Music Review

Album of the Week: Morrissey - "Earth is the Loneliest Planet of All"

Moz is back and everyone's favorite Hollywood pinup and fellow vegan Pamela Anderson is along for the ride. And why not? When living in Rome, Steven Patrick... Standing on the top of the Capitol Tower in West Hollywood, the video is just him reciting the lyrics sans backing music. Never short of clever titles, we'll just have to sample this tidbit until the full video is released from his forthcoming album World Peace Is None Of Your Business (July 14th release date). And with the sultry Ms. Anderson sporting a new short 'do, one can only hope she'll raise the "heat" index and its viewership stakes in the slow-dying music biz. His current U.S. TOUR has been CANCELED!

Song of the Day: Fold - "Be Water My Friend"

From Leeds, England, the four piece Fold who play real instruments without the aid of click tracks! Go figure. Actually, no, that's a pretty grand thing IMHO. Snippets of Bruce Lee dialog and tons of downbeat hip hop action. Check them out and buy the track today!

Video of the Week: Paul McCartney - "Appreciate"

Sir Paul McCartney's subtle, but infectious new pop-rock single "Appreciate" from his latest album NEW has one of the better animation components even though it's a tad I, Robot meets AI is still evocative. Meet Newman the Robot! Directed by Andre Chocron and filmed in London, Newman was designed by Mervyn Millar and Ed Dimbleby (Significant Object). Currently on tour in Japan.

Song of the Day: Cineplexx - "Te Quiero"

As many of you readers know, I've been a fan of Cineplexx for years. Their latest single -- "Te Quiero"-- is an infectious "afrofunk" tune lifted from their new album FlorianopolisCineplexx is actually the Argentina-born, London-based Sebastian Litmanovich. His smart indie pop-rock features collaborations with Jad Fair (Half Japanese), Duglas Stewart & BMX Bandits, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Nigel Baillie (Camera Obscura), Cathy Claret, Lilies on Mars, Ally Kerr, Federico Aubele, Natalia Clavier, Daniel Melero, Wechsel Garland, Montag, Lupe Nuñez (Amor de Dias), Yushimi, to name but a few. Buy it today!

Song of the Day: The Black Keys - "Bullet in the Brain"

From my former hometown of Akron, Ohio, via Nashville, where they now live, The Black Keys shared another stellar song from their new album Turn Burn this past weekend on Saturday Night Live. For those keeping score at home the album title is one of the many popular catchphrases used by Ghoulardi -- a fictional character created and portrayed by disc jockey and voice announcer Ernie Anderson (father of film director Paul Thomas Anderson) -- on his Friday night Shock Theater which aired locally on Channel 8 (WJW-TV) in Cleveland from 1963-'66.

ANNIVERSARIES: Johannes Brahms Born 181 Years Ago on May 7, 1833

A classicist using Romantic harmonies, Johannes Brahms (1833-97) was hailed at age 20 by Robert Schumann in a famous article entitled "New Paths." Yet by the time Brahms wrote his mature works, his music was thought of as a conservative compared to the daring harmonies and revolutionary dramatic theories of Richard Wagner. But in the next century, Arnold Schoenberg's 1947 essay titled "Brahms the Progressive" praised Brahms's bold modulations (as daring as Wagner's most tonally ambiguous chords), asymmetrical forms, and mastery of imaginative variation and development of thematic material.

The son of a bassist in the Hamburg Philharmonic Society, Brahms was an excellent pianist who was supporting himself by his mid-teens. His first two published works were his Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, and throughout his career he penned much fine music for that instrument, not only solo (including the later Piano Sonata No. 3) and duo but also his landmark Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, which first revealed the symphonic scope of his talents. Read more »

Song of the Day: The High Learys - "Clear My Mind"

What's not to love about this wonderfully upbeat psych-pop nugget from the Perth, Australia-based quartet The High Learys (as in Timothy I'm guessing). Think "Incense & Peppermint" meets The Zombies. Wicked Ray Manzarek organ break, too. Does the title pay homage to Scientology? Hmmm...

Video of the Weekend: Keys N Krates - "Dum Dee Dum"

I don't know how I missed this dance song back in the winter, but it's still worth the effort. Having just topped the million eyeballs mark is no easy feat in today's digital world. More than just an electronica song, this self-proclaimed mini "mockcumentary" celebrates the cultural diversity that co-exists on our planet. Wonderfully executed by filmmaker Mike Howey this will put a smile on your face. Canadian trio Keys N Krates festival tour will commence shortly. Enjoy your weekend and the melodic sunshine!

Video of the Week: tUnE-yArDs - "Water Fountain"

The tribal drum groove is unmistakable and wildly infectious, like the sideways Bo Didley beat of "I Want Candy" meets Babatunde Olatunji. Merrill Garbus aka tUnE-yArDs video for "Water Fountain" (from Nikki Nack) with its wacky Pee Wee's Play House on acid animation is inspired fun. Perfect for any road trip, rain forests and deserts alike.

Band of the Month: The Strypes

The Strypes are the ESSENCE & SPIRIT of rock 'n' roll. Make no mistake, these baby-faced teenagers (ages 16 - 18!) from Caven, Ireland are the most exciting thing in music this year! Did you see them rip it up on Letterman a few weeks back? Required viewing people. Feckin' eh, buy their R&B-fueled rock music and play it real LOUD for your kids and tell 'em they got their OWN band for the future. Then play 'em the early Stones, Yardbirds, Dr. Feelgood, The Animals, some Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Zep... Get my drift? Nope? Watch the video again, for feck's sake!

Video of the Week: Preston Lovinggood - "Overactor"

Most lyric videos don't attempt much artistry. They're merely a simple and cheap way to share a new song by an artist before the "official" video gets released. Alabama-based singer/songwriter Preston Lovinggood has raised the bar with his haunting lyric video for "Overactor" off of his album Shadow Songs and really need not worry about releasing another video to replace it. Catch him on select dates with The Faint next month, too.

Easter Season Music, Part II: Beyond Bach

Earlier this week, I looked at recent releases of Easter-season choral works by J.S. Bach and one of his sons. Today I cover a bit more historical range in terms of composers and eras, again sticking to recent releases.

Maria Venuti, Keith Lewis, Michel Brodard/Gächingen Chorale of Stuttgart/Bach Collegium of Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling
Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85
(Hänssler Classic)

Written in 1802 in just 14 days (but not published for a decade, hence the high opus number), Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives) is a dramatic oratorio depicting Christ's emotional acceptance of his fate during His conversation with an angel in the garden of Gethsemene, followed by His arrest and Peter's protest.  Read more »

Song of the Week: "Like Rats" - Godflesh

The reunion of the most original metal band of the '90s -- Godflesh -- finally reached our shores last week. Here's the opening song of their NYC show at Irving Plaza.

Music for Easter Season, Part 1: Bachs

Even in my youth, when Christmas came packaged with the anticipation of new toys, I preferred the Easter season. Why? Because I sang in a church choir, and the music of the Easter season is far, far greater. The gamut of emotions traversed along Holy Week alone offers so much grist for musical expressiveness: Palm Sunday (triumph, but tinged with foreshadowing), Maundy Thursday (dark lamentations), Good Friday (agony), and Easter (the ultimate triumph). And though the great masterpieces, Johann Sebastian Bach's two mighty Passion settings, were beyond the capacities of a simple church choir, I reveled in playing my vinyl versions over and over again. (Neither would be fashionable nowadays; the St. Matthew a Nonesuch recording led by Hans Swarowsky featuring the Vienna Boys Choir, though with an excellent set of soloists starring Heather Harper, and the St. John led by none other than Eugene Ormandy at the head of his Philadelphia Orchestra, with Maureen Forrester the star soloist (Columbia)). Here are some recent recordings of relevance; later this week I'll cover some non-Bach recordings. Read more »

Song of the Week: Anna Rose - "Los Angeles"

Our favorite NYC-based blues rocker babe is at it again! Anna Rose's slap-to-the-face ode to L.A -- simply titled "Los Angeles" -- has just been released as a video produced and directed by Miss Jennifer Tzar. Check her out for tour dates, swag, and more at AnnaRoseMusic.com, too.

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