Ben Lee Mixtape

Ben Lee has made a mixtape, produced by Squeak E Clean, featuring a whole new album of never-before-heard songs he has written, performed with artists such as Zooey Deschanel, Ben Folds, Azure Ray, Sean Lennon, Luke Steele, Angie Hart, Neil Finn and others.

The MIXTAPE recordings are available on a “donate what you want” basis, beginning at $1, with all proceeds going to the Q’ero Project, which supports the basic needs and development of the Q’ero people of Peru.

Give a listen below and don’t forget to donate!  Enjoy!

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Get Out

March is approaching which means many of your favorite local bands are loading up the van in anticipation for the drive to Austin for SXSW.  King Tuff are doing it up right by throwing their own SXSW party in LA.  As the banner says, there will be music, beer and live art which apparently adds up to freaktacular entertainment.  Best of all it’s FREE to get in.  Get their early and stay late but don’t forget to RSVP!

King Tuff Couch Trippin' to Austin 2015

Like Beck, Dengue Fever absorb all cultures of Los Angeles and create their own unique east meets west sound.  Although they are not playing SXSW this year (been there, done that) they are also hitting the road but before they do, you can catch them at a FREE show at Amoeba Music this Sunday in support of their exciting new album “The Deepest Lake“.

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George Harrison Tree gets a second life


As George once sang “All Things Must Pass’.  The George Harrison Tree lived ten years in Griffith Park before being devoured by (as everyone has noted)  ironically, beetles.

The good news is that on what would have been George’s 72 birthday, there will be another tree planted “in memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener”.

George truly loved tending to his garden at his home at Friar Park.   We should all try to be as centered and grounded as George seemed to be or at least observe some of the wisdom of George.

Below are some of my favorite George quotes and lyrics:

“Sometimes I feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet. It’s great when I’m in my garden, but the minute I go out the gate I think, ‘What the hell am I doing here?”

When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.
from “Within You Without You

The biggest break in my career was getting into the Beatles in 1962. The second biggest break since then is getting out of them.

“With every mistake, we must surely be learning.” from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

Give me hope,Help me cope, with this heavy load,Trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul” from “Give Me Love”

I’ll give up this sort of touring madness certainly, but music-everything is based on music. No, I’ll never stop my music.

“That’s it really; it’s all love, whichever way you look at it, it’s all love. How much you can Get from each other and that’s determined by how much you’re Giving to each other… But it all starts Within our self and then it spreads to those around us, Good & Bad. But basically that’s it, I think it’s the Love that we can generate is = to the Love that we get back

All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.

Happy Birthday George!

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New Music Tuesday

Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti"

Led Zeppelin “Physical Graffiti” at 96 and 98 St. Marks Place New York, NY

New Music. It’s great (sometimes) and I’m very happy (sometimes) that there is an amazing assortment of new sounds to hear on a consistent basis.  But sometimes it’s so nice to hear the tried and true.  You can go back to an old album and just sigh and scream “YES!’ This is what I want to hear and why can’t they make things like this anymore?  Disco will start to enter the picture and a year later The Ramones album will debut the beginning of rock’s dominance in pop culture begins. It just proves how amazing it is to listen to Led Zeppelin‘s Physical Graffiti and know that there will be nothing like this ever again.

Jimmy Page has remastered the music from this album that came out on February 24, 1975 and the new version will include additional music but all you really need are those 15 songs.

The two five-story buildings photographed for the album cover are located at 96 and 98 St. Mark’s Place in New York City.  The buildings on the album cover were the same ones that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were filmed in front of in The Rolling Stones music video “Waiting on a Friend

So do yourself a favor, set aside 82 minutes.  Get some headphones and just enjoy some truly Classic Rock.

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Starbucks gives up on CDs

After 20 years Starbucks is getting out of the compact disc market.   CDs at Starbucks were like at the impulse buy section at the checkout area of the supermarket but instead of a pack of gum, some Skittles and a magazine with a Kardashian on the cover, you bought the latest album from Taylor Swift, Norah Jones or that band that you loved 30 years ago and didn’t even know they were still putting out records.

When Starbucks got into the CD selling market in 1995 the industry was already dealing with two years of down sales.  Since then, they have been a valuable purveyor in keeping the CD market vital.     There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal from April 23, 2003  in which Starbucks CEO Harold Schultz declared “We have become an editor of music.”

The main reason Schultz says this was because of the tremendous success of their compilation CDs.   The chain’s first CD, “Blue Note Blend,” a compilation featuring Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, sold 40,000 copies in its first six weeks.  Since then they have released numerous compilation CDs.  They were always well curated and made for interesting choices and opportunities for new music discovery.

So as an homage to Starbucks and Hear Music (the label that distributes Starbucks music), I present a few of my favorite compilations.

Sweethearts 2014

Ray Charles “Genius Loves Company”

40th Anniversary Collection

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Artist cameos in Films

Pearl Jam makes a cameo with Matt Dillon in the movie "Singles"

Pearl Jam makes a cameo with Matt Dillon in the movie “Singles”

I stole this idea straight up from Flavorwire (click on the link and watch Peter Sellers in The Road To Hong Kong. You won’t regret it).  The idea is that some of the best moments in film are when an unexpected appearance from someone with a familiar face suddenly shows up on screen (think Alfred Hitchcock).  With the Oscars coming up this weekend, movies are on my mind and since this is a music blog, here are a number of musician cameos.

Lars Ulrich “Get Him To The Greek”

Count Basie in “Blazing Saddles”

Alice Cooper in “Wayne’s World”

Pearl Jam in “Singles”

Jonathan Richman in “There’s Something About Mary”

George Harrison in “Life Of Brian”

Billy Idol “The Wedding Singer”

Bruce Springsteen in “High Fidelity”

David Bowie “Zoolander”

Rihanna in “This Is The End”

Dave Grohl in “The Muppets”

DMX in “Top Five”

Eminem in “Funny People”

Last but not least,  this is Britney Spears, Kenny Rogers, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band and Lance Bass from the 2001 “classic” Longshots

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Actors and singing

Rob Lowe and Snow White Oscars 1989

Rob Lowe and Snow White Oscars 1989


All actors think they can sing or perform on a musical stage but it’s not that easy, just ask Rob Lowe. Here is proof how hard it is as the five men nominated in the Best Leading Actor category try and do their best with what they’ve got.

Steve Carell with assistance from Paul Rudd

Bradley Cooper shows off his air guitar skills to Neil Young’s “Down By The River”

Benedict Cumberbatch sings “Can’t Keep It Inside” from the film “August: Osage County”

Michael Keaton (#9) sings Paul McCartney’s “With A Little Luck” with a little help from Mary Tyler Moore, Swoosie Kurtz and David Letterman (!!!)

Eddie Redmayne re-enacts his audition for the musical “Oliver”

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Original Song Nominations

87th Oscar 2015 Best Original Song Nominations

Like most award shows, you only know the main characters  so here are a few fun facts about each of the songwriters up for an Oscar in the Original Song category.  Pick your favorite.



“Glory” from Selma; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn


Fun Facts: John Stephens is better known as John Legend. Lonnie Lynn is better known as Common




“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren


Fun Fact: This is Diane 7th nomination…she has yet to earn an Oscar.




“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond


Fun Fact: Glen Campbell is a member of The Wrecking Crew.  The story of The Wrecking Crew has been made into a documentary and will be released next month.  Members of The Wrecking Crew joined him in the recording of the song.  You need to see both “I’ll B Me” and “The Wrecking Crew


Longtime Campbell collaborator and friend, Julian Raymond produced the 1998 monster smash hit and perfect pop song “The Way” by Fastball




“Lost Stars” from Begin Again; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois


Fun Fact: Gregg Alexander is most famously the man behind New Radicals and creater of the 1998 monster smash hit and perfect pop song “You Get What You Give


Fun Fact: Danielle Brisebois was a member of New Radicals, co-wrote “Pocketful of Sunshine” and “Unwritten”.  She will never escape the fact that she was a child actress most famously in Archie Bunker’s Place.  Her vocal from her time in the Broadway show Annie is also used in Jay-Z’s “Hard-Knock Life”



“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson


Fun Fact: The first song Shawn Patterson sold was in 1991 for “Rock The House” performed by The Chipmunks. Awesome!


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New Music Tuesday

Marika Hackman “We Slept At Last”  The debut album from English Folk artist.  I’ve played this song “Animal Fear” a number of times and I love this tale of victim and revenge “Even now as we are standing her. I can see the doubt in our eyes. I can smell the animal fear” Pretty tough words for someone that’s only 22. I’m hoping she makes it out to the States soon.  She is one to watch.

We Slept at Last

Marika Hackman “We Slept At Last”


The Amazing “Picture You” Swedish indie rock super group featuring members of Dungen, so you know this is going to rock.  Fun fact: The lead guitarist moolights as a postman.

Picture You

The Amazing “Picture You”


Twin River “Should The Light Go Out” Love the 80s?  Love Best Coast? Love No Doubt?  You’re going to  love this band.  The weird part is they’re not from California but from the Montreal and Vancouver parts of Canada.  The sound is frenetic surf pop punk.  I’m thinking they need to come down to LA , see the Pacific Ocean and discover why they sound like they do.

Should The Light Go Out cover art

Twin River “Should The Light Go Out


Whitehorse “Leave No Bridge Unburned”  This is a married couple that also hails from Canada.  The fact that they’re married adds to their give and take as they harmonize to “I’m electrified by the city light I get off where I need to And with who I like”    I love this sped-up  James Bond-esque dance track.

Leave No Bridge Unburned

Whitehorse “Leave No Bridge Unburned”


EstelleTrue Romance” We all know Estelle her 2008 top 10 and Grammy winning collaboration with Kanye West  “American Boy“.  She also got a Grammy nomination for her 2012 “Thank You“.  I prefer her soft, tender and fun side as opposed to when she tries to be more raunchy like on her last single “Make Her Say (Beat It Up)”.  I think the public agrees as her latest single “Conqueror” is doing much better than her last single and is now in the top 20 of the Urban AC charts

True Romance

Estelle “True Romance”

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President’s Day

Let’s look back over the past 50+ years and provide you with some awkward moments of The POTUS and their association with music.

May 19, 1962, In honor of his 45th birthday, Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to President John Kennedy at  Madison Square Garden in New York. Quips the President, “I can now retire from politics after being sung ‘Happy Birthday’ in such a sweet, wholesome manner!”

Lyndon Baines Johnson is the obvious inspiration for the song “LBJ” from the 1968 musical “Hair”

December 21, 1970 and Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley at the White House to swear him in as an undercover agent in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.   A movie is expected to be released in 2016 about this historic meeting with Kevin Spacey playing Nixon and Michael Shannon playing Elvis.

December 21, 1970 and Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley at the White House

December 21, 1970 Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley


December 13, 1974  George Harrison accepts the invitation of President Gerald Ford’s son Jack to attend lunch at the White House.  Also attending on this day are  Harry Harrison (George’s dad), Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar & Tom Scott.

December 13, 1974 Billy Preston, George Harrison and President Gerald Ford

December 13, 1974 Billy Preston, George Harrison and President Gerald Ford

President Jimmy Carter greets Cher and Greg Allman in 1977

President Jimmy Carter greets Cher and Greg Allman in 1977

President Jimmy Carter greets Cher and Greg Allman in 1977


Greg Allman and President Carter go back before he became President.  Here’s Greg talking his relationship

1981 Donny Osmond sings “Ronnie B. Goode to President Ronald Reagan

Not sure if the Blues is the way to go but that’s the way it was at the 1989 Inaugural Concert for President George H.W. Bush: Albert Collins, Steve Cropper, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Eddie Floyd, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton, Sam Moore, Billy Preston, Percy Sledge, Carla Thomas, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble featuring Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Louis Walker and Ronnie Wood perform.

In 1992, before he became President, Bill Clinton played “Heartbreak Hotel” on saxophone during The Arsenio Hall show.

President George W. Bush and Bono March 14, 2002

Bono 402323 01: U.S. President George W. Bush (R) waves as Bono, the lead singer of Irish pop group U2, makes a V sign as they walk toward the Oval Office of the White House March 14, 2002 in Washington, DC. Bono returned to the White House after they attended an Inter-American Development Bank event on global development in Washington.

President George W. Bush and Bono March 14, 2002

President Barack Obama sings a little bit of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”

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