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Neil Peart RIP

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Damn it. Neil Peart has died.

Rush - Hempisheres box


Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.

The cause was brain cancer, according to a statement by the band’s spokesman, Elliot Mintz.

Rush was formed in 1968 but found its long-term identity — as the trio of Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and Mr. Peart on drums — after Mr. Peart replaced the band’s founding drummer, John Rutsey, in 1974.

Mr. Peart’s lyrics transformed the band’s songs into multi-section suites exploring science fiction, magic and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.” And Mr. Peart’s drumming was at once intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the band’s power-trio dynamics; countless drummers admired his technical prowess.

(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Drummer and Lyricist for Rush, Dies at 67 – The New York Times.)

Rolling Stone:

Peart was one of rock’s greatest drummers, with a flamboyant yet utterly precise style that paid homage to his hero, the Who’s Keith Moon, while expanding the technical and imaginative possibilities of his instrument. He joined singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974, and his musicianship and literate, wildly creative lyrics  – which initially drew on Ayn Rand and science fiction, and later became more personal and emotive – helped make the trio one of the classic-rock era’s essential bands. His drum fills on songs like “Tom Sawyer” were pop hooks in their own right, each one an indelible mini-composition; his lengthy drum solos, carefully constructed and packed with drama, were highlights of every Rush concert.

(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity, Dead at 67.)

Rush was one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager. 2112, Hemispheres, A Farewell To Kings, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Exit…Stage Left received heavy rotation, Signals, Grace Under Pressure, All The Worlds A Stage, Fly By Night, Power Windows, Caress of Steel also were in my teenage music library, albeit not played as frequently. I listened to Rush less as my musical tastes broadened, but they still hold a special place in my musical ears.

I suspect quite a lot of Gen X musical icons are going to pass away this decade, as I mentioned recently…I’m trying to brace myself.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to play some air drums…

Written by Seth Anderson

January 10th, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Music

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2019 New To Me Music – A Partial List

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Continuing a half-assed tradition, these are albums I liked that were new-to-me in 2019, and some honorable mentions. Many from used stores, not all. In no particular order, just as I am scrolling through my 2019 Albums iTunes playlist, and queuing ‘em up…

  • Bob Dylan – Travelin’ Through, The Bootleg Series, Vol 15, 1967-1969
  • Dr. John (RIP) – Desitively Bonnaroo (meh)
  • Dr. John – In The Right Place (thumbs up)
  • Dr. John – Remedies (includes the nearly 18 minute song, “Angola Anthem”)
  • Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer (thumbs up)
  • Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool(thumbs up)
  • The Long Ryders – Final Wild Songs (compilation of their 1980s albums, a couple I heard on vinyl back in the stone ages)
  • Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue (thumbs up)

All The Young Droogs - box set

  • All The Young Droogs   (box set of glam-rock singles from obscure UK bands from the mid-70s, thumbs up)
  • Billy Gibbons – The Big Bad Blues (thumbs up)
  • Otis Rush – Cold Day in Hell (replacement of a well-worn vinyl record purchased from Antone’s Records vinyl record adjunct on Guadalupe, is that even still in existence? Doubtful)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Colorado (thumbs up)
  • Neil Young & The Stray Gators – Tuscaloosa (1973 recording, released this year)
  • Neil Young – Songs for Judy (1976 tour acoustic recording- “collects 23 highlights curated by journalist Cameron Crowe and photographer Joel Bernstein”. Enthusiastic thumbs up)
  • Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue – 1975 recordings (another box set from Bob’s deep library of unreleased material)
  • Tangerine Dream – Zeit (Spooky)
  • Jenny Lewis – On The Line (I decided I enjoy the lyrics written by Jenny Lewis, and bought three of her solo albums)
  • Mulatu Astatqé – New York – Addis – London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 (Enthusiastic thumbs up, discovered via this Joe Tangari, Pitchfork review, “boogaloo, Latin jazz, and other Americo-Caribbean forms” mixed in with pentatonic Ethiopian melodies)
  • Beatles – The White Album box set (including the legendary Esher Demos)
  • Albert Collins – Frostbite (another replacement of something I wore out the vinyl version of)

Hindu love gods

  • Hindu Love GodsWarren Zevon, with R.E.M. as his backing band, performing covers of songs like Travelin’ Riverside Blues, Raspberry Beret, Vigilante Man, etc. Fun, sloppy, which is part of the fun…
  • Jenny Lewis – The Voyager (thumbs up)
  • Gene Clark – No Other (deluxe edition, including demos, replacing an older CD I still own)
  • Rachid Taha (RIP) – Je Suis Africain (2019) Guardian U.K. review by Kitty Empire
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Live at Womad 1985 (thumbs up)
  • Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah – Al Hadaoui (Habibi Funk)
  • Thelonious Sphere Monk – Solo Monk (thumbs up)
  • Prince – Originals (songs from the early 80s mostly, other artists recorded them, these are the demos)
  • Robert Plant – Dreamland (thumbs up)
  • Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger (thumbs up, mostly, though I agree with Ptichfork this isn’t Jack White’s best work)
  • Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 (thumbs up)
  • Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Texas Swing (1987– Solid, sometimes the horn section is boring, lyrics cliché. Probably was a good live show, but, ya know)
  • Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Original Peacock Records (circa 1954 era – thumbs up)
  • Dukes of Stratosphear (aka XTC) – Psurroundabout Ride (1985 Andy Partridge project, who has the tabs?)
  • Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-87 (12 tracks from 1973-1987, including Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Titbitis doing Iziegbe (Ecassa No.70))
  • Townes Van Zandt – Sky Blue (demos from 1973, recorded at a home studio in Atlanta not my top TVZ, still thumbs up.
  • Lambchop – This (Is What I Wanted to Tell You) (thumbs up)
  • Mdou Moctar – Ilana: The Creator (Thumbs up. Reviewed by Andy Beta, Pitchfork)
  • Neko Case – Hell-On (thumbs up)
  • The Kinks – Soundtrack from the Film, “Percy” (basically Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, with some orchestral arrangements conducted by Stanley Myers)

A few incomplete’s: albums I haven’t yet heard enough times to form an opinion

  • Various Artists – Afro Baby: The Evolution of the Afro-Sound in Nigeria 1970-79
  • Who – The Who
  • Sudan Archives – Athena
  • Omar Souleyman – To Syria, With Love
  • Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
  • R.E.M. – Monster Box
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Step
  • Billy Bragg – Tooth & Nail
  • Robert Ellis – Photographs
  • The Raincoats – The Raincoats
  • Bad Religion – Suffer
  • The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  • Low – Double Negative
  • Julian Cope – Drunken Songs
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  • Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba – Miri
  • Various Artists – Éthiopiques 8: Swinging Addis 1969-1974
  • Various Artists – Éthiopiques 13: Ethiopian Groove – The Golden Seventies

And finally, don’t think I got any real duds this year, at least that I remember being irritated by, and irritated at myself for purchasing. If I remember any, I’ll add ‘em later.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 30th, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Music

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Ric Ocasek’s Death and Gen-X Mortality

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The Cars were one of the first bands I ever knew. As a 7th grader, I owned a cassette tape of “Shake It Up”, one of about 5 albums I played on my boom box. Rick Ocasek died recently. What does that mean for my solipsism? 

Rock stars die all the time, but The Cars lead singer passing away from cardio-vascular complications? Yikes. 

Is this going to be a year/decade where the cultural icons of Gen-Xers die? Probably, if human life doesn’t change. I mean, who were the icons of our era? 

Written by Seth Anderson

December 30th, 2019 at 11:52 am

Posted in Music,Narcipost

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See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’

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Rolling Stone:

See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ After Ted Cruz Debate “This may be the best song ever written,” Democratic senatorial hopeful says of ‘Who’s Next’ classic while waiting in Whataburger drive-thru line

(click here to continue reading See Beto O’Rourke Air-Drum to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ – Rolling Stone.)

Uhh, hyperbole much? Ok, indeed, Baba O’Riley is a great song, and a worthy air drum tune for sure. Also, Nirvana covered it on their 1991 tour (though less bloated, like 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes). 

Ted Cruz booked his flight to Iowa directly after the debate…

Written by Seth Anderson

September 22nd, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Posted in Music

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First Track on A Debut Album, A Partial List

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Turn It To Ten

Via Whet on Twitter, a fun Friday morning thought experiment – what are some of the best opening songs on a debut album?

I happen to have made a list of debut albums a while ago, and add to the playlist periodically when I think about it. Not definitive, by any means, even of albums I have in my music library, mostly because I’m a slacker at heart. 

I also didn’t include some lead-off songs that I don’t really care for – like The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There”, Neil Young’s “The Emperor Of Wyoming”, M.I.A.’s “Ba-Na-Na [Skit]”, etc. I also fudged, and didn’t include debut EPs1 

Anyway, here’s one hundred songs I’m playing this morning, sorted alphabetically by album:

Read the rest of this entry »

  1. like the Pixies EP, Come On Pilgrim, for instance []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 24th, 2018 at 10:34 am

Posted in Music

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Songs of Drinking and Other Inebriants

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Er Umm Have a Drink
Er Umm Have a Drink

Yesterday, for my “radio station”, I queued up some songs from my playlist of “Drinks and Drugs”

Here were a few of the songs I played from a larger playlist. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Seth Anderson

August 21st, 2018 at 9:01 am

Posted in Music

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B12 Radio Station

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Since Audio Hijack added a feature1 enabling seamless play from my iTunes playlist to the internet, via ShoutCast, I created an internet radio station this afternoon.

I don’t know much about such stuff, but it was fairly painless to set up. At least, so far. 

The station link is here:



Audio Hijack - Internet Radio Tools

The plan is just to let my station run for a while, as I’m playing music in my office pretty much all the time, whether or not I’m there, or sleeping or dancing on the grave of my enemies.

About the only annoying thing with using a free service is that twice an hour I have to play a two minute track that I had to change the artist and title to “Advert:”. From my understanding, the SHOUTcast server overlays advertising on top of these tracks, depending upon the country. If you are in a country where they don’t display ads, you hear the music, but in the US, you’ll hear some ad. I’m using “Funky Nassau (Part II)” by The Beginning Of The End on the LP “What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977)” and also Ry Cooder’s “Seneca Square Dance” from the soundtrack for The Long Riders.  

Currently, I’m playing three tracks at a time from LPs that I’ve read about at the Pitchfork website. I made a big playlist of all their Best LPs of the decade, and added other albums that I first heard of on their site. Stuff like Cal Tjader, Superchunk, Sex Pistols, Bootsy Collins,Miles Davis, Camera Obscura, Dukes of Stratosphear, Bob Dylan, Fela Kuti, Big Star, Talking Heads, etc. etc.

Typical stuff for me, in other words. I frequently play entire albums in sequence too, if that’s your thing.

Tune in if you can!

Slices of my music library:

Music Library

CDs in need of a re org
CDs in need of a re-org

The Replacements  Tim
The Replacements – Tim

Overstuffed CD shelf
Overstuffed CD shelf


CDs shelf one
CDs shelf one

Planetary D Constellation

and this might be a valid player

  1. or at least I just noticed it today []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 10th, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Posted in blog,Music,Narcipost

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Bettye LaVette’s ‘Things Have Changed’ and the Take What You Need compilation

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Bettye LaVette - Things Have Changed

I’ve only listened to this album once, but I like it a lot. Sultry, gritty, emotional readings of songs I know well.

Joe Levy of Rolling Stone writes:

On the title track of this remarkable collection of Bob Dylan covers, Betty LaVette wraps her voice – full of grit, brass and soul when she started recording at 16 in 1962; worn and sharpened by experience now at 72 – around a lyric about sitting on the lap of strange man with pale skin and an assassin’s eye. The way she tells it, that man could be the song’s author or a villain in an epic of intrigue, or maybe there’s no difference between the two. She makes the song so alive with consequence and possibility, it’s able to transform into whatever she or the listener needs it to be in the moment: a spy movie, a romance novel, a Biblical parable of reckoning, a bittersweet memory of a time when caring mattered or a way of drinking away the pain of that memory.

The tricks and miracles of Things Have Changed are manifold. Half of its 12 tracks restore life to songs that were dead-on-arrival on Dylan albums from 1979 to 1989; the rest reshapes more essential parts of the legend. The grooves constructed by drummer and producer Steve Jordan have both the booming precision of hip-hop loops and the flexible responsiveness of classic R&B. This is tradition-based music that extends the heritage it draws from. “It Ain’t Me Babe” sways over a slow soul pulse as LaVette’s phrasing pulls the song in different directions, opening up unexpected pockets of defiance or mourning. LaVette and Jordan reframe “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” as swamp-rock, its talk of the rising waters of change suddenly connecting to all of Dylan’s apocalyptic tales and its new reverbed guitar hook suddenly definitive.

On Oh Mercy, Dylan delivered “Political World” like an end-days shopping list. What was once an inert litany of decay rolls and tumbles here over a spare bass line and guitar punctuation from Keith Richards.

(click here to continue reading Review: Bettye LaVette’s ‘Things Have Changed’ – Rolling Stone.)

Check it out…

Take What You Need

Coincidentally, I also picked up a copy of Take What You Need this week, another album of Bob Dylan covers…

From a blog called The Fat Angel Sings:

Any of Dylan’s songs were up for grabs and the enlightening, entertaining new 22-track compilation “Take What You Need: UK Covers of Bob Dylan Songs 1964-69” charts the early days of these endeavours on this side of the Atlantic. The oldest track is The Fairies’ version of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”, issued on 31st July 1964. The latest are five tracks from 1969 which range from Joe Cocker to Sandie Shaw, and Fairport Convention to the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber-sponsored The Mixed Bag.

Britain, though, was initially resistant to Dylan’s charms. He had been in London at the end of 1962 and appeared on television, as well as live at The Troubadour and other folk clubs. As the fine liner notes say, “few on the British scene were taken with Dylan; most were at best indifferent or, in the case of arch traditionalists Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, completely dismissive.” There was one exception: the open-minded Martin Carthy. He alone was not going to help Dylan’s recognition.

Take What You Need kicks off with The Fairies’ bouncy “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”, which features session-era Jimmy Page on guitar. It’s followed by Marianne Faithfull’s Baez-style “Blowin’ in the Wind” (on which Pageprobably also appears). She sings preciously, as if afraid of the song. The Fairies blast away with nary a care for the nature of the source material. This twin-track approach courses through the compilation: wholesale reinterpretation versus on-eggshells respect for what’s being recorded.

(click here to continue reading Take What You Need: UK Covers of Bob Dylan Songs 1964-69 | The Fat Angel Sings.)

—update– April 5, 2018

Should have included this great interview with Ms. LaVette

I didn’t learn anything about me as an artist. If I didn’t know all about me as an artist I wouldn’t have taken on the project in the first place. I did, however, find out more about him. I know him so much better now because I had to, with him writing these vignettes, I had to get into them to put them into my mouth, and there’s no way I could get into them without getting into the writer. If you listen to 12 songs, then you really have a crash course on Bob Dylan. And so I found out that I finished his arguments for him. He’s always arguing in his songs all the time, and he’ll go all the way up to the line and say “Go jump off the ledge,” or whatever. “I’ll push you.” And so, what I did was I pushed people off the ledge that he wanted pushed off.

I also found that Bob could be tender but he can’t be tender. I had to be tender for him. “Emotionally Yours,” actually, makes me cry at this point, and so does “Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight.” I mean, he is actually begging someone not to do something. When my keyboard player started slowing down the tempo a little, I said “Oh, my goodness, he’s begging!” I never heard him do that before. So I had to go and beg for him. “Emotionally Yours” is just a surrender: “I always will be emotionally yours. No matter what happens, he will come. Do anything you want to do with me.” I said, “Oh, you sneaky little rascal, you!” I never knew he could feel like that. He made me find it out by myself. He won’t tell it to me on his recordings. I had to go to bed with these songs to find out what these songs are about. But I am telling you, if I ever do get this little rascal in a room alone, I’m going to say, “Do you know what I know about you?” But that was all I could do. The songs had to belong to me. I don’t tributize anyone. This is my 57th year in show business, and I don’t cover nothing. If you cover stuff … I don’t know why you would cover stuff.

He writes these vignettes. He writes arguments. He writes grievances. He doesn’t write any love stories. It’s not, “We met, we kissed, it wound up like this.” With Bob, it always winds up badly, even if they did meet and kiss. And so he doesn’t write poetry, he writes prose, and by that I mean that it’s always logical or practical. It’s “I’ve given you all the ins and outs and I’ve done nothing but make you sad, so why don’t you go on and leave?” There’s no poetry in that. That’s the logic and practicality of it: “Why don’t you leave, because I’ve already said I don’t want you.”

(click here to continue reading Bettye LaVette Talks Singing Bob Dylan Songs, Bruno Mars – Rolling Stone.)

Written by Seth Anderson

April 4th, 2018 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s The Final Tour

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A Love Supreme  John Coltrane
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane – one of my desert island discs…

Well, I know what I’m buying myself for my upcoming birthday…

Fred Kaplan writes:

A new box set captures Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s final tour together. It challenges the conventional wisdom about both of them.

This is the wonder and delight of The Final Tour, a four-CD box set of live concerts in Europe, from March 1960, by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ quintet featuring John Coltrane—none of which have ever been released in the United States.

The tour took place a full year after the band laid down Kind of Blue, one of the greatest jazz studio albums and still the most popular of all time, having sold more than 4 million copies. The band on The Final Tour is much the same as on that album, and so are many of the tunes, but the music—the way the tunes are played—is radically different. It’s such a jarring departure that it demands we revise the conventional wisdom about these two musicians and fills in some blanks—which, until now, we didn’t know were blanks—in the story of jazz, and where it was going, in those pivotal years.

Coltrane didn’t want to make the tour with Miles in 1960. He was determined to leave the band and start his own, but Miles prevailed. And the tour was a big deal—the first time Miles had played in Europe as a leader.

The opening night, March 21, took place at the Olympia theater in Paris. That concert also constitutes the box set’s first disc. The set begins with “All of You,” the Cole Porter song, which Miles had covered, with Coltrane as a sideman, on his album ’Round About Midnight(recorded in 1955, one year after the song was composed). Miles blows with a vigorous but lyrical swing, in Sinatra phrasing, with jaunty comping from the rhythm section—Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums, all of whom had played on Kind of Blue.
It’s very elegant, as befits the continental setting. (Photos in the album’s booklet show the band members decked out in tuxedos.)

Then, Coltrane enters with his solo. He starts out in a simpatico spirit, a harder tone but a gentle sway. In the second chorus, he throws in a few very fast triplets. By the fifth chorus, he’s unleashing volcanoes of notes—chords on top of chords, scales zipping through the stacks, so dense, so ferocious, so fast. A few years earlier, the critic Ira Gitler had described Coltrane’s style as “sheets of sound,” but these are blizzards of sound, implosions of pure energy. Four minutes in, he spends an entire chorus experimenting with multiphonics (sounding two or more notes at the same time), then he goes back to the blizzards, or languishes on a single chord, turning it a dozen ways in as many seconds, as if sifting all the angles of a prism.

Yet at the end of each chorus, he rings out some phrase of the melody, and it doesn’t sound out of place because, through all the frenzy (this becomes startlingly clear on repeated listening), he never lets go of the song, he stays tethered to some harmonic or rhythmic hook. He may seem to be unleashing chaos, but that’s the opposite of what he’s up to.

Many years later, the tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis heard a bootleg album of the 1960 Stockholm concert—which took place the night after the Paris concert—and experienced what he later called “one of the worst nights of my life.” Coltrane’s playing, he remembered in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, “was massive, intense. I wanted to quit. It wasn’t like I could say, ‘Well, if I start to do this or that, I might get there.’ Forget it.”

(click here to continue reading Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s The Final Tour, reviewed..)

Two of my favorite artists, touring together, music heretofore unreleased. What’s not to love? I’ll let you know if it is any good but I assume it will be awesome.

Miles The Autobiography
Miles The Autobiography, a great read

Amazon blurb:

The latest entry in the award-winning Miles Davis Bootleg Series focuses on the final chapter in the landmark collaboration between Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane: their last live performances together, in Europe in the spring of 1960.

Miles and Coltrane first collaborated in 1955, when Davis recruited the tenor saxophonist alongside pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. This “first great quintet” made their Columbia Records debut in 1957. Those early recordings showcased the stunning contrasts between Miles’ spacious, melodic lines and Trane’s cascading high-energy solos, famously described by the critic Ira Gilter in 1958 as “sheets of sound.”

While the quintet disbanded shortly after the release of ‘Round About Midnight, Coltrane was back in Miles’ ensemble in early 1958. A year late, the Miles Davis Sextet (Davis, Coltrane, Chambers, saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans or Wynton Kelly, and drummer Jimmy Cobb) recorded the historic Kind Of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. And for this final tour the rhythm section of Kelly, Chambers and Cobb backed Miles and Trane.

These historic performances marked Miles and Trane’s last outing together and showcased both musicians’ incredible influence on the changing sound of jazz. The beautiful music they made together is presented here officially for the very first time.

The 4CD set The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 includes concerts recorded in Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm.


(click here to continue reading Miles Davis & John Coltrane – The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 – Amazon.com Music.)

Written by Seth Anderson

April 2nd, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Music,Suggestions

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Tom Waits: The Asylum Era Albums To Be Reissued

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Covers  Guess the Album 2

Good news, Tom Waits is reissuing his first seven records, remastering them. I’ll admit I’ve played all seven today, and on many days in the past. Waits weirder, later material is good too, but tbh, I cannot listen to it all in a bunch, rather picking out a side or two at a time.

Anyway, Stephen M. Deusner reports:

 Tom Waits had one of the wildest trajectories of any rock artist in the 1970s—or possibly ever. A regular presence in San Diego’s coffeehouse folk scene in the late 1960s, he was living out of his car when Herb Cohen, the manager for the Mothers of Invention and Linda Ronstadt, discovered him and helped to secure a record deal with the fledgling Asylum Records. David Geffen and Elliot Roberts had just opened the label in 1971, but already it was a home to some of Southern California’s finest singer-songwriters, including Jackson Browne, Judee Sill, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young. Waits was plugged as a like-minded artist, based on songs like “Martha” (covered by Tim Buckley) and “Ol’ 55” (covered by labelmates the Eagles).

As the decade progressed, Waits grew weirder and woolier, indulging his penchant for weapons-grade schmaltz as well as his fascination with Beat jazz and the seedier byways of Los Angeles. With each album his voice curdled more deeply into a whiskey growl, often sounding like Louis Armstrong after a bender. His songs sprawled into strange recitations about gutter characters: strippers and barflies, hucksters and grifters, vagrants holding up lampposts and waitresses slinging hash. During it all, Waits maintained strict control over his craft—his music rarely seems haphazard—but bent his songs into new shapes to portray characters and convey emotions that didn’t have much of an outlet in pop music at the time. If his peers and labelmates were Laurel Canyon, Waits was the more sordid Tropicana Motel.

Waits’ current label, Anti-, is reissuing his first seven records, first on CD and on LP over the next few months, chronicling his time at Asylum. Newly remastered but without any bonus material, they form something like a road trip through an America that maybe never existed except in Waits’ own head, or perhaps a novel about an artist defining himself against pretty much every major trend. However, just because they show Waits getting comfortable in his own skin and learning how he could present himself to his fans, these albums comprise more than simply a prelude to his remarkable run of records in the 1980s and 1990s. These seven albums constitute the first act of a remarkable career, even as these reissues complicate that trajectory from assembly-line singer-songwriter to eclectic iconoclast.

(click here to continue reading Tom Waits: The Asylum Era Album Review | Pitchfork.)

and then gives a brief review of each of the seven (most of which I agree with). Queue up all seven albums in sequence, then read the rest of this referenced article. What else are you doing this morning?

Free Jazz Aficionado
Free Jazz Aficionado

Written by Seth Anderson

March 24th, 2018 at 8:42 am

Posted in Music,Reviews,Suggestions

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Random Friday – Movement In The Atmosphere Edition

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Put That Record Back On
Put That Record Back On…

We have not played the random shuffle game1 in a while, so here’s what came up on the shuffler this afternoon. Note: this is more than 10 songs, the smart playlist I used is made for creating CDs to play in a car2

My top-of-mind3 notes in green.

  1. Fleetwood MacRhiannon
    Fleetwood Mac – I’ve never been a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but this isn’t a bad pop song, sung in best Stevie Nicks sultry style. You’ve probably heard it on the radio once or twice, or a million times. Do love the closing bass/drum line too.
  2. BloqueNena
    Bloque – A Columbian band that I don’t know much about. The opening sounds a lot like early Led Zeppelin. A catchy, danceable song, with Latin percussion layered onto alternative-rock changes; too bad I speak very little Spanish. 
  3. Doug PetersPact
    John Barleycorn Reborn: Dark Britannica –  Part of a box set of folkish music from the British Isles that’s worth tracking down. This song, like many on this collection, full of minor key obfuscations and hypnotic acoustic guitar riffs. 
  4. Beastie BoysThe New Style
    Licensed To Ill – Ahh, takes me way back (this came out in 1986). The Beastie Boys did evolve, and later albums are better musically and lyrically, but Licensed to Ill will always have a place in my brain.
  5. Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Dwight YokamBeer Can Hill
    1996 – Bakersfield twang, multi-generational edition. Not worthy of playing every day, but not bad. You could dance to it even.
  6. XWhite Girl (Single Mix)
    Wild Gift – Speaking of a misspent youth, X was played often too. “Living with a White Girl” might have been chanted a few times at various roommates in college. I refuse to say more.  
  7. Belle & SebastianI’m Not Living In The Real World
    Write About Love – A poppy lesson in Scottish ebullience. Allmusic compares this album to mid ‘60s Swinging London, I can hear that.
  8. Joy DivisionAtmosphere
    Heart And Soul – A tremendously moving song, one of my favorite Joy Division tracks. Peter Hook (bassist) agrees with me. Here’s the official band video (after Ian Curtis’s death). “Don’t walk away in silence.” B-Side to Love Will Tear Us Apart.
  9. 13th Floor ElevatorsSlide Machine (mono)
    Easter Everywhere – My high school’s most famous grad, other than me, was Roky Erickson. Psychedelic garage rock, with the electric jug, and LSD, what’s not to like? Upon listening more, this particular song is more psychedelic than straight-ahead garage rock. Quite interesting. I have no idea what the lyrics mean, probably neither does anyone else, though some speculate it refers to heroin injection.
  10. Vashti BunyanWinter Is Blue 
    Just Another Diamond Day – True. Every spring I sigh a sigh of escape, didn’t off myself this winter… This song irritates me though at the moment. A little too hippy-dippy. Some days I know I enjoy Vashti Bunyan, not today. 
  11. The LemonheadsI Just Can’t Take It Anymore
    Varshons – A Gram Parsons cover on an album of interesting covers, produced by Gibby Haynes.4 I thought I knew the music of Gram Parsons well, but I don’t know this particular song, so I can’t judge if the cover is as good or better than the original, just that I like it. Parsons is usually more plaintive, but that isn’t Evan Dando. 
  12. Cash, JohnnyCocaine Blues
    At Folsom Prison – I took a shot of cocaine and I shot that bitch down is prototypical gangsta rap, right? Still genius after so many listens…One of the best “live” albums ever.
  13. The Besnard LakesRides The Rails
    The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse – Canadian Indie Rock from 2007, part smooth harmony, part crunchy guitars. 
  14. Nelson, WillieHow Long Is Forever
    Countryman – Willie does a reggae LP. There are better songs on this album, but this one is ok too. A little generic.
  15. CAKEFrank Sinatra
    Fashion Nugget – Frank Sinatra as a metaphor. CAKE never became alt-rock gods in the ‘90s, but they could have, even on the basis of this song. 
  16. Reda DarwishRaqset El Banat
    Bellydance: A Rough Guide to – I should probably add this fun, danceable song to my list of Honoria’s Instrumentals. Back story of that: she asked if I could suggest some non-word music to play in the background while she teaches her drawing classes (using iTunes streaming I think). I suggested a few dozen off the top of my head, and since then, have been keeping track of wordless music, aka instrumentals. I have a new list to send her of over 1,000 songs, but I keep delaying sending her an update because I’m finding new tunes like this one. 1,000 instrumentals is kind of excessive, but  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
  17. PavementOur Singer
    Slanted & Enchanted – Again a slice of ‘90s nostalgia. Part of the soundtrack to my early adulthood. Shambolic indie-rock with obscure lyrics FTW.
  18. Ho’opi’i, SolFeelin’ No Pain
    Master Of The Hawaiian Guitar, Volume One – Sol Ho’opi’i is an amazing guitar player (this song is also on Honoria’s Instrumentals). Recently I tuned my acoustic guitar to open G tuning, and have been exploring the slide guitar universe. Nothing as adept as this, but a “fun” variation to my normal guitar playing. Anyway, Sol Ho’opi’i is a Jimi Hendrix of the lap-steel slide guitar. Amazing. I actually cheated and played this song twice.
  19. FishboneMovement In The Light
    In Your Face – Alt-Rock Funk/rock, uhh, does that suffice as a description? Another album on this list I originally owned on vinyl, in the pre-CD/pre-streaming days. Strange how so many of the tunes on this playlist are songs I knew on vinyl. Not typical to be honest.
  20. Sonics, TheThis Broken Heart
    Chess Rhythm & Roll – Not those Sonics, a doo-wop band instead. I’m partial more to the garage rockers, but this song is still sweet. Funkadelic did an awesomely funky cover on their Cosmic Slop LP, seek that out. The original is ok, but the Funkadelic twist is better.
  21. Brand NubianBrand Nubian
    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Radio Los Santos/Playback FM – early ‘90s hip-hop, with a Funkadelic sample5. Ok. 

Well, there you have it. If this was a road trip, and you were a passenger listening to the mix tape, would you take over control of the radio? I’d be ok with this eclectic mix, but on the other hand, there wasn’t quite enough loud music which is often a requirement for a road trip – one needs those driving rhythms to be able to merge in traffic with confidence. This particular randomization leans heavily on folk, folk rock, and country tunes. Not exclusively, but enough to maybe hit the fast-forward button mid-stream. Since I was only listening to the playlist in my office, it was pretty good. If I was burning this to CD, I’d change both the opening and closing track to something more memorable/interesting. I like to open with an instrumental, close with one too.

Smart Playlist  CDizer
Smart Playlist – CDizer.PNG

  1. the rules are simple, shuffle your music by song, play the first x=number songs, list ’em []
  2. 79 minutes worth []
  3. shallow []
  4. of the Butthole Surfers []
  5. Flashlight []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with

Music Is a Sanctuary From Chaos on Yo La Tengo’s ‘There’s a Riot Going On’

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Silk Screen Via Virgil Thrasher
Silk Screen Via Virgil Thrasher…

Hmmm, minus the Beach Boys, that sounds a lot like what the core of my music library consists of1 Probably why I have most of Yo La Tengo’s albums already.

The band’s general canon, defined through its own songs and countless cover versions, is clear and broad: the 1960s of the Velvet Underground, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, the British Invasion and psychedelia; the 1970s of Los Angeles folk-pop, krautrock and punk; the 1980s of new wave, post-punk and indie rock, not to mention select Top 10 pop from every era.

(click here to continue reading Music Is a Sanctuary From Chaos on Yo La Tengo’s ‘There’s a Riot Going On’ – The New York Times.)

Not to mention that Sly & The Family Stone’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On” is of my favorite Sly LPs…

Sam Adams adds

The title of There’s a Riot Going On, the 15th album by Yo La Tengo, seems to promise a confrontation of the sort laid down by their fellow indie rockers Superchunk, whose What a Time to Be Alive is full of galvanizing anti-Trump broadsides. But instead of a blast of supercharged guitars, the first thing you hear on Riot is a wave of undulating organ that goes on for the better part of a minute before being joined by a three-note bass loop and the sound of sleigh bells. Ira Kaplan’s guitar enters the swirl, tracing a path through the hypnotic, head-nodding pulse of James McNew’s bass and Georgia Hubley’s drums. The song, an instrumental, is called “You Are Here,” but the feeling is more like being swept along than rooted in place. You are everywhere.


There’s a Riot borrows its title from Sly and the Family Stone’s 1971 masterpiece There’s a Riot Goin’ On, trading the modified American flag on its cover for a hazy phosphene. It’s a puzzling choice that comes off somewhere between sincere homage and record-collector in-joke. (The band once fused the titles of an R&B instrumental, a one-off album by a Los Angeles punk band, and the surname of a fantasy novelist to come up with a song called “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind,” which has nothing to do with either of the three.) But the original album’s title was also a misdirection, with a nonexistent “title track” running zero minutes and zero seconds. Faced with a turbulent world, Sly Stone turned inward, and so does Yo La Tengo on an album that, if hardly riotous, is one of their best.



(click here to continue reading Yo La Tengo’s new album There’s a Riot Going On, reviewed..)

I’ll let you know if it is any good in about a month2

  1. well, with some additions of course, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti, etc. []
  2. after I hear the album at least 4 times []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with

The Mighty Shamrocks “Paddy”

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Sláinte–Garfield Conservatory
Sláinte – Garfield Conservatory

Today is a good day to listen to Irish music, so I queued up the mythical Irish roots album, Paddy by The Mighty Shamrocks.

Final release for mythical and influential Irish Alt-Country bootleg. This has been a long time coming. After several years slogging around the Irish dancehall circuit The Mighty Shamrocks came to the attention of Terri Hooley of Undertones fame and the owner of Good Vibrations Records in 1979. He immediately offered them the opportunity to record their debut album but; by the time they’d completed it in 1983 the label had gone bankrupt and the Masters have been gathering dust ever since, with bootleg copies falling into the hands of several Irish, Northern Irish and American-Irish musicians who have all gone into print citing its’ influence on their music.

Why all the fuss, you ask? Well; when this was recorded The Mighty Shamrocks sounded like nothing Ireland had heard before as they carefully/accidentally fused Country with some Blues and a healthy dose of nascent Punk and the end result could easily be a template for Alt-Country.

(click here to continue reading CD Review – The Mighty Shamrocks “Paddy” | No Depression.)

Mighty shamrocks  paddy
mighty shamrocks – paddy.PNG

and some backstory from Eric Klinger:


Northern Ireland. The late 1970s. The violence and turbulence of the Troubles are everywhere, along with IRA hunger strikes and crippling unemployment. Meanwhile, the straight ahead three-chord punk model was already revealing itself to be generally unsustainable, and shrewder bands were looking to other forms as a way forward. And in Northern Ireland, a way forward could mean a way out of the turmoil. Against that backdrop emerged the Mighty Shamrocks: singer/guitarist Mickey Stephens, guitarist Dougie Gough, bassist Roe Butcher, and drummer Paddy MacNicholl.


Taking cues from a wide range of music — the New Wave that was ubiquitous at the time, country elements from the pub rock scene, and a hint of reggae (their moniker is a play on roots reggae group the Mighty Diamonds) — the Mighty Shamrocks made their regional name on the strength of songs that brought the political turmoil of the times to a personal level. In 1983, the group recorded an album for the Good Vibrations label, and it looked like the group might well be on their way. But as it so often happens on the road to rock glory, fate made other plans. The Good Vibrations label went bankrupt just as the album was due for release, and the band collapsed under the pressure.


Over the years, the Mighty Shamrocks became something of a local legend, and the songs — mostly penned by Stephens, who had settled into an academic career in the United States — made the rounds on bootleg cassettes. It wasn’t until 2012 that the master tapes found their way into the right hands, enabling Paddy to receive the official release that for nearly 30 years had been out of reach.


This would be a nice enough story even if the music were only OK, but Paddy (named in honor of drummer MacNicholl, who unfortunately didn’t live to see this release) lives up to its legend. Stephens has a reedy, punchy quality to his voice, which complements the lyrics well. “Everyone had PTSD during the Troubles”, Stephens writes in the disc’s liner notes, and with that understanding lines like “I can’t sleep because I’m afraid of nightmares / I can’t stay up ’cause I’m afraid of ghosts” from “Dance the Night Away” take on a new urgency. Even “Coronation Street”, Stephens’ ode to the long-running British soap opera, becomes a meditation on simpler times that recalls the more pastoral side of Ray Davies.



(click here to continue reading Unearthing the Mighty Shamrocks – PopMatters.)

You can find a copy wherever it is you get slightly obscure music. 

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2018 at 8:20 am

Posted in Music,Suggestions

Tagged with

Bruce Springsteen is Boring

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There are certain critically acclaimed and successful musicians that I just don’t care much about. U2 is one such band, and so is Bruce Springsteen. His politics I can usually agree with, his heart seems to be in the right place, his working man schtick is admirable, but his music does not resonate in my brain. His voice irritates me to be honest. I have musical completist tendencies, and thus keep trying to like Bruce Springsteen, as he is so often reviewed favorably by critics and friends whose musical tastes I usually agree with. Coupled with the fact that I have no problem purchasing used CDs, especially easily discovered albums by artists like Springsteen, I have a surprising large collection of Springsteen albums accumulated over the years. Here is a thumbnail review of the ones still in my iTunes library.

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 8 44 07 AM
Springsteen Review 1.PNG

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. – Debut album, from 1972. Blinded by the Light is ok. 

The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle – second album. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) is ok, but drags on too long. The entire album suffers from the same problem.

Born To Run – the album that made The Boss’ career. If I was stuck in a car on a road trip with a Springsteen fan who maintained total control of the stereo, this is the album I’d choose. There are four songs worth listening to: Thunder Road, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, She’s the One, and Jungleland. Jungleland does have a soft jazz section that grates on my nerves, but the rest of the song is ok, albeit ponderously long. The title track is ok too, I guess, but everyone1 has heard it way too many times and thus the song has lost its lustre. Tramps like us! They really like us!

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 9 13 54 AM

Darkness on the Edge of Town – not horrible. Badlands, Adam Raised a Cain, Streets of Fire are ok. 

The River – meh. Cadillac Ranch is ok, maybe, occasionally. The track, Hungry Heart, is silly, and tedious, and I usually skip it, or else replace the chorus with the theme from Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Nebraska – meh. Conceptually, the idea of releasing demos instead of the studio version with a full band is interesting, but many of these songs don’t hold my interest for long. In a pinch, I’d say Atlantic City, Highway Patrolman, State Trooper are ok. Atlantic City is the best of the bunch, despite having its lyrics copped from a million early-70s heist films. Maybe the so-called Electric Nebraska (The Nebraska demos were recorded in a studio with the full E Street Band, but never released) would make the songs have more punch? Btw, Johnny Cash did a more powerful version of Highway Patrolman.

Born in the U.S.A. – Not a bad album, but over-hyped and over-played. Springsteen’s lyrics are the very definition of bombast. The kind of album that Ronald Reagan and his cult latched onto (despite not being able to read the lyrics, the chorus was simple enough for Republicans to chant at their rallies) Not to mention there was that music video with Courtney Cox being pulled out the audience. So lame. Glory Days, Born in the USA, I’m On Fire are decent songs, despite it all. 

Tunnel of Love – meh. I can’t pick a single song off of this album that I want to voluntarily listen to. The ‘80s drum machines don’t help.

Human Touch – meh. So boring. So generic. I hope the studio musicians got paid big bucks.

Lucky Touch – slightly better than Human Touch, but still boring. 

The Rising – yeah, yeah, about 9/11, and yadda yadda. Still long winded arena rock, and not fun to listen to. If pressed, maybe 3 decent songs: Into the Fire, Empty Sky, The Fuse, but my life would not be empty if I never heard them again. Candidate Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards) used The Rising as a campaign theme song, but still, snooooooooooze…

Screen Shot 2017 09 23 at 10 54 59 AM
Springsteen LPs

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions  – I actually like this album, none of the songs are written by Springsteen, nor by Pete Seeger for that matter, and Springsteen and company seem like they are having a good time singing and playing these folk standards. However, I don’t disagree with Robert Christgau’s review:

We shall overkill, he means. Never have his Howard Keel tendencies, or maybe now they’re Paul Robeson tendencies, tripped him up so bad. The idea is to big up the music and play the jokes you don’t ignore like you’re working a Roman amphitheater. I’m glad to have met the anti-war lament “Mrs. McGrath” and Sis Cunningham’s “My Oklahoma Home,” and sort of hope young people deprived of music appreciation funding will now hear “Erie Canal,” “Froggie Went A-Courtin’,” “John Henry,” and “Jesse James.” Only are young people really ignorant of these songs? And how many of them buy Springsteen albums anyway? Amping up his strange bluegrass-Dixieland hybrid like E Street is just around the corner, he sings his lungs out. But in folk music, lightness is all–and only newbies and John Hammond Jr. lean so hard on the cornpone drawl.

(click here to continue reading Robert Christgau: Consumer Guide May. 30, 2006: Radicals of the Moment.)

Pete Seeger’s versions are all much better, of course, but you probably already guessed I would think that.

MagicYou’ll Be Coming Down, Gypsy Biker are ok. Nothing memorable about either, nor on the rest of the LP, but at least Fox News and Clear Channel hated it.

Working on a Dream – more boring arena rock, released in 2009. I think when I purchased this album, after reading yet another positive review about it, I decided that I will never like Springsteen enough to purchase another of his albums, at least without hearing it first. 

Summing up: there’s about 15-20 decent Springsteen songs over a long career, which to be fair is a higher number than a lot of artists, but for all the incessant hype and adulation surrounding Springsteen, there should be more genuinely awesome songs. The Clash have at least 40 great songs to their name, maybe more, and their career lasted from 1977-1982.2 If I went through my music library, I could easily find 20 songs from dozens of my favorite artists, 20 songs all better than the best Springsteen has to offer. 

You may like Springsteen, that is your right, de gustibus non est disputandum, but I think he’s just boring.

  1. especially me []
  2. Obviously, Cut The Crap doesn’t count []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 23rd, 2017 at 11:35 am

Posted in Music,Reviews

Tagged with

Books You Should Read – Miles The Autobiography by Miles Davis

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Miles The Autobiography

I’m too lazy of a blogger to properly write a book review for books I read that you should read too, but at least I can point you in an interesting direction. Today’s drive-by review: Miles, The Autobiography by Miles Davis (with the assistance of Quincy Troupe)

Reading this is how I’d imagine sitting down and chatting with Miles Davis would be like, mostly because the text reads as if it is conversational. Many times a musician “plays his ass off”, or Miles Davis learns some “chords and shit”, or someone is referred to as “cleaner than a motherfucker”, etc. The version I read doesn’t say much about how the book was created, I’m guessing Mr. Davis and Mr. Troupe sat down at a kitchen table, perhaps with a calendar with dates of tours, marriages, deaths, studio sessions, album releases, and the like, and then talked about and around it.

Fascinating, compelling conversation-as-text, and I wanted to hear the “extended” version with even more details about growing up middle class in East St. Louis, about the jazz scene in Manhattan as World War 2 ended, about musicians and their drug habits, about Paris in the 1950s, about Prince, and Jimi Hendrix, and Charlie Parker, and Louis Armstrong, and so on.

Miles Davis mentions Louis Armstrong, talks about how influential a musician he was, but then has a reoccurring riff about black musicians who smile and “mug” for the audience. Even Dizzy Gillespie, one of Miles Davis’ long time friends and mentors, is criticized for being too genial with the audience. Miles Davis didn’t want liner notes on his albums, wanted the music to speak for itself. And since I’ve listening to it for years, and non-stop this last week, I agree!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Seth Anderson

August 6th, 2017 at 9:37 am

Posted in Books,Music

Tagged with ,