Monday, March 3, 2014

Matt Corby: "Resolution"

Not much to say about this one except for it speaks for itself.  I'll leave it alone on the comments since it'll just waste time until you listen to this tune.

One of the best voices out there.  He's got a Jeff Buckley falsetto with the power of a Chris Martin full voice.  Super impressive and quite the guitar player as well.


Friday, November 9, 2012

William Fitzsimmons & Slow Runner: "Can't Go Home"

This'll do it.  Little Big Town gets props for the tune, but kudos to Willy Fitz and Slow Runner for a sick cover.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis : "Same Love"

Marriage equality is pretty much a topic you can guarantee has never made it into a hip hop record.  Unless the track itself is poking fun at gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, etc., you will rarely ever see a positive message behind such a controversial and important topic.  Personal opinion time...get over it Hollywood.

Record A&R's and marketing teams are always concerned with image, yet at the same time they're doing simply that; showing an image.

           image (v) : a reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing  

By the pure power of it's actual definition it shows you how fake it is.  Why would anything worth signing and paying money for suddenly be worthy of a complete transformation into what you think others will like.  Isn't that counter-intuitive to the process of finding true talent and developing this talent into a true artist?

In main stream hip hop, talent is inevitably overlooked in order to sell records.  If you talk about "faggots," "gays," and "lesbians," that doesn't matter to the execs.  The tough image will sell, the records will sell, you'll have your own subsidiary record label from the one that signed you, and you'll be an absolute millionaire.  Sure, this can be considered a rash generalization, however it's a consistent timeline. 

To voice your own opinion on a topic through the medium of music is actually the whole point of music.  Good or bad, it's why music exists.  A question for you all though, why is hip hop music the ONLY genre that bashes homosexuality.  We don't see it in rock n' roll.  Ever heard of Freddie Mercury?  Look at the hair bands in the 80's.  They dressed like women and wore makeup, yet they had some of the most "manly" fans in the business.  I mean c'mon, the bassist from Styx was gay! Judas Priest, one of the heaviest bands of the rock era, had a gay lead singer.  In today's popular rock music, bands like Coldplay and 30 Seconds to Mars draw huge numbers from the gay community.  Singer / Songwriters like Rufus Wainwright thrive off of their "outing."  The gay community and straight community alike flock to Rufus' shows and he's a fully out, 100% proud, openly speaking homosexual.  Jeff Buckley, although straight, STILL draws huge crowds to his music both online and through retail sales and he passed away 14 years ago.  Why is hip hop different?  

Good news folks, it isn't any different now....thanks to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  I've been a fan of Macklemore for a bit now, from around 2003 when I worked in the business.  At the time he was a 20 year old hip hop artist and had an EP out called "Open Your Eyes."  I had a huge passion for northwest US hip hop since I was managing Braille at the time, so naturally I would hear other Portland, OR artists and some Seattle, WA artists as well.  Macklemore was one of these Seattle guys who just had this swagger about him.  From his delivery to his look, he didn't need an "image."  The image was his soul and what he chose to discuss was his word, which was never faked. 

He released another EP in the mid 2000's after a battle with sobriety (he won) and fast forward to today.  "The Heist" is a record you need in your collection.  If you like music, you'll like "The Heist," even you mom and dad.  Springsteen and Neil Diamond can wait, throw this on.  Ryan Lewis, instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire is behind the beats and they resonate.  Pure talent, pure drive, and instrumentation that would make Kanye and Timbaland nod their head to his compositional prowess.  Listen to track 5, "Same Love" and you'll know what this is all about.  Mary Lambert lends her beautiful falsetto to the hook and it's chill binding.

"The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing god, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And god loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know"

Nice work Macklemore.  Props to you for taking a genre notorious for slander, hatred, and cultural regression and for giving it relevance.  Did you really just write a song praising and promoting marriage equality?  This. Actually. Happened? I'm sick of hip hop artists saying that art is really just another form of poetry; that it's an outlet to speak in prose about your life and struggles.  In the case of these artists, I can't imagine they're very happy individuals outside the size of their savings accounts.  Macklemore shows what it's like to use a medium to your benefit and to distribute a message that we can not only nod our heads and feet in rhythm too, but also in agreement too.

Check out the below from Ellen, further proof on how truly large this is in the world of music.  Ellen knows her artists and even has her own label. She pointed out that Macklemore was top on iTunes a few weeks ago and took immediate notice to the power of his message.  This is why I love music.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ben Howard - "Depth Over Distance"

I realized when I posted last night that I haven't written about anything musical...or anything in general, since October 3rd 2011. That's unbelievable to me because all I've done over the past year+ is even further deeply dive into new artists, albums, and even genres. My stomach dropped when I saw the last post was 10/3/11. Where has the time gone, and more importantly, so much has happened. How can I not have written anything?

My life is not the same as it was a year ago, in no way, shape, or form. I'm with a fantastic girl who absolutely loves me for me and that can't change. From my (at times) overpowering A.D.D. to my consistent obsessive behavior around fixing things in the apartment, she laughs, giggles, smiles, and just loves me. Not much more to be said about that except it's an amazing feeling.  The feeling of reciprocating the love she shows me is one that I've never enjoyed so much and it's an honor to call her my girlfriend, or Rocky B as nicknames have it.

In January I adopted a 10 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback / Lab mix and aptly named him Jackson. If dogs have last names, which I absolutely believe they do, he's known as Jackson Brown; my favorite piano player. While Jackson, or JB as we call him, makes noise just walking on carpet; his ability to tickle the ivory isn't an option and therefore all aspirations for musical lessons and stardom have been abandoned. Either way, it's awesome to have Jackson join the family and he's already 80 lbs at 1.5 years.

On the job front, Gilt Groupe is in my past and I'm now heading up digital ad sales at CBS Boston. Pretty cool gig, managing 4 digital assets and 5 teams of Account Executives; it's certainly a good move from a team of 12 and the remote island of the Gilt City startup world. I'm definitely enjoying the challenges and rewards of large scale, corporate organization.

Hard to discuss through a "let's catch up blog," but I miss my cousin. For those of you reading this, you know that my cousin Ryan passed away on January 29th of this year. It still doesn't really feel comfortable to talk about, nor can I really keep it together to fully form sentences and reflect on his life, so I need to dedicate some more time to figure out what to say. I get sudden impacts from time to time when I realize he won't be at Christmas this year, or I can't email him and check in on Shaylon and Alisha; that I can't reminisce about the 31 years we had together, playing with Scott and Derek. I love you Ryan and I will write soon....I miss you and think about you everyday.

With that said, I give you Ben Howard and "Depth Over Distance." Changes are inevitable in life and it's the only thing that truly makes you know that yesterday is not today and tomorrow will not be the same as today. You never truly know what will happen in life and as things grow farther, or "taller" as Ben mentions in this song, all you can do is wish that you could get back to the roots. My roots lie in my family, my passion and obsession for the way music make me feel, and my love for finding true happiness. Since Ryan's passing, this song has been on my mind for some time:

"Hold on, wait until that lone sun
Breaks from the arms of the Lord
Hold on, though we may be too young
To know this ride we're on
Hold on, wait though we may be too young
To know this ride we're on?"

The below version is the best quality, live from KCRW. You'll be blown away. There are versions where he brings the last verse up an octave (or two) and it's unreal ( It's spine tingling and a true reflection of the power this song has over him. Ben is a true artists in all senses of the word.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Been a while....way too long actually.

Greetings folk(s)? Not sure if anyone still checks out this blog anymore, but I figured I'd pop my head in quickly. My posts have been sporadic, however my listening has increased here I am. I plan on jumping back in and sharing some great tunes, awesome times, sad times, and even some idiotic stories from page to page. More to come, but if you're out there....thanks for checking in. Cheers. KB

Monday, October 3, 2011

Miles from "Home"

There's something to be said about distance. Sometimes we choose to distance ourselves from areas of our lives that we're not fond of, which unfortunately is the inevitable truth that this is WHO we are. I moved to Boston in 2009 for reasons that no longer exist. Reasons that had me at the edge of my seat; excited about the potential new life I was about to embark on. 2 years have passed since I left everything I knew behind me; everything I wanted to miss and everything I thought I'd never miss. From family to friends, from jobs to apartments, New York is where I laid my head and heart for 29 of my 31 years. The thought of leaving those fears, anxieties, and emotions behind me was very attractive since the distance was just that; a new life and a "cure." As I find myself sitting here with that potential new life behind me, but a new sense of being and appreciation for the strength in my decisions, I can't help but say it for the first time...I miss where I came from.

I miss being able to see my family and hometown friends physically and not through text messages and phone calls. There's something very lonely, yet proving when you wake up and it's just silent. Even though the Monday morning garbage pickups are occuring outside my rainy South Boston window, and car horns sing out of tune on East Broadway, I still don't hear anything.

Over the past few months a lot has changed in my life, but the consistent theme throughout has been distance. I feel as though I'm saying goodbye more often than hello and my feet are only planted in one place for long enough to appreciate where I am for those 5 minutes. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that "life is a journey, not a destination" and never have I fully believed in this quote till now. Within each of our journey's there's an unedeniable distance that we must take either from ourselves or from our past, simply to realize who we really are and who we want to be. Waking up with that lonely feeling on a Monday morning is tough; knowing that the only people who truly know you and who you genuinely miss aren't near you. What's even tougher is being in the city you changed your whole life to be in because of a potential life that shattered, and in the end realizing that you need to pick up the pieces yourself because that's just it. They're all pieces of you.

I know we have to travel to get to certain places in this life, but I miss where I traveled from and who took the ride with me for those 29 years. It's a bit ironic. So much of the excitement in changing my life to move here was to get away from that past life that I thought I needed in my rearview mirror. In the process I feel as though I've gotten farther away from myself and further distanced myself from my cornerstone; all of which is back in NY.

If only life had a GPS system. Then again, I'd probably continue to hit the detour button to see if there's a quicker way to get to my destination, as opposed to just enjoying the recommended path. Hey, at least I got there.

Shawn Mullins said it best in his song "Home." I love this man.

"Yeah, I know I'm lucky to sing my songs
If you want to, you can sing along
As you been on this road so long
Won't you help me find my way back home?
Help me find my way back home"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Angus & Julia Stone

Tell me this isn't awesome and I will give you $1MM.

Which I don't have, but that's just proof of how awesome this is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Glen Hansard & Doveman

Not sure what to really say about this without getting emotional myself, so just check it out for yourself. Thanks to my good buddy Foye Johnson for sending this over. The man knows his music.

This is just so good.


Glen Hansard w/Doveman "What Happens When The Heart Just Stops" from Patrick Glennon on Vimeo.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Richard Wright: Piano God

I love the piano, that's no secret if you've read any of my past posts. Richard Wright, the piano and organ genius behind Pink Floyd, perhaps summarizes exactly what I love about the instrument. Its simplicity. Its ability to sound as though it takes little effort to play, yet it takes every muscle in your brain and hands to agree with each other and move separately yet simultaneously. Wright was perfect. 1 listen through "Dark Side of the Moon" and you can't help but notice how beautiful his piano playing was.

Check out "The Great Gig in the Sky" on "Dark Side," or especially "Us and Them." Richard actually wrote the piano part in "Us and Them" for a violence sequence in the 1970's film "Zabriskie Point" by Michelangelo Antonioni. Ironic huh? It's odd how something so beautiful was written specifically for a scene showing killing, blood, and war. The music is stunning. However, Antonioni felt as though the piece was "beautiful, but too sad." Interesting. Isn't violence sad?

So, thank you Antonioni. Because it didn't make the film, the song was then used on "Dark Side" and it became "Us and Them;" one of my favorite tunes on probably my favorite record of all time.

Below is the actual audio of Richard Wright recording the track in the studio in 1970 for the film, along w/ some stills. Wright passed away in 2008 unfortunately. He is a true legend.

Friday, December 31, 2010

"Where At Least I Know I'm Free"

For all 12 of you loyal fans of this blog, you know from time to time I write about various beers I try. From Allagash to Sam Adams Seasonal's, from Blue Moon to Shipyard Pumpkin...I've tasted some pretty awesome beers. The weirdest thing happened the other day though. I tried Budweiser. Have you guys ever heard of this stuff? I mean, I'll tell ya. One sip and I was bleeding red, white, and blue.

I've heard a little about this beer before. I think I remember seeing a commercial during a Super Bowl at one time with these big horses with hairy white feet pulling a Budweiser truck, but I thought that was just an ad for horses. I mean seriously, who really advertises during the Super Bowl anyway? Just loser companies, right?

My friend Danny Noschese introduced me to this beer the other day over a few games of Golden Tee at our local watering hole in South Boston. We got a bucket of cold Budweiser bottles and literally, the second I opened the first one, I heard Bruce Springsteen singing "Born in the USA" from inside the bottle. Not only was Bruce singing at the top of his lungs, but suddenly everyone morphed into a Giants fan at the bar and brought out their portable grills. We started tailgating in the middle of the bar, cooking dogs, flipping burgers, tossing the pigskin around. Noschese went for a long fly pattern and ran directly into Uncle Sam who was on line at the bathroom. The place literally erupted into the greatest party I've ever seen. I was proud to be an American and a Giants fan, simply from opening a cold Budweiser bottle.

This beer unites people. It tastes like spring water with a hint of freedom; the after taste a combination between Apple Pie and the 4th of July. Fireworks erupt as you take each sip, as you truly know this is America...and this is a Budweiser.

Apparently this stuff has been out for years. My dad used to drink it with his white tee shirt on and jeans while singing Badlands and Glory Days around 114 Grandview. I didn't know that was Budweiser. I just thought it was an adult beverage with a weird name that made you smarter.

I can't recommend Budweiser enough. If you find yourself in a quandary at your local pub, or you're standing in the walk-in fridge at your nearest beverage mart debating what to buy, just listen for Springsteen. He'll be waving the American flag with his Desert Storm T shirt on, and he'll lead the way. If Lee Greenwood walks in behind you and points at the barkeep and just puts 2 fingers up, he means a few things. He'd like two Budweiser's and he's flashing the peace sign, because he is indeed Proud to be an American, where at least he knows he's buy Budweiser.

Happy New Year folks. Cheers.