Category Archives: Music

Music Reviews from WOBC staff. Includes Best New Music and From the WOBC Vault.

Heat from the Vault, pt. II

curtis knight - down in the village 1970
Curtis Knight - Down in the Village (R&B/Rock)

Curtis Knight was a guitar player who’s musical output was sadly overshadowed by his connection to Jimi Hendrix. This entire album is consistently amazing, with floor-shaking drums and bass (play it in the booth), and top-notch songwriting by Mr. Night. The WOBC copy is cleaner and more crackle-free than the youtube clip.

His other releases are worth checking out too. The self-produced “UFO” shows off his versatility.
Continue reading Heat from the Vault, pt. II

Heat from the Vault

Calvin Keys – Proceed With Caution! (Jazz)
calvin-keys_proceed-with-cautionCalvin Keys is a Jazz and session guitarist from the Bay Area who has played with greats like Ray Charles and Bobby Hutcherson. This is his second solo album on the label. Again, this has a sweet cover, with a leapord skin-clad Keys scowling straight at the camera. The music is equally good. It was released in 1974 on the famed Black Jazz label. Like other early 70s Black Jazz titles, this record is full of loud drums (provided by the talented Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, who would go on to play drums on Michal Jackson’s “Billie Jean”), and Fender Rhodes. Most of the album is straight-ahead jazz, but tracks like the soul-influenced “Aunt Lovely” depart from that format.

Continue reading Heat from the Vault

Top 30: 5/9/11

Bill Callahan
Bill Callahan

Top 30 is  a weekly section of the blog where we show the 30 most played artists and albums on WOBC. Each entry links to the artist’s MySpace (or other free music player) so you can check out some of this music for yourself!

1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues *^
2. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
3. Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk
4. J Mascis – Several Shades of Why
5. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
6. Joy Formidable – The Big Roar *
7. Julian Lynch – Terra *
8. The Strokes – Angles
9. Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing *
10. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
11. Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
12. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me
13. Computer Magic – Electronic Fences
14. Thao and Mirah – Thao and Mirah
15. Kort – Invariable Heartache *
16. Autechre – EPs 1991-2002
17. Herzog – Search
18. Kellarissa – Moon of Neptune
19. Josh T. Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
20. Savage Young Taterbug  – Theme for Gasoline Weirdo
21. Girls Names – Dead to Me
22. Poly Styrene – Generation Indigo
23. Wombats – This Modern Glitch *^
24. Antlers – Burst Apart *^
25. Of Montreal – Thecontrollersphere
26. Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some
27. Teengirl Fantasy – 7am
28. Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
29. Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose
30. Darlings – Warma EP

FROM THE VAULT: Lee Hazlewood – Requiem for an Almost Lady

Lee Hazlewood - Requiem for an Almost Lady

To say that time forgot Lee Hazlewood isn’t quite right, but he’s not exactly a household name, either. He’s the other half of the Nancy (Sinatra) and Lee tandem, the relatively obscure pop genius behind “These Boots Were Made for Walkin.’” His crotchety baritone and air-tight lyrics put him in the same league – in a lot of ways – as Leonard Cohen, or at least Tim Hardin, but he’s got a wry streak that you’d be hard pressed to find from other late-‘60’s/early-‘70’s troubadours.

To say that time forgot his 1971 album Requiem for an Almost Lady is a little more on-point. Originally only released in Sweden and the UK, it was re-released in 1999 on CD in the US. When the board was rearranging CDs in the pop vault, I found the station’s copy. His name rang a bell, since I’ve been on a Nancy Sinatra kick for the better part of a year now, and the greatness of her collaborations with Hazlewood has never been lost on me. This was the first Hazlewood solo I’d come across, and it seems as good a place as any to start.

There’s a self-consciously campy quality to Requiem that will endear some, and no doubt irk others. It is, first and foremost, a breakup album, and Hazlewood never minces words (though he doesn’t give any names). He introduces each of the ten songs on this album with some self-styled platitude about romance, and that’s where most of the camp lies. He could be your creepy uncle, the wizened dude pounding Wild Turkey at the end of the bar, or the poet laureate of something in between. “In the beginning there was nothing,” he says in the album’s opening seconds, “but it sure was fun to watch nothing grow.” He offsets those kinds of wistful remembrances with deadpans like: “I’m glad I never owned a gun.” I happen to like this combo. It works best songs like “I’m Glad I Never,” “Little Miss Sunshine (Little Miss Rain),” and “If It’s Monday Morning,” the latter two of which rival any of Hardin’s or Kris Kristofferson’s hits. While the album isn’t all gems, these cuts alone make it worth the listen.

Given his status as a niche songwriter, it makes sense that Hazlewood doesn’t carry the name-recognition that Kristofferson, Hardin, or Cohen do. Still, he’s a nice foil to these guys. For every great songwriter inspired by the craftsmanship of these songwriters, there are others who tend to embody only their more lachrymose and affected moments. If there were more songwriters like Hazlewood, people might write pop songs better able to express the conflicting emotions – a little more sunshine, a little more rain — that come with heartbreak (save his concession that he’d “rather be her enemy than have her call me friend”). But Lee’s all we’ve got, and that’s really not so bad.

RIYL: Tim Hardin, Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen, Nancy Sinatra

(Matt Orenstein)

Lee Hazelwood – If It’s Monday Morning

PINK REASON at The Sco on April 30th

A FREE show with opener Circuit Des Yeux. 10 PM.

Pink Reason

“It’s been nearly four years since Cleaning the Mirror came out, and in that time Kevin Failure’s production has been slow but steady, a half-dozen singles and EPs, each of them a concise statement, each of them different from the last. Put those postcard missives together and you can chart an atlas of depression, of a guy’s struggles with a darkness that threatens to swallow him up every… day. Or you can map Failure’s travels around the globe, from Wisconsin and Ohio, through Melbourne and Santiago de Chile, and finally to New York City, places where Failure has been both catalyst and receptor to a global scene’s underground energies. The evidence of those four years, and then some, are inscribed in the six songs of Shit in the Garden, the new Pink Reason LP and Failure’s best work to date.

Unlike the myriad bands dumping product into a ceaseless internet datastream, Pink Reason demands and repays scrutiny. Try and dissect it like an owl pellet and you’ll give up in frustration: it won’t disintegrate into a million parts, into a vomitous bundle of “influences,” effects, and references. It holds together, it resists description, analysis, generic classification. It writhes away and gives you the slip, only to blossom in your memory when you least expect it. Listen to these six songs and you’ll hear weeks, months, even years of labor and experience compressed into five- and six-minute songs. Great songs, songs that reveal themselves to you little by little and then close up again, songs that will probably stay with you for the rest of your life. Pink Reason rewards that attention and dedication because Failure doesn’t repeat himself, and because, like all the best punk records, each release feels like a hard-earned victory over indifference, depression, and self-destructive rage.

Now that the dust is settling and the commercial concerns of a thousand “lo-fi” projects have vacated the underground for a better life in the dorm rooms of America, the influence of Cleaning the Mirror on the past half-decade is clear. Failure is still here, using the cheapest technology imaginable to create rich, enveloping psychological environments, to give voice to a restless inner life, his music blooming like sunflowers amid the debris.”

Sixteen Years by pinkreason

Top 30: 4/26/11

TV On The Radio
TV On The Radio

Top 30 is  a weekly section of the blog where we show the 30 most played artists and albums on WOBC. Each entry links to the artist’s MySpace (or other free music player) so you can check out some of this music for yourself!

1. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
2. The Strokes – Angles
3. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
4. Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk
5. Autechre – EPs 1991-2002 *
6. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
7. J Mascis – Several Shades of Why
8. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse *^
9. Darlings – Warma EP
10. Yelle – Safari Disco Club
11. Herzog – Search
12. Blood Stereo – Tape Hiss for Brainwash *
13. Fresh and Onlys – Secret Walls EP *
14. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key *
15. Vivian Girls – Share the Love *
16. Hunx and his Punx – Too Young to be in Love
17. As We Draw – Lines
18. Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean *
19. Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler *
20. Weeknd – House of Balloons
21. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
22. Panda Bear – Tomboy
23. Kellarissa – Moons of Neptune
24. Jad Fair – Beautiful Songs: The Best of Jad Fair
25. Computer Magic – Electronic Fences
26. Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some
27. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
28. Girls Names – Dead to Me *^
29. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End *^
30. Thao and Mirah – Thao and Mirah *^

* = New to the top 30
^ = new to WOBC