Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Traveling Circus, Goes Solo (Kinda)

Poet and singer Alex Ebert goes by his full name on his first solo album, Alexander. You probably know him better as his alter-ego Edward Sharpe from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. He breaks from the group to melodically craft an album that can be filed with other Pacific-Northwest folksters, such as Devendra Banhart, Fleet Foxes,  The Decemberists, Rogue Wave, Blitzen Trapper, and so forth.

While listening you may find some tunes sound eerily familiar.  The strong and steady percussions thumping in "In the Twilight" sound like a Paul Simon revival. Followed up with "Bad Bad Love" Alex(ander) resorts back to his ESMZ daze. The bizarrest track is "Old Friend," which sounds like a Johnny Cash lament from his final days - dark, dreary, and sad. "Glimpses" begins with an acoustic bluesy ballad, where Alex exercises his beautiful and ballistic vocal capabilities and his violin skills.

Alex gently croons on "Truth," backed by an addictive melody, "The truth is that I never shook my shadow/ Ever day it's trying to trick me into battle/Calling out 'faker' only to get me rattled/Want to pull me back behind the fence with the cattle." It's a song of overcoming struggle, and possibly a drug addiction. But he finds hope, "When everything's shining/Your darkness is shining/My darkness is shining/Have faith in ourselves," as he chants "truth" throughout - a constant reminder of facing it, even if it is darkness.

In "Million Years" he's back in love, comparing it to dangerous substances and orgasmic obscenities; "I love you like grave danger/Like moonshine in disguise." His passion for music, love and other things is so infectious it picks you up by the suspenders, lifting you high off the ground. Good luck coming down.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sam is the Man

No, I'm not talking about Dr. Seuss' muse. Sam Beam is the lead singer of Iron & Wine...a recent discovery of mine. He's been around for over a decade carefully creating his own orchestra of extraordinarily-talented musicians, including 2 backup singers, a banjo & mandolinist, a keyboardist, a percussionist, a drummer, a trombonist, a saxophonist, 2 guitarists. Although after Wednesday's (4/20) performance at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, the crowd seemed more intrigued by the lead singer. Everyone chanting "Sam's the man!" and "Sam, you rock!" made me realize that Sam is more than just a lead singer; he's the conductor of the Iron & Wine symphony.

A few songs from the new album, Kiss Each Other Clean, I could recognize because they colored within the lines. The rest, however, were unique spinoffs from The Shepherd's Dog, Our Endless Days Are Numbered, and Woman King; Sam improvising with octaves, instruments, lyrics, instrumentals. Keeping the experience new and exciting for anyone and everyone - for those who have followed them since their first EP to the present or for those who are seeing them for the first time (which was in my case). I caught myself with closed eyes, swaying back and forth, to focus on each musician, each instrument, each strum, each note, each octave by itself. They all stood so beautifully on their own. When I'd open my eyes, I was  in a sea of people that were all swaying like the tide. I was home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

1967, A Damn Good Year

If you need to watch a lighthearted movie after the ghosts and goblins of this past Halloween weekend, I highly recommend Pirate Radio. Not only is Phillip Seymour Hoffman, well, PSH, but the soundtrack is OUT of this world. Actually, it's not. It's just a flashback to a damn good year in music - 1967. Here are the tracks:

 1. Stay With Me Baby by Duffy (the first is ironically NOT from 1967)
 2. All Day and All of the Night by The Kinks
*3. Elenore by The Turtles
*4. Judy in Disguise (With Glasses) by John Fred & His Playboy Band
 5. Dancing in the Street by Marth Reeves & The Vandellas
 6. Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys (takes you back to your youth lazing on a hot summer day poolside)
*7. Ooo Baby Baby by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
*8. This Guy's In Love With You by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (one hit Mexican wonders(
 9. Hi Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck
 10. I Can See For Miles by The Who
*11. With a Girl Like You by The Troggs (two hit wonders)
 12. I'm Alive by The Hollies
 13. Yesterday Man by Chris Andrews
 14. I've Been a Bad Bad Boy by Paul Jones
 15. Silence is Golden by The Tremeloes
 16. Friday on My Mind by Easybeats
 17. My Generation by The Who
*18. I Feel Free by Cream
 19. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix Experience
 20. A Whiter Shad of Pale by Procul Harum
 21. These Arms of Mine by Otis Redding
 22. The Happening by The Supremes
*23. Cleo's Mood by Jr. Walker & The All Stars
 24. She'd Rather Be With Me by The Turtles
 25. 98.6 by The Bystanders
*26. Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks
*27. Father and Son by Cat Stevens
*28. Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues, Peter Knight & The Lo
 29. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield
 30. Stay With Me (Baby) by Lorraine Ellison
*31. This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) by The Isley Brothers
*32. Let's Dance by David Bowie (actually from 1983...oops!)
      *My Favorites
Needless to say this soundtrack ranks up with the best of 'em:
Top Gun (1986)
Dazed and Confused Vol 1 and 2 (1993)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Reality Bites (1994)
Grosse Point Blank (1997)
Virgin Suicides (1999)
High Fidelity (2000)
Almost Famous (2000)
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
Garden State (2004)
Once (2007)
The Wackness (2008)

If you have any others please let me know.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monster Mash to These Halloweeny Songs

Halloween is a time to dress up, eat candy without feeling guilty, party, and DANCE. Here are some great tunes to put on the Playlist at your costume party(ies) this weekend:

Abracadabra by The Steve Miller Band
The Addams Family by Kidz Bop Kids
Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf
Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus
Black Magic Woman by Santana
The Blob by The Metrolites
Boris the Spider by The Who
Dark Lady by Cher
Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo
Devil Inside by INXS
The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels Band
Devil with the Blue Dress On by Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels
Doin' the Zombie by Chubby Checker
Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
Donner Party by Alkaline Trio
Dragula by White Zombie
Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys
Evil Ways by Santana
Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra
Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper
Friend of the Devil by Grateful Dead
Fright Night by Elysian Fields
Ghost Riders in The Sky by The Ghost Rider Orchestra
Ghost Town by The Specials
Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.
Halloween by The Misfits
Haunted House by Jumpin' Gene Simmons
Hell by Squirrel Nut Zippers
Highway to Hell by AC/DC
Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran
I Put a Spell On You by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
I Want Candy by Lil Bow Wow
I'm Your Boogie Man by KC & the Sunshine Band or White Zombie
In Hell by Foo Fighters
In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett
The Legend of Wooley Swamp by The Charlie Daniels Band
Little Shop of Horrors by Jennifer Leigh Warren and Lellani Jones, Sheila Kay Davis
Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers
Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
A Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
Party Like a Rock Star by Pet Shop Boyz
People are Strange by The Doors
"Pyscho" Theme Song
Psycho Killer by Talking Heads
The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley
The Reaper by Mannheim Steamroller
Remains of the Day by Danny Elfman
Runnin' with the Devil by John Cowan Band
Scream Dream by Ted Nugent
She Blinded Me with Science by Thomas Dolby
Sittin' Up with the Dead by Ray Stevens
Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell
Soul Man by The Blues Brothers
Spooky by Dusty Springfield
Super Freak by Rick James
Supernatural Thing by Ben E. King
Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Sympathy for the Devil by Rolling Stones
Teenage Frankenstein by Alice Cooper
Thank God for Kids by The Oak Ridge Boys
Theme From Halloween by John Carpenter
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Time Wary by The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Cast
Toxic by Britney Spears
Tubular Bells (The Exorcist theme) by Michael Oldfield
Twilight Zone by Neil Norman
Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix
Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles
Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
When October Goes by Barry Manilow
Witch Doctor by Sha Na Na
Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra
Witchy Woman by Eagles
Worms Crawl by Robert Walsh
You Can Do Magic by America
Devil in Disguise by Elvis Presley

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kentucky Thoroughbreds Set to Release Follow Up Album

Cage the Elephant announce new album, Thank You, Happy Birthday, to be released on January 11th, 2011 (yes, that's 1-11-11). Fact: The album was recorded in Spring 2009 - right around the US release of their self-titled debut. So why keep fans waiting so long? Timing.

Isolating themselves in cabin on a lake in Kentucky, there was a lot of "personal growth." Their inspiration? Pixies, Butthole Surfers, Black Flag, Violent Femmes, Gang of Four, and Screaming Tea Party.

Track Listing:
1. Always Something
2. Aberdeen
3. Indy Kidz
4. Shake Me Down
5. 2024
6. Sell Yourself
7. Rubber Ball
8. Right Before My Eyes
9. Tangled
10. Sabertooth tiger
11. Japanese Buffalo
12. Flow
13. Shiver
While there are no leaks of the songs, yet, I'd like to make a prediction that the first single will be ... "Right Before My Eyes."

Weezer Covers Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart"

Yes, you read correctly. Weezer covers the classic 90's R & B tune, which will be on the band's upcoming Death to False Metal to be released on November 2, 2010. Take a listen to River yelp "without you I just can't go oooooon."

Check out snipits from the entire album on

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Broken Bells Release New Track

Danger Mouse and James Mercer are back at it. Take a listen to the Bells' latest single "Meyrin Fields" courtesy of

So does this mean a follow-up album? We sure hope so.