Tag Archives: Jason Mraz

You Must Bear Your Neighbor’s Burden Within Reason

Last year was a fine year for music, but only a few things really wowed me. That’s not to say it was completely bereft of anything good, but the prevailing theme, at least in my estimation, was that while 2009 was a banner year for new talent & a resurgence of older talent, 2010 had very little to offer. 2011 is shaping up to be, already, one of the better years. The Decemberists came out with a new album on Tuesday & it’s their best album yet. It hits chords in my soul that bring out such joy, that I can’t help but sway.

I suppose I should address the elephant in the blog & explain my prolonged absence. Boredom. That’s it. I was completely & utterly bored with anything that was coming out. I was searching for new & exciting things to come my way. Lissie made an album that I adore, but I couldn’t write anything that hadn’t been said. I had a whole soliloquy ready for the brilliance of Ray Lamontagne’s overnight transformation from Indie darling to bluegrass star & yet nothing came out. There was a block of sorts & much of it came from the draining effects of writing a book about my travels through Europe. A book that is finished in its infant form, but must now be raised into something I can market.

There were a few other albums that I quite enjoyed: Justin Townes Earle, Head & the Heart, Broken Bells, The Black Keys & obviously Arcade Fire which was the best album of the year, but perhaps through my own depression of  the musical offerings being put out there or indifference the ability to cognitively discuss these in terms that were worth reading was nonexistent. So here sat the blog. Relatively unchanged throughout the year as I struggled to put my thoughts into words. I feel I’ve made some sort of a turning point, even though I intended to begin writing last week. To be cliche I suppose it’s better late than never.

So I purchased two albums from Amazon the other day (yes I buy my music), where the $3.99 deals keep me coming back & spending on things I would otherwise think twice about buying. I bought Social Distortion’s new album Hard Time & Nursery Rhymes & the aforementioned Decemberists album The King is Dead. Let’s discuss Social D’s new album first. It’s been  7 years since they released an album & a few years since Mike Ness has come out with an album, himself. I’ve always been a fringe fan of Social D’s, as I do not have the dancing skeleton tattooed anywhere on my body. It has that patented loud Gibson sound & gruff Mike Ness nosy drawl, but with lyrics that seem to have more emotional impact than ever before. Take for instance “Still Alive”  where Ness pleads,

“I’m still alive, I will survive, I can handle what life brings, just give me time…I’m still alive, talking the same ol’ jive, I can handle anything that comes my way, just give me another day”

It ends with a short, but beautiful piano solo that made me really feel that this album rivals anything they’ve ever done. It is so reminiscent of early Springsteen that I haven’t stopped listening to it for 3 days. That is, except to listen to The Decemberists’ new album The King is Dead, an album which seems to have awoken them from their prog rock malaise from the past few years. It sounds so similar to early R.E.M. that it came as no surprise to see that Peter Buck contributed to three of the tracks. The opening track almost sounds Tom Pettyesque with heavy drums taking the forefront much like “You Don’t Know How it Feels”.

Colin Meloy really lets loose with his voice on The King is Dead & goes places that I haven’t heard him dare go vocally before. It shows that the risks were worth taking. Changing the sound & straying away from that boring sound have worked wonders & even though it came out in January there’s a distinct feeling that come coincidentally December we will still be talking about this album as one of the best of the year.

I can’t say I will write everyday as I do have a job that requires a good chunk of time, but I will continue to talk about things I love & look forward to talking about new releases from groups like Foxxhound, Two Guns, Cold War Kids, Amos Lee, Drive-by Truckers & Okkervill River. It will be a banner year for Indie music & soon Indie Music will become alternative & all the kids will have to jump on the bandwagon. I’m fine by that. Music should be loved by all & not thrown into some meta category to be hated once it becomes popular to the masses. If it’s good, love it. If it sucks, hate it, but don’t despise popular music for being popular. Despise it, much like I despise She Wants Revenge & Jason Mraz for being bad at music.

Machine Gun Blues – Social Distortion

Sweet & Lowdown – Social Distortion

Still Alive – Social Distortion

Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists

This is Why We Fight – The Decemberists

One For Tomorrow One Just For Today

So today for Bootleg Thursday I thought I’d give you a nice little concert form the Doors on their 1968 Waiting For the Sun Tour. It’s a great concert with great sound & I really think you’ll enjoy it. The best part of this concert is that “Waiting For the Sun” is not even one of the songs played & yet it is titled Waiting for the Sun Tour. That is classic idiocy. Now, I have to go back to writing my book, but would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section here or on my Facebook Page or even on Twitter. Join the Matty D revolution & stop bad music. Talking to you Jason Mraz.

Update: So it’s been brought tom y attention that the reason “Waiting for the Sun” not played is because it wasn’t on the album. It didn’t come out until they recorded Morrison Hotel. I should have know that & I’m certain I’ve heard it before, but I apologize for not doing my research.

The Doors – Waiting For the Sun Tour 1968

Five to One

Mack the Knife/ Alabama Song

Back Door Man

You’re Lost Little Girl

Love Me Two Times

When the Music’s Over

Wild Child

Money

Wake Up

Light My Fire

The End

Unknown Soldier

I’ve Been Sleeping For Forty Days

It’s Wednesday & I stayed up all night last night reading a book. That’s how exciting this week has been.  I will say, though, that one element of a boring week is having the time to discover new & exciting artists. I should clarify that, new & exciting artists for me. While away it was certainly hard to keep up with new trends & artists. So the “new & exciting artists” I refer to are merely new & exciting to me. Now, that I’ve driven that phrase into the ground I should get on with the post.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have been around for awhile, but I just discovered them recently. This excerpt from the always reliable Wikipedia:

After breaking up with his girlfriend, moving out of his house, and leaving a 12-step program for addiction (he left, as he has said, to live in a more honest reaction to the truth of the moment, not be bound to certain behaviors by fear-based dogma), Ebert began work on a book about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe. According to Ebert, Sharpe “was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind…but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love.”

It’s all kinda been done before. Perhaps, this is Ebert channeling his inner Ziggy Stardust or perhaps it’s a marketing gimmick. Regardless, the finished product is fantastic. It’s sort of Avett Brothers meets Sly & the Family Stone. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ima Robot which was Ebert’s first/other band & to be quite honest I’m not really a fan of his, but what I am a fan of is the band. It has such unique sound & quality. It fits so nicely into the indie scene. A quote I heard from Alice Cooper this morning actually sums up the music scene these days & why a scene like the so-called Indie scene is thriving:

If Bob Dylan ever showed up on American Idol he would never get past the first stage because he’s too unique. They [the judges] are looking for the perfect little package, so Mick Jagger would never make it. You go through all the big stars, none of them would ever make it.

Alice speaks the truth. There is such little room for creativity these days in the framework or box of popular music. It’s a bit disheartening to think that a band like Arcade Fire is considered Indie even though they have the Number #1 album this week with their phenomenal album The Suburbs. They sold over 100,000 units in one week & they’re still considered Indie. They’re a “fringe” group, because they don’t fit neatly into the box that Justin Bieber fits into. The only box that Jason Mraz fits into, however, is the one that goes into the God Damn garbage can.

My contention is not that there shouldn’t be Justin Bieber’s, but only that there is room for other acts. I saw the other day that someone pelted him with a water bottle while he was on stage & there were so many people who got a kick out of this. I was not one of them. The kid, obviously, has talent. He has an androgynous look about him that seems to appeal to someone, but I wouldn’t wish him ill. He’s living his dream & while he’s doing everything he can to ruin music, he really isn’t hurting anyone. The only artists that there are no room for are Jason Mraz & She Wants Revenge & really She Wants Revenge are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

I’m really not sure where Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros fit. I just know that I like them. To quote Tim Robbins from Bull Durham this is what it’s like to listen to them.

“It feels out there. I mean, it’s a major rush. I mean, it feels radical in kind of a tubular sort of way, but most of all, it feels out there.”

40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

One More Night – Bob Dylan

Miss You – Rolling Stones

Takin’ It Slow, But This Right Here Is Personal

Recently, I’ve received some pointed criticism that I don’t write enough about Hip-Hop. Frankly, the criticism was right. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did. Hip Hop has had brief moments in the years since its East vs. West Gangsta Rap apex, but too few to mention.

With rappers like Soulja Boy setting the conventional standard for what the hip hop world has come to there really hasn’t been much to write about. There was a time that the state of Hip-Hop today would be enough to put a fork in it. That’d be a bit hasty though. You’d be discounting the contribution of Freddie Gibbs, Hip-Hop’s emerging superstar.

If Tupac, Nas & Krazy Bone had a kid it’d be Freddie Gibbs & would be pretty extraordinary. Freddie Gibbs has been underground for years, but with his new release Str8 Killa (May not be the best name) he is about to change that. Gibbs new release is bringing gangster rap back to the masses. It hearkens back to a day when Tupac would rap with an ease & eloquence that nearly made him too smart for hip-hop.

Freddie Gibbs follows in those steps & doesn’t fall into the frills that many rappers have fallen into, looking at you Snoop. The beats & music Gibbs uses surpasses any thing going on right now in Hip-Hop at all. Nothing has changed about the misogyny or murderous prophesies & to some that may seem troubling. Not to me. As a person of sound mind & reasonable character I can differentiate between talentless garbage like say Jason Mraz & intelligent albeit sometimes incendiary Freddie Gibbs.

It isn’t for everyone. It’s like The Neverending Story when Sebastian goes into the bookstore & the old man says the book isn’t for everyone. It’s the same thing with Freddie & that’s a good thing. Kanye West is called a genius on a regular basis & Jamie Foxx is recording music. This is how bad music has become, that the guy who used to dress up like Wanda is a successful musician with so little talent that it boggles the mind.

Gibbs will alternately rap like he’s throwing it back to the Bone Thugs & Harmony days, then slow it down like Tupac or Biggie used to when they wanted to put on that Barry White touch for the ladies. The album isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly better than anything Snoop or Dre have done in the past decade. Rap has been wondering, much like Simon & Garfunkel did many years ago, where their Joe Di maggio had gone. It looks like their wait might be over & will come in the form of Freddie Gibbs, The Savior of Hip-Hop.

National Anthem (Fuck the World)Freddie Gibbs

Personal OG – Freddie Gibbs

Live By The Game – Freddie Gibbs

Music News – Woody Show, Jay-Z, Simpsons, iTunes, Weezer

Some great things going on this week. The new releases have been a huge disappointment for the third third week in a row, so I’ll come up with something for Wednesday & post the Music News today.

  • P.S. Hoping to do that long rumored Woody Fife interview this week. Getting in touch with him has been a bit of a hassle lately, but here’s hoping we can get it done soon. I’d even be open to doing a segment on the New Woody & Rizzuto show at the point in St. Louis. Here’s some other Live 105 news:
  • Greg Gory has been fired 3 months after the rest of The Woody Show was unscrupulously show the door. Dave Numb is showing tremendous idiocy in getting rid of people like Gory.
  • New rumor coming out of Live 105 is that No Name will move to 3-7p, Jared to 10a-3p, Madden to 7-midnight. KEVIN AND BEAN syndicate mornings from L.A. station KROQ. I’m chasing down some leads trying to get confirmation on this & will keep you posted. Check out this video of the moron White Menace continuously being himself & failing miserably at getting anything right. What a treat! Stay behind the camera, genius. I wouldn’t let this jackass introduce me in front of a firing squad let alone a treasure like Happy Days. NOT THE HAPPY DAYS, JUST HAPPY DAYS.
  • Jay-Z’s new album The Blueprint III is coming out on September 11, but the second single released came out this morning at, fittingly 9:11 am on some radio station no one cares about & is reintroduces Rhianna to the Jay-Z stable of collaborators. Her first collaboration since Chris Brown pummeled her down the street from my house.  Jay-Z also replaced the Beastie Boys (due to MCA’s previously reported cancer) at the All Points West Festival marking his first U.S. Festival appearance.

Run This Town – Jay-Z, Rhianna, Kanye West

D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) – Jay-Z

  • Weezer is starting to tread in dangerous Jason Mraz waters with their new teen-pop direction. It’s been this way for a few albums now. They went from Hipster idols to Teen idols on par with the Jonas Brothers or High School musical or worse Jason Mraz. Way to sell out, Weezer. Here are two songs they debuted in South Korea, of all places. You tell me do these songs scream Jason Mraz is my mentor or what. I haven’t seen things suck this much since Jason Mraz & Dave Matthews collaborated. Here’s what former Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein said:

I don’t know if Weezer hates its fans or just the (apparently) stifling concept of sincerity, but you should listen to these two new songs if you weren’t already convinced of Weezer’s contempt for music.

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay will be a guest on the Simpsons this coming season, the 21st. There is no sense in complaining about this. Coldplay is not a great band, but they certainly aren’t the worst. The Simpsons is still a funny show & I wouldn’t mind seeing it on for another 10 years if it stays funny regardless of who’s on. Here’s a list of previous rock stars to guest on the show: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Who, R.E.M., Phish, Sting, the Ramones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Blink-182, David Byrne, the White Stripes, Aerosmith as endorsers of “Flaming Moe’s” and Johnny Cash as a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper-induced coyote that talks to a hallucinating Homer. But perhaps the most memorable music-related episode of The Simpsons was “Homerpalooza,” which featured appearance by Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill and Peter Frampton.
  • The Financial Times Website is reporting about a new incentive to try & get consumers to purchase more digital albums versus strictly selective songs.

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its on-line iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

  • Finally, if you haven’t heard, Daft Punk are doing the score to the new Tron movie (Tron Legacy) & Thom Yorke & Bon Iver have both written songs for the next movie in the Twilight series, New Moon. Not sure if anyone, though, can match the perfection of Johnny Greenwood’s score of There Will Be Blood which was miles ahead of No Country For Old Men as far as score & the movie in general.

Music News

Some great stuff for you kids this week, but we’ll start off with obvious insanity:

  • Jason Mraz was given an award by the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Really Jason Mraz given an award for fucking songwriting!!! I hope this virtual museum catches on virtual fire and everybody that thinks this douche bag is talented virtually dies in that virtual fire. Say it with me: Jason Mraz is BAD AT MUSIC!
  • Beck has gotten some talented people together and begun what he refers to as the Record Club.

We’ve been working on changes to the website for the last few months. We’ll be adding new sections as they’re ready. The first one to be added is called Record Club, an informal meeting of various people to record an album in a day. An album will be chosen to be reinterpreted and used as a framework. Nothing rehearsed or arranged ahead of time. A track will be uploaded once a week on beck.com as well as through the web sites of those involved with the project.

For this first edition, after lengthy deliberation and coming close to covering Digital Underground’s Sex Packets, all present voted in favor of the ‘other’ Underground’s The Velvet Underground & Nico. Participants included this time around are Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, Brian Lebarton, Bram Inscore, Yo, Giovanni Ribisi, Chris Holmes, and from Iceland, special guest Thorunn Magnusdottir, and myself. Thanks to everyone who helped put this together, and to all of you for indulging in this experiment. More soon.

  • Jack White told the National Post that the Internet or moreover the people that frequent the Internet are to blame for the early release of The Dead Weather’s upcoming album. White is a known hater of technology & frequently ties a string between two tin cans to get in touch with friends.
  • Blur bassist Alex James & Guitarist Graham Coxon told BBC 6 Radio that they have reunited and are writing songs for a new album. Release date not yet known.
  • Bloc Party’s new single from their upcoming album was released & I just don’t understand what their aversion to being a rock band.  Silent Alarm is a brilliant & a Weekend in the City was solid but they’ve been moving away from being a full fledged rock band & have been move more towards House or Disco & this single cements it. Tell me what you think.
  • Jack White, Jimmy Page & The Edge are coming out with a new documentary that looks awesome. Check out the trailer.

Beck & The Record Club – Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground cover)

Bloc Party – One More Chance

Mixtape #1

Hey, kids, I’m in a weird mood today. I’m kinda thinking since I just wrote a blog stating my hatred displeasure for Jason Mraz that I should put a few acoustic songs that are actually acceptable and good. Songs that show both musicianship, but lack consistent douchebaggery. So here are my top ten acoustic songs that may or may not have started out acoustic but are amazing in this their acoustic incarnation.

#10The Gaslight Anthem ’59 Sound

#9Jackson BrowneSomebody’s Baby

#8The Beach BoysI Should’ve Known Better/Tell Me Why (Beatles Covers)

#7Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubThe Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Bob Dylan Cover)

#6Bob DylanVisions of Johanna

#5 Pete YornDancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

#4Stone Temple PilotsPlush

#3John LennonImagine

#2Jeff TweedySunken Treasure

#1Ryan AdamsFirecracker

Now, you may be wondering the rationale for some of my choices. It’s simple…these are songs that strike a chord with me in the forms presented. For instance, I am not a huge fan of Imagine in it’s well known form, but acoustic with John Lennon in front of a crowd is unreal to me. So there it is, I think it’s a good mix, but I’d love to read some of your comments on the subject.