Category Archives: Music

Music Blog – New(ish) Music: Pandora Presents

New(ish) Music – Pandora Presents

This list is the first of what I will call my New(ish) music list.

I am a big Pandora fan – I actually pay for the service (And yes, I know all the cool kids are using Spotify). At first I just created a series of stations that reflected different music genres that I liked – Classic Rock, Blues, Metal, Industrial…. the interesting part was that Pandora was pretty good at either finding songs/artists I had forgotten about or actually finding music that I had never heard of. About this same time I realized that I was woefully out of touch with what had happened in music over the past 10 years or so (I blame having children, as I blame all of my age related issues on them). So, I found a new song that I liked and I plugged it into Pandora just to see what would come up next. The result was that I found several artists and loads of songs that I really liked.

Pandora introduced me to two bands that really have grown to like – Kings of Leon and Modest Mouse. I had heard some of their songs on the radio, but the “hits” really didn’t drawn me in. Pandora let me hear more of their works and made me into a fan. This week I will highlight these two bands.

Monday – Modest Mouse “Float On”, Kings of Leon “Use Somebody”
Tuesday – Modest Mouse “DashBoard”, Kings of Leon “Closer”
Wednesday – Modest Mouse “Missed the Boat”, Kings of Leon “Knocked Up”
Thursday – Modest Mouse “Dramamine”, Kings of Leon “Crawl”
Friday – Modest Mouse “Ocean Breaths Salty”, Kings of Leon “Sex On Fire”

Music Blog – Whiskey, Smoke and Late Nights: Morphine

I feel confident enough to share with you one of my favorite bands of all time. A band who’s sound harkened back to some place that never really existed, to a time that never really was, and was completely original. The thin sliver of reality where beat poetry and love songs, pain soaked blues and electric folk mix with the smoke squeezed out of warped paneling and warm whisky is where Morphine came from.

Morphine was a power trio, without any power. A drum, a sax, a homemade bass along with one lead singer. The Sax takes most of lead parts normally taken by a guitar, while the bass works as both an melody and rhythm instrument. Morphine had a brief time in the sun, but it wore a fedora, dark coat and sunglasses while it did. They broke up in 1999 after the bassist/lead singer (Mark Sandman) died of a heart attack.
Monday and Tuesday show some solid music from the band. Wednesday had the two songs that are as close to hits as Morphine ever got. Thursday will have one pick from Treat Her Right, the band Mark Sandman was in before Morphine and another from a solo Mark Sandman album. Friday are my two favorite Morphine songs. Please take the time to give them a listen.

Monday – I’m Free Now, Candy
Tuesday – Eleven O’Clock, Wishing Well
Wednesday – “Cure for Pain”, “Early to Bed”
Thursday – Treat Her Right “I Think She Likes Me”, Mark Sandman “Mona”
Friday – Empty Box, Thursday

Torch Songs for the Modern Age – Music Blog

Welcome to my music blog. In these entries I will highlight a particular genre, time period, or artist and give you a week’s worth of listening as examples. You can go to Pandora, Spotify, or your favorite music site to listen to or download the music.

I wish I could say each list was the result of years of research, my own musical experience, and critical consensus of critics, but they aren’t. They are just things I find interesting. I listen to many types of music, but I tend to love to find overlooked bands/songs or bands that were big but that history has kind of forgotten.

There will be glaring omissions, egregious inclusions, and outright mistakes. If you agree or disagree, want to clue me into other possibilities, or explain some odd point of music history, please leave a comment.

Torch songs for the Modern Age

A torch song is traditionally sung by the jilted or spurned who still had strong feelings for the one that did them wrong. And, while there are songs sung by men that fit in this category, the torch singer is most often seen as female. She is sad, broken hearted, and she knows what her actions are not doing her any good, but she can’t help her feelings for a man who probably isn’t any good. She is never depicted as a good girl, but she isn’t a predator or gold digger either. She’s made some bad choices but holds out the hope that things can be better. At first. Then, when things don’t get better or the pattern of betrayal is repeated she can get angry, bitter, and dangerous.

In real life, these are all painful events to live through, but I completely love a song sung from this emotional territory. Yeah, I’m probably a glass half empty kind of guy. In fact, I’m probably a glass empty, the glass is a bit dusty, and why the hell did you put water in my whiskey glass kind of guy. As, such, I am a sucker for these kinds of tunes. This collection tries to represent the modern torch song, but those that keep the same kind of emotional resonance that the olds ones had.

Monday – Melody Gardot “Who Will Comfort Me”, “Your Heart is as Black as Night”
Tuesday – Duffy “ Steppin Stone”, “I’m Scared”
Wednesday – Lily Allen “Not Fair” Kate Nash “Foundations”
Thursday – Nora Jones “Waiting”, “Man of the Hour”
Friday – Neko Case “Hold On, Hold On”, “Running out of Fools”

Music Blog – Scorpions, UFOs, and MSGs: The Schenker Brothers

Welcome to my music blog. In these entries I will highlight a particular genre, time period, or artist and give you a week’s worth of listening as examples. You can go to Pandora, Spotify, or your favorite music site to listen to or download the music.

I wish I could say each list was the result of years of research, my own musical experience, and critical consensus of critics, but they aren’t. They are just things I find interesting. I listen to many types of music, but I tend to love to find overlooked bands/songs or bands that were big but that history has kind of forgotten.

There will be glaring omissions, egregious inclusions, and outright mistakes. If you agree or disagree, want to clue me into other possibilities, or explain some odd point of music history, please leave a comment. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the music.

I make no excuses for my love of late ‘70s hard rock. The feel good, have fun, music that glorified all the wrong things. I was in my formative years, and this music burrowed its way into my tender psyche and stayed, probably pushing out something that would have been useful. I also have a love for a few bands that I like to classify as Also-Rans, or Dead Ends. These are bands that built on what came before, but had little influence on what came after. They had hits, some even had bit hits, but for the most part they are forgotten by the masses, destined to play the Reservation Casino-State Fair circuit with a whatever surviving members are still alive and talking to each other.

I always liked UFO, a band that falls into this group perfectly (April Wine fits here for me also, but they are for a different day). A few years ago I made the connection between them and another band I liked, The Scorpions. Rudolf Schenker and Michael Schenker were both in the Scorpions at one time. Michael is the younger brother of Rudolf and joined his band for a short time in the early ‘70s. Michael left the band after a few years and joined UFO, leading a period of their best work. Michael had some drug and alcohol issues though and was booted from the band. He went back to the Scorpions and they released the Lovedrive album, the first one that had an impact in the US and lead to their next two big hit albums. Alas, by this time Michaels issues had gotten him booted from the Scorpions also. He put together MSG, Michael Schenker Group and released an album, one that captured some of the power that was UFO, but was a bit more accessible and better produced that UFO. Alas it wasn’t to last, as drugs and alcohol and personality issues dogged MSG. Interesting to note that both UFO and Scorpions were much, much bigger in Europe and Japan than they were in the us.

Note: In my opinion, the studio recordings of UFO or Michael Schenker Group just never captured the energy of live performances. Listen to the studio versions first, then find a live one to see what I mean. For extra credit listen to UFO’s Strangers in the Night. I think this is probably one of the best hard rock live albums every made, even with the uneven sound recording.

Monday – UFO: “Rock Bottom”, “Doctor Doctor”
Tuesday – UFO: “To Hot To Handle”, “Only You Can Rock Me”
Wednesday – Scorpions: “Loving you Sunday Morning”, “LoveDrive”
Thursday – Scorpions: “Big City Lights”, “Blackout”
Friday – Michael Schenker Group: “Are you ready to rock”, “Armed and Ready”
UFO: Live versions of “Lights Out”, and “Love to Love”

Music Blog – Southern Rock

Music Blog – Southern Rock

Welcome to my music blog. In these entries I will highlight a particular genre, time period, or artist and give you a week’s worth of listening as examples. You can go to Pandora, Spotify, or your favorite music site to listen to or download the music.
I wish I could say each list was the result of years of research, my own musical experience, and critical consensus of critics, but they aren’t. They are just things I find interesting. I listen to many types of music, but I tend to love to find overlooked bands/songs or bands that were big but that history has kind of forgotten.
There will be glaring omissions, egregious inclusions, and outright mistakes. If you agree or disagree, want to clue me into other possibilities, or explain some odd point of music history, please leave a comment.
Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the music.

Southern Rock: Trucks, Confederate Flags, long straggly hair, warm beer on a sunny day, and cut off jean shorts. This is America.

Along with Jazz, Surf Rock, and Rap, I think that Southern Rock is a very, very American music form. By this I mean that I cannot think of foreign artists who fit within this genre. Southern Rock is Johnny Cash’s nephew, Merle Haggards stepson, Aerosmith’s country cousin, Hank Williams god child, and The Flying Burrito Brothers much younger brother.

In a time when music was growing increasingly produced, rejecting the “naturalness” of teenaged hippie days for the cleaned-up and marketable young adult phase, Southern Rock said the” hell with the polish, lest have a good time!”. While I did not grow up in the south, I do have solid redneck roots, so I feel a kinship to a lot of this music.

As is usual I try to highlight some of the overlooked or lesser known examples, while still covering all as many bases as I can. You won’t see any Skynrd or Allman Brothers here, but you might see some very related groups.

Monday: Marshall Tucker Band “Cant’ you see” and “Heard it in a love song”
Tuesday:Charlie Daniels Band “Long Haired Country Boy” and “Uneasy Rider”
Wednesday: Blackfoot “Train, Train” and Little Feat “Dixie Chicken”
Thursday: Rossington Collins Band “Don’t Misunderstand me” and .38 Special “Rockin Into the Night”
Friday: The Outlaws “Green Grass and High Tides” and Molly Hatchet “Dreams I’ll Never See”