I’ve never been much of a Pearl Jam fan. I like some of their music, but it really never moved me much. Pearl Jam is officially 30 years old this year, and their last album was released in 2013 to modest reviews, so I figured they had packed it in as a band. Oops, was I wrong. Welcome, Gigaton, due to be released in March. If the rest of the album is like the first 2 songs made available, then watch out.
“Dance of the Clairvoyants” was the first song released and it definitely cooks with propane. Take a listen.
Love the bass line and drumming that drive this song forward with a vengance. And just when I thought the song was ready to end as a tight 3 minute tune, the song morphs into a dreamy jam for a tasty ending.
WARNING: Dad joke ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
I was in a fit of pique Tuesday night over Trump’s potential war with Iran. I felt like that was the last straw. I was done with the USA. Sure, I will be on the ballot in Spring of 2020 as a candidate for Democratic Precinct Committeperson. But do I really want to live in a country that would elect me for any position?
First things first though. I needed to get my middle daughter up to Milwaukee for some dance thing in preparation for her dancing in Milwaukee over the summer. Yes, she’s majoring in dance in college. That’s the good news. The bad news is that she’s returning to college for a fifth year so she can also major in history. I’m not sure if she plans to be a dancing historian or a historical dancer.
After dumping my daughter off in downtown Milwaukee, my first sightseeing stop was the Arthur Fonzarelli statue. Who, you ask? That would be Fonzie from the old Happy Days television show, as portrayed by actor Henry Winkler. I’d love to show the selfie I took with The Fonz, but I couldn’t find the statue. In fairness, I didn’t look hard and didn’t leave the car. So as not to disappoint this blog’s readers (as if I could disappoint you even more than normal), here’s a pic I found on the internet.
Looks fun … until you get close. Take a look.
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.
There is just so much good new music recently that I decided that rather than taking a deep dive into one song, I would wade into the shallows of multiple songs. Let’s get started!
I don’t like rap music. The closest I could ever cozy up to rap music was enjoying the hip hop of the Beastie Boys. How can anyone not like the pure camp of the BB? But the Beastie Boys are definitely not rap. Earlier this year when I was considering if I should go to an Anderson East concert, my oldest son advised me that the only good musical artist named Anderson was a rapper named Anderson.Paak. That is definitely not true. Besides Anderson East, there is the Anderson Council and their psychedelic sounds. Groovy.
So, who’s Anderson.Paak and what’s up with the period between his names? I never investigated either. But than I saw him recently on Jimmy Kimmel singing this excellent song with the great Smokey Robinson.
Now that’s a good tune and a nice homage to Smokey’s sound. I tried to explore more of .Paak’s (do I include the period with his first or last name?) music, and I found him to be too sweary for my taste. But he did prove with this song that as far as his music goes, he can definitely make it better.
1 down. Ready for 3 more? Let’s go.
I’ve enjoyed a most excellent concert year and spent most of my summer doing this …
Which I have to admit was sort of weird when I went to the symphony.
I tempted fate and tried to sneak in one more concert last week before summer ended. It was a deal I couldn’t refuse. I was in St. Louis “on business” again. My evening was my own. Once again, a major music act was not selling concert tickets for their stop in St. Louis. That is not unusual. I received an email with good seats being offered at much lower prices than the cheap, nosebleed seats I had been eyeing. I also had a couple Ticketmaster vouchers worth a few bucks. In the end, I think this is the only time I have ever seen this on my ticket receipt …
I’m old. However, somehow I have put together my best concert year ever in 2019, although with some concessions to age. I missed driving 3+ hours to see the Smithereens perform recently at Abe Fest …
Thank God. Although I love those 80’s/90’s rockers and have wanted to see them for years now, I didn’t want to see them enough to drive to Springfield to freakin’ Abe Fest. Regardless, I waited a bit too long, and their lead vocalist passed away a couple years ago. Enter 80’s power popper Marshall Crenshaw to take over vocal duties. I thought it was an odd combination of upbeat vocals from Crenshaw for brooding Smithereen songs like “Blood and Roses.” I had to find out for myself.
I saw that the Smithereens were playing an outdoor festival gig just outside Chicago last Friday. Would the wife approve of my going? Yes! But under one condition. She didn’t want me to drag her to Skokie to see them. It’s a deal! I was flying solo.
The Smithereens/Crenshaw amalgam looked and sounded great in suburban Chicago …
Can someone please tell me the point of song covers that sound like the original? I don’t get it. When I first heard Weezer’s cover of Toto’s “Africa” last summer, I had to check first to see if it was a cover and not just a remix of the original. What is the point? I did get to hear that excellent song on the radio again, but I would have been happy to have heard the original played more frequently last summer.
It is true that I nominated Lana Del Rey’s cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time” as this year’s Song of the Summer. It is significantly different from the original. And that voice of hers … just divine. But then I was driving with my oldest daughter who is a huge Kate Bush fan, when Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” came on the radio. My daughter was initially happy to hear it until we identified it being sung by a Kate Bush impersonator named Meg Myers with an identical-sounding version. Why? I will admit the video is kind of cool, but Kate Bush’s voice > Meg Myer’s voice. Sorry, Meg.
And now we get this news …
Full story and music video follows. The music video is creepily worth the price of clicking to read on.