Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Album Review: Taylor Kelly - Up Up and Away

Taylor Kelly
Up Up and Away
**** out of *****

Taylor Kelly's newest release is a dynamite mix of funky soul, experimental jazz and from the heart powerful singing, as Up Up and Away soars. Kelly and company have pulled it all together as the Philadelphia singer/songwriter deals with love, loss and confusion (as well as tacos) delivering the goods on each and every track. 

The opening title tune sets the tone with it's rich musicality, tender soul, killer vocals and a ripping guitar solo to end. Engineered, mixed and produced by Robby Webb the sound throughout is warm, but never retro, alive in the present day; Kelly announces her intentions with confidence off the bat and things continue from there. The personal "JWYTK" kicks up the funk and horns while "Taco Night" gets more lighthearted and a touch tipsy with hip hop help from Mic Stewart. There is some distorted bass from Matthew Keppler under the upbeat chimes, drumming and singing (with Queen Jo helping out) on "Love is Blind" while "Run Away" excitingly amps the experimental flute and synth around the ever present groove.

"Tell Me" develops a Latin flair with percussion from Arturo Stable while "Bad Dreams" is adventurous, sounding large and cinematic in scope with a closing jazz fusion inspired jam which could have gone on for even longer as the players were all locked in. The album is a testament to Kelly herself and closer "Fall In Love" is her torch song, allowing her steamy vocals to take center stage and rise gloriously skyward describing a tale of bad relationship decisions. 

These are well worn territories when it comes to lyrics in soul music and the only slight knock on the record is that the themes don't move too deep under the surface, but for a full length album to sound this solid, that is a small quibble as Up Up And Away should propel Taylor Kelly into the national spotlight.
Another great bandcamp find, support the artist, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:

Monday, October 14, 2019

Dylan Cover #397 Bruce Springsteen "Blowin' In The Wind" Live 1988

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 Bruce Springsteen playing "Blowin' In The Wind"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
The classic Dylan song, if you asked 100 people to name you the first Bob Dylan song they thought of, or his best known song, I am guessing 95-99 of them would answer "Blowin' In The Wind".  It is an epic, vital song in the history of recorded music. The lyrics tell a stirring tale, the melody is enchanting, it is pretty spot on perfect, and when it originally came out if announced to the world the greatness that was/is/always will be Bob Dylan.


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and his bombastic style.

Thoughts on Cover:
A straight ahead acoustic picking cover from The Boss playing The Bard. We like Uncle Neil's dramatic take on this tune a few months back a bit more, but there is zero wrong with Bruce today AND you get a bonus cover...."It's bound to take your life..."

Friday, October 11, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 7/16/16 Rome, Italy

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!

For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts.

Today we go to a more modern show from 2016 in Rome proving Springsteen and crew are still delivering the grade A goods. Bruce was revisiting The River, playing it in it's entirety this tour and the massive crowd at the Circus Maximus ate it up. RtBE was lucky enough to catch this tour and review the Brooklyn show. It ended up being one  of the best concerts we saw all year.

Different fan videos with pretty solid sound. Enjoy:

This is a playlist so if you are having full show streaming issues you can access it here:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fats Domino Twelve Disk Box Set Coming Next Month

The legend Fats Domino will be getting a huge box set from Bear Family Records titled I've Been Around and it is a doozy.

Containing all of his recordings with Imperial records from 1948-62 and ABC-Paramount  from '63-'65 the 12 CD Box Set will be complete with outtakes demos live cuts and a host of never before heard tunes.

RtBE is a fan of the Fat Man (we will be writing more about him very soon) and this seems like an amazing release...but one that could boarder on obsessive or for completists only.

The same company has put out collections on Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, which RtBE has yet to check out, but the same thought applies to those as well, has anyone bought those? If so we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Any which way but loose, you can pre order here and to get in the mood here are some videos of Domino's tunes through the years.

Album Review: Thurston Moore - Spirit Counsel

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!
It is of Thurston Moore's newest release the 3 CD box set Spirit Counsel.

RtBE are huge fans of Thurston's and his last album was our pick for record of the year back in 2017.  This is a different beast as it goes full on long experimental, but the first track will be easily linked to that record.

The other two songs are more out there and this is obviously not for everyone, but if you dig experimental guitar based music it is worth picking up. We seem to be the highest on it when it comes to MetaCritic, but we dig on this stuff a lot.

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Masters: Bruce Springsteen - Top Five 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 October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

The next "new Dylan" Bruce Springsteen had high expectations and early in his career searched for his own sound which would be solidified in the mid 70's as Phil Spector  inspired grandiose rock and roll that goes for it every time.

An artist who recently pulled back the curtain on his craft, Springsteen famously said he never worked a day in his life but yet can craft a song like "The River" or "Factory" which cuts to the heart of a working man. Poetic, bombastic, country tinged and inspired by that sweet soul music, Bruce's sound is his own yet he inspired tons of others. It is impossible for RtBE to listen to Thin Lizzy and not hear Springsteen B-sides and for that matter half of E-Street went over the top with Bat Out of Hell.

The Boss remains an artist striving for the sound, his newest record went all retro-pop country, he is willing to experiment and take chances and his best successes rank up there with the greatest in rock and roll history. He became meticulous in the studio and it shows on the five albums we selected below so let's not waste any more words.

As a reminder these lists are to start conversations not end them, with that in mind let's see all that heaven will allow...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Album Review: Jesse Malin - Sunset Kids

Jesse Malin
Sunset Kids
***and1/2 out of *****

The newest solo record from Jesse Malin is perfectly titled as the NYC artist spins world weary tales about faded youth on Sunset Kids which proves to be his strongest overall effortStarting in the glam punk D-Generation, Malin still has the streets running through his veins but he now sings softer sounding but still harrowing tales of a veteran who still gets in love tussles while wearing his influences and heartache on his sleeve.

Opener "Meet Me At The End of The World Again" (which just might be 24th Street in Manhattan) layers keyboard guitars and tambourines in a welcoming Lou Reed vibe as the excellent production from Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby stands out immediately. Williams leaves the boards to help with backing vocals on the alt-country influenced "Room 13" but the song is notable for Malin's best singing on the record.

The down and out have a musical compatriot in Malin who addresses the dearly departed on the piano lead "Shane", the acoustic picking of the dramatic "Revelations" and the rich warm ballad "Promises" speak to what might have been and memories. "When You Were Dead" is the focal point of the record as it sums things up lyrically:

When you’re young and you run and you’re burning like a star
And it’s fun and it’s done and it leaves you with a scar
Wake up it’s another year and oh, the lock and chain
Wake up and there’s nobody near but oh, the pouring rain

Wake up don’t waste your life on things that don’t get better
There are only two rockers, the dragging "Dead On", the radio friendly shake of "Strangers and Thieves" (complete with background vocals from Billie Joe Armstrong) which comes off a touch too clean and when Malin goes for a mid 80's almost War On Drugs influenced sound on "Shining Down" things aren't as successful. Malin does nail it with the stripped down upbeat strum of "Chemical Heart" which deals with a tough luck lover in poetic terms. 

Mentions to fellow lifers in rock like David Bowie and Sid Vicious/Creedance Clearwater Revival in the pretty jangle of "Gray Skies Look So Blue" pinpoint Malin's true love of the rock life and while songs here branch away from that (the soul on "Do You Want To Know?", country junkie of "Friends of Florida") broadening his scope helps Malin deliver his most affecting record yet with Sunset Kids.
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Live Review: Built To Spill 10/1/19 Webster Hall, NY, NY

Built to Spill 
Live 10/1/19 
Webster Hall, NY, NY

For a band celebrating the 20th Anniversary of one of their best selling albums Built to Spill looked put out, as if they wanted to be anywhere else instead of playing to a sold out Tuesday Night crowd at the recently renovated Webster Hall in New York City.

While there is something to be said about the no frills way the band goes about things, from no stage show, minimal lights/effects, tuning their own instruments to looking like accountants more than rock stars, the energy level emanating from the stage seemed about the same as a cubicle lined work place environment. The sold crowd were poised to rock, but things remained mellow throughout.

Keep It Like A Secret was Built To Spill's most mainstream friendly record with shorter, catchier songs and this tour is a testament to the album and bands continued popularity. They sold out five nights in a row in New York City (Mon-Tues Manhattan, Wed-Fri Brooklyn) and haven't released a new album since 2015. 

Their set opened just as the album did with "The Plan" and it was played just like the album version as were all of the tracks on this night. The group switched around the order of the record but each take was very close to the original recorded version; no songs were stretched out or experimented with (minus the set closer). The only deviation from the album came early as band dug deep into their catalog for the Caustic Resin combo tune "When Being Stupid Is Not Enough" as the languid playing rose to the best guitar interplay of the night. The only constant in BtS over the years, Doug Martsch remains a great guitarist when he lets loose.

"You Were Wrong" got screeching before pulling the plug and "Sidewalk" pushed up the tempo, but never took off.  A tune like "Bad Light" was the norm for this set as the live version on this night mirrored the studio and a great groove bubbled up at the end but things were quickly truncated; musical blue balls.

The encore played with a mix of newer unrecorded tunes like "Understood", older throwbacks like "In The Morning" and a cover (helped out by opener Prism Bitch) of The Kinks "Waterloo Sunset", yet nothing pumped the crowd or the band, as they just went through the motions. Closer "Carry The Zero" ended the night well but it was set closing "Broken Chairs" that was the clear highlight as it came the closest to the expansive version captured on Live and there in lies the conundrum of Built to Spill.

A band who has released one of the best live records in indie rock seem either ill prepared, too scared or just not interested in trying to reach those expressive heights again. Whether it is because Martsch chooses to mix up lineups, or just wants to play it safe on stage, the group would be infinitely better/more interesting/worth seeing live if they opened up and played without a net, like they did on their official live album. Even if that meant crashing and burning during shows, at least that would be what rock and roll is about as opposed to re-hashing memories from 20 years ago with zero evolution.

If you want to hear Keep It Like A Secret it is probably better just to blast the original record and if you want to see Built To Spill live, it is probably just better to blast Live these days.
Having seen the band multiple times this will be the last (unless they are at a festival or an opener for someone). Thanks to Jimmy for the ticket, but they just aren't very engaging live. That said still support them, and peep some video below:

Monday, October 7, 2019

Dylan Cover #396 Bruce Springsteen "Chimes of Freedom" Live from Copenhagen 1988

Continuing our ongoing Monday's Dylan Cover Series, this week we present Bruce Springsteen performing a live cover of "Chimes Of Freedom" .

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this song:
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 poetic songwriter, 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...

Thoughts on Cover Band:
We will be focusing on Bruce Springsteen all month in our on Masters series. RtBE dig's the Jersey Devil and his bombastic style.
Thoughts on Cover:
A Bruce'd up Dylan cover, but not one that really changes much, just amps it up overall in Springsteen's big band style. A fine cover that is perfect for Bruce's over abundant dramatic style. The 80's chimes are fine for it as well, if a bit crushing in their symbolism, just overall the tune never real grabs us.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Full Show Friday: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 9/20/78 Capital Theater, Passaic, NJ

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...Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band!
For October The Masters focuses on Bruce Springsteen

Here comes the Jersey Devil for our October Masters Series as The Boss has been wowing fans for decades now and his live shows are things of legends. All Full Show Friday's this month will be a testament to these and get ready because we have some doozy's lined up. 

Thanks to our resident Springsteen expert Tom Gallagher for curating this month's Friday concerts. Let's start in 1978 on The Darkness tour on his home turf of New Jersey which just might be the best of the bunch. 

We will be talking more about this tour, album and Springsteen in general all month so we will shut up and let the music do the talking, but this is simply put one of the best tours in rock history as Bruce and the E-Street band are super pumped up to be playing.   

Black and white video is grainy at best but the sound is electric and you can see this simply monumental night up close and personal. Set list with timing below. Enjoy:

Badlands 4:36 Spirit in the Night 15:05 Darkness on the Edge of Town 20:08 Independence Day 27:47 The Promised Land 35:05 Prove it all Night 47:29 It's my LIfe (The Animals cover) 53:05 Thunder Road 58:41 Jungleland 1:09:45 Santa Claus is coming to town 1:14:50 Fire 1:17:47 Candy's Room 1:21:02 Because the Night 1:28:10 Intro/Point Blank 1:37:03 Kitty's Back 1:51:00 Incident on 57th Street 2:01:15 Rosalita (Come out Tonight) 2:14:00 Born to Run 2:21:35 Tenth Avenue Freeze-out 2:26:55 Detroit Medley 2:40:17 Twist and Shout

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Album Review: Cassidy - Numbers

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

The Philadelphia M.C. Cassidy has had a long career in the game. He started out as a battle rapper around the turn of millennium then signed to J records and scored some big hits with "Hotel", My Drink n My 2 Step" and "I'm A Hustla" which all came with Swizz Beatz production when he was the hottest producer on the planet.

After that in 2006 things went bit sideways as he was convicted of of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime for his involvement in the shooting. Then after he was released from prison he was involved in a traumatic car accident leaving him in a coma. Fully recovered we focused on his career and now his newest release is trying to get him back on the road to the top.

The mix-tape has a few standout moments but an also drag in parts over it's fourteen tracks. Cassidy mixes the energetic tracks and the more downtrodden, horror influenced efforts, the track "Hide From Me" even uses the Nightmare on Elm Street Freddie Kruger rhyme to open and close the effort.

His gangsta persona is well earned and Cassidy drops right into it with minimalist ominous piano opener "Get To A Sell". The boasting is everywhere like on the battle ready "He Pussy" and "I Feel Good" which both do what their titles proclaim while "Like Mine" talks about how bad his bitch is while introducing Reggae Ratchet.

A better pairing of the female M.C. and Cassidy is "It's Mayhem When We Come Through" which is the best effort on the album with its up tempo beats, and flow from both artists and while "Let's Get This Chicken Up" tries to continue their energy, telling off mumble rappers but the rhymes from Cassidy don't work as well on this outing.

Another newcomer Bishop adds some R&B soul singing to Cassidy's street style on "It's Hard Out Here" and gives some Caribbean flair to "When It All Go Wrong" which infuses things with strings and skittering beats, flashing some of the best production on Numbers. Like most mix-tapes things ebb and flow, but Cassidy shows he still has things to say in engaging fashion.     
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it below or on bandcamp and peep some video:

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Album Review: Vida Blue - Crossing Lines

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

It is of Vida Blue's newest release, Crossing Lines.

When Phish first went on hiatus, the four individuals all tried solo stuff. Vida Blue was by far the most interesting as Page McConnell stepped to the forefront and invited the amazing rhythm pair of Oteil Burbridge and Russell Batiste to join him.  The original album was cool, the follow up was better with the Spam All-Stars on board for a jammed out DJ spiced Latin flavored jazz/funky excursion.

Crossing Lines is a solid return for the side project, with the instrumentals sounding loose and free. If there is a downside, it is that Page's vocals and lyrics are average at best, but the overall sound, especially the drumming from Batiste is worth a listen.

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Album Review: Billy Strings - Home

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

It is of Billy Strings newest release titled Home.
Strings has become a must catch on the live jam circuit as he and his band are extending bluegrass and playing with power. This studio album is really solid and outside of a few ballads, everything works really well.

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

Album Review: Burna Boy - African Giant

Burna Boy
African Giant
**** out of *****

The newest release from Nigerian singer Burna Boy (aka Damini Ogulu) is an intoxicating mix of styles, substance and sounds as all of his many influences get air time over the hour long African Giant. The Afro-Fusion artist incorporates many genres and even as things hop around from song to song the overall cohesion of the record is rewarding.

The easy flow from Burna Boy is accentuated by various focal points, the opening title track announces it's presence with an easy beat and flamenco guitar line while "Anybody" blows a saxophone with yacht rock lightness and ease, but these are not light and airy tunes. The song "Dangote" uses an odd spastic beat, trumpets and strong singing, threatening to break big, but instead stays even to describe the poverty and financial injustice. The title is the last name of the richest African Aliko Dangote who is Nigerian. The state of his country is firmly on Ogulu's mind as Nigeria history is the backbone on the soulful "Another Story" as he speaks to and for his people

The groove is central to everything here as well, tracks like on the hypnotic "Wetin Man Go Do" or the plucking/rolling ease found on "Pull Up" as these songs (and the majority of the record) were produced by Kel P while "Collateral Damage" deliver a seventies funk vibe. Damian Marley and Angelique Kidjo support on the slapping "Different" which announces the times they are a changing while there is no need to say it during the bumping "This Side" with YG.

Modern day hip-hop and R&B grooves play central roles on the get down club track "Gum Body" featuring killer lines from Jorja Smith in a frothy duet while "Omo" kicks up the dance beats and rhymes while "Killin Dem" uses minimalist warbling beats and percussion to interesting effect as Zlatan arrives rhyming with power. "Show and Tell"brings Future to help out on the Skillrex/Dre Skull produced track which pumps up the bass but both Future and Burna Boy's more aggressive style of rhyming on this effort isn't the best on the album.

Successful tracks like "Destiny", "Gbona", "On The Low" and "Spiritual" manage to infuse all of the influences into a winning mix of guitar lines, vibrant percussion, personal singing and smooth head bopping grooves never breaking loose into full on raves, more like a cool late night lounge vibes in the hippest club in the world. 

While the term "world" is a shitty way to describe "non-American" music, Burna Boy has truly incorporated many modern world sounds into a common cool thread and structure. While his previously release Outside may have announced his talent to the world African Giant is leaps ahead, living up to his boastful title with aplomb. 
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below: