Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fireworks!



I don’t recall what triggered it, but I fell into a YouTube rabbit hole last night, zeroed in on First Aid Kit. For those that don’t know, First Aid Kit is made up of two sisters from the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden - Klara and Johanna Söderberg. They’re in their mid-20’s and are a week away from releasing their fourth album, Ruins (January 19th, Columbia/Sony Music). Their M.O. is Harmonies, and my God can these girls sing. Simply flawless, organic beauty. If you were watching David Letterman’s final Late Night shows a couple years back, you may have caught First Aid Kit singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” (dedicated to Dave’s son Harry). In 2010, they caught the eyes and ears of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst at the Austin City Limits Music Festival (I was there!). Conor and his Bright Eyes buddy Mike Mogis were at the festival with their awesome little folk supergroup Monsters of Folk (with Jim James, M. Ward). Conor and Mike, along with Jack White, helped get the ball rolling stateside, with Mogis actually producing First Aid Kit’s next two albums, The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold. Well, here we are in 2018 with album 4 about to drop. I’m not able to find who produced this one, but the three songs that are available now are great. And what spurred me into writing this post was hearing “Fireworks” for the first time this morning. You know the feeling, the kind of song that puts everything else on pause for a few minutes . I get a “The End of the World” vibe from it (which, by the way, check out Sharon Von Etten’s version). Ah, the heartbreak songs... Pre-Order Ruins.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rihanna in Lemon

I'm always interested in what Pharrell's up to, especially when it comes to N.E.R.D. He's always super creative with the beats and grooves, so anything that comes along is worth my attention.

A few weeks back, I saw some buzz on social media about N.E.R.D.'s new tune "Lemon," in particular the Jimmy Kimmel performance. Before watching the performance, I dialed up "Lemon" to kick back and listen to the track. The opening part: "Cool," I thought, "this is nice, but why the..." THEN, 44 seconds in, I understood. From the 44 second to 1:42 mark, things change.

First off, the GROOVE - just what I love to hear from Pharrell and his N.E.R.D. buddies; but secondly and most importantly, RIHANNA takes over this shit, and unleashes a street-laced rap/rhyme that completely threw me for a loop. It's power, it's magic. And I can't enough of it.

Respect.

(P.S. As for the Kimmel performance, it features the dancer from the video below, but Ri-Ri wasn't on hand to spit her verse, unfortunately. Yes, I'm a 47 year old white man who just said the words "Ri-Ri wasn't on hand to spit her verse." Go figure.)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Dr. Dog + Jim Song



photo by Chris Crisman


Call me a huge admirer of Dr. Dog. Go ahead, I'll wait. Thanks.


"Jim Song" has that special formula that instantly connects with me: slow, acoustic guitar ballad; a lovesick and broken protagonist; throw in some harmonica and the drums/band that come in halfway through. One for the downtrodden and heartsick. Deep down folks, he knows she's not right for him, but what he really misses is his pride.


A beautiful tune, and an easy one for us amateur guitar players (C, Am, Em, F and G).

Well ever since you went away I've been a mess inside
And there's nothing you could do to get me satisfied
And my heart's turned against me and it won't abide
But I don't really miss her like I miss my pride

Memories of a Prince Fan

In the late summer of 1984, I saw Purple Rain for the first time. I was 14. Adolescence had arrived, and was about to be taken for quite a s...