The Listening Experience podcast #1

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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

BOOK’S JOOK: Pretenders’ “Message Of Love”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    (NOTE: This past weekend, ?uestlove was posting album covers of some of his favorite bands in his Instagram and Facebook, highlighting their logos and talking about how they identified artists in a way that let people knew who they were and what they played. One of the bands he highlighted is one that brought back a memory of a certain album, which is what lead me to choose this week’s edition of Book’s Jook.

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    When MTV premiered in Honolulu, with visuals but no sound, on December 24, 1981, I did not know how much this cable network would change not only my life, but tons of other people’s lives in general. I’m sure I had seen records by The Pretenders at stores but never heard them on the radio, or at least they were not a primary focus of pop radio back then. They weren’t, they may have been on the rock stations on the FM but definitely not AM. When videos such as “Brass In Pocket”, “Talk Of The Town”, and “Kid” started getting a lot of MTV airplay, that paved the way for them to gain a much bigger American audience, not bad for a band with a vocalist with Ohio roots.

    By the time The Pretenders hopped into my vision, the group had already released two albums (Pretenders and Pretenders II) and an EP (Extended Play) but again, I didn’t notice them because I wasn’t listening to FM stations. When I became aware of who they were and moved to FM radio, then I realized how popular they were with DJ’s and listeners. While I liked the group’s poppier songs, I always find an attraction to the harder stuff, or at least I felt “Tattooed Love Boys” was the harder of their material, with James Honeyman-Scott’s guitar work ripping things apart. Pete Farndon’s bass work, and Martin Chambers’ insisting drums. Eventually I came across “Message Of Love”, which sounded a bit aggressive as well compared to “Brass In Pocket” and “Kid”. It’s hard to say even today what made me like this song at first: Chambers’ drum pattern, Honeyman-Scott’s strutting guitar, or when Farndom comes in to punch himself into the song. Yet what I also loved was Chrissie Hynde’s singing and lyrics. The song may have been about love, something I wasn’t concerned about yet, age 11, but who didn’t want to hear a love song? Maybe it was the lyric “look ’round the room/everybody stand up”, as if it was some calling to people at a concert hall, bringing in people and wanting to keep them revved up. Whatever the reason was, I fell in love with the song as deeply as the song’s romantic lyrics and I became a fan of theirs.

    (Odd Pretenders factoid: I was familiar with Grace Jones’ “Private Life” when I entered the Froggy’s store in Honolulu when the store played The Pretenders doing the same song. I knew it was Hynde but I thought “wow, this is a horrible verson, not realizing at the time that The Pretenders wrote and performed it first. I hear it differently now but it showed the power of what Jones could do with powerful material, a bit like her rendition of Roxy Music’s “Love Is The Drug”.)

    While “Message Of Love” and “Tattooed Love Boys” was not released back to back in any country, if I had a dream jukebox, I definitely would make a custom pressing of it and ave both of those songs on one 45. They are my favorite Pretenders songs and deserve to be with one another so for not, I’ll place “Message Of Love” within and make the jukebox happy.

  • AUDIO: K-Def & The 45 King’s “Back To The Beat”

    When it comes to quality hip-hop, longtime fans and supporters will give you a multitude of reasons as to why a lot of modern music isn’t working. One answer that pops up frequently is that you have to go back to the beats. That’s what K-Def did when he asked The 45 King to work with him on a new project concerning those beats and its importance. The end result is Back To The Beat, which you can stream in full above. It will make you feel like the classics have returned, but in a way they’re here to tell you that it has never left us. Find the beat within you and let it spread all over your abdomens.

    FREE DL: Copi Chon’s “Vulcanvacuum”

    Vulcanvacuum is a new album by Russian artist Copi Chon with music where the label states “let your own imagination go on this unusual musical road. The flow of sound will show you the way.” On this electronic journey, it’s not a mission of “anything goes” but when the mission begins, you’ll want to hang on. Eight songs, an adventure for all listeners. Come inside.

    FREE DL: Bless 1’s “Love”

    Aaron Brown wants you to get to know him and his music as Bless 1, and he’s doing so with an all-instrumental album simply called Love, which is what he puts into his creations and what he hopes others will feel through his sounds. The songs are not in the distance, they’re right with you to feel the warmth in the Love Brown/Bless 1 has created and give it a shot.

    RECORD CRACK: New Blondie vinyl box set on its way

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    Turn on the TV and you’ll hear the music of Blondie in TV shows, commercials, football games, or perhaps in a new motion picture. Their music continues to hold up and remains stronger than ever due to constant exposure, and now you will be able to get all of their albums with a brand new vinyl box set. Simply titled Blondie (UMC/Universal), the box features six of the band’s studio albums recorded between 1976 and 1982, considered the core of their discography. The albums are packaged to match the original pressings and are being pressed on 180g audiophile vinyl, with the albums stored in a sturdy slipcase box.

    MC are proud to present Blondie, Blondie’s studio LPs originally released between 1976 and 1982 brought together in a boxed set for the first time. Each LP will have exact reproductions of original artwork to retain authenticity, and will be pressed 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl and contained in a rigid slipcase box. While Blondie had been known between 1976 and 1978, it wasn’t until their third album, 1978’s Parallel Lines, lead people to make them a household name. Was Debbie Harry named Blondie or was that the name of a the band, a constant question as “Heart Of Glass” became a surprise disco hit all over the radio. “One Way Or Another” showed that perhaps these New Yorkers were perhaps not a fluke, and it would lead to healthy record stores and constant airplay not only on pop radio, but rock stations as well. The box does feature their first two albums, Blondie and Plastic Letters, records that didn’t gain momentum until they started having hits and would become favored on radio stations that catered to pop punk and eventually new wave music. While the box doesn’t feature all of their hits (“Call Me” was a part of the American Gigolo soundtrack and wasn’t released on a proper album until Ki>The Best Of Blondie album in 1981), it does feature everything else, including key album tracks that have been favorites for decades.

    The Blondie vinyl box set will be out on December 1st.

    BOOK REVIEW: Frank Owen’s “Beastie Boys: Book Deluxe”

     photo BeastieBoysBOOK_cover_zps890f5e3f.jpg With a title like Book Deluxe (Sterling), you definitely would expect for a book about the Beastie Boys to be packed with a lot of information and photographs. Fortunately, Frank Owen does a very good job in a book that has the statement “unofficial and unauthorized” on the back cover, away to say that none of the surviving members of the Beastie Boys had a hand in offering information. What the book does offer is a nice history of how Adam Horovitz, Michael “Clarence” Diamond, and Adam Yauch grew up and eventually met each other. The Beastie Boys were of course not the three members we knew and loved, there was another guitarist and a female drummer. Eventually, Horovitz joined the group and became the boys we knew and loved.

    The book is done up like a well written magazine article, in fact at times it feels as portions were either influenced by well written articles or done for an article meant to be in a magazine, but the realization was that “maybe this could be a book”. The book covers tours, performances, TV appearances, and of course the music. What was of interest to me was how Owen covered Paul’s Boutique, and while there were some portions that seemed historically incorrect, it was overshadowed by some of the goings on between Capitol Records and the group. The group had hoped for Capitol to promote the album very well, label said sure. However, when chart statistics and sales were lower than expected (one million shipped, but half were being returned back to the warehouse), a change in promotion lead to the hype department being laid to rest. What Capitol wanted was something equal to Licensed To Ill. While Paul’s Boutique released two singles, none of it was considered “hit” worthy, or at least equal to “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” and “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”, nothing was dorky or stupid enough to compare. MC Hammer was growing in popularity by late 1989. Owen goes on to say that Capitol canceled their promotion for Paul’s Boutique because Donny Osmond’s new album was on its way, and they had to save time and money to blow that up. The group could have thrown in the hat and just gave up but fortunately, they had something to prove, which is what they would do for the remainder of the 1990’s. At the same time, each of the members showed how they were growing up individually and as a group, which only helped to keep them stronger as the Beastie Boys.

    The sad thing is while a lot of information is given towards the recording and development of Licensed To Ill, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, and Ill Communication, the coverage of Hello Nasty and To The Five Boroughs is extremely limited, and barely anything was discussed concerning The Mix-Up and Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2. So if you are looking for something on the level of the 33 1/3 book series, don’t expect that. What you will find is the story of three bad brothers that you wanted to know so well after hearing about them, and then wanting to know more about their histories, if only on the surface. Beastie Boys: Book Deluxe may not be a true deluxe effort, but it does offer a way to let people know why they mattered and why people will still care in the future, all packaged in a nice boxed cover.