The Covalent Bond

This site is dedicated to the sharing of ideas in the field of music, literature, and whatever else strikes my fancy. To play the music, you must have Rhapsody. I am just getting started. There will be more to come. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Friday, July 29, 2005

Covalent Bond and Negative Creep's Excellent Adventure

I finally have recovered from my Lollapalooza adventure to jot down a few comments about last week's festival. First of all, it was magnificent, all the great bands and a view of Chicago's awesome skyline. Second, it was hot, especially Sunday, when it was 102 degrees. Now, back to the important stuff, the music. There were many great bands and I didn't get a chance to see them all, with competing schedules and not lasting the whole day in the heat. However, here are the highlights:

Day One

Kaiser Chiefs - Definitely the best show for me. I along with The Negative Creep were very close to the stage and enjoyed an awesome show. It was one of the first shows of the festival and the first one where the audience was really getting excited. The lead vocalist Ricky Wilson was obviously suffering from strained vocal cords, but he put on a great show. At one point, he called up some audience members to sing "Oh My God" and they did an excellent job and the crowd loved it.

M83 - We were right up front for this show against the barricade. The sound was intense, probably louder than most of the bands at the show. Their second song I believe was * and it ripped. The lead guitarist put his guitar down and started playing it with a slide, though I heard someone say it was a screwdriver. Whatever he used, it was great.

The Dead 60's - We had to leave M83 to catch a little bit of The Dead 60's. We passed The Warlocks on the way and caught a song or two. They sounded very good, but there wasn't much time. The Dead 60's were across the street and when we got there, it was still possible to get right to the front of the stage. I loved their Gang of Four influenced sound. We left this concert to catch a few minutes of And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead.

Bravery - The crowds had grown around the stage by the time we got to the Bravery's stage, which prevented us from getting real close to the stage, but we were only about 50 feet away. I guess I was getting spoiled by my previous experiences. There was definitely a lot of posing by the band, but the music was good. When the Bravery was finished, we hustled over to see Billy Idol. Billy didn't hold my attention, so we got a bite to eat. The next stop The Black Keys.

Black Keys - I didn't see a lot of it, but what I saw was great. One of the best sets of the festival. I am sure they gained a lot of fans that day.

Primus - They had two large inflatable ducks on stage. Negative Creep is a much bigger fan than I. No complaints. The real reason I was there, was to position myself for the Pixies concert, as they were to play on an adjacent stage.

The Pixies - We were probably only about 100 feet from the stage, but the crowds were huge and the Negative Creep could not see. We actually moved a little farther away from the stage to get a better view. They opened with "Bone Machine." Oh! It was awesome.

That was day one, I actually had to catch a train to get home, so we ended up missing Weezer, which I regret, but it was a true musical adventure. Stay tuned for day two.

Click here to listen.

1. Oh My God - Kaiser Chiefs
2. * - M83
3. Game Over - The Dead 60s
4. Hurricane Heart Attack - The Warlocks
5. Will You Smile Again Fro Me - And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
6. Unconditional - The Bravery
7. Thickfreakness - The Black Keys
8. Jerry Was A Race Car Driver - Primus
9. Bone Machine - Pixies
10. Hashpipe - Weezer

Song of the Day - July 29, 2005

Here's something just a little different, but not totally unexpected given my recent musical adventures. Six Organs of Admittance's "The Six Stations" is an acoustic opus to psychedelic music. At over 22 minutes in length, it is one of the longest songs, if not the longest song I have ever featured as a song of the day. The sound of a needle tracking through a dusty, worn lp, lingers over the entire song, imparting a feeling of days long gone. The acoustic guitar work of Ben Chasny is brilliant. He plays in an eastern style, suggesting Indian ragas, building complex rhythms, and layers of sound. The juxtaposition of the crackle and hiss combined with Chasny's raga influenced guitar work creates an almost mystical aura about the music. At one point, their is brief spoken word interlude, strongly reminiscent of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, but then it is back to the beautiful music. If you have the patience you will be rewarded. Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Song of the Day - July 28, 2005

I first heard this song last week on NPR and I was immediately drawn to it. The song is "Love's A Real Thing" by the Super Eagles. This song is a perfect blend of 60's psychedelic sounds and West African funk. The song appears on the compilation World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's a Real Thing; the Funky, Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa. This is on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label. Yes, that David Byrne of The Talking Heads, he is a tireless promoter of world beats and funky sounds. To hear the song of the day click here. The whole album is outstanding, I especially liked the opening track "Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome" and "Keleya" with its funky organ riffs, sax solos, and James Brown influenced vocals. Click here to enjoy the album in its entirety.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Song of the Day - July 27, 2005

I am sure many of you know that Baltimore is famous for crab cakes. Very soon Baltimore will be famous for Lake Trout. I absolutely love their track "Stutter," a dark and ominous tune filled with funky beats and cool sounds. Lake Trout has added layers of instrumentation and combined it with a dark and somewhat unnerving vocals to create a song which is immediately appealing but still complex enough to satisfy after many listens. Taste some Lake Trout today by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Song of the Day - July 26, 2005

Oh yeah, I was at Lollapalooza and it was great! It was hot too - 102 degrees. One band that I enjoyed and didn't know much about was The Warlocks. The psychedelic influenced garage band sound was perfect for the daze induced by the intense heat. If you haven't heard The Warlocks, their sound is heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground and overdriven guitars like The Stooges. A great example of their work is the track "Shake the Dope Out." Andy Warhol would have loved this band. Click here to listen.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Song of the Day - July 25, 2005

I hope you don't have a hangover, because this is going to hurt. Yes, it is a little rude to start a Monday morning this way, but sometimes you need a big jolt of musical caffeine to get you going. I have just the solution, The Mae Shi. In fact, I would compare them to a double espresso. Their songs are short, but they pack a potent punch. As much of my favorite music, they have been influenced by The Gang of Four, but I detect a strong Captain Beefheart influence. If you liked Frog Eyes last week, I think Mae Shi will be your cup of tea. Sorry, I meant cup of espresso. Check out their track "Power to the People." Click here to listen.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Absolutely Kosher

I have followed a strict kosher diet this week; musically that is. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but all the music featured this week has been from artists associated with the Absolutely Kosher record label. This trend started last week with songs from The Dead Science and Eltro. I decided to continue the trend after I received a free Absolutely Kosher sampler CD at the Pitchfork Intonation Music Festival in Chicago. I believe it was the founder of the company, Cory Brown, who was handing them out. The sampler is fantastic and prompted me to feature all Absolutely Kosher music this week. Cory has an eclectic but excellent taste in music. The artist range from The Wrens, Xiu Xiu, to the Mountain Goats. If you are not familiar with these artists, you should give them a listen. Click here to enjoy.

Song of the Day - July 22, 2005

The nucleus of The Places is Amy Annelle. I have featured her exquisite vocals before, but not with her band The Places. This recording dates from 2001, but sounds just as good today, as I am sure it did in 2001. The track "Mission Impossible" opens with a snippet of a female voice from what sounds like the 50's and other found sounds. The guitars enter with an eerie tone, along with Amy's haunting vocals, while an accordion plays in the background. The whole effect is one of sinister doom. The song is drenched in atmosphere. Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Song of the Day - July 21, 2005

Bottom of the Hudson remind me of XTC, with just a hint of New Order. Their song "December Is Only a Window" is a refreshing musical respite from the heat of summer. I love the acoustic guitars combined with the electric; it makes for a full and rich sound. The song just plain sounds happy, without being sappy or saccharine. This is a major accomplishment one that many artists never achieve. To add a bit of happiness to your life click here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Would You Like Some Cello With Your Electric Guitar?

Eureka! The perfect marriage of the rock and classical worlds. Telegraph Melts takes only the electric guitar and cello and combines them into a symbiotic melange of instrumentation. Their album Ilium is a true delight. I have always found the cello to be one of the most expressive instruments around and of course the guitar has to rank right up there as well. I would not classify this as crossover music, but a truly unique creation in its own right. Outstanding tracks include "Indigo, Azure, Cyan" and "In Eggshell Seas" Click here to listen.

Song of the Day - July 20, 2005

Frog Eyes is an acquired taste; one that I cannot get enough of. The song "I Like Dot Dot Dot" is a high energy melange of wild vocals, quick paced rhythms, and overall chaos. The intro of the song starts out with a guitar lick reminiscent of The Bravery, but that is where comparisons to The Bravery stop. Frog Eyes has been compared to Captain Beefheart, a favorite of mine, but this particular track is mild compared to others on The Folded Palm. You must be a fan of the dissonant and truly unusual to appreciate Frog Eyes, but once you develop a taste for them, there is no looking back. Click here for a taste of Frog Eyes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Song of the Day - July 19, 2005

Summer at Shatter Creek is Craig Gurwich of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has some of the most beautiful vocals I have heard recently. His voice has been compared to Jeff Buckley, high praise indeed. I also detect shades of Neil Young. "The Drive" is an all-out showcase of Craig's lonesome sounding vocals. The track is one of ethereal melancholy. It just puts you in a transcendental mood. It is a truly beautiful song. Click here to listen.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Song of the Day - July 18, 2005

I love the "Doot Doot Plot" by The Hidden Cameras. This weekend after taking the kids out to dinner, I happened to play the song while driving home and everybody broke out in a smile. Not only did we all start smiling, we all started singing the happy chorus of "Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot...." I rolled the windows down and blasted the radio as we continued to sing and drive through the neighborhood. It was a sponteneous burst of joy. Click here for some schrapnels of joy.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Eldar Djangirov

Don't you wish you stuck with your piano lessons? Teenage jazz pianist phenom Eldar Djangirov will blow your socks off. A few of you may be familiar with him, as he has been on the Grammy Awards. Eldar is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, specifically Kyrgyzstan. His talent is way beyond his years. He started playing piano when he was three and a half years old and he hasn't looked back. His sound, musical phrasing, and compositions all scream musical genius. Eldar is his debut album and it is a glorious effort. If you are a fan of piano jazz, you will not be disappointed. I particularly enjoyed his versions of "Moanin," one of my favorite jazz compositions, and Herbie Hancock's (another former teenage jazz prodigy) "Maiden Voyage." Click here to listen.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Song of the Day - July 15, 2005

I am back on my psychedelic kick again. It must have been the extreme heat in Arizona; my brain is fried and I am having flashbacks. Donovan's Brain is named after a cult horror movie which starred Nancy Reagan. Their track "Crystal Palace" is a modern psychedelic classic. At points the track reminds me of Jefferson Airplane. There is an eastern guitar motif thrown in for good measure. The rhythmic bass and drum accompaniment serve as a musical mantra to the chanting of the chorus, "Going to the crystal palace, I am going all the way." Where did I put my tie-dyed shirt? Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Is It Warm Enough For You?

I just got back from Arizona where it was 115 degrees, a dry heat as they say. Well, that is too hot for me. I just need some cool jazz so I can get some relief and relax. Now, not all the tracks fit into the cool jazz genre, but they are "cool" jazz tracks none the less. There is a wide variety in the mix from the Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava to the hard bop trombonist Curtis Fuller. I particularly enjoyed the track from flautist Bradley Leighton. Click here to listen.

1. Lover Man - Gene Bertoncini and Jack Wilkins
2. Mojave - Bradley Leighton
3. Blue Lights - Clifford Jordan/John Gilmore
4. Mystere - Enrico Rava
5. Where Are You - Sonny Rollins
6. Blue Yes - Chucho Valdes
7. Bahia - Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis
8. Temple Court - Ahmad Jamal
9. On Wings Of Song - Wayne Shorter
10. Blues-ette - Curtis Fuller"

Song of the Day - July 14, 2005

This song just worms its way into your brain. Once you hear it, you will not be able to remove it from you cerebral cortex. Eltro's sound has been compared to both the Talking Heads and Kraftwerk; two hugely influential bands that Eltro has done a deft job at weaving these disparate influences into their own sound. "Say It" starts out with Talking Head influences with a funky guitar riff that is just plain infectious. The song progresses and develops an almost world beat type sound, before the Kraftwerk style keyboards kick in, moving it into more of a "galaxy beat" style. As I was never sure Kraftwerk were from this planet. The whole combination of sounds is just perfect. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Song of the Day - July 13, 2005

Ooooh, another new discovery and I like it very much! The Dead Science, a trio from Washington State, have a jazzy, ethereal, brooding sound. Their sound brings to mind images of an extremely warm day, when the horizon is distorted from the heat rising from the road, and you feel a brief but cool breeze. A breeze that you want to linger in, but it is too brief. A fleeting bit of joy, that makes you feel good before the punishing heat returns you to reality. "Ossuary" is an excellent track, and shows off lead vocalist Sam Mickens talents, which give The Dead Science such a unique sound. He has this hushed, whispered style of singing, that is a perfect match to his bandmates jazzy rhythm section, the brothers Bischoff on drums and bass. Click here to listen.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Song of the Day - July 12, 2005

The Lashes have that retro new wave sound, not punk sounding, but power pop influenced. At first hearing them, I was swept back to the late 70's and the sound of The Knack. The Lashes create little pop masterpieces with great hooks and catchy tunes. Their music is pure, simple, back to basics rock and roll. A change of pace from my everyday listening, but enjoyable none the less. My favorite track is "Ex-Mas." Click here to listen.

Song of the Day - July 11, 2005

I was wondering aimlessly around the internet last week, when I stumbled across the debut record of Anagram Songs From Far Away. Thank god for accidental discoveries. Jessica Congdon and Eric Holland are Anagram. Despite being Anagram's debut effort, both Jessica and Eric have experience in other bands. Jessica in Vervein and Eric in Milk Cult. I really enjoyed their sound: a mixture of New Order, Miss Kittin, Mazzy Star, Ultravox, and others. "Canada" is a brief, but great track that I just cannot stop listening to; it is truly infectious and my choice for song of the day. It starts out very subtly with Jessica's spoken vocals, then evolves into a wash of dissonant guitars. This is music to my ears. Check them out and tell me what you think. Click here to listen.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Song of the Day - July 8, 2005

Landing create ethereal musical soundscapes. Their songs bring to mind dream-like sensations. When listening to their music, I feel like I am in a forest, on a beautiful Indian summer day gazing at the sky, while autumn leaves fall around me. OK, maybe I had too much wine with dinner, but there is no denying the beauty and solitude of the music. One of my favorite tracks is "Close Your Eyes Slowly." Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

John Coltrane - A Musical Timeline

If I could go back in time and meet any musician the choice would be difficult. Would I meet Beethoven, Bach, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker, or one of many others? After careful consideration I would have to pick John Coltrane. As a former tenor player, Coltrane has been my idol for quite some time. He was a revolutionary saxman. He has a unique sound, which I can identify within seconds of hearing one of his recordings.

He initially gained prominence while recording with Miles Davis, before he developed his trademark "sheets of sound" as made famous on the track "Giant Steps." His music progressed from the traditional bop, to post-bop, and beyond with the avant garde. Though he initially became famous playing the tenor, it was the soprano sax that brought him the most fame with his version of "My Favorite Things." Throughout his career he made a number of famous recordings including: Giant Steps (His breakout album), Tenor Madness (A saxophone duel with Sonny Rollins), Kind of Blue (What some consider the greatest jazz album ever), A Love Supreme (What others consider the greatest jazz album ever), John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (A great album where Coltrane accompanies Hartman's classic vocals), and Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane (Two masters working together).

I attempted to put a list together that is a chronological timeline of Coltrane's recorded works. It is not necessarily when the records were released. The intent is to show how Coltrane's work changed over time; how his sound became more dissonant, while he searched for a spiritual awakening through his music. Coltrane tragically died in 1967, however, we will always have his music. Click here to listen.

1. Airegin - Miles Davis
2. Tenor Madness - Sonny Rollins
3. Ruby, My Dear - Thelonious Monk
4. Moment's Notice - John Coltrane
5. Good Bait - John Coltrane
6. Miles - Miles Davis
7. So What - Miles Davis
8. Giant Steps - John Coltrane
9. My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
10. Greensleeves - John Coltrane Quartet
11. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise - John Coltrane
12. Impressions (Live) - John Coltrane
13. You Don't Know What Love Is - John Coltrane Quartet
14. Lush Life - John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman
15. Afro Blue - John Coltrane
16. Resolution Part 2 - John Coltrane
17. Nature Boy - (live) - John Coltrane
18. Transition - John Coltrane
19. Ascension-Edition II - John Coltrane
20. Amen - John Coltrane
21. Out Of This World - John Coltrane
22. Love - John Coltrane
23. Dusk-Dawn - John Coltrane
24. Tranesonic - John Coltrane
25. Jupiter - John Coltrane
26. My Favorite Things - John Coltrane

Musical Gluttony

It is Thursday and I need more music. Will I make it to the weekend? Can I satisfy my cravings? I have an insatiable appetite for music. I am a music glutton. The more I have the better. Here's a little sample to satisfy your musical appetite. There is no structure to this list, just pure musical lust. Click here to listen.

1. Bang Bang Rock and Roll - Art Brut
2. I Found That Essence Rare - Gang Of Four
3. Peacemaker - Naked Raygun
4. Hate Reaction (usa2m0503074) - The Mirrors
5. Omaha - Visqueen
6. Winnebago Warrior - Dead Kennedys
7. No Satisfaction (Campfire Version) (Campfire Version) - Black Mountain
8. Don't Wanna Stop - Six By Seven
9. Oh My God - Kaiser Chiefs
10. Going Underground - The Jam
11. I Love the Valley OH! - Xiu Xiu
12. Green Cosmos - Deerhoof
13. Umi De No Jisatsu - Asobi Seksu
14. Fallout - Pidgeon
15. Sister Ray - Velvet Underground"

Song of the Day - July 7, 2005

I am musically back in Seattle again, with local favorites The Lights. Their sound is an amalgam of various influences most notably to my ear the sounds of Joy Division, Iggy Pop, The Fall, and the ever present Gang of Four. "Suge Night Sweetheart" is recorded live and simmers with intensity. I kept wondering why this song was so appealing to me, when I had a revelation. This song is similar to the track "Bodybag" by the legendary Chicago punk band The Effigies. I wonder if The Lights ever heard this track, because it must have been floating in around in their subconscious when they conceived "Suge Night Sweetheart." If there are any Effigies fans out there, tell me what you think. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Song of the Day - July 6, 2005

I had a great Fourth of July weekend. One of the highlights was a visit to the Naperville Ribfest for some pork fueled gluttony, but also a little music. Local H happened to be playing at the fest and their set was excellent. In honor of their performance, I declare "Hey Rita" song of the day. Local H is a two man band from Chicago, they have been around since the mid 90's, before the White Stripes made two piece bands fashionable. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Song of the Day - July 5, 2005

Well it is back to work, and the long weekend and celebrations have ended. The Narrator's song "This Party's Over" seemed like a logical choice. The music reminds me of REM, but there are touches of Gang of Four, especially at the end of the song, where they indulge in some dissonant guitar feedback, my favorite kind by the way. The absolute best attribute of this song is the chorus of "wuwho..wuwho..wuwho..." I have absolutely no idea how to spell that, but it is just great. Click here to listen. By the way the band is from Chicago, and their whole album, Such Triumph is great.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Song of the Day - July 4, 2005

It's the fourth of July, so I thought a touch of Americana would be appropriate. The song "You Will Be Safe" by James William Hindle is a great example. There are twangy guitars, plaintive vocals in the style of Neil Young, and a general country feeling, with strong western leanings, that just howl Americana. There is only just one problem, James William Hindle is British not American. Well, maybe that is not a problem, maybe it couldn't be more appropriate. America was founded by foreigners, particularly the British. I wouldn't exactly call it roots music, but I like it very much whatever the moniker. Click here to listen.

Friday, July 01, 2005

June's Songs of the Day

I can tell from this playlist that the weather has influenced my selection of music. June's songs of the day rock from beginning to end. It starts with the garage rock influences of The Charming Snakes, proceeds to the psychedelic rantings of Modey Lemon, and ends with the power, pop, punk sounds of The Divorce. There are only brief respites of calm before the next onslaught of summer sounds. Click here to listen.

1. All Great Things - Charming Snakes
2. You Almost Had It - The Golden Republic
3. To Hell With Poverty 2005 - Gang Of Four
4. My Lovely Lover - The Mirrors
5. Invincible - Holiday Flyer
6. Leisure Suite - Feist
7. You Did - Jennifer O'Connor
8. Eyeball Skeleton - Eyeball Skeleton
9. Couldn't Find Love - Coach Whips
10. Charon, Take Me Away - Lungs Of A Giant
11. Underwater - Palomar
12. American Spear - Minmae
13. Black Flamingos - Modey Lemon
14. Fields in Glass - The High Dials
15. The Beast - The Impossible Shapes
16. Connection Time - Graves
17. Colossus - The Dudley Corporation
18. Down To The Day - Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start
19. Plan To Stay Awake - The Deathray Davies
20. Coldbringer - Naked Raygun
21. Multiply And Divide - The Soviettes
22. The Man Moan - The Divorce

Song of the Day - July 1, 2005

Time to hop on a plane and leave Seattle and head east to another city that holds immense musical talent, London. Here we find Weevil, a two man band, perhaps best known for providing the opening tune to Mac's operating system. If you desire something more substantial, I recommend their track "Half Smile." The sound is reminiscent of New Order, with touches of Human League. They also have been compared to My Bloody Valentine. The track has some IDM type beats thrown into the mix, but has that melancholy feel, alternating with periods of happiness. It is a bittersweet sound perhaps epitomized by New Order, which I hugely adore. Click here to listen.

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