Category Archives: Shorties

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Massive Historical Musical Stash Hidden in Michigan

As someone who loves old stuff, especially old musical instruments, this is hard to read:

A massive cache of musical treasures that’s grown to include a fragile harp-piano, the pioneering Moog synthesizer and the theremin used for “The Green Hornet” radio show has been shuffled over the years from a theater to an unheated barn and now languish, rarely seen or heard, in a Michigan storage vault.

That’s the lede to a story detailing the fate of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Donated to the University of Michigan in the 1890s, $25 million collection has gone from “baking to death” in the lobby of Hill Auditorium to an unheated barn to a storage unit off-campus where it sits, unseen and unheard.

Donated to U of M by Detroit businessman Frederick Stearns with explicit instructions that they be “be immediately housed and installed,” the collection is yet another victim of shrinking budgets and changing priorities on American college campuses. The collection seems to have grown over the years as it reportedly includes an early Moog Synthesizer and a Theremin.

Given how this country values history, I don’t have high hopes that this collection will eventually see the light but maybe we could pool our vast GLONO funds to mount a stealth operation to set some of that stuff free!

jim-morrison-1970

How about that new Doors song?

Stream: The Doors – “She Smells So Nice”

Seems crazy that they’re still digging up new Doors material, but apparently producer Bruce Botnick discovered this one while preparing the session tapes for L.A. Woman, which is once again being reissued on January 24. Curious that it didn’t turn up when they released the 40th Anniversary remixes in 2007.

Regardless, this is the kind of Doors song I really like. Lyrics aren’t too silly and the band sounds great. Krieger’s blues licks sound perfectly unfussy with Manzarek’s Wurlitzer electric piano giving more of a Ray Charles punch than his signature Vox Continental. Meanwhile, Densmore proves he was the coolest guy in the band.

This recording must just be a warm-up jam while the engineers were adjusting levels, or something, as Morrison’s microphone is overdriven through most of the song. It’s actually nice to hear them to hear them playing this loose and garage-y at this point in their career.

shins-simple song

So what do you think of the Shins’ major label debut?

Stream: The Shins – “Simple Song” from Port of Morrow, due March 20 on Columbia.

“I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone.”

So this is the sound of the Shins after James Mercer ditches his band and dumps Sub Pop for a major label. Sounds a lot like the Shins back when James Mercer had his old band and was still on Sub Pop.

It sounds good. Might take you a couple listens to get adjusted to the sheen and gloss, but once you’re used to it the song hits the same emotional spots that the Shins always have. Here’s hoping the rest of the album is as good.

Tracklisting:
1. The Rifle’s Spiral
2. Simple Song
3. It’s Only Life
4. Bait And Switch
5. September
6. No Way Down
7. For A Fool
8. Fall Of ’82
9. 40 Mark Strasse
10. Port Of Morrow

From the Shins’ web site: “Port of Morrow was recorded in Los Angeles and Portland over the course of 2011 with James Mercer as usual handling all songwriting duties and lead vocals. The album was produced by Greg Kurstin and mixed by Rich Costey.”

Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth in 2012 video for "Tattoo"

Van Halen Controversy Over New Single “Tattoo”

You’ve likely heard by now: Van Halen is back. Not Van Hagar or some version with a different singer from another second-tier 80s band—VAN HALEN, with Diamond David Lee Roth. Debuting the old-new line-up at the Café Wha? in New York city earlier this month, VH also debuted the first new single with Roth on vocals since we were all wearing pegged jeans and some fans are miffed.

Debate among the hardcore VH crowd rages around whether “Tatoo” is just a rehash of a 1977 outtake called “Down in Flames.” What? Seriously? We’re bitching about new Van Halen sounding like old Van Halen? I thought that’s what we all wanted!? Sounding like 1977 Van Halen should be a dream come true! I mean, it could be worse. It could sound like 1987 VH (between 5150 and OU812) or 1997 VH (after the awful Van Halen III). Seriously, shut up!

Judge for yourself.

VIDEO
Van Halen – Down in Flames (1977)

Van Halen – Tatoo (2012)

Give us your verdict on our Facebook poll.

 

VIA Rolling Stone

lips-walrus

Flaming Lips – I Am the Walrus

Video: Flaming Lips – “I Am the Walrus”

I actually expected this to be a lot weirder than it is. It’s a surprisingly faithful rendition of the Beatles classic, considering the stripped-down nature of the effort. It’s almost entirely driven by the fuzzed out Rickenbacker bass, but Drozd fills in all the sound effects with his own mouth.

I can remember buying the Beatles’ “Blue Album” on vinyl from Believe in Music on Plainfield Avenue. I was in junior high, and it made a big impression on me. “Walrus” was my favorite. The lyrics blew my innocent mind. I had never heard anything like it with its self-references (“See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky”) and its graphic, gory images (“Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye”). It’s an intense song.

The Lips do it justice, reveling in the psychedelia, but not taking themselves too seriously. It’s a rock song, and these guys emphasize that. People are too reverential about the Beatles. Putting them so high up on a pedestal obscures the fact that the Beatles were just four guys who wrote and played cool songs. You don’t have to be a God to do that. You just need to find someone to pound the shit out of a drum set.

Speaking of drummers, dig that Tonight’s the Night shirt!

Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 4.30.12 PM

Daptone Celebrates Ten Years

This video illustrates so much of what I love about independent music makers in general and Daptone Records specifically.

Celebrating ten years of service to soul music, Daptone Records takes you on a tour of their Brooklyn studio and HQ with stories of their humble beginnings and continued humility as they do what they love. See Sharon Jones wiring the control room, Charles Bradley roughing in the live room, and label chief Gabriel Roth showing off his pride and joy. Great, great stuff.