Category Archives: Articles

Wildwood MusicFest 2015 – The Best Fest in the West

I’m going to tell you something most Oregonians don’t want you to know for fear that it will remove the final barrier that keeps even more people from moving out here: It doesn’t rain out here nearly as much as you probably think it does. In fact, the summers can sometimes be long, dry affairs that leave you praying for rain come September. The temperature will inch up to the triple-digits some days and the western sun feels more intense, but that may be my imagination.

It was over a three-day stretch like this that my family and I again made our way to the West Valley to the small town of Willamina, Oregon. We were in the middle of a welcomed break from a stifling summer when the weather report showed a slight return to the upper 90s. You guessed it: during the three days that covered the Wildwood MusicFest.

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Apple Music and the end of ownership

I’ve been using Apple Music for a couple weeks now, just like everybody else. And I’m starting to think this might be the thing that finally pushes me over the edge away from the purchasing/owning/collecting mentality that has been a part of my life and identity since I joined the Columbia House tape club and got thirteen 8-tracks for a dollar. In high school I would take my dishwasher paycheck and buy a new imported Smiths 12-inch every week. I’ve got boxes and shelves full of CDs. I like physical media.

But the truth is I listen to 90% of my music via iTunes on my computer in my office through decent Klipsch speakers. I have a real stereo and the remaining 10% of my at-home music listening is divided between vinyl and SACDs through a vintage Project One amp and Advent Prodigy Towers. I listen to CDs in my car.

With new music my process has been to buy the CD and rip it to MP3 or ALAC and then add the songs to my iTunes library. I then throw the CD in my car or in a box or on a shelf. Or I’ll buy the record and use the download card. I have an elaborate series of smart playlists that help me make sure I give all new music at least four spins before falling out of heavy rotation. Higher ranked songs get played more frequently. Everything with three stars gets played at least once every four years or so. I’m anal. And this system works for me.

I rarely buy downloads, and almost never from iTunes. I think downloads are grossly overpriced for what you get: lossy files with no liner notes. I’ll happily spend $20 on a record, but I won’t pay more than $2.99 for an album download. Especially when you can usually get the CD for $9.99. CDs are not very glamorous but they’re lossless and they’re permanent.

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New Libertines album details

The NME talked to the reunited Libertines about their upcoming album and shared a few interesting details. Here’s what we know so far:

The album was produced by Jake Gosling, best known for his work with Ed Sheeran and One Direction.

It was recorded at Karma Studios in Thailand.

It’s expected to be 11 tracks in length, and it only features one old song, a re-recorded version of “You’re My Waterloo.”

There are synths and piano on the album. Bassist John Hassall joked: “We’ve gone progressive… No, don’t get scared. It’s still The Libertines, but it would be weird if we came back and just did exactly the same thing.”

Pete Doherty claimed that fans “are going to love” the record.

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Kacey Musgraves continues to uplift America’s spirits

Video: Kacey Musgraves – “Biscuits”

I love Kacey Musgraves. This song might not be the best thing she’s ever written, but the video is fantastic. Hee Haw and the Muppets? What else do you need? “Biscuits” sounds like a sequel to “Follow Your Arrow” and I guess that’s pretty much what it is.

“Arrow” blew me away when I first heard it. It gave me hope for America’s future. In times like these when the Michigan state government is allowing state-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against gay people and cutting assistance to poor families if kids miss school, it’s important to remember that those old assholes are dying off and being replaced by kids like Musgraves.

Pageant Material is due June 23 on Mercury Nashville.



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Five from the Archive: Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2015

It’s been a few years since the last Five from the Archive post, but we haven’t lost touch with the Live Music Archive.  It just keeps growing and getting better. So we’re bringing Five from the Archive back. To start, we’ll be focusing on my favorite form of musical flattery – covers – from a few different bands. For our first go around, it’s the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Tedeschi Trucks became a band when Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (now married) merged their bands together a few years ago. They are huge on the festival circuit, and growing more popular each year. They do extensive touring, and are currently on their Wheels of Soul Summer Tour, with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings opening up.

As a band, Tedeschi Trucks is like an old school soul revue meets the Allman Brothers. They’ve got two guitar players (Tedeschi and Trucks), two drummers, a keyboard player, a bass player, plus two back up vocalists and a horn section. A big band that knows how to occupy (and not occupy) the open spaces in a song. They’ve released two of their own albums, and they do a good number of covers. Today we’re highlighting five of the covers they’ve played so far in 2015.

1.  Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”. A classic Dylan song. From The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, it’s just Bob and his guitar, but here it becomes a soulful big band ballad in the hands of Tedeschi Trucks. There are great flute and trumpet solos in there, too. Full show: Tedeschi Trucks Band – January 17, 2015 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Fl.

2. Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Oh! You Pretty Things”. A surprise but welcome choice, and a great cover. This is old school David Bowie, going back to the early 70s and Hunky Dory. It’s mostly just him and the piano on the album, and so it is here – mostly Tedeschi’s vocals and a spare piano accompaniment, that builds to the full band as the song progresses. People have no idea what song they’re playing. I love it. Full Show: Tedeschi Trucks Band – January 18, 2015 at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Fl.

3. Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Space Captain”. “Space Captain” is practically a standard for Tedeschi Trucks now. It’s a frequent encore selection. It originally comes from Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishman record. Full Show: Tedeschi Trucks Band – February 21, 2015 at Warner Theatre in Washington D.C.

4. Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Living Loving Maid -> What Is And What Should Never Be  -> The Storm”. OK, I’ll admit, this one is a bit of a stretch as a full fledged cover. It’s not. The band plays around with the riffs from the two Led Zeppelin songs for a few minutes, but the rest of the clip is their original “The Storm” from Made Up Mind. It’s a solid jam, though. Full show: Tedeschi Trucks Band – April 17, 2015 at Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA.

5. Tedeschi Trucks Band – “I’ve Got A Feeling”. Here’s an example of where the background vocalists get elevated to lead vocal. They both add so much depth to the band’s sound. This version of The Beatles “I’ve Got A Feeling” highlights some of that added depth. Full show: Tedeschi Trucks Band – May 18, 2015 at Central Park Summer Stage.

Not a bad collection of covers, and we’re not even halfway through 2015 yet. I’m going to see these guys again this summer, this time at Meadow Brook Music Festival. Can’t wait to see them and Sharon Jones.

Find more of Mike’s work at MVP Presents. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

[Ed. Note: Image from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Michael F. O’Brien]

Liz Phair recording new music

Reporting on somebody’s Twitter comments seems a little silly, but I guess GLONO has a long history of writing about musicians’ unofficial announcements (see “Ryan Adams: New Whiskeytown Album?” or “Mooney Suzuki’s Souls Stolen by Satan”). Anyway, it’s 2015 and stalwart old establishments like Billboard and Rolling Stone spend half their time scraping Instagram and Tumblr for juicy celebrity gossip. What once was the domain of bloggers has been co-opted by the major publications and now passes for journalism. So it goes.

Anyway…

It looks like our beloved Liz Phair has been recording new music again!

On April 8, Phair tweeted that “in 3 days I’m going rafting in #GrandCanyon w no wifi, no toilet & no way out.”

She also solicited requests, and said “We’re recording the music.”

Looks like she was off the grid from April 11 through April 21 when she tweeted a bunch of photos of the Grand Canyon and mentioned that “we recorded new songs in amazing locations.”

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New Mountain Goats wrestling video featuring Chavo Guerrero

Video: The Mountain Goats – “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero”

Just like every middle school aged boy in the early 80s, I got into professional wrestling for a while. It probably started with seeing Hulk “Thunderlips” Hogan in Rocky III, but who knows? Wrestling was booming with Cyndi Lauper videos featuring Capt. Lou Albano and Hulkmania spreading everywhere. My pals and I would attempt figure-fours and piledrivers on each other in our basements. I can no longer remember who was a good guy and who was bad, but they were all impressive characters: Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog, Rowdy Roddy Piper, the Iron Sheik, King Kong Bundy, Brutus Beefcake, Big John Studd, Sgt. Slaughter. Very exciting stuff when you’re a kid.

I’d never heard of Chavo Guerrero. As John Darnielle admits, Guerrero was “almost completely unknown outside of Texas and the west coast.” But I love him now because of this video. By now, we all know Darnielle’s back story as covered on 2005’s breakthrough album The Sunset Tree: his stepfather was abusive and cruel, but also intellectual and complex. “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” rises above being just a tribute to a childhood hero in the verse where Darnielle directly addresses his stepfather:

He was my hero back when I was a kid
You let me down but Chavo never did

At this point in the video, JD has one hand on Chavo’s shoulder and points straight at the camera with his other hand. In the previous verse Darnielle admitted, “I hated Chavo’s enemies, I would pray nightly for their death,” and in recent interviews he has said that his stepfather always rooted for the heels. So the next lines are even more powerful:

You called him names just to get beneath my skin
Now your ashes are scattered in the wind

Chavo makes a “Whoa!” face in the video, sort of like “Dude, did you just say that? Did you just suggest that your prayers were answered? That your stepfather was my enemy and you prayed for his death and now he’s dead? Whoa, dude!”

It’s awesome.

Beat the Champ is out now on Merge Records.