I'm inspired. And you will be, too, after you watch this video. Not much more need be said about Sir Bob Dylan. Many consider these "electric" years to be the zenith of his songwriting prowess. You should know this "rap" song already, but you may not have heard or seen this alternate version taken from his latest must-have collection Bob Dylan - The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (Columbia Records). Hey, spot the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg hanging out in the background!
In the wake of the terrible attacks in Paris, I found myself listening to a lot of French music and thinking about the Leonard Bernstein quote going around on Facebook: "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before." This list came to seem like my natural response. A very small response, I know. This list is chronological and leaves off people I should probably include. The forty [note: now forty-one] composers listed below are merely a start. Read more »
Hints of the baritone vocals of Scott Walker, guitar playing chops of fellow countryman José González, and the pop rock sensibilities of Belle & Sebastian brush against the melancholy vibe of this Spanish-born, Göteborg, Sweden-based guitarist and composer's latest offering. Like a walk in crisp autumn weather, "Carta al desastre" (literal translation is "Letter to Disaster") is the perfect soundtrack for shorter days and falling leaves. From his new album Solar Rapé (Pueblo Records); one of my favorite albums of the year and on repeated shuffle for weeks now.
Happy Halloween! A classic from The Cramps, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" is the perfect pyschobilly candy-with-razor-blade sweet treat for Halloween. Lux Interior (Erick Purkhiser) and Poison Ivy Rorschach (Kristy Wallace) getting it done on stage. Spooky, but cool, right? Read more »
A major glossy magazine that used to be devoted largely to music -- but long ago fell under the spell of Hollywood celebrity -- still continues to cover music, specializing in listicles that seem designed mainly to provoke ire in those who care more about music than does said magazine (named after a classic blues song, in case you can't guess without a hint). This summer it unleashed a list of songs that, with that aging publication's ironically weak sense of history, managed to overlook the vast majority of the history of song. To put it bluntly, if you're claiming to discuss the best songs ever written and you don't even mention Franz Schubert, you're an ignoramus. My ire over this blinkered attitude towards music history festered for months, so I finally decided to do something about it by writing about some of the timeless songs omitted in the aforementioned myopic listicle. There are so many great songs in the history of classical music that no one article could contain it, so first I focus on one particularly rich tradition, the German lieder. I plan to write a sequel covering classical songs from other traditions, though I admit that my track record of completing these big projects has been a bit spotty! Read more »
Hungarian-born conductor George Szell (1897-1970) never intended to settle in the United States, but when World War II started in 1939, that's where he was, and he stayed. After well-received guest appearances with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York Philharmonic, in 1946 he became a U.S. citizen and became the Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra, which he proceeded to raise it from mid-level regional status to one of the Big Five U.S. orchestras. Read more »
This delicious piece of ear candy is the perfect freaky weekend sing-along. Singer-songwriter Benji Hughes' Songs in the Key of Animals drops on January 29, 2016 on Merge Records. Into vinyl? Pick up the "Freaky Feedback Blues" 7-inch out now.
After about 32 years of being a slavishly devout fan of Killing Joke, the job of reviewing their new studio album with any semblance of balanced objectivity is a tougher task than you might imagine. Those who have embraced the music, mythos and accompanying sensibility of Killing Joke tend to do so with a bug-eyed fervor that borders liberally on myopic zealotry. In short order, no other band matters nearly as much. Read more »
Stoked to share the new single "High Flyin' Bird" featuring Queen Esther on co-vocals, Matt Goeke on plucked cello, and Jerry Krenach on drums. Produced by Dusty Wright and mixed by Mr. David Lee. Recorded at Strauss Park Studios, NYC. Cover art by the very talented French painter Claire Petit. This long-forgotten '60s folk classic has been covered by Judy Henske, Neil Young, Richie Havens, and Jefferson Airplane. Please click here to buy it today!
The spirit of Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, and early solo David Crosby circa If Only I Could Remember My Name, thrive in this former Brooklyn-based "metaphysical" cowboy Israel Nash Giripka's musical universe. Having stumbled upon him quite by accident I was immediately drawn to his tone, stringed textures (Gretsch guitars, pedal steel), and musical chops. The most excellent single entitled "Strangers" is the debut track from his sixth album Israel Nash's Silver Season, available worldwide October 9th via Loose Music & Thirty Tigers.
Stolar, the artist formerly knows as Jay Stolar, has released another pwoerful pop song with an equally powerful video. "My Own Way" was created in support of the Jed Foundation's groundbreaking mental health awareness movement Love Is Louder. For more info visit their website at www.loveislouder.com. A portion of the proceeds from #MyOwnWay will help support the Love Is Louder movement. Be inspired and watch it now!
Missouri-bred Brian Henneman of The Bottle Rockets has been waving his roots-rock flag since the '90s and has been delivering catchy-as-hell music all along. Now he's at it again, teasing ears with a brand new tune "Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)" from a forthcoming album entitled South Broadway Athletic Club set for release on Bloodshot Records on Oct. 2nd, 2015. In the interim, share this tasty slice of American rock music with your family and friends at all of your Labor Day celebrations on this Monday holiday.
British singer, songwriter, producer and dancer FKA twigs has released a brand new EP entitled M3LL155X (Young Turks), that features five songs, four of which -- "Figure 8", "I'm Your Doll", "In Time", "Glass & Patron" -- are accompanied by a video directed by FKA twigs herself. The four film pieces form one continuous FKA twigs-directed work, cementing who she is as an artist with an aggressive statement conceptualizing the process of feeling pregnant with pain, birthing creativity and liberation. She breathes a quiet but potent energy into every frame. One of the freshest musicians on the scene today.
Malcolm Earl "Mal" Waldron was born on August 16, 1925 in New York City. His father worked for the Long Island Rail Road. Mal started taking classical piano lessons at age seven and, inspired by his love of jazz, also learned alto saxophone. He earned a B.A. in Music from Queens College, with the G.I. Bill (he'd been drafted in 1943 and served for two years, fortunately not seeing combat) paying for his tuition. He worked in jazz, blues, and R&B contexts and made his first recording in 1952 as a member of Ike Quebec's band. In '54-56 he was part of Charles Mingus's Jazz Workshop and recorded with Mingus. Waldron went out on his own as a leader at the end of 1956 with the album Mal/1 on Prestige and quickly became one of the prolific label's house pianists. The following year he added to his workload the position of Billie Holiday's accompanist, which garnered him more attention; he stayed in that position until her death in mid-'59.
There was a break in his career following a 1963 heroin overdose that caused a mental breakdown and left him with the shakes to the extent that he could not play the piano. There was temporary brain damage affecting his speed of thought, so even after he had re-taught himself how to play by listening to his own records, for a while he couldn't improvise. He compensated for this mental deficit, while it lasted, by writing out his solos in advance. Read more »
One of my favorite guitarists, ever, is releasing his fourth solo album, Rattle That Lock, on September 18th on Columbia Records. Until then we get to groove on a catchy new single that would not have sounded out of place on The Wall album. Has Mr. Gilmour been hanging out with Nile Rodgers? This is not the laid back "muzak" grooves of the On the Island. This is David showcasing his Fender Stratocaster guitar magic. Pre-order it here!