Thursday, March 25, 2010

"He Died of High Fiving."

I almost had to excuse myself after watching this SNL opening monologue by Zack Galifianakis 2 weeks ago. Seriously, check it out for yourself. The opening bit is good but wait till he gets to the piano. Pure comedy.

"My wife looks a little like Charlize Theron, and a lot like the Dog the Bounty Hunter." HAHA! Cheers to one of my favorite comedians out today. Sometimes the best part of a sense of humor is the simplicity of it.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Foy Vance: "Crosstown Traffic" (Hendrix Cover)

Ok, I need to post this real quick. There's one thing in music that goes against what I've said before about technology and overusing different devices to make yourself sound better, and that's this. The loop pedal. I've had about 5 of them in my life and LOVE them. Stomp on the pedal, play a riff, a drum beat on the guitar, a bass name it. Stomp on the pedal again, on time, and you just recorded yourself. Now, you have a band, of you.

How about Foy Vance shows you in this cover of "Crosstown Traffic" by Jimi Hendrix. This is borderline "make work really awkward cause I'm about to dance in my office" type of stuff.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons: "Tennessee

There's a singer/ songwriter from Wisconsin (not Bon Iver.) His lyrics are stunning, musicianship is incomparable, vocal rasp a product of too many smokey nights; whiskey spilt on the floor....

His name is Cory Chisel and he's truly amazing. Ironically, the above all relates to Bob Dylan too, minus Wisconsin and add Minnesota. These guys would be perfect for a collaboration. If Prince and Bon Iver showed up then Minnesota and Wisconsin would be fully represented.

I saw Cory and Adriel Harris, the female in the below video, at City Winery in NYC just before I moved up to Beantown. I was blown away. The harmonies are absolutely dead on. Check out "Tennessee" from their recent full length record entitled "Death Won't Send A Letter." By reading the liner notes you'll see how powerful this guy is. Guest artists on the record range from Carl Broemel of "My Morning Jacket" to writing partner Brendan Benson of "The Raconteurs." Really solid stuff.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Peter Gabriel: Bon Iver Cover - "Flume"

I discussed things coming around before, with Foy Vance covering's another example. I'm down in Florida right now with my bro and our girlfriends, celebrating our 30th birthday which was yesterday. Scott and I are sitting in the computer room listening to tunes, and he throws this one on. Peter Gabriel is music. Scroll down below a bit and read about my appreciation for Bon Iver. Now, put the two together; Peter Gabriel covering "Flume" by Bon Iver. You know you're good when a guy who's been in the music biz for 30 years covers your song. Peter Gabriel's first record came out before Bon Iver was even born. This is like JFK walking into the White House and giving Obama a high five.

Check out the lyrics. Thank you Scott for showing me this. Amazing

I am my mother's only one
It's enough
I wear my garment so it shows
Now you know

Only love is all maroon
Gluey feathers on a flume
Sky is womb she's the moon

I am my mother on the wall,
With us all.
I move in water, shore to shore;
Nothing's more

Only love is all maroon
Lapping lakes like leery loons
Leaving rope burns reddish ruse

Only love is all maroon
Gluey feathers on a flume
Sky is womb she's the moon

Really solid stuff. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cinematic Orchestra feat. Patrick Watson: "To Build A Home."

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll remember my post about Patrick Watson from Montreal. He is, perhaps in my mind, the greatest thing to happen to music in my lifetime. He's not only a gifted lyricist, amazing pianist, and top notch songwriter, but he's also a tremendous collaborator. You see, certain athletes can get traded to other teams and completely break up the team spirit; adding in their own idea of what it takes to succeed and what it takes to get to the end goal, which is a win. Musicians are different. If a musician collaborates with another, or in this case another group of musicians, it is almost ALWAYS beautiful. The reason why? Musicians are artists and athletes are commodities. An artist wouldn't collaborate with someone they don't think would work; they have pride in their artistry. Athletes, eh.... Not to say that musicians are better than athletes, as I was both at one point in my life about 25 - 30 lbs ago, but they are very different when looking at the parts as a whole. A team can suck but have a great quarterback. A band can't, and a collaboration can't; or else it would have never happened.

Patrick wrote this tune for the British group "Cinematic Orchestra." It's called "To Build A Home." It's been in every ABC TV Series you can think of...for a reason. Listen to the tune as a whole. That is a group. That is a collaboration. That's what music sounds like. That's Patrick Watson at quarterback.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Allagash White: Damn Tasty

Allagash White. I treated myself to a few of these puppies last night while playing Golden Tee with my good buddy, Todd Yeager. Yeager shouldn't be confused with Jagermeister, but rest assured that Todd himself provides equal excitement, but a worse hangover.

Allagash is New England's only Belgian Brewing Company. These guys are based up in Maine and, well, the beers gives you a taste of Maine, but with clogs on. It's got some cool coriander flavors and all I can say is..."after taste!" You take a sip and you're impressed; there's no doubt that it tastes good, but hot damn! About 20 seconds later your taste buds are doing the running man and there's a party in your mouth. What a beer. I mean seriously, a fantastic beer.

It's the only interactive beer that I've ever had, and by that I mean this. If you order it in a bottle, there are directions and diagrams on the side that say what you need to do with this beer when you pour it. Who doesn't like directions, except ALL men. We just like to do things, build things, cook things, and hope it ends up right. We don't read directions or take directions, c'mon. Well, we need to follow directions this time. You pour the beer into a pint glass; easy enough fellas, right? The next diagram shows that you need to take the empty bottle and spin it a bit, as if you were mixing a martini with one hand. Apparently the yeast from the beer hanging out in the bottle for so long builds up into this FF. FF is "flavor foam" to the laymen, and yes I did just make that up. Then, you pour said FF into the pint glass on top of the previously poured beer and drink it. I almost fell off my chair (not drunk) when I tasted this.

Go buy Allagash White. Trust me. You'll thank me later over some Advil and a good story, but either way it'll be a fun one.

They have a ton of flavors. Check them out @


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bon Iver: "Re: Stacks"

Some people need million dollar recording studios to sound good. Some need autotune to sound like they can sing in key. Some need various plug-ins and effects to make their recording even resemble "music."

Others record their songs in their fathers log cabin in northeast Wisconsin and make it sound like it should; true, honest, heartfelt music. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) is my idol. He's about 6'6", bearded, wears looking guy. The kind of guy you'd meet for a cold one at noon on a snowy day and talk about old Bob Dylan records, maybe while sharing an ashtray and a pack of Winston's.

Bon Iver is music. Bon Iver is how music should be done. Take your autotune, $450,000 tape delay, and your compression filters and put them outside in the snow, just past the barn, near the horse stable. Come into my log cabin, keep your boots on, dry your gloves by the crackling fire, grab a Keystone Light and listen to Bon Iver. Tell me that doesn't feel good.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jeff Buckley : "Last Goodbye"

Do you remember when music wasn't all about flashy lights, crazy stage setups, singers rolling around in life sized hamster balls, and smoke machines? In the 60's and 70's there was just the music. You didn't necessarily need the "ambiance" of crazy lighting rigs and fog machines; or strobe lights and mirrors everywhere. The music spoke for itself. Sure, in cases like Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, YES, the psychedelic effect brought the listeners even deeper inside the music, but I challenge you to go home and put on Dark Side of the Moon at noon on a sunny day and see if you feel any different. And, by "feel any different" try not and compare it to a time when you "tried" to feel something different...if you catch my drift.

Music shouldn't need crazy lights, fog machines, should just need a few chord changes and some really, really well written songs. I love Phish. For all of you who know Phish, you know that the "best" part of their show is the lighting and stage setup. Don't get me wrong...this is one of the things I love about their shows, but the main thing is that their musicianship far exceeds the ability to make 14,000 120 watt light bulbs glow bright green in unison. It adds excitement, sure, but it doesn't add to the music. Why? Because a light doesn't make a sound, it just glows. A guitar can make a sound and glow on it's own, if played properly. As can a song.

The 80's kind of screwed us up because they were all about flash; guys dressed in drag singing about "Girls, Girls, Girls." Guy-liner was on every lead singer's eyes in every hair band, and the girl groups wore black and tried to look like the guys; leather everywhere and black lipstick. And, the songs were horrific for the most part...

Then we got to the 90's, and grunge hit. Pearl Jam NEVER had crazy lights at their shows. Go to youtube and type in "Pearl Jam live." It looks like they just showed up with their gear and plugged in. THAT is music. Just play. Are you paying $20 (back then) for a ticket and $10 to park, to go watch people turn lights on and off, or are you here to see a band play some rock n roll?

With that said, late 80's, early 90's was all about this man in my book. Jeff Buckley. Perhaps the best voice in the history of music in my mind, and perhaps the best songwriter in the history of music. He's most well known for his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," but I love it all. Check out this performance in Chicago in 1995. 4 guys on a stage, no lights flashing, a smiling Buckley and an absolutely phenomenal song called "Last Goodbye."

We lost Buckley too early. He randomly and tragically drowned in 1997. Sad to see him go but his music lives on forever. Everyone from Thom Yorke (Radiohead) to Justin Timberlake pay homage to him in their songwriting and vocal stylings. Check out his high end, or falsetto. Also, check out the lights, that stay still throughout the song. Whoa. What a concept!