I went and saw Steely Dan this past weekend. What can I tell ya? What a show! Fagen and Becker sound better than ever. With so many great songs to choose from, “Bodhisattva” remains the centerpiece of Steely Dan’s live shows. I can see why. They had the crowd up on their feet with that one. All in all, with a 13 piece band including backing vocals by the Danettes there was plenty of sound to go around the set list that included four from Aja, three from Gaucho, three from Countdown to Ecstasy, but only two from their debut. I think I got to go back, Jack and Do It Again.
Today’s Runner is Can’t Buy a Thrill from 1972. With its Zappa like cover art ala Uncle Meat, this album is a tightly constructed recording of finely written pop tunes including hits; Reeling in the Years, Dirty Work, Kings and Midnight Cruiser to name a few.
“You’ve been telling me you were a genius since you were 17, In all the time I’ve known you, I still don’t know what you mean. The weekend at the collage didn’t turn out like you planned, the things they pass for knowledge I can’t understand.”
Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva, Look out!
They Want My Soul, Spoon’s eighth album wallops you from the opening second of “Rent I Pay,” when that snare drum hits like an artillery shell fired in an empty warehouse, and defines the end, where it expands and contracts around the shimmery new-wave buzz of a closer “New York Kiss.”
However the in between songs is where it gets really juicy. On “Do You,” Daniel lets us have it both ways: the jangly, simple hand claps adorning perhaps Spoon’s most unabashedly straightforward love letter; his backing vocals scream in the background, while he pleads: “Do you want to get understood / do you want one thing or are you looking for sainthood? Do you run when it’s just getting good? Or do you, do you do you…” Britt Daniel’s voice has never torn itself apart as exquisitely as it does here.
The beauty of “Knock Knock Knock” is the end rhyme lyrics written with a thorn line. Is it a tale of a bad relationship’s vicious cycle? The music starts with calm acoustic guitar with a heartbeat of the drum. All is good. Then the screeching guitar gets mixed in. Chaos begins. Ending with a fading heartbeat.
The waltzy torch song “I Just Don’t Understand,” originally made famous by Swedish-American actress Ann-Margret in 1961 is Spoon’s idea of a cover. An effortless transformation of the original by Daniel’s dazed confusion and the song’s increasingly unhinged momentum.
This how indie rock albums should sound, the songs rip and burst and have a story to tell.
Enjoy the Music – David
“Rent I Pay”
“Knock Knock Knock”
“They Want My Soul”
“I Just Don’t Understand” (Ann-Margret cover)
“Let Me Be Mine”
“New York Kiss”
Australian indie pop group San Cisco are back with their sophomore album Gracetown. The project has been in the works since the release of their self-titled debut album. San Cisco have been known for their bright, poppy sound and fun lyrics, but the single for this album “Run” showed that they would be trying a new direction. Or apparently a few; The new album released the 17th of March in North America feels like an entirely experimental mixed tape. Each song has a unique sound, seemingly inspired by numerous other artists. It shows the range that the group is capable of and really shows off their musical ability.
This collection of tracks shows a lot of maturity compared to their last album, and is an extraordinary growth for the band. The group really pulled out the stops and tried a ton of new concepts, putting their own personality into it, and it truly pays off. Jordi does majority of vocals on the album, but lovely drummer Scarlett Stevens gets the third track “Magic” all to herself, and Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures is featured in the track “Jealousy.”
The album contains slower, darker sounds similar to Portugal. The Man, and Glass Animals. There is also experimentation with heavier electronics in combination with back and forth lyrics in “Super Slow.” There are even hints of Daft Punk in the electronic minimalist sounds of “Just For A Minute.” That being said, there are still strong moments that remind us of the old fashioned San Cisco, but honestly, their experimental music is much more entertaining. This album confirms their keen writing and playing abilities, and leaves me wondering what their next album will sound like.
Enjoy The Music, David
San Cisco – Gracetown
2. Too much together time
5. Wash it all away
6. Bitter winter
8. Super slow
10. About you
12. Just for a minute
Karl Wallinger celebrates our planet and the environment on World Parties’ second helping Goodbye Jumbo, a groovy Beatlesque album from the 90s. This one should be included in every collection. “Get to know the heart of it and give me your Sweet Soul Dream.”
I was going to save this album post for Earth Day, but unfortunately the earth can’t wait any longer. The vital signs for our planet have all reached critical levels. Carbon dioxide levels are increasing, the global temperature is rising, arctic sea ice is declining while the sea level steadily rises. Global forest cover is declining from deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects.
The world is crying out. Saving it starts here and now. It is time for a Private Revolution.
Circa 1977 The light blue Chevy Chevette accelerates up the on ramp with John behind the wheel. His brother Tim rides shotgun, his head hangs low out the side window, drying his wet hair from the morning’s shower. The car reaches maximum speed as John weaves in and out of traffic like a manic pinball racking up points in our own private Cannonball Run. Tim pops in a newly minted cassette tape. Woodfield is off in the distance and the flashing lights and siren close in from behind. “The wind outside is frightening, but it’s kinder than the lightning life in the city. It’s a hard life to live but it gives back what you give . . . and I’m not missing a thing, watching the full moon crossing the range, riding the storm out.”