Category: Media

Waitin’ for the Beat to Kick In

… you can live your life in control and be nice,
But even that will not promise you a happy life,
You may think yourself in general to be a nice guy,
But I’m telling you now – that right there is a lie,
Even the nicest of guys has some nasty within ‘em,
You don’t have to be backlit to be the villain,
Whether it be greed lust or just plain vindictiveness,
There’s a level of malevolence inside all of us,
You can paint yourself an image and live in your own little dream,
But this ain’t a dream, it’s one big silver screen,
So when you think you’ve got your happy ending don’t ever forget it,
It ain’t over til you hear the sound of your end credits,

Dan le Sac -vs- Scroobius Pip

Amazing Amazing Graces

On a whim this evening, I typed “Amazing Grace” into the search field on the web page for my Squeezebox Server – and gave a listen to the five songs that came back. Eclectic doesn’t even start to cover it!

Dropkick Murphys from Live on St. Patrick’s Day from Boston MA

From the seminal DM recording, well into the evening’s live performance, we can only assume that much alcohol had already been consumed by the time this track came up on the hand-scrawled, beer-smudged playlist. The audio is horrible. The crowd is in a frenzy. The musicians – each and every one – are in craptastic form. It’s quite frankly a complete bloody mess of a performance! It’s perfect Dropkick Murphys!

Brian Torff from Union

The album is credited to Laurence Hobgood (on piano, plus Paul Wertico on drums), but this piece is a solo bass performance by Torff. It’s really quite impressive. You can catch a piece of the performance via the album link.

Marcus Printup from Unveiled

Trumpet blazing – as if Gabriel himself were blowin’ the horn – Printup and pianist extraordinaire Marcus Roberts put forth a truly worthy rendition of the old tune.

The Lemonheads from Hate Your Friends

Only a few months out of his teens, on the band’s debut LP, Evan Dando makes an effort to rip out a Hüsker’d version of Amazing Grace. It certainly qualifies as ‘amusing’, but perhaps nothing more than that ;-) .

Ladysmith Black Mambazo from Long Walk to Freedom

Emmylou Harris joins Joseph Shabalala’s crew in layering two (or three) musical styles – effectively, if not oddly – onto an 18th century hymn. Absolutely distinctive.

Matisyahu – One Day

it’s not about win or lose
‘cuz we all lose when they feed on
the souls of the innocent
blood drenched pavement
keep on moving though the waters stay raging
in this maze you can lose your way
it might drive you crazy
but don’t let it faze you no way

sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around because
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play

one day one day one day
one day one day one day

- Matisyahu from “One Day” from his latest album Light

Ovation TV FTW

If you asked me a month ago what my favorite cable channel was, I’d have told you it was Ovation TV. If you ask me today, I’d shout that answer at you.

On July 1st, Ovation kicked off a series called American Revolutionaries Rock and Soul that runs through the 18th. Normally I don’t get to watch much TV, but since I was already keeping tabs on Ovation I saw this coming in their promos and gave the DVR some appropriate pokes and prods well in advance. Today I was able to watch two exceptional shows:

Electric Purgatory is a thought-provoking look at how black musicians have had a more-than-challenging time making it as pure rock musicians. Footage and interviews with folks from Living Colour and Fishbone and Bad Brains brought back a lot of memories of the 1980s for me.

Welcome to Death Row is a  thorough history of Death Row Records – the notorious gangsta rap label created by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight (and maybe Harry O).

Neither of these are brand new documentaries. EP dates from 2006 and WtDR from 2001 (though with some updates at the end). Regardless, Ovation has done a stellar job  of pulling all sorts of amazing such shows together for this series. Thanks Ovation – keep ‘em comin’.

MP3 < Plastic

Someone is really “unclear on the concept” here. I was on Amazon looking for an album and this popped up in my search result:

amzn-steinskiIn case the text is too small for you to read, it shows that I can download a lossy 256kbps MP3 of the album for $15.99 or I can buy the physical CD for $14.99 (I’m an Amazon Prime member, so I get ‘free’ shipping and two-day delivery).

Bollocks!

The actual CD provides me lossless audio, a hard backup, and more fair-use rights than the MP3 download does — and I pay $1 LESS for taking it up the you-know-what. WTF?

The Hold Steady

The more I listen to The Hold Steady, the more I think they’re one of the best bands to come out of this decade. Check ‘em out if you haven’t already!

The Swish from their first album Almost Killed Me (2004):

Chip’s Ahoy from their third album Boys and Girls in America (2006):

Sequestered in Memphis from their fourth album Stay Positive live on Letterman:

Ella! Ella! Ella!

Der Bingle said it best:

Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.

According to my music server, I appear to own 1,132 albums by 457 artists encompassing 14,733 songs. If I had to choose only a fraction of my music to take with me on a desert island, at or near the top of the list would be The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books box set.

The set consists of sixteen (16!!!) discs containing 251 songs, spanning nearly a decade of recordings starting in 1956 (all remastered, of course, with extras). It covers the oeuvres of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer. Some fellas who knew how to write a song or two ;-) . The set also contains meaty texts on the recordings and historical contexts.

Although the price is in nosebleed territory, consider that it works out to just about the same as iTunes pricing per song, and you the stupendous packaging and documents for free!

UPDATE: I neglected to properly credit the great picture used above. Mea culpa! The picture was taken by a fellow Ella fan Edwin Lachica in Switzerland. Apologies Edwin!