Thursday, November 26, 2009

Aesop Rock - Ghosts of The Barbary Coast

Aesop Rock is probably the best MC/DJ in underground hip-hop today. His last record "None Shall Pass" was an awesome mix of mind-blowing flow and brilliant production. Aesop's style is like no one else's and his lyrics toe the line between brilliant and incomprehensible. I'm stoked for his new single "Ghosts of The Barbary Coast" which clocks in at 6+ minutes. I just downloaded it and I've listened to it 5 times in a I figured I'd share it. Thank you Aesop for constantly releasing awesome jams.

Download his new single for free from Def Jux:
Aesop Rock - Ghosts of the Barbary Coast

Saturday, November 21, 2009

V/A - Back From the Grave Vol. 1

In my opinion the "Back From the Grave" compilations are the gold standard of late sixties proto-punk garage compilations. When my favorite local record store of my youth closed it's doors years ago the owner put together a huge stack of discounted records that I think he intended for me to discover over time, as I would have if the store would have remained open. Amongst other classics in this stack was "Back From the Grave Vol. 3" which I didn't get to until about a year and a half after the store closed. At this point I had already grown to love the Nuggets compilations and a lot of the groups on them but "Back From the Grave" seemed a little less polished and maybe even more amateur at times which only made it appeal even more. Aside from the great songs, the first three records have really cool pictures of campy horror characters doing all types of rebellious rock and roll activities such as burying disco records and torturing squares. If you like your psychedelic rock and roll a little dirty and by bands that probably never played farther than a few hours driving distance from their garages than the first three "Back From the Grave" compilations would find a welcome home on your stereo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Marked Men - Fix My Brain

I don't know too much about this band so I'm doing my first really short post. They're from Texas and released this record on Swami Records in 2006. I'm surprised this band hasn't gotten more attention. They play catchy rock that's impossible to dislike. They sound a lot like the other great bands on Swami. A fan of any of those bands (Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, etc.) will love this band. Enjoy.

The Marked Men - Fix My Brain

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Steely Dan

Steely Dan is one of my favorite bands. They had a perfect way of blending rock and jazz that makes you want to jump out of your chair and dance. Donald Fagen's voice was the perfect level of strange and unique. Walter Becker (guitar) and self-proclaimed nerd Fagen (piano, vocals) teamed up perfectly in every record they made from Can't Buy A Thrill to Gaucho. They met in the late '60's and played in various groups (one of which had Chevy Chase on drums, no joke). They immersed themselves in a beatnik lifestyle and Fagen said it was "probably the only time in my life that I actually had friends." They named themselves Steely Dan, after a strap-on dildo in William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch". They signed to ABC records and were told that Fagen's voice was not "commercial" enough. They were reluctant to play shows because Fagen had serious stage fright. But, they released Can't Buy A Thrill in '72 and not long after they released Countdown to Ecstasy. Perhaps because of Fagen's stage fright and/or because Becker and Fagen wanted to focus strictly on studio recording, they only toured from '72-'74. They released Pretzel Logic in '74 and had a huge hit with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number". They stole the piano riff in the beginning of "Rikki..." from a Horace Silver song called "Song For My Father" and considered themselves jazz musicians as opposed to rock musicians and it shows it the cleanliness and difficulty of their songs. After Pretzel Logic they released four more great records in Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja, and Gaucho. The fact that they could blend rock and jazz so nicely and Fagen's unique voice is why this band still resonates with people today.

They started touring again in 1993. I saw them a few years ago at Verizon Wireless in Irvine, CA and they were awesome. They sound just like they did on their studio recordings with some fun lines and riffs thrown in. They played the show with Michael McDonald as the opener. Many people don't know that McDonald was a back-up singer for Steely Dan for most of their records. When they played "Do It Again" they brought McDonald out with them to play piano and sing back-ups and Fagen said something like "Here's Michael McDonald. We used him as a back-up singer for years and got more than we bargained for. Here's what 'Do It Again' would have sounded like in 1974." Amazing.


Do It Again (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Only A Fool Would Say That (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Reelin' In The Years (from Can't Buy A Thrill)
Bodhisattva (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
My Old School (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
Show Biz Kids (from Countdown to Ecstasy)
Rikki Don't Lose That Number (from Pretzel Logic)
Any Major Dude Will Tell You (from Pretzel Logic)
Black Friday (from Katy Lied)
Rose Darling (from Katy Lied)
Your Gold Teeth II (from Katy Lied)
Any World (That I'm Welcome To) (from Katy Lied)
Kid Charlemagne (from The Royal Scam)
Sign In Stranger (from The Royal Scam)
The Royal Scam (from The Royal Scam)
Aja (from Aja)
Deacon Blues (from Aja)
Peg (from Aja)
Hey Nineteen (from Gaucho)
Time Out of Mind (from Gaucho)

Steely Dan Mix