Back-to-Basics Culture for the Fall

jamey-johnsonAs I told my friend since I first hit the Burning Man playa, my brain was and remains on fire. I mean that in the most creative way possible, too. In any event, I need to get some jams together before my trip to L.A. in a few weeks. Thankfully I am constantly tipped to some great road music and movies and literature. Stoked to share some of that said artistry. Jamey Johnson: The Guitar Song (Mercury) - Hands down, the coolest, most audacious country outlaw outta Nashville since Waylon. And he's got the look, voice, sound, and songwriting chops in spades. You better if you're gonna release a double CD -- Black Album/White Album -- with nary a clunker in the lot. Album of the year, so far, and that's including my rock and soul CDs. You can bet Waylon and Johnny are smiling down on ol' Jamey!

Fela Kuti - Free MP3

fela_zombieFELA time, people. One of the baddest tracks from one of the baddest dudes to wax music. Knitting Factory Records just released the third set of Fela reissues, entitled Zombie in celebration of Fela's most well known song, spanning the years 1976 - 1980. Containing 11 albums, this period of Fela's storied career saw his Kalakuta Republic increasingly under siege from the Nigerian government and the clear rise of his vitriol as it fermented into scathing musical diatribes. Here's a free download of "Zombie" -- an infectious piece of Afro-pop funk that will keep your feet and brain very active! peace, Dusty

Would You Like to Fly...?

dusty-playa-balloonManifesting the Authentic at Burning Man 2010

Thoughts aloft. I sit here on my flight back to New York and contemplate my first Burn: 50,000 human souls communing on a eight-mile enclosed playa in the middle of the Black Rock Desert about 90 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. I am certain many before me have waxed poetic about their experiences, probably with even more profound depth and clarity. But looking back, my memory becomes my own mythology.... We were greeted at the entrance by a butt-naked 60-something dude (who reminded me of R. Crumb) and a gorgeous 20-something woman (dressed as a naughty Thunderdome/Mad Max schoolgirl) who commanded us out of our vehicle and ordered us to make "dust" angels on the dusty playa ground, then jump up and bang an enormous cast iron bell with a crowbar while screaming, "I'm no longer a virgin!" at the top of our lungs.

Seeland - Free MP3

seeland-bandUK trio Seeland -- Timothy Felton, Billy Bainbridge and Neil McAuley -- are sonic pioneers associated with Birmingham's "Retro Futurist Electronic Scene." Formed when Tim and Billy left their respective bands (Broadcast and Plone), they started writing songs together that could express the sounds of their minds. Their second album How to Live (LOAF Recordingsz) is out October 26th. The band is giving away "Local Park" (click link for free download); a gorgeous summer stroll of a tune that is as uplifting as the sun and optimistic as summer itself, the audio equivalent of strawberries and cream.

The Perishables

the_expendablesHave we become so accustomed to violence that our movies have to hyper-inflate it? I'm no prude, but implied violence is always scarier than watching a body explode in front of you after being hit by a bazooka. Looking for a summer escape on Sunday afternoon, I slipped into a midday screening of Stallone's latest strutting machofest, The Expendables. Boasting a cast of former and current action heroes must have been a dream come true for Lions Gate (distributors). Moviegoers certainly get their money's worth seeing a ridiculously fit Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris), Stone Cold Steve Austin, even former UFC mixed-martial-artist Randy Couture on the screen (plus limp cameos from Bruce Willis and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger). Throw in a corrupted CIA op played by Eric Roberts and what could be bad?

The Drums - Free MP3

the-drumsRiding a wave of international acclaim, The Drums are thrilled to share the highly infectious minimalist "Down By The Water" MP3 (click link for free download). A true departure from earlier singles this indie pop band slows down the tempo. Paring the production down to a throbbing bass line, light percussion, and a distant synthesizer, the most pronounced instrument is Jonny Pierce’s voice, which opens softly and elevates to a sharp croon. The band is currently in the midst of a massive worldwide tour and hit North American shores next month. The album is available now digitally in the US and will be in stores September 14th.

Summer Time Rock & Pop Singles Roundup

IntriguerTime to get up on your good foot and download ten new music tracks to stave off your summertime blues. Some very fine music has found its way to my desktop as of late, and I'm quite keen to share some of it with all of you. My latest music mantra has been discovering those songs that have that "karaoke" vibe: You can actually hum, sing, or whistle the melody. You remember melody, right? Forget vibe, as there are plenty of bands and artists with vibe. I want to be swallowed up by melody. If you want my esoteric picks, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for my next list. It's summertime, so I need something to drive my driven wheel. Without further ado...

Mogwai - Free MP3

Mogwai-liveBurning, Mogwai’s concert film collaboration with Vincent Moon and Nathanael Le Scouarnac, will hit U.S. screens this fall. Following its release on August 24th (packaged with accompanying live album Special Moves), there will be full screenings of the film in multiple locations around the country. More cities will be announced, so please stay tuned for more details! Download free MP3 "New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1" from new CD!

Strange, Stormy Weather

weathercraftWeathercraft by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics Books) The graphic novel has just been administered a psychotropic enema. Thankfully for the literary-constipated with ever-narrowing moral codes, balance can be restored by absorbing all that comprises Jim Woodring's creative zeitgeist. In this case, it is his first graphic novel that does just that. In this installment, Whim ("brittle-bodied biscuit-bastard") and Manhog (pig-human hybrid) dance the cosmic pas de deux in the alternate universe, The Unifactor. For the uninitiated, Mr. Woodring has been creating parallel universes for over twenty years and is the creator of the celebrated wordless FRANK comics, the first being FRANK IN THE RIVER released in 1992. If you've not sipped from his well, well, be prepared for the ultimate thirst quencher.

Numbers Adding Up

inward_city15-60-75 (The Numbers Band): The Inward City (Hearpen) To understand 15-60-75 AKA The Numbers Band, one first needs to understand the mathematic fundamentals of their name. For in that simple universal equation lies the core of what they do so well. I-IV-V, 1-4-5 chord progression, the standard 12 bar blues progression. And so is most pop music. Cuz 15 times 4 equals 60 plus another 15, or 15 times 5 equals 75. Dig? But to really dig into their music, one has to see them live.