Music Notes June 2012

June 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Summer’s here and it’s time to open your ears….

1. Joey Ramone – Ya Know?

I was a little nervous about the new Joey Ramone album. Joey’s been gone for over a decade and the appearance of lost albums often means a few tapes dredged up and remixed just to make some money off of a dead star’s rep. However… Ya know is a more than pleasant surprise. It’s a great pop album (I actually prefer the songs which sound the least like Ramones ones), and it reminds us what a great loss Joey’s passing was. Leaving aside an ill-conceived remake of Merry Christmas (who wants to hear Christmas songs at this time of year any way), it’s a good addition to the catalogue.

2. Azealia Banks – 1991

Ooh, Ms. Banks you have such a dirty mouth. If you haven’t heard “212”, you probably only listen to the radio. But do your self a favour and You tube  it. It’s irresistible. The other tracks on this ESP aren’t quite as strong, but still worth adding to your shuffle.

3. Alabama Shakes – s/t

This year’s pick to click. I’m not sure what the trick to being successful is, but I’d guess it has something to do with doing something original with unoriginal ideas. The Alabama Shakes are performing material and music that has been performed thousands of times before, but somehow, it sounds free bad utterly compelling. Rock out.

4 Karen Dalton –1966

A few weeks back I was listening to the Original Seeds CD in the car when Karen Dalton’s “Katie Cruel” came on. We hadn’t reached the end of the first line, “When I came to this town…” when my daughter cried out, “What is this?” Karen Dalton’s voice might be a bit of an acquired taste, but like many other things that need time, it’s worth doing. This third volume of previously unreleased material continues the high standard set by her other releases, and includes a jaw dropping version of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe.”

5  Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

This is Van Etten’s third album of quiet folk tales, beautifully told. She’s on tour at the moment, but unfortunately I’m going to be out-of-town the night she plays Toronto. It’s only $20 at the Phoenix, July 31.

6. Friends – Manifest!

Very new-wave post-punk sounding New York combo. It took a few plays for it to sink in, but it’s quite lovely.

7. Man or Astro-Man – Project Infinity

Instrumental B-movie sci-fi surf rock. Nuff said.

8. Paul Simon -Graceland (25th anniversary edition)

As unhip as Paul Simple is in some circles (OK, my circles) , this album is something that everyone should own.The new aversion includes some alternate versions and demos as well as a DVD about the album – all very nice, but the original album is all you really need. The mix of Simon’s lyrics and song writing with African sounds is an amazing combination; perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity (it didn’t work so well on the next record if I recall properly). This brings back a lot of happy memories for me.

9. African Head Charge – Great Vintage vol 1.

A friend of mine is going to Africa next week, and i wanted to make her a mix CD, and this one caught my eye. Yes, yes, I know, they’re not from Africa, but I’m establishing a set-up. African Head Charge were part of that stable of overlapping musicians that worked with Adrian Sherwood on On-U Sounds. As essential or as disposable as everything else he did (depending on your perspective – nah, it’s great)

10. Roy Orbison – “Crying”

I was in a book shop on Thursday when this song came on. And everything around me stopped. I stood still and just listened to Roy’s voice. There’s a moment as the song is moving to its climax where his voice is so pure it makes the hairs on your arms stand up. Simply tremendous.

* Possible hypocrisy warning: After panning M.I.A.’s Bad Girls a few months back, it’s starting to grow on me. Guess you were right Richard 🙂

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