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06 Aug

The Listen List

Sounds that are not silent this week:

Albums

1. “Elton Duck” by Elton Duck – After 30-something years, an album of terrific pop/new wave finally sees the light of day from a group that included future Bangle Michael Steele. Little bits of Blondie, Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, and Sparks rolled into a tasty, yet too-long-delayed, set.

2. “The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2” by Joss Stone – The reviews have not been glowing on this, yet I have really enjoyed it. Some lost R&B gems get a new life here and I appreciate it and think she does a very good job with them. BTW – yes, I have heard all the originals and frankly, not all of them stand the test of time. So this refresh is, well, refreshing. So to all the reviewers out there who are dissing her for doing these songs, I say go blow your pretentiousness out yer arse and just relax and enjoy.

3. “Fleetwood Mac” and “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac – Thanks to a sale at Amazon, I got these to revisit and marvel at all over again.

4. “Electra Heart” by Marina and the Diamonds – It’s like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga had a baby. It’s not awesome, but it is pretty fun. How can you resist a song called “Bubblegum Bitch?”

5. “The Very Best of Chicago” by Chicago – I’ve resisted buying any Chicago product ever since seeing them in concert way back in 1987. The concert was bland and they were truly assholes on stage. I think they were pissed that the audience was about 1/2 full and were requesting stuff like “Colour My World.” But it was hard to resist and I finally had to give in to hear both the brilliant early years and the latter day David Foster schlock (although pretty damn good schlock).

Songs

1. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac – I dunno. This song gets me every time. Brilliance by Ms. Nicks.

2. “First Taste of Hurt” by Joss Stone – This song is an extra track on the deluxe version of the album above. Not sure why it was an extra because it bests a lot of the songs that made the regular release. This is one where the original by Willie Tee is pretty damn sweet.

3. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” by Kathy Mattea – Just such a great country song by a wonderful artist.

4. “Yo, Mister” by Patti LaBelle – Ms. LaBelle vs. Prince. Dee-lishus. She goes all freaky crazy near the end. Did well on the R&B chart, but should have been a pop hit as well.

5. ” Bubblegum Bitch” by Marina and the Diamonds – C’mon, the title alone belongs on this list.

 

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25 Jun

The Listen List

What the shooby-dooby in my drums are this week:

Albums

1. “Heaven” by Rebecca Ferguson – she was runner-up in the UK’s “X-Factor.” Usually these albums after the competition are a mixed bag at best, but this is a quiet stunner. Beautiful R&B/Pop all co-written by her. Simply lovely.

2. “Our Version of Events” by Emile Sande – the UK is pushing out terrific artists lately like this one. Oddly enough, her lead single is called “Heaven” (see above, but not the same). A bit different from Rebecca Ferguson, but another nice disc to seek out.

3. “The One, The Only” by Chantal Claret – I discovered this young retro throwback a couple of months ago. If Duffy took one step closer to rock, then it might sound like Chantal.

4. “Best of” by Kylie Minogue – really was never too much of a fan, but if you put all of her UK hits on a disc and give it a spin, it is pretty terrific dance/pop. Especially diggin’ the song “Slow.”

5. “Synthetica” by Metric – a total all-female top 5! This female-fronted group is along the lines of Goldfrapp and has a nice edgy sound.

Songs

1. “Hurry Hurry” by Air Traffic Controller – from their Bleu-produced new disc, this song should be a hit. Poppy, jumpy, frantic and quick – much like what the message of the song is. Will probably be one of my favorites of the year.

2. “Shoulder to Shoulder” by Rebecca Ferguson – I dare you to find a more beautiful song out there right now. Brilliant. (Bonus points for using the word “whilst” in the lyrics.)

3. “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” by Chris DeBurgh – remember his mushy “Lady in Red?” Yeah, this is not that.

4. “Bella Donna” by Stevie Nicks – downloaded the witchy woman’s solo disc and forgot about this title track.

5. “New Song” by Howard Jones – I was stuck in the 80s again this week. Just try listening to this without smiling or bopping your head side-to-side….just throw of your mental chains!  Woo-woo-woo!

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25 May

The Listen List

What is beatin’ on my eardrums this week:

Albums

1. “Blunderbuss” by Jack White – This album has really grown on me. I like it from the start, but now I’m lovin’ it. I always appreciated the White Stripes but was never a huge fan. But this one is turning me into a big Jack White fan.

2. “Vows” by Kimbra – Hopefully here guest vocal on Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” will provide enough exposure to get folks to buy this. Great voice, songs, and production. A really good listen.

3. “The Ultimate Bee Gees” by Bee Gees – Another brother goes away too early…

4. “Trespassing” by Adam Lambert – His debut had moment, but like most Idol debuts it was messy. This album as a whole is far more cohesive and sounds like an artist’s album rather than one dictated by producers and such. Surprisingly good album.

5. “Out of the Game” by Rufus Wainwright – Finally, he lightens up the mood! Welcome back!

 

Songs

1. “Sixteen Saltines” by Jack White – It is the hardest song on the album and one of the best. And there is something really both funny and creepy about the lyrics that gets me. Starts right off in the opening line of “She’s got stickers on her locker…”

2. “Oh My!” by Haley Reinhart – An Idol alum from last year, she’s not someone I’d thought I’d be listening to, but her debut disc is actually pretty good. This opening track is a funky retro jam and fits her perfectly. It’s like Amy Winehouse and Duffy had a baby that is being babysat by Nancy Sinatra.

3. “Kickin’ In” by Adam Lambert – The song on the disc that I kept playing on repeat. Love the mish-mash of vocals on the chorus.

4. “Into the Wild” by LP – I thought I was over this song, but I’m not. Still in love with it and her siren voice.

5. “When the Rain Begins to Fall” by Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora – We found this great 80’s station on the radio in Portugal. They played tons of great songs and it took a few days before repeats snuck in. When this song came on I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t heard it since I bought the single back in the day. It’s pretty awful. It must have been a big hit in Europe because it was repeated several times. It has an equally horrific video…

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03 Mar

The Listen List

These are buzzin’ around my ears like mad bees this week:

Albums

1.  “Some Nights” by fun. – Although I had heard the song on “Glee” the other week, I didn’t know who the original artist was, and wasn’t that interested. But since Janelle Monáe was attached to the song and EW had an interesting write-up, I listened to the album. I’m glad I did. They have a great sound – kind of retro 70s glam with doses of Queen, yet tossing in some new flavor ala Scissor Sisters. It’s really…well…fun.

2.  “The Best of the Monkees” by the Monkees – I went through a major Monkees phase last year so the passing of Davy Jones was quite sad. I think this Rhino disc captures most of their best moments on one disc. But I still had to play the other studio albums for some choice tracks and memories.

3.  “The Singles” by Goldfrapp – A bunch of awesomeness collected on one disc plus two new choice tracks.

4.  “Purple Rain” by Prince – Finally picked up this disc after having the LP in storage all these years. Why was I waiting? “Computer Blue?” C’mon. This disc is a freakin’ masterpiece.

5.  “A Different Kind of Truth” by Van Halen – They really played this smart by reviving demos and songs they did back in the day. I think that contributed to this disc sounding like the old VH more than anything. This was an unexpected pleasure.

Songs

1.  “Fall From Grace” by Meat Loaf – A track off his upcoming disc and one written by the brilliant Bleu, who I was lucky to be in the studio with last year. Seek it out kids – this is a killer track.

2.  “Run Run Run” by the Explorers Club – Super delicious retro throwback with that pop 60s vibe. Should be in the backseat of a convertible with a martini being driven down the main South Beach drag.

3.  “These Days” by Foo Fighters – Choice track from their Grammy-winning album.

4.  “Some Nights” by fun. – This is the second single from their CD and I think is better that “We Are Young.”

5.  “Big Love” by Jim Moray – This guy is a folkie who revels in traditional British folk songs (like June Tabor) and gives them a modern update. On his excellent new disc “Skulk” he puts his skills down on this modern Fleetwood Mac tune (on banjo, no less) and makes if fit well among the ancient traditionals.

 

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28 Jan

The Listen List

What’s slicin’ through my mental static….

Songs

1. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye (featuring Kimba) – this chuggin’ little ditty got my attention the first time I heard it and I’ve been loving it since. Interesting video too.

 

2. “China Girl” by David Bowie – He’s getting some publicity because of his birthday, so of course I’ve been on the Bowie bandwagon for the past week. This song I will usual revisit many times.

3. “Afternoon Delight” by Bleu – One of my favorite artists covering one of my favorite awful songs of the 70s, and doing it brilliantly.

4. “Be Here Now” by Ray LaMontagne – Lead track from his second disc is beautifully haunting.

5. “I Believe” by Steve Perry – Got his debut solo disc finally after having the LP locked up in storage for years. I forgot this song which, in my opinion, should have been a single.

Albums

1. “Making Mirrors” by Gotye – Like the lead single (#1 above), this album has me hooked. It is like hearing Howard Jones and Steve Winwood having a musical make-out session with Wham!, Ultravox, and Tears for Fears watching. Drenched in 80s Euro influences but sounds fresh and new. The first album of 2012 I’m in love with.

2. “Lady Soul” by Aretha Franklin – Ever just have a bummer of a day? Of course you do. I did and tossed in this gem from the Queen of Soul. You just can’t feel bad listening to this masterwork.

3. “Madonna,” “Like a Virgin,” and “True Blue” by Madonna – Something got me in an early-Madge mood and I revisited her first 3 discs. Some brilliant tracks, some awful tracks, and some vocals that make you wonder how the hell she got a record contract in the first place (well, we all know why…wink/wink).

4. “4” by Foreigner – Picked this up with the aforementioned Steve Perry disc (and Yes’ “90210”). I had it going in the car and someone said “why are you listening to Foreigner?” I said, “I used to love this disc.” They said, “yeah, I did too – way back then. Not now.” Whatever, hater. I still like it.

5. “El Camino” by The Black Keys – Still gettin’ my groove on to this.

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