Friday, March 30, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: G. Love's Jim Prescott On "Blues Music"

Greetings from rainy Seattle where as I type, the sun is trying to make an all-to-rare appearance.  I'm in town for Trowar rehearsals at our under construction studio - I'll write more on that later.  For now, Imma keep this short/commentary free.  Just enjoy. . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Imma Put It In My Netflix Queue

The song that sticks with me the most from Psychic TV is "Twisted".  My oldest brother Bill used to funnel mix tapes to me and my brothers and "Twisted" made an appearance on one.  I didn't like it at the time (I think I was in high school) but I couldn't deny that it was unlike anything I had heard.  I didn't like it initially because I found it bizarre and creepy - it made me very, very uncomfortable.

Over time, I grew to like the song a great deal for that very reason - it forced me out of my comfort zone, which in turn made me grow.  It was exposure to something beyond my comfortable suburban existence, and I was grateful for it.

I've just watched the trailer of "The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye".  I know a little something about their relationship from past conversations with a friend of mine, but I didn't know of or had forgotten about the existence of this movie.  If the trailer is any indication, you can check all the Hollywood notions of "oddball love affairs" at the door, because this is truly odd.  And it's also thoroughly charming.  How can a sincere, honest attempt to fully express the profound love between two people actually be considered "oddball"?  You might not do it that way, but it doesn't mean Genesis and Lady Jaye are doing it wrong.

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye // Trailer from Marie Losier on Vimeo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: Camper Van Beethoven's Victor Krummenacher On "We Saw Jerry's Daughter"

Enjoy some more busy bass, courtesy of Victor Krummenacher.  I'm a huge CVB fan; I should rave a lot more about Krummenacher a lot more than I do.  His work is great - it's never too much, but it is also always interesting.  "We Saw Jerry's Daughter" (a smart-assed tune about seeing Jerry Garcia's daughter in San Francisco) is some of VK's showier work.  The version below has edited out the really funny psychedelic freak out that comes at the end of the song, but it's just as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Spring/Musical Happenings

It has been a very warm spring 'round these parts; no one is happier about that than I.  This means bike commuting, this means sipping beer in the back yard, this means certain tunes inexplicably sprout in my head like perennials that were planted by a blind stranger.  Songs like "Money Jungle" - damn this rules.  Best enjoyed at noon with a beverage of your choice.

The music rehearsals for "Big River" have been going on for about a month.  To be honest, these aren't tunes that I'd listen to otherwise if I wasn't involved with this show.  But they are fun as hell to play, especially the tunes with weird timings.  So far, this experience is living up to expectation for me.  I was panicked at the amount I'd have to learn.  Then I settled down a bit as I started getting into the material.  Now I'm kinda trying to calm down again.  My last practice with the rest of the band was a bit discouraging.  I couldn't reconcile my tabs with what we've been playing; and I was just plain screwing up a ton.  I was even having problems tuning my bass (I think my tuner was calibrated incorrectly).  I was pretty angry when I left.  In retrospect, I'm not sure why. I'm fairly confident that it was an "off night" - there's no reason to freak out.  So I'll get back practicing and hopefully things will get ironed out.

At any rate, the other cool thing about the "Big River"show is that the band is great.  There's a ton of talent in the band - it's starting to sound really good.  There's not an ego to be found anywhere in the band either, so playing with these guys has truly been a joy.

Exciting news on the Trowar front: I'm flying out to Seattle next Wednesday (thanks, taco truck!) to rehearse some new material.  I'll be seeing the rehearsal space for the first time - I'll snap photos if I remember.  I also got to do some amp shopping on the Seattle Craig's List, which is even more fun when I'm not paying for it.  I'm not sure what amp they ended up buying, but I'm sure it will be grand.  Full report in early April.

Needless to say, there will be no Fat Friday Feature next Friday, as I will be too busy rockin'.  Happy spring, all - hope everything is going as well for you as it is for me.  And remember: Eat more tacos.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Down The Rabbit Hole, Carried By Byrds

Hey you guys let's trace this crazy, music related, time sucking rabbit hole I just got out of to it's conclusion.

It started here.   I don't know how I lept from or Gmail or whatever to this:

 From there, it moved to this video, which for some reason I found incredibly moving.
Next stop was this really cool video about the B-Bender Telecaster, which is all over any given Byrds record when they were in their "country" phase:

And it all ended with this hilariously awful promo for one of my all time favorite records, "Sweetheart of the Rodeo".
Great stuff. Even though allegedly I have more important things to do.

Fat Friday Feature: Trevor Dunn On John Zorn's "Witchfinder"

In the same vein as last Friday's "Fat Friday Feature" (which was also posted on a Thursday - keep up here, people), I present to you without commentary Trevor Dunn's bad ass playing on "Witchfinder".  Again I say:  Hell.  Yes.  Would love to do an entire album of stuff like this if my chops were as good as this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hey Let's Check Out Some Of My Favorite Pedal Steel Tunes

This beautiful weather has me thinking outside the cubicle (then again, when I'm at work, pretty anything has me fantasizing about elsewhere) again, all my fantasies lately have had soundtracks that involve pedal steel guitar.  I'm craving my Joel Paterson Trio CD, which is fucking amazing, you guys.  It got me to thinking about an entry from this blog's previous incarnation, which is posted below.

I don't listen to too much alt-country music anymore, but I was pretty steeped in it while I was at college. Still, I think my love for the sound of the pedal steel guitar predated that "phase" and continues to this day. It is a dynamic, evocative instrument. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite tunes that showcase cool pedal steelparts. These particular songs are the ones that always have made me pause and listen. As usual, this list is by no means comprehensive and is in no particular order. 

  • "Christine's Song (Devil In Disguise)" - Flying Burrito Bros. I love the aggressive pedal steel on this tune; I like even more that it is featured prominently in the mix.

  • "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "One Hundred Years From Now" - The Byrds. "Sweetheart of the Rodeo", the album on which these tunes appeared, will always be one of my favorite albums. It was hard to pick just two great pedal steel songs from "Sweetheart". The bummer is that I can always hear the voice of the crotchety guitar tech at my hometown music store lamenting about Sneaky Pete Klienow's "over playing". I guess because I can see his point. But like Keith Moon's "over drumming", it doesn't stop me from loving his playing anyway.

  • "Sweethearts" - Camper Van Beethoven. Although the exceptional songwriting is the star of this tune, the pedal steel is a close second. It adds a mournful, lonely tone to this song, which is probably one of my favorite songs of all time in any genre. But that's a different blog entry for a different time. . .

  • "Jessie" - Paw. I heard this song for the first time in a friend's car outside the dorm in which I lived in college. When it came on the radio, he said "have you heard this?" When I remarked that I hadn't, he blared it as loud as his radio would go. So this tune is plugging along and I'm thinking that this band is an excellent Metallica clone. Then out of nowhere, some dude rips into a pedal steel solo instead of the usual two handed finger rolls one would expect. I laughed until a cried - it was totally out of place for that style of music; yet it fit in perfectly with the song. I highly recommend this tune for a nice little surprise.

  • "Service and Repair" - Calexico. The pedal steel part perfectly conveys the alienation and loneliness this song's lyrics are expressing. Just beautiful.

  • "Warm Storm" - Giant Sand. This song downshifts from a rock song into a dreamlike state leaden with shimmering pedal steel guitar. This song single handedly got me into the wonderful desert world of Giant Sand. They also showcase and exceptional pedal steel solo on the tune "Seldom Matters", so check out that one too.

  • "Dash 7" - Wilco. Cool pedal steel characterizations of an airplane, but not in the way Steve Vai or Ed Van Halen do airplane noises with their whammy bars. Strong lyrics, stripped down sound, that "shimmering pedal steel guitar" again.

  • "Oh Father" - Madonna. My junior high friend Dan was into this tune. I was surprised that I too ended up liking it after he played it for me. What I didn't notice at all (until Dan pointed it out to me) is the pedal steel part, which has to fight with the full blown orchestration of this song to be heard. There's nothing technically difficult or unique about the pedal steel part, it just sounds good.

  • "You Woke Up My Neighborhood" - Billy Bragg. The pedal steel part in this song kinda weaves around everything else and prevents the song from sounding too spastic. With the drums shuffling a long, this becomes a pretty decent highway tune.

  • "Kerosene" - The Bottle Rockets. Like the Madonna tune, there is nothing ejaculatory or "hot roddish" about this playing; it just adds a nice sound to an otherwise nondescript song.

  • "Mental Floss For The Globe" - Urban Dance Squad. You remember Urban Dance Squad - they had that minor league hit with the tune "Deeper Shade Of Soul". Great tune, great album, underrated band. The pedal steel part in "Mental Floss For The Globe" is probably less than 8 seconds; but like "Jessie", it catches you totally off guard. It is jubuliant and whacky. Enjoy it because it goes quickly.

  • Misc. other pedal steel parts worth mentioning: The solo in "Torn and Frayed" by the Rolling Stones; "Grindstone" "Anodyne" and "Fatal Wound" by Uncle Tupelo; "You're My Home" by Billy Joel (go ahead and laugh)

Monday, March 12, 2012

At Last: The Final Two Cuts Of The Unexplained's Magnum Opus "Rough"

And now we take a listen to the last two tracks of the Unexplained's cassette "Rough".  We closed the cassette with two covers - one from the Dandelion Abortions and another from U2.   It sure was fun being in the Unexplained despite our horrible name.  I hope you've enjoyed listening to these tracks!  I'll be uploading some hilarious live footage of one of our performances soon - LOOK FOR IT!

Related Links:
The Story
Tracks 1 & 2
Tracks 3, 4, & 5
Tracks 6, 7, & 8

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fat Friday Feature: The Ruins' Kazuyoshi Kimoto On "Iron Lady"

The Fat Friday Feature always has something good for you, but this one is so hot your face might melt.  It's the Ruins, yo.  And get you drummer friends to listen to this too - it's a mandatory fucking drum and bass clinic.  I don't want to hear any whining about the vocalizations on this either - just listen to the messed up times, the tightness, the speed and agility of this playing.   Listen to it.  Now.  Then go out and get the Ruins' "Stonehenge" record, because there's plenty more ass kicking where this came from.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Here's A Short List Of Personal Musical Firsts

First record: Elton John "Here and There". It was a hand me down from a sibling; don't remember which one.

First record I ever bought with my own money: Sonic Youth "Bad Moon Rising"

First CD I ever purchased: The Jam "All Mod Cons"

My First Band: The Cavity Creeps (Matt Snyder - vocals, Rob Snyder - guitar, Joe Zink - Drums, Matt Zink - Bass) There is 8mm film footage of this band somewhere. If I can ever get it, I'll sure as hell convert it and post it.

First club performance: with the Cavity Creeps, No Bar and Grill, Muncie, IN, circa 1986.

First bass: Lotus or Kay imitation of an old Fender Precision bass. I believe my siblings purchased this bass for me. They gave it to me when I got home from a shitty church group canoe trip; at least that's how I remember it.

First song I ever learned from start to finish on bass: Credence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?", as done by the Minutemen. I learned it while I was suspended from school. My dad came home for lunch and hit the roof when he found out I was spending my suspension playing bass in my bedroom. He told me to get my ass outside and paint the shed.  So I did. And smoked ciggies when I was on the side of the shed that was out of view from my parents. Matt wins!

First rock concert by national act: REM (with special guests The Minutemen) "Fables of Reconstruction Tour", Clowes Hall on Butler University campus, 1985. Memorable because I met D. Boon and George Hurley from the Minutemen when I was going to take a piss. I had them sign my sweatshirt. They wanted to write "U.S. out of El Salvador" on my friend's army parka, but my friend asked them not to for fear of angering his dad. D. and George got a huge laugh out of that. Also memorable because of the frat brats that attended the show and heckled the Minutemen.

First song I ever made up: "Surfboards from Hell", originally done with the Cavity Creeps; later covered by the Unexplained.

First song I ever sang lead vocals on: A cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" with a band called Fortunate Son. Player's Pub, Bloomington, IN, circa 2005. I have footage of this somewhere. Also memorable because for once, I tucked in my shirt, and because no good deed goes unpunished, my exposed belt buckle gave the finish on my bass a rash.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Late Fat Friday Feature/Saturday Morning Cartoons Edition - Confusing Enough?

I had to do a last minute run for the place at which I work.  We're setting up a small sales office in Cincinnati (technically, northern Kentucky).  I found out later were were only about 90-100 miles from some really tragic events.  I'll be thinking of those that are suffering through this for the next few days/months.

At any rate, it was a long, busy day and I was unable to post the Fat Friday Feature - I'm remedying that today.  As is custom, Imma post multiple clips of bass awesomeness to make up for my tardiness.  In honor of the age old tradition of watching cartoons on Saturday morning, here are some of my favorite themes that have great bass parts.  I'm not sure who plays the bass on  "Johnny Quest" - likely just some unknown studio heavy who got the job through the musician's union or something.  But make sure you listen to it on headphones so you can hear it in all it's glory.  It's easily the swinging-est theme out there thanks in large part to the bass (and the flute).

I'm pretty sure Chuck Rainey plays on the Fat Albert theme - can anyone confirm? 

And dig this in all it's 1970s funk glory.  Again, I couldn't track down the bass player on this, but I do know that this is the Pointer Sisters performing the "Pinball Number Count".  Dig it.