New Music for Old Rockers – Less is Not More Beck Hyperspace Edition

I have grown to really like and appreciate Beck’s music as time has passed, enough to actually go see him put on a great live show this summer. I was anxious for his new album Hyperspace to be released after hearing the first song from the album, “Saw Lightning” that dropped over the summer. That song is a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, and it took a while, but it grew on me. I like songs that grab me and pull me toward the speaker or are so melodic that they cause me to sing along. My family prefers I get pulled to the speaker rather than the latter.

I started my listening relationship tentatively with “Saw Lightning.” At first, I took some baby steps toward the speaker, but eventually ran to it. But not so much with his second release from the album “Uneventful Days.” It’s a dreamy and ethereal tune, floating from the speaker to lull me into wanting to be in an elevator heading up to the 17th floor of a nondescript office building on Main Street in Anytown, USA. It doesn’t pull me to the speaker or make me want to sing along. It’s not a bad song, just … uneventful. And I find the music video to be a bit depressing.

The whole album is more minimalist than Beck’s 2017 release Colors which just roars from the speakers with layered perfection. Hyperspace has some decent tunes like “Star” and “Die Waiting,” but none that make me want to turn up the volume and shush whoever I’m with.  I’m just not sure if I can stay awake between the moderately decent tracks to get to them. It’s not like it’s a bad album. Beck breaks new ground with his new sound once again. Illinois legalizes recreational pot on January 1st. I think I may enjoy this album a lot more after a few edibles on New Year’s Day.

I feel bad about not sharing some cool new song, so I’ll close by offering up Sturgill Simpson’s new country rocker called “Sing Along,” complete with wild cartoon video.

Makes me want to get in the car, roll down the windows (brrr!), crank this tune, and speed just enough that the cops allow it without pulling me over.

New Music for Old Rockers – Special Edition of Best Concert Ever?

The opportunity while on a business trip to see Spoon, Cage the Elephant, and Beck in one concert on their Night Running Tour was too tempting for me to resist. This is arguably the best concert tour of the summer. I paid more than I like to usually pay for my concerts, which is zero. But the opportunity to see 4 excellent acts in one concert was like going to a mini-music festival. That’s right, 4 acts. Wild Belle opened the show. I passed on Wild Belle and took a nap and swim at my La Quinta hotel within walking distance of the concert venue. By the way, La Quinta is Spanish for The Quinta. You’re welcome for the translation.

As I walked to the outdoor venue, I could hear Spoon starting their set. I could have pulled up a chair outside and heard the show for free. This blog feature is about new music, and Spoon was playing their new single “No Bullets Spent” from their Greatest Hits album just released. Ugh. Why do bands insist on adding bad songs to their greatest hit compilations? I refuse to include a link to this sub-standard new Spoon song. Instead, if you are unfamiliar with Spoon, enjoy “The Underdog” which got me hooked on Spooning.

Spoon’s stage was spartan and looked like it was missing a knife and fork.

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I did feel like a bad guy when seeing this made me happy. Continue reading

New Music for Old Rockers – Concert Preview Decision Edition

There has been lots of good new music recently, getting me ready for my planned summer concerts. Here’s a look at recent releases as I try and catch up a bit.

This first song is actually an old song sporting a new piano arrangement, and features a duet with a dead legend.

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The Day the Music Died – Part 1, Saturday

There is a line in Don McLean’s song, American Pie, about “the day the music died.” For me, it should have been “the days the music died” which perfectly described this past weekend for me. My 2018 concert summer experience was just showing signs of life with September concerts by Cheap Trick and Rare Earth. This past Saturday, I had a chance to make 2018 a memorable concert summer.

Chicago is a city chock full o’ of summer music festivals, and Riot Fest came to town this past weekend. No, it is not a celebration of the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago between riots. It’s an incredible 3-day music festival. I could have seen Weezer headline Friday night, and I thought it would be cool on Sunday to see Debbie Harry bring Blondie to Riot Fest to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of their great album Parallel Lines. But I couldn’t believe the line-up of artists I could see on Saturday. I could spend about 7 hours there in music heaven wandering from stage to stage to see favorites. Take a look at this line-up …

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