This column is like the title says - its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.
I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD'VE been!
Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.
We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.
1. "We Do Parties" — Deerhoof (2:09)
Now, THIS is an opening track! I love this band — led by a drummer, they fear no tempo or rhythm and his woman is the lead singer! What a smooth deal. This track makes me smile and that’s always a great way to begin. Deerhoof shows no signs of fading away. Occupy Deerhoof!
2. "Brown Eyes" — Andy Davis (3:47)
Very few singer-songwriters understand pop music as well as Andy here. A consummate pianist, the piano usually sounds like the other half of a duet and is the crucial piece in holding it all together. This is a great example of that. In addition, he’s a fine singer and is probably doing the backup vocals as well. Add his talents as a lyricist and I sit and wonder how lesser lights get more attention than he does. That is not the case at Al’s Place.
3. "U Will Know" — Black Men United (2:49)
This is from the soundtrack to a movie starring Janet Jackson in her heyday called Jason’s Lyric. It was released in 1994 and was a big R&B hit but never crossed over. So I’m takin’ it by the hand an' crossin’ it over rat now! The lead singers of Mint Condition, After Seven, Silk, Boyz II Men, and Savory came together to each sing a line or two on this song written by D’Angelo. Hell, even the guitar part is jammed by Lenny Kravitz and this was nearly 20 years ago. This super session is mighty fine and it’s hard to find ANYTHING wrong with it. I heard it on the radio back then, bought the CD, and always give it a listen at least twice a year ever since ‘94.
4. "Lazarus" — David Byrne & St. Vincent (2:38)
Ever since “...letting the days go by, let the water hold me down...” I raised David Byrne a little higher than the rest. He also knew how to pick partners, i.e. Brian Eno. So I gave this new release, Love This Giant, a listen and found a few goodies therein. Just when you think Byrne is singing, his next entrance makes you realize it was Annie Clark in the first place. These are creations passed back and forth between the two of them for about 18 months.The original concept was to make a brass band a common element in every track. With the arranging skills of Byrne accompanist Tony Finno, the brass parts are imaginative and flow perfectly through the compositions (and I’m a tough horn critic!). Byrne added rhythm guitar and Annie (St. Vincent) played lead guitar. I feel I will love this whole album more as time goes by and I can listen more intently.
5. "Just the Wanting" — Walter Egan (2:55)
I included another older Egan track a few columns back and got great mail from y’all so here’s another that has never faded away for me. Egan’s biggest hit was “Magnet & Steel” in 1978. His first two albums, produced by Lindsay Buckingham, were quickly snapped up by me and were flag wavers around the house. Walter also wrote “Hearts on Fire” covered by Gram Parsons on the Grievous Angel album. When visiting Gnashville a coupla years ago, I met him at a celebrity hoot and learned we both are from Queens and mutual fans. The word is he will have a new album out this year — I can’t wait!
6. "Stick to Your Guns" — Britten (2:26)
I can't find much info on this artist, other than that he's a singer/songwriter named Britten Newbill and he's originally from Tennessee. This is a strong song done simply that caught my ear. It appears to be off his one and only album, Six Strings and a Drum Machine, released in 2009. A good listen despite the title.
7. "Desiree" — Montage (2:38)
This was first recorded by baroque-rock pioneers The Left Banke. Leader Michael Brown started another band a few years later and thought his song might be a hit single with them. It was just an album track previously. If you’re a Left Banke fan, tell me which version YOU like better. The audio advancements between the two versions make this one sound a little better. I like both — it’s a great song.
8. "Mercy" — Dave Matthews Band (3:10)
This is the first time I have been reached by these multi-platinum, perennial arena seller-outers. They got me GOOD this time though. Everything is excellent here, especially the lead vocal, the song, and the production. No more skipping over these lads. I know, I know — I was late to the party. This from their new album Away From the World — a place I know quite well, incidentally...
9. "Big Screen TV" — Kinetix (3:09)
A local Denver band that met in music school at Denver U, they formed playfully for fun and then built an amazing local following, selling out theaters instead of frat parties. Their 2010 album Let Me In kinda got them a national tour or two and we’ll see what happens next. I love the rhythm guitar part and the layout of the song. All very pro. Wanna hear new stuff now.
10. "Space Oddity" (Live) — David Bowie (5:32)
Recorded July 1974 Tower Theater Philadelphia, PA
Michael Kamen - bandleader and keyboards/ Mike Garson-piano/ Earl Slick - lead guitar/ Herbie Flowers - bass/Tony Newman - drums/David Sanborn - alto sax/Richard Grando-baritone sax / Produced and mixed by Tony Visconti / Recorded on The Record Plant truck/ from the double CD David Live released 2005 on EMI
There’s really nothing else to say. The music speaks for itself. Can you hear me, Major Tom? We lost your signal, but you won the cheekbone award for all time (see below).