New Music Tuesday

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Hypnotic Eye"

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Hypnotic Eye”

Tom Petty’s not reinventing the wheel but he does hold the secret to longevity in rock and roll.  The cool thing about Petty is that he is still a vital artist.  Much like Springsteen and Dylan and unlike the Rolling Stones, music that he created from the previous album will not be discarded when he tours in support of the new album.

Petty has an amazing catalogue of music and he would be excused if he forgot about his last album 2010′s Mojo.  However it would be a shame if he left “I Should Have Known It” off the set list.   This new album also contains a number of songs that could become fan favorites for years to come.  He sounds reinvigorated and the Heartbreakers continue to push the music forward without it sounding like rehashed music from their late 70s, early 80s heyday.

Welcome back, Tom!

Beck "Song Reader"

Beck “Song Reader”

In December of 2011, Beck released Song Reader, a song book collection of original music.  Beck did not record the music but left it to musicians to create their own interpretations of his songs.  It was a bold experiment that turned out to be a brilliant idea.

Beck took an antiquated format and turned it on its ear. So instead of Alan Lomax collecting field recordings, you could just search on YouTube to hear the different interpretations of his songs.

Beck is now releasing an official version, with some of his favorite artists.  It’s quite an impressive lineup and is on my must have list.

Track listing:

    1. Moses Sumney – Title of this Song
    2. Fun – Please Leave A Light On When You Go
    3. Tweedy – The Wolf is on the Hill
    4. Norah Jones – Just Noise
    5. Lord Huron – Last Night You Were A Dream
    6. Bob Forrest – Saint Dude
    7. Jack White – I’m Down
    8. Beck – Heaven’s Ladder
    9. Juanes – Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard
    10. Laura Marling – Sorry
    11. Jarvis Cocker – Eyes That Say “I Love You”
    12. David Johansen – Rough On Rats
    13. Jason Isbell – Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings
    14. The Last Polka – Marc Ribot
    15. Eleanor Friedberger – Old Shanghai
    16. Sparks – Why Did You Make Me Care?
    17. Swamp Dogg – America, Here’s My Boy
    18. Jack Black – We All Wear Cloaks
    19. Loudon Wainwright III – Do We? We Do
    20. Gabriel Kahane with Ymusic – Mutilation Rag

Here’s Beck performing the only song he’s singing on this album, “Heaven’s Ladder”

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Purple Rain is Thirty

Prince Purple Rain released July 27, 1984

Prince Purple Rain released July 27, 1984

The July 21, 1984 Billboard contains an ad from Warner Bros. Records congratulating Prince on “When Doves Cry“.  It was the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. history.  The bottom of the ad says, “The Rain Has Just Begun“….they had no idea how prescient that statement was.    The movie grossed $68 million which might not sound like a lot but it was good enough to make it the 11th top grossing film in 1984.  FYI-Beverly Hills Cop was the number one gross with $234 million.   In 2013, the top 11th top grossing was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug which grossed $213 million.

It was only a year earlier in 1983 when Rick James called MTV racist for not playing “Super Freak” because it was not a “rock” record.  Considering Eddie Murphy was the only black actor that was only now starting to gain some traction with a mainstream movie audience (Beverly Hills Cop wasn’t released until December of 1984 and Trading Places was a buddy comedy with a white actor) and Michael Jackson was the only black music artist being played in heavy rotation on MTV, it’s amazing that Warner Bros. agreed to finance this film and target a white audience.

Say what you will about the plot and the acting and the dialogue and the misogyny of Purple Rain, the fact is that Prince’s talent on stage and those songs could not be denied.  It took the big screen to fully capture his talent.  Those performances are still a marvel to watch.

Prince even went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song, beating Kris Kristofferson and The Muppets.

So here’s saluting the 30th Anniversary of Purple Rain.

May u live 2 see the dawn.

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Free Music Friday

Hit the summer trails and take the Blue Ridge Outdoors Trail Mix with you.  Just click on the trail of trail mix below and download these slices of Americana from the likes of Tom Freund,  NRBQ and Zoe Muth.  Enjoy!

Blue Ridge Trail Mix July 2014

Blue Ridge Trail Mix July 2014

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Get Out

Don’t Knock The Rock film fest continues this Thursday with two must see documentaries.  The Case Of the Three Sided Dream tells the story of Rahsaan Roland Kirk a blind jazz musician whose unique style has influenced artists from The Animals to Sonic Youth to Radiohead.

“You simply hold your guitar and you turn it up as loud as you can and you try not to look at the audience”. So describes The Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne on the Shoe Gaze movement.  “Beautiful Noise” tells the story of  how Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine influenced generations of bands.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton Annenberg Space Museum for Photography May 31-September8, 2014



After you’ve gotten your fill of Jazz and loud rock go to the Annenberg Museum of Photography for a knockout country bill from Shelby Lynne and Jamestown Revival.  Also make sure to get there early to see the amazing photographs focusing on country music.

It’s going to be a good weekend.

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Comic theme songs 1960s edition

Comic Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014

It’s Comic-Con this weekend!  All nerds (and I use this term affectionately as I consider myself a music nerd) converge down to San Diego and revel in the minutiae of everything having to do with anything Kevin Smith or J.J Abrams have ever talked about or touched.

In honor of this magic weekend, I present some of the tremendous work by composers from the 1960s that represented these Comic book heroes.  Enjoy!


Batman (1966) composed by Neal Hefti

Johnny Quest composed by Hoyt Curtin

Spiderman composed by Paul Francis Webster and Robert “Bob” Harris

Barbarella composed by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox

Danger Diabolik composed by Ennio Morricone

The Hulk Cartoon Theme Song

The Mighty Thor

Namor of Atlantis

Captain America

Iron Man

Fantastic Four

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New Music Tuesday

Alvvays Self-TitledThe music business seems to ramp up during the opposite times of the movie business.  First and Third quarters of the year go to music and the movies own the Summer and Winter.  But even though this is an extremely slow time for new music, it’s a good time to discover something new.  Here’s who I just discovered.

Alvvays: No it’s not Always with that have trouble reading the screen may think those 2 v’s are a “w” but this quirky band from Toronto might remind you of Camera Obscura or Best Coast.  The two women in this five piece unit grew up as neighbors and discovered a love for Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub.  Great influences.  The title of their first single sounds like a possible Belle & Sebastian song, “Archie, Marry Me” and it also sounds like a lost Teenage Fanclub song. The song “Adult Diversion” begins with a “We Got the Beat” drum lick and then goes into a beach party vibe.  I’m a sucker for these summer time jams and now I have a new band to follow.


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Weird Al Originals

Weird Al "First World Problems"

Weird Al has first world problems


Everyone thinks that Weird Al just parodies songs but the truth is he always puts out a number of original songs that sound similar to other artists.  The songs balance the line between clever and stupid.  And even though Weird Al dares to be stupid, here are a five of my favorite Weird Al original songs that dare to be compared to other artists.




The Beach Boys

Rage Against The Machine

Bob Dylan

The Pixies

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Free Music Friday

Discover Flume who screams for his “hip shaking mama” or Sylvan Esso who want you to just “get up, get down” while Kan Wakan just wants you to do, what i want to do”.  It might sound confusing, but it makes for a nice music sampler and it’s for free!  Download by clicking on the photo of Nikki Lane. Her new album “All Or Nothin‘” is worth your attention as is the song “Wild One” which is also available for free. Enjoy!

Nikki Lane All or Nothin'

Amazon Artists to Watch July 2014

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Get Out

Chicken Charlie's

Fry it up!

It’s July. So why haven’t you been to the OC Fair yet?

Here are some featured foods that won’t disappoint…unless you have a food conscience.  Only in America can we gorge on these delicacies.

Chicken Charlie is introducing the new-for-2014 Deep-Fried Doritos and Deep Fried Chicken Skin in addition to his classic favorite fried treats of Oreos, cookie dough and Twinkies.

Bacon A-Fair is introducing Bacon-Wrapped Jack Daniels, a unique churro concoction with a little whiskey kick at the end (non-alcoholic of course). Also, a deep fried bacon wrapped turkey leg!

Texas Donuts is putting a twist on its popular giant donuts with new flavors like Cherry Pop Rocks, Banana Chocolate Cream and Peanut Butter Cup. Also new this year, a Latin twist with the new deep-fried Gansito.

In case that doesn’t entice you here are some bands playing this weekend. The lineup is as varied as the things you can deep fry.  Enjoy!

LA Punk night

 Thursday, July 17 Bad Relgion and X

Brit Popsters night

Karmin and Fifth Harmony

Reggae night

Ziggy Marley and The Expanders

60s Pop Night

Herman’s Hermits and The Turtles



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Thomas Erdelyi

Tommy Erdelyi 1949-2014

Tommy Erdelyi 1949-2014

You might not recognize the name because he was mostly known as Tommy Ramone, drummer for the first three Ramones records.  I didn’t know him by his actual name until I read his obituary.  There’s been much written about Tommy Ramone in the past week following his death and his dynamic drumming that helped propel the “1-2-3-4″  call from Joey Ramone.

I wanted to recognize Thomas Erdelyi, producer of two of my favorite albums of all time The Replacements “Tim” and Redd Kross “Neurotica”.

Tim was the first Replacements album I bought.  I would end up buying all of them but this was my introduction.  The Replacements were my Ramones, a punk band with a don’t give a shit attitude.  It all began with the music and just like the Ramones “Hey Ho Let’s Go” chant, The Replacements “Hold My Life” the first song on Time contained the winning lyric of “Razzle, Dazzle, Drazzle, Drone”.  Basically, it’s all nonsense unless you have someone to kick-start the music and that’s where Thomas Erdelyi came in.  He pushed the guitars up front and made the drums push the song forward, sometimes it staggered but it was always prominent.  Most importantly he let Paul Westerberg be himself, he turned this drunken fool with tendencies for great lyrical poetry into a drunken fool with a fully realized album of classics.  Rolling Stone declared it the 137th best record of all time.  It’s in my personal top ten.

“Neurotica” was another matter but similar to the Ramones.  How do you take a band from the 80s with a penchant towards 60 and 70s kitsch and an amazing live show and create a fully formed album?  The answer again began with the first song and the count off of 1,2,3,4 (albeit with a more Beatlesque than Ramones count). But just like the Ramones, the music was relentless and it just didn’t matter what they were singing about, “Neurotica” actually contained the lyric “Get That Salami Sandwich out of here!”  Tommy kept the band loose and in good spirits and it certainly shows on this album.  Pitchfork gave it a rare 9.0 review.  It’s in my personal top ten.

It’s safe to say Thomas Erdelyi had a small impact on my life.  Thanks Tommy!


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