Music on television August 30 – September 3

Just about a month since I did a music on television post. Here it is for the coming week. Picks are in bold, and I added repeats only if it is something I’d be interested in.

Monday August 30

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses on The Late Show with David Letterman
Cyndi Lauper & Jonny Lang on The Tonight Show not with Conan O’Brien

Tuesday August 31

Merle Haggard on The Late Show with David Letterman
Norah Jones on The Tonight Show not with Conan O’Brien
Norah Jones on Tavis Smiley
Street Sweeper Social Club Lopez Tonight (repeat from August 2)

Wednesday September 1

Goo Goo Dolls on The Tonight Show not with Conan O’Brien
Ozzy Osbourne on Jimmy Kimmel (not) Live! (repeat from August 16)
Kate Nash Last Call with Carson Daly (repeat from May 14)

Thursday September 2

Karen Elson on The Late Show with David Letterman
Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks on The Tonight Show not with Conan O’Brien
Heart on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Friday September 3

Sara Bareilles on The Tonight Show not with Conan O’Brien

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Music Video of the Day recap (week 1)

I mentioned in my Tweet from August 24 (via twitlonger), that I’d do a music video of the day recap weekly. This will be instead of posting individual videos to Twitter and here (when I feel like writing more than 140 characters).

Videos that are on Vevo, do not seem to work on WordPress.com, as the embed code is not supported on WordPress.com. Using the embed code works (I tested on Blogger). It probably would work using WordPress.org (all the more reason to get a dot com!). Anyway, I’ll embed when I can, otherwise just click to go to the video. Most of the time I prefer the actual site as to choose the resolution, etc. I want.

Sia – Soon We’ll Be Found (August 20)

Continue reading “Music Video of the Day recap (week 1)”

Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy (review/LP of the week)

Speech Debelle’s Speech Therapy was released a year ago, and went on to win the Mercury Prize (awarded to the best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland). Well deserved in my opinion.

Speech Debelle, real name Corynne Elliot, was born in London, and had a decent upbringing, until at the age of 19, she was forced out of her home, and found herself moving from hostel to hostel or staying at friends’ houses (“2 am in my hostel bed, my eyes them red, my belly ain’t fed, I got butter but I aint got bread and I’m smoking on my last cigarette” from “Searching”).

She began writing poetry and rapping at the age of 13. Later on, upon returning to her Mum’s home, she began calling record labels, and ended up signing with Big Dada.

What makes Speech Debelle’s music unique is her personal lyrics, and scaled down, minimal instrument backing, and beats. Most instruments were recorded separately. As this is a hip hop album, that being impressive, in that the beats were not made/arranged by computers. Thus giving it an organic feel, be it consciously or unconsciously.

Fairly simple, and with only two guest spots, it makes for a fresh take on hip hop today, be it from the United Kingdom, or globally. The minimalist approach is due to working with producer Wayne Bennett, who said “well, let’s try and do it all acoustic. Let’s do it like a folk record. She says she just wants to tell these stories. Let’s go back to the oldest simplest forms of music where people just told stories, which is like country and folk and that sort of stuff.” And this worked out for Speech, as she wanted to make a “hip-hop Tracy Chapman record”!

Micachu featured on “Better Days” is in a way reminiscent of Dido on Eminem’s track “Stan”. A little chilling, during the chorus, yet catchy enough to feel the need to nod with the beat. Speech explains how “‘Wheels In Motion’ was influenced by a Coldplay song, I think it’s called ‘Speed Of Sound’ — which I love — and the piano mix especially.” The song also features a guest spot from South Londoner Roots Manuva. Towards the end, and to close out the track on “Bad Boy”, the standard drumming goes into a drum and bass section, which reminds me of The Roots great song “You Got Me” featuring Erykah Badu that ends with an awesome instrumental part with ?uestlove on drums and Leonard “Hub” Hubbard on bass.

Speech Debelle had particular sounds in mind for the album, enable to find those sounds, Wayne had session musicians come in and play particular instruments for her. A couple of tracks have strings on them, and apparently Speech would say something to the effect ‘I want that sound they put in movies when someone dies — violins!’ They aid the personal, story telling feel.

If this was the hip hop Tracy Chapman album, Speech said the next one is going to be a hiphop Ray Charles album!

Main source used:
Wayne Bennett & Speech Debelle: Recording Speech Therapy

Nellie McKay new album, Home Sweet Mobile Home, September 28!

Seems the news was fairly recently announced (just over a month ago it seems) , as I just found out. Anyway, Nellie McKay will release her new album Home Sweet Mobile Home on September 28! As with her last release, Normal as Blueberry Pie – A Tribute to Doris Day (October 13, 2009), it will be released on Verve Music Group, a jazz label owned by Universal Music Group. Surely she is being treated better than her ordeal with Columbia/Sony where she got the boot from them, and had to self release Pretty Little Head on her own label (marketed and manufactured by SpinArt Records), as with Obligatory Villagers.

Since SpinArt went bankrupt, Wikipedia states: “Pretty Little Head is now being distributed by Sony in its original, 23-track 2-CD version, effectively bringing the album back to Columbia”, I’m glad I purchased my copy while it was independent! Although, I’ll definitely still pick up Home Sweet Mobile Home. Prior to getting the boot from Sony, they wanted to release Pretty Little Head in a 16 track version, luckily it did get released in the full version!

It will be her first album of original material since said Obligatory Villagers (September 25, 2007). And since that was a jazz album, it will be returning to her traditional genre of pop/singer-songwriter.

Overall it will be her fifth release! Her excellent debut Get Away From Me was released February 10, 2004, which in my mind is definitely one of the best albums released in the 00’s decade.

This is now my most anticipated album of the Fall.

The track list is as follows (thanks to TwentyFourBit):

1. Bruise On The Sky
2. Adios
3. Caribbean Time
4. Please
5. Beneath The Underdog
6. Dispossessed
7. The Portal
8. ¡Bodega!
9. Coosada Blues
10. No Equality
11. Absolute Elsewhere
12. Unknown Reggae
13. Bluebird

Head on over to nelliemckay.com for a download of “Caribbean Time”! And visit her on MySpace at myspace.com/nelliemckay.

Overlooked albums, TLC – 3D

A new feature on this blog, albums I feel that were overlooked.

TLC - 3DTLC’s final album, 3D was released after the unfortunate death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Of course a terrible shame, first and foremost as a human being. After which she was a very talented artist, as a part of TLC, and on her own (her 2001 solo album Supernova for one example). Of course as a part of TLC, they were at the top of their game in the late 90’s. And had Left Eye been around at the time of the release of 3D, being able to promote it, and create music videos to accompany the album, there’s no doubt it could have been as big as FanMail. The album still did perform fairly well, however it surely has been overlooked my many.

From the opener, “3D (Intro)”, the album wastes no time getting off to a fast start. With the almost Outkast like beats, it is a great intro/opener, and works well on its own. “Quickie” follows, and includes a rap from Left Eye.

“Turntable” commences with a guitar intro, continues as a very catchy groovy song that words cannot describe, produced by Rodney Jerkins. It would have worked well as a double a-side along with “Unpretty”, as it is an optimistic song (“I know that through all the struggle there’s a bright road at the end of the tunnel”). Not to mention clever word play too: “you’ll learn life is worth it watch the tables turn”.

The Neptunes produced “In Your Arms Tonight”. From the very first beat it has Neptunes written all over it. Proving that TLC meeting the Neptunes works very well. Excellent production work continues with the again tough to describe, yet very good, Raphael Saddiq produced “So So Dumb”. Rodney Jerkins produced three tracks in total (“Turntable”, “Over Me”, and “Hey Hey Hey Hey”), all done well, without a doubt much credit belongs to the performers. Dallas Austin (Boyz II Men, Madonna’s “Secret”, Monica, P!nk, etc.) produces three tracks as well (“3D (Intro)”, “Quickie”, and “Damaged”).

As a whole, an excellent urban album. Again, Left Eye was a terrible loss, as is the case for Aaliyah, we can only imagine the high caliber of music that may have been released.

Bad Religion quote #16

I know I’m part of something greater than myself
We’re all engaging in a game of attrition
Maybe god is just a chemical fiction
I’m a monkey with a madding affliction

Bad Relgion - New Maps of HellFrom New Maps of Hell.

Album page at badreligion.com includes the commentary of Brett on recording New Maps of Hell. The page for the deluxe edition has commentary from both Brett and Greg on recording the bonus material.

New feature, Music Video of the Day (Sia – Soon We’ll Be Found)

Starting today, a new blog/twitter feature: Music Video of the Day!

I first made reference on Twitter July 19 to the new feature. I was delaying as I want to make the effort to keep this feature going everyday. Mostly it will be a Twitter feature, but if I feel like writing more than 140 characters, I’ll carry it over to the blog.

As I am a music fanatic, I also quite like music videos, so it should not be too hard to keep going. I’ve already bookmarked some picks in advance to make sure I can keep the feature going. I’ll gladly take recommendations too, just comment, tweet (@tmmblog), or email.

On with the first selection!

Sia – Soon We’ll Be Found

From Sia’s 2008, Some People Have Real Problems is where the first selection comes. The song itself is sure to bring chills down one’s spine, and the accompanying music video is very well done, telling a story with shadows for the most part. A nice example of a great song and video.

Kelis – Flesh Tone

“A distinct departure from the urban sound of her previous album” Wikipedia states. One might say that. And it is certainly true. From the first few seconds once the “Intro” gets going, it is clear it is not contemporary R&B, or even what we are used to from Kelis. Rather leaning to electro. Upon hearing the beginning for the very first time, I was looking forward to hearing the album in its entirety (I only saw a snippet of the video for “Acapella” early on, but never paid attention, as in some cases I like to listen to the album as a whole the first time without hearing the single).

With Flesh Tone, Kelis really relies on electro/house for the entire album. And with that numerous producers and writers in the genres. I counted no less than 10 different producers and 21 different writers. The album is 9 tracks, plus 6 segues.

Speaking of the segue tracks, they really are a track of their own almost, in that they perfectly go from one track to the next, hence ‘segue’. Insofar that unless one knew they were there, they would really be hard to notice. Thus it makes for a great house/club/DJ record.

Segue 1 goes from the electro “22nd Century” to the excellent house/dance “4th of July (Fireworks)”. The latter has elements, in particular the electro backing, that reminds me considerably of a Radiohead/Thom Yorke track (mentioned in the album preview I’d reveal who it reminded me of). The track actually samples a Lioness remix of “You’re My Heart” by Pilotpriest. The piano backing is what is sampled, along with a select part of the house element from the original. I normally do not listen to remixes, however I do like when samples are used, and used well, in that the sample in question adds to the new track, making it its own thanks to the sample, while still giving kudos for the sample. The track was produced by DJ Ammo, who I believe must be responsible for the electro element.

Start to finish the album keeps the listeners attention. “Emancipate / Segue 5” is an uplifting song that flows into “Brave” which seems to be about Kelis being strong, and finally “Song For The Baby” is literally that, as she was pregant during the recording process. It is also noted in “Brave” (“It was crazy, Had a baby. He’s amazin, He saved me”). Also recorded when she had no label, perhaps for this reason she was free to choose her own direction, (“Emancipate Yourself”).

What is really impressive is the fact that Kelis pulled off such a drastic style change, and did it so well. From first hearing “Caught Out There”, her first singe, back in 1999, it was fairly obvious she was talented. However to make this album sound as if she has been in the electro house genre for years is a mighty feat. Perhaps not for Kelis though.

Apparently Kelis wanted to get people to dance again, hence this record. I dare say, mission accomplished!

Listen to: “22nd Century”, “Brave”. And of course the whole album!

Music videos:

Acapella
4th Of July (Fireworks)

Pet pleasure:

Kelis Flesh Tone Webisodes

It Might Get Loud film review

Three musicians, united by their love for the electric guitar.

It Might Get Loud features Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White, three guitarists with very different styles, and backgrounds, coming together to talk about the electric guitar, and play together as well. Jack White, who seems to be well on his way to being an accomplished guitarist can probably consider himself lucky to have been included in the three (even though it was about the generational thing). As he mentions early in the film, before the three get together how he is planning on tricking them (Jimmy Page and The Edge) into teaching him their techniques. The trio of musicians work well together, of three different time periods.

The film starts with Jack Black creating a simple one string guitar, and then saying “who says you need to buy a guitar”. With Jack, that seems to be a common theme, the simplicity being something he very much appreciates. As is obvious with his favourite song of all time, Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face”, just singing and clapping, one man against the world. Also the case with his primary band The White Stripes, of course being a two piece band. He refers to the Flat Duo Jets, who had only guitar, drums and vocals. Simplicity again, as very little is needed to be able to form a band and rock out.

It also features each particular musicians background, how each chose the guitar, or how the guitar chose them. With that comes a background on their respective musical ventures, however it does not go into great depth, as the main subject is indeed the guitar.

Jack White, and Jimmy Page have blues backgrounds as major influences, while The Edge refers to having seen the Jam on Top of the Pops, and that was big for him. Images of The Jam, the Buzzcocks, and the Ramones goes by while The Edge states, “if we believed fully in what we were about, that actually was far more important than how well you could play”. Very true about punk rock.

The film was released August 14, 2009, a few months after U2’s latest, No Line on the Horizon. During the film though, The Edge is seen in his Dublin home presumably, working on the guitar for “Get on Your Boots”.

Notable is Jimmy Page discussing recording at Headley Grange. Also, The Edge discussing the inspiration behind “Sunday Blood Sunday”. Also The Edge’s guitar technician describing how he very rarely uses the same guitar effect twice during a concert.

I never was too fond of The White Stripes, however after seeing this film, I might just have to give them more of a listen, along with Jack’s side projects. For education purposes of course!

All in all a definitely worthwhile film to see for fans of any rock based music, even if just to see the three of them jamming, playing eachother’s music, and discussing how particular riffs came about. The history is well worth it too.

Since the film has been out for a while now, I checked it out on DVD, and the DVD bonus features are worth checking out too.

Two quality folk EPs (Martha Wainwright and Lissie)

First up, Martha Wainwright’s I Will Internalize. Released in 2005. This is a fairly straightforward folk album. Martha Wainwright’s voice suited very well for folk.

The album starts off with “I Will Internalize”, which really is a traditional folk song (in that it fits the bill, not that it is a cover), nicely done is how she emphasizes the words ‘moon’ and ‘night’, in the lyric “And the moon is lost every night”, and similarly on the rest of the verse. On “Baby”, nice vocal emphasis is placed on the line “I know, I know, I know, I know” throughout the song. It’s a strong acoustic guitar backed track.

Her brother Rufus guests on “Bring Back My Heart”, with almost Thom Yorke like vocals.

Probably not at all related, however “New York, New York, New York” reminds me of Dylan’s “Talkin’ New York”, as she has her New York woes with not being able to find a room to stay in (there just ain’t no vacancy).

With Martha having released her Piaf record, where she sings none other than Édith Piaf, “Dis, quand reviendras-tu?” demonstrates how well she can sing in French. The song is originally done by Barbara (Monique Andrée Serf), who herself actually has sung Piaf before as well.

A completely different folk EP, Lissie’s Why You Runnin’. Lissie being more Americana styled folk, with a touch of country and southern inspiration.

Lissie was born in Rock Island Illinois, part of the Quad Cities, two of which are in Illinois (Moline and Rock Island), and two in Iowa (Davenport and Bettendorf). An area I have visited as I have family roots in that area, so it gives me a good idea of where she is coming from. The Quad Cities of course part of the midwest, and bordering the Mississippi. “Oh Mississippi” is an ode to said mighty river, unfortunately now laden with pollutants.

Why You Runnin’ is her first major release, an EP released on Fat Possum records. It was released last November, and her debut is now out in the United Kingdom, and is being released Stateside and in North America tomorrow, August 17.

“Little Lovin'” is just loaded with Americana, lyrics such as”Appalachian farmer”, “Mississippi moonchild”, “Fightin’ Illini”, and “Tenne saw what you see” to name a few examples. It is a very catchy number that builds up to the EP album title lyric, “why you runnin'”, and continues on to the end with with whoas, and handclaps, and the same guitar chord repeated. Making for a track that progresses nicely.

“Everywhere I Go” is a striking track, with well placed percussion accenting the track.

All in all, two folk EPs, that are different in style, but share the fact they are both excellent releases.