Saturday, March 28, 2009

More New Music for March

And here is the rest of the music I have already started spinning this month...
Tina Dico - A Beginning A Detour An Open Ending (2008)
Tina's new CD is a combination of 3 EPs that where sold at her live shows during her last tour. As always, Tina's songwriting is magical. She tells the stories of relationships and friends in a unique and powerful way. I love her words. I love her melodies. I love her voice. The arrangements on these discs are generally simple, leaving it more about Tina, which is just fine for me. She has a voice and a quality about her that can carry a song. If you were already a fan, grab this. If you haven't listened to her yet, there is plenty of music here for you to love. 
Sound of the Blue Heart - Beauty (2006)
The voice is similar to Bowie, but there is a quieter power and passion here. There are some really beautiful songs. Some of them are very sad like "He's Forgotten How to Dream". He also creates a very dark version of "Can't Get it Out of My Head" by Jeff Lynne. This CD is addicting. I think I'll put it on again. 
Damnwells - One Last Century (2009)
Another solid CD from the Damnwells. No amazing songs like "Sleepsinging", but I enjoyed every song on this disc. 
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks Live (2009)
I came within inches of pressing the buy button on this concert at The Hollywood Bowl, but just didn't want to fork out so much money ($600 for two seats). Van's live version of what many consider his greatest album is as powerful today as when he released it well over 30 years ago. This will not disappoint. 
The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Communion (2009)
This Swedish band has captured the joy of classic rock of the 60's and 70's and brought it into the new world. Brilliant arrangements, soaring moments and melodies with great hooks are what they have always been about and this 2 CD set will not disappoint their fans; old and new. 
Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs (2008)
This CD from last year does not sound like a collection of odds and ends (from the later part of his career), but it is. Somehow the songs fit perfectly together creating one of my favorite Dylan CD's in some time. His new CD is due out shortly.
U2 - No Line on the Horizon (2009)
Simply put, this is the best CD U2 has done in years. It captures the spirit and fire of their older material, while still pushing for new sounds. 
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 - Goodnight Oslo (2009)
There is no genre that can hold him. No theme he will back away from. No tune he can't make a hook out of. The great Robyn Hitchcock, with friends from REM and the indie world, puts on a great show here. Excellent CD.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Music for March 2009

The new music this year is already starting to role in. I'm hoping to have this all up and playing by the weekend. And there is more coming. But for now, here are some of the artists I will be playing next week. 
Peter Himmelman - The Mystery and the Hum (2009)
Sometimes bluesy, sometimes rockin',sometimes funny and always intriguing, Peter Himmelman gives us another excellent CD with this digital and vinyl only release. As always, this is intelligent rock with lyrics worth pulling the lyric sheet out. Oh wait, the digital version comes with no lyric sheet. Well, at least you get to chose your price. You can buy this at . This will be on my best of list in 9 months. 
Jill Sobule - California Years (April 14, 2009)
The California years have been good to Jill, with lots of good music here. Jill is an artist that has just never gotten the respect from the press that she deserves. Her new CD continues her recent trend of using a sentence based structure for her lyrics, which actually works since these are more stories than songs. The songs are immediately likable and fun and funny and they just make me want to see her in concert, where she really shines. And the song that shines the most is "San Francisco", about an Asian masseuse who seems trapped in her job and dreams of going to San Francisco some day. "Where is Bobbie Gentry", pulls its melody from "Ode to Billy Joe" and is classic Jill. Even the serious songs leave you smiling. This CD is also famous for being funded by her fans. I believe they got their money's worth. The CD has been distributed to "donors" and will be available to the rest of us in April. 
Graham Isaacson - The Primer EP (2009)
His voice is a cross between Tom Waits and Jon Dee Graham; although not as gravelly as either of them. The music is part singer/songwriter part Americana with just a touch of bluesy jazz here and there; and the melodies are captivating. Definitely someone to check out.
Naomi Sommers - Gentle as the Sun (2008)
This started out as another nice folk/Americana CD. And then song 2, "Hypnotizing" came on. Sounding almost like a female Calexico, the sound gets dreamy and then the combination of Madeline and trumpet grabs you and makes you smile. There are a couple of other songs that are mesmerizing on this CD and combined with the solid songwriting makes this an artist worth watching; and listening to. You can find out more at
Raul Malo - Lucky One (2009)
He can sing the phone book and we'll all give him a standing ovation. Still, it is nice when the songs are actually good. And they sure are on "Lucky One". Most of the songs will take you back to the music of 45 to 50 years ago. This is so much better than his interpreting songs of that era, which is what "After Hours" did. There is an energy here, even on the slow songs. If you've enjoyed Raul or The Mavericks, even a little, you will love this CD. 
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You (2009)
It's a perfect title for this bouncy pop CD. Lily just can't seem to get rid of guys fast enough; although there are some moments of "I'm in love" from these 12 songs. Honestly, I had no intention of buying this CD. But, Angela McCluskey from the Wild Colonials begged her fans to check out her god daughter. And there are some moments when the music moves past the standard dance pop. I love her "Mockney" accent that penetrates the singing and gives the music a bit of an international feel. "Never Gonna Happen" has a gypsy or eastern European style in its opening. For me, the most fun and the first song I will upload will be "F*** You". This bouncy fun song is as cheerful a blow off song as I've ever heard. It has brought smiles to nearly all the faces that I've played it for. 
Paul Vens & Friends - Playing in the Fields (2008)
Beautiful, soft and delicate describe the CD from this Dutch singer/songwriter. At times it almost sounds like Irish folk, but without the accents or fiddle. If you are looking for an artist that can deliver peace to your psyche, Paul Vens' "Playing in the Fields" could be the CD for you. The music is available on ITunes and you can visit his website at

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rami Jaffe's Birthday Bash at the Kibitz Room

Last Tuesday, Jeff, Rich and I showed up at Canter's at around 9pm and hung out for about 45 minutes eating desert and drinking beer. It was Rami Jaffe's birthday and his weekly free jam session at The Kibitz Room, which is attached to Canter's Deli, was guaranteed to attract some interesting performers. Moving into the bar, we could not find a seat and found ourselves watching the Clipper game (they lost). Sometime before 1030, Nicole suddenly showed up. She had been at the other end of the bar with her boyfriend and some old family friends of his. They had their own booth right next to the drum sets. It was great catching up with Nicole. I hadn't seen her in something like 8 years! It is hard to believe time is flying by so fast.

It seemed that half of the people in the crowd were friends of Rami's and most of them seemed to be musicians. Rami was bouncing around shuffling people on and off the stage (I call it a stage because it is where they played, but was really just a couple inch platform that was no more than 10 feet long). The band overflowed the stage with a small drum kit, a pair of bongos, several guitarists, electric keyboards and a Hammond organ. I think it was during the first set that Rami broke the stand for the keyboard. Did I mention that he was bouncing around the bar drinking beer out of a pitcher?

The first set featured Rudy on vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar. Rudy is a friend of Rami's and was really good. I would love to hear more but have no idea who he actually was. Well, Nicole asked Rami as he was bouncing by and he went into a long story that involved his ex and sex and... all we got out of it was that they were old friends.

The second set featured Andy Slater on electric guitar. Andy is/was the CEO of Capital Records and at one time was the manager of the Wallflowers (thank you Nicole for filling me in). It was fun watching them crank it up for a set of Neil Young & Crazyhorse classics, but it would have been more fun had they ventured out a bit more. Everything was pretty sloppy as these were just jam sessions and everyone was expected to just jump in and play. But the energy and power of rock and roll in its purest form was what made it so much fun.

After the second set, everyone in our group decided to go home. I debated with myself for some time. Luckily the rocker in me won and as it closed in on 1am, the payoff for the evening came. As I sat on the top of the booth (since the stage was only a couple of inches high, we were all up on the top of the booths so we could see) a girl sitting next to me asked if I knew who that lady on the stage was. Wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt that zipped up stood the 57 year old Chrissie Hynde. The audience was right in her face as she surveyed the bar. Some woman must have made a comment about wanting her, because Chrissie started talking about being straight. This went on for a bit before she grabbed the microphone with authority, looked out at the crowd and said, "I S*ck C**k"! It seemed from that moment on, she was determined to assert her sexuality; shortly thereafter lifting her t-shirt to expose her bra. She was obviously tired and had probably been partaking in something that made it illegal for her to drive (alcohol or whatever) and that just added to the magic of the evening. Singing off key with a band that was good but very rough since they weren't masters of her songs, Chrissie and band hammered through a 4 song set that included: Tattooed Love Boys, Mystery Achievement, Break up the Concrete and Brass in Pocket. Any flaws were easily overwhelmed by the shear energy and excitement of the moment. Near the end of the set Chrissie started molesting some guy and as the last song ended laid a huge lip lock on him. Then, grabbing her manager's hand, she zipped through the crowd and was gone.

I hung out a bit longer, but decided it wasn't going to get any better than this and by 1:45 I was out of there (in bed by 3am). It was a great evening. It was fun hanging with Rich and Jeff again and of course getting to see Nicole after so many years was a treat. Next time I do this though, there will be no 8am meeting waiting for me the next day. It sure was a long week after that. 

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen