it was all my fault. I did a bit of research and these guys have many cds available. As imports only, which means I am not the only fan who stopped purchasing their music. Let’s fix that.

Back to the album. I have to also mention a song that makes me so sad I cry seriously wet tears when I hear it. That’s powerful. The song is called What Kind Of God, and it’s one of those you must hear to appreciate because the music enhances the lyric and brings a deeper emotional experience. The narrator takes on the view of a person facing “100 white soldiers” from a “far-away place with guns and new order” and contemplating “what kind of god do they see? What kind of God can this be?” The song is powerful because I am able to listen to the words and picture it as a song told from the viewpoint of Native Americans being attacked by Europeans, or Iraqis being attacked by people of European descent. Religion is always the basis, and the god of the killers must be looked upon by those being oppressed as extremely evil, which of course he is because the god, as religious as he is, is in every case money and greed.

More shoutouts for Ghost Of The Ocean and Angels Walk With You (“a new world with a new morning, a new sunrise on a brand-new day). Thanks for keeping up the music guys! I’ll do my best not to lose track again. Uriah Heep

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Frisbee - Gettin' It Down

“Maybe you can save me from the sinkholes in my soul.” Got no idea what a sinkhole in a soul is, but it sounds like something we should save the narrator from. This is the opening cut of the album, and has a wonderful pop sound, one that’s a pleasure to listen to with these ears always hungry for good tastes. The song opens with a swoosh which leads to a slow ballad about a guy whose getting set to “bleed the ink on the page.” In order to do this he’s sorting through his memories, and predictable an old lover comes to mind. The narrator, however, has no intention of remaining predictable and continues with his story. “The devil in the dark has something more to say. I might let him out but he never goes away.” Introspective and interesting. Shoutout for the soulful I Want U Back, which has a very tasty guitar solo backing the narrator in his needs. The organ playing is sweet heaven. Frisbee

PS After reading the above, Frisbee sent a note explaining what a sinkhole in a soul is. I appreciate it, and thought I should share it with everyone:

Man - thank you for actually "listening". Very cool - I apprecite your review.

And by the way, a sinkhole is a Kentucky geographical description of land that gives way because of no substantial support (usually above cave) and the soul, well... its our essence.

thanks for the kind words

Aaron Frisbee

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Los Dos Bros - Wide Open b/w Surfer Girl

“The radio sound is wide open.” Regular readers know how much I wish that were true. I love the optimism of these guys, and it is true that their sound is wide open. Los Dos Bros sound like the kids next door, ones who are serious about perfecting their craft. And, like all my favorite music, there’s no category you can sneak them into. Rock guitars for sure, but there are violins and tubas entering into the fray to open up every pore in my eartaste buds. The harmonies have a down-home flavor. Surfer Girl is exactly what you’re thinking – a Beach Boys cover. But, this is not the cover you’re expecting. These guys took the song and claimed it as their own, and the vision is life enhancing. Radio programmers around the nation are stealing something fantastic for people driving around in their cars this summer if they do not include this on their playlists. This is a truly personal and beautiful take on a very special Brian Wilson song, and this particular surfer girl does not need to be riding the waves. This surfer girl is traveling the net with the rest of us, everyone’s vision of the girl next door. Lovely. The shoutout tune is also very special. Take an old Bob Wills song and make it sound like it was written in 2008. Sound easy? Probably not, but Los Dos Bros have managed that task with absolute fun. A huge shoutout for Time Changes Everything. Summer is in full swing, and this music is a great companion to this season. Thanks guys!!! I hope your prediction about the radio sound comes true and I hear your music coming over the air very soon. The Los Dos Bros

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jakob Dylan - War Is Kind

I chose this song to represent this collection of poetry because it contains the imagery that weaves in and out of the collection – the outlaws, war, the viewpoint of the soldier, the relationships, the blue-collar struggle to survive. First listen I heard a soldier writing home from war trying to keep a stiff upper lip and making the family back home feel good about what he is being forced to do. The deeper I listened, tho, the more I heard, and the more complex these relationships become. Where you scan the verse will change its meaning subtly, and now I see it as a man whose come home and has come to terms with his wife leaving, and also tries to let his daughter know he did what he did, he thought, for her. Though she may know better, she still must hold her head high because she carries his name. Complex relationships, like real life. The best thing about the poetry is that it shifts meaning as my familiartity with it deepens. That’s what good writing should do.

War Is Kind

Mother you saw my eyes on the 4th of July under a banner of roman candles. Mother, war is kind like hell, but I am fine.

Brother, have you gone west? You followed through once, yes. You are still young, how dare you forget? Brother, war is best in the morning when you've had rest.

Like a lost dog between houses in the unknown open country. Light a baton to see who's missing. My age is a metaphor that only speaks of everything before.

Daughter, you wear my name. Those are my eyes, keep them raised. I may have scars, but I give more than I take. Daughter, war is safe where you are, far away.

My lover, are you gone? My heart has taken too much on. One octave lower than thunder and drums. Lover, war is done, in more ways than just one.

Like a lost dog between houses in the unknown open country. Like an outlaw now standing at the foot of infinity, the sun is wild just in front of me.

Shoutouts for All Day And All Night, Everybody Pays As They Go & On Up The Mountain. Jakob Dylan

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Histrioniks - Misery

Finding magical manic music on Monday mornings is my main muse-filled mission to remove misery from the wickedly worrisome work week. The Histrioniks fulfill this sacred search with a narrator who is deeply depressed, sounds depressed, and is aided in her misery by a minor key guitar lick spurring her on and a drummer more than willing to find a depressing beat to back her up. All of which sounds awful on paper, but imagine hearing how bad someone else has it - all of a sudden work sounds wonderfully wild and exciting. The performance is masterful because it’s obviously very difficult to lay down a depression this deep convincingly in a studio. The lyrical depth of the album sounds a lot like the diary of a young woman or a 38 year old alcoholic struggling with finding identity. It's terrifying how addictions can steal both youth and identity. The title tune, Thin, for example, talks about the compulsion that society forces upon women to be Barbie Dolls (“purging my humility for my victory of THIN.”) Shoutouts for Too Black, Dead Again (“I need you to cry my tears”), and Shattered Youth (“my self esteem is cracking”). I’m impressed by both the storyline of the album & the fact that no easy answers are offered. The Histrioniks

More Histrioniks on Eartaste.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Emmylou Harris - Gold

Mow the lawn before the heat hits 90, cause someone told me we’ll be hitting over 100 today. Shower & hit the porch with a huge glass of ice tea to wash down the dirt caked around the inside of my mouth. Hasn’t rained around here, so “mowing” the “lawn” is truly nothing more than knocking down the high weeds and stirring up a lot of dirt. Of course, as hard and long as I work, there’s still someone there to criticize.

So, feels good to hear a woman singing sweet songs in this heat, without stirring up more heat, if you know what I mean. Emmylou fits this need perfectly. This song in particular has an edge to it that manages to make the gulf breeze that’s swimming through these hills feel a bit less hot. “Oh, the night is growing colder and the stars have lost their shine. And I have been forsaken by everything I thought was mine, for in the darkest hour when the final story’s told, no matter how bright I glitter I can never be gold.” Then Dolly comes in singing harmony and despite the dark words I am floating in the heavens. Get even higher when Vince Gill adds a third harmony. Don’t reach these heights very often, but it sure is great to reach them. “I could sparkle like a diamond, have silver line my soul, but no matter how bright I glitter I can never be gold.” Thanks! The whole album is sweet and listenable, mostly familiar songs and a few new ones all maintaining a tranquil afternoon of peaceful remembrances.

A huge shoutout for Not Enough, which fills a deep thirst inside because we buried my neighbor last week. She had gone to a nursing home a month ago, and every time I thought I should visit I found something else to do, figuring I’d see her again soon enough. I missed her calling me from her porch when I got home, and thought of her, but didn’t visit. Now I'll never hear her voice calling from that porch again. We had an easy relationship with few disagreements, but when we did she was patient and understanding until I came to understand that she, of course, was right. Emmylou manages to capture all the emotions I’m feeling with her beautiful poetry. Emmylou Harris

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Woke Up Forty Years Ago Today

Quite a day. Lots and lots and lots of tasty music that took me back to a place I’d never thought about. These folks all seem serious – they are not simply re-creating a sound, they are adding to our collective consciousness. The songs sound like they would fit into the 60’s perfectly, without any ear-jarring bloopers; yet manage to not sound exactly like any other song from the 60’s. Oh sure, the influences are obvious, but not direct copies of the influences. Lots of fun, and makes for a great faux-60’s party. Let’s have at it!

Jamie Lidell - Another Day b/w Little Bit Of Feel Good & Where D'You Go

The Draytones - Turn It Down b/w Heart Shaped Line & I Have To Go

James Hunter - She's Got A Way b/w The Hard Way & Believe Me Baby

Incognito - Love, Joy, Understanding b/w Feel The Pressure & Never Look Back +When Words Are Just Words b/w Freedom To Love & Step Aside

Joey Negro & Sunburst Band – Monterey b/w Moving WIth The Shakers

Bluetones - Slight Return b/w Tiger Lily

Jim Bianco - I Got A Thing For You b/w Sing & Never Again +Painkiller & To Hell With The Devil

And special mention for a song that sounds 2008 with reverence, but fits right into the Spirit of the 1960’s music. I’ll end this great party with this special rendition of the great Sam Cooke dream.

Jesse Malin – Wonderful World

Friday, June 06, 2008

Jesse Malin - Looking For A Love

An interesting take on a classic oldie. Still works well as a Friday dance number. “Been looking for a lover but I haven’t met her yet. She’ll be nothing like I picture her to be. In her eyes I will discover another reason why I want to live.” The lyrics still hold the same punch, and the band here does justice to the dancer in my feet. “I hope I treat her kind and don’t mess with her mind when she starts to see the darker side of me.” The fantastic honesty of Neil and the get up and my life beat of Jesse makes this cut one worth hearing several times tonight. The grunge jam at the end makes a beautiful tasty noise. Good job! The shoutout is another fast tune dug out from the Lords of the New Church, Russian Roulette. Jesse Malin

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mike Meier - Tallmansville

“We agreed to squeeze out gold from that anthracite coal. Live our lives down under, like coal-dusted trolls.” Tallmansville, West Virginia, is the site of a mining disaster on January 2, 2006. When is the last time you thought of it? Gotcha. That’s the power of folk music, and Mike Meier has written a folk tune that digs deep into the soul of each person listening and blasts holes into long-held beliefs and understandings. Those holes can, of course heal, but require deep meditation and self-awareness. Why does one live while twelve others die? Did they “fall from grace?” Does life have a purpose we are afraid to look deeply into? I love folk music because it doesn’t simply salvage the headlines for our mutual memories, but travels the fine line of self-discovery and purpose. The excellent players that Mike has assembled to bring his thoughts to life will turn this into a classic that will inspire many to look at their own times and stories for deeply hidden truths. Shoutouts for Meditation (Sutra For Prolonging Life) and Otoño. Mike Meier

You and Me - Search Party

The story begins nearly samba in flavor. Lots of sweet spices to brighten up a day with sunshine. “Wait, don’t go. You have forgotten me. When did you go? I haven’t seen you in years.” The narrator is not living the sweet sunshine of the tune, but has found the tastes to bring me, as a listener, above the feelings and simply enjoy the story. We’re not going to stray into tears, but we know that the storyteller has had a few times that had to be dealt with and overcome. Shoutout for the beautiful harmonies of March, “no one seems to think that this is real.” You and Me

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Edgar Winter - Rebel Road

I can’t think of the last time I reviewed an entire album positively, but here I go – this one is too perfect to try to pick one favorite song from. Edgar doesn’t pull any punches – although he was known in the 70’s as using cutting edge technology on his albums, here he’s just rocking my dancing shoes off with no pretensions, no looking back at past successes, no pretending to be retro. The band is the real thing, rock and roll hoochie koo with an all-night dance session in tow. This one got played all weekend and again on my Wednesday night blast-off hump day party, this one is being played straight through twice – maybe even thrice.

The title song, Rebel Road, opens the album with some kick-ass guitar playing and tasty drums. The growl is wonderful “you do me wrong, I’ll do you worse.” The band backs up the narrator who was dealt the american dream and refused it. “They tried to sell me nine to five, I’ll do it my way. That’s what I say!” The lead guitar work is spectacular. Next up is Eye On You, a wonderful blues-rock look at the way our government is practicing making Orwell’s future come to life, “got nowhere to hide – there’s nothing you can do”. Acoustic guitars welcome us to The Power of Positive Drinking, complete with some sweet blues harp, while the chorus says “say goodbye to negative thinking”. Freedom introduces us to a 70’s acoustic story, complete with the power of 70’s poetry, “looking this whole world over, people all want to be free. . .You know this is the time for living out your dreams, all you have to do is believe!” We really were that optimistic, and I have to trust that young people still have that optimism! Let’s hope so. Very cool song. Rockin’ The Blues is exactly that – get UP and DANCE – “until you lose control!”

The Closer I Get brings us down to earth with a sweet ballad, right where it needs to be. A time to slow down the dance a bit and reflect on our lives. “Wherever I am, whatever I do, the further I go, the closer I get to you.” Beautiful. But we quickly return to rock and roll with Do It Again, “Saddle up, let’s ride!” A fun story of a band on the road. Then comes the biography tune, Texas Tornado, “I was born in Beaumont.” Texas, that is. Last stop on hiway 10 before Louisiana. You can bet you’ll find all the flavors here that Edgar heard coming through the airwaves that crossed the border, plus every flavor you need to get you up on your feet waving your hands in the air. As a bonus, some real fine laugh-along-lines. “I played all the clubs and most of the bars, made it up to Woodstock with all of the stars. They said we were wanted, dead or alive – but we had a good time, and that’s no jive. I can make it wail, I can make it moan, Texas Tornado on the saxophone!” Yep, along with some fine blowing! Peace And Love comes up next, complete with youthful optimism and a cute cut at those who are pretending that “global warming” has snuck up on us. Edgar was writing about the fragility of the ecosystem way back in the 1970’s, along with many others. No one wanted to listen.

Horns Of A Dilemma is a rocking reflection of what the heck does a bill-paying man choose to do when there’s no money left in the bank? Work all month, yet there’s too much month for the money we earn. Doesn’t matter when you have a blues song that helps you dance to the dilemma! Fun guitar and harmonica solo, along with some humorous narration. The album ends with another rocker Oh No No: “party animal, dangerously flammable” which simply invites me to start the album all over again from side one. I love CDs, cause I don’t have to flip the album! And, old as I am, I still see that teensy weensy button that says REPEAT so I can play it over and over and never have to move over to the console. “I’m thinking to myself, this is your lucky night!” Dance all night!

None of these songs would sound out of place on a radio station that bills itself as “Classic Rock”. Yet, because it was written and released in 2008 it’ll take another 30 years before anyone will allow for the classic flavors of this wonderful album to hit the airwaves. So, reserve a copy today before it disappears into the oblivion many rockers seem to fall into these days. The release date is July 8th, but keep an eye open at Edgar’s website & snatch onto one quick. Fine album. Edgar Winter

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Phil Christie - Rearview Mirror

Folk guitars travel over the highways. “Midnight moon on a night, muddy, black as coal, trail of dust and a heavy load. Everything I once held dear in my rearview mirror.” A familiar lonely tale, but told with new poetry. “Desert wind blows a tumbleweed up on the rise” evokes one feeling and a moment later “sunlight around her like a prayer” digs deeper into another feeling, a memory of my life lived, perhaps a bit callously. I’m sure some of my past would yell at me -> you weren’t looking, you were very callous. Ah. Takes good music to pull out confessions from a hard-hearted man. And Phil obliges with much good music. Shoutout tunes are the beautiful Random Acts Of Kindness, a tale of the small flowers I let slide through my fingers, and Me & My Guitar, a song that many people write but few succeed at. Phil succeeded. “Three chords and a simply melody opened up my heart and set me free.” Thanks for stirring my soul! Phil Christie

Phil On Eartaste

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pharaohs of Rhythm – I Don't Belong In Your Silly Race

"Fill the holes with deep cement, I'm sure that was God's intent. I don't know where the good things went." What a great song to be listening to while I’m rushing around on Monday morning getting ready for a week of work. Work that I have to commute 20 miles to. The music is perfect – pushing me onwards and upwards, and I love the bass line by Brian a lot. The fun part of it all is that as I’m getting ready to face the week the narrator is reminding me that all this is a silly race. With some 50 billion people on this planet, why am I rushing to stay on schedule. Why are any of us rushing to stay on schedule. I love the irony. I ain’t about to stop the silly race, but it is fun to contemplate how we got ourselves into this predicament. Technology has made us work harder, not easier. So much for that lie. "Don't tell me I'm the one to blame. Nothing left to keep me sane." Thanks for another great wake-up song! This will be added to my personal Monday playlist & stay there a long long time. There’s lotsa things to love about this cut, but I really like the way you chose to end it, 15 seconds of pure bliss! Shoutout for another rocker with a completely different flavor, Let Your Mind Turn Away. Fun guitar solo. Thanks!

Note that the album will be available on cdbaby soon, but in the meantime is available on the website. You want a hard copy of the music largely for the fun picture of the band hidden behind the cd. The Pharaohs of Rhythm

Andy Juhl on Eartaste

Amsterdam - Lonely Boy

“What do you say that I might hear? What starts in love just ends in fear. I’m not a mean old man, I just don’t understand.” Understand this – the music is fun, the energy exciting and the story fun. “You ambition calls in cold-hearted halls.” Pogo-style popcorn joy. “Just hold my hand ‘cause I’m a lo-lo-lo-lo-lonely boy.” The synths are spreading happiness with each little appetizer that appears. Lots of sound quotes from the 80’s, to encourage smiles. Shoutout for the foot moving ballad You Are My Lover (“One day very soon, gonna put your name on the moon”). By the way, if you want to put your lover’s name on the moon, and print out a certification of this fact, you can visit a NASA web page and do that until June 27. Thanks to Amsterdam for the great idea! Amsterdam

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Joe Satriani – Andalusia

Nothing prepared me for this beautiful plate of rice with tomatoes and dark olives floating through a dance filled tornado. This is a Joe Satriani album, and to be introduced to a brand new flavor from the power of his fingers is pure joy. The first third of the cut comes out of nowhere – hand claps of a flamenco dancer, a flamenco style guitar lick, and then, slyly, wickedly, dance emotively, a full-blast lesson on how the world benefits from the beauty of the electric guitar’s entire neck being played by a master. Amazing. My heart is full anytime an artist I’ve loved and respected for many years continues to find a way to amaze me. Great fun. Shoutout for the intriguing flavors of Musterion. Joe Satriani

Cherry Poppin' Daddies - White Trash Toodle Oo

“I want to dance, want to dance.” Great fun, lots of nervous laughter about the realities of horror in reality, and finger-poppin’ jive in this dish. Saturday night in the trailer park, with lots of friends joining in the choreography. Love it. The rhythm doesn’t let up for two minutes and 30 seconds of pure pleasure. Toodle Oo. Shoutouts for the equally dance-enhancing ska tastes of Hammerblow (“Hey, we’re glory bound!”), and tasty mariachi flavors of Arráncate. Sweet guitar & trumpet solos. Be prepared to sweat in many flavors!!! Thanks guys!!! Cherry Poppin' Daddies