Today marks the debut of my new podcast called The Listening Experience. It branches off a bit from Book’s Music but I want to try a few new things in this one, which I will do in the weeks/months to come. The show remains, for the time being, 90 minutes in length although if you think it would be better if it was compacted to 60 minutes, let me know. As you can see, I don’t have a special logo for The Listening Experience so for now it’s basic.
The Listening Experience podcast #1 by Booksmusic on Mixcloud
The Last Southern Gentlemen (Troubadour Jass) isn’t just a way Delfeayo Marsalis kindly calls himself or members of his family, but a number of people in New Orleans and perhaps a state of mind that may be slowly disappearance. The music represents the last of the tribe, perhaps heading into the sunset for one last right or maybe it’s a celebration of being a gentlemen, or merely having manners and let eveyrone know that this is what classiness is and sounds like.
Outside of Delfeayo playing his trombone with finesse, he welcomes his father, Ellis Marsalis, to play the piano throughout the album and that in itself is class of the highest order. When you hear these songs, you’re not only hearing the warmth of the Marsalis family but the sound, people, and charm of New Orleans. Son and father are also joined by drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith and bassist John Clayton, playing in a way that may bring to mind the feeling and scents of the outdoors (“I Cover The Waterfront”) or seeing things that may be enjoyed but are meant to be told in an intimate manner (“My Romance” and “But Beautiful” are two examples). As the liner notes say, the music may represent a bygone era but through music, it is still very much here if you know where to find it. When played by four of the remaining gentlemen of the south, you will wish that there were more people like this spreading the movement to a bigger level. Then again, that will definitely bring to mind what The Big Easy is all about, in its purest form.
Not No Moe (Select-O-Hits/Phxieous Entertainment/B.A.R. Muzik/Wyte Music) is Fraysey Boy rapping about the day in the life of himself, his family, friends, and everyone within his vicinity. Sometimes his way of living is nice, othertimes it’s an everyday struggle but he deal with it in a way that allows him to live the best way possible. If there’s only one thing that makes this album work sharper than it is, it’s that most of the songs have a similar vibe and keeps itself at the same BPM (beats per minute). I like the laid back feel but I would’ve liked something more uptempo at least once, just to show how diverse he could be. With that said, what he does have to offer is satisfactory and if you’re into that intoxicating frame of mind, this is that hip-hop album for you.
If you’re looking to travel around the world without leaving your easy chair, the easiest way to do it is with music and one person who will help you out is Tom Teasley. The Love Of The Nightingale (self-released) is said to be a “Greek/Balkan fantasy world” and he plays fifteen different instruments to get his point across, from the entrance of the marketplace to leaving on an ocean to find a new world and civilization. The world he creates is one from his own mind, but it sounds like it was played by five or more people, whether it’s something that is meant to sound sensuous to something that could be the origins of an evening party. The album shows the world as a beautiful place, despite what you read in the headlines and news.
The Black Watch play some decent rock here on the indie side of things, which also has a nice pop approach to it, but one has to warm up to these songs to get a full feel of it. Once the songs get to a warm level, as it does in the second song “There You Were”, it gets a bit blisterning but doesn’t move for awhile. Eventually it gets locked in a nice place but when it does, it left me wondering “what had taken these guys to get up to the hill?” The music is good but the way the album is programmed doesn’t work for me. When I adjusted the playlist, it worked fine as if it was goth-y or new wave-y and it sparkles nicely, but only nicely.
As I was listening to The March Divide‘s Billions (self-rleeased), I tried to hear their brand of pop/rock a bit more abrasive, as if they were trying to be a younger version of Green Day, Offspring, or any other band with a bit of punk pop power to it, but they don’t quite get there. That’s not a complaint, that’s actually a good thing and while the music would have welcomed a harder sheen, I like what they do here for they’re open to bringing in country, folk, and Americana influences that might have been overlooked if they did it in a different way. Some of it sounds like Lenny Kravitz if the style of rock he grew up with were a different set of bands, and that’s due to how Jared Putnam uses his voice. When the songs are more pop friendly, he could easily become a new heartthrob if he wanted that, but I don’t know what the ladies (or men) would think of him being a hunky vocalist. I think what carries the spirit throughout Billions is how the music drives from beginning to end and sometimes within the verse/chorus/verse structure, because they’re well written and done in a way that has a lot of thought.
Heartbeat Overdrive (Chicken Ranch) by Moonlight Towers is an album consisting of good ol’ rock’n’roll music without any complications. It’s direct and to the point, it’s straightforward, and it sounds like songs that you could play at family gatherings and in your long evening drives without fear or regret. Some of it reminds of that gutsy music that seemed to always be around in the late 70’s and early 80’s, where people like Bruce Springsteein, Southside Johnny, The Hooters, and The Producers would record just because it felt good, and perhaps that’s why it’s called Heartbeat Overdrive (or one of the reasons why), you’ll feel this where it counts but you think it’s too much for you, too good for you. Nonetheless, it’s satisfying and you don’t want to let go of that feeling. Moonlight Towers are out of Austin, Texas but they’re not going to remain there for long, for they’re going to do some serious traveling with this release.
(Heartbeat Overdrive will be released on November 11th.)
Here’s another interesting album that fits in along with what I’ve been listening to as of late. It’s rock’n’roll that doesn’t get too much of this or that, nor does it lack the qualities that makes rock’n’roll so moving. It also has a sense of pop sensibilities that would make this work in a number of markets, as if a lot of musicians are realizing what’s missing in the mainstream, and many of them are pushing it forward to get people back into that frame of mind. That may be what Stephen Doster is doing with his new album Arizona (Atticus). The music sounds like some of the best moments in your favorite songs by Billy Joel, Chicago, Loggins & Messina, and even a bit of Squeeze. I hate to say this sounds like American music, as that incorporates a wide range of different styles from different places, but there was a time when that style of music was plentiful, not only on the radio but everywhere. When it’s no longer there, you realize how much you miss it, and perhaps this is why people want to hear and feel it again. Doster has created music that has an essence, and I hope more people will understand why it’s here and keep it active for a long time.
(Arizona will be released on November 4th.)
The Luminous Heart Of Nowhere is the new album by Pink Avalanche and you can bet they have a lot to share with fans who enjoy their music. They’ve turned “In Empty Spaces” into a video and this one is going to open up your abdomens and leave it open in order for it to heal. Can you feel it? Can you?
The Chicago band will be hitting the road next month, so catch them if they are of interest to you:
November 14… Chicago, IL (Subterranean) *
November 15… Grand Rapids, MI (Founder’s Brewery) *
November 16… Columbus, OH (Double Happiness) *
November 17… Cleveland, OH (Grog Shop) *
November 18… Philadelphia, PA (The Boot and Saddle) *
November 19… Washington, DC (DC9) *
November 20… Allston, MA (Great Scott) *
November 21… Pawtucket, RI (The Met) *
November 22… Brooklyn, NY (Brooklyn Night Bazaar) */@
* = w/ Survival Knife, Hungry Ghost
@ = w/ Obits
The Luminous Heart Of Nowhere will be released on November 18th through Past/Futures.
As a rapper, Julian Juellz always has something to say and he makes his way to the microphone with “Rider Music” but wait a minute: he was able to get Skyzoo to flow beautifully within the tune. Now it’s complete. From Switzerland to Brooklyn, quality hip-hop moves forward with pride.
Virginia Wing’s new album will be out on November 4th, called Measures Of Joy and today, you’ll be able to see and hear one of their measures for your own measure. This South London combo have nothing to fear, thus the reason they wanted to create a video for “Marnie” so here it is, a nice mixture of rock and psychedelic touches. Far out? It may be.