Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Tear down The Wall

At 67 years old a reflective Roger Waters took his new live production of The Wall to Saint Paul and it was a spectacular display that managed to transcend original intent while spanning eternal human struggles.

While surveying the preshow crowd I noticed an abundance of grandmas and grandpas filling the seats, yelling “WHOOOO”, and pointing at friends seated elsewhere. This was to be a show where everyone seemed to know someone and by the end we would all agree with solemn pledge to tear down the fucking wall.

The show opened with an near full-scale Luftwaffe Stuka dive-bomber crashing into the partially constructed wall and exloding into a ball of flames. The evenings first physical manifestation of the psychological thriller we all came to see. Since Roger Waters’ last tour of The Wall the technology has drastically improved and as the show progressed the bricks of the wall were filled in one by one. Although the wall would eventually become a completed projection screen it started out with simple bricks and a message, as much a statement on life as a metaphor, a message against war and all it entails. A message that would be reitterated time and time again throughout the evening as Roger Waters combined potent imagery and modern themes of loss with the timeless inner struggles of mankind. A binary battle of good vs evil, wrong vs right, and us vs them.

While Roger Waters may have come to grips with his inner demons his sense of justice has remained unwavering as his powerful voice. Yes, those preshow grandmas were correct. WOOOOOOO!

At times throughout the evening Waters transformed from an inexplicably fit and energetic man to a seemingly frail grandfather dwarfed by the the wall behind him and back. All while purveying his message of antiwar, anti-establishment, and anti-suffering.

Perhaps here in America we don’t respect our elders enough. Perhaps Mr.Roger is correct that we don’t value life as we should and at one point during the show he notes that every gun built is a thief. It steals food from the unfed. It steals life from the living.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ZlOG5TO-A[/youtube]

It may not take an epic struggle with our own morality and mortality to tear down the wall, but it certainly seems to help.

Tear down The Wall!
Tear down The Wall!
Tear down The Wall!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZdBVVuBlRQ[/youtube]

WHAT: Roger Waters The Wall 2010

Unknown Prophets Le System D

Need something to do tonight?

Go to the Unknown Prophets (CD-Release)

When I called Mike Madison aka MaD SoN of the Unknown Prophets a few weekends ago I was a little unsure of the direction my interview was going to take. I’d been listening to the their new release Le System D in the car and noticing the great guitar work. I mean, who calls a rapper to talk about guitars?

I guess I do.

So I figured the best way to proceed would be to just blurt it out, (I mean, what could go wrong? Right?), “I have to tell you, I love the guitar work and it seems as though there’s a theme. Is that true?”

“I was experiencing some tough times last year so I decided to lock myself away in a room and just start writing. I wanted to make a summer album, know what I mean? Something that you’ll want to listen to while driving on a nice summer night.”

I knew what he mean, but did I hear him right? “Wait, you wrote the guitar parts?” Sorry for the stereotype, but I’m just not used to rappers also playing an instrument.

“Yeah, I do all the guitar work. The album started with a few riffs that I decided to turn into songs. I’d write a track and send it to Jesse and he’d change the beats and add his input. “

Style wise you guys are all over the place, one of the first songs that really clicked with me was “Fresh”. I found it to be kind of a corny feel good piece that made me want to spend the day with my special lady friend.

“Not to be cocky, but I feel like we are one of the few hip hop bands that can play anything. We’re hip hop, but we also like to get heavy and rock and we can pull off a corny song, but still give it depth and meaning.”

Throughout the interview we talked about politics, kids, grocery shopping, the musical writing and recording process, and that’s just to name a few. They wrote the entire album from last November to January and spent the rest of the time recording and mixing. The quick turn around really makes the lyrics on the political songs pertinent as they rap about everything from war to bank bailouts.

I realized not only do I like the CD, but I like Mike and the message that the Unknown Prophets deliver. Maybe that message is you can be controversial without being in your face offensive or maybe that message is when times are tough life is good, or maybe it’s a little bit of both and something more, but believe me there is something appealing about Le System D that is both untangible and good.

How good? Check them out tonight at First Avenue and see for yourself.

Next week I’ll be posting my 10 questions with Mike, in the meantime buy the album and experience Le System D.

CD Release Tonight: FIRST AVE MAINROOM – 5:30PM – 10PM
Official Website: Unknown Prophets

Confessions of a Christmas Music Addict

Christmas Music Savant, that’s what my friends call me. Maybe it was from my mum’s extensive vinyl collection and the fact that we sat around the piano singing every holiday or that I worked 20 years of retail or that I am a fine Welsh lass and my people are well known for our love of singing, but I love, L-O-V-E holiday tunes, all of them. 

Well, maybe not all of them.  No offense, but I would be happy if I never heard “Feliz Navidad“, especially the Jose Feliciano version,ever again.  But that one song aside, I start listening to Christmas music and holiday tunes at the start of November and stop after the twelve days of Christmas are over on January 5th (where do you think “Twelfth Night” came from folks?).

My moniker came from my days working at Dayton’s/Field’s/Macy’s and every time a song came on the Muzak I could name not only the song but singer in just a few notes, Bill Cullen would be proud.

I can tell the difference between Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett and Perry Como singing the exact same song.  Now with all the modern & country singers jumping into the holiday music pool it has become more difficult and my skills have begun to wane, especially since I no longer work retail, but my holiday music collection will still rival many.

Brady Bunch Xmas cover

Combined cassette, vinyl and CD there are over 200 albums in the collection. Perhaps the most prized is the “Merry Christmas with the Brady Bunch” Original Vinyl (we three sisters wore similar robes). You haven’t heard anything until you have heard Cindy Brady sing “Frosty the Snowman” with a lisp.

Fred WaringThen there is the Fred Waring Singers with Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby 12 Songs of Christmas with my favorites “Go tell it on the Mountain” & a fantastic duet “We wish you the Merriest” with Frank & Bing.  Then there is the Columbia Records “Magic of Christmas” 3- record boxed set which I loved,  and all the Dean Martin Christmas albums, those are mum’s, but we kept the old Soundesign stereo turntable just so we could still play them.  And get this, we even still have a Bing Crosby White Christmas 8-Track somewhere! Christmas LP

 

 

 

 

As for modern CD’s I think I like the Barenaked Ladies “Bare Naked for the Holidays” (includes some Hanukkah songs) and Harry Connick Jr’s “Harry for the Holidays” or his more recent “”What a Night.”  Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Boogie Woogie Christmas” or “Dig that Crazy Christmas” are the two I own but he has also released several more including a live two CD set “Christmas Extravaganza.”

Leonard Slatkin Conducted Minnesota Orchestra Nutcracker Suite

Leonard Slatkin Conducted Minnesota Orchestra Nutcracker Suite

No Holidays would be complete without a Nutcracker Suite recording. Mum bought my sisters & me the Leonard Slatkin-conducted Minnesota Orchestra Tchaikovsky classic album when she worked there and it is wonderful (it also includes Swan Lake).

I also like some modern rock Christmas tunes like No Doubt’s “Oi to the World” and “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses as well, and they are always part of my circulation.  No Christmas is complete for me without Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Clause is Comin’ to Town” either.  I always used to use it for my answering machine message the week before Christmas and can help but smile whenever I hear it!

I don’t think November is too early for Christmas or holiday music. You only get an opportunity to listen to it for such a short period of time and sing along like a freak for less than two months a year, so why not enjoy the spirit while you can?

And for those that don’t appreciate the “Christian” message of the Christmas music there are plenty of options.  The Barenaked Ladies have a few wonderful Hanukkah tunes on their CD and Minnesota’s own Peter Himmelman helped with a multi-performer CD called “Festival of Light” In addition songs like “Let it Snow” “Winter Wonderland” “Sleigh Ride” “Baby its Cold Outside” and even “Jingle Bells” have nothing to do with a religious saviour or holiday but rather the gloriousness of the winter season.

Maybe I like Christmas and holiday music so much because I enjoy winter and snow so much. Or maybe it is because I’m a geek and I like singing along with all the songs like I did when I was a child before I knew what all the words meant and Political Correctness had taken over the world.  But chances are when I’m in the house between November and January or at my desk, I’m cranking Dean, or Bing or Perry or anyone singing of the Holiday spirit and I’m singing along too (or in my head if I’m in an office).  Yes, My name is Fiona and I’m a Christmas Music Addict (or savant).

Fiona’s Holiday Favourites:

Classics:
White Christmas – Bing Crosby
Let it Snow – Dean Martin
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Judy Garland
Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
Frosty the Snowman – Burl Ives
Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee or Dean Martin
I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Bing Crosby
Blue Christmas – Elvis
The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
Christmas Walz – The Carpenters
Jingle Bells – Perry Como
Don’t Forget to Feed the Reindeer – Peggy Lee
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth – Bing Crosby/David Bowie
Sleigh Ride – Ella Fitzgerald
Baby Its Cold Outside – Dean Martin
12 Days of Christmas – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
Here We Come a Caroling – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians
The Holly & The Ivy – Westminster Boys Choir
Modern Pop/Rock
Santa Claus is Comin to Town – Bruce Springsteen
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah- Barenaked Ladies
Dredyl Song – Another Man Down
Hanukkah Rocks – The LeeVees
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Merry Christmas I dont Want to Fight – The Ramones
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – The Smithereens
Big Bad VooDoo Daddy – Mr. HeatMiser
Jingle Bells – Barenaked Ladies
Deck the Halls – Peter Cetera/Allison Krause or Twisted Sister
Jinga Bell Rock/Christmas Time – BoDeans
It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
Last Christmas – Wham
Little Drummer Boy – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Red over White – Siouxie & the Banshees
Winter Wonderland – Cocteau Twins
Please Come Home for Christmas – Bon Jovi
Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – SR-71
Santa Claus is Back in Town – Johnny Lang
Father Christmas – The Kinks
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Sarah McLachlan
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Enya
We Three Kings – Fuel
Christmas Dont Be Late – Powder
Oi to the World – No Doubt
2000 Miles – The Pretenders
I Saw Three Ships – Sting
12 Days of Christmas – Relient K
All that I Want – The Weepies
Silent Night – LifeHouse
Peace on Earth – The Automatics
Sleigh Ride – Harry Connick, Jr
Zat You Santa Claus? – Brian Setzer Orchestra
Grown up Christmas List – Michael Bublé
What are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Vonda Shephard
[Edit]12 Days of Christmas – The Muppets & John Denver
 

Recommended website for pop/rock Holiday music is Mistletunes, an encyclopedia of anything and everything there is to know about modern holiday releases. 

If you want to listen to Holiday tunes at work but your collection pales in comparison to mine, AccuRadio’s AccuHolidays has multiple channels to please everyone’s tastes including a channel of just songs about Santa & his elves, Channel O’ (Oh Holy Night, O Tannenbaum, O Come All Ye Faithful, etc) and a channel called Chestnuts, just different versions of “The Christmas Song”; you can even customize your own channel. Great way to stream the holidays, and it is all FREE!  If you have Comcast Digital cable you can also tune to channel 832,which is Sounds of the Season. 

To prove what a holiday music nut I am, I will send a holiday CD to the first person who enters in the comments below the name of the horse in the winter classic “Jingle Bells”?  Yes,  the horse has a name.  Go ahead, sing it, it will come to you!

ADDENDUM:

Amazon is offering 25 free MP3 Downloads of Holiday Music, one a day until Christmas! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/feature/-/1000453281

The much maligned RIAA comes to town.

How’s this for redonk?

Woman ordered to pay $1.92M in music downloading case

Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, a Brainerd mother of four, was found liable for downloading and distributing more than 1,700 songs on Kazaa, an Internet file-sharing network.

…a federal jury in Duluth found her liable up to $220,000 for copyright infringement of the 24 songs the RIAA focused on

It appears they are not awarding damages on all 1700 songs, and the 24 songs actually works out to more like 80Kper song.

80k per song. Let that sink in.
Under federal law, the jury could have awarded up to $150,000 per song.

Ouch.

This wasn’t a criminal case, it was civil, and to the best of my knowledge she didn’t distribute the music; only downloaded which should be worth about .99 cents per song.

I get that they found her guilty, but how can they justify 1.9M in damages?

What songs did she download? The Siren Song that attempted to lure Jason and the Argonauts to shore? I kind of doubt the Golden Fleece itself was worth $1.92M.

I say take this one to the Supreme Court, it’s a clear case of Cruel and Unusual Punishment. They say this case is going to set precedent and have national implications.

I ask, has the RIAA and a Federal Jury just handed our country and legal system a Golden Fleecing?

Please, fell free to express your outrage.

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A rock and roll tale of little people.

Recently I was at a party having a discussion with an events promoter about his troubles booking a band.

He was lamenting the fact that he booked a band, on their word, and didn’t have a contract before getting them a gig to sing the National Anthem at a baseball game and then play 10 beer festivals around the upper midwest.

As the time was approaching to work out the final details of the contract he was informed by the singer that the band had booked a show in L.A. during the timeframe of his shows.

The promoter told me he asked the singer “So you double booked?” to which the singer replied “No. Your idea is stupid”.

I pondered for a second and said “Let me get this straight. You were told you have stupid ideas by a tiny pretend Gene Simmons?”

“Yeah”

“That’s low.”

The band in question?
MiniKiss

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_jWJPcryEk[/youtube]

They’re good, but are they mini Michael Jackson good?

If you want to check them out live here’s the band’s info.

The lesson learned here? I have no idea, but it looks like they worked things out for June 27th in Sioux Falls. Nice work.

I’ll have to catch this Beer Dabbler Tour the next time they roll through town.

Rock on, my friends, rock on.

Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the time I saved Ace Frehley’s life.

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Just Another Music Friday – 6/12/2009

Rock the Cause

Last week I made the call for local music and Jenn Barnett stepped up and floated a Melismatics concert by my way at Rock The Cause HQ put on by the big daddy Scott Holden.

The Melismatics rocked and when the power went out the place felt like the eye of the storm, Scott flipped a fuse, and the band picked up without missing a beat.

It was that kind of night. There was love in the air, people playing kissing games, Mark Mallman, talk (started by me) of forming a Melismatics tribute band made of midgets, booze, nudity, swimming, James Bond projections, a late night dance party, and really all of the things you’d expect from a rock and roll party.

Really, it’s an industry of cool.

[Youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrRW9K8OULw[/youtube]

All for charity!

Were you there or know someone that was? Here’s the pic set.

Anything local I should check out this weekend? Hit me up on the TwitterBlaster.

What are you listening to?

Sample night live – something for everyone

My co-worker, Lynne, went to Sample Night Live last week and told me all about it. She said it was a blast (and claims to have laughed from start to finish). Sample Night is, well, a sample night of performing arts from different acts in the Twin Cities. And when they say sample, they aren’t kidding. There is something for everyone there.

From poetry to theater to heavy metal local music to puppets, pretty much anyone can find something they might enjoy at one of these events. They take place on the first Wednesday of each month. I just might have to check out May’s event.

Has anyone else checked this out? It sounds like good fun.

Just Another Music Friday – 12.12.08

The weekend is approaching and it looks like the Big Three bailout isn’t going to happen. So I say bailout the real Big Three: Sex,Drugs, and Rock and Roll. Or, atleast which-ever two of the three work best for you.

In the drugs and rock-and-roll categories I think a cold beer always goes well with a show.

“Made by the Shmaltz Brewing Company and spotted at Four Firkins in St. Louis Park, MN”

Uploaded on December 6, 2008 by manyhighways
If you’re going to be in Mpls you should check out the Heiruspecs CD release at First Avenue Saturday, 6pm.

I’m actually getting a little excited to do some holiday shopping this weekend as I’ll be going to my favorite book store Half Priced Books where I tend to also find some great deals on music.

What are your favorite places to buy local music? For me it’s the Electric Fetus.

I intend on getting the new Heiruspecs album this weekend.

What’s in your shuffle?

 

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Just Another Music Friday – 12.05.2008

It’s been snowing and cold in Mn so I think we could all use a little Hot Hot Heat.

Image Uploaded on November 25, 2008
by Tim Carlson MPLS

 

I have a fire in the fireplace, music on the iPod stereo, and people are on their way to eat, drink, and be merry.

There are a handful of new CD’s I’m itching to give a listen. I’ll let you know how they sound.

What’s in your shuffle?

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Just Another Music Friday – 11.21.2008

What’s up friends? Ready for the weekend?

Hey look, it’s a picture of a picture telling us to dance.

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Image “Attitude City @ Shelter: Friday 11.21” Originally uploaded by karlfrankowski
It even comes with it’s won dance story,

If you are under 50 years old, this is practically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear classic underground records on a system that was designed exclusively for dance music. If you are over 50, come relive those nights you spent binging on ‘ludes at David Mancuso’s Loft or the Paradise Garage. Either way, see you Friday…

As for me, I have people in town for a wedding so I’ll be rocking it out at home. I plan on getting the new Kings of Leon and whatever else tickles my fancy. Have any suggestions for some good local music?

What’s in your shuffle?

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