This is where it all began for the Houston troubadour: 43 solo sides, as evocative and stark as any he ever did, from 1946-1948. The first 13 sides find the guitarist in tandem with pianist Wilson "Thunder" Smith (who handles the vocals on a few tracks), but after that, old Lightnin' Hopkins went the solo route. "Katie May," "Short Haired Woman," "Abilene," "Shotgun" -- all these and more rate with his seminal performances.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Medicine Man, the Bamboos' de facto leader and chief songwriter Lance Ferguson decided to focus his attention on writing for the core group on Fever in the Road. Rather than a slew of guest vocalists, those chores have been equally divided between Kylie Auldist and Ella Thompson to excellent result; the group feels more like a touring unit than a studio construction. The basic sextet is appended by horns and strings in places, but the band's sound, though multi-textured, is more stripped and immediate. Co-produced by Ferguson and John Castle (who also worked on Medicine Man and plays guitar and other instruments), the real beauty of Fever in the Road is that virtually any track here is a potential single. Opener "Avenger" is the set's first. Fronted by Thompson, its rough-and tumble psych-pop is kissed by Baroque organ, spacey sunshine soul, and cracking drums, with a nice snare break tossed in for good measure. Auldist reveals the other side of the proposition with "Rats," a garagey, rave-up soul number with a swaggering guitar line that engages in call-and-response with the singer on the verse. Organs, bells, and a trumpet buoy the explosive chorus pulsed by the drumkit. "Your Lovin' Is Easy" is slippery '60s pop performed by Thompson, Ferguson, and Castle. Its rock trope gets slipped by the Motown-esque chorus. Stax-era soul is evoked in the gospel groove on "Truth," with Auldist in full, gritty wail pushed on by horns and strings. "Harbinger" is breezy, spacey pop. Thompson's breathy delivery is adorned by a tight, shuffling snare, two organs, guitars, pulsing bass, and shimmering violin and cello. "Jump My Train" is hard-strutting, B-3-drenched soul with clattering breaks, a thrumming bassline, and Auldist in full-throated scorch. The instruments, including punchy horns, electric piano, and chunky guitars, are put through just enough distortion to make it sound live. Fever in the Road presents the Bamboos as more electric and forceful on record. Though there is less production sheen here, great songs and energetic, truly inspired performances make them sound bigger and badder than ever.
In 2006, Lance Ferguson formed the Bamboos in Australia based on the inspiration of hard instrumental funk à la the Meters and the D.I.Y. aesthetic of the Dap-Kings. Half-a-dozen albums and numerous singles later, the Bamboos have expanded from their original quartet to become a ten-piece powerhouse. Medicine Man is a prime example of not only their ambition, but their expertise. For some time the band has employed vocalists -- Tru Thoughts labelmate Kylie Auldist is their most consistent collaborator. A listen to the sunshine soul of album opener "Where Does the Time Go," featuring Aloe Blacc, or Megan Washington's gorgeous voice on the midtempo, "The Wilhelm Scream" appended by a small string section, may have listeners initially puzzled; but the cracking breaks of Graeme Pogson's snare and Ferguson's high-wire bass and guitar strut quickly reveal the Bamboos signature swagger. Other standouts here include the fingerpopping bite of "I Never," that contrasts beautifully with Daniel Merriweather's emotive vocal. Auldist's excellent tracks include the raw, reverb-laden psyc- funk of "Cut Me Down" and the more traditionally Meters-esque grime that is "What I Know." The straight-up Stax-styled, horn-driven soul on "Midnight" is brought home by Bobby Flynn's lead vocals, and gets a nice textural twist with the strings and a glockenspiel on the refrain. Ella Thompson sings on the mod-era groove of the title track, and she duets with Auldist on the album's strangest cut, "Hello Stranger." Here, baroque pop meets psychedelia; the only nod to funkiness are Pogson's breakbeats. The rest of the number is populated by sitar, flute, and strings, appending the basic keys, bass, and guitars. The set closes with a killer performance by Auldist on the streetwise soul that is "Window." For all its expansiveness and ambition, Medicine Man is expertly produced and sequenced; the Bamboos have not only retained their identity, they've created something so passionate, warm, and immediate.aCá
Thursday, July 24, 2014
In Tom Huber's film, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland, the subject says: "... I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor. I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it." Though Partly Fiction, his debut album, appears when he is a spry 88, Stanton has done plenty of singing and harmonica playing in his career. This is the soundtrack to director Sophie Huber's film of the same name. It features conversations with the actor, friends, and colleagues. Much time is spent in Stanton's living room as he sings and plays, covering vintage country and rock & roll songs with Jamie James (Kingbees) on acoustic guitar -- they have a musical partnership dating from the '80s. The music here is rough, threadbare, immediate. His voice sounds like Jack Kerouac's in "Old Angel Midnight": world-weary, timeless, never frail, with the wisdom, tragedy, and magic of the ages in its grain. Stanton's delivery is tentative in the opening verses of Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou," but his apprehension vanishes by the refrain. His wavering pitch seeks the meaning in the lyrics underneath its metaphors. His between-song banter is priceless. When he introduces Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talking," he asks jokingly, "Do I have any lines? How about silence? Straight ahead." Then his gaze turns inward; he's singing for himself. In the spirited version of Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land," Stanton simultaneously reveals the composer's poetic genius, and that the America portrayed in it is almost a Homerian myth turned back on itself. In "She Thinks I Still Care," his airy baritone makes the tune a conversation piece. His protagonist unsuccessfully attempts to convince himself -- and the guy on the next barstool -- of his conviction. His readings of "Tennessee Whiskey," Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," Paul Kennerley's "All My Rewards," and the reprise of "Cancion Mixteca" (a traditional song from the soundtrack to Paris, Texas) are all weathered, beautiful romances delivered without sentimentality. He introduces the latter by speaking the translated lyrics before singing it in Spanish. Stanton closes with "Danny Boy." After explaining its origins, he sings it midtempo, from a place of such depth, it's plain that the words and melody are ingrained in his heart. He gets out of the way and lets them move through his voice. Partly Fiction is as revealing as the film in offering a partial portrait of the man. Musically, Stanton's belief in song as the direct communication of some kind of truth on its own terms, is born out in this ragged but indispensable document. As for what took him so long to record this, to paraphrase Ray Wylie Hubbard, he probably didn't want to peak too soon.ÍCONO. ACÄ
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Ahí van a encontrar info sobre esta serie de NETFLIX, que no es mala, pero la banda de sonido que logró compilar el sujeto autor de la página es más que buena.
☽ TRACK LISTING via EPISODE
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The first Belgian-based indie act ever to sign to a major international label, the improvisational avant-grunge group dEUS was originally comprised of vocalist/guitarist Tom Barman, bassist Stef Kamil Carlens, drummer Julle De Borgher, violinist Klaas Janzoons, and guitarist Rudy Trouvé. Formed in Antwerp in 1991, dEUS began their career as strictly a cover band, but soon began performing new material, honing an irreverent, free-form live show drawing on influences ranging from folk and punk to jazz and prog rock.
Pocket Revolution aCá
The Jagz Kooner Excursions (Bonus disc) aCá
Monday, July 21, 2014
It's difficult to write about Emmylou Harris without lapsing into a long train of superlatives -- she really does have one of the most beautiful voices of her generation, and her taste in material and skill in using her instrument is nearly faultless. However, as good as Harris is and as consistently strong as her body of work has been, one could make a convincing argument that she's been frequently underrated through much of her career -- more than just a lovely woman with a pure, clear voice and a fine ear, she's championed a number of gifted songwriters before they went on to have distinguished careers of their own (from Rodney Crowell to Gillian Welch), matured into a first-rate tunesmith herself, collaborated with a remarkable array of artists, and has never been afraid to take her talents into unexpected directions, from purist bluegrass to the experimental atmospherics of her work withDaniel Lanois. Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems is a hefty four-CD box set (with a bonus DVD) compiled by Harris in collaboration with James Austin that does justice to the scope of a career that's spanned five decades thus far, and unlike most multi-disc collections it isn't merely a super-sized "greatest-hits" collection. Harris and Austin have purposefully avoided her most recognizable work on Songbird, instead charting an alternate path through her back catalog. The first two discs ofSongbird represent a roughly chronological overview of Harris' discography, beginning with an outtake from her little heard 1970 debut album, Gliding Bird (an album she's all but disowned in the past), rolling up to speed with two examples of her work with Gram Parsons, and then diving into her solo work from 1975's Pieces of the Sky to 2003's Stumble Into Grace, focusing on Harris' personal favorites rather than radio hits (which were in short supply from the 1990s on anyway). Discs three and four are devoted to collaborations and unreleased material, including several demos that have never before seen the light of day, highlights from her Trio albums with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, several tracks from the Gram Parsons tribute Return of the Grievous Angel, appearances on tribute collections and discs by other artists, and a handful of live tracks. It's telling that a private recording ofGuy Clark's "Immigrant Eyes," recorded as a birthday present for Clark, is as carefully considered and beautifully rendered as anything on these four discs -- one thing that becomes clear is that Harristakes no shortcuts as an artist, and for the broad eclecticism of this set, she's uniformly intelligent, emotionally true, and thrillingly accomplished whenever she decides to sing a song. The set's packaging is handsome, and the accompanying hardbound book contains a brief but eloquent introduction from Harris, a fine biographical essay by Sylvie Simmons, and track-by-track notes byPeter Cooper (with plenty of input from Harris herself). This." Songbird isn't the most concise celebration of Emmylou Harris' talents you can buy, but it's been assembled with a grace and sense of purpose worthy of its subject; it offers nearly five hours of superb music from a singular talent, and anyone who loves Harris' music will revel in it.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
The debut album from piano-playing Ben Folds' smart-ass trio is a potent, and extremely fun, collection of postmodern rock ditties that comes off as a pleasantly workable combination of Tin Pan Alley showmanship, Todd Rundgren-style power pop, and myriad alt-rock sensibilities. The gimmick here is that not a single guitar was used on the 12 songs; but the way that Folds and his bandmates unravel their instruments (piano, bass, and drums make up this combo), even the most hardened noise enthusiasts will hardly miss it (it's the melodies that carry this album, and Folds has plenty of them up his sleeve). Some of it is a bit coy -- Folds plays the joker as much as he does the musician -- but with the dead-on "Underground," they manage to skewer, and pay loving tribute, to the oh-so-hip indie scene from which they came.
Outside of a decent yet forgettable, one-off new track that appeared on Ben Folds' 2011 Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective compilation, it's been an awfully long time since the Ben Folds Five have graced listeners with a full-on dose of their signature blend of nostalgia and snark. Sound of the Life of the Mind, the trio's fourth studio album pretty much picks right up where 1999's Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner left off. Anchored by the instantly familiar interplay between Robert Sledge's distorted bass, Folds' percussive yet always melodic piano, and Darren Jessee's meaty yet always lyrical drum work, the first two cuts -- the funereal, art-punk-infused "Erase Me" and the retro-pop gem "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later," the latter of which sounds like it was egregiously left off ofJellyfish's Spilt Milk -- sound like they arrived via wormhole. The band has always been at its best when allowed the freedom to run around and kick stuff, and those tracks, along with the frenzied "Do It Anyway" and the propulsive title cut, which was co-written with Lonely Avenue collaborator Nick Hornby, are right in the band's wheelhouse, but Folds' has made a name for himself as a proper AOR balladeer since the group's demise, and the Sound of the Life of the Mind reflects that change, allowing for a ballad-to-rocker ratio that slightly favors the former. Of those slower numbers, the lovely and unguarded "Away When You Were Here" packs the most punch, but it feels like something off ofSongs for Silverman rather than Whatever and Ever Amen, and like the pretty yet forgettable "Sky High," it kills the momentum that was so skillfully applied before it. That said, sarcastic, sweet, subversive, geeky, and awkward are hard vibes to juggle, but Folds, Sledge, and Jessee manage more times than not to keep all of the pins in the air, which after more than a decade apart, is pretty remarkable.
Expanding on the hook-laden songcraft of their eponymous debut, the Ben Folds Five turn in another glitzy array of Todd Rundgren-esque, piano-driven pop on their second album, Whatever and Ever Amen. Though it isn't as consistently tuneful and clever as their first record, Whatever and Ever Amenhas a snazzy sense of popcraft -- the hooks of "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," "Brick," and "Fair" sink in nearly as effortlessly as Billy Joel, Elton John, or Joe Jackson -- which makes the record enjoyable ear candy. Occasionally, Folds' smug humor -- whether it's the alternative rock skewering of "The Battle" or the borderline misogynist humor of "Song for the Dumped" -- can undercut his melodic gifts, but Whatever and Ever Amen is confirmation that the showy pop pleasures of his first record were no fluke.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
For his impressionistic 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There, director Todd Haynes hired an army of six actors to portray the singer/songwriter, each thespian representing a different phase or public persona of Dylan's career. The accompanying double-disc soundtrack -- not all of its 34 songs are used in the film -- employs a similar conceit, as Haynes and his music supervisors, Randall Posterand Jim Dunbar, rounded up rockers and folksingers of all stripes to reinterpret and re-create portions of Dylan's immense catalog. Taken as a whole, neither the singers nor the selections are too conventional, as the album alternates between standards and obscurities, old cohorts and new blood, faithful renditions and original interpretations, never tipping too far in either direction or staying in one place too long. Despite that shifting mood, I'm Not There gels as an album, partially because a good portion of the soundtrack is recorded with one of two different house bands: the dusty, cinematic Arizona outfit Calexico and the Million Dollar Bashers, a supergroup assembled for this gig featuring guitarist Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Tom Verlaine, Dylan's regular bassist Tony Garnier, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, and organist John Medeski.
Haynes also used a similar house band on his previous rock & roll film, the glam rock fantasia Velvet Goldmine and, as a soundtrack, I'm Not There is equally as good, if not quite as risky or flashy as that 1998 gem. That's partly due to the inspiration, of course: on Velvet Goldmine he got to play with the history of a lot of groups, all known for their extravagant flamboyance, but here he only has one artist, but if any musician has a history as rich as a battalion of bands, it's Bob Dylan. Haynes, Poster, Dunbar and crew concentrate heavily on the '60s -- the film, after all, is grounded in the '60s, pulling in elements of Dylan's life in the '70s and beyond, including his born-again Christianity and Rolling Thunder outlaw stance, but never quite straying from that foundation -- and the soundtrack touches upon all of Bob's '60s incarnations, including the folk troubadour, thin wild mercury music, the ragged Americana of The Basement Tapes, and the reflective country-folk of John Wesley Harding. Familiar sounds may be here, but not necessarily familiar songs -- Haynes, Poster and Dunbar deliberately sidestep standards like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and "Like a Rolling Stone," choosing instead to build this soundtrack around songs that weren't widely released during the '60s, later to surface on The Basement Tapes, Biograph, The Bootleg Series, during the film of No Direction Home, or, in the case of the heavily bootlegged title song, released here for the first time. Some could carp that this doesn't quite make for an accurate picture of Bob -- it ever so slightly continually circles back to the stark, spooky melancholy of Dylan and the Band's "I'm Not There," which ends the album -- but it's not inaccurate, either. Rather, it's an interpretation of Dylan's music, emphasizing certain elements and blurring others to paint a portrait where the traditional bleeds into the contemporary and vice versa.
Any Dylanologist could spend hours deconstructing the soundtrack to I'm Not There -- what is selected and why, why certain songs are reinterpreted while others are left alone -- but that's a side benefit to an album that should be enjoyed first as simply an absorbing, entertaining listen. Poster and Dunbar have paired performers with the songs almost perfectly, alternating between subtle surprises and sure picks. No other band could duplicate the haunted quality of Dylan's "I'm Not There," but Sonic Youth is the ideal match, as they give the song a hazy beauty and a warmth lacking in the original.Sonic Youth's masterful reading is less of a surprise than how Roger McGuinn and Willie Nelsoneffortlessly blend in with Calexico on "One More Cup of Coffee" and "Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)," respectively, giving these songs arrangements that expand on the originals, just like how Ramblin' Jack Elliott's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" takes the Highway 61 Revisited standard and stripes it down to its essence. John Doe gives "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" a subdued, soulful passion that contrasts with both Sufjan Stevens' twee-ed-up "Ring Them Bells" and Mark Lanegan's gothic "The Man in the Long Black Coat," yet all speak vividly to the spiritual undercurrents in these songs. Despite their gentle version of "Just Like a Woman" with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Calexico's cuts come the closest to reinventing the song, particularly on an excellent "Dark Eyes" with Iron & Wine and a good, weary "Goin' to Acapulco" sung by Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Mason Jennings is responsible for good, straight-ahead versions of the earliest folk songs ("The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," "The Times They Are a Changin'"), acquitting himself well, while Once stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova do a joyous "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere."
All this soft, dreamy folky material helps the harder cuts here -- including Cat Power's bluesy "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" -- leap out all the more. Usually, this is the province ofthe Million Dollar Bashers, who when fronted by Stephen Malkmus on "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Maggie's Farm" manage to re-create the snide, hipster spirit of 1965 Dylan. They pull off the same trick with Karen O on a rollicking and faithful "Highway 61 Revisited," while Tom Verlaine steps out to the front for a dark, epic "Cold Irons Bound," but this house band isn't the only band that rocks hard, either: the Hold Steady blow through "Can You Please Crawl out Your Window?" and the Black Keyshave an heavy, ominous "Wicked Messenger" (not all that dissimilar to the Faces' version, but decidedly less fun). But no band truly gets to speak to the two extremes of Dylan's work (at least as pictured here) as Yo La Tengo, who have a delicate, beautiful "Fourth Time Around" and positively nailthe wild, careening sound of 1965 on "I Wanna be Your Lover." They, alone among any of the artists here, get the opportunity to do these two sides of Dylan, but as I'm Not There definitively proves, there were not just two or even ten sides to Dylan: he contains multitudes. That much is evident on his own recordings, which still have power, but sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to hear what's already there, and the soundtrack to I'm Not There provides that perspective in way few other albums do.