Sunday, November 30, 2014

31 – “Burnt Offerings”

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Goat – “Words”
Braid – “East End Hollows”
Mariachi El Bronx – “New Beat”
Mark Mallman – “Monster Movies”
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas – “Caught Up”
Roses Pawn Shop – “What Were You Waiting For”
Restorations – “Separate Song”
The Budos Band – “Burnt Offering”
Marco Benevento – “At the Show”
Little Racer – “Dancing”
Elizabeth and the Catapult – “Shoelaces”
Blank Realm – “Back to the Flood”
Thumpers – “Sound of Screams”
Guster – “Never Coming Down”
Pete Molinari featuring Barrie Cadogan - "Hang My Head in Shame"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

30 – “The Kids with the Mothers and the Pop Music”

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Bleachers – “Rollercoaster”
Wormburner – “Somewhere Else to Be”
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Simple and Sure”
Nude Beach – “Yesterday”
Makthaverskan – “Asleep”
SW/MM/NG – “Some Dreams Come True”
The Pharmacy – “Masten Lake Lagoon”
Yusuf – “Gold Digger”
Caroline Rose – “Blood on Your Bootheels”
Pert Near Sandstone – “You’re No Good to Me”
Pony Boy – “The Devil in Me”
The Vaselines – “Last Half Hour”
Brass Bed – “Be Anything”
TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”
Sarah Mclachlan - "Monsters"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

29 – “Heavy Hitters or Some Other Poor Sports Analogy If You Prefer”

Ryan Adams – “Gimme Something Good”
Ex Hex – “Don’t Wanna Lose”
Karen O – “Ooo”
Hamilton Leithauser – “Alexandra”
Peter Matthew Bauer – “Philadelphia Raga”
Robyn Hitchcock – “Somebody to Break Your Heart”
Frazey Ford – “Done”
King Tuff – “Black Moon Spell”
The New Pornographers – “Dancehall Domine”
Foxygen – “How Can You Really”
The Rosebuds – “In My Teeth”
Fool’s Gold – “I’m in Love”
Bishop Allen – “Generationals”
Old Crow Medicine Show – “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer”

Johnny Marr @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Johnny Marr
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - November 15, 2014

Johnny Marr came out to Brooklyn almost a year to the day after his last visit, as he's making up for lost time with these banged out solo records. He apologized for appearing in Brooklyn without facial hair. An easy remark to make but it's telling - this legendary guitarist from a time gone by knows the modern score and can have a laugh at it (having a laugh is always a key measure to how a performance is going to go; Mr. Marr has been known to have associated with some other legendary figures who, as brilliant as they can musically be, could sometimes afford to make a better effort at having a laugh).

In addition to his stunningly sharp new solo work - namely "The Right Thing Right" and the insanely good "Easy Money" - he played, and sang lead on, a lot of notable numbers from one of his old bands: "Panic", "The Headmaster Ritual", "Big Mouth Strikes Again", "How Soon is Now?" (with help from the Roots' Captain Kirk Douglas) and the show stopping "There is a Light That Never Goes Out". His similarities in vocal style to the original lead singer on these songs borders on the creepy but one supposes it should not be surprising. There was also "Getting Away With It" from his work in Electronic and a cover of Iggy's "Lust for Life". This was a damn fine show.

It was a damn fine show in how it was both intimate and big. If Johnny Marr had been a distant customer, it would have been professional but hollow. Instead, with his affable ease and calm maturity (a maturity matched by a disturbing inability to age), he gave a club feel to a big house production. That sensibility would serve a lot of rock n rollers well and maybe if people take a cue, we could still go places with this rock n roll racket (I might be alluding to what you think I am alluding to and you'd be right to a degree and I will never write of it even in allusion form ever again).

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cocktail Slippers @ Bowery Electric

Cocktail Slippers; John Faye; The Connection
@ Bowery Electric
November 13, 2014

10 years ago I loved two songs very, very much. Not to a point of madness but only because I loved them so much I curtailed my listening to them so as not to make myself sick or tire of them. The trick worked because 10 years on I still play them like they are fresh. For musically, they are. Timeless captures true rock n roll. The first of these songs was the much older "Situations" by Slaughter and the Dogs. The other was the contemporary "Rock 'n Roll Babe" by the Cocktail Slippers.

I figured Fate would prevent me from ever seeing both bands but in the last three months I've now done the once unthinkable and seen them both.

It's rare for the Cocktail Slippers to make the trek from Oslo but with Little Steven Van Zandt - the man/idol responsible for my knowing "Rock 'n Roll Babe" - still backing them up here they were (and in the presence of local punk royalty like Malin and Manitoba and more to come).

It must be noted that research indicates that with the exception of the guitarist who takes lead vocals on "Rock 'n Roll Babe" but on no other, the band's members are entirely different from the time of "Rock 'n Roll Babe"'s recording. But evidence also suggests the current line-up has its own history (or successfully incorporates it into the band's overall history) but more importantly than that THEY SOUND VERY GOOD AND ALL THEIR SONGS WERE VERY GOOD.

BONUS!: Lenny Kaye appeared for the finale, covers of "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Summertime Blues", the latter of which was quite fitting as only a band from Norway would think of it still being summer while a light snow and icy rain fell in mid November in a Norther Hemisphere town.

John Faye is Philly-based and brought some Philly fans with him. The power pop was frequently excellent but some of the other songs could have used more gunk and less polish. He's a professional and legit. No doubt about it.

I caught the last song or two of the Connection and it sounded like some very nice punk power pop indeed.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

28 – “Dispatch from The Big Easy”

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Five-year-old Trombone Shorty playing at a jazz funeral in the Treme neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Trombone Shorty via Tulane University)

Louis Armstrong – “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Professor Longhair – “Mardi Gras in New Orleans”
Louis Prima – “Oh Marie!”
Oblivians with Mr. Quintron – “What’s the Matter Now?”
Trombone Shorty – “In the 6th
Fats Domino – “When My Dreamboat Comes Home”
Marcia Ball – “Foreclose on the House of Love”
The Hot 8 Brass Band – “Steaming Blues”
Ben Webster with Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra – “New Orleans”
Raphael Saadiq – “Big Easy”
Randy Newman – “Louisiana 1927”
Lightnin’ Hopkins – “Back to New Orleans (Baby Please Don’t Go)”
John Hiatt – “Feels Like Rain”
Mary-Chapin Carpenter – “Down at the Twist and Shout”
Little Bill Gaither – “Creole Queen”
Lucinda Williams – “Crescent City”
Tom Waits – “I Wish I Was in New Orleans (In the Ninth Ward)”
Benjamin Booker - "Always Waiting"

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Benjamin Booker @ Baby's All Right

Benjamin Booker; Blank Rage
@ Baby's All Right
Brooklyn, NY - November 7, 2014

I recall over a decade ago the last time a young gun mixing blues and punk with his Robert Johnson-like fingers was called the future of rock and roll and it was actually true. In fact some of the press has been essentially verbatim. And there's nothing to stop it from happening again. It has been awhile since someone under the age of 30 had the chops, played the licks, and wrote the songs that give goosebumps right through the chest and down to the toes. And to do it like a church revival, with good swaths of swamp rock stomp and country fiddle fire, makes that trite line about someone being a "revelation" actually true.

 The only blemish in the live show is the only blemish on the record. Some of the more sparse numbers are really sparse - long breaths of silence and limited play. They could do with some compression because this is a man and a band that need to be full-on ripping it up.

Better catch him now when you can catch him outside the club and thank him for his performance.

And also thank you Benjamin Booker for not being from Tennessee. Everyone in rock n roll these days is from Tennessee. Not everyone has to be from there. It's become quite annoying. So thank you for being from New Orleans.

Blank Range - are from Tennessee. And they play their instruments well.