4 posts

QOTD: What Was Your First Concert or Record?

drawI remember asking for “a Beatles album” for Christmas. My parents obliged with Abbey Road. That could have been worse.

The first records I remember buying for myself were Never Mind the Bollocks, Blow Your Face Out and The Flying Lizards, the last of which I had to special order from the “punk/new wave” record store in town. I still have the vinyl, with “PROMOTIONAL COPY: NOT FOR RESALE” embossed on the jacket.  Continue reading

QOTD: Rock on 2011

As it happens, 2011 is the year I discovered Palladia, a channel that basically shows concerts 24/7 and is all sorts of awesome. It’s also the year I went to the most concerts, for no particularly good reason. What can I say? There were some damn good tours this year, and I really needed to make up for the fact that American Idol judge Steven freaking Tyler broke his hip last year and canceled the rest of the Aerosmith tour I was planning to travel two hours to see on a weeknight. And so, the Question of the Day: What’s the best concert you saw in 2011? Or, alternatively, as there have been plenty of years I haven’t made it to any, What concert did you most want to go to in 2011? Continue reading

Bush in the Afterlife

British band Bush played the Congress Theater in Chicago on August 18 as part of a series of warm-up dates for the world tour they will start in October. It was a free show that had two lines (priority ticket holders and “regular” ticket holders) spanning nearly a mile on Chicago city blocks. This was a free concert sponsored by Samsung and AT&T as part of their Summer Krush series. The priority ticket holders were told to arrive at the venue a half hour before the doors opened to guarantee entry. Not only did they get guaranteed admission, but they were also treated to an hour of a hype man selling the crowd on AT&T and Samsung products. Someone won a phone and someone else won a guitar. Not sure what the guitar winner was supposed to do with a guitar at the beginning of a concert, but that was his problem. Continue reading

LeftCoastLady’s Favorite Music from 2010

(To see the original entry in all its non-modified glory, please visit Dimple and a Smirk (dot) com.)

In looking back on the music of 2010 that entered my ears, I listened to a lot of house/dance/electronic. Moving one’s ass is always a good thing. I also listened to a lot of comedy albums this year. In fact, this will be the first time my “best of” list will include comedy albums. If I had done this last year, Jim Gaffigan’s King Baby would have blown away most of my music selections. I’m almost embarrassed by the number of times I’ve played tracks from the album this year.

But enough of that, let’s get on to my favorites from 2010!

Favorite Albums:

The Lady KillerCee Lo Green
Before the album was released, everyone was abuzz about “F**k You” and rightfully so. It’s catchy, makes you smile, and includes a handful of f-bombs. The good news is the rest of the album is just as great and in some places, even better. If there is such a genre as alt-R&B, then Cee Lo is part of it. It may be cliché, but this album deserves all the praise it can get. Cee Lo’s take on Band of Horse’s “No One’s Gonna Love You” is so good, I may start listening to his version more than the original. And I love the original version to pieces.

Brothers – The Black Keys
Will the bluesy boys from Akron, Ohio, ever put out a less than awesome album? Highly doubtful. If your foot doesn’t start tapping beginning on the opening track, “Everlasting Light,” you may need to loosen up a bit. If your hips aren’t swaying on the second song, “Next Girl,” you may not have a pulse. When I first heard “Next Girl,” I knew I would be blasting it a lot. Oh goodness, what a great fucking song. There are a lot of contagious songs on this album — “Howlin’ for You,” “The Only One,” and well, all of them. Also, go see the Black Keys perform live. One of the best live bands around, that’s for sure.

Record Collection – Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.
What happens when a sought-after producer puts out an album that includes collaborations with artists such as Duran Duran, Boy George, D’angelo, Miike Snow, Q-Tip, among others? Awesome things happen, that’s what. The title of the album is appropriate because it feels like a carefully-crafted mix tape. “Bang Bang Bang” and “You Gave Me Nothing” will get you on the dancefloor while “Someone to Love Me” will make retreat to a seat on the side because you don’t have a dance partner.

Pete YornPete Yorn
See the review I wrote back in September. I’ll add this: I cannot wait to see PY perform live in support of this album in a few months. It will also be interesting to see whether or not married life affects his future musical output.

Let It GoBill Burr
Bill Burr is an angry man and that’s why I like him. I like to think his anger allows me to walk around and not rage at everyone and everything. You’ll laugh out loud at his observations on people because there’s a good chance you’ve encountered some of the same situations. Thanks to Bill Burr, you can hear what it sounds like if you were to act on what you’re really thinking.

I Learned the Hard WaySharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
When I first picked up this album back in April, I knew it would be on my year-end “best of” list. It’s as if by pushing “play” I was transported back in time to the era of Motown girl groups and bands who wore matching suits. Sharon’s voice just pours emotion into the lyrics. You feel her heartache on tracks like “The Game Gets Old” or on, my favorite track, “Window Shopping.” Likewise, the Dap-Kings work in tandem with Sharon’s voice to fully make the songs deliver their punch. On the instrumental track, “The Reason,” you really get to hear the Dap-Kings as they deliver a song that is just…groovy. No really, it has a great groove.

Crazy For YouBest Coast
The opening track “Boyfriend” sucked me in. If the rest of the album wasn’t great, “Boyfriend” would have been at the top of my favorite songs list. The album is full of catchy sugar pop music — check out “Our Deal” and “Honey” — that makes you want to sit on a beach blanket while writing in your diary about your new crush.

Timeless PulseCollioure
While listening to a Deep House Cat podcast, I fell in love with a song called “La Vague.” That sent me on a search to learn more about Collioure, a Japanese downtempo/lounge group. With limited vocals on the songs, the listener is left to fully appreciate the music, which is lush, exotic and perfect for a chillout session.

III/IVRyan Adams & The Cardinals
I’ve only had this double album — on beautiful, gorgeous, colorful vinyl — for about two weeks, but yes, it’s really that good. What’s essentially a collection of B-sides can put to shame a lot of A-side albums on the market these days. The album has some great little gems on it like “Typecast” and “Gracie.”

When I received Transference, I wasn’t sure where to set my expectations. Could they really do another Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga? Yes and no. With songs like “Who Makes Your Money” and “Got Nuffin,” I found the album to be a closer relative to soulful grooves found on Gimme Fiction. One of my favorite tracks is the sleepy “Out Goes the Lights.”

Honorable Mentions:

As I Call You Down – Fistful of Mercy
Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper, and Joseph Arthur. That’s three kinds of awesome merged into one group. For a debut album, it’s fairly solid, however, where it falters is in trying to maintain some of the singular qualities of each musician’s individual artistry. When I listen to the album, I can hear each member’s contributions, but I also (selfishly) wanted to hear them push beyond that and deliver something unique to the album.

I really wanted to like this album more than I currently do. I wanted to love it, especially after the less-than-stellar Our Love to Admire. The couple of songs I heard prior to the album’s release — “Barricade” and “Lights” — gave me hope, but as a whole, the album left me longing for a band that put out Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics. Yes, I’ve become one of those types of fans, which is sad, because I’ve loved Interpol for a long time.

Winner WinnerJessi Campbell
Because of my frequent comedy album purchases, Jessi Campbell’s album came up as a recommendation. I’d never heard of her before the recommendation. I listened to the album with tempered expectations, but oh my, she’s quite funny! I’m looking forward to hearing more from her in the future.

Favorite Songs (excludes songs from favorite albums):

“Blackbird and the Fox” – Twilight Singers feat. Ani DiFranco
“Rolling in the Deep”Adele
“Not Giving Up On Love (Armin van Buuren Remix)” – Armin Van Buuren vs. Sophie Ellis Bextor
“O.N.E.” – Yeasayer
“Together Alright (MTV’s 2010 Club Mix)” – Martijn ten Velden & Red Carpet
“Vanity”Christina Aguilera
“Our Summer”Dragonette
“Back It Up (Melleefresh vs Jerome Robins Velvet Fog Mix)” – SpekrFreks vs. Billy Newton Davis
“Why Like This”Teebs

Songs I rediscovered this year and now realize it may be some of the most perfect songs ever recorded (2010 edition):

“Home”Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Yes, I know this song was only released a year ago, but it’s an earworm that finds its way into my head frequently.)

“So Close”Hall & Oates

Take Some…Leave Some” – James Brown

What I’m looking forward to music-wise in 2011: New Twilight Singers (Dynamite Steps), new PJ Harvey (Let England Shake), new Adele (21), hopefully more new Ryan Adams, attending live shows all over the place, including Pete Yorn and Twilight Singers, and, of course, discovering more new music that I can rave about to anyone who will listen.