Category Archives: Paul

Greeting from Germany!

Paul is vacationing in Germany! Yesterday we spent the day in Cologne – a really beautiful city, including the stunning cathedral. And yes we climbed the 500 step spiral staircase to the top!

When we were leaving this group of young people set up in the public square in front of the cathedral in the rain to busk. As you can see from video this wasn’t just one or two on guitar or horn but a group of 10 – full horn section with percussion. I have no idea who they were or what they were playing but I thought it was pretty cool to hear.

Sweet Child O’ Mine as performed by a Double Bass Orchestra

Some of you know that my teenage son plays the double bass.  Every summer for the past few years he has attended a week long music camp in Baltimore called BassWorks – all bass players, just bass players.  One of the highlights of the week is the final concert where the entire orchestra of 82 bassists plays a classical number and a “pop” number.

I was excited when I heard they were going to be doing Guns N’ Roses, and it doesn’t disappoint.  See what you think!

New Music Discoveries

Love Keep Kicking – Martha

I included a song by this band in a January new music post (here), although the song Heart is Healing was actually from 2018, and was a teaser for a forthcoming album.  Well, they have a new single out, Love Keeps Kicking, which is the title track for the album due April 5 on Dirtnap Records.  Like Heart is Healing, Love Keeps Kicking is a smart pop punk song with a catchy as hell guitar line about the travails of love.

You said love keeps kicking the shit out of me and there’s no solution I can see
No happy pill, no drinking bleach, no permanent lobotomy

 

Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten

From her 5th studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow, Seventeen is Sharon Van Etten‘s homage to her old neighborhoods in NYC, and how her favorite haunts have disappeared or permanently changed.  Its also her talking to her seventeen old self, with both nostalgia for the way she used to be, knowledge of what she did right (or not) back then, and conjecture as to how her teenage self would view her adult self.  Much more expansive than her previous work (the addition of synths helps), the song continues to grow on me with every repeated listen.

 

 

Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater

Maggie Rogers is a 24 year old singer/songwriter from the Eastern Shore of MD who incorporates electronica influences into folk song structures.  She first gained some attention a few years ago when Alaska, a composition class song she put together for a masterclass with Pharrel Williams visibly moved him (you can see the video here).  I first saw her when she opened for Mumford & Sons last year here in DC.  Fallingwater is from her debut album Heard It in a Past Life. I love her voice, and also that a 24 year old local is doing her own thing, blazing her own trail into pop music.

 

Killer – Palehound

Palehound is a guitar trio from Boston led by Ellen Kempner on guitar and vocals, Larz Brogan on bass, and Jesse Weiss on drums who formed in 2014.  I heard this song on a NPR Music new music show and was immediately taken by its dark, moody atmospheric feel, the whispering vocals, and the ominous lyrics about protecting your friends whatever it takes (literally).  The guitar line propels the song along, and the lyrics give enough clues for you to know that the man who mistreated the singer’s friend will not have a happy ending.

When you winced and turned your head and wept, that’s when I knew
That it’s not enough to run that dog out of this town
My weapon’s cold in the backseat, hunt that monster down

 

Til next time….

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.

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!