Friday, May 31, 2019

Happy 200th Birthday Walt Whitman

One of the patron saints of RtBE would have turned 200 today if he was some sort of magical wizard or a vampire. Walt Whitman inspired the name of the site and it's spirit. We celebrate him every Opening Day but today is a special occasion. 
The poetry of Whitman has thrived over the years and he continues to be taught, loved and read 200 years after his birth.

The Good Gray Poet will live on, so let's celebrate with James Earl Jones (Darth Vader himself) reading Whitman, some video celebrating the man and if you are feeling REALLY ambitious (it is 19 hours) there is the full audio book of his masterpiece Leaves of Grass below:








I sing the body electric,

The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,

They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,

And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.



Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?

And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?

And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?

And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

Full Show Friday: James Brown Live @ Woodstock 1999

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...James Brown!
Our focus this month in our ongoing Masters series is James Brown.

Here we go, the Godfather of Soul where he belongs, live and on stage. RtBE wraps up the funky focused month with a show from later in his career as JB fronts the band at Woodstock 99. 

Pro Shot, Pro Sound, Set list and info below. Enjoy:

James Brown - Full Concert Recorded Live: 7/23/1999 - Woodstock 99 East Stage (Rome, NY) More James Brown at Music Vault: http://www.musicvault.com Subscribe to Music Vault: http://goo.gl/DUzpUF Setlist: 0:00:00 - Soul Generals Introduction 0:02:14 - Soul Generals' Rap 0:08:03 - Can't Turn You Loose 0:10:10 - Mercedes Benz / Tomi Blues 0:14:05 - Try (Just A Little Bit Harder) 0:17:08 - Bitter Sweets Introduction 0:18:04 - James Brown Introduction / Get Up Offa That Thing 0:25:38 - Cold Sweat 0:27:23 - Doing It To Death 0:30:59 - Living In America 0:35:20 - Mother Popcorn 0:36:02 - Get On The Good Foot 0:40:41 - Song Break 0:41:05 - Song Break 0:41:56 - Instrumental 0:46:53 - It's a Man's Man's Man's World 0:51:37 - (I Got You) I Feel Good 0:54:30 - Song Break 0:55:00 - Funk On Ah Roll 0:59:46 - Jimi Hendrix Medley 1:02:04 - Please, Please, Please 1:02:27 - Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Album Review: A.A. Bondy - Enderness

A.A. Bondy
Enderness
** out of *****

Back in the day, there was Scott Bondy the lead singer of Verbena. Then came a reborn folk singer with the name A.A. Bondy who delivered excellent acoustic based folk/blues with 2008's American Hearts and 2009's When The Devil's Loose. Now comes the third iteration as Bondy has mixed ambient lounge music, synths, drum machines and modern day digital flows into his sound, even moving from blues lyrics towards stream of consciousness singing. 

The whole album feels as if he could be the opening act for Lera Lynn in The Black Rose during True Detective Season 2. It is odd, dream-like and in the end underwhelming.

Bondy's voice still manages to deliver a sense of longing, but lyrically things are jumbled with the opening "Diamond Skull" setting the tone. He sings about cocaine spelled out in his name, then sings, "OMG, LMAFO" in the same tone, nothing rises above or seems to mean much of anything.

"In The Wonder" has a synth blurring along as the mid flow of the album (including "In the Tree With Lights" and "Images of Love") blend together, drifting along in layered synthetically produced fashion which fits these modern times, hollow and otherworldly but also not affecting. "I'll Never Know" works better as it pushes the drum beats up and flows like restrained R&B while "Killers 3" purrs and injects a doo-wop sound into this modern style with successful results.

Too often though there just isn't much meat on the bone. Instrumentals "Pan Tran" and the album closing title track may connect with ambient fans but just pass by without adding much to the overall sound other than padding it's run time. The warped piano ballad dealing with death and drug addiction "Fetanyl Freddy" sets an icy tone but doesn't connect dots where "#Lost Hills" goes back to wandering and wanting to return to California.   

Even during his mid career Woody Guthrie inspired days Bondy never fully shook his James Dean sense of hypnotic cool. Pushing that into these modern times isn't as smooth as it could/should be, but having followed Bondy's career it is obvious that there is no telling what comes after Enderness
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We loved Bondy's mid career shift, seeing him whenever we could, so perhaps that's why this album disappoints, but truthfully if this was an another artists name on the album it wouldn't make much of a difference as Enderness is one note and not a note we truly care for.

That said, support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

New Sleater-Kinney Single "Hurry On Home" & Tour Dates

The fantastic Sleater-Kinney are back with a new single from their upcoming album which was produced by St. Vincent. When it was announced that those artists were pairing up, a track like the first single "Hurry On Home" with it's electro-dance feel is kinda what could be expected.

The track feels a bit like a mix of Carrie Brownstein's and Corrin Tuckers side projects like Wild Flag and especially Tuckers last solo record Kill My Blues which contained dance infused rock and roll. This is another side of an underrated band to explore...and RtBE can't wait for the full length release as their previous studio effort (not their live) the excellent, No Cities to Love rated high on our year end list of 2015. 

Peep the single and tour dates below...looks like RtBE will be spending Halloween with the band...

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Album Review: Thee Oh Sees - Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of the reissue of Thee Oh Sees, Thee Hounds of Foggy Notion.

This live album was originally connected with a film and the freak folk home movie vibe is present throughout. This reissue has lo-fi inde rock throughout which won't change non-fans views of the band as this is for fans only.

Support the band, buy the album, read the review and peep some video below:



Album Review: Jenny Lewis - On The Line

Jenny Lewis
On the Line
*** out of *****

On 2014's The Voyager Jenny Lewis teamed with producers like Ryan Adams and Beck to create a solid sound rooted in pop rock of the 70's as she spun her mix of specific lyrics in singer/songwriter fashion channeling Stevie Nix and Jackson Browne. On the Line continues a lot of those same styles (Beck and Adams back producing, Nix and Browne comparisons are stronger) but Lewis scales down the musical surroundings relaxing the tempo, sound and pace to focus more on her singing and lyrics which are top notch, but at times the slowed down musical outings drag things down, ending in a mixed bag complete effort. 

Lewis lyrics are immediately engaging on opener "Heads Gonna Roll" (an album highlight) as road trips with narcoleptic poets are described beautifully with the duality of relationships summed up nicely via the ending, "A little bit of hooking up is good for the soul/Heads gonna roll". The album starts on this high of a track before "Wasted Youth" finds Lewis dropping some catchy "do-do-do's" in with her lyrics in front of the first single "Red Bull and Hennessy". While the title drink may give you energy, this track feels oddly slow and drained, as if taking a Pat Benatar early 80's number and zapping it of it's dance ready strength.

This lack of energy is intentional of the lazy "Hollywood Lawn" which finds Lewis questioning while clicking her ruby slippers with differing results before another odd downer "Do-Si-Do" arrives more ethereal closing with a plea to turn the stereo up until everything rattles, which queerly sounds more like a house party of one in the middle of nodding off then a rally to arms. These tunes all show some charms but combined with the personal piano ballad "Dogwood" the pacing at the center of this album is lacking.

Things improve towards the end, "Party Clown" is a twisted jaunt with excellent lyrics and a rolling beat around layers of piano swells as she talks about biting the devils apples and getting head in the shadows of Texas before the bass grooving of "Little White Dove" deals with heartbreaking hospital visits to her estranged mother who was dying from cancer. Benmont Tench helps produce and play throughout the record but perhaps even larger is Lewis dissolution of of her 12-year relationship with singer-songwriter Jonathan Rice who may just be the inspiration behind "On the Line".

The title track is a winner with its rebounding from a broken heart feel and a cool vocal play on Caroline-a as closer "Rabbit Hole" is fun/light musically while doing a good job of staying away from temptations including dope, love and not believing in The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

An engaging songwriter who tackles the difficult world from a unique point of view, mixing up the modern day with past cliches wonderfully, who else can write about heroin and Candy Crush successfully side by side? Musically On the Line could use some more energy, re-sequencing or direction to spice up the sound however Lewis is a talent and always worth hearing as she progresses through her career.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New Seratones Album POWER, First Single, & Tour Dates

Back in 2016 RtBE was asked to review The Dandy Warhols live at Bowery Ballroom. The Dandy's set was fine, but what really got the juices flowing was the opening 45 minutes of rock and roll from the Seratones.
Now they have announced their new album as well as released the first single and a host of tour dates to go along with the good news. We loved their strong debut album and it even made our top ten for 2016 so we have high hopes for this new one. It is titled POWER and will be out via New West Records on August 23rd, available now for pre-order.

The first single "Gotta Get To Know Ya" pushes those expectations even higher as it is a killer funky fuzzy rock jam. That tune and tour dates below, get ready for POWER to drop the end of August. 




Tour dates

6/4 – Kansas Cirty, MO @ Crossroads KC*
6/7 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant*
6/8 – Indianapolis, IN @ Indianapolis Symphony*
8/22 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
8/23 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Jr.
8/24 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
8/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
8/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
8/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
8/31 – McMinnville, OR @ Walnut City Music Festival
9/1 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
9/3 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
9/6 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
9/7 – Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle
9/9 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel
9/10 – Montreal, QC @ Quai Des Brumes
9/12 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
9/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
9/14 – Washington, D.C. @ Pearl Street Warehouse
9/15 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
9/18 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
9/19 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
9/20 – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
9/21 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
* Supporting Trombone Shorty

Tracklisting of POWER
1. Fear
2. Power
3. Heart Attack
4. Lie To My Face
5. Gotta Get To Know Ya
6. Over You
7. Permission
8. Sad Boi
9. Who Are You Now
10. Crossfire

Album Review: Alex Chilton - From Memphis To New Orleans

Alex Chilton
From Memphis To New Orleans
*** out of *****

A cult hero/recluse Alex Chilton retreated from the spot light post Big Star and he made the title journey From Memphis To New Orleans. This collection combines the best of the No Sex, Feudalist Tarts, and Blacklist EP's along with the High Priest LP resulting in a laid back collection of tunes which smile with charm but never light the night on fire.

A collection of deep covers and originals, with smooth horns and easy singing as the R&B rolls out in New Orleans fashion. The cover of Willie T's "Thank You John" is an emotional buoy as the horns work and Chilton sings to suckers, hustlers, crooks and lovers while the Memphis cooked soul of Carla Thomas "B-A-B-Y" openers up the effort with relaxed grooving.

Chilton seemed more at home covering more obscure R&B tracks then producing new tunes during this era, but a few new ones popped up. The updated take on getting down "Take It Off" was grooving and oddly enduring in its plea for naturalist vibes while the rollicking rolling ode to the downtrodden "Underclass". Chilton also mixed covers with originals as he blatantly ripped off Bob Dylan's intro to "Most Likely You Go Your And I'll Go Mine" for his rolling blues of "Lost My Job". 

Chilton does an adorable cover of  Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Let Me Get Close To You" before one of his strongest track here "Dalai Llama". The number is a bass driven early rock and roller while guitars trace angular riffs throughout with intoxicating style, running over five minutes the tune could keep choogling along for hours. Other efforts like "Things For You" find Chilton singing fairly lamely around standard backing, never really going anywhere while he does a Lou Reed impression on "Make A Little Love" with soul accents.

A mixed bag of efforts find various levels of success, but fans of the artist can now find some of his best lesser known era tracks in one spot. When Paul Westerburg shouted him out via the catchy as hell tune with his name on it, and other 80's act like R.E.M. sung his praises he was busy reinventing himself in the Crescent City. The results here are a fun reminder of a quirky period in Chilton's career.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:


Monday, May 27, 2019

Dylan Cover #377 Lera Lynn "I Shall Be Released" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a cover by Lera Lynne  playing "I Shall Be Released"


Thoughts on Cover:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
"I Shall Be Released" has been covered by too many artists to count and with reason; it is a masterpiece. A simple song that will forever be etched in Rock Legend as it ended perhaps the best concert in rock history, The Last WaltzThe Band are always connected to the tune as Dylan wrote it during those amazing days playing with the group up at Big Pink in the Catskills and the group released it on their first album. Gospel in nature the song is about salvation that can be certain, and each listener (and performer) can add their own personal feelings into the sketch, perfect for covering, especially live to close a show with friends.

Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist: 
At first blush we thought that this is the first time RtBE is coming across Lera Lynn or Ben Lewis. However, it turns out we have heard Lynn before. She was hte dive bar singer on True Dective Season 2. No offense to Lynn, but that was some of the biggest let down TV in history. 

Thoughts on Cover:
A good duet on a fairly standard Bob tune, Lynn's vocals soar and Lewis's picking is engaging.  A nice spin through this oft covered tune. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Full Show Friday: James Brown 1979 Monterey, California

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...James Brown!
For May The Masters focuses on James Brown.

Here is the Godfather of Soul doing it up proper in 1979. Apparently this was filmed in a conference room of a Doubletree Hotel smack dab in Monterey, California..."No one goes to Monterey". James Brown did in 1979.
Enjoy:


Happy 78th Birthday Bob Dylan

No one has ever been better. Happy 78th birthday Robert Allen Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan.
Enjoy a few of his best songs:




Thursday, May 23, 2019

Live Review: The Hold Steady @ The White Eagle, Jersey City 5/16/19

The Hold Steady 
Live @ The White Eagle 
Jersey City, NJ 5/16/19

Beginning a spring time mini Northeast Weekend run, the Hold Steady kicked things off at The White Eagle in Jersey City New Jersey to a sold out house for a Thursday night show.

Opening things was John K Samson, frontman from The Weakerthans who did a solo acoustic set of some of that bands tunes and a few newer solo numbers mixed in. Samson stated he was amazed he gets paid to play and see one of his favorite bands in the world it was clear Samson new the crowd and was at ease throughout (Craig Finn later told a great story of playing Samson's hometown of Winnipeg and meeting him years ago).

His set started with "One Great City!" he proclaimed how much he hated his hometown and sang with confidence on tunes like "Reconstruction Site", "Pamphleteer" and "Plea From a Cat Named Virtute", before ending his set on a high note with the title track from his solo album Winter Wheat

The Hold Steady came out and kicked started their long set of tunes with "Hornets! Hornets!" as the bands meaty riffs and full band swell with piano and thundering low end got the small club bouncing up and down while singing along.

The three guitars were mixed a bit oddly as the sound took a few tunes to settle in but things leveled off nicely. Having recently caught the band in London this setlist was a bit more up and down and the band wasn't as locked in during this nights set, but the fans were singing strongly throughout to tunes like "Barfruit Blues", "Banging Camp", "Stuck Between Stations" and "Massive Nights" which received one of the best ovations on the night. 

Some individual highlights were "You Can Make You Like Him" which packed a punk rock punch as the band seemed especially locked in on the low end. The sweeping guitar solos in "Stevie Nix" were a joy as confetti flew for "First Night" and the newer "Entitlement Crew" proved it's worth among the old warhorses.

Other newer tunes like "T-Shirt Tux" and the debut of "Traditional Village" went as immediately loved but "Denver Haircut" another new tune shows lots of promise from the band. The fact that Craig Finn, Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka, Steve Selvidge, Franz Nicolay, and Bobby Drake are still crafting new tunes will playing the old favorites for fans means this periodic weekend cruising will hopefully continue as the band always deliver the happy to be alive and in the live rock moment goods. 
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Support the artists, see them live and peep some video below: 
    

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Masters: James Brown - Best Live Albums

RtBE loves listening to new music and prides itself on keeping tabs on up and coming artists but in 2019 we are also going to have a monthly spotlight on legendary artists who we really love. We are calling this series The Masters. It will focus on the best albums, live records, transcendent shows and other odd ways we appreciate the artists and their contribution to music, culture and our formation.

For May The Masters focuses on James Brown.

The Godfather himself, James Brown. He is the visionary artist who helped invent funk and hip-hop as he floated through the amazingly influential waters of time and his mind. Mr. Please Please Me is iconic and moved from The Famous Flames to Soul Brother #1 to the Godfather with ease as he aged.

He however joins the likes of Miles when RtBE is conflicted about the art and the artist. Longform collected just a few pieces on him, but it is safe to say we are confused with our love for the mans music and thoughts on his personal life. That said, we wrote about our feelings on the man when he passed away for Glide as he had a huge influence on our musical ears.  

Today we focus on his live albums, and while we ranked his studio recordings already this month, this is where he really butters the biscuits. When RtBE goes to the James Brown collection nine times out of ten it is for one of these records. That said there is always a bit of controversy with Brown, were all of these actually recorded live?  Hmmm... 

Any which way let's get to it, below we rank the top five James Brown live records. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Album Review: Czarface & Ghostface Killah - Czarface Meets Ghostface

Czarface & Ghostface Killah
Czarface Meets Ghostface
*** out of *****

The previous album from Czarface was a collaboration with MF Doom, titled Czarface Meets Metal Face and for their follow up they kept the style (even the "face") as they partner with Ghostface Killah for the unimaginatively titled Czarface Meets Ghostface.

However, the talent on the record is palpable as Czarface includes 7L & Esoteric from Boston and Inspectah Deck from NYC and by adding Shaolin running partner Ghostface to the mix the rhyme talent is exceptionable as the music lingers with ominous beats, flowing as a complete listen over it's forty minute run time.

The grimy sound from 7L links all of the tracks and obviously owes to the Wu-Tang style, but also modernizes it for 2019. After a Macho Man Randy Savage impersonator gets things started, the warbling sound thinner beats color "Face Off". "Iron Claw" is the first single from the outfit and starts a pairing of the best efforts on the record with a head bopping beat that flashes in splashes of static, full on drop outs and futuristic phasers.

Following it up is "Czarrcade '87" with deep beats and all three MC's blending seamlessly together as if they have been doing this forever. While this number finds just Esoteric and Inspectah Deck on it, the trio combine for "Super Solider Serum" which bleeps, buzzes and ends with eastern flute in exiting fashion. Skittering beats and strings color the cinematic, horror movie sounding"Listen To The Color" while "Mongolian Beef" finds Ghost taking lines from Liquid Swords and blares through bars of rhymes while the fuzz beat bounces around him. 

The dramatic sounds and overarching feeling makes for a good full listen, but there isn't a stand out must hear. The outfit is going more for thematic listening and they succeed. Kendra Morris shows up to provide a few choruses, perhaps most oddly and engagingly on "The King Heard Voices" while Esoteric at times reminds of Jay-Z and Ghostface is more relaxed, fitting in with the group than an album altering guest, the overall results are a good listen.     
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Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dylan Cover #376 Haley Heynderickx "It Ain't Me Babe" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Haley Heynderickx playing "It Ain't Me, Babe"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
One of the best Dylan songs because it is universal, to the point, lyrical, smirking, self-centered and a perfect statement. Dylan has written lots of songs that can be covered well (as evident by this series) but "It Ain't Me, Babe" fits perhaps better then almost any other one into a huge variety of styles. That is because we have all been in the singers position one time or another...and it is a damn good song.

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
This is the first time we are coming across Haley Heynderickx.

Thoughts on Cover:
The delicate live cover is a sweet tune. The true star is Heynderickx voice which is ethereal and enchanting.  Fun stuff.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Full Show Friday: James Brown Live @ The Boston Garden 1968

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...James Brown!

Our focus this month in our ongoing Masters series is James Brown.

Here we go, the Godfather of Soul where he belongs, live and on stage. This week we proudly present one of the most historic sets of his career, the Boston Garden show after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The show begins with a comedy set from none other than Maceo Parker, before the Soul Brother #1 takes the stage. Historical, funky, amazing, Enjoy:



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Album Review: Show Me The Body - Dog Whistle

Show Me The Body
Dog Whistle
*** out of *****

Show Me The Body are a lot of things as a band, but where many "new" hardcore punk outfits strive to be like legends past, coping styles and songs note for note, this New York City based trio are trying to carve their new path, beholden to no one person place or political party.

The band (Julian Cashwan Pratt, Harlan Steed, Noah Cohen-Corbett) are firebrands who play more of a mix of sludge industrial rock with punk, hip-hop and art rock influences. Opener "Camp Orchestra" was inspired by a visit to Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and is a tribute to the Jewish orchestra groups formed in concentration camps during World War II. The tune opens with an instrumental around distorted bass and soothing classical guitar lines for two minutes before turning on the chugging, snarling electric guitars, and tight drums, complete with breakdowns and slam dance ready rev ups to close.   

The group is it's most typical punkish and hardcore on tracks like "Not For Love", the pummeling "Drought" and the skate rock ready "Madonna Love" which is their best in the more straight ahead style, but the band never seems to want to do things normally. The have spoken word poetry in the form of "Animal In A Dream" or "Die For the Earth to Live" which both obsess about the business of death, or the performance art of "Now I Know" dealing with oncoming plagues. Even quirky instrumentation of plunking strings slowly builds on "Arcanum" but for a band who is willing to throw everything into the mix this track ends oddly restrained. These experiments aren't all successful, and the tunes, will not be for everyone, but the young trio is certainly never dull. 

The group seems to really dig into their industrial hip-hop style the most though as "Fork and Knives" screeches and bumps with sludge beats and metallic screeches of metal on metal train tracks. Closer "Lullaby" also floats in these industrial waters while a track like "Badge Grabber" seems to combine everything the group does best. The tune slathers on screeching guitars, yelling lyrics about death and family and friends, distorted almost dance beats complete with many odd stop starts.

The group never lets the listener feel comfortable and that is the point, they are here to fuck things up and by bringing new ideas to a genre which usually just recycles it's best parts Show The Body is fresh, while still experimenting, growing and finding their sound.
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Thanks to Billy for pointing these guys out to RtBE.
Support the band, buy the album, listen on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sazerwrap Part 2: The Music

The Sazerwrap has been the @RockBodyElec way of rounding up all the amazing things that happen down at our annual trip to Jazzfest in New Orleans.  We will breaking the review up into two parts, Food and Music, today is the Music.  Only 11 Months until next years festival!

It has been a few years, but RtBE is bringing back the Sazerwrap for the 50th Anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This is our 11th straight year of catching the fest and needless to say each year is magic. The trips keep evolving as does the festival and city which hosts it. Today we will chat about the tunes we heard and shows we saw.

Album Review: Daniel Norgren - Wooh Dang

Daniel Norgren
Wooh Dang
*** out of *****

The Swedish singer/songwriter Daniel Norgren's newest release Wooh Dang, is continuation of his earthy folksier mix of blues and roots music.

Opening with the warbling notes, ambient noise and bird chirps the instrumental "Blue Sky Moon" sets the rustic tone. Norgren recorded the record in a nineteenth century farmhouse after writing the tunes deep in the woods of his native Sweden. The piano lead of "The Flow" is a touch distorted, as is his whistling, singing and cymbal hits as the singer keeps things just weird enough to keep the tempo from putting you to sleep. 

The easy folk waltzing of "The Power" is a great capturing of his talent; a road song, a mediation, an organic coming together of sounds of voices which feels as if it is has always been floating around the either. This is laid back stuff however, things are stripped down to their essence and warble with roadhouse appeal on the blues shaker, "Dandelion Time" while "Rolling Rolling Rolling" finds Norgren stretching his voice during some gospel inspired stripped down soul.

The vocal effort and immediacy is a large part of Norgrens appeal and whether it is the lone buzzing of "So Glad" or the Beatles-esque lo-fi pop of album highlight "Let Love Run The Game" there is no denying Daniel's emotions are true and vocally identifiable. 

The intimate love songs "The Day That's Just Begun" with it's piano, harmonica and sweet lyrics, as well as the calypso tinged "When I Hold You In My Arms" bring a joyous loving feeling to the overall bright record. The album wraps up with the title track, just a little piano ditty which fits this record; Wooh Dang is just a little slice of organic pleasantry in a large world where that is increasingly rare.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sazerwrap Part 1: The Food

The Sazerwrap has been the @RockBodyElec way of rounding up all the amazing things that happen down at our annual trip to Jazzfest in New Orleans.  We will breaking the review up into two parts, Food and Music, today is the Music.  Only 11 Months until next years festival!

It has been a few years, but RtBE is bringing back the Sazerwrap for the 50th Anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. This is our 11th straight year of catching the fest and needless to say each year is magic. The trips keep evolving as does the festival and city which hosts it. Today we will chat about the food we sampled and tomorrow the tunes we heard.

Album Review: Tacocat - This Mess Is a Place

Tacocat
This Mess Is a Place
***and1/2 out of *****

The fourth full length from Tacocat is their first for Sub-Pop and it is a evolution in the bands song writing as they pull off a great trick of making poppy bubblegum punk tackle tough modern day political issues in engaging and fun fashion. This Mess Is a Place is a testament to the bands growth, sound and bright vision in these sometimes dark times ending up as their most complete and best record.

The Seattle four piece,  singer Emily Nokes, drummer Lelah Maupin, bassist Bree McKenna and guitarist Eric Randall keep get things off to a shining start with the symbol rich "Hologram" which reminds power is a hologram while directly addressing today's societal feelings, beaded curtains and the smallness of us all before the pumping "New World" amps up the hope and the dance floor ready "Grain of Salt" slams home the point that you should never forget who the fuck you are; the main flagpole of This Mess Is A Place.

The group plays with 50's doo-wop influences on the dark humor filled "The Joke of Life" and while it might sound odd dealing with nightmares and getting swallowed up by thinking to hard over and around such pretty sounding tunes that juxtaposition is the charm of Tacocat. One issue however is the playing can become too sugary and light at times but then things dig down and grip tightly on the break filled "Little Friend" which pushes big drums and crunching riffs to the forefront in almost Veruca Salt fashion.

The banging mixes with more swinging hip shaking tambourines for the bands take on the obviously fortunate few via "Rose-Colored Sky", a catchy screed while the pop punk of "The Problem" motors along while the simple day drunk swaying of "Meet Me at La Palma" is a nice break from the conscientious lyrics. "Crystal Ball" talks about the American cultural malaise and computer stupor with excellent results, proclaiming it is a great time to barely be alive before the record closes with the fuzz laden warbling of "Miles and Miles" wrapping up a rock solid release.   

While there isn't a must hear track on the record the complete work of up beat guitar rock with purpose is catchy, exciting and proof that this style can still sound fresh. This Mess Is a Place, but tomorrow it could always get messier or perhaps even better.           
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A really great bandcamp find. Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:



Monday, May 13, 2019

Dylan Cover #375 Joe Paulik "Not Dark Yet" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. This week we have Joe Paulik, doing a live cover of "Not Dark Yet".

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
A excellent Dylan tune from any era but one that in particular screamed "I'm Still Alive And Kickin'!" on Time Out Of Mind at a time when Dylan was simply an after thought in current popular music scene. One of Dylan's most haunting tracks; it is hard not to feel his emotions and finality of the coming darkness as Dylan sings this lyric set.  An all-time great that is mysterious, foreboding, honest and powerful. 1st class Bob.
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
First time coming across Joe Paulik. Good stuff.

Thoughts on Cover:
Really cool concept to recorded with Lake Superior providing texture and sound. Great singing and strumming as well. Hell of a cover.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Full Show Friday: James Brown - North Sea Jazz Festival July 11th, 1981

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...James Brown!

Our focus this month in our ongoing Masters series is James Brown.

For this installment of Full Show Friday we find he Godfather of Soul ushering in that dark period known as the 80's. Live from the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1981 comes Brown and his band. James has got some look going on this night, "Gonna Have A Funky Good Time" indeed...Pro shot pro sound full set list and information below.

Enjoy:


From the Youtube Description:
James Brown was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and bandleader. He was the creator of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance. He is known as the ""Godfather of Soul”. In a career that spanned six decades, he influenced the development of several music genres. In 1981 he performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival with his band. Tracklisting a.o.: - We Are The Funky Men - It’s Too Funky In Here - Gonna Have A Funky Good Time - Try Me - Get On The Good Foot - Georgia On My Mind - I Got The Feeling - Please Please Please - Jam - Sex Machine Also watch the 2nd concert James Brown did that same day, 11 July 1981. He really brings the audience to their feet. Also it is a different tracklisting, including ''Its' a man's world'! We will upload this concert on 17 august 2018. Watch more World of Jazz videos ► https://goo.gl/Z28cxv Join us. Subscribe now! ► https://goo.gl/n2FHaL Thanks for all your support, rating the video and leaving a comment is always appreciated! Please: respect each other in the comments. This is the official YouTube channel of World of Jazz.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Album Review: Blood Red Shoes - Get Tragic

Blood Red Shoes
Get Tragic
***and1/2 out of *****

The fifth album from guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steven Ansell, the English duo known as Blood Red Shoes, finds them giving their band a fresh start as the band was put on hiatus with Carter heading to LA after 2014's self titled. Get Tragic shifts their sound, pumping up the electro jams with brooding electronic keyboards, bass heavy pop rock perfect for late night dance floors or hip dark smokey laser light lit club scenes on movie soundtracks. 

The first noticeable adjustment is the increased the work load of keyboards, moving away from garage rock roots into a more dance laden fully bloated dark rock sound. The pulsating electro bass dominates the record opener "Eye To Eye" setting the stage before the first single "Mexican Dress" takes over. An album highlight the lyrics call to mind a vapid generation doing things for the clicks which Carter describes as "small hits of validation and the feeling of having all eyes on you have become our generation’s biggest drug problem!”.

Musically the track delivers different driving drums and percussion with repetitive riffs and swirling keyboard sounds/effects melding into a dance ready groove. That dirty rock groove gets an industrial injection on the clanging "Bangsar" and the experimental "Anxeity" both which find Ansell on lead vocal duty, but it is the singing on "Howl" from Carter which dominates. On a majority of the offerings her vocals remain more spoken word and aloof , but "Howl" finds Carter in strong form and everything clicking with disenchanted samples, electronic keyboard lines, crunchy riffs and driving drums; aside from a bizarre abrupt ending it is a standout number.

The whole record keeps the motif industrial pop rock dance party flowing though even when guests arrive like Ed Harcourt on the Depeche Mode influenced "Beverly" or The Wytches for the "Hold Me, Thirll Me Kiss Me Kill Me" inspired "Nearer" which juxtaposes sludgy electronic bass with shimmering big breaks in massive over driven style.

Producer Nick Launay (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) also deserves credit for stringing these sounds together so successfully. The one song which breaks this style and doesn't work is the odd off kilter folk of "Find My Own Remorse" which has Clarence Clarity assisting, but the shift in album ascetic is a strange stylistic choice.   

Album closer however "Elijah" pulls things back into the underground chic framework with a huge cinematic riffs and rising crescendo, tailor made to close out festival sets as splashes of recent Jack White efforts ("Connected By Love") flow through it. Wrapping up on a high note Get Tragic finds Carter and Ansell in strong form, increasing their electronic output, and also stridently moving Blood Red Shoes forward in overloaded fashion.
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Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

Album Review: Kevin Morby - Oh My God

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of Kevin Morby's newest double album, Oh My God.

Kind of split on this record and glad that Glide eliminated their star system because I am not sure where I would land on this record. Read the review but if you are too lazy...TL:DR - cool idea, not the the best execution to these ears.

Support the artist, buy the album, read the review and peep some video below:


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Masters- James Brown - Best Studio Albums

RtBE loves listening to new music and prides itself on keeping tabs on up and coming artists but in 2019 we are also going to have a monthly spotlight on legendary artists who we really love. We are calling this series The Masters. It will focus on the best albums, live records, transcendent shows and other odd ways we appreciate the artists and their contribution to music, culture and our formation.
For May The Masters focuses on James Brown.

The Godfather himself, James Brown joins The Masters series here on RtBE. He is the visionary artist who helped invent funk and hip-hop as he moved through the amazing funky waters of time and his mind. Mr. Please Please Me is iconic and moved from The Famous Flames to Soul Brother #1 to the Godfather with ease as he aged.
He however joins the likes of Miles when RtBE is conflicted about the art and the artist. Longform collected just a few pieces on him, but it is safe to say that Brown's actions makes it tough with our love for the mans music. That said, we wrote about our feelings on Brown when he passed away for Glide as he had a huge influence on our musical ears and he won't be the first or last artist we are conflicted about loving.   

Today we are going to dive into his studio output and rank our favorite studio albums by Brown. Perhaps not shockingly, but like Elvis Presley, Brown is a mega artist who does not have definitive studio albums. His early albums were almost random collections of singles, his later albums were scattered, many didn't even have the title songs on them or were mixes of live/studio/overdub Frankenstein's (looking at you Sex Machine).

Some of these actual records are out of print and honestly people aren't losing much because of that. Live albums, box sets, greatest hits, he checks all those boxes, but a definitive studio effort is hard to find...let's give it a go anyways...  

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Album Review: Kel Assouf - Black Tenere

Kel Assouf
Black Tenere
*** out of *****

The first time I became aware of what is apparently being called the 'Tuareg Sound'  or Ishumar music was through the fantastic guitarist Bombino and his Group Bombino's participation in Guitars from Agadez Vol 2. While Bombino may be the most world known name working in this African rock style, other bands are breaking out and Kel Assouf is one of them with their most recent release Black Tenere.

Singing for the Kel Tamashek people front man and guitarist Anana Ag Haroun’s poetically relates his peoples struggles and while this American can not understand the lyrics without translation, the sound and passion are evident as is struggle and modern day tough times linked to his culture. Kel Assouf are a trio with drummer Oliver Penu and keyboardist/producer Sofyann Ben Youssef (AMMAR 808) along to help fill out the sound.

Opener "Fransa" deals with his peoples struggles with colonization over blues rock mixed with North African sounds while "Alyochan" is a showcase for Youssef as the digital bleeps and keyboards take center stage. "Tenere" is a banging track which takes liberally from Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsy's era heavy blues/psych rock with it's sound, which may be the most familiar for Western ears first experiencing this style.

The meditative "Tamatant" is stripped down and acoustically based, the most meditative track here running five and half minutes while the other long runner "Ariyal" is squarely in the experimental jazz zone for the four minute intro before clapping into the club ready beat for the remainder of the run time. The repetitiveness of this style may not be for everyone as the sound is based on reinforcing the hypnotic groove on songs like "Taddout" are a long journey.

When styles clash, like on the scattered groove of "America" or the blues based desert style with deep bass drumming from Penu on "Amghar" which booms ominously, the best results are found. Banging rock closer with snake like riffs from Haroun is also a highlight ending the fun mix of styles, sounds and cultures which Black Tenere  offers up; using it's repetitive rock nature to enchant the listener proving the more cultures mix the merrier.
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Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:


Monday, May 6, 2019

Dylan Cover #374 Rita Coolidge "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Rita Coolidge performing a cover of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" 
In April (and first week in May)we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing the 2019 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight, Rita Coolidge who played Thursday, May 2nd.

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
A simple little number coming off of John Wesley Harding it discards the lyrical wizardry for a down home spin.  We are rewarded with easy bliss, not often found in Dylan tunes. The emotions displayed by the singer here are heartfelt, hearty and easy going, just like the tune as a whole. Always a pleasant ride, bring that bottle over here...   

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Rita Coolidge has been around for a long time, have highlighted her ex-husband in this series, but RtBE has not had any contact with her before today. Wild as she was so instrumental to Mad Dog's and Englishmen and other things we love.

Thoughts on Cover:
Taken from her second studio album, 1972's The Lady's Not For Sale comes this country-fied version with easy rambling music and strong, direct singing from Coolidge. This is a nice cover which mixes that freewheeling style with a more passionate lyric, and while the song might work better tossed off this stout singing shows Rita's power.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Angels & Vagabonds EP Anyways... Released Four Years Ago Today

We are proud that Angels & Vagabonds acoustic EP titled Anyways... Turns four years old today.
The album is important because, well, RtBE is in the band and it is exciting to go from critic/reviewer of music to creator of tunes. Special thanks also go to our friends who helped out and while it has been a few years since a release, more are on the way...

You can stream the album below and you can also go here and download the album for free (or any donation you would like). The album is also available on Spotify, Itunes AMI Jukeboxes and elsewhere. Thanks for listening and reading.