Thursday, March 31, 2011

DOWNLOAD - Jim James - 2005-11-05 - KEXP - Easy Street Records - Seattle, WA

Thanks again for the continued support everyone.

01 Intro
02 It Beats 4 U
03 What A Wonderful Man
04 Sooner
05 Bermuda Highway
06 Hopefully
07 Fire Alarm (story)
08 Dondante
09 Anytime
10 Into The Woods
11 Outro

The General Specific

Here's what went down this past week music wise:

- Mark your calendars for May 31st.
- LCD Soundsystem has been killing it during their last week as a band. Be sure to tune in Saturday night and watch their last show ever.
- Arcade Fire played a surprise show in Haiti.
- The National made a music video for "Think You Can Wait."
- Albert Hammond, Jr. reveals why it took The Strokes five years to complete Angles. They band also hit up Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night.
- New York will play host to Phish's Super Ball IX.

Check back next week!

DOWNLOAD - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - 2006-10-03 - The Paradiso - Amsterdam

Photo by: Jason Benton
I pray he's allowing soundboard recordings throughout his acoustic Euro tour.

01 A Kiss Before I Go 
02 Please Do Not Let Me Go 
03 Magnolia Mountain 
04 The End 
05 To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High) 
06 Egyptology > 
07 Tears Of Gold 
08 Let It Ride 
09 Dear John 
10 What Sin Replaces Love 
11 Dear Chicago > 
12 Blue Hotel 
13 Beautiful Sorta 
14 Arkham Asylum 
15 Stella Blue (The Grateful Dead) 
16 Party Clown 
17 Egyptology > 
18 September 
19 Cold Roses 
20 Egg Machines > 
21 Shakedown On 9th Street > 
22 Untitled > 
23 Goodnight Rose > 
24 Judy Garland 

DOWNLOAD - Local Natives - 2010-03-18 - SXSW

01 Wild Eyes
02 Camera Talk
03 Warning Sign
04 Shape Shifter
05 Airplanes
06 Sun Hands

WATCH - New Fleet Foxes Video “Grown Ocean”

Who else can't wait for Helplessness Blues? Fleet Foxes second record will be here May 3rd, pre-order a copy here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DOWNLOAD - Kurt Vile - 2008-08-11 - Live at WFMU - New Jersey, NJ

This guy reminds me of a Petty/Vedder/Young combo. Thanks Chris.

01 It's Alright
02 Space Forklift
03 I Wanted Everything
04 Classic Rock In Spring
05 Nicotine Blues

DOWNLOAD - The Strokes - Live in Cannes, FRA

01 Juicebox
02 The End Has No End
03 Red Ligh
04 The Modern Age
05 Heart In a Cage
06 12 – 51
07 Alone, Together
08 Electricityscape
09 Is This It
10 Ize Of The Word
11 Someday
12 You Only Live Once
13 Hawaii
14 Last Nite
15 Hard To Explain
16 Vision Of Division
17 Reptilia
18 Take It Or Leave It

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Album Review: Pearl Jam – 'Vs.' Reissue

This is exciting for me. First off, Pearl Jam is my favorite band of all-time. They were the band that first got me into music, so I feel qualified to be writing a review about an album that was released when I was two years old. That being said, if I fail at this review, maybe I should just stick with the news. But there’s a reason why I’m writing a review about an album that came out in 1993. Today, Vs. is being rereleased along with it’s 1994 follow-up Vitalogy.

“Go,” the album’s opening track, begins with one of Jeff Ament’s most famous bass lines pounding over Dave Abbruzzese’s hard drumming. The following track, “Animal,” is where the album got it’s original title from, which was Five Against One (told you I was a fan.) “Daughter” is one of only a couple speed bumps over the course of the album. A more stripped down song, Ament plays an upright bass on the track, and it features the first time that Stone Gossard had recorded a Pearl Jam song using an acoustic guitar. The album gets back on its aggressive track with “Glorified G,” a song Eddie Vedder penned after he found out that Abbruzzese had purchased a handgun. The song features technical guitar work from Gossard and Mike McCready, and it carries on over to the next track, “Dissident.” The tom-heavy “W.M.A.” is the only part of the album where it’s easy for the listener to drift off, but if they do, they will be brought right back with the heaviest track on the album, “Blood.” “Rearviewmirror” was actually the last song to be recorded for Vs. after numerous failed attempts, but all the practice paid off in the end with this fast-paced gem about leaving bad situations. “Rats” precedes the acoustic ballad “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” Vedder frequently dedicates this song “to anyone from a small town who needs to get out.” The eleventh track on the album, “Leash,” is one of the most underrated Pearl Jam songs of all-time. This song is a perfect example as to why they have “jam” in their name. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this (don’t you just miss grunge fashion?) The album closes with “Indifference,” which to this point in the band’s career was the quietest that Vedder had ever sung.

So why should you go out and buy another copy of an album that you probably already own? The reissue is packed with goodies. First off, the packaging is really well done. The booklet includes photos of the original lyrics for each song as well as rare photos of the band. But the reason to buy albums that you already own is for the three bonus tracks, “Hold On,” “Cready Stomp,” and “Crazy Mary.” Diehard fans already know “Hold On” from Lost Dogs, the band’s album of B-sides, and anyone who has seen them live knows the Victoria Williams’ cover “Crazy Mary.” So the only new completely new material is the three-minute instrumental jam “Cready Stomp.”

I feel like Vs. is sometimes overlooked. Sure, it did great commercially, but it was released right in between the band’s two most critically acclaimed albums (Ten and Vitalogy.) This is the album where Pearl Jam just rocks the eff out the whole way through. It is without a doubt their most aggressive album. After the massive success of Ten, this was the album that proved that Pearl Jam wasn’t just some band whose fifteen minutes of fame was starting to wind down, but a legitimate rock band that would be around for years to come.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Stand Out Tracks: “Daughter,” “Rearviewmirror,” “Leash,” “Cready Stomp”

DOWNLOAD - The Strokes - Lost Treasures

01 The Modern Age (Version 1)
02 Hard To Explain (Version 1)
03 Barely Legal (Version 1)
04 Someday (Version 1)
05 The Modern Age (Version 2)
06 Is This It
07 Barley Legal (Version 2)
08 Soma (Version 1)
09 Someday (Version 1)
10 Alone,Together
11 Last Nite (Version 1)
12 Hard To Explain (Version 2)
13 New York City Cops (Version 1)
14 Trying Your Luck
15 Take It Or Leave It
16 Soma (Version 2)
17 Last Nite (Version 2)
18 This Life
19 New York City Cops (Version 2)

LouFest Announces 2011 Lineup

The second ever LouFest will be home to some exciting this year. The two day music festival in St. Louis, MO will be held August 27-28 and discount passes can be had for a cool 59 pieces of scratch at now!

From Festival organizer Brian Cohen:
“I think we’ve come back with a bigger and better lineup. Along with the rock and Americana we’re bringing back from last year, we’ve added hip hop, soul, and dance, while staying true to our mission as an indie music festival."

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Morning Jacket "Circuital" Gets May 31 Release Date

Mark your calendars! Circuital is coming at us on May 31st with the first single headed April 12th. Don't forget to check the T5 countdown to Circuital here.

DOWNLOAD - Johnny Winter w/ Muddy Waters - 1977-03-06 - The Tower Theater - Philly, PA

Disc 1
01 Hideway
02 Cotton Gin
03 Last Night
04 See See Baby
05 Rocket
06 How Long
07 Slow Blues
08 Done Got Over it
09 Crosscut Saw
10 Talk to Your Daughter
11 Band Intros 

Disc 2
01 Muddy Intro
02 Hoochie Coochie Man
03 Blow Wind Blow
04 Walkin' Through the Park
05 Deep Down in Florida
06 Blues Had a Baby
07 I Can't Be Satisfied
08 Trouble No More
09 Howlin' Wolf
10 Mannish Boy
11 Got My Mojo Workin'
12 Oh Baby 

DOWNLOAD - Pearl Jam & Neil Young - 1995-06-24 - Golden Gate Park - San Francisco, CA

Eddie has to quit, Neil fills in. Lots of intense guitar to be had here.

01 Last Exit
02 Spin The Black Circle
03 Go
04 Animal
04 Tremor Christ
05 Corduroy
06 Not For You
07 Speech
08 Big Green Country
09 Act Of Love
10 Throw Your Hatred Down
11 Powderfinger
12 Truth Be Known
13 Rockin' In The Free World
14 The Needle And The Damage Done
15 Hey Hey, My My
16 I'm The Ocean
17 Down By The River
18 Downtown
19 Cortez The Killer
20 Jeff Speech
21 Peace And Love
22 Rockin' In The Free World

New Music Monday - Dear Pinetop . . .

There are a few things in this world that I truly covet.  I covet the Cubs.  I covet the career of Cal Ripken, Jr.  I covet the writing of Kerouac and Fitzgerald.  And, this should come as no surprise, I covet music.  More than anything, I covet music that comes from the heart, music that embodies a polaroid snapshot in a person's life.  In my seemingly infinite quest to reduce music to it's purest form, to its essence, I always come back to the blues, to songs written by men who encountered hardship on a daily basis because, when you put it into context, you realize that these guys couldn't go to "whites only" restaurants or water fountains.  They recorded music at a time when they were seen as second class citizens, a time when Jim Crow dictated their participation in the public forum.  Despite all the roadblocks, they still made music.  They played in tiny bars throughout the south that were lovingly referred to as, "jukes."  They cut records then went back to the fields where they were simply sharecroppers.  But, all that aside, they made music that not only endured, but laid the foundations for every single sound, every single song, every single thing that's considered American music today.

The blues is, in every possibly aspect of the word, the beginning of music for me.  Without the blues, there is no Rolling Stones. There is no Doors.  There is no Zeppelin, no Aerosmith, no AC/DC, no Stevie Ray Vaughn, no Bob Dylan, no Springsteen, no Otis Redding or Public Enemy . . . for me, the blues is the absolute genesis of music as I know it today and this past week, March 21st, to be exact, the world lost a disciple of American music in Pinetop Perkins.

Pinetop Perkins died March 21st, 2011 at the ripe old age of 97.  His age never stopped him as he'd just won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.  For a man born July 7, 1913 in Belzoni, Mississippi, Pinetop was the undeniably perfect example of the blues.  He spent more than a decade playing and touring with Muddy Waters and is, for all intents and purposes, the raison d'etre, the standard for any piano player in music today.  To put it quite simply, Pinetop played the hell out of a piano.  I don't care who you are, you can't deny his impact on the world of music.  Without him, there never would have been a Little Richard.  There never would have been a Ray Charles.  There never would have been a Jerry Lee Lewis or a Stevie Wonder.  That's how important this man is to music, not to mention, he was probably one of TWO living people that actually knew Robert Johnson (the other being David "Honeyboy" Edwards).  

We lost a legend, a TRUE legend, and that deserves a moment of our time.  Rest in peace, Pinetop.  The world lost you, but we'll never lose your music.

The loss of Pinetop and and short twitter exchange I had with a friend really inspired this weeks music.  My friend, the one and only Penelope Quick, is expecting her first child, a girl that she's so lovingly named Hallie Grace, after her mom and her best friend.  The day that Pinetop died, we mentioned the blues and the musical education of her unborn daughter.  She said, via Twitter, about Pinetop: "His piano skills were boss but I loved the gravel in his voice. I wish more young people appreciated this era of musicians."  I mentioned a few other blues players and she came back with this, "& RL Burnside, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf... I'm definitely feeling a Baby Blues Mix. A playlist for my fetus. Yeah....," and I immediately began thinking of how i would introduce someone to what I consider the basis for all music today, the blues.

I'm sure that if you ask anyone who you consider to be, "in the know" about music" to name a blues song that they can.  They'll mention Stevie Ray Vaughn because he was popular.  The might even mention a song like, "The Sky is Crying," because it was just the absolute epitome of the blues.  What they wouldn't mention, probably because they were too ignorant to actually do their homework, is that Stevie Ray Vaughn was borrowing a song or "covering" a song that was recorded by Elmore James in 1960.  THAT is what gets me about people.  Know what your listening to.  Know the importance of each and every song because THAT is what gives us the grand idea of music.

With that, I put together a little blues for you.  Have at it.

"I'm a King Bee" - Slim Harpo (1957)
This song is simply perfect, so much so that The Rolling Stones saw fit to cover it and include it on their debut album.

"Devil Got My Woman" - Skip James (1968)
Simply put, Skip James was a D-minor genius who recorded music in the 1930's, disappeared, then reappeared in the 1960's, in the middle of a "folkie movement" that he absolutely abhorred.  

"My Time is Expensive" - Slim Harpo
Probably more famous for his song, "The Things I Used to Do," Harpo recorded music that, early in his career, was produced by and up and coming musician named Ray Charles.  

"I Can't Quit You Baby" - Otis Rush (1956)
The song was written by the legendary Willie Dixon and was revered so much by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page that they covered it for their self-titled debut in 1969

"All Your Love" - Magic Sam (1957)
Chicago was never the same after, what some consider to be the "trinity" of the Chicago blues was spawned with Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and the icon Buddy guy reinvented the blues.

"Call It Stormy Monday" - T-Bone Walker (1947)
"Classic" isn't enough word for this song.  Just ask guitar legends like Albert King and Eric Clapton. They recorded covers because it's that damn good.

"Juke" - Little Walter (1952)
Recorded when Little Walter was only 22 years old, "Juke" has become the standard for the harmonica, PERIOD.

"The Sky is Crying" - Elmore James (1960)
The song is, to put it mildly, 12 bar brilliance.  Most people associate this song with Stevie Ray Vaughn, but Albert King got there before SRV. Elmore delivers a masterpiece, plain and simple.  SRV was great, but Elmore made it all possible.

So, for Pinetop and the unborn Hallie Grace . . .I put together some blues for you.  Some you'll know and some you may not.  

DOWNLOAD - Volume 1

DOWNLOAD - Volume 2

So, at a time when we lose a legend, we're graced with new life.  Listen to your mom, Hallie Grace.  The woman has good taste.

Start Your Week Right: With My Morning Jacket – Aluminum Park

Well good morning to ya! I hope you all had a grand weekend and are refreshed, ready, and pumped for the new week ahead! Last week certainly gave us a few reasons to be energized, and this week is sure to bring us more.

Over at The Countdown, we’re going to have yet another Evil Urges-filled week. We’ll celebrate tracks 6 though 10 (that’s “Sec Walkin” through “Aluminum Park”). Looking forward to enjoying these songs with all of you!

Today is Monday, so naturally we need some no-nonsense, straightforward rock’n’roll. Right, right? That’s why we’ll take another look at track number 10 off Evil Urges, “Aluminum Park.”

You can care if you wanna.
You can care if you don’t.
But c’mon it’s a big, big world now,
You gotta get what you want.

Upbeat and bright, “Aluminum Park” is one of MMJ’s most danceable and uncomplicated tunes. Its catchy chorus and major tonality could align it with one of your typical poppy-rock tracks, but this is My Morning Jacket we’re talking about. The tremendous musicianship is still apparent (see Patrick’s rhythms, vocal layering, Bo’s fantastic support on the keys, and delicious solos throughout) and, of course, Jim’s distinctive voice and screeches set this tune apart from anything you’d hear on the radio. Still, it is amazingly accessible, not to mention cheerful!

Well, it’s a little bit important to me,
You get a whole lot of what you need.
So you can ride, ride, ride on down
To the aluminum park. RIDE!

Have a fantastic week, everyone! Keep lookin’ up. J

***Also, don’t forget to get the fourth free download from the T5 shows today!***

Friday, March 25, 2011

DOWNLOAD - Band of Horses - 2010-08-30 - Black Session - Paris, FRA

01 Intro
02 Ode To LRC
03 Compliments
04 Marry Song
05 For Annabelle
06 Factory
07 Laredo
08 Older
09 Is There A Ghost
10 The General Specific
11 Evening Kitchen
12 Blue Beard
13 No One's Gonna Love You
14 The Funeral

Kick Off Your Weekend Right: With My Morning Jacket – Highly Suspicious

Sweetpickles! This has been a very, very exciting and wonderful week for all of us My Morning Jacket fans. On Monday, we received the third of five free downloads from the Terminal 5 shows. On Tuesday, MMJ announced new tour dates for this summer, choosing to play in very intimate settings. Lastly, new Circuital track titles were revealed in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone (March 31, 2011, pg. 30). We now can add “The Day Is Coming” and “Slow Slow Tune” to our track lists.
This week at The Countdown, we began our fifth segment: Evil Urges. This weekend, we’ll celebrate I’m Amazed Day and Thank You Too Day. Definitely two of my favorite tracks off the 2008 album.
Today, let’s take a look at one of the more controversial tracks off Evil Urges, “Highly Suspicious.”

Wastin’ time home alone, dotting your “i’s”
Peanut butter pudding surprise!
Ain’t nobody care what’s going on in your mind –
But they got they eye on your prize…

I’m sure of all MMJ songs thus far, Highly Suspicious has likely faced the most resistance. Jim’s falsetto and funk overtones make this tune hard to swallow for some of you folks who appreciate MMJ’s “softer side.” However, few can argue that this is an unmistakably unique and inventive track. Another take on “Evil Urges,” “Highly Suspicious” again suggests that we should question what is right and what is wrong, only this time with regard to the law (whereas “Urges” is more faith-related).

Wasting all your time on drama, could be solving real crime
Waste away your mind too…
I’m highly suspicious of you.

Thought I'd include the VHS or Beta Remix!

Whatever your take is on this track, I implore you to take a new listen to it. If you can’t appreciate the musical stylings, at least indulge in the absurdity and deeper lyrical concepts. Enjoy yourself and have a fantastic weekend!

DOWNLOAD - Everest - 2010-11-11 - Live at Cats Cradle

01 Catalyst
02 Trees
03 Revolution Blues
04 I've Had This Feeling Before
05 House of 9's
06 The Rush
07 Let Go
08 I See It In Your Eyes

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The General Specific

Here’s want went down this past week music wise:

- My Morning Jacket announce a bunch of tour dates.
- An Eddie Vedder solo album is indeed in the works.
- You can still watch LCD Soundsystem's final concert ever even if you don't live in New York.
- Start saving your pennies. Record Store Day is going to be insane this year.

Check back next week!


DOWNLOAD - Cold War Kids - 2007-06-01 - The Forum - Sydney, AUS

01 Passing The Hat
02 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (traditional)
03 We Used to Vacation
04 Saint John
05 Hospital Beds
06 Red Wine, Success!
07 Robbers
08 Every Valley Is Not A Lake
09 Hang Me Up To Dry
10 Hair Down
11 Well, Well, Well (John Lennon Cover)

DOWNLOAD - Spoon - 2011 - Take Away Show - Blogotheque

Really amazing, bare bone acoustic jams from one of the best rock and roll bands out there.

01 Black Like Me
02 The Ghost of You Lingers
03 Got Nuffin'

Fourth Anniversary Week Starts Today

I seriously I can't believe this thing has been active for four years today! Today will kick off a massive flurry of downloads concluding next Thursday (no weekend action, sorry!).

Thanks to everyone that I'v spoken with, exchanged emails with, shared music with and experienced music with. It's truly been a pleasure and I look forward to the future.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Whatever Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday is going to be a recurring segment that focuses on...nothing at all! Just read to read, no point, no motive, just music and words.



My job is to tell it like it is, or was, or whatever.

Photo by Enrico Molino

Foxy hero gets by with a little help from his friends
Okay I’ll let you in on a secret that I have only told a selected few, I have a crush on Robin Hood. Why would you keep that a secret you might ask, while envisioning a grim, but sexy Russel Crowe fighting for the poor... Okay, so let’s say it’s not just Russel Crowe, let’s say it’s every incarnation of Robin Hood, including the animated Disney fox. Yup, clearly my taste and sanity can be questioned, but stick with me, the story gets better.

Since this here Steam Engine is all about music, I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of music Robin Hood would listen to if he were to visit this time and age and this is what I came up with.

Do you need anybody?
First of all Robin Hood is the poster boy, for good reason, but where would he be without his band of merry men? Just as one does not simply walk into Mordor, one does not simply confront corruption locally, while leading an uprising against the crown, at least not all alone. Naturally Robin’s first playlist pick would have to be a tribute to his friends and what better song than With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles? However, since Robin recently saw the 2007 movie Across The Universe, he went for a slightly different version, sung by Joe Anderson and Jim Sturgess. Call it blasphemy, call it crazy, but it’s what Robin told me, I’m only conveying the message…

With A Little Help From My Friends, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson

My country 'this of thee
While the Robin Hood gang likes rowdy protest music as much as the next noble outlaw, once they get back to the camp after a long day of fighting, they prefer a calmer type of music. Robin likes to get his guitar out (is there anything that man can't do?) and play a wistful tune from the soon-to-be-found New World (he can tell the future too!), by troubadour Ani DiFranco

My Country 'Tis Of Thee, Ani DiFranco (camp music)
Roosevelt Room, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band (iPod while fighting music)

Would you be an outlaw for my love?
Though friendship and revolutionary action is most important to Robin Hood, nothing is more important to him than a certain Lady. Rarely has there been a more romantic scene than the one where Robin confesses his love for Marian with the simple but achingly heartfelt: Marian, my darling, I love you more than life itself. So the last and most important pick has to be a song about love, namely Thirteen and Robin prefers the Elliott Smith version, it’s just how he rolls.

Thirteen, Elliott Smith

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Morning Jacket Announce Tour Dates

Well, along with My Morning Jacket's next record, Circuital, looks like we'll be getting a summer tour. They've already been confirmed for about every major festival under the sun and now they've announced a hefty amount of other gigs. I'll definitely be in Chicago, maybe Red Rocks (because it would be awesome).

What I find interesting is that most of the non festival dates are in theaters despite it being a summer tour. Perhaps the new material is best suited for a more intimate setting?

Also, check out the amazing free downloads they're giving away leading up to Circuital here. The recordings are from the holy T5 shows.

04/17 – Lexington, KY - Memorial Coliseum at University of Kentucky
05/20-22 – Gulf Shores, AL - Hangout Festival
06/02-05 – Ozark, AR - Wakarusa Festival
06/02-05 – Hunter Mountain, NY - Mountain Jam
06/09-12 – Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/17 – Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre
06/22 – Los Angeles, CA - Pantages Theatre
06/24 – Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
06/26 – Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
06/28 – Portland, OR - Edgefield
06/29 – Vancouver, BC - Orpheum
06/30-07/03 – Quincy, CA - High Sierra Festival
07/11 – Toronto, ON - Kool Haus
07/12 – Montreal, QC - Metrpolis
07/14-17 – Suffolk, UK - Latitude Festival
08/04 – Morrison, CO - Red Rocks

Monday, March 21, 2011

Start Your Week Right: With My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Happy Monday, everyone! Spring is officially upon us, and I hope you had some beautiful weather over the weekend, wherever you are. If not, hopefully Lay Low kept your spirits high.
This week at The Countdown, we’re finishing up with the last two tracks from 2005’s Z, Knot Comes Loose Day (today) and Dondante Day (tomorrow). Then we’ll be moving on to 2008’s Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket’s fifth and most recent studio album. I can hardly believe that we’re already into the fifth segment of our countdown (almost two months in!).
Nuanced and lyrical (well, more “wordy” than previous albums), Evil Urges faced mixed reviews from both fans and critics. Many believed that My Morning Jacket had changed “their sound” or genre by adding funk and R&B influences. However, who wants to keep making the same album over and over again? Bands are supposed to experiment and progress to new, creative levels. It shouldn’t be a shock when a band makes music that is new and different (that’s what they’re supposed to do). What do you guys think?
To start off your wonderful week, let’s check out Evil Urges’ opening (and title) track “Evil Urges.”
The things they say are evil urges, baby
They be part of the human way
It ain’t evil if it ain’t hurin’ anybody
Exploring the topics of religion and self-regulation, “Evil Urges” can make one question his or her own views about what morality actually is. Musically, what stands out most in this track is Patrick’s ever-impressive rhythm (especially with the bass kicks) at the track’s start. From then, we are led into this new world that MMJ has created: Evil Urges. Jim’s falsetto, major tonality, and beautiful arrangement of orchestral strings make this track refreshing and fantastic to someone who thinks he has generalized MMJ’s “sound.”
I’m not saying, I’m not saying that I want it someday.
I’m not saying, I’m not saying that I want is somehow.
Oh, I’m ready for it now!
(Isn’t Patrick’s hair stunning?)

I hope you all have a great week! Don’t be too hard on yourself.

New Music Monday - Feeling Like Spring . . .

It's starting to feel a bit like spring outside.  It seems as if winter has left the building and it's about time.  It's almost like March Madness drove winter into a whole somewhere.  This is probably the only time of the year that I will keep a television on constantly.  It doesn't matter that my team isn't in the tournament.  It's just the excitement of the "one and done" tournament atmosphere.  Win and keep playing.  Lose . . .and you're done, going home until next year.  You may like basketball and you may not, but you can't deny the built in excitement.  Anyway, enough about sports . . .

Do you ever get obsessed with a song, obsessed the point that you listen to it over and over and over?  Well, I have and I still do.  It doesn't even have to be a new song, just a random song in general.  For the last few days, I've really only listened to two songs.  For me, that's just crazy talk.  Two songs?  That's it?  Yep . . .just two.  Normally, I"m all over the musical map in the course of a single day.  I'll meander through an album, then jump to another, back and forth, covering a lot of ground genre-wise.  I may start the day with Pete Yorn then jump to Blackstar.  After that, it's on to The Black Keys, then Buddy Guy (if you're not familiar, check out the video and you'll see why both Hendrix and Clapton were such big fans. Check out Buddy's Blues (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) for the old school stuff, and Sweet Tea for more recent recordings) and maybe even ending up with Jamey Johnson or Shooter Jennings (true outlaw country that would make Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash proud ) and so on.  You get the picture.

I've been obsessed with these two songs:

I'm thoroughly convinced that The National can do no wrong . . .period.

For some odd reason, this song just popped in my head the other night.  Deftones happen to have done quite a few amazing covers and this is definitely one of them.

Ok . . .enough rambling.  This weeks band is pretty damn good, so let's get to it.

It's hard to imagine that California Wives basically began as a side project for Jayson Kramer (vocals, keys, guitar), Dan Zima (vocals, bass, guitar), Hans Michel (guitar, keys) and Joe O'Connor (drums), but they quickly realized they had something between them, something cohesive . . .something that just made perfect sense (none of the California Wives are actually wives . . .or even women for that matter).  Combining two things that I dearly love, music and Chicago, California Wives produce a sound that could easily be compared to The Police or New Order.  As a huge fan of The Police, I'M IN!!  There's also an element of their sound that could easily be compared to Nada Surf.  Somewhere in the melodies and the hooks are stirring, beautifully written songs that somehow just float through your ears long enough for you to get lost in them with an ease that's not seen in music much anymore.

Their EP, "Affair" is five songs that really capture the bands dynamic.  Sandwiched between the rousing beach worth opener, "Blook Red Youth" and the absolutely perfect bookend, "Photolights," are three additional songs that sound like they could provide the soundtrack to the changing of winter to spring.  Fitting, considering the weather, huh?  These songs are each perfect examples of how music an sound warm and inviting without being some sort of unbearably cheesy Don Ho version of what good music can be.  This band deserves to be heard, so buy their EP and let everyone you know who appreciates music have a listen.

You can find California Wives on Facebook, MySpace and on Twitter and on their Official website, where you can also stream the EP, "Affair."

Spread the word, boys and girls.


p.s. i've had the pleasure of posting some guest playlists on one word titles.  if you'd like to so one, let me know.  i always love knowing what others are listening to and this is the perfect opportunity.  email me HERE if you'd like more info!