Saturday, July 15, 2017

Music (Mostly In)

The Lexington jam scene is still mostly dead. Another Thursday night jam at Green Lantern 9-12, not much musician turnout. There is a rumor we may have a weekly jam starting up, my fingers are crossed.

Meanwhile, Steve & Chris had fun playing at the J. Render's Southern Table KY Ale Dinner. We started with the dessert course and played for ~90 minutes. Our rigs worked well. We did a pretty good job of keeping the crowd around, I think, and played a couple of requests. Here's a pic.

I have been slacking badly on getting us more gigs. Most places seem to be booked 2-3 months in advance. I need to keep on it and get us worked into some rotations.

I have a new addition to my music family: a 2010 DBZ Imperial. I bought it off of Ricky Howard in Florida the 1st Monday in June. I absolutely love this guitar. It is the slimmest electric I have ever played. I is maybe 1/4" shorter in the body than an ES-335, which I have never been able to get comfortable playing, but it is lighter than my SG. It is archtop front and back and really fits up against your body well. It has Grover tuners; Seymour Duncan pickups - the volume knob is a push-pot - down for double coil pickups (Gibson), up for single coil pickups (Fender); a Bigsby whammy bar (my 1st); and a fancy metal inlay on the headstock, with an eagle over the large Z with a small DB over it. Here is a pic.

DBZ is for Dean B. Zalinsky. He was at Dean Guitars from 1977 to 2008, when he founded DBZ Guitars, which merged with Diamond Amplification to produce DBZ Diamond and now Diamond guitars. Since 2012 he has been on his own producing Dean Zelinsky Private Label guitars.

I've had it out a few times, mostly to Coralee's Sunday open mic at Cosmic Charlie's; it has drawn kudos for its looks and sound.

Lots of music in.

  • Grizzly Bear, "Veckatimest", 2009. The last 2 Grizzly Bear albums have yielded 2 5-star songs - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to backfilling their stuff. Looking up their Wikipedia page, I found out that one of the members, Daniel Rossen, was also part of Department of Eagles, and the most excellent DOE album "In Ear Park" included 2 other Grizzly Bear members. So it's not surprising that this album actually sounds more like a Deparment of Eagles album than the latest Grizzly Bear stuff. 4 stars nonetheless. Here's the opening track.

  • The New Pornographers, "Whiteout Conditions", 2017. Good, peppy Canadian pop. 4 stars. Here's the opening track.

  • Becca Stevens, "Regina", 2017. Recommended by bassist Robert Trott shortly before she performed in Lexington. (He went and said there was maybe a dozen people there, so before every song she learned an audience member's name.) Very nice folky stuff, some guest harmony singers, 4 stars. Here's the title track.

  • San Fermin, "Belong", 2017. The group's 3rd album doesn't seem quite as orchestral/composed as the 1st 2, but it is still good, still has a unique sound. 4 stars. Here is the title track.

  • John Mayer, "The Search for Everything", 2017. As well crafted as you would expect, but no really catchy tunes. 3 stars.
  • Little Dragon, "Season High", 2017. This group continues to crank out great tunes. This one doesn't seem quite as sparsely funky as some of their others but still great. 4 stars. Here's "Strobe Light".

  • Andra Day, "Cheers To The Fall", 2015. I've been asking why all the neo-Motown seems to be coming out of London, here's some from from San Diego. I heard Ms. Day on Austin City Limits and got her latest (1st) album. The 1st song sounds like it could be Amy Winehouse. Another one sounds Adele'ish. Here's the 1st track.

  • Gorillaz, "Humanz", 2017. Their 1st offering in a while. An all-star cast of collaborators, 26 tracks, but nothing really jumped out at me. 3 stars.
  • Willie Nelson, "God's Problem Child", 2017. You got to respect a guy keepin on keepin on at age 84. Nice tunes, but no real standouts. 3 stars.
  • Wilco, "Being There", 1996. This is the favorite band of my friend Josh Brown, former GM at Azur, now GM at J. Render's Southern Table. He recommended this album and a couple others from this period. This album definitely grew on me over time - it is more country/southern than what I lean towards nowadays, but it seems to be very good-hearted. It made it to 4 stars. Here's "Say You Miss Me", which I think turned out to be my fav track.

  • Feist, "Pleasure", 2017. The first from this Canadian Broken Social Scene alumni in a while. I found this album off-putting the 1st time or 2 I listened to it, but it grew on me. 4 stars. Here is the 1st/title track.

  • Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, "Muddy & The Wolf", 1983. Somebody at the Sunday open mic told me I needed to get this, so I did. Had to order a CD. It is 6 tracks by Muddy Waters followed by 7 tracks by Howlin' Wolf. The 1st song, I'm listening to it and I'm like "Wow, what a great harp player" - the album notes say it was Paul Butterfield, with Mike Bloomfield on guitar, and probably the rest of the Butterfield Blues Band. Howlin' Wolf is backed by Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and other well-known British blues-rockers. Good quality stuff. Not sure when these were actually recorded tho. 1983 is the year Muddy Waters died, I suspect this album was put out to cash in on that. 4 stars. Here's the 1st track. Note 2 harps, a blues harp and a chromatic harp. I wonder who is playing what? I took the CD down to Florida to give to my harpist friend Owen, I wish I could check it.

  • Todd Rundgren, "White Night", 2017. Todd is staying pretty damn productive for an old guy (69 YO). A lot of collaborators on the album. 4 stars. Here's the song he did with Donald Fagen on the Evil Orange One. I hate to give the attention vampire any attention, but ...

  • The Both, eponymous, 2014. This is an album Aimee Mann made with Ted Leo performing as The Both. Nothing very catchy. 3 stars.
  • Phoenix, "Ti Amo", 2017. A good effort from a group that is 1 of my exemplars of EuroPop. 4 stars. Here's the 1st track.

  • Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James McAlister, "Planetarium", 2017. An interesting concept, 17 tracks, all the planets, "Halley's Comet", "Black Energy", "Tides", "Kuiper Belt", "Black Hole", "In The Beginning". Very spacy sounding, as you would expect. I was going to give this 3 stars, but, I want to hear more of it, so I will give it 4 stars. Here's "Mercury".

  • Miles Davis, "In A Silent Way", 1969, and "Bitches Brew", 1970. One of the staff at Cosmic Charlie's told me I had to listen to these, and I'd been meaning to get "Bitches Brew". But, they are long jazz jams, and I really am more of a song guy. 3 stars.
  • The Mountain Goats, "Goths", 2017. This was recommended by an economist or scientist whose blog I follow. It is extremely laid back. Looking at the Wikipedia page, this is mostly the work of John Darnielle, who started in CA but is in NC now. He's been recording, with various other people, as The Mountain Goats since 1994 and this is their 16th studio album?!?!? Very easy to listen to, but I'm unsure if I want to work back through the 15 prior albums. 4 stars. Here's "Wear Black" - note how background the lead vocals are, the backup singers kind of carry the song. Definitely different. Hmmm, he did a 6 track EP with Kaki King "Black Pear Tree" in 2008. Went to order it, not available ...

  • Lorde, "Melodrama", 2017. Her 1st album wasn't too bad, I figured I'd give this one a try. She's really not much of a singer. 3 stars, except for "Writer In The Dark", the chorus of which seemed to stick with me - 4 stars for it.

  • Fleet Foxes, "Crack-Up", 2017. This is only their 3rd album. Their 1st eponymous album in 2008 was definitely great, their 2nd in 2011 I only gave 3 stars. This one also gets only 3 stars.
  • Beach House, "B-Sides and Rarities", 2017. This is the 5th album by this band I have. All are 3 stars. This one is very laid back.
After the drought early in the year, definitely a lot of new music. This post makes the blog current through the end of June.

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