28 July 2014

28 July 2014 - Laura Cantrell - All The Girls Are Complicated

I know it is quite strange that such a fantastic artist such as Laura Cantrell, who has drawn comparisons to the great Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffith, would be featured on THIS blog.  But hear me out.

I fell in love with Laura's music when listening to an episode of Mountain Stage.  Mountain Stage, for those who don't know, is a weekly 2-hour live music radio show from West Virginia, and it attracts big-time artists.  She did a lot of old-timey covers - I remember hearing her version of "When The Roses Bloom Again", which she thought was a Woody Guthrie song when she found it.  I've written about this song before - and just loved the old-timey Americana country feel to her music.  It was something I wasn't hearing anymore in country music.

Earlier this year, Laura released a new album.  She went to Nashville (and not her current New York home) to record it.  This song, the opener on the album, does not have the Americana country feel of her earlier work.  It almost feels (gasp!) poppy.  The whole album is like that, and it's fun.  I love her covers, but it's nice to hear original music as well.

A special treat today:  Not only do I have a performance of this fun song - from this year's SxSW - but NPR has a free download of it.  You can grab that here.

By the way, if you are in the Columbus, OH area, and you happen to see this on the day I publish it, go see Laura - she's opening for Camera Obscura tonight.  (I wish I was)

18 July 2014

18 July 2014 - Charli XCX - Boom Clap

I have a confession to make.  

I long ago wrote this post.  I knew this song was coming, because, even though I've kept it a secret, I'm a little bit of a Charli XCX fan.

This is most likely my least favorite Charli XCX song.  I really, desperately want to like it.  It's not a bad song, to be sure - it's got a nice beat, and lyrically, it's smart and sweet, like a lot of the other great songs that Ms. Aitchison has written.

But what I do like is that this is a hit song, and so, for that reason, I am going to take a little bit of guilty pleasure in the fact that an artist that I have been touting for the better part of a year and a half is finally getting recognized for her work.

(I mean, you all knew I had to post this, right?)

07 July 2014

7 July 2014 - Twisted Sister - I Wanna Rock

In the 1980's, it was considered OK for a man to wear excessive amounts of makeup if he was a big rock star.  And Dee Snider took full advantage.

This was the 2nd single by Twisted Sister, following the blockbuster "We're Not Gonna Take It".  I always liked this song a little better.  It rocked harder and showcased the band's personality and performance much more expertly than its predecessor. 

Plus it had the better video.

03 July 2014

3 July 2014 - Quarterflash - Harden My Heart

You know, we used to post stuff here besides current pop hits.

Stuff from when music was REALLY guilty.

The early 1980's.

Remember when saxophones were soooo cool?  Of course, the novelty of Quarterflash was that the lead singer played the sax!  Not sure how she did that live, but that's what they did.  This was their biggest US hit, and it's an emotional powerhouse that still resonates today! This is real fun music, full of emotion, a classic ballad. 

02 July 2014

2 July 2014 - Murray Head - One Night In Bangkok

Let's look at the concept for this song....

From the musical "Chess", by the way.

A musical about chess.  In Bangkok.  Written by the guys from Abba and Tim Rice. 

With a Cold War theme.

Did we mention it was about chess in Bangkok?

And still it was a big hit, and very catchy.  Who knows what's going to catch on?!

01 July 2014

1 July 2014 - Percy Faith and His Orchestra - Theme From 'A Summer Place'

A little known fact - this might have been the (slightly improved version of) theme to the 1959 movie "A Summer Place", but in reality, this was a re-imagined 1960 cover of the song.

Another little-known fact - Percy Faith was Canadian.  And so this is appropriate for this Canada Day.

The movie itself, starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, was forgettable teen beach fare.  This song, the original slow jam, is more memorable than any of the movie.  Give it a listen.  You'll be humming it all day long!