Category Archives: original content

Digging in the Garage Episode 3

Digging this feature back out after a few starts last year.  This is where I feature favorite classic picks and new finds in garage rock, inspired by the Nuggets compilation and Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  Here’s a link to the original post that has more details on the idea.

First up, The Knickerbockers – One Track Mind

The pride of Bergenfield NJ, the Knickerbockers formed in 1962 – their classic line up consisted of brothers Beau Charles (guitar and vocals) and John Charles (bass and vocals), Buddy Randell (vocals and sax), and Jimmy Walker (drums).  They got their name from a road that ran through an adjacent town.

I featured their top 20 hit Lies, from 1965, in a Song of the Day back in September of last year. One Track Mind came out in 1966, and didn’t do as well (#45) due to distribution problems.  Both songs have great pop melodies reminiscent of the Beatles.

 

Next up, Big Star – When My Baby’s Beside Me

Big Star (Alex Chilton (guitars, piano, vocals), Chris Bell (guitars, vocals), Jody Stephens (drums, vocals), and Andy Hummel (bass guitar, vocals)) formed in 1971 in Memphis, and before breaking up in 1974, released a series of albums that served as a blueprint for power pop music for decades to come.  They were one of those bands that never really achieved commercial success at the time but in retrospect were hugely influential, cited as an inspiration by REM, the Replacements, as well as many others.  When My Baby’s Beside Me is off their 1st record, aptly names Number 1 Record.

 

Let’s go overseas to Scotland and The Marmalade’s I See The Rain

As I’ve mentioned, one inspiration for these posts is Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  Usually, the 4th set of the show features what Steven calls a “slightly psychedelic” set.  While I’ve never really been into that genre very much, I did hear this song for the first time on the show and really loved it (and to be honest, it is really only slightly psychedelic!).  I especially like the guitar line, the harmony vocals, and the making the best of the situation ethos of the lyrics.

The Marmalade were from Glasgow Scotland, having first formed in 1961 and going under several other names before settling on The Marmalade in 1966.  Members included Patrick Fairley (vocals, 6 string bass/rhythm guitars), William Junior Campbell (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dean Ford (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Raymond Duffy (drums), and Graham Knight (vocals, bass).  I See the Rain was released in 1967 (and topped the charts in the Netherlands) and was also on their 1968 album There’s Alot of It About.

 

Cotton Mather – Lost My Motto

While I have mostly focused on classic garage from the 1960s, there are many great garage bands still keeping the flame alive.  Here’s another great one that I discovered on the Underground Garage.

Named for the 17th century Puritan preacher, Cotton Mather formed in 1990 in Austin TX, and consisted of Robert Harrison (guitar and vocals), Whit Williams (guitar and vocals), Matt Hovis (bass) and Greg Thibeaux (drums).  Weaving in influences from the Beatles to early Elvis Costello, they play great guitar power pop.  This cut, Lost My Motto, from the 1994 album Cotton Is King, also has a distinctly Squeeze like feel.  As of 2017, they were still active.

 

Well, time to roll the garage door down for now.  Til next time…..

 

Sources: Wikipedia

 

New Music Discoveries

The Beths – You Wouldn’t Like Me

When multiple bloggers I trust start recommending the same band, its time to pay attention.  When I’m in love with a song about 5 seconds into it, time to stop what I’m doing to check them out.  This is what happened with New Zealand band The Beths.  While I missed when their debut album dropped last year, fellow bloggers Steve for the Deaf and Aphoristical both featured them in just the past couple weeks.  Rather than go on too much about them, here are links to Steve and Aphoristical’s posts, which are much more fun to read and erudite than I could ever be.  Just suffice it to say these catchy power pop gems (think Weezer, or Best Coast)will be on serious rotation the rest of the year on my listening device.  There’s not a bad song on the album, so here’s a random cut.

 

Spielbergs – Five On it

I heard this song on a new music playlist and immediately loved the loud, somewhat fuzzy big guitar sound.  And then fellow blogger The Soul of a Clown also featured them recently.  Spielbergs reminds me of bands like Japandroids or Cloud Nothings.  They’re are a three piece indie rock band from Oslo Norway who put out a debut EP last year – this song is from their debut album, This is Not the End, which came out last week.  From the feedback squeals at the beginning and end, this song is two and half minutes of guitar bliss.

 

Tancred – Queen of New York

Ok I’m detecting a theme for this installment of New Music Discoveries – guitar, guitar, guitar!  And fellow blogger recs!  Tancred is the stage name of Jess Abbott, who writes great guitar pop songs like this one.  As with The Beths, this came out last year so not super new (but who cares) – I was alerted to it The Soul of a Clown, who posted this great review of Tancred’s album Nightstand a few days ago.  I’m a complete sucker for these types of bands!

 

 

New Music Discoveries

2019 is only a few weeks old, but of course there is always new music to discover and share.  Below are a few tracks that I’ve been enjoying recently.

Martha – Heart is Healing

I heard this song on a new music playlist right at the end of the year, as it was released in December  Martha are a power pop/punk band from the UK (from the unusually name town of Pity Me in North East England).  They’ve been around since about 2012 and have put out a couple albums and singles which I definitely want to check out.  Interestingly, there is no designated front person, with all the members taking turns singing lead on different songs.  Just absolutely love the guitar riff in this song!

 

Tallies – Midnight

Tallies are a dream pop band from Toronto that just formed in 2018.  This song is from their self titled debut album just released this past Friday.  It reminds me a bit of early Cranberries and definitely of the Sundays – perhaps its because lead singer Sarah Cogan’s voice reminds me of Harriet Wheeler from the Sundays.

 

Ex Hex – Cosmic Cave

Ex Hex is a all female rock trio from here in the Washington DC area who formed in 2013, although its members have been in a number of both local and national bands for a while before that.  Cosmic Cave is the first single off their forthcoming album Its Real, due in March 2019.  I’ve always loved loud guitars and female vocals, and this is just up my alley.

Mike’s Top 10 albums of 2018 (imho)

So 2018 was an up and down year musically  but as it happens every year when I look back I realize that an up and down year can produce some great music. My spotify mix (created by some algorithm) seemed to think I was primarily interested in country rock and to some extent , I was, but as you’ll see in this list my favorites, as in most played, are all over the spectrum.

1. Honestly this album could have been written in as #1 the day it was released. Its no secret I’ve become a huge Frank Turner fan. His live shows are amazing and on this record he diversified his style without sacrificing the passion. FT produced a perfect elixir for our tumultuous times with Be More Kind. Here’s an alternate live version of Little Changes

2. I’ve become huge fan of the Wild Feathers over the course of three stellar albums. The crisp harmonies , multiple vocalists and crack musicianship won me over. They are the closest thing I can imagine to a modern version of the Eagles, except from the South. From “Greetings from the Neon Frontier”:

3. i knew one song by Lucero before I saw them open for Frank Turner this year but what I saw prompted me to dig in to their catalogue and now I’m hooked. This band from Tennessee  has been around for years . Their 2018 album “Among the Ghosts” has been in constant rotation for me since its release in August

4.The Record company followed a good first record with a great second album. This songs just blew me away (involuntary dancing alert)

*bonus track cuz its soooooo cool ( a Beastie Boys cover) not on album

5.This seemed to be the year when I “discovered” bands that have been around a while. This album caught my attention literally a couple weeks ago and blew up my top ten list. Rock, pop with some R&B influence for good measure. Cant stop playing this song from from the album “Take Good Care”

*bonus- My 19 year old with her own college radio show loves this song……but I found it first

6. This years top ten is chock full of FTRP (Frank Turner related product) in the sense that I first encountered these bands because they toured with him. Here’s another one. The Arkells are a great band from Canada that reminded me of Fitz and the Tantrums who made this list a few years ago. Great pure pop music

7. Death Cab for Cutie “Thank You for Today” Ive liked a song here and there by this band but I like this album top to bottom, especially this one.

8. The Vaccines are a London based indie band. Their album “Combat Sports” is great English pub rock. This song demands demands a sing-a-long every time I hear it

9. Some bands have the ability to make you feel like you’re standing in a small club listening to them play. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats do just that. This song channels Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the best possible way.

10. One of my favorite songs of the year came off Ryan Culwell’s album “The Last American”. He captures the feeling of everyday people struggling to get by the way Bruce Springsteen did on Darkness and Nebraska

 

Thats just a smattering of some of my favorite albums of the year. Wishing everyone a great 2019.

Thanks for checking us out,

Mike

End of 2018 Wrap Up

Well we’ve reached the end of 2018, the inaugural (half!) year of our blog that we started this past June.  It’s been a blast sharing our love of music with the world, especially the music blog community.  We’ve tried a few different types of things, some have panned out while others haven’t, but we have lots of great ideas for 2019.  Here’s some interesting stats looking back at 2018 (interesting at least to us!):

Since Mike’s wife Wendy created the original site in June and called Mike’s bluff about starting a music blog, our little project has had 3785 views (full disclosure: about 1000 of those views are by Paul and Mike) , from 1612 visitors, from 35 countries on 6 continents (we guess the researchers in Antartica don’t have time for music blogs!), with 616 likes and 264 comments. Our most viewed submission was our piece entitled “Remembering Rich”, fitting as our missing third amigo is with us in spirit always, especially in all things musical. We profiled 213 songs in our Song of the Day.

One of the best things about starting a music blog has been connecting with fellow music lovers all over the country and the world!  We want to send a big thank you to all for being so welcoming, inspiring, thought provoking and encouraging to us this past year.  While we have shared and conversed with many, we especially wanted to call out and thank Jim at Music Enthusiast, hanspostcard at slicethelife, Christian at Christian’s Music Musing, hotfox63, Aphoristical at Aphoristic Album Reviews, Vinyl Connections, Steve for the Deaf, The Soul of A Clown, and High Fives & Stage Dives.  Thanks for all the great music.

Our goals for 2019? Keep enjoying music, pestering our readers and followers with our thoughts, more original content and more concert reviews (we still owe you a John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Mumford & Sons review).

As a big thank you to everyone, here’s a Spotify playlist of all 213 songs that were featured on our Song of the Day feature – new music, classic favorites, slower contemplative stuff, and other songs we just love.

We’ll see everyone on the other side of New Year’s Day in 2019!

Mike and Paul’s Music Blog Song of the Day Spotify playlist

 

Paul’s Favorite New Music of 2018 Part 2

Ok, let’s round out my list of favorite new music from 2018.  For Part 1, see here

Meg Myers – Tear Me to Pieces

Heard this on an NPR earlier this year and was blown away by the intensity of the emotions – about getting into a situation which you know you will regret but doing it anyway.

 

Hatchie – Sure

Another Australian singer/songwriter from her debut EP Sugar & Spice.  I love the huge atmospheric pop feel of this song about the mixed up feelings at the end of a relationship (or is it the end?)

 

The Wild Feathers – On My Way

Another band my co-blogger Mike turned me onto.  One of my new favorite bands.

 

George Ezra – Shotgun

English singer/songwriter George Ezra’s sophomore effort, Staying at Tamara’s has his biggest pop hooks to date, and that’s a good thing.  I could have picked many from this album.

 

John Hiatt – Over the Hill

34 years and 22 albums in, John Hiatt is still turning out amazing, funny, soulful music – truly an American treasure.  From his latest, The Eclipse Sessions. I had the thrill of seeing him twice in concert this year.

 

Frank Turner -1933

Frank Turner’s latest is his most ambitious musically to date, but still includes the kind of punk folk that I have always loved about him.  When I saw him earlier this year in Baltimore, he opened with this number, and absolutely blew the roof off the stage from the get go.  About the scary times we are living in. Bonus live version below!

Well that’s it – I am looking forward to discovering lots of new music in the new year and sharing it with you all!

 

 

 

Paul’s Favorite New Music of 2018 Part 1

Its been another great year for music, both reconnecting with the classic songs I grew up with, older songs I love, and discovering new music.  I really feel that one way to stay young is to seek out all the great new artists and music that’s being continually made.  So here are some of my favorites from 2018 in no particular order (but I will save my favorite for last).  These are the songs and in a couple cases whole albums that connected with me this past year.  I’ll do this in 2 posts, here’s post 1.

Skinny Lister – Thing Like That

I first got into this self described “shanty punk” band when they opened for Frank Turner a few years back and saw them live earlier this year.  This song is their statement about all the craziness that has been happening in their own country re: Brexit and in the US with the election of Trump.

 

Amy Shark – I Said Hi

Great pop song from an artist getting a lot of attention down under in her native Australia. She’s been quoted saying this song is “It’s an anthem for anyone who is waking up everyday fighting for what they believe in and challenging the universe!”  And its catchy too!

 

Miya Folick – Thingamajig

Off her debut album Premonitions, this hauntingly beautiful song is all about saying your sorry and truly meaning it.

 

The West Coast Feed – You Belong to Me

I first heard about this 9 piece self described “swagger rock/soul” band off a fellow music blogger’s site (but I am forgetting who!).  I love the video where they completely upend the laid back cocktail party.  If this doesn’t get your toes tapping, there is no hope!

 

Liz Brasher – Body of Mine

This quote from this Memphis based artist says it all: “I don’t like rules, and I don’t like to be put into a box.  I make music that’s garage rock meets the Delta blues meets gospel meets soul. It’s southern music — my version of southern music.” This sultry song sums it up perfectly.

 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

My partner in crime Mike turned me onto this Denver based band.  I love the old school soul/R&B vibe of this song off their album Tearing at the Seams

 

Post 2 coming soon….