Dallas, Texas - Shepard Fairey’s Obey Mural - Singleton & Beckley
Love this area.
Cluster of observatories atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano
National Geographic | June 1983
Phosphorescent - Song For Zula
Love the feel of this. And auto-post because of the Johnny Cash quote that bookends the whole thing.
As always, not necessarily new (in fact, fewer and fewer new records each year), but the ones I listened to most in the past year. Click titles for Spotify links. In no order:
Mark Ronson reigns in Rufus’ genius and the output is a set of tight pop songs with all the drama you would expect. Kept the first two tracks in heavy rotation until I discovered “Sometimes You Need”. Might be my most listened-to song of the year.
Sometimes this record sounds like Steely Dan, sometimes it sounds like Waylon Jennings, sometimes it sounds like Harry Nilsson. I love the music, but I love Josh Tillman’s intention behind it — to leave behind the navel gazing singer-songwriter mentality, write without limits, and sing in his own voice.
As long as they maintain their commitment to refining their sound, I see no reason for Beach House to evolve. Sticking to the keys-guitar-drum machine ethic for their first two records, they raise the bar on their songwriting and create their most accessible record yet.
I have listened to this record since high school, but it made a resurgence this year. Waits’ croak is definitely an acquired taste, but once accepted, you can appreciate the way his entire sound is like the creaky wheel on a covered wagon. Somehow he mixes his guitar-skronk blues with soft piano ballads and it all works. Genius.
I always wrote this guy off as a Dylan knockoff, but he “went electric” on this EP and I found plenty to like about it.
The Boss and Ron Aniello created a sonic masterpiece here, somehow mixing in all sorts of instruments — drum machines, pennywhistles, Tom Morello’s whammied guitar squeals, plenty of stomping, and even a rap. Nice to see the 62-year-old taking chances for more than the sake of taking chances. The lyrics are over-the-top jingoistic, but what would else you expect from the man after all this time?
After a few records of exploring new sounds, Josh tones down his sound to bring his excellent storytelling to the front. Easily his best set of songs since The Animal Years.
So colorful — Joni’s voice (like Tom Waits) takes a bit to get used to, but this record is your way in. There were a few weeks there when I had “Free Man In Paris” on repeat, and then I saw the David Geffen documentary and it all made sense. Surprising how much Sufjan Stevens you can hear in these arrangements (which also clicked when I found this).
This has to be the epitome of Mick’s swagger, as well as the band’s obvious response to disco and punk. So much energy and attitude behind their cover of “Just My Imagination”. I have always appreciated the Stones’ early stuff and their great late-60’s-early-70’s run, but this turned me on to the tighter, funkier run of records from Black and Blue to Tattoo You.
This music is hard to categorize — it has the pop sheen of Fleetwood Mac, but the harsh sonics of Kate Bush with incredible melodies. Easy to hear these three sisters making up these songs a capella in the back seat of long family drives, then picking up their instruments and finishing them off. So percussive, catchy, and unique. By far the best find of 2012.
Stage setup 101.
I was 15-years-old and didn’t care about what Pitchfork said because I didn’t even know what Pitchfork was.One Week // One Band
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≡ (by Mowgli Omari)
Top 5 guitarists
Recently Read: Neil Young, Waging Heavy Peace
I dont know if I expected more or less from this book, but it beat my expectations. I have always loved Neil’s music, but this rambling book made me realize why: the man is almost embarrassingly honest. From addressing and thanking dead (and living) friends for the impact on their lives, to talking about the music he is listening to, his candor is endearing — even to the point of admitting that he wrote the book for the money. He discusses his financial hardships, drug use, and the times he has been hard to work with, all with a plainspoken delivery. Loved that the book wasn’t chronological either — kept me reading to find out what era was coming next. I have read better autobiographies before, but few have been so geniune.