February 27, 2005

Shellac [Redux] - Wingwalker

Shellac - Wingwalker [Studio Version]
[From The Uranus 7"]
Shellac - Wingwalker [Live]
[Recorded live: October 17, 2000]
[Annie Mae Swift Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill]

Weekend bonus, more Shellac by request. See you Monday, enjoy!

February 25, 2005

PJ Harvey - 1991 Peel Sessions

PJ Harvey - Sheela Na Gig
PJ Harvey - Oh My Lover
PJ Harvey - Victory
PJ Harvey - Water
[Recorded August 28, 1991]
[Maida Vale Studios, London]
[Complete Performance]

I've posted PJ Harvey before, and probably will again. Is the new work as good as the original from, say, "To Bring You My Love" or "Rid Of Me" for instance? You bet. But here are four early tracks recorded at Maida Vale Studios, London from August 28, 1991. Her first UK Radio appearances for the John Peel show. This is the complete show - the first time posting a complete performance. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

February 24, 2005

Shellac - Watch Song

Shellac - Watch Song [Studio Version]
[From The Album "1,000 Hurts"]
Shellac - Watch Song [Live]
[Recorded live: October 17, 2000]
[Annie Mae Swift Hall, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill]

I love Shellac's "Watch Song" from "1,000 Hurts", with it's meaty riffs and stupid posturing. Yeah, Steve Albini's singing about a fight, "Hey man, I wanna have a FIGHT with you", but it's all for show - like your asshole loudmouth friend who gets you in trouble while he runs for cover. It's more funny than dangerous. Steve Albini is the driving force (writer, singer and guitarist) behind Shellac - a musical temper-tantrum side project away from demanding production duties. He's got a reputation as a loudmouth headache, but gets away with annoying fellow record execs by under-producing great (selling) records by The Pixies, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Bush, and many, many more. But cranky indie-rock nerd or not, after producing so many great bands, he's picked up a few math rock tricks of his own. I've included the studio version of "Watch Song" from "1,000 Hurts" for comparison (the first non-live track on Blogalive!). Buy the CD if you like it. Enjoy!

February 23, 2005

Portishead - We Miss You

Portishead - Strangers
Portishead - Glory Box
[Recorded Live: August 21, 1998]
[Bizarre Festival, Cologne, Germany]

Portishead's Beth Gibbons haunted vocal style is not as memorable as, say PJ Harvey or Bjork [though neither has she had the recognition of those two] but the trip-hop soundscapes of Portishead are surely as interesting as anything out there. Unfortunately you can file them in the "Where Are They Now?" drawer. Their high water mark was 1994's "Dummy" as well as the great 1998 live CD [and accompanying Video] "Roseland NYC" which surprised critics and fans with skillfully reproduced studio tracks in a live setting. But Portishead never came up for air after 1998. Apparently a new record is in the works, but it's already been seven long years, so who knows. However Portishead did perform live this week for the first time since 1998 to benefit victims of the Asian Tsunami. A worthy cause - respect. [more info here: http://www.crisisinasia.com ] These tracks were recorded live at the Bizarre Festival in Cologne, Germany on August 21, 1998. Enjoy!

February 22, 2005

Pixies - Boston's Best

Pixies - U-Mass
Pixies - Where Is My Mind?
Pixies - Velouria
[Live: Fine Line Music Cafe, April 14, 2004]

The Pixies are a gift from the alt-rock gods. What have we done to deserve such beauty? As a boston resident in the 1980's & '90's, you couldn't hop on the Red Line without finding something new from the Pixies. Their output was daunting, even as a fan I had trouble keeping up (mind you these were the days before the Internet). The band has been touring again. I caught them on Austin City Limits this January. They still sound great. Usually these "reunion" tours are sorry states, but the Pixies held it together like half a dozen years hadn't passed at all. These three tracks come from the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis. [BTW: Look at the picture of Frank Black - could there be a more inappropriately named band?] Enjoy!

February 21, 2005

Coldplay - Shiver & Trouble

Coldplay - Trouble
Coldplay - Shiver
[Live: August, 27 2002, Olympia, Paris]

Why do I think of Coldplay's Chris Martin as a talented but slightly annoying Radiohead-lite version of Thom Yorke? Is it the voice? Maybe it's because he looks exactly like a guy who used to work for me, also a musician, who thought he was "the shit" and daily annoyed me with his oh-so-hip music selections. Or maybe it's because Chris Martin is dating Gwyneth Paltrow - lucky bastard... But irritating or not, Coldplay's CD's are just great - everything is memorable. You know Coldplay when you hear them. Even with only the two CD's. Is it really two? Yes, the official site lists just the two - not including singles and a few EP's ("Safety" [Early Demos], "Brothers & Sisters" & "The Blue Room" [both, pre-"Parachutes" EP's], "Trouble" [Live]) But even with a limited output, they've found their voice. You can listen to Coldplay just about anytime, anywhere. Jeez, my parents even like them - maybe that's not such a good sign, I don't know - but they're certainly easy on the ears. Though maybe for the next release it would be nice to hear something challenging too.

February 20, 2005

Radiohead - Acoustic

Radiohead - There There
Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong
Radiohead - Knives Out
Radiohead - Scatterbrain
[Live: "Breakfast With Radiohead" KROQ Radio]
[September 29, 2003, Hollywood, CA]

God bless Thom Yorke. With a mug like that, you know he's only in it for the music. "I started playing guitar for the girls" just doesn't cut it Thom - you know you were chasing them off with a stick even before Radiohead warmed the cynical hearts of critics and fans worldwide. But where have Radiohead been lately? Guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway have been working on the next Harry Potter movie (yeah, really...) as actors in an on-screen band, "The Wyrd Sisters". "The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth Of All Time" DVD was released last year to impatient fans. But the last new track we heard was "Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, featuring Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood - the number one selling UK single for 2004 thank you very much, but not quite a Radiohead song. There's been nary a peep since "Hail To The Thief". Unlike the days of "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" when you couldn't check your email without a new iBlip popping up. We're still waiting...

February 18, 2005

Led Zeppelin - Friends

Led Zeppelin - Friends
[Live 1970]

I've been away dealing with family issues - another repeat of an original post today - don't forget about me...

Led Zeppelin rocked harder than anyone in the early 70's, but "Friends", from their third album [creatively titled "III"] shows off their folky side. The addition of Sitar and Tabla makes this live version especially interesting. It starts off slow, the boys don't show up until a minute into the song, but spreads out like an early morning sunrise, A warm, pre-summer vibe continuing the eastern flavor of the previous two posts. Enjoy.

February 17, 2005

Gong: Can You - You Can

Gong - Can You : You Can
[From The Album "Shapeshifter"]

I've been away dealing with family issues - another repeat of an original post today - don't forget about me...

Daevid Allens Gong family sprouted forth from merry old England smokin' weed and sipping tea during the early days of the new hippie movement. Living together communally they hit it big (relatively) with a trio of early albums and haven't stopped since. Surprisingly, even recent recordings are rather good. True to their mission, they're still wearing pointy hats, pixie dancing and rallying against "the man". This track from "Shapeshifter" shows off their well oiled jam band chops - these guys were noodling before Phish were out of diapers. The CD mostly contains studio tracks, but live Gong is pretty easy to find as the band allows taping - I was able to video tape Gong at Mama Kin's in Boston, Massachusetts on the Shapeshifter tour.

Repeat: Tabla Beat Science - Satellite

Tabla Beat Science - Satellite
[From The CD "Live in San Francisco at Stern Grove"]

I've been away dealing with family issues - a repeat today - don't forget about me...

The ubiquitous Bill Laswell drops by the Asian Underground scene, pulls together a few regulars, exchanges introductions all around and the result is Tabla Beat Science. Highly spirited and technically proficient, they're further progressing what Talvin Singh, Future Soundz Of India, Asian Dub Foundation and others started almost a decade ago (can you believe it?). Nice use of studio tweaking - ala: Matthew Herbert, Akufen, etc - which adds a contemporary twist to otherwise traditional musical roots. Nicely avoids obvious turntable tricks, too. The track "Satellite" on disc 2 is soaring and spirited and should be played loud enough to awaken your soul and your neighbors.