Burgerama

Burger Records logo

It was a horrible idea. Founders Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard thought, “Sure it’s 2007, but let’s release our music on cassette” It’s still a horrible idea and I clearly don’t get it but Burger Records was not originally meant for a guy that remembers the heyday of cassettes and owned a Walkman. But now Burger Records has the same influence as SST in the 70s, Sub Pop in the 80s, Merge in the 90s or buying Apple products now. Kids are discovering new artists simply because it’s on the label and they trust the brand. And now thanks to their annual Burgerama Festival business seems to be booming…yes, I’m talking about a record label and a record store base in Orange County.

Burgerama Four

 

This festival is the 4th annual and the lineup is pretty impressive, featuring many bands not on Burger Records but for which the artists were obviously a huge influence on the development on the label.  It’s nice to hear positive stories in the music industry.

Check out the impressive Bugerama lineup and give a listen to the music below.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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All In The Family

Jeff and Spencer Tweedy

Jeff and Spencer Tweedy

 

I saw the band Tweedy this week.  The core of the band consists of Jeff Tweedy on vocals and guitar and his son Spencer on drums.  Spencer’s loopy drum style constantly kept his dad on his toes as opposed to the precision drumming style of Glenn Kotche, Jeff’s drummer in the band Wilco.  It made for a completely different dynamic and I’m sure Jeff was thrilled to have his 19-year old son on stage with him.

Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen

Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen

 

 

 

Van Halen also announced this week they are touring again this summer.  Wolfgang Van Halen will once again play bass with his dad, Eddie and Uncle Alex.  I just wish they’d invite Michael Anthony to at least sing back up vocals to help support Diamond Dave.

 

 

A band has often been described as a marriage so why not make it a family?  Here are a few other parents that have brought their kids along to join in during playtime.

Rick and Dazz Nielsen of Cheap Trick

Willie and Lukas Nelson

Willie and Lukas Nelson

Peter and Melanie Gabriel

Peter and Melanie Gabriel

Stevie Wonder and daughter Aisha Morris

Stevie Wonder and daughter Aisha Morris

Dweezil and Frank Zappa

Dweezil and Frank Zappa in 1982

Eddie and Billie Joe Shaver

Eddie and Billie Joe Shaver

Edgar and son Jerome Froese of Tangerine Dream

Edgar and son Jerome Froese of Tangerine Dream

MAX CAVALERA And Son ZYON

Max Cavalera, and his son, SOULFLY drummer Zyon Cavalera

Last, but not least here’s Cher in the video turn back time with her 12 year old son Elijah Blue playing guitar (he’s wearing a Jimi Hendrix shirt)

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New Music Tuesday

Sometimes I’m wistful for the early 70s Laurel Canyon music scene and the carefully crafted folk song. Then I step back and realize we have a couple of artists that are creating music just as invigorating and thoughtful as Joni Mitchell or Jackson Browne.

I’m talking about Courtney Barnett and Laura Marling and they both have new records out this week that are true albums in that they are complete works and not just haphazard  songs that are slapped together.

Of course Courtney would probably the first to dispute any claims of brilliance on her part, “Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you” she blurts out on “Pedestrian At Best”.  It’s a lyric I can imagine Kurt Cobain admiring.  Judging from the lyrical content and the way she loosely handles her guitar when she plays, I would think that Courtney has studied Nirvana albums and concerts many times over.  It’s not to say she’s just rehashing Kurt’s rantings, but that she creating her own vision with a strong influence from the early 90s era with a clear bent towards how a 20-something views the world today.  It’s just as exhilarating as it was when grunge ruled the world.

Laura Marling writes songs so personal that it’s almost like eavesdropping on a therapy session.  “Is it still okay that I don’t know how to be alone”. “There’s a party uptown but I  just don’t feel like I belong at all”.  Laura digs deep and is not afraid to share her vulnerability, which make it so much more intriguing when she shares these personal musings with an audience.

The songs on this album are like mini movies and it’s easy to see why Laura felt to call this album “Short Movie”.  These songs be viewed as short stories, or vignettes or simply her musings set to music.  Laura has made an artistic piece that works as both an audio and/or visual experience and just like all great works this will take on a different experience with each listen.

As a primer for Short Movie, here’s music Laura provided for a short film entitled “Woman Driver”

Courtney Barnett "Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit" Laura Marling "Short Movie"

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Michael Brown and the perfect pop song

Michael Brown 1949-2015

Michael Brown 1949-2015

In my opinion, the perfect pop song  has melody, a great hook, great instrumentation without being overbearing and the lyrics usually have a sense of nostalgia or regret or of course, love. Phil Spector’s production on The Ronette’ s”Be My Baby“, The Beach Boy’s “God Only Knows“, The Zombies “This Will be Our Year“, Big Star’s “Thirteen“, ELO’s “Telephone Line“, The Knack’s “My Sharona” and quite a number of songs by producer Max Martin have these qualities that make up a great pop song.

Renée Fladen

Renée Fladen inspiration for The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina”

For my money nothing is better than “Walk Away Renee” and”Pretty Ballerina” by The Left Banke.  They were both co-written by a classically-trained keyboardist named Michael Brown, who passed away last week at 65.  Like so many great pop songs they were written about a specific girl, the muse for these songs was Renée Fladen.

What’s amazing about “Walk Away Renee” is that it perfectly encapsulates a teenager’s feelings of love lost.  It is lyrically able to capture this emotion because it came directly from a 16-year-old Michael Brown, who was smitten with his band mate’s girlfriend.  It’s a familiar theme, Eric Clapton would write a similar themed song, called “Layla” five years later.

From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide

Everyone can relate to that passage of unrequited love.

“Pretty Ballerina” was similar themed.  It’s a story of infatuation.   The boy asks a girl out and to his surprise, agrees to a dance.  But the boy declares his infatuation too soon “I called her yesterday, it should have been tomorrow” and “I begged for her to tell me if she really loved me”…Big mistake because by the end of the song he can only see her in his dreams “Go ahead and find her, just close your eyes, yeah. Just close your eyes and she’ll be there”

The strings and baroque feel to both of these songs add to the melancholy but it’s balanced by the pure joy in the chorus’.

These songs will live forever and it’s a better world because Michael Brown fell in love with someone else’s girl and decided to put it to song.

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Free Music Friday

If you have not yet watched the Amazon show, Transparent I highly recommend you carve out some time to watch this coming of age (of sorts) comedy/drama about a 60 + year old trying and possibly finally coming to terms on who he is and his mostly selfish family deals with his identity crisis.

One of the highlights of the show is the music and I just discovered that Amazon has a soundtrack to the show that is available for free to download.  Credit should go to Music Supervisor Bruce Gilbert and his ability to frame the emotion of a scene with the perfect song.  Get the music by clicking on the photo.  Enjoy!

Transparent (Music From The Amazon Original Series)

Transparent (Music From The Amazon Original Series)

 

 

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Get Out

Jeff Tweedy and Rosanne Cash have both played the SXSW game but are now passed that phase of their careers where they can now play strictly to their fans they have cultivated for decades. Imagine that.

Jeff and Spencer Tweedy

Jeff and Spencer Tweedy

 

Jeff Tweedy plays guitar, his son Spencer plays drums. Together, they’re known as Tweedy. They’re pretty good and you can catch them at The Ace Hotel for two nights this weekend.  I titled this blog after a song Jeff Tweedy wrote.  I think he’s pretty cool and I am looking forward as always to see his show.

 

Tweedy “Low Key”

Rosanne Cash 3 Time Grammy winner 2015

Rosanne Cash 3 Time Grammy winner 2015

Rosanne Cash is supporting one of the strongest albums of her long illustrious career.  “The River & The Thread” received three Grammy Awards this year for Best Americana Album”, “Best American Roots Song” and “Best American Roots Performance” for “A Feather’s Not a Bird”. It’s an album that touches on her personal experiences of family and loss and travels as she still tries to find her place in the world.

Expect Rosanne to focus on the album during her show at the Fred Kavili Theatre in Thousand Oaks on Friday and at The Lancaster Performing Arts Center on Saturday.  It’ll be worth the long trip to hear these songs in a live setting.

Rosanne Cash “A Feather’s Not A Bird” on Letterman

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Snoop Dogg keynote at SXSW

Snoop Dogg

In anticipation of Snoop Dogg as the keynote at SXSW, here are a few of his memorable quotes from years past.

When I’m not longer rapping, I want to open up an ice cream parlor and call myself Scoop Dogg.

If the ride is more fly, then you must buy.

The most important decision I’ve made in business? The choices of people I have around me. When I first started I brought everybody with me, my homies from the neighborhood, criminals. I just said, ‘Come on everybody, we made it.’ Then I had to realize we didn’t make it. I made it.

I used to get stressed out all the time when I thought winning was important. I wanted to try to win and help my kids win. Once I figured out it wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about teaching these kids about being men, that’s when I started to relax.

In the black culture, certain kids are given nicknames that they roll with forever; the nicknames outweigh their real names. I’m one of those scenarios.

If you stop at general math, you’re only going to make general math money.

If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.

You’ve got to always go back in time if you want to move forward.

[on his long friendship with Dr. Dre] I think me and Dre are gonna be like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. When we get really old, I`ll probably be having gray braids.

I’m the father of all dogs

 Snoop Dogg

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New Music Tuesday

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you should be aware of two Artists from the Emerald Isle that are worth checking out.

Glen Hansard “It Was Triumph We Once Proposed…Songs of Jason Molina”

Jason Molina performed under the moniker Songs: Ohia and his music is reminiscent of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake and just like these songwriters that wrote intimately personal music, Jason surrendered to his demons and passed away in 2013.

The song “Ring The Bell – Working Title: Depression No. 42″ packs a wallop knowing Jason is singing about his struggles

 

Glen is keeping his memory and music alive with this tribute EP and all proceeds will be donated to a charity in Molina’s honor.

Evie Belle hails from Gortahork, Ireland and the first single from her EP, “Sonder” is also introspective but not too dark  as the first single reflects on the emotions of a young woman trying to find her way after a failed relationship.

She also has a nice cover of fellow Irishman Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”

GLEN HANSARD IT WAS TRIUMPH WE ONCE PROPOSED … SONGS OF JASON MOLINA

GLEN HANSARD IT WAS TRIUMPH WE ONCE PROPOSED … SONGS OF JASON MOLINA

Eve Belle "Sonder"

Eve Belle “Sonder”

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Bolton, Buble and G

 

Say what you want about the music of Michael Bolton, Michael Bublé and Kenny G but the fact is they make a good, good living.  Plus, they are smart enough to be in on the joke that you think is their music.  They can one up you with a videos that give a sly wink to their fans and their haters and somehow make themselves cool.  It’s a great marketing study on re-branding.  That said, here are a few of the great, knowing videos these artists have made.

Office Space with Michael Bolton

Jack Sparrow

Hamm & Bublé(y)

My Imaginary friend is Kenny G

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Free Music Friday

SXSW is all about the samples.  Samples of beer, energy drinks, gum, condoms and oh yes, music.  With that in mind and with SXSW coming up next week, here are a few music samplers for you to enjoy.

NOISETRADE SXSW 2015 DAY PARTIES MIXTAPE

CHICKEN RANCH SXSW SAMPLER 2015

New West / Normaltown Records 2015 Spring Sampler

MPressFest SXSW 2015

Daily Rind Texas-Sized SXSW Sampler

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