Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RT 20 Podcast 30: Mitch Bisschop

This podcast with my fellow Ithaca College alumnus features a bit of a different music format than the podcasts you're used to hearing. I kind of dig it.

To stream or download the podcast, click here. Or click here to subscribe with your iTunes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Song of the Week 2/19/10

The Four Tops - "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)"

I must confess--I had no idea that this was a Four Tops song until last week. I happened to hear someone request it on the CBS-FM nighttime show. And when the guy said the song title and added "by The Four Tops," I did a double take. Then I went to the Internet to confirm what I heard. I always thought this 1973 hit, from the album Keeper of the Castle, was by the Spinners or some other R&B vocal group. It sounds nothing like The Four Tops of "I Can't Help Myself," that's for certain. It's drenched in that 70s funk I loved hearing on WGY growing up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RT 20 Podcast 29: Ira Robbins, Part 2

The second part of my conversation with Trouser Press co-founder (and first time novelist) Ira Robbins is now available to download.

To listen or download to the podcast, click here to visit the podcast page. Or click here to have your iTunes subscribe you automatically.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Song of the Week 2/12/10

Buffalo Springfield - "Broken Arrow"

I never thought any band could pull off this suite that Neil Young created for Buffalo Springfield Again.

Then came Wilco, who did it for the Neil Young Musicares tribute show last month in Los Angeles. And now they're doing it on tour.

Words fail me. Watch the video.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RT 20 Podcast 28: Ira Robbins, Part 1

The guest format returns to the podcast this week with the first part of my conversation with Trouser Press co-founder (and my co-worker of 13 years) Ira Robbins.

Click here to go the podcast page to stream or download the MP3. Click here to subscribe to the podcast and have iTunes download each new episode.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Song of the Week 2/5/10

The Who - "The Real Me"

The band got to play at halftime of the Super Bowl at the Bell House, and "The Real Me" was the song I got to deliver after 2 hours plus of doing play by play for the game. Jeebus it hurt my throat. I'm amazed I could to speak today.

I'm even more amazed that The Who could perform that song this well in early part of the oughts:

BONUS: The Who's Super Bowl performance was easily the most widely seen in their 45 year career. But their last truly great performance -- in these eyes, at least -- came when they played the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden on October 20th, 2001. Anyone who was living in New York can tell you that the city was attempting to return to some sort of normalcy by that time. (For many, it involved staying out as late as possible as many nights as possible.) And I must admit to being ticked that I had to stay home and record and watch this concert when I could have been out trying to forget the previous six weeks. The show opened on a high note with David Bowie's radical re-arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel's "America" and his own anthem of the moment "Heroes." But after that the rest of the show could have been any all-star gig, except for the mentions of those lost and the numerous close-ups of drunk fireman and policeman.

Then The Who came on and turned the night into something special. Their four song set ranks as one of the most compelling music performances to come out of my TV. There were a few factors contributing to this:

The Who's relationship with New York. The band has been well known for delivering some of their most highly regarded performances here in the city in the late 60s and early 70s. And that reputation has lasted with fans from the 'burbs for decades. And it was apparent that this night Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle were determined to give it their all to show their respect and love for New York.

The emotion of the entire night. I said the city was returning to "normalcy" by then. That was in the sense of people going about their normal everyday lives. That doesn't apply to emotional wounds that were still lurking under the surface and could rise up at any time. Imagine an entire evening of one draining tale after another and you'll have an idea of how raw this crowd was.

The booze. From the first shots of fireman in the crowd, you could see that this folks were well lubricated. And it only got sloppier as the night went on. And on. And on.

The lineup. This was a star-studded evening. (Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, James Taylor, Billy Joel and John Mellencamp, just to name a few.) And while all the artists who performed were there on their own dime and for a good cause, it wouldn't be a rock concert without a bit of one-upsmanship. And Townshend and Daltrey performed as if they needed to show people who was boss.

And my goodness they most certainly did. After an overlong intro by John Cusack, the performance starts out with the CSI staple "Who Are You." And from the get go Townshend doesn't waste any time injecting this performance with a blast of energy. At the 1:35 mark he practically rips his arm out of socket breaking into one of his trademark windmills. And then he does it again at 1:48. The man is clearly possessed with an energy of a man 30 years younger. Throughout all four songs Townshend attacks his guitar, throwing off power chords and stinging leads as if one of them could heal everyone in attendance. And it doesn't take too long -- right around 3:47 in "Who Are You" -- where the crowd gets it. And I mean GETS it. They know right then, at that moment, that this band isn't here to play a massive Irish wake. The Who have arrived to make each and every person forget everything and feel good for the next 18 minutes. At 3:48 when Townshend does a series of windmills, the crowd responds as one with a roar that drowns the band out. And when Zak Starkey, the only man on the planet capable of playing in Keith Moon's league, does a series of crazy fills, the place goes totally fucking batshit.

Daltrey's vocal falters at the beginning of "Baba O'Riley," but at this point it doesn't matter. Townshend is conducting a windmill symphony. And when he steps to the mic to sing the "teenage wasteland" part, the crowd drowns him out, so he backs away from the mic lets them have the line. The smile on Daltrey's face at that is about as genuine as you'll ever see on the mug of a rock legend. "Behind Blue Eyes" features some top notch mic twirling by Daltrey and a truly goofy moment at 2:56 where Townshend bumps into Daltrey. And right after the song Townshend acknowledges the crowd (and how loud they are) by cupping his hands and yelling into the mic, "We are honored to be here."

And when "Won't get Fooled Again" starts, the crowd roars as one again. And it's just a bombastic, gloriously loud, rip-roaring take on an old warhorse. The whole band is just clicking on all cylinders. It's a totally cathartic experience. After the band takes their bows, Roger Daltrey sums it all up: "We could never follow what you did."

Enough of me writing. Watch the last great Who performance below.

"Who are You"

"Baba O'Riley"

"Behind Blue Eyes"

"Won't Get Fooled Again"

Monday, February 01, 2010

Song of the Week 1/26/10

Avett Brothers - "January Wedding"

I have been listening to a heckava lot of the Avetts as of late. These guys know how to turn a phrase that makes me stop and rewind the iPod just to catch it again. The line that always gets me in "January Wedding" from I And Love And You is "And I was sick with heartache and she was sick like Audrey Hepburn when I met her." I just laughed again transcribing that line.

And it seems like this track had to be a SOTW during the first month of the year at some point, yes?