Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today was a Day for the song "The Width of a Circle" by David Bowie from "Santa Monica '72"

David Bowie and Mick Ronson kickin' out the jams, mofo.

While good copies of the "Santa Monica '72" bootleg have been around for a long time (black market and gray market), the first official release of this live set from the "Ziggy Stardust" tour came only in 2009. It still has a rough edge due to limitations of the source tape from an FM broadcast, but it sounds pretty damn good. The setlist is 16 Bowie songs and one Velvet Underground cover ("Waiting for the Man"). It is a very fun listen all the way through. Ronson is shredding and flying the whole night (as he often did in the early 70's).

If you want more info on the Bowie song "The Width of a Circle", take a look at this posting. Good stuff.

CD at amazon.com here.
Complete album on lala.com:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Today was a Day for "Weld" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1991)

The live album Weld was released not that long (6 months) after the 1991 Neil Young & Crazy Tour wrapped up on April 27 in Los Angeles. All the tracks were recorded over the 13 weeks of 1991's "Smell the Horse" tour which took place during the first Gulf War.  Also released the same day was a third disc Arc which is 35 minutes of feedback and guitar crunching compiled from some of the more distorted moments of shows on the tour. I guess the story is that Arc came about thanks to Thurston Moore's suggestion to Neil.

I was fortunate enough to catch the March 15th show at the Convention Center Arena in San Antonio, TX with opening acts Sonic Youth and Social Distortion.  It was quite the evening of music. 

One of the more fun aspects of the night was sitting next to a couple of old hippies during Sonic Youth's portion of the show. Our seat neighbors were pretty freaked out by the distortion and the feedback during the zanier moments of the Sonic Youth set (and this was coming from some dudes that had seen The Horse with Neil back in 1970 and 1978). Likewise, in the concourse bathroom right before Neil Young hit the stage, there were two other old hippies that were talking about the ear-piercing amplifier feedback that Thurston Moore was getting by rubbing his guitar all over his amp and the drum riser. The one turns to the other and says "Man, I've never seen anything like that before...not even in the 60s." The night was off to a good start.

In the show I saw, the Neil Young & Crazy Horse tour stage setup had an oversized microphone, yellow ribbon, and peace symbol backdrop. Additionally, there were several effects and props that were clearly harkening back to the stage design on the 1978 "Live Rust" tour (oversized faux amps towering above the band members and weird troll-goblin folks that came out and made exaggerated stage adjustments occassionally between songs.)

Gulf War I had just officially wrapped up a few weeks previous. It was very good to hear all the loud guitars that evening...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Continued Pavement-mania (Crooked Rain edition)

It doesn't take very much for me to go on a Pavement jag. They tend to happen about every year or so--usually in the spring or early summer. That said, I think there has been a distinct reason for this particular jag. All the Pavement news of the last month or so has swept me up in the Pavement-mania. A full-on swoon has swept the music journalism world. There have been fawning stories everywhere you look for weeks and weeks.  Last month there was widespread coverage all over the place (NPR here, The Japan Times here, etc.)  More recently, here is a report from a reunion tour Tokyo show.  Some data-driven analysis of reunion tour clips from the NYT here, etc. I am sure that in the wake of the band's appearance tonight at Coachella we are going to get back to the full-scale Pavement-frenzy in the music blogs and press.

So, I have joined the virtual Pavement party and have played the band's albums over the course of the last month. I have all of their main releases and a few EPs here and there as well. Right now as I type this, I am listening to the 2nd disc of outtakes and assorted gems from the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain 10th anniversary re-release. Very fun.

Pavement are a band that we always knew would reunion tour. Malkmus has been active throughout the post-Pavement years. There had been consistent reports over the course of the last decade suggesting that it was a matter of when, not if. But nonetheless, it will be fun to have them around for old times sake. I saw them twice--in Albuquerque and in Atlanta--back in the day (the mid-1990s). I sure hope I can manage to get to one of their shows later in the summer.

They weren't the best live act in the world as they often played shambolic and sloppy sets on a consistent basis. But on this point I buy-in to the greater narrative as well--the sloppiness and shambles adds to the charm in some weird way. Plus it will be fun to be transported back to a simpler period--the 90s lo-fi scene. Guided by Voices, Pavement, Sebadoh, New Radiant Storm King, the original Spoon, etc. Life was simpler then... [In related news, Superchunk is about to release a new album and play some shows.]

Pave out the jams, mofos!

P.S. I would steer clear of the new "bargain-priced" Pavement re-releases on vinyl. They look and feel like cheap pressings and I wouldn't be surpised if they popped and skipped right out of the sleeve the first time you drop the needle. As with most things, when it comes to vinyl, you get what you pay for. When the retail price is about $10 for a vinyl record in this day and age, you are likely getting a low-quality pressing.

Here is a link to the two-disc (49 track) Crooked Rain re-release from 2004:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today was a Day for the Soundboard Recording of Frank Zappa, June 21st, 1980, Geneva, Switzerland

While I realize Zappa's first 1980 tour (and tour band) isn't everyone's favorite, there are plenty of high points in many of the live recordings we have from the those spring/early-summer months. A decent representative of the period is the show from June in Geneva. You can find it various places online.

Here's a little bit from the show:

Frank Zappa
June 21, 1980
Patinoire des Vernets
112 min.

Disc 01
01 Chunga's Revenge 06:25
02 Keep It Greasey 03:06
03 Outside Now 08:31
04 City Of Tiny Lights 09:56
05 A Pound For A Brown 14:34
06 Cosmik Debris 04:10
07 You Didn't Try To Call Me 03:40
08 Ain't Got No Heart 02:02
09 Love Of My Life 01:56
10 You Are What You Is 03:22
11 fade-out 00:27 **

Disc 02
12 fade-in 00:26 **
13 Easy Meat 11:49
14 Mudd Club 02:57
15 The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing 03:08
16 Joe's Garage 02:23
17 Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? 02:26
18 Applause 01:40 *
19 1st Encore 00:35
20 Dancin' Fool 03:21
21 Bobby Brown 02:38
22 Miss Pinky 03:29
23 2nd Encore 00:41
24 Stick It Out 04:01
25 Applause 01:26 *
26 3rd Encore 00:44
27 I Don't Wanna Get Drafted 02:35
28 The Illinois Enema Bandit 09:44

Frank Zappa - vocals, lead guitar
Ike Willis - rhythm guitar, vocals
Ray White - rhythm guitar, vocals
Arthur Barrow - bass, vocals
David Logeman - drums
Tommy Mars - keybboards

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today was a Day for Learning of a Couple of Upcoming Tribute Albums (John Prine & Shel Silverstein edition)

Wow, I hadn't heard about either of these two upcoming albums before today!

*Various Artists, Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine (out June 23rd)
1. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver – Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow)
2. Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band – Wedding Day In Funeralville
3. My Morning Jacket – All The Best
4. Josh Ritter – Mexican Home
5. Lambchop – Six O’Clock News
6. Justin Townes Earle – Far From Me
7. The Avett Brothers – Spanish Pipedream
8. Old Crow Medicine Show – Angel From Montgomery
9. Sara Watkins – The Late John Garfield Blues
10. Drive-By Truckers – Daddy’s Little Pumpkin
11. Deer Tick featuring Liz Isenberg – Unwed Fathers
12. Those Darlins – Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian

*Various Artists, Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein (out June 9th)
1. Lullabys, Legends and Lies: My Morning Jacket
2. The Twistable, Turnable Man Returns: Andrew Bird
3. This Guitar Is For Sale: John Prine
4. The Unicorn: Dr. Dog
5. The Winner: Kris Kristofferson
6. Queen Of The Silver Dollar: Sarah Jarosz w/ Black Prairie
7. Daddy What If: Bobby Bare, Jr.
8. The Cover Of The Rolling Stone: Black Francis w/ Joey Santiago
9. Sylvia's Mother: The Boxmasters
10. Me And Jimmie Rodgers: Ray Price
11. A Boy Named Sue: Todd Snider
12. The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan: Lucinda Williams
13. The Living Legend: Bobby Bare, Sr.
14. The Giving Tree: Nanci Griffith
15. 26 Second Song: My Morning Jacket

I strongly suggest that we all spin some classic John Prine while waiting for these June releases. I myself will be starting with 1973's Sweet Revenge, mofos!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Today was a Day for Billy Joe Shaver (Court Case Wrap-up edition)

I hope he gets his bullet back:

Full court case wrap-up here.

Note to self: don't ever walk up to Billy Joe at a bar and stir his drink with a knife (especially if we are in Texas.)

Decent Billy Joe career compilation (of one of the best "real country" artists still alive today) at lala.com:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Today is a Day for "Don't Be a Stranger" by The Moondoggies (2008)

Free album track "Changing" from the band's record label, Hardly Art.

In the last week or so around Jams, Mofo headquarters, there hasn't been an album in heavier rotation than 2008's Don't Be a Stranger by The Moondoggies. I am going to go so far as to retroactively place this record on my Best of the 2000s album list in the honorable mention category. I like it that much. [APRIL 14th EDIT: I am still listening to this album 2X per day. Wow. This reviewer's sentiment captures what I have been thinking to myself this last week or so.]

This Seattle (by way of Everett) band is rumored to be releasing their 2nd album quite soon.  In addition, they are going to spend the month of June opening up for Blitzen Trapper.  I am looking foward to catching them in July at the 5-day Winnipeg Folk Festival. 

If you dig the cosmic cowboy sounds of the early 1970s, along with some Muscle Shoals-like chops, CSN harmonies, and/or modern day Seattle roots music sensibilities, The Moondoggies are for you. They kick out the jams, mofo.

Here is a short clip of them from SXSW a few weeks back:

The Moondoggies at Kayceman's Treehouse Party from Shane Tobin on Vimeo.

Here is Don't Be a Stranger on lala.com:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Today was a Day for "Rising Mountains" by Capsula (2009)

Capsula, originally from Buenos Aires, now hails from Bilbao, Spain. They have been around for about 10 years, releasing a number of albums that cross all sorts of genre boundaries. Last year's album Rising Mountain kicks out the jams, mofo. This is a band that creates their own unique sound after they had seemingly been locked in a basement for some months with records by the Velvet Underground, Love & Rockets, The Stooges, PJ Harvey, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Sonic Youth. Word on the street is that they tore it up again at SXSW this year.

Here they are on the KEXP stage from SXSW a few weeks back:

Here is the official vid for track #1 "Sun Shaking":

Album on lala.com: