Bob Dylan Live – Love Minus Zero/No Limit

Rare footage from 1971 at Madison Square Garden . . . this is a pretty good version.

  

Mikey’s Playlist Mashup

It’s funny how we learn about new music today in the digital world. I haven’t quite turned in my music journalism card yet, so I receive many pitches for new and established artists. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a music publicist–so I won’t pimp my own artists in this spot. So besides those press releases, I hear about new artists through my clients, through other taste makers like Val’s List and Bob Lefsetz and Kings of A&R. I hear about great music from trusted friends. I hear stuff from colleagues repping cool new acts. I hear songs on TV shows or in movies, or on the radio through bumper music (but almost never from the actual radio anymore). And occasionally from online radio stations. That’s it. It’s amazing how music will find its way into our ears and onto our hard drives now. And speaking of that, I had better purge my iTunes a bit before my PC explodes. Meanwhile, here are some things I’m listening to that you should check out if you feel so inclined.

“Skeleton” by The Good Natured–If you’re a fan of synth-driven ’80’s pop, this title track to the British group’s 2011 EP will take you back to those days a bit, while sounding like it could work on today’s Top 40 radio–whatever that may be. I found this group through a pitch from their publicist, who is pimping their new single, “Video Voyeur.” Now, that video will surely take you back to the early MTV days.

“Celebrate Tonight” by Allen Stone–One of my clients opened for this kid, who really came out of nowhere. He’s a scrawny Seattle-bred white kid with an old school R&B soul. Kind of like Daryl Hall, who took Stone in for a “Live from Daryl’s House” session that literally gives me goosebumps when I see and hear it. The best part is seeing the unbridled joy on Stone’s face as Daryl plays along and sings with him.

“Show and Tell” by Sugar & The Hi-Lows–Nashville singer/songwriters Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup collaborate here for some pure magic–beautiful melody, arrangement, and a soaring yet lo-fi harmony drenched chorus. It also has a mild ’70’s vibe ala Josh Rouse’s 1972 album (sorry, I have a penchant for music from past decades!).

“Almost Blue” by Joseph Arthur–This guy’s music follows me around, and it’s sheer brilliance. And this past week he released a new double album on his website, available for free download (though there is no way I’m not hitting the “donate” button–I want Joseph Arthur to make music until he’s 80).

“Sweetheart Like You” by World Party–Their new Arkeology set (releasing next Tuesday April 10) is 70 tracks deep and features old songs, new songs, covers, live recordings and more. The World Party fan in your life just has to have this. This song is a Bob Dylan cover that singer Karl Wallinger spins his own way, and it winds up sounding like it jumped off of The New Radicals’ only (and genius) album from 1998.

“Drumming Song” by Florence + The Machine–There is something purely intoxicating about Florence + the Machine, and this song embodies that desire to get drunk with her voice and music, as well as the booming percussion. That said, you just have to check out this acoustic video from KEXP–there is no auto-tune, no slick production–mostly Florence’s positively sick vocals out front.

“Please Stay Strong” by Stolen Silver–I guess it’s okay for me to talk about a band put together with members from a former client band of mine? Well, I just did. These guys have an incredible acoustically driven, harmony-rich sound with some killer songs.

“Forget the Diamonds” by Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer–Just like Sugar & The Hi-Lows above, this duo makes magic together. It’s Americana, yet really it’s just haunting and melodic music that you will find really hard to stop listening to.

“Wine Dark Sea” by Daniel Tashian–Tashian is one of those under-the-radar Nashville cats who I’m certain writes insanely sweet melodies in his sleep. The front man for The Silver Seas steps aside with a solo project here, but it’s really an extension of his band, and something that will tide this big fan over until the next Seas release.

Okay, so I just realized that I could do this all day. But maybe I should save it and do this more often. What do you think? Hit me up here, or on Facebook or Twitter. And thanks for hanging out in my music room for a bit.

  

Or, The Whale: Or, The Whale


RIYL: The Jayhawks, The Parson Red Heads, Wilco

Note to Alison Krauss and Bob Dylan: give Or, The Whale a call next time you’re looking for a hot young opening band to help carry your Americana torch. Indeed, a tinge of that days-of-old feeling permeates the sweet, harmony-laden sounds of San Francisco’s rising alt-country starlets in Or, The Whale. On the band’s self-titled second album, steel and acoustic guitars provide the rural flavor, and the vocals of Lindsay Garfield, bassist Justin Fantil, keyboardist Julie Ann Thomasson and guitarists Alex Robins and Matt Sartain seal the deal. They lead, coalesce, and otherwise intertwine in ways that suggest a deep down happiness that transcends the heartbreaking subject matter, like the agoraphobe in “Never Coming Out” and dead dog lament “Datura.” These are all fine and dandy, but the album’s clincher is the slow building centerpiece “Count the Stars,” where sound, feel and execution meet to achieve a harmonious balance that rivals the one inherent in the band’s own vocal strength. (Seany 2009)

Or, The Whale MySpace

  

Bob Dylan wants you to make a U-turn

I have a GPS system. I spent the better part of an afternoon setting it up and figuring out how to operate the thing. Unfortunately, I had lost the mantle that sticks to your windshield, which is the safe and suggested place for the system. As a result, I would hold it up to my ear like a seashell, trying to keep my eyes on road. Still, I’d want to listen to music, thereby drowning out the voice, so I would quickly try to glance at the screen to find out where I would have to turn. Whatever I was doing, I’m sure it was highly illegal, but I can proudly say that I have found the mantle. When I get around to it, I’ll install it.

Anyway, the woman on my system, named “Samantha,” is very robotic. She seems very frigid and often gives the next direction a little too late, as if she wants me to get lost. Thankfully, one of the sharpest and well-traveled individuals alive today, Bob Dylan, is in talks with lending his voice to a GPS system.

You know I don’t usually like to tell people what I’m doing, but I’m talking to a couple of car companies about the possibility of being the voice of their GPS system,” he disclosed.

Motorists who follow Dylan’s directions, however, may take some time to reach their destination. “I think it would be good if you are looking for directions and you heard my voice saying something like, ‘Left at the next street…. No, right… You know what? Just go straight.” He added: “I probably shouldn’t do it because whichever way I go, I always end up at one place – Lonely Avenue.”

Dylan, 66, would not be the first celebrity to lend his voice to a GPS system. TomTom, the sat-nav manufacturer, currently offers the voices of Homer Simpson and John Cleese, while Kim Cattrall, the Sex and the City actress, and The A Team actor Mr T are also popular among British motorists.

How cool would it be if, when you were on specific highway or arriving at a certain city, Dylan would launch into an old story relevant to the location? I doubt I’m the only one who would appreciate this feature. Oh well, maybe in later model.

  

Cameron Matthews: green. blue. white.

Twenty-year-old Cameron Matthews is not much for pop hooks, but he sure has a gift for understated lo-fi beauty, not to mention confident, uncluttered vocals. Playing less like an album and more like a collection of his 15 latest musical loves, green. blue. white. effortlessly glides from the ‘50s R&B style of “Today I Love You,” to a the domestic Dylan exercise “Bungalow,” to the humorously titled but no less seriously excellent “Give You Up For Lent,” and even that “through the telephone” spooky blues effect on “Make it Rain.” The album really starts to approach classic touches by the fifth song and never looks back, culminating in the 6/4 rocker “Mirror” that channels Jeff Buckley filtered through Joseph Arthur in a jam with his bandmates – bassist Patrick Crecelius, drummer Danny Sher and guitarist Nicholas Risler – that breathes with the kind of dynamics one expects from veteran professionals. This talented Midwestern kid sounds like he has an earth-shattering album slowly gestating inside of him, and if green. blue. white. is any indication, he’s well on his way there. The fact that he’s more of a natural singer than most indie rockers will surely work in his favor in the long run. (self-released 2008)

Cameron Matthews MySpace page

  

Related Posts