Tuesday, June 23, 2009

There's More To Life Than Chronic Dissatisfaction

Originally posted 3/16/04

Well, I'm not really re-stocked on music, yet. I have begun reloading songs, and finding a bunch of new music that I scavenge from the mounds of bad CDs to be found in the freebie piles. I've actually mined a few gems over the past few weeks. One was by a relatively new band called Young & Sexy.

Born out of a chance meeting at a coffee house (if the bio is to be believed) this alt-pop, adult pop group is the kind of intelligent but catchy stuff you are mostly likely to never hear on the radio again. The best example of the imploding music business and sheer inbred corruptness of corporate radio is the fact that this intelligent, talented group will never get air play, despite two excellent CDs.

Formed in the early to mid '90s, this group didn't release an album until 2002, with Stand Up For Your Mother. In 2003, they released the follow up Life Through One Speaker which is what I found down in the dining center. Reviewers constantly compare their harmonies to the Beatles, but I swear ANYONE who uses harmonies is compared to the Beatles; as if harmonies didn't exist before John and Paul tried 'em out.

The hardest part about this is selecting which track to send. This is really an album and works best when heard as a whole. My favorite track is a melancholy ode full of post-modern irony, comments on religion and politics, and still manages to be a simple and honest love song. It features the stunning voice of Lucy Brain in a quiet, reflective... minimalist piece. I can easily picture her singing this in a dark and smoky bar, haloed by the spotlight with the quiet accompaniment coming from the dark background and the audience quietly absorbed.

You might want to take this one home... because it deserves an undistracted listen.
"More Than I Can Say" by Young and Sexy.

Transfixed By The Inner Sound

Originally posted 3/2/04

Anyway... today's tune is a request. A number of folks sent in songs they would like to hear, so I just picked one for today. Another classic '80s alternative blast from the past... one of those cult classics anyone over 25 should at least be passing familiar with... Siouxsie & the Banshees.

Interesting fact I only recently learned, John Simon Ritchie... better known as Sid Vicious... started with the Banshees as they're first drummer, before joining the Sex Pistols. Siouxsie & The Banshees were one of the longest running acts to come out of the '70s London punk scene, their last album The Rapture, coming in 1995.

For a band whose first gig consisted of nothing more than a 20 minute screaming and grinding guitar version of the Lord's Prayer, they certainly changed their sound as they grew without ever losing a truly avant garde sound.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pop Fusion

Originally posted 2/25/04

Since I was out on Monday... today is Tuesday for me. (At least that is my excuse for not sending this yesterday, and I'm sticking to it!)

Based on the poll the only other category to receive a vote was Folk/World. I figured I'd dig around in my music files and see what I can come up with. Both examples I found actually blend their genres with serious pop influences, so I went with the more current of the two.

The Afro Celt Sound System has been around for almost ten years now, getting their first real exposure at the WOMAD festival in 1995. They have four studio albums, my favorite being 1999's Volume 2: Release which continued their Irish/West African electronic fusion of sounds into a truly alternative pop sound. The track I've selected "Lovers of Light" is simple and addictive. You could put it on REPEAT and keep yourself groovin' for a long time. I think it matches my mood now that the days are getting noticeably longer and the sun was bright and warm today. (Well... warmER, anyway.)


This Is How To Use An Organ

Originally posted 2/10/04

Well... Pop/Rock won handily in last week's poll... but then I was never going to stop sending Pop/Rock tunes. That's my true love, but this week, I thought I'd go with the second place vote... something in the Jazz/Blues area.

Now, I'm not a Jazz aficionado... nor can I listen to too much of the blues in any one sitting... but I do like them both. I dug around in my very limited collection for something enjoyable and not too heavy. Sometimes listening to Miles or Mingus can be like reading Literary Criticism. Deep, insightful... but slow going, difficult and not really what I'd call fun.

To that end, I chose a piece from Reuben Wilson. Originally part of the acid jazz and soul/jazz period in the late 60's, Reuben recorded three albums of organ music for Blue Note during that time, but never hit it really big. Wasn't heard from much until the early to mid 90's when retro acid jazz became all the rage and his previous albums became collectors items. (No, I don't have those...) During this time Reuben made new recordings, including the 1998 "Organ Donor." This was a re-recording of his more popular tunes, made with new, young, hip-hop influenced artists backing him up. I dunno from Jazz, and this album didn't get the best reviews, but I find this music infectious. I selected my favorite track. One entitled "Orange Peel." Enjoy.

It Was Good In The Beginning

Originally posted 2/3/04

Quiz: How long until the next date is a sequential set of numbers like today. 2/3/04... hmmmmmmm.

Anyway, back to the Tuesday Tune. Though I live a little too much in the past, I can still find current music that I enjoy. Top of the list in that category is Pete Yorn. (Mr. Fugate anticipated my selection yesterday, by asking if I had any of Pete's music to send to him. Freaky.)

An alt-rocker in the classic singer/songwriter vein, Yorn made a huge splash in '01 with his debut musicforthemorningafter. He was a session drummer and guitarist before this, playing with the likes of Liz Phair. (I read somewhere that he pulled off the dream-come-true scenario, performing impromptu for a record exec and getting a deal out of it.) His "Just Another" was later featured on the WB's Dawson's Creek... which doesn't sound like much of a recommendation, but believe me, even the sappy young adult prime time soaps show some taste now and then.

His sophomore project was the album The Day I Forgot, and while the critics thought it not quite "all that" when compared to his debut, I liked it even better! (I'm an INTP... have to do it MY way, darnit!) There is one clunker of a song that disrupts the flow of the album as a whole, but I personally find each individual track both powerful and catchy. Yorn shows he isn't afraid to let a simple pop hook run free.

I chose "Crystal Village" for this week's tune, striking me as particularly appropriate sentiment for this time of life. It speaks to how things were... and aren't anymore... but without the angst and melodrama. Instead, the lyrics indicate a wistful optimism... acceptance of what is gone coupled with a belief that there is still something new and good to be discovered.

Living In The Gap Between Past & Future

Originally poste 1/20/04

Since I'd heard some comments about the lack of Tuesday Tunes, I thought I'd try again. I looked at the mailing list and had to clean it up a bit... I'm sorry if I left anyone off the previous list.

Anyway... having done some driving over the past weekend, I had a car full of music. This was a CD I hadn't listened to in a long time. Once again, my choice is evidence of my rather eclectic tastes and 80's alt-pop-rock bias.

As past Tuesday Tune ramblings have indicated, I certainly tie my personal history to music. The songs I was listening to define the times. In my mind, certain albums are the definitive of their era. For the 80's, I've always felt that The Clash's London Calling was the album that ushered IN the decade (technically 1979, but hey, this is just my opinion). Not nearly as well known though, I feel that Kate Bush with The Sensual World was the last truly 80's album.

In my world the King of 80's pop wasn't Michael Jackson, it was Peter Gabriel. Kate Bush was the Queen. Mainstream may have had Madonna, but Kate was the true original. Though she had one more studio album in '93... The Sensual World was truly her big finish. The techno-layering of the 80's still comes through, but you can see that she grew up with the decade. This album shows her maturity as she begins to leave much of her eclecticism aside and delving into some truly lush sounds. Her voice, always unique, powerful and stirring, never sounded so good.

My favorite song off the album is "Love & Anger", which I've attached here. It is a strangely practical, cathartic, introspective, almost-love song that has a sense of both "past & future" (as she puts it) to it's message. Her final, husky, satisfied "Yeah" at the end seems to me a fitting send off for the decade of my youth.

Mind The Gap!

So... as I was reposting these, I got to this point in my files and realized that while I'd been somewhat regular up until now... my sending out of the Tuesday Tune abruptly ceased that July of 2003, and would not resume for five months. I have no recollection of why in particular I stopped. Lots of difficult things were going on in my life throughout the six plus years I sent out the songs, but for some reason it came to a screeching halt at this point.

I'm kind of intrigued about what happened, but I don't know if I'll ever remember. Perhaps I just got lazy.

It Is A Cutting Thing, Growing Old

Originally posted 7/2/03

Yeah... I know it's Wednesday, but I'm sending this out in desperation.

During my lunch hour I stopped in at the Record Exchange to look for some used CDs. (You can find some great bargains if you are willing to hunt through the cheap stuff.) First thing I noticed, though, was that it was no longer "The Record Exchange" and was now, simply, "The Exchange."

Turns out that not enough of their customers even know what a record is. Seriously, the dude behind the counter told me this with a straight face.

Feeling old, here... and it gets worse.

So while I'm scanning through the Electronica section the two young employees were discussing what to listen to next on the overhead system. They decided on some "old stuff" (his words) and put on The Cure Staring At The Sea." The gir... er... young woman laughed and danced and said, "I just love this stuff! It's classic!"

Like as in "Classic Rock" or other OLD things.

I smiled and said, "I owned this on vinyl." Then I made my little purchase asking for a senior citizens discount and staggered out the door on my walker.


So in my attempt to act somewhat hip and current, I'm only going back as far as 1998 for today's tune. Air is a French duo creating ambient electronica with a lot of pop stylings. They are best known for the Virgin Suicides Soundtrack. Their debut CD, Moon Safari, is an eclectic and addictive album that is darn near perfect in it's melding of older pop elements with modern electronic equipment. This is the opening track from Moon Safari, called "La Femme d'Argent"

I like it, even if I think I'm getting hard of hearing in my old age.

Cowboys Are No Fun At All!

Originally posted 6/24/03

It's been a while since we've had a Tuesday Tune. I've been inspired by the unfolding drama taking place in Mark Trail's Arizona Adventure, so I thought I'd look for an appropriate soundtrack for the strip.

Title Theme - "Desert Rose" by Sting
Meth Addict Beth's Theme - "Being Alone Together" by David & David
The Eagle chick's Theme - "Feed Me" by Julianna Hatfield
The Injured Eagle's Theme - "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
The Side-burn Badguys' Theme - "The Fun Lovin' Criminal" by Fun Lovin' Criminals
The Bobcat's Theme - "Kitty" by Presidents of the United States of America
Bob's Theme - "Our Love Would Be Much Better (If I Gave A Damn About You...)" by DAG
Devil Child's Theme - "Bad Baby" by Public Image Limited
The Giant Lizard's Theme - "Godzilla" by Blue Oyster Cult

But for our main man Mark Trail we need a special theme

"Here Come Cowboys" by the Psychedelic Furs.

"Here come Cowboys. Here to save us all. Here come Cowboys. They're so well inside the law. Here come Cowboys. They're no fun at all."

Seems to me to nail ol' Mark right on the head.

(For characters outside this current storyline, I suggest the following...

Cherry's Theme - "Spooky Girlfriend" by Elvis Costello
Doc's Theme - "Medicine Show" by Big Audio Dynamite
Rusty's Theme - hmmmm... maybe "Posterchild for Tragedy" by Sugarbomb? (Not sure on this one.)

Anyway... enjoy!

Nothing Common About The Common Man

Originally posted 5/27/03

David mentioned this song many months ago, and when I went shopping at Borders this weekend I remembered to pick up a copy.

Copland’s Appalachian Spring is such a ubiquitous collection of pieces it is hard to escape them. “Rodeo” (in its four parts) is used in movies and for beef commercials. “Spring” is simply one of the most played orchestrated pieces ever!

The most famous of course, is “Fanfare For The Common Man” which I have attached here. Utilized straight or bastardized for uncountable sports shows and movies, this song is truly ingrained in our cultural medulla oblongata.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s quite the inspirational piece. Enjoy.