I was Looking for a Piece that Fit

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

This week, my former co-worker Tim suggested we all share something from the past couple of years that we haven’t listened to. Ok. Sure. This is a little different. My band mate Spencer went through bands that he used to listen to, but hasn’t really kept up on to find something. I thought about doing the same thing, except it seemed overwhelming. So I just went through bands that I’ve already shared with the group looking for side projects.

One that I really wanted to share was Andrew Stockdale’s solo album he released while Wolfmother was on hiatus. But he writes all their stuff anyway, and, as it turned out, they recorded it while they were still together. Really it’s just a Wolfmother album with a different name, so I guess that’s not going with the spirit of this week’s “theme.” Not that we always have to have a theme. But, it’s not on Spotify anymore anyway.

Before I get into what I did find, let me get into what everyone else shared.

Bette Midler – It’s the Girls (2014)

Tim’s whole idea behind suggesting we share something we haven’t heard that’s been recorded and released in the past couple of years was so it will help us stretch our selections and have a dose of what is being recorded “today.” Yet he shares an album from a woman who’s been recording for the past 50 years. Not only that, it’s a cover album of songs that inspired her to start singing in the first place. So an old woman singing old songs is supposed to have a dose of what’s being recorded today? Continue reading

What They Say is No Surprise

One year ago this week, four of my coworkers (well, now they’re former coworkers) and I started playing a little music sharing game. In honor of this being our one-year mark, instead of sharing a complete album, I decided to share something a little different: a mix tape of songs I thought the guys who’ve been playing this game would share, or songs I’m surprised they haven’t shared yet.

In addition to the five of us that started playing a year ago, we’ve had four others play this game with us: our boss, a former colleague, my brother, and (currently still playing) a guy I’ve been in a band with since about 2005.

But of course Spencer couldn’t put together a playlist based on Tim, Chris and me, plus five other people who stopped playing before he started. So he just shared an album. And then so did Chris and Tim.

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra at the Sands (1966)

When Spencer shared this album, he also related a story that was often told to the USU jazz band by the director, Dr. Gudmundson.

Dr. G. was playing saxophone in the house band on a cruise ship through the tourist season. The drummer of the band was an incredible player, great swing feel every night. Every night after the gig, this fellow would get monstrously drunk and listen to this album on his Walkman, tears streaming down his face, bottle in hand, shouting, “Can you believe they swing this hard? This is beautiful, man!”

Dr. G would tell every one of his students to buy this album and listen to it, so we could learn to swing that hard. I never did. But Spencer did, and he claims that nobody except the Count Basie Orchestra can do it. I’m not sure I agree. They sure swing, but maybe I’m not drunk enough to think nobody else can do it. It’s all in the drummer. Not that I’m claiming to have ever played as well as the Basie band, but in my limited experience a jazz band is only as good as their drummer. Continue reading

Grass Stains were Just a Sign of the Times

For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.

Neil Diamond – Stones (1971)

The only songs I had heard off this album, prior to this week, were I Am I Said and Crunchy Granola Suite. Part of it is, I’m only a greatest hits listener. And I don’t even like all of his hits. I’m sure there are some great songs that aren’t included as “hits,” but I haven’t really ever been impressed enough to listen to his whole catalogue and find those hidden gems. Continue reading

A Fistful of Cash that Somebody Else Earned

For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.

Swim Hershel Swim – Burn Swim Burn (1994)

Their MySpace page (remember back when that was cool?) had their whole album for download, but MySpace has since changed their format and you can’t download the album any more. However, their keyboardist/founder went through and remastered the tracks over several years and posted them on his blog for download. He missed two tracks of the album (and mislabeled Fuz so it looks like there are two songs named Bohemian), but the posts are an interesting read. You can find the (complete) original version other places online to download for free (I have no idea about legality, though). Continue reading

It’s an Easy Thing to Do

For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.

The Funky 16 Corners (2001)

For the first time since my friends and I have been sharing music, we have a compilation album. Apparently Spencer showed this album to me 10 years ago, but I don’t remember that.

But this isn’t your typical compilation. These guys weren’t even one-hit wonders. They were nobodys. These tunes are from the ’60s or ’70s. This album pays homage to forgotten American funk.

Continue reading

Resonate in Tones of Saving Grace

For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.

Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)

I didn’t catch on until I looked this album up to start listening to it that Spencer had shared an album from the ’70s. When he emailed us this suggestion, I thought it was a modern duo, like The Civil Wars or The Weepies. I was wrong. Continue reading

Gather Up the Lost and Sold

For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.

Unlike the week when we shared stuff our parents introduced us to, this isn’t a band either my wife or I introduced to the other. And while it does have a little significance in our relationship, it’s mostly just a band we both love. Before I get to what my wife shared, Chris got his wife to participate:

Radiohead – The King of Limbs (2011)

Why am I not surprised Chris’ wife shared Radiohead? I’ve only met her a couple of times, and while I know couples don’t always have similar tastes in music, it seems like spouses have a big influence on one another’s tastes. My wife and I have a big overlap, and it’s getting bigger, but there’s still stuff that one of us likes that the other doesn’t exactly care for.

I’ve come to accept that bands like Radiohead are either loved or hated, and aren’t many people who feel something in between. I definitely think their older stuff is better than their newer. This album was a wonderful blend of textures and atmosphere, but I have a hard time calling a lot of this, in a broad sense, pop rock music. It’s definitely not traditional music. It feels more like a soundtrack than an album. Although what kind of movie would have a score like this, I’m not sure. Continue reading