Ryan Adams, formerly of Whiskeytown and formerly known for his wantonly reckless behavior, has a new album. This is his first recording in 3 years, self titled, Ryan Adams.
Ryan Adams was once regarded as the Joyce Carol Oates of American singer songwriters. Three years is a long time for fans of his sloppily compiled, pitch perfect songwriting to wait. Hallelujah, it was worth the wait and heck, it is winter and listening to Ryan Adams requires a climate that cleanses the soul.
The new album is full of instantly familiar songs that echo back to days of Ryan Adams stomping and stumbling through western North Carolina. There are slight hints of Lindsey Buckingham guitar chords and just when you think you recognize a riff, the lyrics call you back and require you to pay attention. You should always pay attention to Ryan Adams.
This one is available through HOOPLA.
“They don’t make coats for this kind of cold” – Ryan Adams
These are the tunes that rocked our world in 2014. No joke – there are pirate songs on this list! Arrrr! Luckily, special guest Sarah shows up to save us from Bryan’s terrible picks. Tune in, turn on, check out – its the best music of the year.
As a former writer of Duran Duran fan fiction, it’s pretty much a given I’d appreciate this book, which features not only the fab five, but many of my favorite bands from the 80′s. But even if you enter a rage when Take On Me comes out of your speakers, Mad World will help you understand the events that led up to and influenced the sounds of that decade.
Music fans and journalists Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein interviewed (I’m so jealous!) some of the most notable new wave artists, getting them each to talk about the genesis and recording of their most popular songs. You’ll also read in the artists’ own words tales of the scene, and how some had strong friendships with their fellow new wave bands. And while we’re on the topic, the authors talk about what new wave actually means. The band photos provide an instant step back into the 80′s hairstyles and unique fashion sense often parodied and misunderstood. You’re a fan of mixtapes, right? Majewski and Bernstein recommend some excellent themed mixtapes: bands with interesting names, songs about science, songs from new groups that grew out of old groups…
I’ve already mentioned Duran Duran is represented; other participants include members of New Order, The Smiths (Morrissey and Johnny Marr were obviously interviewed separately), Tears for Fears, Adam Ant, Devo, A Flock of Seagulls, and INXS to name a few. And don’t forget to check our catalog, Hoopla, and freegal when you’re inspired to listen to these bands.
When the Coen Brothers write and direct a film you know two things, you’re going to see a really good movie and you’re going to hear a really fabulous soundtrack. The Coen’s latest film Inside Llewyn Davis does not disappoint.
The film, loosely inspired by the life of American folk singer Dave Van Ronk, “follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.” Oscar Isaac plays the lead character of Llewyn. Not only does Isaac’s do a great job acting he also does an amazing job singing. His voice is soulful and impressive.
Inside Llewyn Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.
The moment I finished watching the movie, I ran to the computer to see if the library had the soundtrack….they did … was it worth the wait? Absolutely.
Earlier this week the Americana Music Festival payed tribute to the poet laureate of Rock, & Roll, honoring Jackson Browne with the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award. Previous recipients include Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and Joan Baez.
Mr. Browne is a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), Nukefree.org, and the Success Through the Arts Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for students in South Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and was the fourth recipient of the John Steinbeck Award.
Now that we have covered the awards, let’s get to the music. The first time, the heartbreak, the deluge, the dreamers, the dancers, you know the early good ones. Then there came the pop ones, the political wake-up calls, the yearning and learning and finally the return to love. None of Jackson Browne’s albums from the past 40 years better reflects the spirit of Nashville than the 1977 release, Running on Empty. Sure, we all remember the load out, the roadies, Rosie, the falsetto, but “phone calls long distance” now knocks us to our knees. The return visit is better than you remember and you may find the listen more than just familiar.
I’ve never met hip hop artist/record producer Big Boi, but I happen to know he and I have at least one thing in common: a love of England’s fierce songstress Kate Bush. On August 26th, Kate will kick off 22 nights in residence at London’s Eventim, Apollo Hammersmith at a concert event she’s calling “Before the Dawn.” Tickets sold out in mere minutes. It has been 35 years since Kate’s first and only tour. If you’ve never listened to Kate Bush, trust me (and Big Boi) when I tell you she is an artist to cherish. You’ll be hard pressed to find a singer/songwriter with more passion, insight, bravery, and total commitment to her art.
Kate grew up in the English countryside listening to her older brother’s prog rock records, playing the piano, organ, & violin, and voraciously reading the classics. When she recorded her first demo in her teens, Pink Floyd Guitarist Dave Gilmour was one of the first to acknowledge her unique talent. He acted as an executive producer and guest musician on several of her albums.
Kate’s lyrics have always been inspired by literature and film. Her first album The Kick Inside included the sweeping and wondrous anti-pop hit song Wuthering Heights, helping create a whole new generation of Bronte fans. Her second album Lionheart features a song called Hammer Horror, a straight-up shout-out to Hammer Films.
Kate’s album The Sensual World is considered by many fans and critics alike to be her best. The title track is loosely based on James Joyce’s Molly Bloom soliloquy from Ulysses (loosely based because Joyce’s estate refused to grant permission.) This is an album filled with lust, love, and life.
I expect the excitement surrounding Kate’s 22 night concert series will bring her yet another generation of admirers. Big Boi and I will keep doing our part to sing her praises. Give Kate Bush a listen, and just try to resist her powerful charms!
A tremendous, thoughtful, tuneful, just over 36 minute work by Bob Mould – full of bittersweet, longing and often melodic tunes. I find myself letting it immediately play over in the car as the music washes over me in a comforting way during a somewhat stressful time.
Of course for those of you who remember or dug the mid ’80s independent force Husker Du provided – along with the Minutemen from San Pedro, Minneapolis’ Replacements and the Meat Puppets in their Heyday will know Bob once fronted (and thankfully didn’t blow out his vocal chords!) that seminal band. Then went on to form Sugar (Copper Blue a highwater mark) and has since put out several generally very impressive recordings.
This one has great songs from the beginning with the title track followed by “The Breach” - a great opening one-two. I find myself really enjoying snippets of lyrics and the overall, forward blasting yet melodic feel of this recording throughout. “Mile Marker 17″ is another gem as is the memorable “I’m Sorry, Baby, You Can’t Stand in my Light Any More”. The credits: Bob Mould, vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, programming; with Jon Wurster, drums. (and very good drumming I might add). Mr. Mould’s guitar playing is stellar and instantly recognizable as being “his sound” throughout this recording. Great indeed.
Bob has written an autobiography a couple years after this was released (in 2009) and has dealt with a lot of painful issues including the loss of his father and addresses some personal demons here so it’s an emotionally charged album for sure. The past and present is refracted through a prism of reality, reconciliation and the need to move forward again. Many well thought out lyrics abound when you can get them…
Also available through Hoopla so check it out or stream it; you won’t regret it.
Back in the day – oh way way back In the Year 2000 - I was a Sara Evans fan. I think I listened to her Born to Fly album 9 bazillion camillion times – which is a lot. Then she had all that drama surrounding her dirty divorce and other court battles, and I kinda wrote her off as “one of those musicians” who get buried by a batch of bad press and let their personal lives swallow their careers.
So when her latest album came out this year, my first thought was “she’s still recording?” I thought Evans had just married her football player and was happy to drift into oblivion. But I’m so glad she didn’t because this album is so good. It’s Born to Fly good. Just as I’ve been sitting here listening to it while I write, I’ve heard my favorite track -”Put My Heart Down”- like, 5 times.
If you’re interested, and you should be, we have the CD you can check out, or you can download/stream it from freegal. It’s less than 40 minutes long and worth checking out one day when you’re bored at work. I will say that it’s not super country, but more like what Shania Twain would be recording if she weren’t spending her days partying at Caesar’s in Vegas. It’s more poptastic (not to be confused with Popmatic). Evans may have named her album Slow Me Down, but it’s anything but slow. (Plus, the first single “Slow Me Down” came out on my birthday! It’s a sign.) Take a listen, but you better stretch your toes first, because they will want to be tappin’.
Ok, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only listen to five albums for the rest of your life, what would they be? Or list the Top 10 Rock Songs with Flute (hello, Jethro Tull)? Anyone who has seen High Fidelity or spent 5 minutes in a real record store has either played this game or heard it played – usually by boys. Author Courtney Smith used to work at MTV, and she thinks girls should get to play too. So pick your favorite category: Where Have All the Girls Bands Gone?, Making Out with Romeo and Juliet, or The Smiths Syndrome. Hmm…I think I’ll take Rock N Roll Consorts for $200, Alex.
At the end of each section, Smith has assembled her own topic specific playlist and they span quite a few diverse genres. This book is as fun for exploring her playlists as it is for reading. In the spirit of Record Collecting for Girls, I put together my Top 5 Guilty Pleasures of Right Now (they may change in five minutes). You can listen to all of these courtesy of NPL – some in CD form, some from freegal. Here they are, in no particular order:
Battle of the March 2014 Releases
Lea Michelle’s Louder vs. Karmin’s Pulses
It’s a nail bitter folks. Who is going get your weekly freegal downloads? Will it be the latest release from the Glee diva? Or will the underdog hip-hopster steal the glory? What would P Diddy tell Barbra Streisand to do? Let’s go to the chart shall we?
Ok, so the chart, while fun, was absolutely no help. I guess you’ll just have to download them both from freegal and have your own sonic duel. If you’re feeling more introspective and schmoopy, Lea would be a better bet. I’ll save a Kleenex for you. If you just wanna dance, definitely rock the Karmin – my head’s bobbing with you right now.
Happy downloading…isn’t freegal awesome?
Oh PS…you can listen to both albums by streaming them on freegal before downloading anything if my highly non scientific chart didn’t help you decide either.