Since today is the anniversary of the Dead’s famed Barton Hall show in ‘77, let’s all listen to this stellar run of shows. New Haven, Boston, Ithaca, Buffalo! Take a step BACK.
Here are some groovy things I’ve been enjoying recently. You will enjoy them too.
Yeti Listening Hour #3 - Mike McGonigal mix of kiwi pop, raw gospel, Otis Redding Coke ads.
Stoner Loners II - “Put this on, smoke a spliff, curl up in a blanket, and push through.”
Don’t Puncture My Tranquility - Mix tape from the great Steve Gunn, with a whole bunch of wonderful stuff. Gunn’s forthcoming Time Off album (out in June) is easily one of my top 5 LPs of 2013. More on that later!
Old Gold: Sonoran Country, Garage Blues, Pop, Soul, and Avant-garde from Arizona 1951-1971 - A fine, eclectic mix over at Aquarium Drunkard.
Mikal Cronin - MCII
When I first heard Mikal Cronin’s latest solo release a month or so back, I was a little underwhelmed. I had just seen Cronin perform as a member of Ty Segall’s incendiary live band and the glorious, off the rails racket of those shows was still ringing in my ears. But I’m glad I went back to MCII, because this is one infectious album, stuffed full of soaring melodies, sunkissed vocals and classic songcraft. Over ten tracks, Cronin establishes himself as a true contender in the power pop sweepstakes, giving AC Newman a run for his money in terms of pure, unadulterated catchiness. This is a record that’ll sound even better in the summer months, too.
Late Breaking: Check out Cronin covering The Proclaimers and Six Pence None The Richer (!) at Aquarium Drunkard.
I started reading Touré’s I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became An Icon over the weekend — some interesting stuff, though I’m not sure I love the author’s primary thesis that divorce is the driving force behind Prince’s ambition/brilliance/tortured soul. Not that it’s wrong, necessarily, but that kind of armchair psychology feels unworthy of the dude’s mysterious genius. Actually, reading it has mainly just made me want to read a big collection of interviews with people who have worked with Prince in the studio. Does such a thing exist? Anyhoo, for your personal manic Monday, here’s the Purple One’s original demo for the Bangles’ smash hit. Guess what, the Bangles didn’t change much.
I wrote a little bit about Kendra Smith’s very obscure Guild of Temporal Adventurers mini LP for Aquarium Drunkard this week — go check it out and then go check out Smith’s best work, this amazing (and amazingly out of print) collection. Someone’s gotta figure out how to reissue this stuff!
An excellent recent show! I’ve been a bit on the fence about Robyn’s new one, Love From London — some good tunes, some unfortunate production choices. But the Venus 3 make those songs their own here to great effect. Lots of other good stuff too, including a shredding VU/Dylan/Beatles/Byrds finale.
Important things to learn here about:
- Southern California
- Record-making in the 1960s
“Give It Up Or Turn It Loose” - James Brown, Bologna, Italy, April 1971
James Brown would have turned 80 today. Here he is bringing the funk to Italy in the early 1970s. Can we put James’ face on the $1 bill already? George Washington has had his time. Here are a bunch more classic clips.
The Smiths - Paseo De Camoens, Parque del Oeste, Madrid, Spain, May 18, 1985
I’ve been reading the new, excellent, and lengthy Smiths bio, A Light That Never Goes Out, and it’s sent me in search of live clips of the band. This one, from the Meat Is Murder tour, was apparently the biggest gig The Smiths ever played, and it’s a good reminder of why this group was so unique and so beloved during their short lifespan. Morrissey’s majestically goofy stage presence, Marr’s deceptively simple jangle, and the lithe rhythm section of Rourke/Joyce all add up to something strangely magical close to three decades later. What’s most amazing about reading about the Smiths saga is how much they crammed into just about five years. Meteoric isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe their rise (or fall, I suppose). A one of a kind band, if ever there was one.
Aquarium Drunkard kicked off a very cool new series yesterday — Dead Notes — which highlights key moments in the Grateful Dead’s vast live archive. The first installment focuses on the Pigpen-showcasing “Good Lovin,’” and of course sent me scurrying to listen to the whole thing. A rollicking show, leaning a bit more towards straightforward roots rock than exploratory jams (though this “Good Lovin’” does last 27 minutes). Check it out, you don’t even need a buck and a quarter.
Infinite Fool has three radical Horse shows for you today. I don’t want to make any wild exaggerations, but 1976 was the best year of all time ever for Neil and these guys. The first two — Fukuoka and Paris — I am very familiar with. The last, a Madison, WI gig, is new to me. I’m sure it is incredible.
Update! The Madison audience tape is pretty rough quality, but the performance is a motherfucker.
Jack Rose - Peel Sessions
Two very much missed voices here — the late/great Jack Rose and the late/great John Peel. These two sessions, laid down in 2004, feature a nice sampling of the amazing things Rose was capable of on guitar, from the plaintive perfection of “Kensington Blues” to the solar drone of “Sun Dogs.” There’s also some priceless Peel banter, including a hilarious moment when the DJ accidentally hits the wrong button and starts playing The Fall’s “Totally Wired” instead of Rose. I like to think that Peel had that song queued up at all times, just in case. I believe I originally grabbed these sets from — where else? — the great Delta-Slider, so all credit where credit’s due!
Another excellent offering from the dB’s repercussion blog. Alex joins his biggest Glaswegian fans and gives them a crash course in Chiltonia, including covers of Joe Meek, Frank Zappa, Ernest Tubb and a whole lot more.
“Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” - Willie Nelson, CMA Awards, 1975
Happy 80th to Willie Hugh Nelson, a living legend if ever there was one. Willie didn’t write this song, of course, but he owns it. You’ll also want to check out Aquarium Drunkard’s fine tribute.
“The Game of Love” - Richard Hell and the Voidoids - CBGB, New York, NY, August, 1979
Not sure if it’s old news by now, but I’ve been digging into an extremely cool archive of videos from NYC’s punk/new wave/no wave era, slowly but surely being digitized for the the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library. Go spend a little time over there, you will not regret it. Some very, very great clips, including this Quine-tastic performance, some raw John Cale grooves, early Go-Gos, Pylon, The Cramps, James Chance and many many more. This page details the entire collection, and there is certainly some mouthwatering stuff waiting in the wings! Until then, enjoy Hell doing Wayne Fontana.