TOP 5 NEW RELEASES :: NEW MUSIC FRIDAY :: MARCH 24, 2017

TOP 5 NEW RELEASES :: NEW MUSIC FRIDAY :: MARCH 24, 2017

New Music Friday is here! Are you looking for the Best New Music Releases today? Below you will find My Top 5 New Releases for New Music Friday. I’ve scoured the lists, played the tracks, and put together the best of the best. Have a listen, play a featured track, and if you like what you hear go out and support the artists, and the Music.

I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list?

Comment below and let me know what you think.

TOP 5 NEW RELEASES:

1. Damage and Joy :: The Jesus And Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain Damage and Joy, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: Highly anticipated new album, Damage and Joy is everything I was hoping for, starting strong with a song that reminds me of a mix between The Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like You” and Love And Rockets’ “So Alive”. Brothers Jim and William Reid, quoted as saying they have “buried the hatchet” of all to common sibling-in-band-rivalry, have created an album that evolves their Music (see “All Things Pass” and especially the electronically-fused”Simian Split” without losing their quintessential sonic sound (see the Darklands’ sounding “War On Peace”). Track 7, “Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)” is by far my favorite, the nod to Los Angeles, the layers of sound, and the lyrical story told within.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Amputation”, “War On Peace”, “All Things Pass” and “Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

“Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)”

2. I Don’t Know What to Feel :: The Dove And The Wolf

The Dove And The Wolf I Don't Know What To Feel, New Music Release Friday, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: I have been a fan of Philadelphia via Paris singers’ Paloma Gil and Lou Hayat since I first heard The Dove And The Wolf play live, opening for Butch Walker. The girls blew me away, and I have been anxiously awaiting new music from them ever since. This EP was written in response to the Bataclan theater attacks last November, in Paris. Though I would have loved a full album, the songs on here are a 7-song delight, reminding me again why they caught my ears as the opening act, and why I have been hungry for more (and hopefully there will be even more…soon).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Green & Yellow”, “Seven Days” and “Across the Atlantic”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Green & Yellow”

3. “Moon In Your Mouth” :: Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp Moon In Your Mouth, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: Can the new Goldfrapp album be out already? “Moon In Your Mouth” marks the third single released pre-album, and number three is definitely my favorite of the bunch (so far).Each song, thus far, has had a different sound to each, mixing up genres and inspirations. This one definitely has an EDM sensibility to it, a mid-to-trance tempo ballad with a notable drum beat underneath.

mid-tempo dancefloor ballad with a steady drum beat and an atmospheric blend of synth texture

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A – Single

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Moon In Your Mouth”

4. 810 :: Trementina

Trementina 810, New Music Releases, Album Reviews

Three-Sentence Review: Meeting at the corner between Dream-Pop and Shoegaze, Chilean band Trementina’s album 810 is full of a gossamer-winged sweetness and light that is infectious and floaty-feeling. A few tracks, like “Oh Child” and “No Control” transcend the Dream/Shoegaze, infusing the tease of beats that bring out the dance in them, and my favorite track, “Out of the Lights”, brings in some Dub sounds to add even more variety to this collection of songs. I do believe Trementina is a band to keep an eye, and ear out; there is a lot of promise and interest going on here.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Please Let’s Go Away”,”All I Wanted”, and “Out of the Lights”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4+

“Out of the Lights”

5. You Had Me at Goodbye :: Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain You Had Me at Goodbye, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: I am immediately reminded of early Kate Nash and Lily Allen, as well as of Courtney Barnett, both in vocals, sardonic lyrics, and the style and sensibility of the songs with the album You Had Me at Goodbye. This album feels like it sprang from the early aughts in to this late March 2017 day. This is the fifth album by Samantha Crain, though this is the first I’ve heard of, or heard her Music. It seems to mark a shift in sound from a more country/folk sound, to something that teeters between indie pop, chamber pop, and something else that is a shade, or two, darker that the “pop” inclusion would describe (especially on songs like “Betty’s Eulogy”).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Oh Dear Louis”, “Betty’s Eulogy” and “Wreck”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Oh Dear Louis”

Friday Five, lyriquediscorde

The Letter C :: Friday Five

The Letter C :: Friday Five

Let’s get alphabetical for this Friday Music Friday Five. What are your favorite songs, albums, artists and bands that start with the letter C? Can you name a few of them without looking? Can you close your eyes and alphabetize your favorite Music, pulling out the C’s you love the most?

Cocteau Twins, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

The Letter C :: Friday Five

Leonard Cohen, Music, The Letter C, Friday Five

Songs:

1. “Crucify” :: Tori Amos

“You’re just an empty cage girl,
if you kill the bird.”

2. “Come Pick Me Up” :: Ryan Adams

“I wish you would come pick me up,
take me out,
fuck me up,
steal my records,
screw all my friends.”

3. “Cherry-coloured Funk” :: Cocteau Twins

“Still we can find our love down from behind.”

4. “Crystal Village” :: Pete Yorn

“You were there,
and it was good in the beginning.”

5. “Cosmic Dancer” :: T-Rex

“I danced myself out of the womb.
Is it strange to dance so soon?
I danced myself into the tomb,
but when again once more.”

Singers:

1. Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke, The Letter C, Friday Five

“Bring it on Home to Me”

2. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Chelsea Hotel #2” (live)

3. Chrissie Hynde

Chrissie Hynde, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Back on the Chain Gang”

4. Nick Cave

Nick Cave, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“The Ship Song” (live)

5. Chan Marshall (Cat Power)

Chan Marshall, Cat Power. Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Cross Bones Style”

Bands:

1. Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Lorelai”

2. Concrete Blonde

Concrete Blonde, Friday Five, Music, The Letter C

“God is a Bullet”

3. The Cure

The Cure, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“A Forest” (live)

4. The Church

The Church, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Metropolis”

5. The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers, Music, Friday Five, The Letter C

“Galvanize”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 17, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: March 17, 2017

Looking for the best New Music Releases on this New Music Friday? Below you will find My Top 5 New Releases for New Music Friday. I’ve scoured the lists, played the tracks, and put together the best of the best. Have a listen, play a featured track, and if you like what you hear go out and support the artists, and the Music. I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list? Comment below and let me know what you think.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Spirit :: Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode, Spirit, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Spirit is a welcome return of a beloved synth-heavy, new wave/alternative band that transcended the 80’s and 90’s in ways that many of the other invading British bands of that era did not. Though the album lacks any real musical surprises, the strength here is in the solid songs and sounds; a stellar collection of racks, from start-to-finish, the best all-around album since Songs of Faith and Devotion, actually. Gahan’s voice is still a standout, Gore remains a quintessential songwriter (“Cover Me” and “Eternal” are so recognizably Gore you can’t miss it), and the electronic feel that the band has always had has evolved into something that teeters between aural nostalgia and a right here, right now sound.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Where’s the Revolution”, “Cover Me”, and “No More (This is the Last Time)”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Cover Me”

2. Hot Thoughts :: Spoon

Spoon, Music, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: I have been anticipating the release of “Hot Thoughts” since I heard the pre-album release of the title track/opening track, “Hot Thoughts”, a dance-able, catchy number that is indicative of how the rest of its namesake sounds. Nine albums in and Spoon manages to surprise, while still sustaining a recognizable, Spoon-sound that they have cultivated through the years. With the help of Flaming Lips’ producer Dave Fridmann, the songs are rife with trippy sensibilities and, at times, a dream pop electric edge (see “Whisperl’lllistentohearit” and “Pink Up”) that takes the Spoon-sound and elevates it, spinning it in new directions.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Hot Thoughts”, “Whisperl’lllistentohearit”, and “First Caress”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Hot Thoughts”

3. Salutations :: Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst, Salutations, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Salutations brings back the Conor Bright Eyes’ era, circa Lifted and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning that I’ve been missing for quite some time. The opening track, “Too Late to Fixate”, caught my attention immediately, and reminded me why I used to “fixate” over Conor’s songwriting back in the early aughts. Recorded with a full band, and a myriad of guest musicians (The Felice Brothers, Jim Keltne, and more), Salutations carries with it a past sensibility, peppered generously with an older eye-view, a bit of a laugh at oneself, and a juxtaposition of jadedness and optimism, that creates a 17-song (yes, 17) collection that I’ll be “fixating” over for days to come.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Too Late to Fixate”, “Overdue”, and “You All Loved Him Once”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Too Late to Fixate”

4. In Mind :: Real Estate

Real Estate, In Mind, Album Review, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: There are so many interesting new albums out this week, all unique and listenable and very worth checking out – Real Estate’s In Mind is no exception, a daydreamy, pastoral indie pop collection of sounds that suits these longer nights and warmer (at least here in Southern California) weather. I want to spend a few afternoons swimming around in these songs, letting the harmonic melodies wash over me, and inspire me. Jangly, and sometimes fuzzy guitars (see “Two Arrows”) meet up with tinkling, often lush keyboards, which come together well with Martin Courtney’s vocals’; this album has survived losing one of their key members (guitarist Matt Mondanile), taken on two  new ones (guitarist Julian Lynch and keyboardist Matt Kallma), and created something equal to, if not better, than their past three albums.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Darling”, “Stained Glass”, and “Two Arrows”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Darling”

5. Room 29 :: Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales

Jarvis Cocker, Chilly Gonzales, Room 29, Album Review, Top 5 New Releaases

Three-Sentence Review: Completely unexpected and weird, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales release an album of songs inspired by the Château Marmont, Hollywood, California’s rumored to be haunted hotel. At times this feels like an audio book, poetry set to some stark and simple music unraveling a story that you are keen to hear, but never 100% sure of the plot or purpose. Jarvis and Chilly tell tales of the hotel using music, theatrics, clips from classic Hollywood movies, and their unmistakable piano (Chilly) and vocals (Jarvis), making this one of the more interesting albums I’ve listened to in a long while, while also reminding me, in theme and the sometimes ambient sounds, of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Room 29″, “Tearjerker”, and “A Trick of the Light”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Room 29”

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: February 17, 2017

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: February 17, 2017

It’s New Music Friday. Are you searching through the rain (if you are here in Southern California, at least), or through the endless record bins of the internet to find what the best of the new releases are today? To help on your new music search, here is this week’s Top 5 New Releases.

This week’s list has a few stellar albums among the Top 5, as well as two hard to miss singles. Get ready to crank up the volume, press play and indulge in some of the new tunes that just arrived today.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Prisoner :: Ryan Adams

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Three-Sentence Review: I’ve spent some time with the singles that Ryan has released pre-album, and without exception, each song has been a “grower” to me, and the album, Prisoner, in its entirety, is no exception; it is a grower, too. The songs feel denser than previous Ryan songs, sonically complex , but with a lyrical distance that I’m not used to with his music – I feel as if I have to lean in closer, push repeat more often, and let these songs make their way in to me slowly. “To be Without You” is the most immediately accessible of the bunch, but the others are a bit more hard to get, though I do believe they are worth the time, the re-listens, and the “throw the album on, get in the car, and drive” effort taken to get this album under my skin.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Do You Still Love Me?”, “To be Without You”, “Broken Anyway”, and “We Disappear”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“To be Without You”

2. Fields of Love :: Mozart’s Sister

Mozart's Sister, music, albums, new release, new albums

Three-Sentence Review: Immediately reminiscent of Kate Bush, with perhaps a little Bjork and St. Vincent (sans guitar) thrown in to the mix. Mozart’s Sister’s Field of Love is electronically-infused indie pop with a very off-kilter edge, some that seems made for a crowded dance floor (see “Bump”), and some that feels set for a more isolated introspection (see “Baroque Baby”). Caila Thompson-Hannant brings something different to the pop-landscape of her second album under the “Mozart’s Sister” moniker -songs that are both catchy and different, and seem  ready made for remixing.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Angel”, “Who are You”, and “Baroque Baby”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Angel”

3. “Always Sad” :: The Jesus & Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain, new singles, singles, music, new releases

Three-Sentence Review: This second pre-album released single (new album, Damage and Joy, out March 24) is even better than the last, and has me seriously anxious and excited for the album to finally arrive. I love the inclusion of Bernadette Denning in this track, it takes the song into a conversational place that works perfectly here, both melodically, and lyrically. The trademark jangly guitar and fuzz, along with the dueted voices, adds an interesting lightness to the sad of “Always Sad”, the mood juxtaposition (and the inclusion of a female vocalist) calls to mind “Sometimes Always”, JAMC’s earlier duet with Hope Sandoval, that also mixed up jangle-pop lightness with a sung story of melancholy.

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Always Sad”

4. Plural :: Electric Guest

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Three-Sentence Review: Electric Guest’s new album, Plural, combines electronica, funk, soul, pop and disco, elevating the tracks into something more palpable than straight to the floor dance music. There is songwriting here, a bit of humor (Asa Taccone is brothers with Jorma of Lonely Island, and has produced songs such as “Dick in a Box” in the past), and a complexity of melody, lyric and sound that begs for multiple listens. Some songs veer heavily into radio-friendly R&B (see “Back & Forth” and “Dear to Me”), but I prefer when they take an older soul sound and marry it with an indie pop sensibility the likes of MGMT and Bastille (see “See the Light” and “My Omen”).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Zero”, “I See the Light” and “My Omen”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“My Omen”

5. “Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)” :: The Dandy Warhols

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Three-Sentence Review: Listen to that opening guitar – it is definitely the strongest part of this new single. As for the rest, there is something slightly off with the vocals to me, I’m not sure if it is the production, or tone, but it just does not connect with me the way I’d want it to. Musically, this is a hit to me, but the vocal arrangement and recording takes it too far away from what I know this band can do (think “Godless, or “Get Off”, or last year’s “All the Girls in London”). Maybe this is a turn up loud in the car and let it grow on me, too?

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Thick Girls Knock Me Out”

My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 7/4/16

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of 7/4/16

1. Town + Country :: The Rave-Up’s

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Three-Sentence Review: An unexpected re-issue of a favorite band of mine from the eighties, and a bigger favorite band of my best friend, who this band/album/songs on the album will always remind me of. This was their debut album, and along with their appearance in the John Hughes’ film, “Pretty In Pink”, they became one of those bands that take me back to who, where and when I was when I fell for their music; they remind me of Lone Justice, of The Del Fuegos, Guadalcanal Diary and early Throwing Muses, oh, and they also remind me of the now gone venue, Bogarts, as well as (always) my best friend. The album includes early versions, demos and live recordings of songs from their debut, as well as the album itself.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Positively Lost Me, Radio and Rave-Up/Shut-Up

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Positively Lost Me

2. Descending :: Butch Walker, featuring Ashley Monroe

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Three-Sentence Review: Another released single from Butch’s upcoming album, “Stay Gold”, and this one is a heart breaker of a duet, one that I fell HARD for after my first listen. It is full of that kind of uncertainty that love can sometimes arrive at, teetering precariously between the hope of carrying on/starting again and the sadness of maybe needing to (finally) let go. This is just making me more excited for the new album – please get here soon.

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (Single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Descending

3. Acoustic Coffee House (Live) :: Callaghan

callaghan-acoustic-coffee-house-1400

Three-Sentence Review: I came for the breathtaking Dylan cover of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”, poured myself a cup of coffee and stayed for the entire album. I’ve been a fan of Callaghan’s since we featured her in the Keep Art Alive series back in 2013 (see her 10 questions here). The album was recorded in Nashville with musicians Okorie Johnson and Mike Gallagher, from her touring band, and include beautiful covers and original songs that will make you want to catch Callaghan the next time she plays in your town (see upcoming tour dates here).

Initial Favorite Track(s)Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, Till I Hold You Once Again and First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (live)

4. Hit Reset :: The Julie Ruin

TheJulieRuin_LP1-560x560

Three-Sentence Review: High energy, witty and intelligent, dancable, punkish, a bit retro, and a whole lot of fun, “Hit Reset” is the perfect throw your cares out the window and just enjoy summer kind of album. It reminds me of some of the girl bands I loved in the 80’s and 90’s, and some of the punk/riot grrrl/new wave shows I went to within those two decades. So catchy, empowering and perfect for getting over an ex and/or taking over the day/night with your friends, this album is going to get a ton of play/replay from me the rest of this summer, and beyond –  you should consider doing the same.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Hit Reset,  I Decide and I’m Done

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

I Decide

5.  Take Her up to Monto :: Róisín Murphy

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Three-Sentence Review: The first thing I think when I listen to “Take Her up to Monto” is St. Vincent, second I am reminded of Róisín’s work with previous EDM group, Moloko. I’m honestly not usually one for EDM, but this album is more than that, it transcends, borrowing from indie pop and experimental jazz sensibilities (with a side order of ELO – I get such a “Xanadu” vibe sometimes), as well as the obvious background in EDM. My only wish is that it veered a bit more in to the Trip Hop zone because I think Róisín’s voice is just made for it (listen to “Nervous Sleep” and you may hear it to).

Initial Favorite Track(s)Mastermind, Ten Miles High and Nervous Sleep

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Ten Miles High

Top 10 Movies that Unfold in One day/night :: Monday Movies

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Top 10 Movies that Unfold in One day/night :: Monday Movies

Another kind of movie I love are ones that take place in a 24-hour period, whether it be one night in the life, or one day, whether it be just two characters, or many whose stories may, or may not, intersect, all of it, that kind of one-day storytelling, is a favorite of mine. There are MANY more movies that utilize that storytelling technique than I realized, so coming up with JUST TEN was a challenge – a few I love had to be left off – but they still live in my cinematic heart.

I love that my lists crosses movie-genres, and that it includes great scenes and memorable soundtracks. And just like with the road trip movie lists, some of my favorite movies of all-time are on this list, too.

I’d love to hear/read what yours are. Please share in the comments.

before-sunrise

1. Before Sunrise (1995)
Written by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
Directed by Richard Linklater

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I feel like this is, uh, some dream world we’re in, y’know.” ~ Jesse

Yeah, it’s so weird. It’s like our time together is just ours. It’s our own creation. It must be like I’m in your dream, and you in mine, or something.” ~ Celine

And what’s so cool is that this whole evening, all our time together, shouldn’t officially be happening.” ~ Jesse

Yeah, I know. Maybe that’s why this feels so otherworldly.” ~ Celine

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2. The Breakfast Club (1985)
Written & Directed by John Hughes

Remember how you said your parents use you to get back at each other?” ~ John Bender

[nods] ~ Claire Standish

Wouldn’t I be OUTSTANDING in that capacity?” ~ John Bender

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3. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
Written by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (book), Lorene Scafaria
Directed by Peter Sollet

Are you sad that we missed it?” ~ Norah

We didn’t miss it. This *is* it. C’mon. You wanna go home?” ~ Nick

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4. Modern Girls (1986)
Written by Laurie Craig & Anita Rosenberg
Directed by Jerry Kramer

You know, Cliffie, the hottest nights are the ones where you don’t know who you are coming home with. . .here we are. . .we don’t even know who we are going out with!” ~ CeCe

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5. Go (1999)
Written by John August
Directed by Doug Liman

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6. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Written by Nicholas Ray (story), Stewart Stern & Irving Shulman (screenplay)
Directed by
Nicholas Ray

Once you been up there you know you’ve been someplace.”  ~ Jim Stark

7. Empire Records (1995)
Written by Carol Heikkinen
Directed by Allan Moyle

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We mustn’t dwell… no, not today. We CAN’T. Not on Rex Manning day.” ~ Mark

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8. 200 Cigarettes (1999)
Written by Shana Larsen
Directed by Risa Bramon Garcia

You need to find somebody that likes you the way you are.” ~ Lucy

And who would possibly like me the way I am?” ~ Kevin

I have no idea.” ~ Lucy

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9. Mallrats (1995)
Written & Directed by Kevin Smith

Suitor number one. If we fell in love, how would you propose to me?” ~ Brandi

[aside] “When Jaws popped out of the water...” ~ Brodie

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10. Tonight You’re Mine (2011)
Written by Thomas Leveritt
Directed by David Mackenzie

[singing] “Tonight you’re mine, you’re mine, you’re mine!” ~ Ada,

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VINYL of the Week :: Rio (1982) :: Duran Duran

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VINYL of the Week :: Rio (1982) :: Duran Duran

The first “issue” for the VINYL of the Week just had to be a Duran Duran LP. My first band, my first music-fandom (before “fandom” was a thing), my first band-love, and a whole lot of other firsts, the copy I have of this album is VERY scratched up and more than a lot used, but I love it. It was given to me by my best friend as a birthday present, and though I’ve bought a different copy since (as this one really does not play well anymore), I could never give this one up.

Duran Duran was everything to teenage me. I spent COUNTLESS hours listening to their music, watching their videos, paging through music and teen magazines, tearing out posters and pin-ups, cutting out pictures and articles, filling pages of scrapbooks and photo albums. I haunted record stores and swap meets for imported singles and 12 inches, and those hard-to-find tour and fan books. My friends and I talked about them obsessively, and we all had our favorites.

Mine was Nick Rhodes.

I loved this band so much that my mother still refers to them as “your boys” if she sees them on TV. I’ll get a random text reading “I saw your boys today” and she doesn’t need to explain.

They will always be my boys. Yes, yes, they will.

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A Little History:

Rio is the second studio album by Duran Duran, originally released worldwide on May 10, 1982. The album reached # 2 in the UK and # 1 in Australia.

The album was re-released in the United States in November 1982. It earned a Gold disc on March 1, 1983, and went Platinum on April 26, 1983, eventually reaching Double Platinum status. It peaked at # 6 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the US on March 12, 1983, and remained on the chart for 129 weeks.

The first song to be recorded for Rio was “My Own Way”, written and recorded in October 1981, and released as a single in November 1981. The rest of the album was recorded in the early months of 1982 at Air Studios in London, with producer and engineer Colin Thurston. “My Own Way” was re-recorded for the album and the newer version is significantly different from the 1981 single version.

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The second single, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, was released in the UK on May 4, 1982. It peaked at # 5 in the charts on June 26, 1982.

The Rio album was first released worldwide on May 10, 1982, peaking at # 2 in the UK in its second week of release. The image on the album’s distinctive purple cover was painted by artist Patrick Nagel. The cover itself was designed by Malcolm Garrett.

John Taylor takes credit for the title. “[It] was something I had thrown into the mix,” he recalled in 2012. He was particularly fascinated with the idea of Brazil, and “Rio, to me, was shorthand for the truly foreign, the exotic, a cornucopia of earthly delights, a party that would never stop.”

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The band had their own plans and ambitions for promotion. They reunited with director Russell Mulcahy (who had directed the music video for their first single, “Planet Earth”), and planned the release of a full length video album—eleven videos for the best songs off of the Duran Duran and Rio albums. The band travelled to Sri Lanka and Antigua between tour dates to film the memorable videos for the singles “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save a Prayer”, as well as the lesser-known “Lonely in Your Nightmare” and “Nightboat” — the latter video being a creepy zombiefest set on a deserted island.

While filming the videos, guitarist Andy Taylor contracted a tropical virus and was hospitalized on his return to England. This forced the delay of the band’s European tour, and the record company decided to hold the release of the third single until the band was ready to promote it again.

“Save a Prayer” was finally released on August 9, 1982, and peaked at # 2 on the UK charts in mid September 1982. On November 1, 1982, the “Rio” single was released worldwide. It peaked at # 9 in the UK in December 1982.

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My thoughts:

Listening this morning I was somewhat amazed at how the music still holds up, and how their sound and style still pops up in current bands (latest album by The Temper Trap anyone? That first album by the Killers? I could go on…). The bass — oh my stars, John Taylor on the bass — and the keyboard — Nick Nick Nick — still is quintessential, unique and amazing. And Simon, his poetic and literary referential lyrics, sigh…

When “New Religion” starts up, that slow build of keyboards, and the bass coming in, still sends all over body chills to me. It is almost orgasmic, and that is not the fangirl in me talking…or maybe it is. All the same, though, it does it for me…big time.

Strong opening song, “Rio” is not just the title track, but a surefire, meant-to-be hit that is catchy and timeless, and even though it is such a song from the 80’s, I do think it transcends the sound trends of the time, while still being of that time.

And the rest, all of the songs really, they hit me on so many levels. This band, they were such an important piece of my coming-of-age, so much a part of my sexuality, and my self-regard, and so much of the girl I am. These songs, some of them make me tear up hearing them, and others make me just scream-sing-a-long.

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Those pants, Roger? Oh my stars.

Something I wrote about Duran Duran awhile back…seems fitting to put it here:

One could blame Duran Duran for the woman I am today, though I am not sure blame is the right word. For me, I am grateful, more so than I often give sufficient thought, nor credit to. The band was this enormous part of my adolescence, in some ways the band was my adolescence, and though I still carry a never-ending love for them, and their music, I will be the first to admit that I take Duran Duran for granted, and I often under-appreciate them to a huge degree.

Let’s start with sexuality. Prior to their music, and images, hitting my day-to-day, I did all I could to keep sexuality buried deep within me. Learning too early on about sex from abuse was not the kind of education that my friends had received, at least not that I  knew of. The realization would come years later that more than I knew of my cohorts and companions had been through the nightmares, too. But, at this juncture of my coming of age I thought I was alone in all of it, and I ran from thoughts of sex as fast as I could.

Then along came this band and I had to stop running. I pretty much had no choice, it was like being smacked in the face, and well, everywhere else, with desire. Whether it be the heart thump and vibration of the bass line, the seduction of the poetic lyrical refrains, or that they were quite beautiful to look at, I was helpless to escape. Nearly every fantasy, every lustful feeling, every personal exploration and vibration beneath the bed sheets was either about, or to the soundtrack of, Duran Duran. My first orgasm was with the lights off, in my bedroom alone, with The Chauffer playing (yes, of course I remember).

A few years later, the boy who I would later share my virginity with, would also share a Duran Duran related “meet-cute” with me. It went something like this: I saw him at a movie theater before the lights went down, he was wearing a John Taylor style of hat that along with one hell of a smile, got my attention. After the movie we ran into each other again at a late night diner and when he asked my friends and I to join he and his friends I made mention of his hat and he smiled that smile again, adding a wink to the mix, and said “John Taylor approved.”

I have been known to say that that boy knew something that a lot of the boys I went to high school did not. They all made fun of the band, mocked the music, the looks, throwing sexuality accusations and dismissing any talent or merit they had because of their predominate female fan-base. These same teenage boys would grow up to be men who would later admit to liking their music in secret, a confession I have heard from many men I have come in contact with, and each time I end up laughing and shaking my head at them. When asked why it amuses me so I always say that if they had been that exception, and if they were interested in girls, they could have had it all over the other boys, a space next to us at concerts and an invitation into the conversation, and the strung up and out desire we were all pulsing with.

It was more than what the music did to our sexy bits though, much more actually. As I consumed their music, and every article and interview I could get my hands on, I started to learn about their musical influences. Without a doubt, I can directly credit the members of Duran Duran for introducing me to Roxy Music, The Velvet Underground, Chic, Joy Division, early David Bowie, Japan and T-Rex. I was also moved and inspired to write more. Lyrically, the majority of their music reads like poetry intermixed with passionate proclamations and a little bit of wonder. These were not the simple pop infused love song trope of so much of the other music that hit the radio stations, this was something more, and it had me writing up a storm. Sometimes what I wrote was about them (yes, this was my first venture into fan fiction), but most of the time it was creations all of my own, written with their music blaring in the background.

They gave me big dreams, too. Their videos, all shot in far off and exotic locations, made the world seem so much bigger than my tiny life was. When things were horrible at home and I found myself questioning my existence, and at more than a few low moments, questioning my life, it was their big lives, or the perception of their big lives, that kept me going. I thought there was so much more to see, to do, to be that I just had to hang on longer. I could not help but believe in the mystery. I wanted to believe. And, well, I thought I might just someday run off and marry Nick Rhodes. A teenage girl can dream, can’t she?

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Save a Prayer

“Some people call it a one-night stand,
but we can call it
paradise.”

2. New Religion

“‘Cause sometimes people stare,
coming down,
electric chair,
and steaming crowds they gather and they shout.”

3. Hold Back the Rain

“We’re miles away from nowhere,
and the wind doesn’t have a name,
so call it what you want to call it –
it still blows down the lane.”

4. Lonely in Your Nightmare

“Because there’s heat beneath your winter,
let me in.”

5. The Chauffer

“And the sun drips down,
bedding heavy behind,
the front of your dress,
all shadowy lined,
and the droning engine throbs in time,
with your beating heart.”

My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of July 13, 2015

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My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of July 13, 2015

1. Star Wars :: Wilco

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Three-Sentence Review: Offered up free yesterday, Wilco surprised everyone with a new album that has a cover that reminded me immediately of “things Ryan Adams loves” (Star Wars, cats – all it needed was a pinball machine). The opening track reminds me of Sonic Youth until Jeff starts singing, then it just feels like Kim and Thurston are back-up, which is not a bad thing, at all. My favorite track, You Satellite, feels like it should be partnered up with Lou Reed’s Satelite of Love (next playlist I make needs these two songs back-to-back), and actually has a Velvet Underground feel to it – again, not a bad thing at all.

Initial Favorite Track(s): The Joke Explained, You Satellite and Where Do I Begin

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

No videos/tracks on YouTube, but you can hear You Satellite here

2. Cold Answer :: Matthew Perryman Jones

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Three-Sentence Review: Oh how a good singer-songwriter will just steal my heart away. This is moody and melancholic and wistful in such a beautiful, unassuming way, that I am drawn to the album completely, and keep hitting replay. Reminiscent of Honeyhoney, The Civil Wars, Cary Brothers and Whiskeytown, I’m loving the banjo inclusion and the co-singer Lily Costner, especially on the song (originally written for the TV series’ Nashville), Can’t Get It Right.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Wrestling Tigers, Can’t Get it Right and I Can’t Go Back Now

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

I Can’t Get it Right (live)

3. Something More Than Free :: Jason Isbell

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Three-Sentence Review: What was it I just said about singer-songwriters, and my heart? Former member of Drive-By Truckers, Jason is recently sober and that kind of twelve-step confessions permeate these lyrically rich songs. There are lines that hit hard and deep, and though at times this album leans a little more country than my tastes usually veer (though other times it is very Dawes and Avett Brothers – yes!), I’m all in with this album.

Initial Favorite Track(s): If It Takes a Lifetime, How to Forget and Something More Than Free

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Something More Than Free (live)

4. Manifique :: Ratatat

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Three-Sentence Review: Quite different than 1-3 in this week’s Top 5 New Releases, Ratatat’s new album is more electronic in nature (think Gorillaz, M83 and LCD Soundsystem). This is dancable, drive at night in the city listenable, and destined to be part of my workout music in the upcoming weeks. That said, the album veers into chillwave at times, too, in a way that makes me feel a little Mulholland Drive and other Lynchian ways, especially the title song and the carnival sounding Drift.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Cream on Chrome, Magnifique and Drift

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4+

Cream on Chrome

5. Born in the Echoes :: The Chemical Brothers

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Three-Sentence Review: Been missing the 90’s and feel like dancing this Summertime? If you answered yes to both, or at least one of the two, than this new album from The Chemical Brothers is for you. I answered yes to both, by the way.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Sometimes I Feel So Deserted, Go and Radiate

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4+

Go

My Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of July 6, 2015

new-release-reportMy Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: Week of July 6, 2015

So, starting this week new music moves to Fridays, coinciding with movie release day, and the advent of the weekend. Though I loved the idea behind a Tuesday having something celebratory about it (and hey, doesn’t “New Music Tuesday” sound better than “New Music Friday“?), I am a fan of change, and will not sit on the sidelines bemoaning something as trivial as a new day of the week for new music, instead I will embrace bit because I love new music. Readers get the gift of two “Top 5” new release posts this week, so enjoy all the music. Cheers to the first New Music Friday – another reason to say TGIF!

1. Ghost Notes :: Veruca Salt

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Three-Sentence Review: Oh “the 90’s” how I have been missing you lately, and how much I have been needing these reunited female fronted bands albums that we’ve been graced with this year (see Sleater-Kinney and now Veruca Salt). Everything you loved/I loved about Veruca Salt, with some added life experience, is infused in this kick-ass amazing album. I was already in love with it after the half way mark of track two.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Black and Blonde, The Sound of Leaving and Laughing in the Sugar Bowl

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Laughing in the Sugar Bowl :: Veruca Salt

2. Perpetual Motion People :: Ezra Fuman

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Three-Sentence Review: A little early 80’s punk/New Wave (think Sparks), a little throwback (50’s meets 60’s meets something infused with soul), a little indie-now (think Father John Misty, especially lyrically), and a little alternative rock (think Alt-J, Spoon, and even a little White Stripes), and a whole lot of something I can’t stop playing. This is sure to be on my list of best of the year, and definitely on my radar of who I’d like to see play live soon (now). This album plays like a soundtrack to the misfit, the outcast, and the ones we all want to know the most – just go listen to this – now.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Restless Year, Lousy Connection and Hour of Deepest Need 

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Restless Year

3. Delilah :: Anderson East

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Three-Sentence Review: Throwback soul, Nashville infused, Southern Rock based, little bit of Blues and a little bit of Alt-Country, the singer-songwriter Anderson East reminds me a little of Tony Lucca, Leon Bridges, George Ezra, Honeyhoney and even a little of Bill Withers and Wilson Pickett (possibly an influence?). Play this one loud and often, maybe late at night, maybe while making out with that special someone (or temporary someone), and dance with them, too. Keep an eye (and ear) out for this one, he’s going to be huge, I predict.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em, Devil in Me and Lonely

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em (live)

4. Calling Out :: EZTV

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Three-Sentence Review: Dreamy, jangly rock that wears its classic rock sensibilities in plain sight, this album feels so Summery that it makes me want to hop in the car and drive to Malibu, in a convertible (not that I have one) with the top down, my hair blowing everywhere, and this album playing loudly. I know they are from Brooklyn, but there is something so Southern California about this album.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Bury Your Heart, Everything Was Changing and Dust in the Sky

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Dust in the Sky

5. Rocks & Straws :: Anneli Drecker

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Three-Sentence Review: So beautiful it had me in tears before the first song finished. Anneli Drecker, known originally as the lead singer to Bel Canto, has that Elizabeth Fraser/Kate Bush/Dead Can Dance feel to it, gothy and dream-induced and lush and just all-out gorgeous to listen to. These songs are so cinematic and chill-inducing, I kind of want to lose myself in these songs for a few hours, and think of nothing else.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Alone, Circulating Light and Rain

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Alone

Quintessential Albums :: Pictures For Pleasure :: Charlie Sexton

Charlie Sexton

Quintessential Albums :: Pictures For Pleasure :: Charlie Sexton

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A Little History:

Pictures for Pleasure, released in 1985, is the first studio album released by singer/guitarist Charlie Sexton. The album was the first solo effort by the then 16-year-old musician who had already secured a reputation as a skilled guitarist.

Pictures for Pleasure can best be described as a combination between Sexton’s blues rock roots and the more commercially viable (at the time) new wave genre. The album produced the Billboard Hot 100 # 17 hit Beat’s So Lonely.

Before its release, the teenaged guitarist had been bashing out blues and roots-rock around his native Austin, Texas, but the market for that music was limited — hence the decision to layer the record with drum machines and synthesizers, and go for a more “new wave” sensibility.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles, California. The album was produced by Keith Forsey, who also produced Billy Idol’s biggest 80’s hit albums.

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Charlie Sexton’s mother was 16 years old when she gave birth to him in San Antonio, Texas. When he was four, he and his mother moved to Austin, where clubs such as the Armadillo World Headquarters, Soap Creek Saloon, and more notably the Split Rail and Antone’s Blues Club later exposed him to popular music.

After a brief period living outside Austin with his mother, Sexton moved back to Austin at the age of 12.

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By the early 1980’s, while Charlie and his brother Will Sexton were still young boys, they were both taught how to play guitar by the local Austin legend W. C. Clark, known as the “Godfather of Austin Blues”. With the help of Joe Ely and other local musicians such as Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sexton developed his talents as a musician.

charlie-sexton-2What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

My best friend and I discovered Charlie Sexton’s album in the bins at one of our favorite record stores of the past, Music Market. We had never heard of him before, but in a very “judging a book by its cover“, or in this case album sleeve, we were taken in by how beautiful Mr. Sexton was, and decided to take a chance and buy it. Luckily, the chance was worth it, as it would soon become one of our favorite albums.

I would later notice Beats So Lonely in the film Some Kind of Wonderful, and get gleefully happy to hear it, thinking “our Charlie” was featured in the movie. I couldn’t help it really, it felt like he was our discovery.

My immediate favorite song remains my favorite off the album, the song Impressed, that is overflowing with literary and cinematic “coupling” references. It remains one of my favorite love songs, the sentiment that the kind of love the singer is crooning about is better than any fictional/famous love story always resonated with me, because don’t we all want that, a real love that puts all the other loves of the past, real and imagined, to shame?

I still listen to this album, and obsess over certain songs on it. I think I always will, which, to me, makes it “quintessential“.

Now I just need to a) get a copy of this on vinyl (again), and b) seek out some of Charlie’s more recent music.

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Did you happen to notice him in last year’s film, Boyhood?

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My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Impressed

“I am not impressed,
I love you the best.”

2. Beats So Lonely

“Come on, baby,
you know there’s something missing,
don’t find nothing,
no more coincidences.
Ready, baby,
look in these eyes and you will see,
the things will happen,
but only if they’re meant to be.”

3. Restless

“Always someone out there that is calling my name.”

4. Hold Me

“Hold me,
darlin’ won’t you hold me,
never let me go.”

5. You Don’t Belong Here

“You don’t belong here,
you know it’s true.
Oh, you look all wrong here,
don’t know how to act or do.
But, you know sometimes I think,
I don’t belong here, too.”

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