Song of the Day: Blood Orange’s “Augustine”

 

For two reasons: I love the drum track behind it, and the carefree dancing. I also will throw in a special honorary mention of seeing Julian Casablancas from The Strokes eating in a diner. I had to do a double take.

Enjoy Earbudders.

 

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Song of the Day: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings’ “Midnight Rider”

I’ve always said that real soul music – the kind that makes you feel alive deep down in your boots – seems to be missing in today’s realm of music. There just doesn’t seem to be anything out there with a lot of groove and harmony that can make you stand up and take notice for the most part. I say the most part, because then there Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. They’ve been around forever and a day. And soul music has been their number one force to garner attention. When it doubt, there will always be Sharon Jones. She’s a true vocalist who leaves her blood, sweat, tears, and life on the stage and on the record for you to swallow up and enjoy. Songs about love, death, fear, hardships, and the like that make soul music incomparable – that’s what Sharon displays. Yes it sounds retro in comparison to today’s pop music. Real live instrumentation from The Dap Kings – horns, live drums, harmonies – you just don’t find that around anymore on your local iheart radio station. If you haven’t heard of this wonderful band, please look them up. They are well worth the time and energy. And until you can catch them live, give this cover of Midnight Rider a listen. It’s a keeper. Just like Sharon.

PS – Yes, this is the version heard in a Lincoln car ad. But come on, it’s still worth a listen. Soul sister Number One indeed.

 

 

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Lianne La Havas’ Reign – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC 9.23.15

I’ve said there seems to be a lack of true r&b and soul music in this day and age. But there is one artist that disputes my theory – Lianne La Havas. I had the pleasure of seeing her live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. She’s a London born talent, with more talent in her little finger than many of the pop stars who call themselves singers today. She put on a perfectly smooth show, making quick and easy transitions from song to song. She’s on tour to promote her new album, “Blood.” She performed songs from that album, as well as her debut album, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” She’s a guitarist, an arranger, a songwriter, and quite the vocalist. She combines soul and a little bit of folk and thew in a LOT of her heart to make for a beautiful show hour plus show. Here is a clip of one of my favorite songs, Au Cinema. I suggest you listen to her two albums, and catch her while you can. You won’t be disappointed. Standouts include, “Unstoppable,” “Au Cinema,” “IYLBE,” “Forget,” and “What You Don’t Do.” Her voice is heaven. Her presence is commanding. It was a beautiful night, full of beautiful music.

 

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Bea Miller: No Apology Necessary

Just wanted to tip my fellow earbudders on a young singer named Bea Miller. Every few years, there is a female singer that strikes the heart of young folks and older folks like myself. Bea Miller is that singer at the present moment. With her heartfelt lyrics about fitting in, standing up for yourself, growing up, and taking life as it comes, her album, “Not an Apology” is just that – not an apology for who she is. In a time where females are expected to be perfect with no flaws, Miller takes her flaws and wears them like a badge of honor. She is open about her fears, her loves and securities. It takes guts to put feelings into a song for those to accept or reject. But she is a delight in taking that risk. She calls people out for how she was treated (Paper Doll), dares people to change (I Dare You), and just plain rocks out with no regrets (title track), and takes charge of her actions (We’re Taking Over). I think it’s pretty much pop gold for the summer. If you have never heard of her, I suggest you go and listen to her. You won’t be disappointed.

As pop gooeyness as this album is, “Young Blood,” the opening track, is my particular favorite. “But in dark times when we close our eyes, it’s a nightmare, it’s a nightmare. When the sun don’t shine we lose our minds but I swear we can get there.” That’s my favorite verse. I believe, and I could be wrong, that she’s trying to convey the idea of doing things for ourselves despite the trials. We can run away from our troubles, but we eventually have to go against them head on and we WILL overcome them all because we’re young and strong. We can’t be destroyed. Wear the strength well and use it to your advantage. Nothing is perfect, but we can try and trying to overcome is betting than nothing. Don’t give up, and don’t back down. It’s a great song and a great attitude to have.

So cheers to Bea Miller for helping people get through life, and helping us realize we’re not alone. There are many of us, of various ages, trying to make it through life one day at a time. And no we’re not apologizing for it.

She’s so young, but with an old soul. And that, my fellow earbudders, is my review of the moment.

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Oh My How Brandon’s Flowers Have Bloomed.

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I’m always wary when a lead singer of a band releases solo music. Chances are, it’s a cosmic slop of tunes that didn’t make previous albums with the band, mixed with potential radio songs. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Brandon Flowers’ second solo release (yes, he did release a first one a few years back – Flamingo – you should check it out) works.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed my fellow earbudders, the onslaught in the past year or so of an 80s sound revival that has returned to the music scene. As someone who was around this sound the first time, my ears are relieved. Flowers’ music clearly shows he was influenced by it as well. This album sounds like a throwback of Howard Jones, Culture Club, mixed in with interesting storytelling that rivals something from the vault of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics. Flowers was always a good storyteller in his music. He makes you think, he makes you dream, and he makes you realize – no matter what – life goes on whether or not your life turned out the way you wanted it to. Combine his lyrics with a synthesizer, big band extravaganza, and you’ve got a winner of an album. The sound of keyboards with strong background female singers, and an excellent horn section should not be overlooked as well. There are a few songs that sound like outtakes from The Killers, but overall, it is worth the investment in time to listen. It’s got something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites.

Dreams Come True – Great opener; A very positive ditty about a collection of outsiders who want something better in life other than coming home, working, going to sleep, punch the clock – wash rinse, repeat.. I’m sure we all feel the same way.

Can’t Deny My Love – First standout. The first in a series of 80s throwback songs. This really sounds like a departure from what we’re used to hearing from him when with The Killers. Has a Carribean Queen sound with a repeated but quick guitar riff.

I Can Change – Strong harmonies on this one. Another dance tune that could’ve easily been released in the 80s. Simply put, he’s willing to change for the object of his affection and he’s fine with it.

Still Want You – The chorus sounds like it could be a member of chant city. Loud chants, Kinda corny sounding, but it works. Only thing missing? A tambourine.

Between Me and You – I call this Bruce Springsteen light with Peter Gabriel thrown in for effect. It’s pretty, it’s poetic, it’s sappy, romantic, and I’m sure it will get a singalong from the audience when performed live.

Untangled Love – If you loved The Cure, you’ll love this one.

Desired Effect – The title track is another track that sounds like it could’ve been on a The Killers album. Funny enough, this is the title track. “Are you taking the time to listen, is it doing you any good? Are you looking to change the world? Have you already changed your mind?” Questions like this continue on throughout the song. He’s questioning the lives people lead, and the effect that their lives have on them. Is it what they wanted? Or is it something completely different? And if it’s not what they wanted, what are they going to do about it? it’s kind of a head-shrinky song. It definitely left me with wondering what good am I on this earth? And is the life I chose worth it after all? Where was this song when I was in college?

Overall, it’s a solid album. check it out if you want, or not. It’s up to you.

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Podcast #41… Better Late than Never

Hello fellow earbudders,

I know, it’s long overdue. But here is the latest installment of my podcast. The last few months have been hard on me and I haven’t had a chance really to devote time to create a proper podcast – until now. But I haven’t abandoned my fellow music fanatics. So here is a mix of good things. Your ears will thank you for listening, as do I. As usual, you can click on the picture for a larger version. And here’s the setlist. Enjoy, share, and y’all come back now y’hear? I’ll be back next month with a new show.

Download here:

 

podcast 41.2015.collagerowof5withpics
Intro Song: (Feel Like) I Know Nothin’  – Antigone Rising
Big Dater – Big Data
Bitter – Atmosphere
Centuries – Fall Out Boy
Without You (feat. Room8) – Electric Youth
Wicked Campaign – Modest Mouse
No Apologies (feat. Jussie Smollett, Yazz) – Empire Cast
Screaming At A Wall – Minor Threat
Pale Shelter (Feat. Tegan and Sara) – Matthew Dear
Stirred Up – Matt and Kim
Invincible – Kelly Clarkson
How You Got That Girl – Ex Hex
Darker Than Blood (Feat. Linkin Park) – Steve Aoki
Lifted Up (1985) – Passion Pit
Blame (feat. John Newman) – Calvin Harris
Good Help (Is So Hard to Find) – Death Cab For Cutie
Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes
This Ain’t Me – Augustines
Rooftops – Sick Of Sarah
Raging Squall – Brown Bird
Shattered Winds – The Budos Band

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Last Podcast of the Year. Short Mix. 2014

 

 

2014pusheen.IGHey earbudders,

Just wanted to say thanks for listening to me this year. I appreciate it. I made this very mini mix of some of my favorite songs of this year. Enjoy! See you next year, which is in a few hours! I’ll get the songlist in later. I just wanted to get this up before midnight. Can’t wait to see what next year has in store for music.

 

Stream

Download

 

 

 

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