Saturday, March 30, 2013

R.I.P. Phil Ramone

Producer, arranger, engineer and musician Phil Ramone worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry and earned 13 competitive Grammys, 1 Technical Grammy and an Emmy in the process.

Phil's work wasn't particularly innovative or aside from him pioneering the technology that created the compact disc. I think "mainstream" is the best way of describing his musical footprint: Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart and James Taylor are the tip of the iceberg. He coaxed Sinatra out of retirement for his Duets and Duets II albums.

One of my favorite albums he produced is Paul Simon's One Trick Pony, the soundtrack to Simon's 1980 foray into film. The movie is good, not great, but has lots of greatness in it; this song is some of that greatness.

Rest in peace dude.

R.I.P. Richard Griffiths

Best known for the thankless role of Harry's uncle in the various Harry Potter movies, John and I saw him in his Tony award winning turn in The History Boys. The play won 6 Tonys but the film adaptation with the full Broadway cast failed to pick up sufficient Oscar traction and this floundered during awards season. Not even Frances De La Tour who seemed an easy nominee.

Having not seen any Harry Potter movie, I'll simply present the trailer for The History Boys.

Rest in peace dude.

Song of the Day: "Welcome to Japan"

Newish music from The Strokes' recent Comedown Machine.

It's their fifth album and said to be Julian Casablancas exorcizing some 80s demons.

Not sure if I hear that in this song or not. You?

Song: "Welcome to Japan"
Artist: The Strokes

Friday, March 29, 2013

Song of the Day: "Spanish Dancer"

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, a member of her band back in the 70s, reunite for Old Yellow Moon, an album the balances its country roots with some Starbucks-y folk polish and sophistication. It's what I expect from Emmylou these days. A little shimmery guitar, some harmony, and some nicely selected songs to cover.

Here it's Patti Scialfa's "Spanish Dancer," a track that closes her first solo album Rumble Doll. A good choice in my never-humble opinion.

Song: "Spanish Dancer"
Artist: Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Song of the Day: "Michael Nesmith"

A few months ago we had an email round robin about songs where established artists mention a more obscure musician, like They Might be Giants referencing The dB's and Young Fresh Fellows in "Twisting" or "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" by LCD Soundsystem. The pinnacle of this, according the Dr. Robert, the company's current big boss and the dude who started it, is "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements, one of the greatest college rock songs of ever, EVER.

But it's possible that the dude who recorded "The Letter" is officially better known than The Replacements. I mean, if you step outside the insulated world of people who already know the things you know. Ditto Daft Punk and LCD. Not saying one way or the other, just that it's possible.

Which brings us to a 9+ minute meandering folk ode to Mike Nesmith by the Minus 5. I'm pretty sure Nesmith still trumps the Minus 5 in name recognition, even if you don't allow for any Monkees references (and why would you?).

This is from a forthcoming album, possibly called Forthcoming, which is awesome.

Song: "Michael Nesmith"
Artist: Minus 5

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fresh Perspectives on Gay Marriage

Since the Supremes are hearing 2 cases on whether gays should be able to undermine all straight marriages or not, it seems like a good time to share this episode of Fresh Perspectives from last year.

Song of the Day: "When I Was Your Girl"

Alison Moyet is about to release the minutes, her eighth solo album and her first new music since 2007. She describes it as dark and not particularly commercial ("not aimed at the charts" is what she actually said).

Her collaborator on the album is Guy Sigsworth who co-wrote all the songs and produced. Sigsworth was in Frou Frou and has worked with Seal, Bjork, David Sylvian and Madonna.

Song: "When I Was Your Girl"
Artist: Alison Moyet

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Song of the Day: "The Stars Are Out Tonight"

The second single from Bowie's The Next Day.

The video's a little freaky but the song is an improvement from "Where Are We Now?"

Viva Sir David.

Song: "The Stars Are Out Tonight"
Artist: David Bowie

Monday, March 25, 2013

Song of the Day: "3 A.M."

Back when Lily Allen was all the rage I wondered why her fans didn't also embrace Kate Nash. The same thing happened with M.I.A. and Santigold.

I should probably get a hobby.

This is the first single from Kate's third album, Girl Talk. If you like Lily Allen or that one Tracey Ullman album from 30 years ago, check it out. If you don't, move along.

Song: "3 A.M."
Artist: Kate Nash

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Song of the Day: "Sun"

Belinda Carlisle, yes, of the Go-Gos, has a new single. Her first in 17 years according to Towleroad.

Here catalog appears to be controlled by whichever record label conglomerate issues the Icon albums (a different way to say "greatest hits" or "best of" and maybe you won't notice you have all the songs except the new track [there's always a new track] which will be $.89 on Amazon to download, if you don't grab a torrent of it).

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Song: "Sun"
Artist: Belinda Carslisle