Monday Music Roundup
Greetings from California! It's been a busy, fantastic weekend. I flew into SFO early Saturday morning, descending through the pea-soup fog and thinking, as always, that the plane was going to land on the Bay, but at the last minute the runway always appears. Thankfully. When I got the rental car, I had some time to kill before I had to be in San Jose, so I took a quick jaunt through the City and saw the Golden Gate (just to say hello) and some other gorgeous landmarks. The best thing about Saturday was that KFOG radio was playing an A-Z Beatles retrospective all day long - I cannot think of a better soundtrack for my drive. It was thorough and fantastic.
Yesterday was my husband's birthday and we celebrated by eating all day at a big family party. We had a Spongebob Squarepants pinata and I got the therapeutic honor of smacking the bejesus out of it to finish it off after the candy was out. The arm flew off Spongebob, and a leg. It was awesome, although it makes me wonder a little bit why it was so dang satisying. Something visceral about using a baseball bat like that. And today my sides still hurt from laughing so hard on the long night drive back to San Jose.
Here are a few songs I am enjoying this week, having time to listen to some new releases on the airplane:
Gary Lucas and Gods & Monsters
For those of you who may follow or share my Jeff Buckley obsession, you may find this first track especially interesting. Respected guitarist Gary Lucas co-wrote some of Jeff's earliest material (such as those heartbreaking guitar solos in "Grace") and was briefly formed a band with Jeff when he first moved to New York City. As much as I am sure Gary wants to be viewed as an independent artist, I can still hear some of those Buckley threads in this new song, off Gary Lucas' new album Coming Clean (Oct 17 on Mighty Quinn in the US, Oct 31 on Side Salad Records UK ).
"Red Wine, Success!"
Cold War Kids
I've been listening to the Cold War Kids' self-titled album a few times through this weekend, trying to figure them out (and liking the process). This group from Fullerton, California has a loose and eclectic sound -- and this song sounds more than a little like it also channels some of Jeff Buckley's best vocal ranting and ravings (listen to "Eternal Life"), while other songs have a more bluesy swagger and rock sound with falsetto vocals (think Rolling Stones meet the Scissor Sisters?). Hot off both SXSW and Lollapalooza this year, their debut disc Robbers & Cowards is out now on V2/Downtown Recordings.
"On Again, Off Again"
By now Sean Lennon's second album Friendly Fire is out (along with its bonus disc of videos), but I am just taking an initial listen after getting my promo copy. I found myself wondering if the seeds of Beatlesesque music are in his bloodstream like a parasite, compelling him to channel his father? Or is it a natural extension of spending the first years of his life hearing his Dad sing and play around the house? Either way, I am not complaining, but this song sounds like a dead-on ringer for his father's music. Was it destined by fate or could Sean have chosen to have, like, a German screamo-death metal band?
"It's The Shame"
There is a lovely new collection of songs from North Carolina's music scene called Songs For Sixty Five Roses, out on Yep Roc Records. A play on how a child would pronounce "cystic fibrosis," this is a warm and dusty collection of covers for a great cause, put together by Durham music producer & dad John Plymdale for his 4-year-old daughter Allie who has CF. Check out the website for a full listing of songs, but artists such as Caitlin Cary, Portastatic, and Eric Bachman perform tunes originally written by Ryan Adams, Superchunk, James Taylor and more. And the proceeds go to the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so this is a recommended purchase.
As my pal Chris over at Gorilla vs Bear wrote this week when he posted this up, it's likely this is the only time I'll ever post Ludacris. But seriously, the triumphant sample from the He-Man theme song in this tune is just too much for my little-kid-in-the-eighties receptors to resist. They rejoice in the guilty pleasure and I feel like I'm a kid eating cereal in front on the TV on a Saturday morning (even though my little brother was more into He-Man, while I preferred Jem and the Holograms because they were truly, truly, truly outrageous).