Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Come Saturday

“I could stand to be a fixture in a faded family picture, but I can't see into the sunset. All I know is that you're perfect right now.” That’s much more of a commitment than you get from many young poets. He doesn’t mind being in a family picture, but he’s not going to promise his entire future, yet. I love another line from the narrator that says “maybe there's no harm in a wasted summer with no drummer.” Very unusual remarks from a rock band, but the narrator wants to “stay in” with his lover, especially on Saturdays. This is the songwriter taking on the persona of a non-rocker. The rocker wants to be on stage every Saturday night strutting his wares =:-). The music is pumping loud, and the dance beat is infectious. No way to “stay in” out of the line of the party with this energy. Good juxtaposition, or irony, whichever way you choose to see it. “Who cares if there’s a party somewhere? We’re going to stay in.” And work on enjoying their own party! The shoutout is a taste of the early upbeat 80’s with A Teenager In Love (With Christ and Heroin). The Pains of Being Pure at Heart


Friday, January 30, 2009

Dolphin City – Old Romance

“You’re waiting till you’re old enough to realize that mind is just a favor, a gift of love and memory that carries out the wishes and the will of the air.” Pretty heavy lines for a Friday night party, but if contemplated long enough they begin to make sense. Never mind, tho. The music carries the day and allows my senses to feel the understanding of the narrator’s angst. “That old romance, you dance.” The band brings the dance to the forefront – complete with ooh-la-la backround singers. Mid way through the song the band changes pace to match the NeilDiamondesque melody that decides to take wing and reach the high notes that pull me up into the air with him. “Don’t be surprised when all you know and love suddenly explodes.” Shoutout for the taste feast called Wine and Grapes (“We only see what we let ourselves see”). Thanks! Dolphin City


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anni Piper - Come In My Kitchen

“Come on in my kitchen, get a little taste.” I don’t need to be invited twice when the blues are this tasty. I’ll hang around and listen to these guitar licks for many hours to come, thanks for sharing! Shoutouts for Man’s Woman - an acoustic blast, and Jailbait – a full-bore r&r blues. A special nod for an adult blast of rockabilly with Little Redhead. Anni Piper

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cash Cash - Electric Hearts

“Throw your hands to the sky like you’re flying, throw your hands in the air ‘cause we’ll shake it up tonight.” Pop, pure pop. Nothing more, nothing less. Dance music for the ages, produced for the ears of every age group to enjoy. I’m impressed that they were willing to fizzle out at the end. Very unusual, and has the physical reaction of “HEY, DJ, PUT THAT SONG BACK ON!” Probably planned that way, but who cares? It's hump day, and the gimmick works. And, just for the heck of it – “Throw your hands to the sky!” You’ll be glad you did. “When you lose control. When your beating heart explodes, you’re gonna scream along to every song we sing to you!” And, why not? Great fun. Cash Cash

CD Baby Music Discovery Podcast (Afrobeat)

The first half of this podcast has some great, must-taste music. You can listen on-line, download, or subscribe via i-tunes. When you click through the links here, most of the truly indie bands are available only through CDBaby.com - and the podcast features some of the best music available. The Afrobeat podcast is definitely worth checking out. Shoutouts in order for Jujuba, Talisman A Cappella, and Antibalas. http://musicdiscovery.cdbabypodcast.com/

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fiction Family – War In My Blood

“Takes two to go to war, and only one to fall in love.” Pretty powerful words for such a fragile tune. Some really nice picking enhances the dreams behind these words. I can’t say for sure exactly where the narrator wants to go with this, “there’s war in my blood,” but he sure convinces me that he means it. “Love is a dollar that’s already spent, love is a song to be sung.” Shoutout for Closer Than You Think (“life is so much better when you’re floating in the air”). Fiction Family

Step Father of Soul #32

I've had the pleasure of listening to the podcasts created by Jason Stone 32 times now. I am always amazed at the excellent rarities he is able to uncover, and this set is no exception. The Soul Stirrers start off the set, and James Brown closes it. In between there are treats galore. Best news is that these experiences are carved and served absolutely free of charge. As one of the songs on this new podcast announces, the music here is "good & funky"!

http://stepfatherofsoul.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 26, 2009

Putumayo Presents African Reggae

Nothing is better in life than to wake up on a Monday morning to a music that is uplifting and loud. There’s no way the work day will seem a burden when a life-enhancing music fills the air. Putumayo supplies this need with this album. And, to be honest, it wouldn’t hurt my brain to listen to this set every day. As Zoro says in Jubliani, “Jah Children, have a little bit of life I say. Don’t let your problems get you down.” Could sound callous in the face of oppression, were it not for the musicians bringing their total being to deliver the message.

The influence of Desmond Dekker, and even more Bob Marley is very evident on this entire set, but each artist implants enough of themselves that this becomes a vital addition to the Putumayo family. Putumayo’s ability to bring the best music of different cultures to the United States and distribute it far and wide is very important, and each CD also supports a different non-profit group within the culture of origin of each release. That would mean nothing if the music weren’t great. Fear not, the editors have impeccable taste. Putumayo




Putumayo On Eartaste

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sarah Jane Morris - Migratory Birds

“The world has to hear the beauty in your sound. So many things in life are lost then found.” Every few years Sarah treats us to her beautiful vocal cords, and this time out it is extra wondrous because she is accompanied merely by acoustic instruments. This allows the timbers in her voice to crawl through every neuron in my body without distractions.

Sarah is a marvelous songwriter, and she wrote this tune about allowing one you love to leave and explore the world, with permission to come back at anytime. “Wherever you go to I know you have your reason. Return to me in glory or pitch up broke and poor, but come back wise and baby come back sure.”

On each of her albums there are also renditions of songs she has chosen to make her own. Old timers like myself will remember her tasty scat cover of Me And Mrs Jones and the transformations she inlaid to Sgt Pepper’s She’s Leaving Home, as well as Mad Woman Blues and other classic memories. On this new album she reinterprets Britney Spears, Damien Rice, Rickie Lee Jones, as well as Dylan and Lou Reed alongside Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. And more. All of them are great, but I need to pick one, so I’m choosing Britney’s Toxic because it exemplifies how Sarah makes music by other writers totally and completely her own. A special shoutout for all the musicians who worked with her on this album. The guitar on Migratory Birds is played by Kevin Armstrong , and Toxic is played by Marc Ribot. Definitely a must-have album. Sarah Jane Morris




If you are new to Sarah, you might want to explore more of her history at sarahjanemorris.com.

Trezire - Full Circle

Some afternoons are made for relaxing. The sky outside in grey, the air is chilled. I took a walk and came in. What Trezire does with Full Circle is allow my mind to escape into another world and take steps into it without needing special breathing apparatus. I can close my eyes and see landscapes full of beauty and power. I can envision circles if I want, but another time I can envision taking a walk on a beach. Whatever my chosen stream of thought, I always come full circle back to the place I’m at and feel content. Shoutout for another walk into Such A Beautiful Dream.


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chris Robley And The Fear Of Heights - User-Friendly Guide to Change

It’s not often you hear a violin doing the count-off for a rock song, but it’s a great treat. “Like a wounded bird that’s fallen from the sky you would never try to know the reason why that you never ever really learned to fly.” A horn section, some twinkling keyboards, and full-bore drumming gets me up and twirling. “Don’t kiss me and make up.” Twinkling and twirling, completely infatuated with the sounds pouring out of the speaker. How he manages to get his voice to harmonize with the horns may remain a secret, but it doesn’t matter because it comes off as a technique worth singing along with. Great fun, and loud! With a guitar solo worth waiting for, “like a flower towards the memory of the sun.” Shoutout for the kazoo-enhanced dance beat of Solipsist in Love (“it’s hard to keep things consistent inside my head”). Chris Robley And The Fear Of Heights


Friday, January 23, 2009

The King Khan & BBQ Show - Animal Party

“Open the door, come on in, let the animal party begin!” A few years back these guys taught my young students how to Waddle Around. We played the record over and over while learning about penguins. Good time was had by all. I know they’d love this new song also, but it’ll have to be played on the TV or radio or their parents have to buy the record because I won’t be able to play this in class without being fired. Kinda too bad, because everyone makes an appearance at this louie-louie garage funfest – Mr. Piggy, 3 chickens going cluck cluck, elephants, 8 monkeys, a zebra, and some pizza. I know that when I get to heaven Belushi and Ackroyd will have on their sunglasses dancing like the wild party animals they are to this record. The King Khan & BBQ Show

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again

“You got me where you want me, but I ain’t all there.” You can’t get any more honest than this in a love song. A fascinating psychological study in brutal truth. How often, even in the best of relationships, are intimate partners totally one with the moment and each other? Bless us for the few times that’s possible, and bless Jessica for having the guts to write about the rest of the times. “You can touch me if you want to, I don’t really care. But, I have ruined everything that I have ever loved.” Shoutouts for We’ve Never Lied & Bible Days. Jessica Lea Mayfield

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

U2- Get On Your Boots

”You don’t know how beautiful you are.” The Police meet Bob Dylan with the thick production of U2. “omen of the future ought to read Revelation.” And dance, of course, because there’s no way to stay sitting while the bass is thumping along this loud. Great hump-day “sexy boots” song. Play it at least once with each margarita & the party will be successful enough to get us through another work week. Some fun guitar licks thrown in for good measure. “Get on your boots!” U2

Get On Your Boots

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Willie Breeding - Cheap Vodka Rain

“And I’ve got you to thank for getting me to sleep at night. And holding you is so precious, I’m just hoping I can get it right.” A love song from a singer-songwriter? Well, it happens from time to time, and Willie with his band serves it up with joy. “So meet me at the bar for a drink or two!” Shoutouts for Really Gotta Go (“most late nights I sit up thinking; think myself into the ground”) and a true country waltz, As Long (“I’m going to love you as long as you let me stay”). An artist worth purchasing and keeping an ear open for future releases. Willie Breeding

Willie Breeding on Eartaste


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Boots - Dear Emely

While I-Tunes and the major labels conspire to raise the price of music downloads there is a quiet revolution going on. Bands who are interested in the art of music as opposed to the profit of music are simply moving on and helping consumers, not conspiring to find ways to get into your non-existent pocketbook.

This CD is being released, and available for download for anyone at the netlabel known as AirBagPromo. Their “revolution” is that they plan to focus all their efforts on promoting local bands from their own geographical area. Thanks to the WWW, anyone in the world can now learn about the vitality of the music scene of South Tyrol. It would be great if this model were emulated by other forward-thing music labels. AirBagPromo includes mini-tutorials on their site for how to make a CD from their files, how to make the CD inserts, and even how to unzip files if you’ve never done that before.

The music on this first release is loud and energy-inspiring. Dear Emely starts off with a primal scream and the instruments immediately find their way to my feet for 2 minutes of heat-pounding aerobic exercise. The shoutout Tune Why Doesn't It Make You Nervous is simply fascinating because the percussionists and guitar players do wonders to emulate the feelings evoked by the vocalist. Excellent! The Boots


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jane Monheit - I'm Glad There Is You

This new release is a vision of cool jazz that manages to warm this freezing January afternoon in the hills of Texas. I can envision a glass of wine and a fireplace glowing when I close my eyes and listen to this classic tune. Romantic, and dreamy. The performance is simply sublime and matches any work that Jane has done. I first met her music ten years back because of my love of the music of the bass player on her first CD, Ron Carter. It was a pleasure then to hear a voice that matched his mastery. She’s had many fine releases since, including last year’s collection of hits.

A great shoutout for A Primeria Vez, featuring a solo guitar performance that brings a deep focus to the understated beauty of Jane’s voice. Jane Monheit

Jane Monheit on Eartaste

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Israel Nash Gripka - Evening

“Running my mouth like a cotton mill spinning. Your feet stood still, but your heart wasn’t in it.” Guitars and banjos accompany this love story about a man who married, had children, served in the military, came home and tried to learn to survive in the freedom he thought he was fighting for. Powerful short story that is easy to listen to many times, and fills four minutes with many thoughts. I love songs like this that can take my mind into a new direction every time I hear it. Shoutouts for the powerful story hidden deep in Concrete (“every day your seasons change”), and Don’t Run (“this town is dying faster than me”). Israel Nash Gripka


Friday, January 16, 2009

Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses b/w Bite Hard

A hearty welcome to my Friday night to the 1970’s party beat master. Dance floor daze! Shoutouts for Can’t Stop Feeling & Katherine Kiss Me (“you plant a ricochet from every alpha-male behind me”). Franz Ferdinand

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Morrissey - Something Is Squeezing My Skull

“It’s a miracle I even made this far.” Fun song. If this eartaster hears well, it’s both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. There’s a joy in miracles, but there’s pain in discussing “there is no hope in modern life”. No matter, there are lots of drums, and guitars helping the narrator wonder “how long I must stay on this earth.” Exciting! Shoutout for All You Need Is Me (“there’s so much destruction all around the world and all you do is complain about me”). Morrissey

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jeb Loy Nichols - Countrymusicdisco45

“Last night there was a full moon, I was down at a dance in the pool room”. Hump day disco dance. Sorta. “Stretch out your arms like a aeroplane, bark like a dog and you shuffle like a train. Roll like the wind, and you swoop like a rooster.” Dance, definitely. I guess the title about covers it, this is dance in the heart of the Texas Hills style, complete with jalepeƱos, tequila dreams and shoutouts to Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard and many more friends. “I was out on the dance floor. All of a sudden DJ dropped a country tune and the place just stopped.” Shoutouts for the party continuing Whole Thing Going On, the slow dance of Days Are Mighty, the splendid cover of Satan’s Helper, the blues of Dr Noblio, and the tasty soul of Too Much Not Enough. "Country people are party people." Jeb Loy Nichols

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Joanne Shaw Taylor - Going Home

Blues-based guitar and down home cajun beat with a singer desiring to rest her soul makes for a meal of supreme taste-bud satisfaction. The beat picks up with some amazing guitar work on Who Do You Want Me To Be. The title tune, White Sugar, features an instrumental guitar funk a’la mode for dessert. A scrumptious feast that can easily be digested day after day with joy unending. Shoutout for the soul-filled Heavy Heart ("I’ll only walk behind these scars"). Joanne Shaw Taylor

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sweet Water - Rock Steady

“This is the place you belong!” I have my Monday blasting loud! Thanks! These guys have got me up & moving with rock and roll, complete with “oo-oo-oo’s”. This is not music to think about, but to get my week started with. And I need that. Shoutouts for Stereo (“stuck on the tarmac, trying to get back to the west coat”) & Hesitation (“Get in the car, let’s get going!”) Sweet Water

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Anne McCue - Money In the Morning

"Everyday, thinking about the war. It won't go away. It's a comforting feeling for the men who build machines and guns and bombs. I guess they love the smell of money in the morning." Anne’s lyrics remain just as intelligent as they are on Roll, an earlier CD I raved about a few years back. That CD contained songs I still listen to often – Stupid, 50 Dollar Whore, and Ghandi. The new CD is more acoustic, but just as vital, as shown by the lyrics I quoted. Money In The Morning opens with a meditation on how people are getting rich of the war and loving it. What I love is how she then works backwards to the personal in the rest of the story.

"Every time I see your face again I wonder where we'll be. I've got a scary feeling. I'm feeling so alone when you're here with me. Will we make it home? Will there be money in the morning?" For every family getting rich off the war there are literally hundreds of families in the United States falling apart because of the way their government has misspent its finances. Add that to the tens of thousands of families being destroyed in other countries from our war efforts from each financially happy American family, this story becomes a universal one.

A huge shoutout for All I Need ("I like sleeping on the couch after drinking on my own"), a powerful song about a woman who feels broken and does not want to hear the mumbles of another person trying to become intimate with her. ("Don't go hangin' 'round love's door, it'll hurt you to the core.") More shoutouts for We Are The Same (“love only hurts you if you call it a game”), and Do It the Right Way (“I could lie to you and you would never see”). Soul-searching stories that reach deeply into truths that are seldom explored.

Anne McCue



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Walter Becker – Somebody’s Saturday Night

Funk jazz has always been Walter’s forte, and it somes to us with a vengeance tonight. Very comfortable in 2008, he creates a dance just as dynamically as he thirty years ago. Fine work. Shoutout for the equally delicious funky title tune Circus Time. Walter Becker

Friday, January 09, 2009

Voltaire - Stakes And Torches (The Uprising Of The Peasants)

The dance sounds like Eastern European gypsys are visiting with a rock drummer. The vocalists sound like a broadway play, and the lyrics have vivid scenes of life. In the best way, like Fiddler on the Roof, not operatic, but realistic. This does not sound like anyone else, and to that I have nothing but praise. Despite it’s ‘differentness’, it is extremely listenable and makes for fun dancing. Perfect for any Friday night party. Simply slip it into the mix. Shoutout for the equally impressive dance of Happy Birthday My Olde Friend ("too old to remember, too drunk to forget"). Voltaire

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Grey Anne - Naughty Heart Clean

“I will wake in the morning contented.” And, perhaps a bit quirky. In a good way. Quirky & perky. Fun music. Upifting and spiritually renewing. Worth seeking out and enjoying this spring and summer. Heck, it sounds good in the chill of winter also, with some cheese and crackers near the fire. Grey Anne

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Kathleen Edwards – The Cheapest Key

“A is for…” It’s not easy liking a song that uses this technique, but Kathleen pulls it off masterfully by including tons of unexpected lines. Some lines sound personal (“E is the exit sign backstage at shows”), some are a bit didactic (“G is for God loves a patient man”), and when put together as a whole they are ultimately fulfilling as rock and roll. I love this sneaky line, the embodiment of a rock and roll soul: “Here comes my softer side . . . and there it goes.” LOL!!! A huge shoutout for Oil Man’s War, which narrates a love story between Annie and Bobby looking for their place in this world. Well written & effectively performed. Kathleen Edwards

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Barzin – Nobody Told Me

“I drove around the city lights that make me drunk.” An interesting drive that one. He’s driving while ruminating on the oldest story in the book – the girl has left. Barzin brings a fresh musical approach to this dilemma, where he beautiful intones “nobody told me forgetting could be so hard.” Shoutouts for Look What Love Has Turned Us Into (“we’re strangers and we’re ugly ‘cause we lost so very much”). Barzin

Monday, January 05, 2009

Amelia Curran - Devils

“God’s no rebel, He’s a handy man.” A spiritual meditation that works on several layers. “I’m an elegant trial underneath hard times.” Poetry as narrative calls for time out to consider several implications, yet I left thinking there’s more, much more to return to. Fine work. Shoutout for the poetic humor of The Sunday Song (“it’s lonely at the top, it’s lonely at the bottom”). Amelia Curran

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Russ Hewitt - Bajo El Sol

Bajo el Sol The genre “Nuevo Flamenco” has floated around close to 20 years now, though of course the music is even older. I have personal favorites in the genre, and I’m always happy when someone comes along that can actually add some new depth and vision. As a genre so much progress has been made that few of us salivate over pulling out our scratched-up copies of Poets and Angels. It was genre-defining, to be sure; but extremely limited in technique and vision. That’s where Russ Hewitt comes in – with vision. The songs on this CD are supplemented by virtuosity. I love the way Russ simply uses his fluid fingering skills sparingly – as wonderful spices to enhance the meal and not overwhelm the entire experience.

The title tune, Bajo El Sol, opens in full dress, and slowly unpeels it’s parts. About 2 minutes in the improvisations starts with small flourishes that excite my eartastebuds. After the bridge things get even more exciting, and I wonder exactly when his fingers will fall off. Just as that thought comes to mind, the playing returns to a relaxing pace. Shoutouts for Palma De Mallorca, an energetic tune, and The Pampas, beautifully approached with a slower pace. All the tunes are written by Russ. Russ Hewitt


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Fantome - Whim

The bass starts a riff, and an organ slides in with the drums while the guitar adds air and the lead singer becomes the saxophone solo. “We like to drown out the screams in our heads.” The syllables slide by with tones that pull me within my head to feel the depths and intonations. “There are people going under and over the pavement.” The music becomes a journey inward, while allowing for the dancer in me to travel in circles. Fascinating. Shoutouts for Luddite ("I will toast to the memory of the words that I traced on your skin”) and Softer Dart (“your voice is balanced on the edge”). Fantome



fantome

Friday, January 02, 2009

Willie Breeding - White Dress

“She, to me, was the skyline of Manhattan.” I love all types of music, but I’m especially drawn to folks who make music like they are sitting right here in my living room sharing a beer. “With a lost, lonely sigh, her thoughts are gone from her eyes.” No fancy tricks, just a few friends playing instruments and sharing their lives. This album reaches that high. “Along white dress, and hair that curls past her shoulders. Soft skin that I wish to touch, oh I miss that so much.” I can almost feel Townes sitting across the room on the couch because Willie has a voice and presentation that is honest, and tells stories that sound like they are directly told from his heart. “She’s the heartache that I endure, but all I hear is her voice. And every moment’s too long.” Exactly the type of guy you feel good going out to get a spare six-pack to share with. He can tell a story that fills your mind with pictures of dreams that just won’t let go. After the stories are over you go out for another six-pack to welcome him back to country life where we all spend our nights fading away from the bright lights. Shoutouts for Summer 5 (“wish I knew how to love you, wish I knew what you need”), and Broken Kinda Way (“one mistake just led to more”). Willie Breeding


Thursday, January 01, 2009

White Trash Cowboys – 10,000 Dreams

“I wanted you to open me up and look inside.” The White Trash Cowboys approach self-parody in some respects, which is why I chose a serious song on the CD to talk about. The musicianship is superb throughout the CD. 10,000 Dreams opens with guitars floating 6-8 feet over my head. I love the effect. “The grass ain’t greener in a stretched-out Cadillac.” The narrator presents a vision of a world where one can be oneself without reaching for the things that corporate America says one needs through advertising and perceived peer pressure. The WTC believe we are all equal, an in truth no one person is better than another. Even those who have possessions. This message is consistent throughout the CD, sometimes with rotfl humor of retro-rap (Hey Numbnuts), other times with direct preaching (No Better). A high-energy start to 2009! White Trash Cowboys


Jonas Brothers – Live To Party

“Are you ready to rock and roll?” A party song to welcome a new year. Bubble pop, complete with asking the “DJ to play our song.” Get up and “bust your move”! I can see myself dancing with my grandkids to this beat. That’s a compliment, by the way =:-) Jonas Brothers