Song of the Week: Fierce Bad Rabbit - "Dreaming of Things To Be"

Don't know much about this American pop-rock quintet, but I'm sucker for a nice clean guitar hook and tight pop song structure. Apparently their lead vocalist Chris Anderson now makes Boston his home, moving from the band's homebase in Fort Collins, Colorado, but I couldn't tell if you if that will be an issue moving forward, Check out two stellar tracks from their forthcoming September release Living Asleep EP. Suffice it to say, if your into Band of Horses, The Shins, and Arcade Fire, Fierce Bad Rabbit will most certainly appeal to you.

Quote of the Week: Willem Dafoe

"You have to lose yourself to find yourself."

Willem Dafoe, (born 22 July 1955), Academy Award-nominated American film, stage, and voice actor, and a member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group.

Johnny Winter R.I.P.

Song of the Week: Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas - "Caught Up"

Love the primal roots-rock Wanda Jackson-like flavor of Ms. Hernandez and her Deltas. "Caught Up" from her soon-to-be-released album Secret Evil. It's top shelf -- all big beats with no filler, no unnecessary bass moves, or guitar licks. And the black & white dance party antic adds to a terrific throwback vibe. This is on my weekend playlist. Play it loud & often.

Sex Tape or The World’s Longest iPad Commercial

Jake Kasdan is to directing comedy what Friedrich Nietzsche is to baking apple strudel. Not much.

As with his Bad Teacher (2011), which also stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, Kasdan takes a promising concept and lays waste to it. The highly workable concept is a simple one: a sexually active couple, Jay (Segal) and Annie (Diaz), copulate like bunnies on ecstasy until they wed. Two precocious children later, the O in orgasms has moved on to the O on Cheerios boxes. He now is a music producer, I believe, and she blogs a column entitled "Who’s Yo Mommy?" Yes, copulation is no longer a spontaneous act for this duo. Instead, it has to be planned for ahead of time. Read more »

The Ramones - 1, 2, 3, 4!

Hard to believe that The Rolling Stones, half of The Beatles and The Who, and a dozen more bands that started a full decade before The Ramones (1974) have outlived them, and in many cases are still touring. They were one of my favorite punk bands ever... and with the recent death of Tommy Ramone (nee Thomas Erdelyi), all four original members of one of New York's finest bands ever, we are not "glad to see you go." The first three -- lead singer Joey (nee Jeffrey Hyman, died 2001), bass player Dee Dee (nee Douglas Colvin, died 2002), and guitarist Johnny (nee John Cummings, died 2004) -- all died only within six years after calling it quits. Read more »

Lorin Maazel, March 6, 1930 - July 13, 2014

Lorin Maazel, who died at age 84 on Sunday, from complications of pneumonia, was a true Renaissance man of music: a child prodigy as a conductor and violinist, and later a composer as well. Read more »

15th Annual LatinBeat: Cinema from the South Comes Calling

With the advent of this year’s LatinBeat (July 11-20), The Film Society of Lincoln continues on its quest to unearth the best and most challenging of Latin American cinema, including the product of Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador.  Read more »

Fritz Lang and Metropolis

Metropolis (entire movie, above), the 1927 silent film directed by Fritz Lang, is regarded as one of the most important and influential films of all time. The world’s first epic science fiction movie, it continues to serve as  inspiration for countless films, and forced humanity to look critically at it’s increasingly complex relationship to industrial and technological growth. In cinematic terms, evidence of its influence can be seen everywhere from to Soylent Green to Snowpiercer. Read more »

More Intoxicatingly Superb Piano Albums from Jenny Lin

Long-time readers may have noted my admiration for Lin's immaculate pianism and eclectic programming. She's been a prolific recording artist as well, with 21 albums to her credit (plus inclusion on a multi-pianist set), and her repertoire is highly eclectic even by modern standards.

She's back with two more brilliant albums, and even on the single-composer disc manages to throw some repertoire curveballs. Guido Agosti's rarely heard arrangements of the last three movements from the Firebird Suite is a dazzling tour-de-force; it works well and Lin's performance sparkles vividly (the outer movements sound like real knuckle-busters). Read more »

Song of the Week: The Mother Hips - "Desert Song"

I've been a fan of this rootsy alt-pop quasi-jam band for years. (Well, at least for two decades.) This is one of the tops tracks from an album of previously unreleased nuggets mined by SF-based The Mother Hips lads -- Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiaconog -- recorded, for the most part, around '96-97. Perfect hot weather action, crank it up! Chronicle Man album drops next Tuesday, July 15th.

ANNIVERSARIES: Ottorino Respighi Born 135 Year Ago in Bologna

Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (July 9, 1879-April 18, 1936) was a master of colorful orchestration whose evocative symphonic tone poems and suites arranging Baroque material in modern garb have been audience-pleasers since they were first heard.

The son of a piano teacher who gave him lessons on both piano and violin, Respighi excelled on the latter. It was while first violinist in the Russian Imperial Orchestra at St. Peterburg that Respighi was able to study with master orchestrator Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He may have studied later with composer Max Bruch in Berlin (this is disputed), then returned to Italy, mostly working as first violin in the Mugellini Quintet. He moved to Rome in 1913 to teach and lived there for the rest of his life, which was ended by heart failure at the age of 56. Read more »

Dusty Wright - "29 Palms"

This is an unreleased bonus track for my solo album If We Never... It's a cover from former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant's 1993 Fate of Nations album. Cellist Matt Goeke lends his melodic playing throughout. Buy it today!

Get Yer Red Hots!

Dixon Place
161A Christie Street, NYC
July 5 through August 2, 2014

Presented with the enormous variety that the creative arts in New York City offer me, I find myself, from time to time, concluding that self-expression is rather highly overrated. Then I encounter something that reverses that whimsical declaration. One such event was a recent press preview of several segments from Hot! Festival 2014: The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture. If the five thrilling, outrageous, poignant, and all-in-all utterly engaging presentations I experienced that afternoon is any indication of what this nearly one month festival includes, it behooves you to attend as many of the varied performances as you are able! Read more »

Half-Time Music Report - Best Music of the Past 6 Months

Happy 4th of July, my fellow Americans! Been a terrific six months for new music. Below are some of my favorite album releases that deserve early kudos at the half-way mark. 

The War on Drugs: Lost in the  Dream (Secretly Canadian) Read more »

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