Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Two Cool, New Songs by Jack White with The Raconteurs: "Sunday Driver" & "Now That You're Gone" (Videos)

I saw The Raconteurs in San Francisco at The Treasure Island during their first time around in 2008. 

Good to see them back. 

Of course the challenge of being in The White Stripes was how to produce a mighty sound with just Jack on vocals and guitar and sister/wife Meg on drums. They did a lot with so little, but it was interesting to hear Jack perform with a full band, as he did with The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather (feat Alison Mosshart), as well as having a full band for his Jack White solo tours.

Jack seems to respond well to having a fellow singer/songwriter/guitarist around in the form of pal Brendan Benson in The Raconteurs, who produced the classic "Steady As She Goes" in 2006.

Other friends in The Raconteurs included Jack Lawrence from The Dead Weather and Dean Fertita of The Dead Weather and Queens Of The Stone Age. 

A new Raconteurs album is due out in 2019. 

These singles are from the sessions for that album.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2019 Inductees To The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, The Zombies

The 2019 Inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have been announced.

They are:

The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, The Zombies

Good choices, certainly. Many people have misgivings about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and their nomination process. In general, I believe the older bands should get in first, although newer, more popular bands, unsurprisingly, often get more votes from both industry insiders and fans.

The Hall seems determined to include more artists of color, even they are pop or hip hop artists, rather than rockers. I suppose I can understand the argument that artists like NWA embody "the spirit of rock & roll", but the fact is they are not rock artists.

That goes to the question, is it a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, or a Music Hall of Fame?

There are, of course, numerous artists of color who figure prominently in the history of rock, and perhaps we should shine a brighter light on these pioneers than we do. Last year's induction of rock pioneer, guitarist extraordinaire, and force of nature Sister Rosetta Tharpe is a good example of this.

...and let's not forget the numerous "rockers of color" active today, such as Tom Morello and Joey Santiago of The Pixies.

The artists I was advocating for this year for The Hall were:

2. MC5

A band like MC5 so belongs in the Rock Hall, but it's hard to picture today's musical insiders and fans knowing much about them, much less going to the mat for their nomination. Sad that artists like John Prine and Todd Rundgren couldn't make the cut.

Just a few thoughts on this year's inductees:

The Cure: Uh, I guess so....

Def Leppard: OK

Janet Jackson: Not a rock artist (except maybe for "Scream", see below)

Stevie Nicks: Yes

Radiohead: Too soon

Roxy Music & The Zombies: So glad they made it!

2019 nominees who didn't make the cut this year: DEVO, KRAFTWERK, LL COOL J, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN. john prine, mc5, todd rundgren.

Not really rock artists: Kraftwerk, ll cool j, rufus feat chaka khan.

rage: love them, but too soon. let's get some veteran artists in there first.

devo: yes.

john prine: more folk, than rock, actually, but so good he totally deserves to be in there. (I love it that spiritualized used a line from john's "Sam Stone" in "Cop Shoot Cop")

mc5 & Todd Rundgren: Absolutely should be in there.

Better luck next year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cool, New Song from The Meat Puppets: "Warranty"; first song with original line-up since 1995

As per Brooklyn Vegan:

Curt Kirkwood and Cris Kirkwood have been keeping Meat Puppets active for a while, and this year they reunited with original drummer Derrick Bostrom, which means the full original lineup is back for the first time since 1996. They’ve also now announced their new album Dusty Notes, which will be the band’s first album since 2013’s Rat Farm and the original lineup’s first album since 1995’s No Joke!. The original lineup is planning to tour in 2019 too (dates TBA).
The new album comes out March 8 via Megaforce (pre-order), and it also features keyboardist Ron Stabinsky and Curt’s son Elmo. The first single is “Warranty,” a dose of psychedelic country punk which should appeal to fans of the Meat Puppets’ classic era.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best Music of 2018; Top 50 Rock Albums And More...

Blythe Intaglios, Blythe, California - giant desert figures of unknown origin and purpose BEST MUSIC OF 2018 LIST....

These are the new albums we enjoyed most this year. Also listed are new re-issues that came out in 2018, as well as older material that landed up on heavy rotation for us this year


Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Wolf Of The Cosmos, "Wild Is The Will", "Blueberry Jam", and under his birth name: Will Oldham, Songs Of Love and Horror feat "Party With Marty (Abstract Blues)"

Parquet Courts, Wide Awake! and their Neil Young cover "We R in Control". Also solo album from Parquet Courts' guitarist/singer A. Savage, Thawing Dawn and his cover of The Fall "Frightened"

Courtney Barnett, Tell Me How You Really Feel, "Small Talk", INXS cover "Never Tear Us Apart"

Richard Thompson, 13 Rivers, from Fairport Convention in the 60's to his solo work in 2018 and beyond, Richard Thompson remains at the top of his game

Ty Segall, Fudge Sandwich and Freedom Goblin, with White Fence Joy, his new group: The C.I.A. Guitar wonderkid Ty Segall continues to amaze...

Kurt Vile, Bottle It In - Perhaps his best album yet (really liked his album last year with Courtney Barnett too)

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Sparkle Hard. Great album. Still wondering about a Pavement reunion tour in 2019...

Jeff Tweedy, Warm - Great new solo album from Uncle Tupelo and Wilco frontman. Tweedy produced and played guitar on Mavis Staples, If All I Was Was Black (feat Jeff Tweedy), a fantastic album from living legend Mavis of The Staple Singers. Mavis appeared on a song by Hozier feat Mavis Staples, "Nina Cried Power" - powerful tribute to Nina Simone and other artists and activists who "cried power".

The Good The Bad & The Queen, Merrie Land, feat Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon of The Clash. Damon's other band also released a smash album of a very different nature: Gorillaz, The Now-Now

British rock veterans released some of the most powerful music of their careers: Johnny Marr (The Smiths' legendary guitarist), Call The Comet and "Jeopardy", The Jam's Paul Weller, True Meanings, Spiritualized, And Nothing Hurt, and Richard Ashcroft, Natural Rebel (feat "Surprised By The Joy") and "Rare Vibration" are all excellent.

Mark Sultan Let Me Out - groovy 60's retro sound from the psychedelic surf rocker

Shame, Songs Of Praise - new British guitar band that's pretty damned good

J Mascis, Elastic Days. Strong album from the Dinosaur Jr. vet

John Prine, The Tree Of Forgiveness. Give this man a Grammy and a ticket to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!

The Voidz, Virtue. Julian Casablancas, The Strokes' singer, has a band that sounds a lot different from his old band. If you're missing The Strokes, check out their guitarist's solo album - sounds just like classic Strokes: Albert Hammond, Jr., Francis Trouble

The Coup feat Tune-Yards, Sorry To Bother You (Official Movie Soundtrack). Great movie, great soundtrack. Boots Riley scores a major victory! #Oakland

Oh Sees, Smote Reverser

The Growlers, Casual Acquaintances

King Tuff, The Other

Simon Love, Sincerely S. Love

Art Brut, Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out!

The Vines,  Miracle Land

Jim James, Uniform Distortion

Pete Kosanovich, Take Me To The River

Marianne Faithful, Negative Capability

Bryan Ferry, Bitter-Sweet

Sun Kil Moon, This Is My Dinner

Guided By Voices, Space Gun

Two sons of Nigeria's Fela Kuti carry on the traditions: Seun Kuti, Black Times and Femi Kuti, One People One World

Titus Andronicus, Productive Cough and Home Alone on Halloween

Ezra Furman, Transangelic Exodus. Cool album. Key songs: "Love You So Bad" and "Suck The Blood From My Wound"

Kelley Stoltz, Natural Causes. Really like this album. Key songs: "How Psychedelic Of You" and "Our Modern World"

Superchunk, What A Time To Be Alive

Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (2018 re-recording)

Kyle Craft, Full Circle Nightmare

Iron & Wine, Weed Garden

Mark Lanegan, With Animals

The Lemon Twigs, Go To School

Jon Spencer, Sings The Hits

Jeff The Brotherhood, Magick Songs

Ex-Poets, Too Much Future

Carl Cleves, Before Twilight Turns To Night

The Love Language, Baby Grand

Renny Conti, People Floating

Cool Singles

Riz MC, "Mogambo" - actor Riz Ahmed, also in in Swet Shop Boys with Heems from Das Racist 

Kinky Friedman, "Jesus In Pajamas"

The Vaccines, "All My Friends"

PJ Harvey, "Sorry For Your Loss" and "An Acre of Land"

Sufjan Stevens, "Lonely Man Of Winter"

AJJ, "Night of the Long Knives"

Conor Oberst, "No One Changes"/"The Rockaways"

The Raconteurs, "Sunday Driver"/"Now That You're Gone", Jack White's other other band returns...

Memorable Musical Moments

Jennifer Hudson, "The Times They Are A-Changin'" live at DC "March For Our Lives" Rally Against Gun Violence

Leonard Cohen, "Kanye West Is Not Picasso", A Poem By The Late, Great Leonard Cohen

James McMurtry,  "State Of The Union" a moving meditation on family division in the Trump era

Todd Rundgren Trolls Trump: (The Man In The) "Tin Foil Hat" feat Donald Fagen (Video)


Barbara Dane, Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs

The Beatles, White Album box-set, especially the acoustic Esher demos

John Lennon, Imagine box-set

Bob Dylan, More Blood, More Tracks, and Live 1962 - 1966, and Trouble in Mind

Gene Clark, (co-founder, The Byrds),  Back Street Mirror, and Gene Clark Sings For You, and special thanks Rose Garden for preserving several of these Gene Clark songs for us as well as their own songs. This was the first time a lot of us heard these songs.

Tim Hardin, Lost in L.A.

Neil Young, Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live

The Who, Live at the Fillmore East 1968

Joe Strummer, Joe Strummer 001 (compilation)

The Pixies, Live From The Fallout Shelter


Joseph Spence
Roxy Music
Gabor Szabo
Johnny Cash
Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers
Paul Butterfield/Mike Bloomfield
Stevie Wonder
The Kinks
Chet Baker
Louis Armstrong
Fairport Convention
Tim Buckley
Memphis Minnie
Doc Watson & Chet Atkins
The Clash
Hoyt Axton
David Bowie feat Mick Ronson, Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture (soundtrack)
Elton John, "Madman Across The Water", original version feat Mick Ronson
Steely Dan
Os Mutantes
Otis Redding
The Easybeats
Reverend Gary Davis
Mississippi John Hurt
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Rory Gallagher & Muddy Waters together live
Lou Reed/Velvet Underground
Aretha Franklin (RIP)

SPECIAL NOTE: One of the most profound personal and musical losses for us in 2018 was the death of our dear friend, street musician Clayton Gross. Everyone in Santa Cruz knew him and his music, and he met hundreds of people who became his friends and fans on his bicycle travels throughout the U.S. You can listen to some of Clayton's music here and here...