Thursday, June 27, 2019

X Ambassadors: Confidence (Track of the Week)

Ithaca, New York's own X Ambassadors caught my eye recently with this infectious track. It's from their third and latest full length, Orion. I have to admit that it's reached deep into my soul as I have known a person or two that has made me feel this way...:)


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Smooth Soul of Rashaan Patterson (Album of the Week)

Rashaan Patterson is a soul music treasure. His latest release, Heroes and Gods, has become my latest obsession. It's R&B done absolutely right, touching just about every sub genre that falls under that umbrella. I even hear a solid acid jazz thread running through several of the cuts that makes me wax nostalgic for the late 80's/early 90's late night, club scene.

Here's the opening track...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Band of the Decade: Catfish and The Bottlemen

The first time I heard Catfish and the Bottlemen I loved them immediately. It was the opening track from their first full length, The Balcony (2014). "Homesick" sent me straight away to that magical, Brit-rock place that I go to when I new band from the Holy Land captures my attention. The progression, as it always is, was the same. I found out where they were from (Llandudno, Conwy, Wales), I imagined the first time I would see them live, how the club would smell where I would see them, how the booze would taste that I was drinking, and how the people I was with would enjoy the show with me.

More importantly, Catfish and the Bottlemen, like many Brit Rockers before them, became the underlying soundtrack to my inherent coolness. They were another brick (a BIG brick) in my stellar music taste which drives personality. The foundation of my ego/id/superego is British music in all its historic splendor. It propels me every day to new levels of completely fucking insane exhilaration. It gives me confidence and swagger.

So, as the 11 tracks of that first Catfish record unspooled for my aural delight, I was beyond hooked. I was obsessed! I immediately tracked down their first EP (The Beautiful Decay) and several rare tracks ("Tortuga", "Asa" on the Rango single) so I could have as much as possible. I began to play all of their tunes over and over again with all of their stories becoming part of my story. Every song, as related by frontman Van McCann, seemed to be made for anthemic sing-alongs at a festival show. All of them were about great loves that I've had and never had. "Cocoon" is one of the greatest rock songs of all time. "Rango" gives me the shivers every time I hear it. "26" makes me want to talk to all the girls I was too afraid to talk to when I was a teenager. Here is "Cocoon."

Speaking of teenagers, both my own kids went bananas over the album as well. That says something. A Gen Xer like me digging a band is one thing. We were born to do that. But a Gen Zer? That means the band is mint. The Balcony quickly became my pick for Best Album of 2015.  It has since made my top 101 albums of all time, clocking in at #51.

The live shows have been nothing short of extraordinary. I first caught them on June 9th in 2015 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis (my hometown). I was struck immediately by their showmanship and, in particular, the ever charismatic Van McCann. The first time you see him sing and play guitar one word comes to mind: superstar. That dude knows how to electrify a crowd. They next played the main room at First Avenue on June 15, 2016. That show was fucking of the best I have ever seen there. I caught them again on December 1 later that year at Myth. The latter two times I saw them I brought my wife and teenage kids with me. These were two of the most memorable times we've had as a family. Hearing great music and hanging out with the people I love the most!!

Here is a full show they played that year at T in the Park. It gives you an idea of how awesome they are live.

2016 also saw the release of their second effort, The Ride. Sophomore efforts invariably have songs that, for whatever reason, didn't make it to the first album so it was every bit as amazing as The Balcony. Top tracks are "Twice," "Soundcheck," "Red," and "Oxygen." Here is the video for "Oxygen."

This year the band released their third full-length record entitled The Balance. Here is the opening track from that record.

The lads have once again knocked it out of the park with another eleven tracks of pure fucking genius. After one listen, it was obvious. Catfish and the Bottlemen are the Band of the Decade. They have set the bar for the years 2011 to 2020. No other band comes close. They are yet another gem in the line of UK royalty...The Beatles to David Bowie to Pink Floyd to U2 to Oasis to Stereophonics to the Arctic Monkeys and now to Catfish and The Bottlemen.

Congrats, lads!

Note: Catfish and the Bottlemen are currently touring the United States. Check them out when they come to your town. Here is their full discography

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Song of the Summer of 2019

With the summer now officially underway, it's time to select the song that will define it. Which track is going to be the pulse of the next few weeks as the people in the northern hemisphere while away the day at the beach or sweat out the nights at the club? What is going to be their soundtrack to that late night summer drive in the shadows with a loved one?

It's Noel Gallagher's Black Star Dancing, my track of the week from last week. Make this the center of your summer, folks!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Liam Gallagher: Shockwave (Track of the Week)

Last week it was Noel and this week it's his brother, Liam Gallagher, for my track of the week. I'd be lying if I said I don't miss Oasis. I do every day. For me, they fall right in line behind The Beatles and Paul Weller in terms of British rock royalty. Yet, with both of the brothers Gallagher releasing records (usually during the same year), I get two Oasis albums instead of one. So that's a pretty cool deal.

"Shockwave" is the first new track from Liam's forthcoming second full-length album, Why Me? Why Not (due 20 September). It's a corker! Check it out...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dylan LeBlanc: Renegade (Album of the Week)

Recently I discovered Lousiana treasure Dylan LeBlanc and I feel so grateful that I did. His latest release, Renegade, is fucking astounding. All ten tracks are completely wonderful and, if they were women, I'd passionately kiss each and every one. LeBlanc has managed to twist up romantic relationships, love, and Americana so perfectly that this disc is easily in contention for Album of the Year.

Here is the opening track which also happens to be the title track as well...


LeBlanc is also on tour. Check him out when he comes to your town.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

San Cisco: Live at the Cedar Cultural Center

I've enjoyed the Freemantle Australian band, San Cisco, for the better part of a decade. From the first EP (Golden Revolver) to their latest full length (The Water), their brand of indie pop is massively infectious. More importantly, they've shown earnest growth in their career, always exploring new musical horizons.

This was on display last night at the Cedar Cultural Center. Their 70-minute set was truly enjoyable from start to finish. They wound their way through chestnuts from their entire catalog with some amazing new songs sprinkled in the mix.

The stand out of the night was one of these new songs. As he introduced "Skin," lead singer and guitarist Jordi Davieson said they were "scared shitless" to play it. I have no idea why they felt this way because the song was fucking mega and they played it flawlessly. In fact, every song was in top-notch form, the vocals and instruments blending perfectly together and sounding incredibly well mixed.

They have a few more shows to play in North America. Go and see them! You will not be disappointed.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Zombies: Summertime (Summer Playlist Track #1)

With summer officially in swing, it's time to build that ultimate, summer playlist. Picking the first track is tough but look no further than this song from 1965 performed by The Zombies. This adaptation from the Gershwin musical, Porgy and Bess, is stellar and a perfect way to being your summer soundtrack.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Todd Rundgren: Real Man (Throwback Thursday)

Todd Rundgren and Utopia brought their "Back to the Bars" tour to the Midnight Special on August 25, 1978. There were many fab guests including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Warren Zeavon, and Exile.

But Todd and the lads stole the show, performing five songs. Here was the first number they did to open the show. 


Monday, June 10, 2019

Noel Gallagher: Black Star Rising (Track of the Week)

Manchester's own Noel Gallagher continues to shovel-to-the-head stun me. His musical growth since the demise of Oasis has been extraordinary. I make no apologies for ranking him right up there with The Beatles and Paul Weller, my top two artists of all time. There is a direct line of evolution and torch carrying that goes from those four lads from Liverpool to Weller to Gallagher.

His latest track is "Black Star Rising," an incredibly wonderful foray into disco/lounge music. And yet it still manages to sound psychedelic!

So fucking mega...that female background singer....mmm...:)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Joan As Police Woman: Joanthology (Album of the Week)

Joan Wasser is an American treasure. Hailing from Norwalk, Connecticut and performing under the stage name Joan As Policewoman, Wasser has made several great albums of slow and slinky, 70's tinged pop songs. This kind of music just isn't made anymore and it's refreshing to hear an artist channel Carole King and Laura Nyro as well as Wasser does while still being unique to her own vision.

Normally, I wouldn't choose a compilation album as my pick of the week but Joanthology is a great place to start if you are a new fan. It's also a great retrospective if you are an old fan and want to hear her best all on one collection.

Here's a classic Joan track...soft rock bliss...

Friday, June 7, 2019

Last Day of School

As schools close for the summer, I can't think of a more appropriate song...

Monday, June 3, 2019

AA Bondy: Diamond Skull (Track of the Week)

The southern part of the United States is rapidly becoming a hotspot for emerging musical geniuses. One of them is Birmingham, Alabama's own AA Bondy. Enderness is his latest effort and the opening track is a hazy, exploration of the starkest issues we face these days as a nation. What is our identity? Bondy attempts to answer that question with this track...

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Faye Webster: Atlanta Millionaires Club (Album of the Week)

Atlanta's own Faye Webster just made my summer extraordinary with the release of her third full length, Atlanta Millionaires Club. It's a complete folk pop treasure throughout all ten of its tracks. There is plenty on this record for alt country fans as well. No doubt this album will be in heavy rotation as I wander around and enjoy the sunshine.

Here's my favorite track...