The Fleshtones feat. Lenny Kaye – “Brooklyn Sound Solution” (2011)

March 31, 2011 at 6:52 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

A Crawdaddy! review by j. poet (March 16th) of the new Fleshtones album featuring former rock critic and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye...

On this new album outing, the Fleshtones are joined by guitar god and Patti Smith sidekick Lenny Kaye, who brings his own brand of arty garage band finesse to the wailing guitars, unruly rhythm section, cheesy keyboard textures, and tortured vocals that remain the band’s stock in trade.

Brooklyn Sound Solution is almost evenly divided between instrumentals and vocal tracks, originals and carefully chosen covers, all mining the highs and lows of ‘60s style rock, blues, and soul. “Comin’ Home Baby” was a left-field hit for jazz flautist Herbie Mann in 1961. The Tones have recorded it before, but they give it a new twist here with Lenny Kaye adding a bit of spaghetti western twang to the arrangement, with Ken Fox’s rippling bassline and Zaremba’s whistling organ solo riding shotgun. “Solution #1 (Streng & Twine)” brings to mind the theme music of a ‘60s TV detective show with its simple “Peter Gunn”-like guitar line and noir-flavored organ. The lead guitar drops a hint of surf music into the mix. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Platters – “With This Ring” (1967)

March 30, 2011 at 8:28 am (Music)

A classic slice of 1960s Motown-style R&B and one of the final hits for The Platters. Sadly, this song, released on the Musicor lablel, is somewhat forgotten these days since it was released years after The Platters’ hit-making prime. It briefly returned them to the charts.

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (March 26, 2011)

March 27, 2011 at 7:34 am (Life & Politics)

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R.E.M. – “Collapse Into Now” (2011)

March 26, 2011 at 6:35 am (Music, R.E.M., Reviews & Articles)

A recent review of the brand new R.E.M. album by Rob Sheffield in the pages of Rolling Stone, March 3, 2011…

R.E.M. make a beautiful mess — and remind you why you loved them.

For anyone wondering what Michael Stipe wants after all these years, Stipe has chosen R.E.M.’s 15th album as the place to run down his wish list. “I want Whitman proud!” he declares in the superb finale, “Blue.” “I want Patti Lee proud,” meaning old friend Patti Smith, who’s there in the studio making gorgeously guttural noises. “I want my brothers proud,” probably meaning Peter Buck and Mike Mills, who cut loose with a country-feedback guitar groove. “I want my sisters proud! I want me! I want it all! I want sensational, irresistible! This is my time, and I am thrilled to be alive!” And he sounds it.

Smith suggested the title Collapse Into Now, which could be an answer to her heartbreaking memoir from last year, Just Kids. Except instead of scruffy young bohemians hustling to make it, it’s a portrait of full-grown artists who reached the top long ago but decided to stick together and ride out the decades. You can hear a lot of shared history in the music, but you Read the rest of this entry »

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“Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1967)

March 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm (Cinema, Reviews & Articles, Roger Ebert)

In honor of the passing of an acting legend this week comes an Oct. 17, 1967 Chicago Sun-Times review by Roger Ebert of this strange but affecting film, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, now both sadly gone…

It seemed fishy to begin with that Reflections in a Golden Eye crept into town so silently. Here was a movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, no less, and the director was that great man himself, John Huston. So shouldn’t we have read millions of words about it by now? Every time Liz blows her nose, she makes the cover of Look. But not this time. Why not? Was the movie so wretchedly bad that Warner Bros. decided to keep it a secret?

Or could it be, perhaps, that it was too good? Perhaps it could. To begin with, somebody slipped up and did an honest screen play based on the novel by Carson McCullers. And then Huston and his cast journeyed bravely into the dark, twisted world of the McCullers characters, and nobody told them they were supposed to snicker. So they didn’t.

The story is set on an Army base in the South. Brando plays a major who gives disjointed lectures about leadership and courage as his repressed homosexuality begins to emerge. Miss Taylor, as his wife, plays a Read the rest of this entry »

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Tony Cornwell – “Scott Walker: A Remarkable Album by a Serious Musician” (2002)

March 24, 2011 at 2:53 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

This article about the 1995 album Tilt comes from the World Socialist Web Site, dated June 4, 2002…

Corporate mergers in television, radio and record industries have resulted in the coordination of “play lists” around demographics. “Pop” or “Popular” music therefore has become overwhelmingly self-referential, genre specific and backwards looking.

In this atmosphere it is unsurprising that a remarkable album released in 1995—Tilt—written, arranged and sung by the notoriously reclusive Scott Walker should have slipped by like a ship in the night. While Walker has only recorded three albums in the last 20 years and is barely known to the wider public, he is praised and imitated by many musicians including David Bowie, Brian Eno, Nick Cave, Marc Almond and others.

Tilt, is original, confronting and evocative and anyone interested in music—classical, modern or whatever—should take the time to listen. By itself the level of musicianship is never less than stunning. Instrumentation ranges from the London Sinfonia strings, Central Methodist Hall Pipe Organ, electric guitar bass, drums, chitarrones and hand cymbals, to name a few, with outstanding orchestrations and organ playing by Brian Gascoyne.

Even more remarkable, the album was recorded without sampling, click Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

March 23, 2011 at 9:52 am (Cinema)

One of the most beautiful women to ever walk the earth. There will never be another one like her… R.I.P.

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Pink – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Live – 2009)

March 22, 2011 at 9:34 am (Music)

A surprisingly effective and spot-on cover of Queen’s classic song. Pink and her band do an excellent job on this. I think Freddie Mercury would have approved.
This is taken from her Funhouse Tour: Live in Australia DVD…

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Scott Walker – “5 Easy Pieces” (2003)

March 20, 2011 at 10:05 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

A review of this career-spanning box set from always interesting Scott Walker, taken from the Pitchfork Media website and written by Scott Plagenhoef, Jan. 12, 2004…

Anthologizing Scott Walker’s career is a daunting task. Along with Walker, perhaps only The Beatles, Roxy Music, John Cale and David Bowie have engulfed themselves in both art and pop and created such riches in each vein. Incredibly, Walker swung much further in each direction than any of those other artists, singing standards (and other housewives’ choices) on a TV variety show, and creating famously impenetrable, esoteric work on his most recent (a loosely used term here, to be sure) solo albums. Therefore, the first challenge of any examination of his career demands rectifying the split between his more populist and cerebral impulses. Happily, the five-disc, 93-track 5 Easy Pieces rises to the challenge, capturing the on-the-surface duality between Walker’s MOR song styling and his avant-garde leanings, as well as demonstrating the common ground shared by everything he did in between.

Born Scott Engel in Ohio, Walker was one-third of The Walker Brothers, a group of ex-pats sold back to America as the crooner arm of the British Invasion, but it was in the UK that The Walker Brothers had the most success, enjoying a pair of #1 singles and rivaling The Beatles, Stones, and Read the rest of this entry »

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The Strokes – “Angles” (2011)

March 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

The return of The Strokes!! I’m definitely looking forward to hearing this one soon. I love the retro-looking cover — it has a cool 1979 new wave aesthetic to it.
This review comes from Mike Diver on the website, March 16th…

Prepare to be smitten all over again, as the NYC outfit release a brilliant fourth album.

Time isn’t kind to the cool. Disappear for too long, and nobody bats an eyelid when you return, fanfare conspicuous by its utter absence. Arriving over five years since their last LP, 2006’s First Impressions of Earth, white-hot-back-when NYC combo The Strokes could have so easily found themselves piled beside the likes of Razorlight and Toploader in the pile of re-emerging artists probably without a place in 2011. But they’ve avoided such a fate by putting together what might actually be their very best record yet.

Yes, you read that right: Angles isn’t just the equal of the band’s lightning-in-a-bottle debut of 2001, Is This It, it might be better. There are several moments here where the five-piece exhibit an infectious immediacy that’s presented in parallel with some genuine ingenuity, and the effect on the Read the rest of this entry »

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