sharing music to listen to.
Growing up in my family, whenever we went anywhere in the car, we were accompanied by an enormous zipper-suitcase of cassette tapes.
This satchel, and fabulous testament to 80's-life tech that would barely meet today's airline carry-on requirements, was in many ways an early catalyst for my appreciation of music. Occasionally, I'll reference my parent's contribution to some musical influence in my life. This is one of those times, and a short story about a music-loving parent's ingenuity.
About the time we were growing out of Raffi and Rick Charette my siblings and I were becoming more interested in listening to our parents music. It didn't take long until we all had our favorite songs from artists like Jim Croce, The Grassroots, Meat Loaf, The Beatles, Elton John, Bob Seger and the list goes on and on. We were listening to a lot of music, and long before any of us could read well enough to identify albums - which created a problem. Album art helped, but not enough. I recall a conversation, which absolutely resembled an Abbott and Costello bit, around "how many mustaches?!" And, my mother made it clear how it was unsafe for her to try to pick the tape we wanted while driving. In what I'm sure was an effort to pacify three children more than a passion for music discovery, my dear old mom color coded every cassette. She did this using snips of colored electrical tape in varying sequences. Unobtrusively located on the lower spine so that the color code faced outward while the cassette was in the megacase. It looked like a diagram of naval flags, but it worked.
So, when 6 year old me wanted to hear 'Tightrope' by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band all I had to do was hand over the cassette with the red-green-black on the back... then wait and listen to the album - from whatever point it started out at - until that sweet 80's synth sound started.
SIMO comes recommended by a colleague and fellow music lover. His taste in tunes skews guitar driven bluesy rock jams. I appreciated the recommendation after listening to a few tracks. Found this solid cover on YouTube after letting a few videos auto-play. If you're suffering from a post St. Pattys slouch the the guitar riffs of SIMO just might lift you out.
'Here Come the Runts' is the 3rd studio album from the um... experimental? American rock band AWOLNATION, following 'Run' and 'Megalithic Symphony' which features the hit single 'Sail'. This latest album has that distinct AWOL sound, but with the kind of growth that comes from pppractice... the freedom to try whatever you want on the Red Bull Records label doesn't hurt either. 'Here Come the Runts' has a slightly lighter, more "fun" vibe compared to 'Run' which features an overall heavier feel. For those reasons I think this album may be worth a try for anyone who played it safe on the sidelines with 'Sail'.
'Spit out the Bone' is my 3 year old daughter's favorite song. That and anything from the 'Moana' soundtrack. She requests it regularly on the way home from daycare. Disc 2 of 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct' hasn't left my CD player in months. While I usually use my phone for music, being able to press the CD button and skip to the track is a much faster (and safer) way to keep up with the request frequency. Which usually goes "Daddy, Can you play Spit Out da Bone?" or, when I'm playing other music "Daddy, after this song can you play Spit Out da Bone?" Then I see in the review mirror as she moves her head and taps her feet along to the furious beat, satisfied.
'Spit Out the Bone' easily deserves entry on the shortlist of all-time great thrash metal songs. It's a seven minute in-your-face, Metallica-at-its-purest war hammer of a song. It comes on hard and fast and never stops. Metal with melody 'Spit out the Bone' is a jewel in the exceptionally well done album 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct'. While this is my daughter's favorite song, my top choice from the album would be 'ManUNkind'. But, this is one of those rare albums where you just don't want to cross any track off the list. I hadn't seen the video until sitting down to write this. It's some trippy sh*t, but also fun with it's intentional "B" look. And no, I won't be showing this to the kid.
Man, do I miss Rdio. But, that's a topic for another time... Since you're reading this, you likely get your tune-fix from a digital content provider (in addition to through the radio or purchasing hard copies.) When you listen to music, what's your digital platform of choice?
One of my favorite videos of 2017, YouTuber “YouYouYou!!!” listens to Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut album for the first time, his reactions say it all. Needless to say I put RATM on heavy rotation after watching this. Warning NSFW language. "Whoo hooo ooo! Let's keep it going!"
O' the emotion in the rich, earthy and commanding vocals from a singer whose effortless delivery of power sways your very soul. That's Shoshana Bean, and 'Remember the Day', which builds in intensity and passion becoming a statement of emotional freedom. Her newly released album 'Spectrum' covers several genres in a showcase of her range, and control. Speaking of covers, she commands them. Shoshana Bean pours out such at performance in 'Make it Rain' that you'd be forgiven in assuming it was written for her. Powerful soul-diva vocals, songs you know and fantastic production make 'Spectrum' a winner. Don't just take my word for it, here's a much more thorough review from Soul Tracks - [Shoshana Bean - Spectrum]
I'm syphoning suggestions with this one. A facebook friend put out the call for new music recommendations, and after posting my own I scrolled through what others had put forth. I guess this name jumped out at me... Unless it's an artist I'm familiar with it pretty much comes down to how intriguing the album art, title or artist name is, as to whether I choose to play it. The artist recommended - Jukebox the Ghost.
After trying several of their more popular songs I got into Thump Sessions, an EP album. EP means "Extended Play." At 21 minutes long it's a little too short to be a full CD and a little too long to be a single. This album in particular is great background music. Comparing the sounds of Jukebox the Ghost to other artists would be somewhere around Weezer mixed with Queen ('In the Cut' is a perfect example of this) with Ben Folds Five flair and the occasion hint of Mumford and Sons.
On a whim the other night I gave Andrew W.K.'s 'You're Not Alone' a whirl, having liked 'Party Hard' years back. My impression after the first listen through was that this album certainly stands out. Upbeat and also dark, it’s party-mode filled with perseverance and spirit. Best consumed in it’s entirety, this un-mainstream masterpiece is worth adding to your library. There’s so much going on in You’re Not Alone, that comparing it to music from other artists requires naming quite a few. Perhaps a mix of Volbeat, Billy Talent and maybe a ‘pint’ of Type O Negative. Then it starts going to some really riotous Jim Steinman places, with maybe a touch of inspiration from Andrew Lloyd Webber. This album is an almost-rock-opera that’s full of heart.
24 hours and around 6 listens-through later I'm really digging it. The video for 'Ever Again' just adds to the appeal. Like the album, forget expectations and enjoy the ride.
(I had to look this up) While not a christian rock group, Andrew W.K. is religious and a motivational speaker. That influence comes through in the lyrics and adds a recurring optimism to the album. In my opinion this is darn good listening. If you start at the beginning of the album - when you come out of 'The Devi's On Your Side' an into 'Break the Curse' - you'll thank me. (No skipping ahead.)
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.