the psychedelic musical wave of the late 60s has peaked, but its influence lives on. in fact psychedelic music is alive and well today.
this week i'll share psychedelic sounds from the last few years.
to the left is/are tame impala. tripster yes, and they can play, write, and sing with anyone.
still based on recreating the experiences of psychedelic experiences, you may be surprised to hear psychedelic tracks from artists as diverse as r&b sylist janelle monae and country-western uber outlaw, sturgill simpson. not to mention new music from classic trippers, pink floyd.
this week we go deep...
two of the most free-flowing, deep, improvisational bands play a half-hour song each.
first we back 45 years to one of the earliest and bestest live improvisational bands, mountain. the play the 1/2 hour version of their classic song, "nantucket sleighride":
Fly your willow branches
Wrap your body round my soul
Lay down your reeds and drums on my soft sheets
There are years behind us reaching
To the place where hearts are beating
And I know you're the last true love I'll ever meet
then it's the heaviest, most versitile, and complex performance ever by umphrey's mcgee. from a live performance last year, these guys show both the past and the future of improvisational music of all genres.
last year saw a better than average crop of exciting music. (iowa has got me waxing poetica--farm style).
from the beautifully haunting melodies of coldplay's "ghost stories" (yes, this is in contention for album of the year in my opinion), to the creative, semi-electronic pop of norway's royksopp [pictured], and across genres to acoustic masterpieces by robert plant and alt-j....2014 heard it all.
one of my blissful pleasures from last year was eric clapton & friends' ode to jj cale. it was a smooth, rolling pleasure.
u2 surprised a lot of people by showing that their passion hasn't faded as much as the years have. and the black keys continue to show us the force of a three-piece rock band.
what a great year for new music. and some old musicians making new music too.
no reasonable person can say what the best album of 2014 was, but it'd be hard to argue that any of these weren't among the best.
the music ranged from the raucus (foo fighters) to the subtly sublime (beck, coldplay), and featured some certified geniuses (jackson browne, leonard cohen, u2, tom petty) to possible geniuses (broken bells, tv on the radio).
then there's the guy with a little of both: john lennon's son sean [pictured with co-musician/singer charlotte kemp muhl], whose psychedlic album "midnight sun" should not be overlooked by those reviewing the past year.
there was so much great music released this last year that i'll spend 2 weeks reviewing it. so this is just part 1 folks.
one of my favorite shows: christmas mashups.
you know mashups: take a bit of this song, mix it briliantly with that song, and blend two completely different emotional and musical contents into one new outrageous song. well this year, the challenge is even greater, as i found some brilliant, creative, outrageous, hilarious, and touching musical christmas mashups.
you'll hear led zeppelin, u2, the beatles, motown classics, and lines like the police classic: "rudolph the red-nosed raindeer, you don't have to put on the red light," and mashups of smokey robinson/jingle bells/queen that will leave you breathless and amazed (and perhaps laughing in the spirit of christmas creativity).
it all started years ago with david bowie/bing crosby which inspired combinations like muse's "madness" mashed with "white christmas," the soon to be classic "don't worry be happy/winter wonderland," and "carol of the bells/papa was a rolling stone." and there's the beatles's "feliz navidad" that you'll swear is better than the original of both songs that are mashed.
this hour ends with my own mashup of 6 different versions of "carol of the bells."
each combination gets better and better if i do say, which makes this the best show i've ever done. and i do say so.
this week paul mccartney released a new single, and since john's not around to say it, i will: it's complete shite. but that doesn't mean the 4 beatles didn't release a lot of good individual music after their 1970 break up.
40 years ago george, paul, ringo, and john each released solo albums, and this week i combine their best tracks into the beatles album that could've happened.
between the lazy tracks each of them released some very creative work. and yet when listening to any one song, while there is some self-consciousness of the other former-members' existance, you don't get the dynamic push or critique from the others, that could have enhanced these songs.
nonetheless, it's a great way to get a feel for the band as a whole--4 years after they quit playing together. and maybe a taste of what could have continued to be.
turn on, tune in, and drop in... for some great trips down pink floyd's new cd, perfectly titled, "endless river."
that title describes their music well: you experience it like a fascinating flow of energy that keeps moving out from their primordial well of sounds...
to keep the ambient waves flowing, i'll intersperse their music with cell (the group; not the biological unit).
what a great holiday thanksgiving is. its premise is so simple: get together with as many friends and/or relatives as you possibly can, eat as much as you possibly can, and try to avoid killing them or yourself.
i'm here to help. here's what you need to know:
1. how to eat pumpkin pie: see photos, right.
2. how to enjoy eating and/or digesting from 8:00-9:00 pm thursday night, and 8:00-9:00 am sunday morning: enjoy an hour of music about (and only about) food.
you'll hear weird al yankovic enjoying the state of fatness, a tribe called quest and jimmy buffet each discuss their conflicts with vegetarianism, the beatles getting their stomach pumped after eating too many truffles, snoop lion enjoying fruit juices, and the beach boys proclaiming the joys of vegetables, wild honey, and cool, pure water.
it's an hour about food. so be sure to eat responsibly.
"hygge" - that danish word that gets activated during the beginning of the cold months...
denmark always tops the lists of the happiest, most contented countries, despite its long cold winters. even among other happy scandinavian countries, it leads the pack, and the concept of hygge may have something to do with that.
it's pronounced kind of "hyu-gah" and is even harder to define: like a campfire coziness, but also the warmth of friends around a table. and on my show this week you'll find hygge in sharing the experience of sharing some cozy, wintery tunes from around the world: uganda, ireland, ghana, australia, nigeria, scotland, hawaii, and denmark...
so what is hygge? it's mostly internal, the inner sense of contentment. "it's like a feeling," says lotte hansen, a student from aalborg, denmark, who's interning at the danish museum in elk horn, iowa. "a mood you have in many situations."
i've played in a few bands over the years. one of the problems with keeping the band together is whether the musicians are compatible, musically, personally. another issue is goals: one personal just wants to get together and play, another wants to record, another wants to tour. all those things can break up a band if they don't gel just right.
the bands i enjoyed playing with the most had great moments that transcended all those differences. that's when the music was so great that it didn't matter what else was going on. beginning at age 14 until my fuse blew and blisters burst, i've been blessed to play with some of the best musicians in the midwest, and have had more than a few of those musically transcendent moments.
since i probably won't be able to get all the bands back together again any time soon, i'm going to share our (collective) first hour setlist, featuring the original artists' live versions of the songs we used to play.
so thanks kelly, gino, john, pat, mark, jim, mark, john, scott, joe, and myron. and everyone else. enjoy our first set vicariously...