Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Listening- Counting Crows

Where were you in 1993?

It can be hard to remember a year.  It can be difficult to pull from your memory banks what specifically happened to you in a given month in a given year.  So, let me rephrase the question.

Where were you when Mr. Jones, Round Here, Rain King and A Murder of One were always on in the background?  When you heard lyrics like "I wanted to see you, walking away from me, without the sensation of you leaving me alone" (Time and Time Again)?  Chances are, thinking of one of these songs will conjure up specific memories, or vague feelings and emotions from that time in your life.  That's what music does- it can bubble up to the surface of your consciousness things you haven't thought of in years, feelings you missed feeling-or perhaps never wanted to feel again.

August and Everything After, the first and breakthrough album by the Counting Crows, was first released in 1993 and provided the soundtrack for many of us for the following year.  It has also, for many a Counting Crows fan, become an album that rarely leaves our normal rotation, evolving into the soundtrack for many of these years since its initial release.

In 2007, the Counting Crows performed August and Everything After live, in its entirety, at Town Hall in New York City.  This performance was recorded for a live DVD and CD, out today.

Here's a sneak peek at what's on the DVD- Adam Duritz at his best.  You can also listen to the full album, streaming now over at AOL's Full CD Listening Party HERE.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Listening- Laura Marling

I first heard Laura Marling's "Sophia" on Sirius XM's "The Spectrum".  It has quickly burrowed itself into my subconscious and become one of those songs that I become obsessive about until I can hear it again, and again, and again.  Laura Marling, an English folk singer evocative of Joni Mitchell (see: Both Sides Now), is not a new artist.  She was part of the original lineup of indie band Noah and The Whale.  Her new album, A Creature I Don't Know, is coming out on Sept. 12th and is her third album since 2008.  Only 21 years of age, her sound has an old-soul feel of folk music from another time with a modern update.  She's been nominated for two Mercury Awards, and has already won "Best British Female" at the Brit Awards.

Did I mention she's only 21?

Here's "Sophia"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Weight

I'm not sure what's going on with the Interwebs, but "The Weight" by The Band is everywhere today.  On the music breeze today was the Win Butler (Arcade Fire)/ Mavis Staples (of The Staples Singers) cover of "The Weight" this weekend at Outside Lands in SF. Rightly so, check it out HERE.

Perhaps I should look into the deeper meaning of "The Weight" being suddenly ubiquitous today in case the universe is trying to tell me something.  Or, perhaps the music gods are just reminding of this amazing song, as evidenced by all the great covers I stumbled upon today (and I love a good cover).   Check out this list from Cover Me Songs

(Click HERE to listen)- with covers of "The Weight" by:

Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations
The Gaslight Anthem
Panic! At the Disco
Elvis Costello & The Impostors
Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge

You may notice when you view the list that Cover Me Songs gave the version from "It Might Get Loud" with The Edge, Jack White, and Jimmy Page an honorable mention and I will have to respectfully disagree.  I was also a little surprised by the Travis version- I had never heard it before and for some reason expected it to be a little more 'bringin it home'; but as I listened I was reminded that this type of vibe is what Travis does best, giving "The Weight" a different feel completely.

Named #46 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, "The Weight" spawned some other great covers:

Grateful Dead & Allman Brothers

And this soulful version by Aretha:

Here's a great version with Levon Helm from The Band and The Black Crowes:

Not too shabby for a song that only peaked at #63.  Not too shabby.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hollywood Nights

There's just something about California.

When this country headed west in search of the American Dream, it forever tied California with the notion that anything can happen if you put your mind to it.  That dreams can actually come true.

Los Angeles has been a microcosm of the human experience since its inception- all the heartache, pride, tragedy, love, pain, and drama a human can feel.  Its a place full of hope and promise and life.  Its also a place of broken dreams, broken hearts, lost souls and everything in between.

The City of Angels has never had a shortage of stories to tell.  Its no wonder there are so many songs written about it.  Here are a few of those stories.

Hollywood Nights- Bob Seger
"He spent all night staring down at the lights of LA wondering if he could ever go home"

Blue Jay Way- The Beatles
"There's a fog upon LA and my friends have lost their way"

California- Joni Mitchell
"California I'm comin home oh will you take me as I am"

Tiny Dancer- Elton John
"Blue jean baby LA lady"

Ventura Highway- America
"Ventura Highway in the sunshine, where the days are longer the nights are stronger than moonshine"

Free Fallin'- Tom Petty
"I wanna glide down over Mulholland, I wanna write her name in the sky"

In Your Atmosphere (LA Song)- John Mayer
"I don't think I'm gonna go to LA anymore, I get lost on the boulevard at night"

Lullaby- Shawn Mullins
"Now she feels safe in this bar on Fairfax, but from the stage I can tell that she can't let go and she can't relax"

Sad Cafe- The Eagles
(written about the legendary Troubadour in LA)
"Oh it seemed a holy place protected by Amazing Grace"

Hotel California- The Eagles
"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cool Music Stuff on the Internet - Band of Horses, Foster the People, Bon Iver, Glen Hansard, Coldplay, Trent Reznor

Band of Horses performs on Letterman (via Stereogum) HERE

Foster The People cover "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young (loooove those covers!) (via PMA Blog) HERE

Bon Iver's live performance from the 9:30 Club in DC (via NPR Music) streaming HERE

A whole bunch of Glen Hansard performances (via Order in the SoundHERE

Coldplay performs some new songs on Kimmel (via IdolatorHERE

A preview of Trent Reznor's score for Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (via You Ain't No Picasso) HERE

Monday, August 8, 2011

Take Me To The Edge

In honor of The Edge's 50th birthday today, feast your eyes and ears on this:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cool Music Stuff on the Internet - U2, 30 Seconds to Mars, Amos Lee, Bon Iver

We all know how much I love a good cover.  Here's a shockingly good cover of "Where the Streets Have No Name" by 30 Seconds to Mars:

Amos Lee live in concert at the Newport Folk Festival (via NPR Music) HERE

Also from NPR Music, Bon Iver streaming live in concert on TUESDAY HERE

Best albums of 2011 so far (via PMA) HERE

We opened with U2 today, let's close it out with some U2 doing their signature sign-off song, "40" at the last show of their years-long U2 360 Tour (via Rolling Stone) HERE