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. "I Sat By the Ocean" — Queens of the Stone Age (3:42)
I had dabbled with this band before, downloading “Someone’s In the Wolf” and “In My Head” in their early period. So I gave a listen to the new album, Like Clockwork. Leader Josh Homme seems to have adapted a deep love for Jeff Lynne, of all people — at least on this track. Who’d-a thought? And yet... it actually works. The production is a bit more advanced than on previous efforts but I never thought I’d hear a nod to ELO come from this band. By the way, I’m not complaining here.
2. "Gone Too Long" — Churchill (3:04)
This is their second appearance in this column and in the first track, female participant Bethany Kelly sang a great lead. Now there is a male lead here but Kelly sometimes doubles the vocal or sings a single harmony so she’s really not far from the front. Maybe there’ll be duets in their future. This band can become MAJOR if each successive album gets better. I’m already a fan.
3. "I'll Stick Around" — Walking Papers (3:46)
Okay — this is a new band and maybe a year old. A total Seattle project (residence, formed, recorded, etc), it features fellows from previous bands, the most famous being Duff McKagan, he of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver. The core are Jeff Angell and Barrett Martin, Seattle mainstays formerly involved in The Missionary Position and Screaming Trees. They produced it and while this track will not be remembered for its production, yet here it is. It's a good song with a basic blues guitar lick propelling it along but buried too far in the mix. There’s something that I like here so I vote yay but I suggest an outside (but Seattle-based) producer next time.
4. "Any Other Way" — The Zombies (3:16)
They musta known when they formed nearly 50 years ago that they would go on forever; hence their name choice. Using their unique ingredients, their magic and listenability are still right up front on this track from their 2011 album Breathing In/Breathing Out. I just opened for them for the first time a few weeks ago and that was a memorable evening. Enclosed is a video of me introducing them during the UK shows celebrating the 40th anniversary of Odessey and Oracle in 2008.
5. "Vicksburg Blues" — Hugh Laurie (4:15)
First of all, this is NOT House music. Sooo the TV star made a blues album in 2011 titled Let Them Talk. I believe it was universally panned by the critics. His fans probably bought it anyway. I don’t watch his show so I knew nothing. That album didn’t grab me so I just let it lay. So two years later he releases ANOTHER blues album (Didn't It Rain) at a dollar MORE. So I roll my eyes and go in for an iTunes listen. And guess what? I like this track — so sue me.
6. "Not Feelin' It" — Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion (3:09)
This is a husband and wife team as of 1999. Sarah Lee is daughter of Arlo with Grampa Woody thrown in. Johnny is ten years her senior and is the grand-nephew of famed American author John Steinbeck. This is from their latest album, Wassaic Way, produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. With ALL this talent running around together, it’s not surprising it got me on the first listen before I knew all the facts. I’m FEELIN’ it, you three — keep up the good work!
7. "Tennessee Blues" — Chris Thile & Michael Daves (3:00)
YIKES! These two are terrifying players separately but joining together on this 2011 duet album, Sleep With One Eye Open, they sound like bluegrass in a meth lab. They should've called this project Breakin’ Good. Their vocals on other tracks are as amazing as their playing, and this album is a must-have if you’re a fan of this style of music. Thile just released an entire album of Bach sonatas performed on the mandolin. I love that as well but it didn’t fit in this here column. So give that a listen as well if you’ve a mind to OR you’re a mandolinist.
8. "Make You Love Me" — Us (3:29)
This track is written and sung by a California-based husband and wife duo, Michael and Carissa Rae Alvarado. After a few successful single and YouTube collaborations, they recently released the self-titled album that this track is from. Before coming up with their clever name, other choices in contention could have been: Tuck & Patti Jr.? Children of The Carpenters or maybe The Dixie Chicklets?
9. "Life Passed Me By" — Super Stereo (2:51)
Luckily this is a singles version. I’m sure there’s a five-minute version out there 'cause this is essentially an electronica dance record. But it succeeds on a songwriting/arrangement level and I wanted to hear it again. Production-wise it’s quite well done — interesting echo choices in the mix, etc. Songwise, Blondie could’ve done this back in the day.
10. "The Boys of Summer" — KT Tunstall (3:20)
If this surprised me, you can imagine how shocked Don Henley must've been. First of all, I don’t recall many Eagles/Henley covers out there, as that faction labored for years to make ‘perfect’ records and then they sold more albums than anyone else ever did. Why would ANYONE wanna cover THAT? KT Tunstall has had an up and down career but has impressed me as being a talented singer-songwriter. Her first album, Eye to the Telescope, made her many friends all over the world. She was known for writing original songs that didn’t particularly imitate anyone before her — a unique presence in 2005. So it’s ironic that she covered THIS song, but I think I know why. When a woman sings it, some of the lyric takes on a different meaning. Certainly the title means something different than when Henley sang it. I always thought he was referring to the baseball season. In her version, I think it could mean dalliances she might have had; whereas I’m positive Henley didn’t mean any secret gay alliances. So congrats to KT for taking what looked like a doomed idea and making something really original out of it. And for having the balls to do it without a drum kit playing — a secret message to Henley? Hahahaha — see ya next week!