Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Fine Songs For Your Pre-4th Of July 2012 Weekend

Hey Rock 'n' Roll fans, just a couple of days 'til another Fourth and all the family, friends and nation-wide fun that this week's track list spotlights a few songs to help you get in the mood.

For some recent tracks...

Start with Neil Young and Crazy Horse's cover of Woody Guthrie's This Land Is Your Land from their latest, Americana.

Then, a celebration of some of the past century's greatest American country artists by way of Sweden, Emmylou, from the charming sister duo First Aid Kit off of their second LP The Lion's Roar.

Then for those dissatisfied with our presidential choices in the upcoming election, Ry Cooder offers an alternative with John Lee Hooker For President from his excellent 2011 protest album, Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down.

After that, another celebration of American musical greats, this time focused on the African-American side of the spectrum, with Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music from his fantastic, serious-minded El-P produced release of the same name.

And finally, to keep us focused on what ties us all together, Mr. America, Bruce Springsteen, with We Take Care Of Our Own from his 2012 LP Wrecking Ball.

For this week's forgotten little gem...

Dozens of songs I could have gone with...from the earnest (Neil Diamonds America), to the comical (Randy Newman's Political Science).  From protest songs (Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers), to the devastating (John Mellencamp's Jackie Brown) to the obvious (Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock performance of The Star-Spangled Banner).  But, despite all our nation's problems, I'm proud of my country, damn proud of my country, crazy proud of my country!

So there was only one real choice.

America, F--- Yeah! from the Team America: World Police Soundtrack.

As always, all these tracks and previous weeks' recommendations can be found on my two rotating Spotify playlists What I'm Digging Right Now, and Forgotten Little Gems. Be sure to subscribe.

And until next weekend, have a great Fourth everybody!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Six Great Songs For Your Summer Weekend - June 22, 2012 Edition

Greetings Rock 'n' Roll fans,

Another summer weekend, time to dive into six more excellent songs.

As always, Spotify links to all tracks and mentioned albums are provided, but you can also catch all the tracks listed here and in past weeks by linking to, or better yet, subscribing to, my two rotating playlists What I'm Digging Right Now and Forgotten Little Gems.

On the contemporary front, going a little edgier this week.

For those longing for the guitar glory of past decades, we start with New Jersey's Screaming Females, and the blistering opening track It All Means Nothing to their latest release Ugly.  Lead singer Marisa Paternoster's vocals take some getting used to, but if you've found yourself digging through your old Dinosaur Jr. or Sleater-Kinney discs as of late, you'll definitely want to check this band out.  Here's a look.

Next, for those looking for a Kid A-styled fix, No.1 Against The Rush from Liar's latest, WIXIW, for me one of the best releases so far this year.

Then, an absolute gem that's just dropped, Still Young from Allo Darlin's Europe, which may be the most immediately endearing album of 2012.  If you're a fan of Belle & Sebastian's lilting jangle-pop, especially those tracks fronted by Isobel Campbell, you will love Europe.

From super accessible pop to downright nasty rap, with Request Denied from El-P's 2012 release Cancer 4 Cure.  The beats on this album are really something, hearkening back to the experimental menace of El-P's mid-90s band Company Flow.  For those digging on Death Grips The Money Store, Cancer 4 Cure makes for an excellent accompaniment.

And for our last contemporary track, a song I haven't been able to stop playing since attending this year's Coachella festival, the title track to The Sheepdogs Learn & Burn. A wonderful Woodstock flavored jam, it sounds just like one of those harder-rocking Greg Rollie-penned numbers from the early Santana albums.

Finally, for this weeks Forgotten Little Gem, Paul McCartney's Smile Away from his just reissued Ram, a record which was absolutely derided at the time of its release, but which is now often regarded as his best and most playfully adventurous post-Beatles album.

And that's it for this week's installment.

Until next Friday, enjoy!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nine Tracks For The Weekend - June 15, 2012 - Expanded Father's Day Edition.

Greetings Rock 'n' Roll fans, and to our Dads out there, Happy Father's Day!

In this week's expanded edition, here are five excellent contemporary tracks and four oldies to get you in the Father's Day mood.

Individual links are provided, but you can access all these tracks in one fell swoop by checking out the top of my two rotating Spotify playlists, What I'm Digging Right Now, and Forgotten Little Gems.

Now, for this weeks contemporary tracks...

For your Sunday night barbecue - two of the most festive songs of 2012...Japandroid's The House That Heaven Built from party rock album of the summer Celebration Rock, and The Shin's oh-so-breezey Bait And Switch (my favorite pop song of 2012 so far) from their latest Port Of Morrow.

Then, in celebration of all the willing sacrifices Dad's made on our behalf, Hot Chip's These Chains from their just released joyous look at familial commitment In Our Heads.

Then, for those that still feel aggrieved over some perceived slight of parenting, let it go...  with the help of Anais Mitchell's beautiful You Are Forgiven from her new folk release Young Man In America.

And finally, Dad, feel free to take that golf outing and Getaway...with Dr. John, whose 2012 Locked Down, all apologies to Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, is the best geezer-rock release of the year.

And for some Father's Day-themed oldies.

Start with Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely from his 1976 double album classic Songs In The Key Of Life, to remind you of that moment this journey all started.

Then, as a cautionary warning to workaholic dads everywhere, Harry Chapin's cheesy but effective mid-seventies single Cats In The Cradle.

Then, though admittedly actually a sad break-up song, Mott The Hoople's I Wish I Was Your Mother, from their early seventies glam-rock masterpiece Mott, which within contains this beautiful kernel of a thought...that in most people's lives, there are only two individuals fortunate enough to witness a youngster's full childhood journey...Mom and don't overlook those little moments, Dad.

And finally, for those individuals who sadly no longer have their father with them and for whom this is a difficult day, the most cathartic and touching look at a father lost and remembered I have ever heard, Rosanne Cash's The World Unseen, from her deeply, deeply moving 2006 release Black Cadillac.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Six Tracks For The Weekend - June 8, 2012 - Inaugural Edition

Hey Rock 'n' Roll fans, thought I'd try something new for the summer (or at least until I hit the road for my brother's wedding July 13), and profile 6 songs for your perusal at the start of each weekend, five from worthwhile new releases, and one Forgotten Little Gem.

For this inaugural are this week's contemporary track recommendations.

1) Destiny Feat. Pional - Jon Talabot: This ridiculously catchy number from Spanish house producer Talabot's debut album Fin is probably my favorite dance/electronic track of 2012 to date.

2) The Obituaries - The Menzingers: Gritty, lean punk with a warm late 70s bar band tone seems to be where rock's head is at at this moment, but one very, very good album in this vein few are talking about is this Philadelphia roots-punk outfit's third offering On The Impossible Past. This track here is the most immediate on an album full of immediate numbers.

3) Normal Song - Perfume Genius: My favorite track from one of my favorite singer-songwriter albums of 2012 (Put Your Back N 2 It). The sound of Simon & Garfunkel at their most delicate given a subversive gay spin.

4) Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings: I haven't had much chance to check out Japandroids' Celebration Rock yet, so for now, the youthful, slightly Nirvana-esque Attack On Memory remains my favorite straight-up rock album of 2012.  This track, though maybe not the album's best, is definitely its poppiest.

5) I've Seen Footage - Death Grips: Death Grips' The Money Store may not go down as the year's best album (though it's a serious, serious contender), but it's hard to imagine, even just five months in, a more important release for 2012.  Blending the most aggressive elements of rap and industrial into a radically fresh full force sonic's an album that will turn many off at first...but stay with it, repeated listens reveal it to be a remarkably hooky affair.  This track is without question the gentlest entry point...not that that means much where The Money Store is concerned.

All five tracks have been moved up to the front of my What I'm Digging Right Now Spotify playlist.  Check it out and be sure to subscribe!

For this week's Forgotten Little Gem, I've gone to The Zombie's classic 60s album Odessey And Oracle for Care Of Cell 44, which nearly fifty years since its release remains the happiest love letter to a con ever put to vinyl.

Catch this song, and other great oldies, on my Forgotten Little Gems Spotify playlist