• Meme of the top 30 artists

    29. Mai. 2008, 1:05

    Use your top 30 to answer the following questions:

    1. How did you get into 29?
    Live: I heard and liked a song from their first album, but it was their massive 2nd album Throwing Copper that had lots of radio singles. When I bought it, I could listen to about 6 songs (tracks 2-7 on CD) straight through and over again ad nauseum.

    2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22?
    King's X: It might have been one of the singles from the first album, but it was most likely Summerland from the second album Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

    3. How many albums by 13 do you own?
    Fall Out Boy: I own two separate albums, but I have 3 distinct copies of Infinity On High

    4. What is your favorite song by 15?
    Dave Dobbyn: Right now (all favorites can change) Just Add Water

    5. What is your favorite song by 5?
    Neil Finn: One of the best songwriters there is. My favorite just as I do this meme of his solo stuff is Truth, but with Neil my favorites do change frequently.

    6. Is there a song by 6 that makes you happy?
    Nigel Griggs: None, actually. Oh, I like the songs, but none are particularly "shiny happy". If I have to pick a favorite, I'd go with Night Train or the darkly beautiful Majestique.

    7. What is your favorite song by 10?
    Prince: I have NO IDEA... he's got too many different musical periods and too many songs to pick only one.

    8. What is a good memory you have involving 30?
    Def Leppard: I just remember thinking that the song Hysteria was one of the best songs ever, and I was extremely sad when Steve Clark died. That's not what I'd call a good memory, but it's my strongest Def Leppard memory.

    9. Is there a song by 19 that makes you happy?
    Mark Hart: His song Drowning In the Air is one very sexy song. It makes me feel "funny"... so it's a positive feeling if not exactly happy.

    10. How many times have you seen 25 live?
    Mike Oldfield: Never. Not once. Of course, I haven't seen very my acts life.

    11. What is the first song you ever heard by 23?
    The Fixx: Probably Saved By Zero because that's the strongest memory. It could ahve also been One Thing Leads To Another

    12. What is your favorite album by 11?
    Finn Brothers: There are two and they are vastly different. I'll say I liked Finn more immediately.

    13. Who is a favorite member of 1?
    Crowded House: That's easy! It's Mark Hart, who is also my #19!

    14. Have you ever seen 14 live?
    Midnight Oil: No, and I doubt I ever will.

    15. What is a good memory involving 27?
    Black Eyed Peas: About two months ago I was watching bass instructional videos, and I saw how to play Let's Get It Started, which was the song I liked so much to make me buy BEP music in the first place.

    16. What is your favorite song by 16?
    Weezer: That would have to be either Island in the Sun or This Is Such A Pity.

    17. What is your favorite album by 18?
    Eurythmics: I'll cheat and say Greatest Hits

    18. What is your favorite song by 21?
    Linkin Park: I really like this band, more than being 21 shows, and for a favorite I'll pick something from Minutes to Midnight because it shows the biggest musical growth and potential for what the band could be... The Little Things Give You Away

    19. What is the first song you ever heard by 26?
    INXS: The One Thing

    20. What is your favorite album by 2?
    Split Enz: I'm going to cheat big time and say "Any album with Nigel Griggs on it." Of course the best album that plays as an album without me wanting to skip songs is True Colours

    21. What is you favorite song by 3?
    The Byrds: It Won't Be Wrong

    22. What is your favorite song by 8?
    Icehouse: No Promises... it's the song that made me a fan of the band.

    23. How many times have you seen 17 live?
    Keane: Zip, zero, zilch, nada...

    24. What is the worst song by 12?
    Red Hot Chili Peppers: Uh... I don't know. I don't think all the songs are perfect, but many have gotten overplayed.

    25. What was the first song you ever heard by 28?
    a-ha: Take on Me

    26. What is your favorite album by 7?
    The Beatles: Either Revolver or Rubber Soul

    27. What is your favorite song by 24?
    Andy White: Can't pick. Sorry.

    28. Is there a song by 9 that makes you happy?
    Liam Finn: Many of them do! Liam is fantastic, and I wish more people knew about him. For this I'll pick Better To Be

    29. What is your favorite album by 4?
    Tim Finn: This is a toughie because his Before and After is fantastic, but I am going to pick Big Canoe instead. Despite the much derided 80s production values, the songs I do like on the album I like a LOT.

    30. How many albums do you own by 20?
    Neljä Ruusua: Only 3. I should really correct this as they have many more albums.
  • Music meme of le random

    15. Dez. 2007, 2:04

    Yes, time for one of these again!

    1. Put your iTunes / music player on Shuffle.
    2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

    What's your mood?
    Roses Are Red

    Describe yourself:
    The Bitter Pill [I'm hard to take?]

    How do you feel about yourself?
    I Got You (no, not Split Enz in this performance)

    Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend:
    New Sensation [That seems wrong somehow when referring to an ex]

    How did your last relationship end?

    Describe your family:

    Describe your current location:
    Get Up and Jump

    Describe what you want to be:
    When You Come [I want to be orgasmic?]

    Describe your best friend:
    I'll Be

    Your favorite color is:
    I See Red [Ha! A color title for a color question. Awesome!]

    You know that:
    Dusty Pages

    What is the weather like?

    If your life was a television show, what would it be called?

    What is life to you?
    The Second Star to the Right (From Peter Pan)

    What is the best advice you have to give?
    Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

    Describe your love life:
    World Where You Live [Oh, yeah! A favorite CH song and it does have the lyric about being an "expert in bed".]

    How are you going to die?
    I Feel You

    If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
    Street Cafe

    What do your friends think of you?
    Weather With You

    What is your funeral song going to be?
    Figure 09
  • A Strings Rant

    6. Dez. 2007, 3:25

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

    What’s the definition of a string quartet?

    •A violinist,
    •a bad violinist,
    •a really bad violinist, and
    •a cellist who hates violinists.

    What do you see there? If you’re me, you see a problem that seems to be prevalent when it comes to playing stringed instruments more often than when playing the other families of instruments. There is an implication that the only good musicians are violinists, who of course play the coolest instrument, while those who play the other instruments are failed violinists or violinist wannabes. The same thing happens with guitarists and bassists outside of an orchestra with guitar being the instrument of choice.

    There is a general feeling that the “lesser” of the instruments is also the lower pitched of the instruments. “Can’t play a guitar? That’s okay. Take a bass because it’s easier.” “Can’t play violin? Play a viola.” I’m here to tell you that this attitude is wrong and doesn’t need to be perpetuated any longer.

    I have no doubt that such observations can be true of some people. Clichés become clichés simply because there is a grain of truth in them. That does not mean those clichés are true of all people who have ever started one instrument and moved on to another. I feel that many times the key point is finding an instrument that fits the musician, and sometimes that does involve trial and error.

    When I started playing stringed instruments at age 12, I played guitar. I wasn’t very good at it though I tried to play and did so often. Oddly enough, playing the guitar hurt my hands quite a lot, but I still continued to do so anyway through most of my teenage years. Despite my efforts, I never became a “guitarist.” Oh, I can strum a few chords, but a lot of people can do that. I would never, to use a language analogy, call myself fluent at the instrument.

    When I was studying music education at the university and having to take teaching methods classes for strings, I chose to play viola and bass. Yes, that’s right. I chose to do so. I knew enough about my personality that I didn’t want to be typical or normal at all. I didn’t play viola very well. I don’t think I was bowing fast enough. I really enjoyed the bass, though, and that short amount of time spent playing bass in methods class was what paved the way later when I started playing bass guitar some 10 years later.

    Would I call myself a failed guitarist? No, I wouldn’t, but someone else might. It is true in a sense that I wasn’t good at the guitar and that I no longer do it. The thing is that I no longer have any desire to play the instrument at all. I am a successful bass player. I like what I’m doing, and I do it well.

    It’s ironic now that I found out a few months ago that my guitar was very poorly made. It is perhaps possible that a lot of the early difficulties I had with “the guitar” were not indicative of all guitars but just my specific instrument. Maybe if I’d had a better instrument I would have been a better guitarist, but I will never know that now because my musical heart is elsewhere.

    So my point? Don’t assume that just because someone is a violist or bassist that the person has failed on violin or guitar (respectively). That can be the farthest thing from the truth, and the truth is often quite a surprise. More than that, people who love those instruments love them for the qualities they possess as opposed to what they're not. That, however, is a rant for a different time.
  • [Review] Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals: Lifeline

    3. Dez. 2007, 3:40

    Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals: Lifeline

    I should start this with a confession. The first time I heard of Ben was through the Instant Karma CD from Amnesty International. I’d originally bought it because I really liked Green Day’s rendition of “Working Class Hero,” but it was Ben who really turned me on my ear to make me want to know more. In that one John Lennon song, I heard a truly lovely voice, one that reminded me of Cat Stevens. I don’t know if Ben has any children of his own, but there was a sweetness and delicacy in the delivery. He completely entranced me.

    Then I discovered that Mr. Harper has been making music a long time, longer than my limited experience had told me. It was one of those situations where one could think, “Why didn’t I know about this artist?” But at least I finally had, so the next mission was to get one of his albums. I chose his current one, Lifeline, on faith because I wasn’t sure that I knew any of the songs at all. As this is the only album of his that I do possess, I don’t know how it compares to his previous body of work.

    So… what’s it sound like? It’s good stuff down to the last drop. The songs are allowed a life of their own, and the arrangements aren’t so bogged down with layers and layers of sound. It’s quite light, but certainly not insubstantial. We’ve got some fierce musicians and a tight band who know what they are doing and probably rock out live. We also have Ben using his lovely voice filled with warmth of sound. It’s inviting and by no means weak.

    Some specific reactions to the songs:

    Fight Outta You”—at first the continual repeat of the title was annoying, but as I got into the song, I started to love it. It is now one of my most favorite on the album. The chorus has particularly effective lyrics.

    In the Colors”—this is a single that was played on my local radio station, so ha! I did know Ben Harper without realizing it. It’s a lovely song, and I like best the interplay with the piano and bass.

    Fool for a Lonesome Train”—a good song, but I challenge you, oh listener, to focus in on the cymbal work for this one. There are other musical elements happening, but there is a light hand at work. Going by sound, I wonder if the drummer was using nylon-tipped 5Bs.

    Needed You Tonight”—this starts off in a very dramatic way. The creativity in this is great as it uses rhythms that seem off kilter and excellent dynamic effects of the loud and pleading to the soft and smooth.

    Having Wings”—a nice contrast to the piece before it with a positive message.

    Say You Will”—it has some rollicking qualities in common with “Needed You Tonight”, most notably in the piano part. We also get some lady background singers to spice this up a bit in an almost gospel-flavored way.

    Younger Than Today”—another use of contrast to the previous song as “Having Wings” was. This one is a gorgeous song, and Ben sounds particularly strong singing it.

    Put It On Me”—this is the most rocking song on the album in my opinion, and I suspect it’s one of those that really lets it all hang out live.

    Heart of Matters”—this is a great show of a style change. It’s not so different that it seems out of place, but it has a different feel and mood than the rest of the album. Good show from Ben and band for proving effortlessly that they can do it.

    Paris Sunrise #7”—a guitar instrumental. The album was recorded in 7 days, so by the title, this was probably recorded at the end of the session. This will appeal to guitarists, and on first listen sounded great. For me personally, it doesn’t work so well on repeat listens because I can’t discern the form of it and it seems to take too long to get to the end, though it flows seamlessly into the last piece of music. At best explanation, this piece actually reminds me of a cadenza that leads up to the finale in the last piece… the title song.

    Lifeline”—in lovely 6/8 with just Ben and a guitar. There are some “bending” sounds he gets out of his guitar that I wonder just how he did it. The song is energized by the meter, and the lyrics are perhaps the must touching out of an already good album. Of all the songs, this one is the one I like the most.

    Other things that add to the interest of this album are good use of percussion in certain songs, and the fact that it was recorded quickly in analog. Analog seems to be in a retro-vogue at the moment with other artists, such as Liam Finn, doing the same thing with quite good results.

    Perhaps this isn’t a review as such, but I enjoy this album and recommend it. If you like good music from a singer/songwriter performed well, this should work quite well for you.
  • Remember When

    17. Nov. 2007, 18:00

    1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
    2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

    1) Are you a male or female?
    When You Come [I guess it doesn't matter.... *winknudge*]

    2) Describe yourself?
    The Phonecall [Talkative?]

    3) How do you feel about yourself?
    Happy Boys & Girls

    4) Describe your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend:
    I Don't Know You [hahahahaha!!!!]

    5) Describe your current partner.
    Platinum Blonde Life

    6) Describe your current location:
    Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)

    7) Describe what you want to be:
    Girl Sailor [Heh! Anyone who's seen me on Facebook might be familiar with my alias as Brenda Boatswain!]

    8) Describe your best friend:
    Sphinx [Talks in riddles, man....]

    9) Your favorite color is:
    No Smoke Without Fire

    10) You know that:
    You Hurt Me (And I Hate You) [Ouch! Bad breakup...]

    11) What is the weather like?
    I Say [Oooooh. Features Nigel Griggs on vocals.]

    12) If your life was a television show, what would it be called?
    You Keep Givin' Me

    13) What is life to you?
    Radio Gaga

    14) What is the best advice you have to give?
    The Lap of the Gods

    15) Describe your love life:
    Same Boat

    16) How are you going to die?
    My Kinda People [Killed by family?]

    17) If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
    Amazing Grace [Cool!]

    18) What do your friends think of you?
    Appalachian Spring concert suite/Simple Gifts by Aaron Copland [My middle name means "gift" in Greek, so it's appropriate.]

    19) What is your funeral song going to be?
    Mysterious Thing [I love it!]

    20) What are you going to repost this as?
    Remember When
  • Free Bird and Canon in D, what?!

    13. Nov. 2007, 19:01

    I was driving to work today listening to a CD that I have to go with one of my bass guitar lesson books. On this CD are small snippets of grooves, many to famous songs, but they aren't listed as such. I'm sure it has to do with copyright law more than anything else. It's not like it can claim to have Another One Bites the Dust, but it can call the song clip "Riding the Bus", no doubt a take on the Yankovic parody Another One Rides The Bus.

    So as I'm driving along, I hear this song that is no doubt supposed to be Free Bird. It did actually sound like it, but the part that became most clear to me was that this snippet also happened to sound like Pachelbel's greatest hit. You know... Canon in D. It was one of those very Keanu Reeves "Whoah...." moments!

    I did a bit of poking around Wikipedia (yes, I know not the place for the most reliable of information, but entertaining all the same), and found this little bit of trivia.

    The conductor of the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra, David Stahl, irritated by outbursts of "Free Bird!" at concerts, had the orchestra learn to perform the song so that they could go directly into it from whatever piece they were performing at the moment.

    I don't know how true that is, but if Free Bird really does have the same chord structure as the Canon in D, it wouldn't be any big deal for an orchestra to learn, now would it?
  • Cymbals, yay!

    20. Okt. 2007, 16:52

    A few mornings ago, I was driving to work and the song Calling All Angels. This is one of those songs where while a good all-around song, I just love the cymbals on it. It has become a cymbal song for me.

    I am a percussionist who never did play drumset. Sometimes when I notice rock songs, I especially love the cymbal work. Not everyone likes cymbals. I think to a comment by one of the members of Split Enz after Noel Crombie took the drumming throne after having been the band's percussionist that one reason they liked Noel was because he was not busy with the cymbals. Well... I think differently. Sometimes it's the cymbals that make me really take notice.

    Two songs with great use of suspended cymbal:
    Love Is On The Way
    Walking After You

    If I hear more songs containing what I think of are great cymbals, I'll have to post more later.
  • Mark Hart: Nada Sonata (a review)

    13. Jul. 2007, 16:18

    One of the editorial reviews of this independent solo album calls it a "coup," and I believe that whole-heartedly. The bottom line is that if you enjoyed Mark Hart's work in either Crowded House or Supertramp you will definitely enjoy this album. If you like good rock where the emphasis is on a well-crafted and well-performed song, this is for you, too.

    Three of the album songs can be heard on his website MarkHart.Net. Having heard those, I was curious for more of his album. My concern after hearing those songs was that all of Nada Sonata would be one low-key style, but much to my relief, the album shows many different styles that Mark handles well. He has ballads, harder rockers, plus jazz and strings thrown in for good measure.

    Mark plays most of the instruments himself, but he does have a few guest appearances from musician friends, such as other Supertramp members. It is mind-boggling to realize how much this one man can do because he is playing so much of it and singing all the vocals.

    Though there is a wide variety and the songs were originally recorded individually without the intention of becoming an album, they hold surprising cohesion. I have my favorite songs, but I can listen to the whole disc start to finish as a complete album experience. He even brings in a song cowritten with Tim Finn called "Something to Take My Mind Off Of You."

    As for some of my personal favorites:

    *"I Don't Know You" rockin' song that lets you know you're about to start a musical ride.

    *"Around Again" uses great guitar effect and shows Mark in a stronger, rock-style voice.

    *"Many Roads" is a mid-tempo pentatonic sounding song with great warmth.

    *"Time Bomb Man" would probably be at home in a Supertramp concert, but it works better as Mark's alone. The words have fun with Mark's image as the quiet guy. (Crowded House fans will know about this.) As the adage goes, still waters run deep.

    *"Drowning in the Air" is another strong rock song that has a great set of lyrics and shows off Mark's guitar playing.

    The rest of the music is no less good. He gets to show off his sensitivity to the song. Listen to the tonally interesting "1000 Days of Beer" or soft jazz-influenced "Lullaby for Channing," written for his daughter that died in infancy, as examples.

    Mark Hart is one of the great unsung working musicians, respected by others in the industry. Get this album if you can find it. The print copies are currently scarce, but with the reformation of Crowded House, this album has popped up on iTunes. Any way you get this album, you'll definitely enjoy it.
  • Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight (a review)

    12. Jul. 2007, 16:26

    I bought this at the beginning of June, but hadn't given it a good listen because I had a house guest who doesn't like Linkin Park (her loss). So I had to wait to get into the zone where I could be by myself and really listen to the album.

    Anyway, as I listen back now, I think Minutes to Midnight is great. It's different than the previous albums, and in some ways comes across as "softer" but no less LP. I love Chester's voice, and he proves that he can sing and not just scream or growl. Plus, the band is stretching their musical chops and showing that they are a true band and not just a collection of raps and samples. Huge props to Phoenix from one bass player to another. He's an inspiration.

    Like their previous studio album, Meteora, this is one of those where I can put the album on and let the whole thing go without skipping a track. It works as an album in a way that lots of other music I've heard lately doesn't. Some stand outs on here for me are:

    "Bleed It Out"--you can tell just by listening that the band had fun doing this one (also backed up in the liner notes, but on this one you don't need the liner notes to tell you). Sounds like a rave on the corner by a hydrant or something.

    "In Between"--Mike Shinoda sings and sounds amazing doing it. The track starts in a way similar to Neil Finn's "Souvenir". I've always loved that Neil song (no matter how people object to the content/idea of the song), so that's a win in my book.

    "Shadow of the Day"--It could have been a very boring song, but it isn't and much of that is because of the pulse and energy in the bass. This one has a feel that reminds me of "With or Without You" by U2.

    "In Pieces"--traces of ska, LP style. I kid you not! More than that, they do it well and on their own terms. It's one of those "if you squint" (with your ears) things, but it is there.

    "The Little Things Give You Away" In some ways this is the most surprising of songs from LP because it is mostly a voice with an acoustic guitar. The ending totally sells this one, though, because the song is lyrically simple, but the end layers distinct 3 voice parts over each other (2 with lyrics, one wordless, all effective). It actually reminded me of Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore" because some of the turns in the voice reminding me of what John Paul Jones had done in that song as a counterpoint to Robert Plant.

    In short, I love this album. It is definitely in my personal top 5 of albums released in 2007.
  • Great Bass, 1

    1. Apr. 2007, 21:21

    As a bass player of just over two years, I am listening more closely to the bass parts in the music around me. The first bass player that really grabbed my attention once I had been playing the instrument was Nigel Griggs who is most known to people as the bassist in Split Enz from 1977-1984, when the band broke up.

    Since listening to him, I have also realized that I rather like bass parts in much of the 80s music and that I like players with some aggression. That is not to say that I want to hear bassists who are all about chops and not serving the music. That's boring.

    Anyhow, a song this week that grabbed my attention as a good bass song is Maneater. I have known the song for a while, but it had been a long time since I've heard it. The instrumentation of the song is sparse, and I doubt people realize that it's mostly drums and bass because there is minimal guitar or keyboards. Much of the interest in teh song is created by the saxophone.

    Listening again, though, the bass is wonderfully interesting. It's rhythmic and infectious, there are chances for musical "fills," to borrow a percussion/drummer idea. A lot of hard work is done without any seeming effort. It's the essence of cool bass. Much liking for that, oh yes.

    Other musical stuff on my radar for bass this week:
    *Get The Funk Out--Go Pat Badger. Now that I have "bass ears" I want to listen to that over and over.
    *Fall Out Boy--but I'll admit it's mostly because Pete Wentz is such a pretty boy, however I do love how he plays on Dance, Dance
    *Bill Gould of the band Faith No More--one of my favorite bassists ever, easily in my top 10

    I'll be back at other times with more songs and people as I think of it.