Tom Jones goes Gospel: “Did Trouble Me”

July 17, 2010

Tom Jones, now seventy, has recorded an album of Gospel songs entitled Praise and Blame.

Maybe not so many panties thrown onstage next tour, but the single is excellent. I’m curious to know if roots-music fans and AAA radio will pick it up.

I suppose this is similar to what Johnny Cash did with his American Recordings series, but Tom doesn’t try to be Johnny Cash (at least not on this number). It sounds like a natural evolution–the bombast is still there, but in service of a song appropriately sung by a man late in life.

I like it.

Tom Jones – “Did Trouble Me”

For old time’s sake…

Tom Jones – “Without Love”

New Music: “Last Dance” by the Raveonettes

September 30, 2009

The Raveonettes’ last album, Lust Lust Lust, was one of my favorites from last year. This number, from their upcoming record In and Out of Control, features a somewhat cleaner sound and an overwhelming amount of sweetness.

The album comes out next week.

Via Stereogum.

New Music: “There’s Too Much Love” by Sufjan Stevens

September 29, 2009

Via Pitchfork.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Mr. Stevens. This live video has me looking forward to his next record.

New Music: Girls – “Lust For Life”

August 13, 2009

Here’s a great little summer tune from San Francisco duo Girls.  Thankfully, it is not a Jet-style rip off of Iggy Pop.

Girls – “Lust For Life”

FYI, Girls will be playing at Emo’s on 8/14, opening for Los Campesinos! along with the Smith Westerns.  Those are three really good bands.  I would recommend getting yor butt out there to hear some great indie rock.  But that’s just me.  You do what you like.

The Smith Westerns – “Girl In Love”

Los Campesinos! – “This Is How You Spell ‘Hahaha, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics'”

New Music: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

July 7, 2009

Man, there are some great bands coming out of Scotland lately.  One of last year’s best records was made by Glasgow band Frightened Rabbit, Glasvegas have caused a huge stir on both sides of the pond, Camera Obscura recently released a gorgeous record, and the list goes on and on.  The latest Scottish band to get some attention from the music press is We Were Promised Jetpacks, a power pop band from Edinburgh that have just released their debut record, These Four Walls.  I have not yet had a chance to pick up the album and give it a listen, but if the first single is any indication, there will be yet another Scottish indie rock band fighting it out for space on my iPod.  Once I get my hands on ths album, I will be sure to give it a proper review.  Until then, please enjoy their first single, “Quiet Little Voices.”

We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

Worst song of the year so far: Chris Cornell – “Part of Me”

July 2, 2009

My god.  What record company suit convinced Chris Cornell to jump into bed with producer Timbaland to create this shameless money grab of a song?  Auto-Tune?  A chorus featuring the lyric “No, that bitch ain’t part of me”?  This has to be one of the worst pairings in musical history, and the end result perfectly demonstrates that fact.  Chris, please call the former members of  Soundgarden for a reunion if you need money.  But please, please, please, never do this again!  Britney Spears called, and she wants her song back.

Semi-New Music: Metric – “Help, I’m Alive”

June 29, 2009

I received a text message from my friend Mike in LA the other night.  It was short, sweet, and to the point:

My new favorite song: “Help, I’m Alive” by Metric.

I have a slightly rocky history with Metric.  I have frequently been told that they are the next big thing, and it was this sentiment that caused me to finally check them out right after the release of 2005’s Live It Out.  It was an okay album, but the overwhelming feeling I got from Live It Out was that it was very mechanical.  The cold precision of the music, the weird tinny production, and something in lead singer Emily Haines’s voice (despite the fact that I love her work with Broken Social Scene) gave me the inescapable impression of a bunch of 80’s era robots hopelessly stuck on the New Wave setting.   In all, despite a couple of bright moments here and there, I was largely unimpressed, and I had no motivation to check out any of their earlier albums or to anticipate any future releases.

So then comes this text message.  I generally but not always agree with Mike’s taste in music, so unless his text message was dripping with sarcasm not easily conveyed through the written word, I believe this was a pretty glowing review.  Also, I’m never one to completely count a band out, even after a pretty decisive first impression, so I figured I would give them a second chance and Youtube “Help, I’m Alive.”

After some predictably robotic percussion leading things off, Haines’s echo-effect voice breaks in along with some low synths in the background.  The somewhat familiar New Wave vibe is still there, but there’s a new life in Haines’s voice and **gasp** something resembling emotion!  I was a bit concerned after the swelling synths come in at about 0:35, but the second time around,  the synths break completely and make way for some crunchy guitar chords, and Haines goes up an octave or so to create an instantly hooky chorus.  Less than halfway through the song, I notice my foot tapping, and I realize that this is by far the best Metric song I’ve ever heard, and I think I may be inspired to check out their latest record, Fantasies.

Thanks for the text, Mike!

Metric – “Help, I’m Alive”

New Music: The Sounds – “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake”

May 19, 2009

After a promising but inconsistent self-titled debut, the Sounds delivered big-time with their sophomore effort, Dying to Say This to You, one of the very best albums of 2006.

Their third album, Crossing the Rubicon, is set for a June 2 release. The first single is “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake.” After two listens, I’m not crazy about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I didn’t care much for “Song With a Mission,” their last first single, terribly much on first listen either. It grew on me.

The Sounds have earned my trust, both live and on wax, so I’ll acquire Crossing the Rubicon the day it comes out.

You can download “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” for free at the Sounds official site.

(Via Brother Dane.)

New Music: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”

May 11, 2009

There are certain bands out there today, few and far between, that manage to harness and embody certain aspects of youth.  The Gaslight Anthem effortlessly combine the introspective rebellion and poetic punk defiance of young hearts in turmoil.  Los Campesinos! are the epitome of the nerdy, smartass kid in the back of the class cracking timely and technologically savvy jokes that your grandma just ain’t gonna get.  It’s infinitely interesting to go back and examine bands that once held this claim, such as Weezer, and see just how lame they have become with age.  Nevertheless, there was a time when Rivers Cuomo and Co. sang songs about hanging in their garage surrounded by X-Men posters, and it felt right.

Japandroids embody a different aspect of youth than any of the previously mentioned bands.  Composed of just a singer/guitarist and drummer, this duo perfectly encapsulates the manic energy and simple, screaming emotion of hormone-fueled rage and joyous craziness that seems so important and vital when you’re young, only to be tarnished and dulled with the onset of age and the prospect of growing up to a future of tending the lawn and paying the mortgage.  For those who are still young, this music serves as a rallying cry to celebrate life with all of its bullshit ups and downs, and for those of us who have passed that turbulent time, it serves as a reminder to when every experience seemed so new, fun, scary, and important.  I really like this band, even though I’m old.  I hope you will like them too.  They’re a hell of a lot of fun.

Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”

P.S. I’m pretty sure I meant to put the word “exuberant” in there somewhere, but looks like I missed it.  Oh well.

New Releases of Note: 3/17/09

March 16, 2009

The good news is that there’s finally a double-disc Nick Lowe compilation out there. The bad news is it apparently skimps on his rock and roll material. And it doesn’t have “Rollers Show,” which, coincidentally, I almost posted yesterday (maybe later this week). How can a Nick Lowe comp not include “Rollers Show”? I may pick this up, but what what I really want is a box set. One that includes “Rollers Show.”

Nick Lowe – Quiet Please: The New Best of Nick Lowe

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Tell ‘em What Your Name Is!

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Beware

Marianne Faithfull – Easy Come Easy Go

Status Quo – Pictures: 40 Years of Hits

New Releases of Note: 3/10/09

March 12, 2009

Kelly Clarkson – All I Ever Wanted

Chris Cornell – Scream

BoDeans – Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams [Collector's edition]

Steve Earle – Live at the BBC

Beth Orton – Trailer Park [Legacy edition]

Elvis Presley – I Believe: The Gospel Masters

Elvis Perkins – Elvis Perkins in Dearland

New Releases of Note: 3/3/09

March 6, 2009

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

Raul Malo – Lucky One

U2 – No Line on the Horizon

Various Artists – The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 11B: 1971

Buddy and Julie Miller – Written in Chalk

Justin Townes Earle – Midnight at the Movies

Rush – Retrospective, Vol. 3


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