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 – Quantity > Quality Edition

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.

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New Music for Old Rockers – Summer Bummer Concert Edition

I’ve enjoyed a most excellent concert year and spent most of my summer doing this …

headbanging_waynes_world

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 …

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New Music for Old Rockers – Rage Against Age Concert Edition

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 …

Smithereens Springfield

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 …

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New Music for Old Rockers – Covering Covers Edition

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 …

Hasselhoff

Full story and music video follows. The music video is creepily worth the price of clicking to read on.

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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 – July Concertpalooza Edition – Part 2

My July Concertpalooza rolls on with another FREE show, the third freebie in a row. I received free concert tickets from the world’s greatest radio station, 93.1 WXRT in Chicago, to see Heart and Sheryl Crow play Chicago this past week. Neither act is very musically-relevant anymore except in a historical context (Heart definitely being rock ground-breakers as the first hugely successful female-fronted band), but both acts are still making new music, hence this tour.

But before Sheryl Crow took the stage, there was a young opening act. I think she started playing right before we parked the car, and then finished before we took our seats. It was a very long walk from where we parked.

Ours were decent $69 seats (thanks ‘XRT!), but we did have to sit a couple rows behind the guy who likes Five Finger Death Punch AND Heart. That’s quite a range of musical tastes. Crow1

His wife had sunglasses on the whole show, even after dark, and looked a lot like one of the party-goers in this pic from the Rocky Horror Picture Show …

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