Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Harddrive failure

Hello Happiness Readers,

I am sorry to announce that it will be a while until I post another music post. This holiday season I was plagued by a faulty hard drive. While backing up my expansive music library the external hard drive reformatted itself and I lost all of my music. This is a very difficult time for me as much of the music was a result of years of scouring the internet, music shops, and radio stations for rarities, bootlegs, and unique sounds.  I am doing a deep search within my drive but I am not getting my hopes up.

Sorry for the hiatus,

Eli

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Strike It, Noel Concert Review

“Sometimes I can't help but worship you
I love you and all the things that you do”


Tackling Big Star is a feat in itself, tackling Big Star’s third album 3rd/ Sister Lovers is something even Alex Chilton had difficulty with.  3rd/ Sister Lovers was an album created in a time when Big Star was effectively dissolving, and the album clearly reflects the time. The intricacies of each song transformed the power pop group into more of an orchestrated event with backing strings and wind instruments.  The wide range of 3rd / Sister Lovers sets it apart from the other Big Star albums by tackling psychedelia with “Kangaroo”, heart retching remorse with “Holocaust”, and sophisticated lyrics of pop ballads that were reminiscent of a band on the brink of collapse.
            3rd / Sister Lovers was never performed by the original Big Star as its release came four years after the band had gone its separate ways. Following in the wake of both Chilton and Hummel’s death, 3rd / Sisters Lovers was finally slated to be performed at a special event called Strike It, Noel. Jody Stephens and an All Star band consisting of Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Chris Stamey (the dB’s), and Jeff Crawford &; Charles Cleaver (the Tomahawks), Lost in Trees members, and members from the NC Symphony fit the bill on Thursday night at Cats Cradle.
Having gone to hundreds of shows at the Cats Cradle in Carrboro, I was very surprised at the set up for Strike It, Noel.  The stage in front of me was riddled with instruments with barely enough space to move around freely. In addition to the menagerie of instruments there was a sitting area on the floor space in front of the stage. At half past eight the entire section was filled with middle-aged men and women sitting patiently for the opening band to start performing.
As Birds and Arrows opened up the event, I came to the realization that I was standing out in the crowd as one of the only college aged kids in a venue that typically houses my kind. But as the music started I quickly became engulfed in the sweet melodies of Birds and Arrows. Their distinct Appalachian harmonies were accompanied by a cello, which often reminded me of sweet and somber scenes in cinema. More importantly, the livelihood and stage presence they brought lightened the mood amongst the crowd. Jokes about releasing a fragrance to be paired with their new album sparked chuckles, especially in the row of women to my left all holding wine. Although I enjoyed the music, I felt increasingly out of place. It wasn’t until Birds and Arrows ended their set with a song about the rock quarry that I had frequented as a child. The vibrant lyrics and sweet melodies left me satisfied and comfortable to my surroundings.
A busy scuttle towards the instruments ensued as the musicians entered the stage. There were as many as twenty people on the stage at one time, carefully placed in between red giant floating balloons each branded with three stars. Soon an aged Jody Stephens welcomed the crowd. His face was defined and I watched as he carefully put on his black drumming gloves and made his way toward the back of the stage.
            The concert began with a Nature Boy excerpt that led into a Mike Mills led “Kizza Me”.  The immediate intensity of the string section and the backing band screamed professionalism. Every note had been practiced and the entire production was polished.  Before I could get acclimated to the big sounds of Big Star, “O Dana” filled the small venue with a full sound I thought was not possible in the tiny venue of Cats Cradle.
Vocally, each track was a little different but had a distinct Chilton-like sound and delivery.
All Photos by Kevin Norris
           Jody Stephens grabbed the mike for a “1st time premiere” of “For You”. Jody explained that one-day Alex Chilton had taught him a couple of chords and “For You” was composed shortly after. Jody grabbed the mike and started a remarkable vocal performance. He had a shy presence and his voice showed his age but the delivery and sound was as beautiful as the orchestra accompanying him.
            Another shining moment was shown by the amazing arrangement of “Jesus Christ”. Mike Mills jokingly stated that this was the time for a “Math rock moment” as the quirky introduction began. Beautiful sleigh bells and an impressive saxophone performance brought the merriment and cheer of the season.
            After a slow, sad rendition of “Big Black Car”, the All-Star band stumbled through the introduction of “Strike It, Noel” stopping a few chords into the song to make sure that the song was close to perfection. Chris Stamey said in jest that the album “is a loose record, [the performance] could be loose too” and “we didn’t want you to think that this is on tape”. The second take of “Strike It, Noel” began in three- part harmony led by Stu McLamb who delivered an amazing vocal performance that sounded strikingly similar to Chilton.
            Django Haskins vocal performance of “Holocaust” was a key highlight of the show. The crowd was extremely attentive as the orchestra filled up the space with a sense of loss that was overpowering. Chris Stamey kept mouthing “Wow” and the heavy presence of the song materialized in goose bumps all over my body. The sense of abandonment in the lyrics drew power as the orchestra boiled over with intensity. Effectively the song served as a eulogy for the late Chilton as people to my right and left wept quietly to themselves. The performance ended with the entire crowd on their feet, where they remained for the rest of the show. 
            The All Star band wasted no time before divulging into “You Can’t Have Me” where it was clear to see that Jody Stephens can still rock out on the drums. The high-energy ensemble ended in an impressive drum and saxophone solo that left you wanting more. Other key highlights included the Rosebuds rendition of Lou Reed’s “Femme Fatale”, a quirky basketball performance by Ivan Howard on “Downs”, and another vocal performance by Jody Stephens on “Blue Moon”, as well as an impressive take on “Kangaroo” complete with cowbell and tablas.
            The encore was a mini concert in itself with an amazingly appropriate “Thank you, Friends”, a high energy “September Gurls”, all culminating with the Ray Davies take of “Till the End of the Day”. Before the band performed their last piece, Mike Mills jokingly said to the crowd “If we’re gonna be bad, be bad loud”. The performance of “Till the End of the Day” was reminiscent of the big bands of the seventies. Big Star may have never established themselves in the popular charts, but based on the performances at Strike It, Noel it is clear that they deserved it.
As the crowd left the venue, Jody Stephens approached the stage once again garnishing a glass of red wine. Jody was moved to speak, “Alex’s presence was in the room tonight, with out him…none of this would have happened”. A smile drawn from ear to ear was plastered on his face as he graciously held a toast to the crowd and the late Alex Chilton. Finally, here was an ending that Big Star deserved.

 
Setlist:
->Nature Boy excerpt
Kizza Me
O Dana
For You
Nighttime
Jesus Christ
Take Care
Big Black Car
Stroke It, Noel
Blue Moon
Femme Fatale
Downs
Dream Lover
Holocaust
You Can’t Have Me
Kangaroo
-------
Thank You, Friends
You and Your Sister
September Gurls
I am the Cosmos
Give Me Another Chance
------
Till the End of the Day


If you are in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill area please go out and see this show tonight! For tickets click here. Also, be on the lookout for the upcoming Big Star documentary.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Humpday Covers & some.

Hey everyone,
Please don't suck and listen to the crowd.

If you are at all familiar with this blog you will know that I have been using 8tracks to display my mixes for mixtape monday. Yesterday, I found out that 8tracks had recently got rid of their Network Tracks option for creating playlists. I had to dig up the reasons why the 8tracks developers would get rid of their best and unique service, but I found a lot of beating around the bush. After searching on the site for any information, I found a small message on their blog. It reads:

"So we pushed some changes to the site last night, one of which was the removal of Network Tracks. After talking with some DJs today, we wanted to offer a bit of the reasoning behind this decision.

Network Tracks was originally offered as a way to save you time when creating mixes, basically an express route to grab music that you already own. Our new iTunes Uploader provides a much better way to do this (dragging and dropping songs and playlists directly from iTunes), and has the added bonus of removing arcane restrictions on how you can access the mix. Now you can listen to any mix you create - with full-length tracks - right at the time of publication. We’ve also begun working directly with independent artists and labels to create a new public “library” of content for mix-making. All of which means: simplified mix creation, better content, and no more 30-second clips. :-)

You can grab the iTunes Uploader here. Right now it’s Mac only, but we’ll be launching a Windows version in early 2011..."


The sheer amount of feedback forced 8tracks to respond with another comment.


"We’d like to thank everyone for the thoughtful, passionate feedback on the recent changes.  It’s definitely appreciated. We completely understand your disappointment in our removal of Network Tracks, and we didn’t come to this decision easily.  It’s painful for us to take away a useful feature.  That said, besides site simplification, there were a number of background issues contributing to the decision to remove Network Tracks.  We’re developing a new public “library” of content (similar to Network Tracks, but with no restrictions) through direct deals with independent artists, labels and aggregators, and we’re also looking to provide a way for 8tracks DJs to add songs to their mixes directly from sites like Tumblr, Posterous and SoundCloud (where they may have already uploaded music). We’ll keep you informed on new developments.  We’re working hard to make sure we’ll be around for years to come, and we hope you’ll stick with us."

The decision has made many avid music fans frusterated, confused, and struggling to find some sort of closure.

What does this have to do with Humpday Covers? Well in response, I decided to make a playlist titled ""Covers for an End: a lament for 8tracks Network tracks". The playlist took over an hour to get on to 8tracks because of the new set-up. We shall all see how this change pans out over time!

However, please enjoy this massive set of covers for this Wednesday's Humpday Covers piece.
 

Track list:
  1. The Time's They Are A-Changin'-Heart And Soul (Bob Dylan Cover/Parody) - Beach Boys
    Album: Unsurpassed Masters Volume 10 (Disc 4) - The Alternate 'Beach Boys Party'
    Year: 1965
  2. A Change Is Gonna Come - Ben Sollee
    Album: Learning To Bend
    Year: 2008
  3. Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke cover) - Colin Meloy
    Album: Sings Sam Cooke
    Year: 2008
  4. (Just Like) Starting Over (John Lennon Cover) - The Flaming Lips
    Album: Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur [Disc 2]
    Year: 2007
  5. The One I Love (REM cover) - Sufjan Stevens
    Album: Live at SXSW 2004
    Year: 2004
  6. Plenty is Never Enough - The Shins
    Album: Score! 20 years of merge records: the covers!
    Year: 2009
  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana cover) - Patti Smith
    Album: Twelve
    Year: 2007
  8. Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones cover) - The Who
    Album: Odds & Sods
    Year: 1998
  9. You Really Got A Hold On Me (Miracles cover) - The Beatles
    Album: Stars of '63 Radio Show 10.24.63
  10. Born On A Train (Magnetic Fields Cover) - The Arcade Fire
    Album: Live on KCRW - Jan. 17th, 2005
    Year: 2005
  11. Positively 4th Street (Bob Dylan Cover) - I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business
    Album: Listen To Bob Dylan: A Tribute (Disc 2)
    Year: 2005
  12. Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan Cover) - Jeff Tweedy
    Album: I'm Not There
    Year: 2007
  13. Further On (Up The Road)Johnny Cash
    Album: American V: A Hundred Highways
    Year: 2006
  14.   Mr. Grieves (Pixies Cover) - TV on the Radio
 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dispatch in 2011?

Today I went to the Dispatch Website only to find a countdown clock for 2011. Could this mean that the band is going to do another reunion show/ tour? Maybe another album? All I know is that I am excited for the countdown to end. See the countdown!


Curious about Dispatch? See my write up!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Girl Talk album today for free!

Today, Greg Gillis has given us some comfort for the November blues. That's right his new album All Day is free off of Illegal Art today. Why is it free? Well probably because there are a lot of tracks that sample music that he does not have the license for...yet. Also, he could be just trying to give back to his fans.  Upon first listen, it seems to be up to par with Feed the Animals and Nightripper. So give it a listen and download it today!

 I mean don't you wanna hear some O.D.B's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" with Radiohead's "Creep"?

Download Girl Talk's new album All Day




Side Note: If you are constantly wondering what samples Girl Talk uses for this album check out http://alldaysamples.com/. You can listen to Girl Talks new album while the site tells you what samples are being played in live time. Gotta love the internet.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Album Review: Limiñanas



Limiñanas
Limiñanas
Trouble In Mind
Album Rating:****
Sound Rating: ****

Even the cover suggests nostalgia and  psychedelia
Foreboding and beautiful, the Limiñanas on their self-titled release recreate a soundscape that draws heavily on the cusp of sixties garage rock and early psychedelia. The incredibly raw sound is both refreshing and distant; as it is the newest album I have heard that is remarkably out of its time period. Hearing the Limiñanas for the first time is like rummaging through your parents old records and finding that one dusty album your dad bought when he was living in France. The opening track “The Darkside” wastes no time getting you accustomed to their unique sound. The crunchy distorted guitars and simple driving beat paired with spoken French only brings the listener deeper into a trance. “Chocolate in My Milk” features a ukulele playing minor notes while a guitar is heard lamenting in the background, starts the transition from a primarily heavy distorted garage feel to a more diverse sound that still has roots in psychedelia. The sitar heavy track “Tigre di Bengale” grooves like that of an early Caribou or Go-Team song. The entire album sounds as if the Limiñanas are recording memories and not all of them are positive. “Berceuse pour Clive” is perhaps the saddest and most heartbreaking track by the French group and sounds as if it should belong to a soundtrack of an old movie. The Limiñanas distinct but utterly familiar sound propels their self-titled album forward into the stratosphere bringing you along with them. Just enjoy the ride.


You might like this if you like the Yeh-Yeh’s, Early 60s psychedelia, Velvet Underground, and Serge Gainsbourg.

Listen:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Humpday Covers: As Found On Youtube

This Humpday we will be looking at covers that I have found on Youtube.  Most of these people are unsigned and pretty much unheard of, but that doesn't stop them from making great sounds.

Before I continue, please allow me to apologize for the lack of posting recently and the bare bone posts. I am sorry to say that this is all due to the amount of work that has been piling up in front of me. Trying to finish school is proving to be a difficult task. (Duh!) So if the post's are not up to par, you know why.


Anyways,
First up, someone sent me this link in an email stating that "he puts together beats but makes an amazing medley of the Fugees, The Roots, and Bob Marley". I was intrigued so I decided to give it a chance and watch the scene unfold. Youtube user and artist Eebsofresh set the stage with some great audio layering, making some pretty remarkable loops while demonstrating his vocal range. Surprisingly enough, Eebsofresh can drop a beat and sing pretty damn well. The only qualm I have with his "MarleyLa" song (other than the lame title) is that it ends pretty abruptly. If this is a work in development, which I am pretty sure it is, I can not wait for the polished result.
Check the video and after the jump take a listen:

 


Up next we have a track that I found on Youtube while looking for alternate takes of the Beatles.  Turns out that "alternate takes" on Youtube sometimes means mash-ups but that is Google's problem not mine. Anyways, I came across "Let It Be Me" a mash up by Dj duo Loo and Placido that samples "Let It Be" with Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me". Sounds crazy but it actually works. I will spare all of you the dumb video of nothing but a photoshopped hill and just post the track. It's definitely worth listening to.

Listen:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mixtape Monday: Nice Trip?

Did somebody order a Mind Melt?

 

Tracks:
  1. When Tomorrow Hits x Spacemen 3
    Album: Recurring
    Year: 1991
  2. Sleepy Silved Door x Dead Meadow
    Album: Dead Meadow
  3. Leaf House x Animal Collective
    Album: Sung Tongs
    Year: 2004
  4. Sleepy Son x Sleepy Sun
    Album: Sleepy Son
  5. Everybody Daylight x Brightblack Morning Light
    Album: Brightblack Morning Light
    Year: 2006
  6. My Only Swerving x El Ten Eleven
    Album: El Ten Eleven
    Year: 2005
  7. Drippy Eye x Black Moth Super Rainbow
    Album: Dandelion Gum
    Year: 2007
  8. Feel It All Around x Washed Out

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Shuffle: Dead Meadow

Dead Meadow Doesn't Smile, only melts minds
Acid infused garage rock can be heard in echos from the band Dead Meadow. Yeah, it may sound like Black Sabbath had a drug induced child with Mother Earth creating a new sound with an old psychedelic feeling. The beginning riff turns into a monotonous, hypnotic rhythm that will completely rock your world. Dead Meadow has got my mind in places that I have never gone before. Take a listen.



Dead Meadow - Sleepy Silved Door
buy Dead Meadow

Saturday, October 9, 2010

John Lennon: Happy 70th

As all of you probably know, today is John Lennon's birthday. If Lennon was not gunned down in 1980 he would be a respectable 70 years old today. To celebrate, we have a couple of great covers of the man who became the beaming icon of peace.

I particularly like the Flaming Lips tribute to Lennon with their rendition of "Nobody Told Me". The Flaming Lips put more chaotic distortion sounds while still keeping true to the same melody. Take a listen.

Phish does a pretty good cover of "Instant Karma", the only thing I wish is that they dragged out their rendition of it so that we could hear more of the Phish-y sound.

Also, we have two drastically different but amazing cover versions of "Jealous Guy". The first is a live cover from indie rock legend Elliot Smith. Which is steeped in the stereotypical Smith style, including a break for a guest whistler?

Our other version of "Jealous Guy" is one of my favorites. Soul-infused and a pretty much forgotten version of "Jealous Guy" by Donny Hathaway is the staple of this post. If you do not listen to this one track you are doing yourself and John Lennon a huge misjustice.

How about a super special gift for those who look below. That's right I won't even tell you about the gem at the bottom of the post...heh.

Happy 70th, Lennon. 

Listen:
Flaming Lips - Nobody Told Me (Lennon Cover)
buy Flaming Lips


Phish - Instant Karma (Lennon Cover)
buy Phish


Elliot Smith - Jealous Guy (Lennon Cover)
buy Elliot Smith


Donny Hathaway - Jealous Guy (Lennon Cover)
buy Donny Hathaway

John Lennon - Medley: Honey Don't/Don't Be Cruel/ Matchbox (from Studio Sessions)
buy John Lennon

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Humpday Covers Presents: She & Him

Zooey Still looks cute in that pilgrim suit!
This hump day please indulge yourself in the beautiful duet of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. They make up the group She & Him and we have talked about them before here at Happiness, but they do bring an amazing revitalization to old classics. Recently, I have been really impressed on their rendition on Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got A Hold On Me". Of course it doesn't sound like the original and in fact I really love the original. However, there is something raw and intimate about the She & Him version that is both comforting and hallowing.  They did this cover on their first album titled Volume One, but for some reason it still resonates with me while their new stuff is great. I think this live performance is pretty top dog.

So for your veiwing and listening pleasure I have the MTV Canada's live version of She & Him's version of "You Really Got A Hold On Me".


 

LISTEN:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mixtape Monday: Death Of Summer

This monday feast your ears on a massive playlist (32 songs) featuring songs that say "hey, summer you are dead. It's cold out now."

Tracklist:

1. All I Need x Air
Album: All I Need
Year: 1998
2. Come with Me x Ceo
Album: White Magic
Year: 2010
3. Villages x Our Husband
Album: Nathaniel Morse's Album
Year: 2010
4. Summer's Almost Gone x The Doors
Album: The Best Of The Doors (Disc 1)
Year: 2000
5. Beach Foam x Future Islands
Album: Future Islands
Year: 2009
6. Sunrise Sunset x We Are Trees
Album: Boyfriend
Year: 2010
7. Warm Night x The Concretes
Album: The Concretes
Year: 2005
8. Ghost Train x Summer Camp
Album: Summer Camp
Year: 2009
9. Let's Go Surfing x The Drums
Album: Let's Go Surfing
Year: 2009
10. Sanity x Slow Animal
Album: Slow Animal
Year: 2010
11. When I'm With You x Best Coast
Album: Best Coast
12. Daydream x Beach Fossils
Album: Beach Fossils
Year: 2010
13. Warm Heart of Africa (ft. Ezra Koenig) x The Very Best
Album: Warm Heart of Africa
Year: 2009
14. Summer Holiday x Wild Nothing
Album: Wild Nothing
15. No Summer x No Joy
Album: No Joy
Year: 2010
16. Marathon x Tennis
Album: Tennis
Year: 2010
17. Pure x Bye Bye Blackbird
Album: Pure
Year: 2010
18. Automatic x Yuck
Album: Aaaa
Year: 2009
19. Lately (Deuxième) x Memoryhouse
Album: The Years E.P.
Year: 2009
20. Living In America x Dom
Album: Living In America
Year: 2010
21. Linus Spacehead x Wavves
Album: King Of The Beach
Year: 2010
22. Feel It All Around x Washed Out
Album: Washed Out
23. Nantes x Beirut
Album: The Flying Club Cup
24. Blessa x Toro Y Moi
Album: Toro Y Moi
Year: 2009
25. I Was Thinking... x Gauntlet Hair
Album: Gauntlet Hair
26. Gonna Listen To T. Rex (All Night Long) x Burnt Ones
Album: Black Teeth & Golden Tongues
27. Gay Human Bones x Harlem
Album: Hippies
28. Bang Pop x Free Energy
Album: Free Energy
29. Go Outside x Cults
Album: Go Outside
Year: 2010
30. Lust for Life x Girls
Album: Lust for Life 7"
Year: 2008
31. Another Sunny Day x Belle And Sebastian
Album: The Life Pursuit
Year: 2006
32. Sunny Afternoon x The Kinks
Album: The Kinks

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Shuffle: The Standells

This Sunday we are bringing you a nice greasy heap of music all the way from 1966. The Standells area an early 60s garage band from California. However, a ton of people think they are from Massachusetts because of their song "Dirty Water". Although "Dirty Water" was the only single that ever made it to the billboard top 40, the Standells had a couple of pretty good run. Their musical career effectively died due to the release of their fifth album "Try It". The media deemed the lyrics too raunchy and obscene but in retrospect, the lyrics are remarkably tame. You should check out the Standells, they are pretty great...if you like California acid-esque garage rock.



LISTEN:
The Standells - Dirty Water
buy

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby's New Album

Ben Folds has collaborated with Nick Hornby to create a brand new album. Ben arranged most of the music and sang lyrics that Nick wrote. If you are unfamiliar with Nick Hornby look no further than High Fidelity. If you didn't actually read the book, I am sure you saw the epic movie with Mr. Cusack. I picked up the album recently and each song is a story. It's pretty great, it's not often professional writers collab with artists. Turns out Nick has been a Ben Folds fan for a while. However please do not expect Nick to be speaking on the album, this isn't like the Folds produced Shatner album. But a song that is not on the album showed up on Ben's website with no other than Pomplamoose and Nick Hornby enlightening all of us. It is worth getting the album (titled Lonely Avenue) and the additional song. enjoy the video and check to see when Fold's will be in your area!!!!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cee-Lo NES Cover?

So I am sure all of you know front man of Gnarls Barkley or Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo. Well if you didn't before his single F*@k You! I am sure you do now. Because the single has become a Internet Meme expect to see a whole bunch of play offs and covers of it in the near future....
Like NOW!

 

Brendan Becker created a video that is a parody of the Cee-Lo song and is ultimately meant to be sung from an abandoned NES‘ point-of-view. Yes you heard me right an NES not an Atari or a Sega. The video is pretty entertaining and expect it to flood the internetz, or at least stumbleupon. The song itself is by a guy named Inverse Phase.
If you really dig the song you can listen to it w/o video below and even download it.

Listen:
Inverse Phase - F___ed 6502 (Cee-Lo Parody)
buy

Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock Music: Profile of Parliament / Funkadelic




            Multicolored dreads combined with an infectious grin surrounded by a peppered beard, it is pretty easy to recognize funk superstar George Clinton. With over thirty albums and a group of about fifty artists joining him in his Parliament/ Funkadelic enterprise on paper he certainly fits the bill as a successful artist. However, the complex journey of Parliament / Funkadelic is like a bizarre rollercoaster ride filled with alter egos and a dichotomy between Parliament and Funkadelic.
            George Clinton was born on July 22, 1941 in a small town called Kannapolis, NC.  However, his stay in North Carolina was brief and he moved to Plainfield, New Jersey where the music of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers entered into Clinton’s life. In 1955, when the doo wop scene was in full swing, Clinton formed a doo-wop group called the Parliaments in the back room of the barbershop where he was employed. Starting out as just a couple of kids practicing in back rooms, the Parliaments eventually included the musical talents of Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, Grady Thomas, Randy Davis and Calvin Simon.
The Parliaments had fairly decent regional success but only spawned two singles in a decade of work. However, they had a good enterprise going in which they would sell weed out of the back of the barbershop, drink a little wine, smoke a little weed, and practice doo-wop into the night. All in all it sounded like a good time, but the influence of Motown drove them literally to Detroit, where Clinton and company camped out in front of the Motown offices hoping to score an audition.
So Fresh, So Clean
The Parliaments left the basement studio of Motown with a successful audition and Clinton left with a songwriting contract. Embracing the sounds of the Temptations, the Parliaments where clean-shaven, slickly dressed, and produced the typical Motown sound. Starting a little late in the game, the Parliaments met their first commercial success with their single “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967 off of Revilot Records. Of course looking back on this single it is easy to start to see the protozoic mingling of the soon to be Funkadelic sound.
            The Parliaments had a few more marginally successful hits including “All Your Goodies Are Gone” and “Don’t Be Sore At Me”, however they were always standing deep in the shadow of the Temptations in a time where the traditional Motown sound was already dynamically changing. George Clinton reflecting on the Parliaments later said, “We didn’t make it…because basically we were like all the other groups, like the Temptations, et cetera. Our problem was that we were too late.”
            After Revilot Records went out of business, trouble came to the Parliaments. A dispute about the name “Parliaments” led Clinton to come up with an alternative name for his group. Funkadelic was born but Parliament never died. George Clinton comments, “when the name Parliament wasn’t useable, I knew we would have two names from now on. So I signed up Funkadelic as Funkadelic and when we got the name Parliament back I signed them to a different company.” However, with the name change came a whole new persona that would define the group.
            The sound of Funkadelic rose out of the soul and jazz scene as much as it did the psychedelic scene. By 1967 the sounds and feelings of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper opened up the doors of perception and this inevitably expanded the consciousness of psychedelia to groups like Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix.  Even in the jazz world, Miles Davis broke through with his pivotal experimental opus that was Bitches Brew. Funkadelic drew from all of these facets and started to provide the world with a bizarre outlook on urban life.
            The drug scene of the 1960s and early seventies also had their impact on the type of music that was filling out the backbone of Funkadelic. Clinton stated that
“the sixties were a crazy, cool period. It let us know that we could have an infinite number of alternate realities. Acid busted that shit wide open. But at the time we tried too fast, so we got scared and jumped back. But now that we know what it is, we can sort of sneak up on it slowly.”
With this approach Funkadelic certainly did creep up on the scene and the persona that was being formed through Funkadelic was brought to reality through their stage presence. Added members to Funkadelic like Eddie Hazel brought ripping guitar licks over funky back beats that seemed to make Funkadelic seem like an incredibly tight jazz band that was as unstable and volatile as the time period in which they were living. Other band members included bassist Billy Nelson, Ramon “Tiki” Fullwood on drums, and organist Mickey Atkins, but in reality Funkadelic was the Parliaments plus these four new members.
            Funkadelic’s first album Funkadelic enabled the group to loosen up and really get into their signature sound that was more prevalent in their second album Free Your Mind …And Your Ass Will Follow. On this second album keyboard player Bernie Worrell helped create the jazz-fusion atmosphere with his background as an intensive student at Julliard. His Juilliard training also helped the group come up with the funky, intricate horn sections as well as defining the keyboard into funk. Shortly after, Funkadelic came out with one of its crowning successes, their third album: Maggot Brain.
            Maggot Brain was a screaming success in Funkadelic’s career. Filled with passion and political commentary, Maggot Brain was both a musically and politically important staple to the early 1970s.  In the 1970s, George Clinton said his music was “the black rhythm of the streets…Black is what’s happening, so anything black will get a real good eye and a real good ear. So it’s time for us to really rap now in the language and rhythm we rap in…In this society they teach you that you can’t think. If you know you can, and that it’s even okay to think a little different, then you cool”. All of this can be seen in the opening track where the band calls for people to rise “above it all or drown in your own shit”, as well as in the freedom chants and mass hysteria that occur in “Wars of Armageddon”.  In a time where racial tensions and political affairs ran rampant in America, Funkadelic promotes the feelings and responses of the time.
Musically speaking, the entire album opens up in a Jimi Hendrix like opus that could even be considered to be as good as having Jimi himself perform. Some tracks sound like a funk infused gospel while others sound as if one is bathing in a distorted electric guitar soup. All in all, Maggot Brain was the quintessential turning point in Funkadelic’s career.
For Parliament, It's Halloween everyday!
Shortly after Maggot Brain the group was introduced to another pivotal member of the Funkadelic team. After George Clinton saw Bootsy Collins play he immediately hired the longstanding member of James Browns backing band the J.B.s. With a line up that only one could dream of, Funkadelic grew its stage persona and alternative egos where starting to make there presence on stage, like that of Dr. Funkenstein. In 1974, Parliament was reactivated and was considered “Funkadelic’s more accessible alter ego.” Blending unique black sci-fi and funk Parliament destroyed minds with their album Mothership Connection. More and more elaborate stage presences made each show more unique and experimental than the last all while perfecting their funk. Dr. Funkenstein led his army of followers of funk into the charts.
 Although band members would come and go, usually due to jail time or drug overdoses, Funkadelic produced a series of amazing records like Hardcore Jollies, Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, and one of their greatest accomplishments: One Nation Under a Groove. One Nation Under a Groove spent six weeks at number one on the R&B charts and was soon joined by Parliament’s  Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome. George Clinton’s two bands were spitting out hits like it was nobody’s business.
            Parliament/ Funkadelic’s (P-Funk’s) main competition during this period was Earth, Wind, and Fire. Earth, Wind, and Fire were a nice safe bet for the white community and it was not as abrasive and raw as the sounds that were emerging from P-Funk. Even at one point George Clinton called Earth, Wind, and Fire : “Earth, Hot Air, and No Fire”.
            Competition aside, the only thing that was really driving P-Funk’s careers was creative freedom. Always willing to try new things and perfect the feelings they created, George Clinton and his groups continued to have hits even after his original Parliaments disbanded in 1977. Funkadelic disbanded in 1981, but George Clinton has continued creating groups and is still producing albums under various titles.
Influencing the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre, and the hardcore funk revival of the 90s, George Clinton recently put out an album called George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love which can be seen as a chronicling of all who have been directly influenced by the presence of the his funk and the funk that came before him. George Clinton still tours and is known to tour 200 days out of the year in four different continents. Not too shabby for a 69 year old. 
 Take a load off and listen to the funk!!!!
Listen:
The Parliaments - (I Wanna) Testify 1967
buy the Parliaments

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain 1971

Funkadelic - Who Say's A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?! 1978
buy Funkadelic

Parliament - Flashlight 1977
buy Parliament


Collected Discography:
The Parliaments-  I Wanna Testify (Revilot, 1967)
Funkadelic - Funkadelic (Westbound, 1970)
 Funkadelic - Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow (Westbound, 1970)
Parliament – Osmium (Invictus, 1970)   
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (Westbound, 1971, #14 R&B)
Funkadelic - America Eats Its Young (Westbound, 1972) 
Funkadelic - Cosmic Slop (Westbound, 1973)
Funkadelic - Standing on the Verge of Getting It On (Westbound, 1974, #13 R&B)
Parliament - Up for the Down Stroke (Casablanca, 1974) 
Funkadelic - Let's Take It to the Stage (Westbound, 1975, #14 R&B)
Parliament - Chocolate City (Casablanca, 1975)   
Funkadelic - Hardcore Jollies (Warner Bros, 1976, #96, #12 R&B) 
Funkadelic - Tales of Kidd Funkadelic (Westbound, 1976, #14 R&B)
Parliament - Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (Casablanca ,1976, # 3 R&B)
Parliament - Mothership Connection (Casablanca, 1976, #13, #4 R&B) 
Parliament - Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome (Casablanca, 1977, #13, #2 R&B)   
Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove (Warner Bros, 1978, #16, #1 R&B)
Parliament - Motor Booty Affair (Casablanca, 1978, #2 R&B)  
Funkadelic - Uncle Jam Wants You (Warner Bros, 1979, #18, #2, Gold)
Parliament - Gloryhallastoopid (Casablanca, 1979, #3 R&B)
Parliament – Trombipulation (Casablanca, 1980, #6 R&B)   
Funkadelic - The Electric Spanking of War Babies (Warner Bros, 1981)
Electronic Resources:
Book Sources:
McEwen, Joe. "Funk." Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock and Roll. New York:
Random House, 1992. Print.
Stern, Chip. “Father Funkadelic.” The Rock Musician: 15 years of the Interviews.
Macmillan, 1994. Print

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Humpday Covers Presents: Corinne Bailey Rae


I was never too keen on jumping on the Corinne Bailey Rae bandwagon awhile ago. I never gave her the credit she deserved. When I received this cover in my inbox, the subject said soul cover of Bob Marley's "Is This Love", I expected it to be a Lauryn Hill cover. To my surprise the buttery voice of Corinne Bailey Rae filled my speakers and reinvigorated new life into one of my favorite Bob Marley songs. Rae's vocals and the ever so slightly suggestive funky jams in the background makes me want to turn down my bed for two.
Hell yeah Corinne Bailey Rae, Bob Marley never sounded so smooth.

Listen:
Corinne Bailey Rae - Is This Love (Bob Marley Cover)
buy Corinne Bailey Rae

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer Camp!

No, not the summer camp that the writers of this blog attend. There are plenty of posts concerning that. What I'm talking about is the band, Summer Camp. There isn't much out there about this British duo, but what they have put out in the past year or so is worth hearing. Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/summercampmusic,and keep an eye open for their forthcoming EP, Moshi Moshi.

At the very least, check out the video below of their song "Round the Moon" played over clips of a 1970's Swedish movie called "A Swedish Love Story". If ever there was a music video that encapsulated nostalgia- be it about a high school sweetheart or a summer romance- this is it.


Summer Camp // Round the Moon
Uploaded by le-pere-de-colombe. - Watch more music videos, in HD!
LISTEN: 
Summer Camp - Round The Moon
Buy Summer Camp

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Shuffle: Matt And Kim

This Sunday Shuffle brings you the musical musings of Matt and Kim. You may have heard their single daylight in passing or even in a bacardi commercial, but this song is WAYYYY better. The Brooklyn duo released a single to their new album titled Sidewalks. (BTW what in the world is in Brooklyn's water? In the last ten years that place has become notorious for cranking out great artists)

Kim and Matt are Matt and Kim
The new track "Cameras" has such an infectious beat and is guaranteed to get you going and keep you going.  Please for the sake of humanity check it out, and if you are in the Chapel Hill area make sure you purchase your tickets for Matt and Kim at the Cradle on Oct. 20th. I even hear that you can stream the entire album upon purchasing a ticket. Sweet dealz.


LISTEN:
Matt and Kim - Cameras
Buy Matt and Kim

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Shuffle x3!!!

This Sunday shuffle we are bringing you three different pieces of music. This triple shot of music is our way of saying welcome back! For those of you that don't know the Sunday shuffle is a time where I randomly select three songs after pressing shuffle on my iTunes. It could be good music or just plain awful music, but mostly the songs are good because my library is scarce on the bad music front. (well, maybe the discography of Mariah Carey is debatable)

CHLLNGR - Change
God, That mustache is epicccc.

This morning the first song to come up was Change by CHLLNGR. I do not know much about this band other than  it is comprised of one man named Steve Borth who hails from Copenhagen. This electronica/ dub style is pretty great, especially for chilling. The music has a lot of depth and is really easy to get hooked to these guys. Take a listen and go into the easy groove that CHLLNGR delivers.

Listen:
CHLLNGR - Change
buy CHLLNGR


Cosmo Jarvis - She's Got You
Apparently Face Running is Common in NJ
The next song on this weeks Shuffle is a personal favorite by Cosmo Jarvis. Cosmo Jarvis comes from Ridgewood, NJ and he is only 21 years old. Makes me kinda wonder what I am doing with my life when a 21 year old kid is making such cool tunes. Anyways, "She's got you" is as poppy as you would like it to be and towards the end of the song a happy, jumping, fun time should be had by all. Even though Cosmo's lyrics are a little dark, the pep of the songs transform the message. Take the time to listen to Cosmo Jarvis.


Listen:
Cosmo Jarvis - She's Got You
buy Cosmo Jarvis





 RATATAT - Neckbrace

Yeah, this picture sums everything up.
ANNNNNDDDD Last but certainly not least, the third song in this installment is off of Ratatat's new album LP4. If you are a fan of ratatat, please go and see them. I saw them about two years ago and it was fantastic. (And I hear that this year they are even better!) Ratatat's new songs from LP4 have the same energy as their last 2 albums and the single "Drugs" has been getting a lot of attention. However, "Neckbrace" is one of my personal favorite new tracks. It has everything you love about Ratatat and more... and you may want to brace yourself for this hotness. (yes, the pun was veryyy much intended)


Listen:
Ratatat - Neckbrace
buy Ratatat 


Taken Down By Request

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Don't Go Away!!

Days are getting shorter, but the weather is still quite warm here in Greensboro, NC. It is not uncommon for 80 degree weather and sunshine all day here. But we all know that Summer is leaving us and autumn is rapidly approaching. That being said I put together a lil' mix to listen to while still trying to hold on to this season. It's heavy in chilling music, or music to listen to when getting up with the sun flooding in through your window. Heavy in Kinks, Animals, and Bowie...

Give it a listen!

 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

History Class: The First Rock Song...

 HISTORY OF ROCK- Lesson One
          With the break through of rock and roll, America started its struggle, embrace and eventual love of rock and roll. Rock and roll was the antithesis to conservative America and once its presence was made rock and roll became as much a part of America as the stars on the flag. But when was that defining moment in which rock and roll first came on the scene?  Before exploring the origin of the first rock and roll record, perhaps it would be wise to first define what rock and roll is. 
Good Rockin'? YES PLEASE.
             Rock and roll is an umbrella term that encompasses many different facets of music including rhythm and blues, soul, rockabilly, progressive, and many more. But rock and roll is also more than the defining electric guitar riffs, the narrative ballad, or the four and eight bar song stanzas that riddled early rock. Rock and roll is a feeling, a swagger, and catalyst for change. Rock and roll is a movement, whether it is on the dance floor or a statement of the times, rock and roll can be seen in all facets of American life. That movement began on May 1st, 1948 with Wynonie Harris’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. Wynonie Harris’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” conquered the charts as well as the title as the first rock and roll song.
            Traditionally, it has been taught through American popular culture that rock and roll started from the likes of Elvis Presley or Bill Haley and his Comets. Unfortunately, America was not comfortable with the idea of equality among races and the real foundation for rock and roll was overlooked because it was built upon the grounds of “negro music”. Blues, jazz, soul, set the stage for the very first rock and roll songs. The upright bass and the horns in Wynonie Harris’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” are clear examples of the influence that jazz had on rock and roll.  However, the sound is distinctly rock and roll. The saxophone solo sets the stage for later electric guitar solos and the claps and beat of the drum motivates the listener to dance.
that Wynonie, making purple cool since 1948
            In rock and roll fashion “Good Rockin’ Tonight” has a narrative structure with suggestive lyrics that flew under the white radar. In fact, the term “rocking” in this song is a euphemism for sex.  Lyrics like  “I’m going to hold my baby as tight as I can, tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty man” fit the bill for rock and roll’s attitude. 
            Wynonie Harris’s version of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” also broke through to both African American communities as well as main stream America by ranking number one on both the R&B charts and the popular charts.  This is significant because part of rock and roll is the impact it has on the people who listen to it. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” was a record that broke racial barriers and introduced a simple rock and roll record to the masses. Evolution of rock became apparent after this song. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” takes a step away from the jump blues genre and lays the groundwork for other rock and roll records.  “Good Rockin’ Tonight” may not be the hardest hitting example of rock and roll but its sound, its movement both on and off the stage, and its swagger make it the first rock and roll record.


Listen:
Wynonie Harris - Good Rockin' Tonight
buy Wynonie Harris

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Humpday Covers Presents: Amanda Palmer & Barry Mendel w/ Seu Jorge

Check out that sexy uke!
This fine Humpday we will be sporting two wonderfully done covers of popular songs by Radiohead and by Simon and Garfunkel. The first cover we have is by a woman by the name of Amanda Palmer. Palmer has been gaining some popularity over the past couple of years with her trademark ukulele sound. Palmer just came out with a new-ish album full of Radiohead covers. Before you think, oh great another artist trying to reinterpret Radiohead, give her a listen. I personally like her take on "Fake Plastic Trees", albeit die hard Radiohead fans will probably just say...ehhhhh I like Radioheads version better. Irregardless, this tune is great, I dunno if its the ukulele but it seems really personal and raw.


Listen:
Amanda Palmer - Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead Cover)
buy!



From Life Aquatic
Up next is a cool tune that I found over at Cover Lay Down awhile back. Being a fan of Wes Anderson movies and cover songs, I have fallen in love with Seu Jorge. If you do not know who that is please check him out. (He is the Brazilian who plays all the Bowie covers in The Life Aquatic) Anyways,  Barry Mendel, one of the producers, and Seu Jorge would play guitar in their spare time off set. Barry describes the scene: “as we were learning the songs and jorge would need time to roll cigarettes and what not, i’d pick up the guitar and play and he’d sing along, and when we were finishing the recording of all the bowie covers in the studio, his kind wife mariana insisted we record one of the songs she would hear me play with jorge singing along…so here is the boxer from 2004 w/ me playing and singing and jorge singing back-up and doing some whistling, to boot…"

So without further ado, the Simon and Garfunkel classic "The Boxer" as done by Barry and Seu.

LISTEN:
Barry Mendel w/ Seu Jorge - The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel Cover)
buy!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails