Tag Archives: dire straits

Take Five

Finds of the Week

  • All week, I’ve been enamored with the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim project “Here Lies Love.” Enamored may not be a strong enough word. Maybe a bit obsessed. The story is compelling, the songs are well crafted and the sheer quality of the talent involved in the project is staggering. Byrne does a great job of capturing the flavor of the 1970s-80s club anthems that Marcos reveled in, especially in the title track sung by Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine), and he never sacrifices narrative. In fact, the whole thing hinges on narrative, which may be which I am so captivated by the project. Usually, I’m not a big liner notes person unless the lyrics are involved, but in this case, they are a must-read. You can appreciate the album without the historical baclground, but that’s like listening to it in mono.My favorite song (of the moment) may be Steve Earle’s contribution, “A Perfect Hand,” which is kind of cheesy but I think that’s why I love it so much. It’s also just a great pop song. “It’s a winning combination / if a lady understands / that the king and the queen of hearts / could be a perfect hand.”
  • I admit it. I hadn’t paid much attention to Jakob Dylan since the 1990s heyday of the Wallflowers, despite my abiding appreciation for “Bringing Down the Horse.” When I saw that his new album, “Women and Country,” featured the vocal talents of Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, I was mildly intrigued. But it took Dave pointing out their NPR Tiny Desk concert for me to understand what I was missing. Now, “Women and Country” is very much on my list.
  • I snagged Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” for $7 used at Newbury Comics, and it did not disappoint. I think I’ve sated my DS urges for the time being, but it’s probably just a matter of time before I start digging into Mark Knopfler’s solo catalog. So it goes.

Live Music

Last Friday, as promised, I caught Freelance Whales’ live in-store at Newbury Comics. I got there a hair before 5PM and was able to snag a spot right up front. It turned out that Newbury was having some problems with their PA, so the band ended up playing acoustic. They were unfazed by the technical difficulties and proceeded to deliver a fun half-hour set. “Weathervanes” is a great album, full of friendly pop and delightful instrumentation. Sure, they are cute and guileless, but also quite talented. A fun way to kick off the weekend early.

Being the nerd that I am, I shot some grainy video of “Generator^First Floor” with my Blackberry. Check out the lead singer Judah Dadone’s remarkable resemblance to Mark Ruffalo in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

New Releases

I learned from KEXP that Cloud Cult is releasing a new EP, “Running With Wolves,” on (fittingly) Earth Day. Lucky for me, it’s available for download right now. Four songs for $2.99 is not a bad deal at all, especially when the EP includes their awesome cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” long only available via one of KEXP’s live in studio compilations.

In the News

I’ve spoken a lot about the amazing music I’ve discovered through WERS. Well, this week is one of their biannual pledge weeks. If you support awesome music, pledge some cash to WERS by Apr. 18. You can also tune in and hear some great live performances, to boot.

Looking Ahead

On Saturday, I’ll be heading back to Newbury Comics for Record Store Day. In addition to hopefully snagging some fun promos, I am also looking forward to seeing the New Collisions and the Morning Benders perform live. (Find out if there is a Record Store Day event near you!) Also, at the Independent in Somerville next Tuesday, Brad from Bradley’s Almanac will be hosting a listening party for the upcoming New Pornographers release, “Together.”

Speaking of Cloud Cult, theyapparently have a new full-length, “Light Chasers,” coming out Aug. 17. On top of the new Futureheads album I just found out about (“The Chaos,” coming out June 1, download the track “Struck Dumb” here), this music year keeps getting better and better.

Take Five

Finds of the Week

A co-worker gave me a card good for 50 free MP3s from eMusic. The last time I had wandered through eMusic’s virtual aisles, They Might Be Giants were still their marquee act and the shelves were otherwise fairly sparse. While I have heard many friends — like the DP — talk highly of eMusic in recent years, I had yet to see for myself. And sure enough, they’ve got a ton of stuff. I’m trying to be a bit thrifty as of late, so I did an eMusic dine-and-dash — grabbing albums by Shearwater, Sea Wolf, BellX1, Chris Bell and Dire Straits, as well as a couple of random tracks, then unsubscribing. I felt bad, but when I have some more cash to throw around, I am definitely considering becoming a subscriber. I see them as a more timely, digital version of YourMusic, which I also love.

Here’s one of the random tracks I grabbed — and one of my favorite videos from the ’80s:

And speaking of YourMusic, this week they sent me Steve Winwood‘s “Chronicles” — and it is awesome. That is all.

RIYL…

This week, I came across some solid recommendations for Kingsley Flood, a local Americana/roots band. Of course, these came too late to catch their sold out CD release show at the Middle East (catch some of Brad’s pics), but I did download a couple tracks and was immediately captivated. Luckily for me, they’re playing the Rosebud Diner in Somerville on May 15. I don’t really care for the Rosebud as a venue, but it is really easy for me to get to, so…  (Relatedly, Freedy Johnston – !!! – is playing there in June. Go figure.)

In The News

The New Orleans Times-Picayune had a great article about Alex Chilton‘s quiet, laid-back life in New Orleans, where he loved restoring his rambling old house, rode out Hurricane Katrina and modestly helped or played with local musicians. An enlightening, detailed piece. A sad fact the article reveals, however: Chilton had experienced symptoms in the week leading up to his fatal heart attack, but he didn’t pursue medical care — because he had no health insurance.

Looking Ahead

Today, I am planning to go to Newbury Comics for a free performance by Freelance Whales. I am absolutely in love with their album “Weathervanes” — if it counts as a 2010 release, it would likely go in my top 10 — and going with the theme of thriftiness, a free show can’t be beat.

While there, I’m looking forward to picking up the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim collaboration “Here Lies Love,” a two-disc examination of the life of Imelda Marcos. With guest vocalists such as Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright and Cyndi Lauper, it promises to be an intriguing collection. I’ll report back next week. (Another report to give: I was generously hooked up with the Bird and the Bee‘s new Hall and Oates‘ cover album, “Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1.” Oh, oh, here she comes!)

Somewhat related to the world of music, if you like the ’80s, stop by Middlesex Lounge next Wednesday night for the monthly residency by Rogue Burlesque (disclaimer: my friend is in the troupe, and I built their website). The theme? ROGUE THE CASBAH!

Second Thoughts

While hanging out with some friends last weekend, I realized that for all my love of Eels, I had severely underlistened to the “Shootennany!” album. I remedied that this week. What a great, great disc. Classic Eels.

Also, I had the idea of renaming this column (since really, that’s what it’s become — a weekly music column) from “Take Five” to “Bargain Bin.” Thoughts?

Take Five

I missed Take Five last week because I was in England, but I’m back! Here are my thoughts on all things music this week:

Finds of the Week

  • Yesterday morning, WERS bewitched me again. They played a live version of Dire Straits‘ “Expresso Love,” perhaps the first Dire Straits song I’ve heard outside of their big hits. And I fell in love. Before I went to work, I ordered their album “Making Movies” and placed a couple others on my wishlist. It was one of those moments where everything clicked and I wondered why I hadn’t pursued the Dire Straits back catalog earlier.
  • Boston-based record label Grinding Tapes, which specializes in limited edition and handmade pressings of “socially relevant music in both analog and digital formats,” is adding a new twist to the ol’ promotional compilation. They’re combining the distribution of their compilations with a mix tape/CD swap. The idea is genius. Send ‘em three mix CDs (could be three distinct mixes or three versions of the same mix) and $7 for shipping ($5 if you want a less pretty version of the promo disc), and this summer you’ll receive three random mix CDs plus the promo disc. They will begin accepting submissions on Apr. 16, the same day they open a two-night showcase at the Armory in Somerville.
  • I was delighted to see, on April Fool’s Day, that MBV’s Ryan Catbird shared the video to Nelson‘s “Love and Affection”. True confession: I really liked this song when it first came out. And… I still kinda do. No joke.
  • The New Pornographers song “Crash Years,” from their forthcoming album “Together,” is available via iTunes. As good as “Your Hands (Together)” was, this song is an even more promising glimpse at the new disc. May 4 can’t come soon enough.
  • Music for Ants conveniently bundled new songs by the National, the Hold Steady and LCD Soundsystem in one tidy blog post. Enjoy.

Live Music

On my first day in London, I was jet lagged beyond belief. After having lunch with a friend of my mom’s at the National Portrait Gallery, I retreated across the street to St. Martin-in-the-Fields church to wait out the rain and maybe doze a little in the pews. The church regularly hosts concerts, and I was lucky to encounter a free, open rehearsal for that evening’s concert by London Concertante, a chamber music ensemble. Now, I’m not well-versed in classical music, nor am I a great appreciator of it, but I have to say, that was a fine way to spend a rainy London afternoon. I was impressed by how lush and powerful their arrangements were. Here’s a not-so-great photo of the rehearsal.

RIYL…

My next day in England, I went to Greenwich. I spent some time in a coffee shop, reading the local free lifestyle mag Short List. While reading, I came across a blurb for the band Local Natives, described as “an urban Fleet Foxes.” When I got back in the states, I downloaded the recommended track “Airplanes,” and Short List did not lie. The LA-based band offers catchy grandeur wreathed in harmonies and wonder. Read more about Local Natives from Brooklyn Vegan.

New Releases

Newbury Comics is selling the new, Steven Page-less Barenaked Ladies album for $7.99 this week, but given how steadily the group has gone downhill — and especially with the departure of Page — I was hesitant to throw my eight bucks at it blindly. Luckily, AOL Music is really good about offering free full-album streams of new releases. So I listened to “All in Good Time,” and.. I’ll be spending my $7.99 elsewhere. It’s serviceable, and the band takes the opportunity of Page’s exit to shine a greater spotlight on the talents of Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan. But given the high bar the band has set for themselves over the years, it falls way short. I hope they continue to find success, though. Barenaked Ladies is one of my favorite all-time bands, responsible for some of my most important musical moments.

In other news, last week I picked up the Weakerthans‘ new live album and the new Ted Leo, both of which were delightful.

Second Thoughts

Despite the warnings from Dave, I succumbed to AmazonMP3′s $5 offer for the new She & Him. And… yeah, I should have known better. I actually really liked “Vol. 1″ when it came out, but it did not age well. “Vol. 2″ is more of the same. Nothing horrible, but nothing new or great, either. Relatedly, Dave pulled one of the better April Fool’s pranks I saw yesterday, though you’d have to know him (and his unrelenting loathing for all things Zooey Deschanel) to get it.