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Posts Tagged ‘R.E.M.’

RIP, Leonard Cohen (November 7, 2016) Canadian Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on November 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen
September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Photo by Takahiro Kyono

Leonard Cohen was a revered Canadian poet, author, and most famously, singer-songwriter.  Over a career that spanned almost 50 years, Cohen provided the dimly-lit smoky-bar soundtrack for people who needed hope, lost faith, felt despair, or longed for love. Initially planning a career as an author and poet, Cohen wanted to reach more people, so he switched gears and found himself singing and performing in New York City at the relatively late age of 33.  He quickly became an unlikely pop star – rugged baritone voice, simple chord structures, and a private, guarded life within a profession that celebrated extroversion. His career might have seemed over when upon the release of his most famous song, 1984’s “Hallelujah,” his label head reportedely told him, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good,” before dropping him.  But his songs eventually caught on, and younger generations of singer-songwriters borrowed them to include in their own canons.  “Hallelujah” alone was recorded by over 200 artists, including Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, k.d. lang,  John Cale, and most famously, Jeff Buckley.  In all, Cohen’s tunes have been covered by more than 2000. That list includes such greats as Johnny  Cash, Nick Cave, Willie Nelson, R.E.M., and Tori Amos. In 2008, at the age of 74, and facing financial ruin, Cohen embarked on an ambitious (and triumphant!) world tour that would last about three years before his health started to get the better of him. After getting well, he hit the road again doing a seemingly endless series of impassioned shows that ran north of three hours a piece.  That lasted through December of 2013, when he fell ill again.  But Cohen refused to be bound by his health and set out to record what would be the final two albums of his lifetime, 2014’s Popular Problems, and this year’s You Want it Darker, recorded in his home with him in a wheelchair and singing many of the sessions in physical pain.  That album was released just two weeks before his death, and served as a profound self-eulogy in much the same way as David Bowie‘s Lazarus.  It has been reported, thankfully, that exluding his last album, his late-life career revival earned him around $10 million. Leonard Cohen was 82 when he passed away on November 7, 2016.

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

Click to find at amazon.com

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Died On This Date (July 20, 2013) Faye Hunter / Founding Bassist For Let’s Active

Posted by themusicsover on July 20, 2013

Faye Hunter
DOB Unknown – July 20, 2013

faye-hunterFaye Hunter is perhaps best remembered as the original bassist for influential jangle pop band, Let’s Active.  Formed by Mitch Easter in 1981, the band, which also included Sara Romweber on drums, played their first gig opening for their friends, R.E.M., before becoming a college radio and critic darlings.  Their first video, “Every Word Means No,” became a moderate hit on MTV and helped pave the road for college rock and what would become known as indie rock.  Hunter played on the band’s first three releases, Afoot (1983), Cypress (1984), and Big Plans For Everybody (1986) before departing.  Other acts with whom Hunter collaborated included Marshall Crenshaw, Chris Stamey, and the Windbreakers.  She contributed to a Let’s Active tribute album in 2003.  Faye Hunter was 59 when she reportedly took her own life on July 20, 2013.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number 1 Albums for the assist.



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The Music’s Over’s Favorite New Music Albums of 2011

Posted by themusicsover on December 19, 2011

You can click on any album cover to find on amazon.com

1. Dropkick Murphys / Going Out In Style / Born & Bred
Sure, I’m a sucker for Celtic punk, but DKM out-drinks and out-fights the rest with this hoppy gem. It’s the life and death of an Irish immigrant told in 46 minutes.  A vocal visit from Bruce Springsteen doesn’t hurt either.

2. Social Distortion / Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes / Epitaph
Social D may be 25 years into it, but Hard Times shows Mike Ness still gives a shit. The songs continue to be about escaping a dreary day with a hot dame in your cool car, but the punk has been buffed out with some twangy melodies and a touch of blues and rockabilly.  It’s high octane, it’s go!

3. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings / Soul Time!  / Daptone
Released as a Black Vinyl Friday exclusive, I expected this to be a non-cohesive slap-together of b-sides, etc, but damn if this isn’t the funkiest album they’ve come out with yet!  As much as I love SJ+DK albums, they tend to leave me longing for a live show.  Soul Time! does a better job at capturing that vibe.

4. HeadCat / Walk The Walk…Talk The Talk / Niji
It’s Lemmy, it’s Slim Jim Phantom, it’s Rockats guitarist, Danny B. Harvey reviving Lemmy’s retro-rock combo.  Much better than their first outing, Walk The Walk has the muscle you’d expect from a Motorhead side project.  A nice surprise is hearing Lemmy actually carry a tune on the softer rave-up, “I Ain’t Never.”

5. Big Harp / White Hat / Saddle Creek
Wow!  This one snuck out of nowhere and bit me in the ass. Equal parts hipster lounge and honky-tonk saloon converge behind a voice that can only be described as chocolate dipped in whiskey.  The ghosts of Nick Cave and Townes swim through the soft melodies and yarn-spinning lyrics that populate White Heat.

6. The Civil Wars / Barton Hollow / Sensibility
I was lucky enough to catch their first TV appearance on Leno back in January and have been hooked ever since.  They share harmonies in that eerie way when identical twins share pain.

7. Imelda May / Mayhem! / Decca
Fun retro-swing / rockabilly pop from Dublin.  If this style of music experiences a renaissance like blue-eyed soul has over the past couple of years, Imelda May will be its Adele.

8. Hanni el Khatib / Will The Guns Come Out / Innovative Leisure
An amalgamation of dirty blues, R&B, garage, punk and doo wop, blast out of Hanni el Khatib’s vintage Silvertone guitar and Nicky Fleming-Yaryan’s drum kit that sounds like one of those kid sets taken over by a Keith Moon-type pounder. Fans of the Wolfmother or the Black Keys take note!

9. Glen Campbell / Ghost On The Canvas / Surf Dog
A beautifully heart-breaking final album from a musical genius who knows his days (or at least mental agility) are numbered.  Unlike Johnny Cash’s swan song releases, Ghost On The Canvas is a more subtle goodbye as he walks deeper into the challenges of Alzheimer’s.

10. Charles Bradley / No Time For Dreaming / Daptone
Don’t be fooled, No Time For Dreaming was not recorded in 1968.  Like label mate, Sharon Jones, Bradley offers up a retro soul vibe that sounds so authentic, you can almost feel the sweat.  My SXSW highlight this year was watching Bradley turn an audience of indie rock hipsters who were only there early for the headlining act into believers.

11. Garland Jeffreys / The King Of The In Between / Luna Park
New York City’s other great ’70s rock poet returns with his first album in thirteen years and proves once again that more people need to know who he is.

 

 

 

 


12. Wild Flag
/ Wild Flag / Merge
An indie rock all-star girl group delivers a debut album that rocks harder than most of their male counterparts.

13. Girl In A Coma / Exits & All The Rest / Blackheart
All-female punk trio proves why Joan Jett signed them to her Blackheart label.  With influences firmly planted on their sleeves, GIAC share their love for the Smiths, punk, new wave, and of course, the Runaways.

14. Lykke Li / Wounded Rhymes / Atlantic
Good Lord, this album swaggers!  Drum ‘n bass plays nice with garage-psych organs. “Get Some” is one of the best, if not most tribal songs of the year.

15. The Beach Boys / The Smile Sessions / Capitol
Yes it’s technically a “new” album.  And it remarkably feels brand new even though we’ve heard most of these songs before.

16. The Kills / Blood Pressures / Domino
Indie rock’s sexiest duo oozes back with their best album yet.   It’s dark, raw, rhythmic and now.

17. Noah And The Whale / Last Night On Earth / Mercury
While contemporaries like Arcade Fire draw inspiration from ’70s rock, this one feels fueled more by New Wave with its synths and drum machine.  But then “Tonight’s The Kind Of Night” busts out with a Roy Bittan by way of Bob Seger piano backdrop.

18. Stephen Brower & The Silent Majority / SB/SM / Pioneers Of The New West
SB/SM has a sound so raw and immediate, you can’t help but draw a dotted line to pre-Geffen Guns ‘n Roses by way of Tom Waits.  Equal parts fuzz, metal, punk, folk and outlaw country make up this tasty stew.  The live-in-studio vibe is punctuated by the cough that kicks off “Ajax Mountain.”

19. R.E.M / Collapse Into Now / Warner Bros.
I love when R.E.M. lets it rock, and Collapse Into Now does it better than any of their albums in recent memory. Accelerate was a decent attempt, but it appears to have only set the stage for this one.  I probably wouldn’t have said this 7 or 8 years ago, but I’m sorry to see them go.

20. The Horrible Crows / Elsie / Side One Dummy
A short folky detour for Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon finds him tapping into his inner-Nick Cave.  The E-Street anthem blast might be in the back seat for this one, but the heart is still there.

21. Megadeth / Th1rt3en / Roadrunner
I haven’t cared about Megadeth since 1992’s Countdown To Distinction, but Th1rt3en came out of nowhere and floored me like those albums when Metallica gets it right.

22. Christian McBride Big Band / The Good Feeling / Mack Avenue
I don’t know why, but 2011 will go down as the year that I figured out jazz.  And a huge part of that is The Good Feeling.  Sure it’s big band, but I’ll be damned if Christian McBride isn’t a rock star!

23. Black Country Communion / 2 / J&R Adventures
BCC is Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater).  With apologies to Plant, Page and Jones, this is likely to be the most authentic sounding “Zeppelin” reunion album we’ll ever get.

24. The Vaccines / What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? / Columbia
I am such a sucker for simple sing-along pop melodies, but these beauties are drenched in so much noise that the Jesus and Mary Chain instantly comes to mind.  And that’s a good thing.

25. The Jayhawks / Mockingbird Time / Rounder
I’m kind of embarrassed to say, but it took me nearly 25 years, to finally understand all the hubbub about the Jayhawks!  Simply put, this album is beautiful.

26. John Hiatt / Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Dreams / New West
This is easily John Hiatt’s best album since 2000’s Crossing Muddy Waters.  It feels thicker and more sonic than I can remember a Hiatt album sounding.  It’s nice that his personal reflection of 9/11, “When New York Had Her Heart Broke,” – written immediately after he personally witnessed the attack while in NYC – has found a home on this album.

27. White Denim / D / Downtown
I’m not sure I’d go as far as calling White Denim a jam band, particularly since not one song here clocks in at more than five minutes, but all the classic elements of the genre shine through on D.  Plenty of psych-guitar noodling, frenetic drum slapping, and chord changes, but compacted for those of us on a tight schedule.

28. Gang Of Four / Content / Yep Roc
With Content, Gang Of Four prove they still matter 35 years later.  It might not be Entertainment!, but you just can’t deny Andy Gill’s angular guitar attack, which is as strong as ever.  I hope it’s not another 15 years until their next.

29. Adele / 21 / XL
What everyone else said.

30. The Mahones / The Black Irish / True North
Oh look, I’ve book-ended my Top 30 with Celtic punk.  Where Dropkick Murphys blow the roof off an Irish wake with fist-pumping anthems, the Mahones seem more a drunken pirate ship house-band.  Plenty of nods to the Pogues throughout.


Posted in Musician | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Music’s Over’s Favorite New Music Albums of 2011

Died On This Date (July 19, 2010) Andy Hummel / Big Star

Posted by themusicsover on July 19, 2010

Andy Hummel
DOB Unknown – July 19, 2010

Andy Hummel was an American bassist who is best remembered as a founding member of Big Star. Formed with Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Chris Bell in 1971, Memphis, Tennessee’s Big Star set out out to make music that took the best pop elements of the British Invasion but added a dash of Memphis soul.  In 1972, Big Star released #1 Album which, although it was a commercial failure, was highly influential to the Replacements, R.E.M., Wilco, Whiskeytown the Flaming Lips, and Teenage Fanclub. After the release of the band’s Radio City, Hummel left the group to pursue his education and focus on a more “traditional” life.  In March of 2010, Hummel reunited with the surviving member of Big Star and several others that they influenced at the South By Southwest music conference to pay tribute to Chilton who had recently passed away.  On July 19, 2010, Andy Hummel died after a long bout with cancer.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

What You Should Own

 

Click to find at amazon.com

Click to find at amazon.com

#1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) - Big Star

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Died On This Date (June 4, 2001) John Hartford / Influential Folk & Bluegrass Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on June 4, 2010

John Hartford (Born John Harford)
December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001

Photo by Jerry Brendle

John Hartford was a beloved folk singer-songwriter who was also proficient in several stringed instruments.  He is probably mostly associated with the banjo and fiddle.   Hartford mastered those instruments while still in his mid teens, and by the time he was in college, he had already built a name for himself throughout the St. Louis music scene.  Hartford released his first album, Looks At Life, on RCA Records in 1966.  A year later, he put out its follow-up album, which included the song, “Gentle On My Mind.”  Soon made into a pop hit by Glen Campbell, the tune earned Hartford two Grammys.  It has also been covered by Elvis Presley, R.E.M., Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, and Dean Martin, to name a few.   During the ’70s, Hartford released a string of albums that would lay the foundation for the “newgrass” movement to follow – a more electrifying form of bluegrass, sometimes even incorporating drums.   His 1976, Mark Twang earned Hartford another Grammy while his contributions to the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack of 2000 landed him yet another.  Hartford battled Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma for the better part of the the last 20 years of his life, finally forcing him to retire from the road in 2001.  It wasn’t long after that he died as a result of the disease on June 4, 2001.  He was 63.

What You Should Own

Click to find at amazon.com

John Hartford

 

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