Monday, December 31, 2012

Dylan Cover #68 The Byrds "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The last cover (for now) to be examined is "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere". 
Thoughts on Original:
A great tune from the amazing Basement Tapes and one of the most well known from those sessions the song has a down homespun country feel to it. Great lyrics from Dylan that span the globe, seeming worldly yet still remaining down home, familial and countryfied. A good tune that surprised us when we recently saw Dylan open his Brooklyn show with it.    
Cover:

Thoughts on The Band:
We have been talking about the band a lot and as you can see in that video this is a band that changed considerably throughout their life-cycle.  Reading the comments the hardcore fans can't even seem to agree who is actually playing during this Playboy After Dark TV airing.  One member who we haven't talked about is Gram Parsons whose presence at this time helped spur the band into that country rock direction and moved rock and roll as a whole out of the psychedelic sixties and into the rootsie early seventies. What surprised me most about Parsons was in reading Life finding out just how close his friendship with Keith Richards was. That was an excellent time to be a musician....Granted it didn't last long as Parsons died when he was only 26.          
Thoughts on Cover:
Instrumental in the scope of popular music at the time, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was the lead song on The Byrds monumental Sweetheart Of The Rodeo albumWith the loss of Crosby and Michael Clarke the band went full on country behind Parsons and crafted a gorgeous album.  The cover typifies this with it's steel guitar sound eclipsing the jangle of McGuinn's 12 string as the band moves from sunny California to the heart of country Nashville and use Dylan's tune as it's guide. This was the first offical release of the song, as is not many people had the original to judge it by.  In hindsight it sticks pretty close to the source adding that pedal steel lead as great addition.  A fantastic version, we end our look at the Byrds covering Dylan on a high note.   
Grade A+

Friday, December 28, 2012

Album Review: Neil Young with Crazy Horse -Psychedelic Pill

Neil Young with Crazy Horse
Psychedelic Pill
*** out of *****

Rarely does an opening song define an album, and maybe it is being a bit simplistic, but "Driftin' Back" is such a large entity it will dominate ones feelings about the newest Neil Young with Crazy Horse disk, Psychedelic Pill.

Running 27 minutes and 37 seconds the track is longer then most full albums these days, its lyrics stay close to the title and find a singer/band/generation grumpy.  There is a distinction between being grumpy and pissed though; the players involved seem to take time passing them buy with grudging acceptance not the vitriol you might expect.  The guitars don't snarl, tons of meandering takes place, the drums never fire and give it a break if you think the bass does more then provide the heartbeat; this is Crazy Horse after all. The track feels odd and muted on all fronts yet alluring with what could have been.  What could have been was a magnificent album had the opening track found its way onto a future B-side archive release from the band rather then fronting their most recent effort.

After "Driftin' Back" Young and his all-time best collaborators hit a familiar groove.  There are short rallying cries via the title track, groovy hippy folk with a stomping spice for "Twisted Road" and a shout out to the groups hometown with "Born In Ontario".  All of these are enjoyable, familiar NY&CH yet fresh enough to engage.  

The group finds it's best interplay when they spread their wings on Young's tale of dissolving love/addiction "Ramada Inn" and the whistling stomp/riffage that is "Walk Like A Giant". Both tunes can recall the group at its best, think retirement-aged versions of "Down By The River" and "Cowgirl In The Sand".  It might seem like high praise but it is warranted with the patented guitar interplay, gorgeous group harmony and burning sense of wonder around every musical break. While not as magical as the originals both efforts still show the outfit has lots of gas (or solar power for Neil's cars?) to keep the journey going on and on.

Which brings us back to the inclusion and placement of "Driftin' Back".  While not an out and out stinker it just seems bizarre to front load an album with a track that doesn't go much of anywhere when other efforts here are really solid and proud to be in the NY&CH cannon.  While Neil notoriously hates new technology at least you can easily press skip and save yourself a half hour and then bite into the rest of this Psychedelic Pill.        
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Neil Young and Crazy Horse are high on RtBE's all-time favorites list, and this year gave us some ups and downs with the best garage band in history.  We loved the band live, while were letdown what should have been a winning combo in Americana. Psychedelic Pill falls somewhere in the middle of things. Not earth shattering, but not a disappointment.  Good, not great. Anyway, support the artist here, buy the album here and peep some samples below:      
"Ramada Inn"

"Psychedelic Pill"

"Walk Like A Giant" Live from the show we caught a month ago at MSG

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year In Review 2012 - Top Ten Albums - Part 3 (5-1)

Another great year is finishing up for Rock The Body Electric and we wouldn't be a proper music blog if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so without further verbiage RtBE Presents it's third part of the Best of 2012 Top Ten Albums (5-1):
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read it.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the all the way through.

2012 was an great year, this top 5 is rock solid (as is all the ones we have mentioned so far) and worth plunking down the cheese to own the full length releases from all of these artists, some you will def know and maybe 1 or 2 you haven't heard of yet.

Without further hubbub click the read more link down there to see #5-#1 of the Top Ten Albums of 2012:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Christmas with some Jingle Bell Rockin' Trombone

Earlier this year we saw a posting from one of RtBE's favorite's Trombone Shorty that lead us to discover Thomas Wiggin's, aka TJ Trombone. Thomas is a young Trombone blower and slider from England with a love for NOLA, which immediately proves he has great taste.  We recently received a message from Thomas's camp with this Christmas performance of the holiday classic "Jingle Bell Rock" and RtBE are only to happy to share it today:   

Happy Christmas to you too Thomas.  Keep up the great work, we enjoy it immensely. 

Stay tuned into RtBE tomorrow as we present our final part of our Best of 2012 series, Albums 5-1.  

Full Emmet Otter's Jugband Show!!!

So every month we have searched the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts posted to the channel.  This is our last one in this series, but fear not, we are upping the ante come 2013.  We have more planned for followers of the blog so it is exciting, with that in mind we present our last full show of the year, and we cheated, it's not a full show, it's just a collection of all the songs from RtBE's all time favorite holiday tradition..Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas!!!!!

Since as far back as we can remember we have loved this Jim Henson special, Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas is a pure joy, "Look at the Birds...Up in the Trees" "We're not birds, we're a Jug Band!". We used to run around the house singing "Ain't No Hole In The Wash Tub" and having a blast.  Why not present some of these songs for the season, I hope you had a Happy Holiday, You can grab it here, and enjoy the tunes below:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dylan Cover #67 The Byrds- "Chimes Of Freedom"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The next cover to be examined is "Chimes Of Freedom". 

Thoughts on Original:
This song is a giant one in Bob's catalog, but it has always been one of the classic Dylan anthems that never really struck a chord with RtBE.  For some reason when we talk about Dylan moving from protest singer to full on song writer, this is the tune that comes to mind. It seems to be stuck between those two worlds and the version on Another Side Of Bob Dylan just doesn't connect on many levels. I may be in the minority but this has never been a great Dylan song in my eyes...which in-turn does make it ripe to cover...  
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Band:
We have discussed a lot about the group, and still have more to say next week, but for now lets give props to the one constant of the Byrds, Roger McGuinn.  Puffy hair and square glasses was his 60's image but he has also aged gracefully. His playing style and vocal work has defined the Byrds through all their incarnations and helped influence generations of singer songwriters.  We here at RtBE are heavily into Dylan's Rolling Thunder touring days and it is noticeable that McGuinn was present and performed during some of these.  His song "Chestnut Mare", which he wrote with fellow Dylan collaborator Jacques Levy, was always a highlight from the bootlegs that we have of that tour.     
Thoughts on Cover:
McGuinn plays heavily on this cover as well spicing up the song with a fantastic guitar introduction, immediately raising it above the original. The band holds this cover in high esteem and if you haven't heard the story about David Crosby and this one give it a read here. The band's harmonies are as always gorgeous and help the song along, it must be said it is a good version, in RtBE's opinion an improvement to the original, just not the most compelling song to our ears...
Grade: A    

Friday, December 21, 2012

Album Review: Black Swan Runners -An Aside

Hey all,

Got a new review up on Glide.

You can read it right c'here!!!

It is of Black Swan Runners first release An Aside.

An Aside? An A Side?  hmm nice work with that title.

Not much more to add below you can find a youtube clip of one of the better tunes on the disk, called "West of the Ten" which upon re-listening to it has a Frightened Rabbit feel to it.  Which reminds me I need to review their EP soon.   

Here are a few more streaming tunes:


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Album Review: Titus Andronicus- Local Business

Titus Andronicus
Local Business
*** out of *****

Coming out of the gate the verbose New Jersey Pub/Punk/Rock band sounds exhilarating, as if they are still flying high off of 2010's fantastic release The Monitor, unfortunately the band can't keep up the energy or goodwill throughout the 10 tracks of Local Business.

The pluses on this disk smack you in the face from the first notes. The new lineup (Guitarist Amy Klein and bassist Ian Graetzer have left the band) explodes with a 3 song segueing suite of pitch perfect power punk influenced by your local watering holes dead dreams and cheap drinks.   

The trio of "Ecce Homo", "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter" and "Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus" are close to perfect, screaming about the insanity that is life over crashes (pyhsical and mental) and verbose offerings from main Andronici Patrick Stickles.

"Ecce Homo" (the title alone makes us love this band, Pontius Pilot anyone?) attacks the randomness and insanity that is day to day existence while "Still Life..." flashes transformative piano runs and strutting riffs.  "Upon Viewing..." is a jangling 50's car crash anthem injected with punk energy that updates it to modern times closing out the triumphant opening trio.

After the brief instrumental surf rock of the palette cleansing "Food Fight" the B side to this album begins to show some flaws. "Eating Disorder" is a rocking 3 minute tune that is stretched out well beyond its breaking point finishing at over 8 minutes.  The metallic breakdown midway through and the repeated shouting simply doesn't add anything and after the fantastic album intro the disk begins to stall.

The single "In A Big City" tries to kick start things with massive riffs and call-to-arms beating drums before a climatic chorus. A jumbled effort that still feels honest and alive in it's finale, and what seems crucial at this point, is brief.  "In A Small Body" however is even more disjointed and unravels due to overindulgence, a problem that effects the final three songs here.  There is certainly a good simple folk song in there somewhere but it seems like Patrick and company just can't get out of their own way to end the disk. 

"(I Am The) Electric Man" is laughable and "Tried to Quit Smoking" is the final example of taking things just too far and becoming increasingly indulgent.  On the bands past releases there has been a sense of wanting to start the album over and relive it all after the disk ends; this is not the case with Local Business.  Had the the first four songs (and possibly the first 3 minutes of "Eating Disorder") been released by themselves, you would have a perfect EP; as it is the full length leaves me wanting.  The band still is more intriguing and engaging then the majority of groups today but some editorial reigning in is needed next outing.
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That last line could prove difficult...Titus Andronicus is at their best when Patrick goes off and takes the audience and band with him.  Cascading wordy lines with riffs galore for the listener to be bombarded with...toning that down doesn't seem to work, but the 8 and nine minute musical wanderings here are really disappointing once the vocab stops. 

A mix bag of an album; half great, half I probably won't go back to, from a band that RtBE loves (we should have ranked The Monitor even higher in retrospect we would probably rank it 3rd from 2010) and will always check out.  Buy the album here, Catch the band live here, and peep a sample below:
"In A Big City"
           
"Still Life with Hot Deuce on  Silver Platter" Live in the Local Business Series:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Year In Review 2012- Top Ten Albums Part 2 (10-6)

Here is Part 2 of RtBE's Year in Review of 2012.  (Part 1 was here if you missed it) Today we venture into our Top Ten List of Best Albums for 2012.
In the instance that RtBE have reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review, just click on the Band name and title to get there.  RTBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the full way through.

After the jump you will see our list for numbers 10-6, this year was fantastic for full releases, other years all of these could be considered top 5 material or better.  These are all excellent and worth your hard earned money and hard drive space, so without further ado Click that read more link.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year In Review 2012- Favorite Live Show of 2012

The live show is a slippery thing.  There are lots of variables at play most having little to do with the performance itself.  Does the venue have enough bathrooms?  Is it going to rain?  What day of the week is it on?  Did I have a shitty day at work before hand?  Did tickets cost waaay too much? All of this effects one's opinion of a live show before the band even tunes up and with reason, but when the stars align, there is no place RtBE would rather be then in the moment of magic occurring spontaneously from the stage.

Live Music Has No Equal.   

RtBE and Friends actually at a Live Show
While we can't see every show that is out there we try our hardest to see as many as we can (and more then most) here at RtBE.  Sure there are a few left, we have Phish at the Garden, but for now here is a listing of of the best concerts we were fortunate enough to have seen in 2012, and one show at the bottom that took the top prize as this RtBE's 2012 Show of the Year. To continue our Best of 2012 just click that Read More button and get started

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dylan Cover #66 The Byrds- "All I Really Want To Do"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The next cover to be examined is "All I Really Want To Do". 

Thoughts on Original:
This song made Dylan leaving the "cause" and "topical songs" behind easier for his hardcore fans to swallow, because really, how can anyone dislike this song?  Simple, playful, loving, sly..."All I Really Want To Do Has it All". Oh and he left nothing behind, in fact he opened up a world of music for the world to experience, be inspired from, and enjoy, long after he is gone.   
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Band:
We have already talked a bit about the band...so how about a quick video about how David Crosby left?
  
Outrageous?  You don't say....
Thoughts on Cover:
An immensely popular cover version of an easily likeable tune, the second single from the band and not surprisingly their second Bob Dylan cover as the group continued flaunting it's Dylan love and riding it up the charts to commercial success.  Once again McGuinn's 12 String Rickenbacker takes center stage as that jangle continues to be crucial to all the bands Dylan covers.  The band picks up the pace as the tambourine is slapped leading into The Byrds strength their perfect harmony for the chorus. 
There is a Beatles/Beach Boys feel to the "Be Like Me" section that is unique, but the whole tone of the tune has changed, and not for the better IMO.  The group took a playful, emotional song and sterilized it.  Out of all the groups covers we are checking out this month this is the one RtBE likes the least.   
Grade C-

Friday, December 14, 2012

Album Review: Balmorhea - The Stranger

Balmorhea
The Stranger
***and1/2 out of *****

Stranger finds the Texas rooted (if not based) band Balmorhea stretching out and packing more of a focus into the compositional, instrumental arraignments. Instrumentation has increased as well with chimes, violin strings, vibes, drums and electricity added to the acoustic guitars and flavors of disks past.

Stretching out more into the cosmic unknown works for the band as the opening track "Days" is an elegant jaunt twirling and swelling with grace and ease before fading out.  Violins are buzzing before things turn upbeat funky for "Masollan" while the piano plucking and strumming in "Artifact" causes a relaxing sensation that seeps all over this disk. "Jubi" is a rising proceeding that sounds like a sunrise after "Dived" adds a cinematic appeal.  "Fake Fealty" provides a grittier tone with a fuzz laden electric guitar but the overall sound never becomes to stressful. 

The ease and fluidity the songs roll out can maker Stranger slip into background music at times but it deserves more attention as multi-instrumentalists Micheal Mueller and Rob Lowe have crafted an easy going, sonically rewarding album.
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Not more much more to add, Balmorhea craft some really good, easy going songs minus words.  If that is your bag (we certainly dig on it), check out the band here, buy the album here and peep some samples below:
"Days"
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Live Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Bridgeport, CT 12/4/12

Hey all,

Got a new review up on Glide

Read it Right C'here!!!

It is of Neil Young & Crazy Horses show up in Bridgeport CT on 12/4/12.

The Webster Bank Arena was a tiny place to see the aging legends and the spacious floor (show wasn't sold out) made it easy to be up close and feel the thunder.  It was a great show.

I have talked about Neil and Horse a bunch lately (more coming before the year is out too) so I will skip them and touch briefly on Patti Smith.    

If you had told me I would enjoy a set by Patti Smith and her band, I would have laughed in your face pre-show, have never been a fan, never figured to be.  I was surprised beyond belief how much I enjoyed her and her bands playing and performance. The feeling was enlightened, the playing was lucid and the songs had power, granted not as much as they did in the late 70's but that doesn't matter much.

Her set was an unexpected bright spot and I still can't figure out if that was Tom Verlaine doing the solo for "Beneath The Southern Cross" but whoever it was, he put a stamp on the set highlight as that song was really impressive.  Check out some video samples below and as always thanks for reading.  
Patti Smith  Live a few nights earlier
"Beneath The Southern Cross"

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Live 12-4-12:
"Cinnamon Girl"

"Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)"

Year in Review 2012- Top Ten Albums Part 1 (The Just Misses & Let Downs)

Another great year is finishing up for Rock The Body Electric and we wouldn't be a proper music blog if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so without further verbiage RtBE Presents it's first part of the Best of 2012 Top Ten Albums (The Just Misses & Let Downs):
In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation.  RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so expect some overlap. Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen to the all the way through.  

Today we are going to focus on the "Just Misses" of our top 10 and unfortunately the "Let Downs" released this year.  Here's hoping you like them, but also feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.  Expect installment 2 (#10-6) soon, but for now click on the jump:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Live Review: Robert Randolph & The Family Band 11-23-12

http://www.flickr.com/photos/memestate
Hey All,

Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right C'here!!!

It is of Robert Randolph and the Family Band's show on Friday night November 23rd at Brooklyn Bowl. This is the second year of Robert's Thanksgiving residency, and I hope it continues.  The run has a cool laid back vibe that is warm and comforting for the holiday season.

On the other hand I also hope Robert gets teamed up with a decent songwriter and can put together a winning jam in the near future.  He has all the talent in the world, as does his band, but for some reason they seem to be slipping over the years.  It is rare that your first release, which happens to be a live show, still ranks as your best.  Now that was a killer night of music...

Anyway, thanks for reading and peeps some video from the reviewed show below:    

Album Review: High On Fire -De Vermis Mysteriis

High On Fire
De Vermis Mysteriis
**** out of *****

I am sure it is a question a lot of headbangers have pondered over the years; what if Motorhead decided to branch out into different realms of metal subculture while still keeping their powerful core intact? If that experiment was successful it may sound an awful lot like High On Fire's newest release De Vermis Mysteriis which is one of the baddest ass, heavy as hell, albums released this year.

Matt Pike, Jeff Matz and Des Kensel are putting the power directly into trio on this album with slamming drums, raw bass and monster riffs. From the opening rumble and screams of "Serum of Liao" it is clearly go time with production showcasing the low end while giving Pike's guitars and vocals as clear a path to destruction as needed.

"Bloody Knuckles" struts with aggression sounding way bigger then a trio while Pike's vocals are stripped down to passionate yelling.  It should be mentioned that there is a lyrical theme, almost concept, running through this disk about Jesus dead twin who time travels and incorporates the Cthulhu or something...Actually the lyrics themselves are secondary to how great the vocals and music really sound, producer Kurt Ballou should receive some credit for keeping things raw and harsh but still immensely listenable.     

Other scorching highlights are the doom progression that is "Madness of an Architect", the epic "King of Days" with it's sword and sorcery feel and the speedy spastic slapping of "Spiritual Rites" that incorporates laser like guitar lines into things, playing as a disk highlight combing all the elements that make the album a winner. 

Metal seems to contain more adjectives to describe it then most other genre's and De Vermis Mysteriis hits them all, but never wallows in one too long. Stoner, speed, heavy, black, thrash, whatever...Pike and crew stomp like giants of old and thunder like rock gods of the past and hopefully future.
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While The Chariot put out One Wing it was a bizarre intoxicating mix of metal and oddness, High On Fire stay straight ahead and is a straight up success.  The more I listen to it the more I dig the sounds, power, and feel of Pike and company.  The end results are rewarding and worth your time if you dig heavy, engaging music of any sort. Support the band here, buy the album here, catch them on tour here and peep a few samples below:
"Spiritual Rites"
     
"King of Days" Epic...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Live Review: Japandroids 12-5-12 Webster Hall, NYC

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson
Japandroids
Live 12-5-12
Webster Hall, NYC

"Welcome to night two of our New York Circus!" is how guitarist Brian King introduced Japandroids rocking Wednesday night show at Webster Hall. The duo who have been riding high off of their excellent new release Celebration Rock and are touring some larger venues as their growing crowds bop, bounce and shout-along.

Slamming into a choreographed introduction instrumental got the blood pumping before ripping into the barn burning "Adrenaline Nightshift". King along with drummer David Prowse provide energetic tunes that just never stop.  The crowd also loves to participate as the first stage diver received almost as big a cheer as the band.

"Fire's Highway" seems custom made for even larger venues with it's strumming and slamming skins as the "Ah-Oh-O-Oh-O's" rang out.  The clap-a-longs got started for "The Night of Wine and Roses" while "The Boys Are Leaving Town" from Post-Nothing thumped and rumbled.       

Musically Prowse is a dynamo on the drum kit, filling gaps and leading some inventive playing that at times can feel both pop and somehow devastatingly heavy, a neat twist.  Two songs on which he clearly shined this show were "Wet Hair" and "Evil's Sway".

King (with Prowse) also address and cover brilliantly the basic problem with a guitar drum duo like this when playing live; a lack of low end. Low tones, effects, or just clever playing makes King's electric guitar echo a bass at times before high note solo's. Prowse's kick drums never seem to stop being in motion and mask the rest.  While a bass could only help, it must be noted there was no empty low end at this show.

While the complete hour and a half set was a winner, the group shown brightest on the dynamic "The House That Heaven Built".  The songs soaring riff's, pounding beat and climatic lyrics were sensational and midway through the bands offering is was a certain high water mark.

Also credit must be given to Japandroids for not succumbing to the cliched encore.  King and Prowse played a dynamite set, and ended it swimmingly with their cover of "For the Love of Ivy". Here's hoping they stick with this policy, it will make the nights they do play an encore even more electric...if that is possible.        
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A great show that makes you feel good about rock and roll.  Here's hoping the next time Japandroids come to town they play a weekend though as that would surely be a rager. Even mid week it kicked ass.
Here is a video from the 4th, this was the same "Intro/Adrenaline Nightshift" that they did to open the 5th:

Another video from the 4th:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dylan Cover #65 The Byrds- "Spanish Harlem Incident"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The next cover to be examined is "Spanish Harlem Incident". 

Thoughts on Original:
Easily one of my favorite early songs of Dylan's career, I love the sing-song playing of this tune and it's hints of his musical repertoire opening up.  "OnTheCliffsOfYourWildCatCharmsI'mRiding" combined is such a sweet phrase and played out it is fantastic.  You can see a young Bob becoming infatuated with a woman he saw, being inspired to write a tune that is filled with primal lust and sexiness.  A song I have always wanted to learn to lay and cover...but that is for another post...    
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Band:
The band had a few phases that were truly innovative and from afar it feels like they really pushed other bands to expand or rather re-root their pallets. It could be questioned would bands like The Band, put out Music from Big Pink without The Byrds success, or would the Grateful Dead have felt Workingman's Dead and American Beauty were paths they could try in the studio if not for The Byrds? Doubtful.  Yet I am not sure they get the credit they probably deserved.  Anyway...more next week.   
Thoughts on Cover:
Quick with a popping snare drum that never gets to weighted down and adds huge ups to the semi chorus.  Annunciation by delicate vocals both in the stanzas and semi chorus, words like swallowed get the punch and deepness that is needed.  Really a magic version of a magic tune.
Grade: A+  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Funday: Picture it...I Am Mine

I am not sure where, but the other day I found this picture, saved it and thought I would share it. 
It wasn't on a music site, but it struck me immediately because for those who don't know, this is a lyric from one of RtBE's favorite songs, "I Am Mine".  The picture is of the man who wrote it, Eddie Vedder, on stage (one presumes with Pearl Jam) looking out to his fans.

The song, we feel, is the strongest the group has ever written and are surprised it never reached wider acclaim.  Lyrically it is perfect simplicity and musically it is not so much dark as it is serious leading to a sweet chorus.  Let's give it a listen:

What a jam, juicy in it's phrasing, PJ get's some organ working before a soaring solo to close things out...

It's been too long since we seen PJ and we miss them, so lets get a few of the other lesser known RtBE favorites from PJ rocking on this Friday afternoon.  Click the read more for the full playlist. Have a great weekend all.     

Live Review: Dinosaur Jr. 12-1-12 YLAOM 25th Anniversary Concert

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilinhaprocopio
Hey all,

Got a new review up on Glide

Read it right c'here!!!!

It is on the great Dinosaur Jr's 12-1-12 Concert at Terminal 5 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the amazing You're Living All Over Me album. 

We here at RtBE have praised Dinosaur Jr. to no end, as they are one of our all time favorites, which we seem to express each time we write about them.

We have also gone on official record with our affection for You're Living All Over Me, having written about it this summer for NYPL's Popular Music blog channel.  It is our favorite album of Dino's, and this was one of our favorite shows we have ever seen...

That is really all we have to say (not really but we need to stop now or we won't ever), read the review, read our take on YLAOM and watch the videos below...here's hoping they officially release this in the near future, it was pure boosh from the opening to closing notes. 
"Little Fury Things" with Lee Ranaldo on vocals

"Tame" Pixies Cover with Frank Black

"Alone" with Kyle Spence, Al Cisneros and Kurt Vile

"Don't" with Kim Gordon fucking killing it one of the most emotional/symbolic outings I have seen.  Everyone was thinking of her divorce and it made it even more amazing....


Thursday, December 6, 2012

RIP Dave Brubeck

RtBE would like to honor the passing of Jazz great Dave Brubeck who died today at the ripe old age of 91.  We were first introduced to Brubeck through our old roommate Mark years ago who at the time was just starting to heavily get into Jazz, but always loved Brubeck.

Obviously his album Time Out is a classic and if you haven't heard his most well known song you need to.  Here is, "Take Five", RIP

Album Review: The Chariot One Wing

The Chariot
One Wing
**** out of *****

There is a line in The Chariot's song "and" that screams "We make the song/Sound like what we want" and there is no better description of this whirling album.  

One Wing is designed as two sides, flowing all together yet broken up into tracks with the words "Forget Not Your First Love" for side one and "Speak in Tongues and Cheek" for the flip-side.  In those phrases you get everything from hymnal processions to thrashing metal, spoken poetry vocal shredding ballads to diabolical visions; One Wing throws every fucking thing at the listener.

From the opening slamming of "Forget" the listener is bombarded until frontman Josh Scogin gasps for breath allowing us to take it all in.  Rather then just random hammering and off kilter instruments the band has produced a well crafted full length release, finding mixes with metal that work.

"Not" contains traces of spoken word over stop/start guitar pounding while "Your" is a straight up hymn.  "First" is the most engaging song on the disk as it breaks midway into a spaghetti western cowboy gallop complete with trumpets.

"Love" blasts metal and chimes while "Speak" never does, it just screams over a simple piano ballad.  "In" is fascinating as it quotes The Beatles as "love is all you need" apparently in the spastic death throes of life, pretty accurate actually.  Both "sides" of the album end with drastic feedback but it is easy to see why "Cheek" closes the album with its powerful speech from Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator powerful and cinematic, like One Wing as a whole.
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This is pretty cool, a disk that is hard to define in anyway, and a joy to listen to as you try.  Granted it isn't for everyone, but it is a great listen with complexity, power and passion.
Support the band here, buy the album here, catch them live (they are supposed to be insane) here, and you can actually peep the whole disk below:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Year in Review 2012- Best Album Art

We kick off our Year in Review section of 2012 with a new feature in the Best of... area.  Like in years past we will be choosing our Best Albums of the Year, a few we we underwhelmed with, and our favorite show but today we are starting out with something different.  We are going to support the creative minds behind the Best Album Art Work of 2012
The biggest gripe RtBE has with digital music is not the quality (that has been massively improved the last few years) nor the disposal nature of it (still a problem but whatever), it is the lack of amazing album covers and art work.  Sure there may be great artists out there but seeing it on a screen, in iTunes or elsewhere is nothing compared to holding an LP cover or even a CD booklet with pages of lyrics, pictures etc.   

That said there were a few covers/full on art that really jumped out at us this year, click that read more button to find out which one's we liked best in 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New Eels Album, Tune and 2013 Tour

While I wouldn't say I am a huge fan of Eels, I always feel the need to check out his work.  He is an artist that (in RtBE's opinion) can fluctuate all over the map from some of the toughest to listen to (in a bad way) albums, to some of the most engaging and emotional ones we have ever heard
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stincodiporco
He is coming out with a new disk that you can pre order here, you can check out his new song here.

Tough to get a lot out of this one.  It's got some good funky breaks and cool interludes, so far so good. 

If you are interested in checking Eels out live you can also find out if he is coming near you with tour dates right down here:

Album Review: Woods -Bend Beyond

Woods
Bend Beyond
***and1/2 out of *****

Bend Beyond parlays organic psychedelia into a well constructed whole that makes for an enchanting ride. The Brooklyn 3 piece has played with various sounds, but Bend Beyond coalesces their style around a rudimentary Nuggets era garage pop with hints of early Pink Floyd.

The opening title track has what seems like 7 jangly guitars strumming throughout the 4 and half minute track, easily the longest presented here, and one of the best.  "Cali in a Cup" is the bands first single and plays up ringing metallic strings and a harmonica sound that echoes and waves while "Is It Honest?" dreams it's poppy way along.

One thing that obviously stands out are Jeremy Earl's vocals which border on falsetto but have a produced sounding sheen on them on most tracks.  They certainly tie all the tracks together but also don't provide much variety as the music around them swirls vibrantly; vocally it doesn't always match up. 

"It Ain't Easy" puts on some folksi charm while the short instrumental "Cascade" nosily slithers like the snake on the albums cover.   The garage pop of "Impossible Sky", "Find Them Empty", and "Size Meets The Sound" is enchanting with eastern tinges and warbling high-notes over slap happy drumming. 

The closing "Something Surreal" is a bare bones strumming ooh and aah'ing pop song about that lazily finishes our a pleasant stroll through the back-minds of soundscapes with some taped scratches and chirps, closing out a successful disk.              

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Musically with Bend Beyond Woods have produced a gem, however I am having a hard time swallowing this vocal style on all of these tunes.  Earl seems to be the main man behind Woods so that likely won't change, but a bit of vocal variety could easily make this one of our favorite albums of the year...oh yeah those are coming soon, in fact the first part of our Best of 2012 kicks off tomorrow!  Until then...
Buy the album here, support the band here and peep some samples below:
"Size Meets The Sound"

"Cali in a Cup"

"Bend Beyond" Live (makes me want to catch these guys next time they are playing)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dylan Cover #64 The Byrds- "Mr Tambourine Man"

Continuing our Monday's Dylan Cover Series, each December we spice it up a little.  This year we are going to look at a band that gained it's fame by covering Dylan right out of the gate, The Byrds.  The first cover to be examined is "Mr. Tambourine Man". 

Thoughts on Original:
C'mon...really?  Iconic, one of his best known songs.  A poetic marvel, beautifully played etc etc...essays are written on this song consistently.  I won't say much more, but will note that I read somewhere this is the one song Dylan actually tried to work with again, create another version or something, my mind is a bit clouded now, but I will look up that reference and link it when I find it...if not take my word for it and enjoy the damn song:  
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Band:
So this month we will tackle The Byrds. In complete fairness I am not a big fan of the group at all.  Never owned any of their albums, never had my parents play them for me or anything like that.  In fact once I got into Dylan I started to resent them slightly in the sense that they made the bard more palpable to the mainstream and I originally thought there was something wrong with that.  Growing older and wiser I realized they are just musicians and massive fans of Dylan and actually helped Dylan reach a stature that catapulted his career.  They were vital in Dylan's rise in popularity and I am assuming his bank account but I could be wrong about that...anyway, more next week.  
Thoughts on Cover:
Using this tune as the title track to their first album The Byrds instantly became the biggest Dylan supporters out there and kicked off Folk Rock officially.  Reaching number 1 it is a masterpiece with Roger McGuinn's 12 string Rickenbacker guitar.  The vocal harmonies of McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark is exquisite adding layers to the listen.  One interesting note is none of the original Byrds except McGuinn play on the #1 single recording as there are session musicians filling in.  Pretty crazy boy band shenanigans with that, but it worked and it was a huge hit, even more popular then the original...maybe even better then the original.....

Grade: A+     

Friday, November 30, 2012

Album Review: Jimmy Cliff -Rebirth

Jimmy Cliff
Rebirth
**** out of *****

Rebirth, that is a bold title for anyone, but for reggae legend Jimmy Cliff' who hasn't produced any new music of note in quite a long time (let's safely say decades) the statement is large indeed.  Produced by Rancid's Tim Armstrong this collection of songs are quite simply the strongest of the Jamaicans career since his earliest releases. Stripped down to the roots of reggae and ska, Cliff sounds alive and fresh with his singing and phrasing as the album puts out one good song after another.

The opening "World Upside Down" is an instant ska/reggae classic with it's simple approach and direct message, setting the plate nicely for the rest of the release. "One More" pumps along with horns fueled by an artist singing about his one last shot at "singing his song", and while it sounds hokey in theory it is performed winningly behind a group of up beat players.

Even when Cliff strains his vocal chords, or gets silly lyrically there are factors that make everything seem all right, like the back up singers on "Cry No More" or the surf guitar styling that wiggles throughout "Bang".  Armstrong deserves credit for these touches as the album feels extremely well crafted.  An admiring fan and incredibly talented producer should take some of the credit, but Cliff surprisingly shows he still has something to prove throughout the disk.

"Outsider" cooks like a 50's soul shakedown, while "Reggae Music" recalls Cliff's own personal history over some funky keyboard's that seem to be stolen from Stevie Wonder circa '72.  Both tracks pulse, bringing a smile to the face upon first listen.  

Much has been made of the cover song choices since the Sacred Fire EP came out last year and with good reason as they are spot on. "Guns Of Brixton" rawness fits like a glove and must be making Paul Simonon smile over in London as he hears Cliff sing a song which Simonon name checks The Harder They Come. Having Cliff cover his own "Ruby Soho" also proves to be genius on Armstrong's part as the track bubbles with energy.        

"Ship Is Sailing" ends things on a smooth drifting note (before a tacked on remix of "One More") that places this collection of tracks on par with anything Cliff has produced since The Harder They Come and gives him a whole new set of music to cull from for his great live sets.  Even if Rebirth proves to be an singular event rather then a full on career revival it is a great work that all involved should be proud of.  

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Color RtBE pleasantly surprised that when our good friend Glen sent us this album and we got more then one listenable song from it.  Glen and I actually saw Jimmy Cliff at BB Kings years ago and I was blown away by his stage fire, something that has never dulled throughout his career, however his new songs were weaksauce all over. 
Rebirth is far from that, a great listen to any fans of good music regardless of the genre, but fans of ska/reggae need to check it out.  Start to finish a good one, grab it here, see Cliff on tour here, and peep some samples below:
"Guns Of Brixton"

 "Ship Is Sailing"

"World Upside Down" Live on Jools Holland

Live Review: Bob Dylan & Mark Knopfler 11-21-12 Brooklyn, NY

Hey all,

Got a new live review up over on Glide

You can read it Right C'here!!!!

It is of the Thanksgiving eve show which saw Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan playing at the brand new Barclay's Center in Brooklyn

The tour closer was good, if Knopfler's set was a bit yawn inducing.  It wasn't bad, it was just dull and not what I would expect for an opening act, but he obviously treated this show as a co-bill. 

Dylan was in good spirits and played well.  While we are not fans of the new album we dug his playing and the band as always was in top form.  The review itself is long so go read that.  Below are a couple of videos from the show:
Mark Knopfler
"So Far Away"

Bob Dylan (audience shot piece of Blowing in the Wind)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Full Sonic Youth/Black Keys Concert!!!!

So now every month we will search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts posted to the channel.  They may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every way you can but especially by seeing them live...This month...Sonic Youth and The Black Keys!!!!

Ok this one was too good to pass up, yeah technically it's not a full concert from either, but Austin City Limits lumped together two of RtBE's favorite artists, how could we not share this one?!?!  Sonic Youth is up first ripping in tight form midtour for The Eternal rocking out as a 5-piece, getting art rocky-beautiful with "Anti-Orgasm" and throwing it back to epic riffs of "'Cross The Breeze" to close.

The Black Keys are flying high from the killer Brothers for this one, but start off old via "Thickfreakness".  The four piece get tight as hell on well..."Tighten Up" and groove hard via "She's Long Gone".    
Get in here and spend an hour with two rock and roll bands worth your time:


Sonic Youth Setlist:
No Way
Sacred Trickster
Anti-Orgasm
What We Know
'Cross the Breeze

The Black Keys Setlist:
Thickfreakness
I'll be Your Man
Next Girl
Howlin for You
Tighten Up
She's Long Gone
I Got Mine

What's that I hear you mumbling?  This is great and all but how about a full show by each great band?!!?  Done...Who loves ya?!
Sonic Youth The Art Rock Festival 2005:


The Black Keys Live 2012 BBC Lounge:


Thanks for reading, now get listening...

Album Review: Metz Metz

Metz
Metz
***and1/2 out of *****

This clanging trio from Toronto, Canada have produced some angular, aggressive, flat out noisy rock for their first release on Sub-Pop.  You can call it post-hardcore, sludge rock, noise metal, grunge, whatever just be prepared for some power behind this threesome.

Metz's first song is appropriately titled "Headache" as I can only imagine this is the sound of insane migraine.  The pounding drums lead into off-kilter flashes of sound before repetitive guitar slashing commences for two minutes.  Distorted echo laced vocals come screaming in before a cacophony of noise closes things out with scraping and scratching all over those god damn pounding drums that won't stop!!!  Pretty perfect in its mission and outcome.

The rest of the album continues along those lines if not so completely abrasive, "Get Off" is a straight up punk rock bopper that gets scuzzied up with feedback and distortion as Christ Slorach bass gets raw. "Nausea" is an odd instrumental interlude that acts as a break from the chaos before "Wet Blanket" slaps an industrial sounding track on the album, throughout the self titled release lead vocalist Alex Edkins has a style reminiscent to Al Jourgensen's early Ministry days that works well with the blast sounds.

The electric drill guitar Edkins fires off on "Rats" dissolves into a smashing of drums of Hayden Menzies that Nirvana and Mudhoney fans will find comforting. "Wasted" also feels like a track dragged up from the flannel clad early nineties with big crashes, screeches and pure aggression before putting in an actual chorus that the disenfranchised can scream along to.          

There is a definite, "return to early days feeling" with this band being signed to Sub-Pop.  The rawness and power call to mind the labels most successful acts and that bodes well for Metz and any lover of that pissed off grunge style of rock.  

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2012 turned out to be pretty good year for Canadian noise rock, first we got Nu Sensae now we have Metz to attack the ear drums. Both loud, pissed off clanging rock acts that would sound good in basements.  Both owe to punk/noise acts of the past and yet have the youth and energy for the present.  Here's hoping the future bodes well for both.
Support the band here, buy the album here, and peep some samples below:
"Wet Blanket"

"Negative Space"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Live Review- Neil Young & Crazy Horse 11-27-12 MSG, NY

Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Live 11-27-12 
Madison Square Garden, NYC

Stepping into the refurbished inner workings of the upper levels of the Garden, the first thing you notice is that they simply aren't done working on it yet. Vendor shacks on the upper levels are still boarded up telling patrons of what is coming, not whats available. While underwhelming, it is understandable as workers are needed elsewhere since Hurricane Sandy, but what is more off putting is the narrowness that was constructed as the upper hallways.  Arriving at the break after Patti Smith's set found the corridor in the 200 level (previously the 300's or even 400's in some spots) almost clogged to the point of immobility.  Not a good first sign, but with work left to do hopefully the venue will be up to snuff soon.      

As the roadies for Neil Young & Crazy Horse, dressed up like scientists and construction workers, got the stage set for the show by revving up the over sized speakers the crowd was treated to a preset, recording of The Beatles "A Day In the Life" before Young and The Horse walked on stage to stand and salute for a listen to "The Star Spangled Banner" being piped in as if the Rangers were about to play. Hockey is on hold though as the band wasted no time working out past gems with an extended take on "Love And Only Love" to kick off the show.   

While the playing was snake-like and patented Crazy Horse in it's rambling, the sound in the arena was low from our seats in section 220. Noticeably all night the overall volume seemed to be minimal, I am not sure if this is on the performer or the new bowl like structure of the arena, which now contains a ring of Luxury boxes where the old walk way used to be mid-level. As the lights washed the stage in purple lights the band played a melodic and well received version of their classic "Powderfinger".    

A pair of new tunes from the groups newest album came next, "Born In Ontario" is a fairly straight ahead nondescript ode to the bands homeland, while "Walk Like A Giant" was the highlight of the night with it's 2 separate distortion drenched guitar duels and crushing 5+ minute feedback closing section which saw garbage being tossed on the stage (by the roadies) and fans of Neil's pop selections muttering in disbelief.

Understanding the ambiance though, Young broke up the show at this point with a few acoustic numbers, the first being "The Needle And The Damage Done" which brought the crowd back.  Then the new entry into his folkie "singing about peers" song catalog was played "Twisted Road".  When the band revved it back up it was another new tune that dominated as Neil played his guts out on "Ramada Inn".

Finishing the show in the "Crazy Horse Analog Time Machine" as Neil put it saw the band get it's biggest reaction from "Cinnamon Girl" before "Fuckin' Up" found the band break down into a vocal jam lead by Frank Sampedro.  The band closed with a nasty sounding "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)" before sweating the crowds ride home with "Roll Another Number" during the encore.

The groups playing is more mellow then in the past which can be expected, but the passion is obviously alive and well as they performed a solid set of tunes.  What may not be so alive is MSG's reputation as the best sounding arena for music.  During the quieter parts of the show there were noticeable echoes bouncing around the rafters and odd patches of emptiness, while it is too early to pass judgement this was not the most successful first venture into the new upper reaches of the garden, hopefully things work themselves out in the future, especially as prices increase for live shows there.          


High light of the night:

 

2012-11-26, Madison Square Garden, USA
w/ Crazy Horse
Love And Only Love / Powderfinger / Born In Ontario / Walk Like A Giant / The Needle And The Damage Done / Twisted Road / Singer Without A Song / Ramada Inn / Cinnamon Girl / F*!#in' Up / Mr. Soul / Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) // Roll Another Number 

Album Review: Band of Horses -Mirage Rock

Band of Horses 
Mirage Rock
***and1/2 out of *****
"Knock Knock" gets Mirage Rock started, well...in rocking fashion, but that is not the path the rest of the album takes, and thus the title is perfectly apt.  Mirage Rock and Celebration Rock from Japandroids are two albums that you can instantly judge by their titles, a rare trait.  It is amazing how much Band of Horses channels the mellow vibe of 70's So-Cal rock of acts like Jackson Browne or more specifically CSNY on their newest release, this album could have just as easily come out in 74 as 2012.

The calling card of CSNY, and Band of Horses here, is the pristine vocal work and soothing melodies that float out behind them.  Ben Bridwell has one of the best front-men voices out there in popular rock today, and with Mirage Rock he has put together his most consistent lyrical effort, moving from scattered images and phrases to introspective thoughts and phrases. The best example is on the excellent "How To Live" singing here about real world issues convincingly and finishes the song with one of the best coming of age lines, "Guess what? You're growing old/Still gotta grow up" simple, direct and spot on.

The albums smooth sounds washes over the ears with perfect ease.  The gorgeous, past looking "Slow Cruel Hands Of Time" has a country fried twang as "A Little Biblical" holds on to a bit of easy listening swagger before "Electric Music" picks up speed out on the open road.  The Tyler Ramsey tune "Everything's Gonna Be Undone" is a simple ode that works beautifully in the context of the rest of the tracks connecting wonderfully with the aching album closing "Heartbreak On The 101".   

The only time the band gets noisy or loud is on the odd "Dumpster World" which probably contains the most interesting musical tone on the album, but the down right stupidest lyrics.  It is an odd one all around, proving the band can still rough it up a bit, but just toss away any sense of meaning with the weird words.  That along with the "Light-Fm'ish" feel at times are the only real detriments to a solid, if mellow, release.

The band already has a fantastic back catalog of music and hopefully they don't completely slip into middle age as a rocking Band of Horses still has just as much appeal as a Mirage Rock'ing one.             
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RtBE loves Band of Horses immensely and will be seeing them 3 times in less then a week and this album is pretty great.  However, we really wanted to have the boys start messing up their musical backing with more angular riffs, maybe some feedback or distortion to go along with their fantastic vocals.  That was not the case as the group went even more mellow this time, but alas the end result is no means bad, just a bit different. 

The truth is we can't get enough of the band, so anything they are putting out we will probably like, but here's hoping they up the energy on the next release.  You should support this band here, catch them live here and Stream the full album below!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Album Review- Star & Micey -I Can't Wait EP

Star & Micey
I Can't Wait EP
** out of *****

The Tennessee folk pop trio has put out a brief 4 song EP of their sweet sounding tunes titled I Can't Wait.  That also happens to be the title of the strongest song in this batch of tracks.  "I Can't Stop" closes the EP with a fully constructed pop-rock gem, with a trotting guitar line and confident vocals the group marches into a full steam send up incorporating sweet backing vocals that ooh and ahh. 

Reminiscent of The Avett Brothers or Fleet Foxes the band keeps things incredibly simple and short.  "No Pets Allowed" is poetic with a light snare and mellow guitar which works while "Soul Stormin'" has distinct commercial appeal that feels very middle of the road.  The only other track on the EP is the under 2 minute disco infused "Love" which is out of place behind its falsetto vocals and violin strums.   

Vocally the disk is very appealing, but these songs can deteriorate into mere sketches at times, as an EP though it does draw interest to see what the band can produce over a full length release.     
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You can support Star & Micey here, buy the EP here and check out a sample of their sound below:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dylan Cover #63 Molly Case "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Molly Case playing "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight"
Thoughts on Original:
A rambling, plea filled song that seems to be about the singer as much as the person he is singing too.  Pretty and scattered amongst shambles of thoughts and broken ideas. In discussing  Infidels Dylan told Paul Zollo in a 91 Song Talk interview that "those songs hung around too long" and I feel like this is one of the main examples.  There is a really good song in there somewhere, but finding it can be hard.    
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Like last week, we focus on an artist who has limited out put with just a few tunes uploaded to Youtube.  Unlike last week, we are very impressed with Molly Case.  She seems to be a young singer/songwriter from England. Don't have any more information, but the talent seems to be there, here's hoping nothing but the best for Molly.    
Thoughts on Cover:
Ms Case has taken a winding and confusing song and stripped it down to basics and with her fluttering vocals made a sunny pop delight out of darkness.  She flips the girl to boy for her version which doesn't change much, if anything about the actual song.  Only addressing the first two verses and the chorus has kept a lot of the confusing "St James St." and Clark Gable reference's at bay and drives the song in a clear direction, at least semi clear.  Her upbeat vocals and playing make this a delightful cover.  I wonder if adding the remaining verses would enhance the performance or weigh it down?  Either way it would be fun to hear her tackle the whole song, but even as is, I find it really enjoyable.   
Grade: B

Friday, November 23, 2012

Free Download: Band Of Horses Cover Townes Van Zandt

Happy Black Friday Funday!  Wouldn't you know it, RtBE has a present for you...one of our favorites, Band of Horses partnered up with their friend and current tourmate Jason Lytle to produce a cover of another one of RtBE's favorites, Townes Van Zandt!
That is quite a trio, and the most beautiful thing?  The cover is good...and free!  You can stream the song below and just click here to capture the song for yourself.

Nice job fellas, you can catch both acts on tour now, we will be seeing them in NYC for a few shows then down in Philly and will also have a Mirage Rock review for you next week so more BoH Boosh-ness on the horizon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Album Review- Bob Dylan -Tempest

Bob Dylan
Tempest
** out of *****

With pre-album leaking of the fact that Bob Dylan would be releasing a new album that contained a 10+ minute opus on the Titanic it was fair to say this was the most anticipated Bob Dylan original studio release for a very long time.  Even after classic albums like Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft and Modern Times, there seemed to be a greater sense of enjoying the present without looking forward much to the next release.  As Tempest shows this was probably a wise move, anticipating anything about the bard is utter folly.     

Dylan has slightly moved away from his late career style of throwing together smart/funny/prophetic couplets into standard 12-Bar-Blues numbers, mixing oldies with newbies so to speak, and gone back into more of a folk singer mode for this disk with songs that string together coherent stories/ideas.  The already mentioned "Tempest" deals with the Titanic and manages to bore almost from the get go becoming a weight around the neck of the album.  It never develops any real energy in the lyrics or the playing, which itself becomes a major issue with the album.

Musically speaking, Tempest is by far the weakest of his "comeback" albums (which now stretch back to Oh Mercy). The band behind Dylan is so nondescript and lacking, adding virtually nothing to the songs.  You will be hard pressed to find one musical number or phrase that stands out apart from the opening old-timey swagger of "Duquesne Whistle" which plays back into the 12-bar blues while shuffling the night away.  "Scarlett Town" is a 7 minute work that only deviates for a brief moment into an extremely mellow guitar solo, while the rest of the track repeats the same restrained musical phrasing over and over again.         

This musical mannerism (restrained repetition) seems to be the norm on the album the band stays very low key and repetitive with only minor flourishes.  "Early Roman Kings" plays an accordion over a "Mannish Boy" riff while "Narrow Way" is pretty stand-up bluegrass with electric violin and steel guitar.    

The two best tracks on Tempest are vastly different.  "Pay In Blood" is a defiant career spanning tune that at once feels vengeful and remorseful, taunting and empathetic.  It is classic Dylan over a swirling mix of piano, electric/steel guitars, bass and drums.  Disk closer "Roll On John" is an effecting, direct tribute to John Lennon.  The straight forwardness that Dylan writes and sings this song is a bit shocking, and powerful as he usually masks his songs topics.  Both tracks prove Dylan's talent will never leave him as they can stand with any in his catalog.    

Making it a point to never try to read too much into any lyrics it is tough not to notice Bob's aggressive fronting when it comes to the fairer sex in multiple songs. Using derogatory phrases like "Flat Chested Junkie Whore", "Bitch or a Hag" is sure going to raise some eyebrows, but critically it adds an lyrical edge that can be lacking here.  On the flip side he loves his "Heavy Stacked Woman" who is above him (probably both literally and figuratively) on "Narrow Way".  

Sure you can't compare artists to their former self (especially Bob), but we do it anyway and more recently in examining the late career output of Dylan, Tempest is closer to 2009's middle of the road release Together Through Life then the all-time classic Love and Theft.  The beautiful thing about Dylan though is we all see/hear/experience/live different things when we listen to his songs, that's why there is no one else like him.    
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Anyone who reads RtBE knows our massive Dylan love, that said we can see faults in our hero, he is human and can't be perfect (even though some of his songs are). Tempest falls shorts on a few levels with just some boring tracks, the title track being the biggest culprit.

While Bob does sound more into his lyrics and singing then he has in the past the music backing is bland at best. Who knows maybe in 5 years RtBE will be singing more then just a few tunes praises, but for now we can't go much higher then 2 stars and without "Pay In Blood" and "Roll On John" it wouldn't have gotten those...very curious to see what songs if any he plays tonight at the Barclay's center.

We can talk about Dylan all day and sometimes do but we will end here.  You can find more info on the artist here, buy the album here, and check out a few songs below.