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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Song of the Day - November 30, 2005

The Old Haunts remind me of an amalgamation of The White Stripes and Neil Young. This is especially evident on the track "The Old World" that combines the country western sounds of some simple guitar picking, piano playing, and Neil Young style vocals, with a raw sound that one associates with The White Stripes. Of course most everyone knows that Neil went through that type of sound in his Crazy Horse days. This is a very appealing song that I must have played over a dozen times. They are on the Kill Rock Stars record label; a label that excels at picking excellent talent. Click here to listen.

A Jazz Injection

I need jazz and I need it now. I am suffering from jazz withdrawal symptoms. In order to brave this chilly day, I need an injection of cool jazz. I included a little old school and new school jazz in the mix, just to keep things interesting. As I listen to the playlist, I can feel the jazz warming my soul. Click here to listen.

1. Snowfall - Claude Thornhill
2. Le Nevada - Gil Evans Orchestra
3. Jano - Johnny Coles
4. Dear Old Stockholm - Miles Davis
5. inbetween inbwtween - Thollem/ Rivera
6. Back O' Town Blues - Louis Armstrong
7. That's Earl, Brother - Dizzy Gillespie
8. The Closer - Charlie Parker
9. I Want To Talk About You - John Coltrane
10. Ageless - Dave Douglas
11. Rush Hour On 23rd St. - Joe Lovano
12. Adena - William Parker

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Song of the Day - November 29, 2005

I was drawn to the Hex song "Santeria Queen" by the funky guitars. The guitar work remained me of Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp. I am sure you know that distinct guitar sound heard on David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson, and others. As I am big fan of the previous bands, the attraction was obvious. Hex is a collaboration between musicians from NY and Paris, and one can hear influences from both cities in their work. Lead vocalist, 9, has definitely been influenced by the likes of Grace Jones, as their music is a mix of club oriented dance music and artistic funk. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Song of the Day - November 28, 2005

The Mendoza Line came out with their seventh album Full Of Light And Full Of Fire last week and it is great. I guess seven is a lucky number. The album is full of intelligent lyrics and awesome tunes. Vocals are handled by Shannon McArdle and Timothy Bracy, with Timothy sounding like Dylan and Shannon reminiscent of a young Chrissie Hynde. Some reviews have compared the two to Johnny Cash and June Carter, very high praise indeed. One of my favorite tunes is "Golden Boy (Torture in the Shed). Shannon definitely has the Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders thing going on during this tune, which is more upbeat than most of the other tunes. I especially love the chorus where she sings background for herself. It is just beautiful and when combined with the uptempo guitar work and steady drum beat, I just can't resist. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Song of the Day - November 25, 2005

It's time for a little gypsy folk punk, if you are a fan of Gogol Bordello, you are sure to like Mischief Brew. Mischief Brew could be described as a cross between Django Reinhardt and The Violent Femmes. I love the rawness of the sound, the lyrics, and the total energy of Mischief Brew's songs. Mischief Brew is Erik Petersen of Philly. I suppose Philly is not the gypsy punk center of the universe, but regardless of where Erik's influences came from, I am not to quibble, as the music is excellent. Check out the track "Ramblers Ghost." It will get you up and moving after yesterday's day of gluttony. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Song of the Day - November 24, 2005

Ok, it is time for my non-traditional song of the day for Thanksgiving. And the winner is.... "Sapphire Eyes" by Serena Maneesh. Serena Maneesh is a Norwegian band, but maybe that is appropriate on Thanksgiving, as we are supposed to welcome strangers to our shores. Serena Maneesh could easily be labeled noise rock, but whatever you call them, I find their music very appealing. I guess I should not be surprised, because when I looked at their website, I found that Steve Albini had a hand in making the record. The music is a strange mix of influences from Hendrix, Kinski, and Jesus and Mary Chain. "Sapphire Eyes" will be an excellent song to listen to after one has gorged themselves on turkey and trimmings, and is drifting into a comatose state. The psychedelic leanings of their music will contribute to some excellent dreams without the danger of flashbacks. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Song of the Day - November 23, 2005

Dredg came out with their album Catch Without Arms earlier this year, but I am just getting around to listening to it. I especially enjoyed the opening track "Ode to the Sun." The track starts with some gentle guitar chords repeated over and over, until it erupts in a violent burst of rapid fire guitar chords, followed by the soaring vocals of Gavin Hayes. On this particular track, the influence of U2's Bono is particularly evident, especially in Gavin's vocals. Depending on what you think of U2, you may either love or hate this song. Click here to decide for yourself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Song of the Day - November 22, 2005

I never thought I would look forward to The Long Winters, but I was wrong. The opening track of their latest release Ultimatum is a gorgeous song full of layers of orchestration. "The Commander Thinks Aloud" starts out with some beautiful keyboards, followed by John Rodericks unique vocals, which have a certain something that I can't put my finger on, and a slow stately almost march-like effect from the drums. In the background one can hear various sounds like bird calls, violins, and synthesizer effects, such that one will be vastly rewarded by donning a pair of headphones. Click here for your reward.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Song of the Day - November 21, 2005

The Sharp Things create lushly orchestrated pop gems with strong 70's influences. In a way they remind me of The Decemberists crossed with Gordon Lightfoot, with the dominant genes coming from Gordon Lightfoot. The first song on their debut album Foxes and Hounds is my favorite. "There Will Be Violins" does indeed have violins, guitars, drums, possibly a cello, and an Irish sounding infectious melody. The violins really do work here and I must credit The Sharp Things with going against the current musical fashions to create their own style. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Song of the Day - November 18, 2005

It's Friday, and I am not in a mellow mood. The Clorox Girls fit the bill perfectly with their brand of punk pop that is a mix of influences from early punk bands such as The Ramones, Red Kross, X, Black Flag, etc. "Pop Codeine" is a great track with catchy guitar riffs and pounding drums. The best part is the chorus of "ah ah aha..." Oh, I love that sound. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Song of the Day - November 17, 2005

Well I just couldn't stay out of England. I am back in merry old England listening to Songs of Green Pheasant, which is the one man band of Duncan Sumpner from Sheffield. Duncan's sound is straight out of the 60's with heavy folk and psychedelic influences. The album is old, but not that old; it actually was recorded in 2002 and just recently released. I think Songs of Green Pheasant may best be described as a cross between Syd Barrett and Simon and Garfunkel. One of my favorite tracks is "From Here to Someone Else," a piece of tranquil beauty, acoustic melodies, drone guitars, and soft vocals. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Song of the Day - November 16, 2005

It's time to jet back over the big pond and set the plane down in Detroit to enjoy the sounds of The Sights. I can't believe I missed their self-titled album because it rocks in the spirit of all the best Detroit rockers. Their sound is very late 60's and early 70's influenced and couldn't be better. The track "Circus" is an instant rock and roll classic. I love the keyboards which are slightly reminiscent of ELP but much earthier and not as erudite. The vocals are raw and the guitars distorted, loud, and rude. The chorus sounds like it came straight out of the 70's and is slightly sweet sounding, before the whole song erupts in fits of frenzy, while some smokin' guitar licks from the Ted Nugent school leap out of the flames erupting from the "Circus." Click here to listen.

Songs for Dinner on a Stormy Night

The weather was stormy last night and I thought a little jazz would be nice for dinner. I had prepared a hearty dish from southwest France that consisted of carmelized morsels of pork shoulder, a deep reduction of wine, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar; this was braised ever so slowly in stock, to which I added carrots, glazed and carmelized whole tiny onions, rosemary, thyme, and prunes. The dish was served over the richest mash potatoes ever; the potatoes were made with massive amounts of butter, whipping cream, no wimpy milk for me, sea salt, and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg. To wash it all down I had a glorious 1997 Cote-Rotie from Michel Ogier. Click here to enjoy.

1. Mademoiselle Mabry - Miles Davis
2. Do You Hear The Voices You Left Behind? - John McLaughlin
3. Metropolis - Wallace Roney
4. Zaftig - Drew Gress
5. Koto Song - Dave Brubeck
6. Forest Flower Sunrise - Charles Lloyd
7. Patterns - Ahmad Jamal
8. Sham Time (LP Version) - Eddie Harris

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Song of the Day - November 15, 2005

I just can't leave the London underground scene. I was looking for the latest release from the London based Comet Gain entitled City Fallen Leaves, which hasn't appeared on Rhapsody yet, when I revisited some older gems from Comet Gain. "Why I Try to Look so Bad" despite its depressing title is immediately appealing with its slow guitar intro which dissolves into a great 60's era keyboard riff and perky guitar and drums. The combination of female and male vocals is just perfect, and I love the reverb on the guitar. The world needs more music like this. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tunes to Labor By

I need a few tunes to get me through the day, so I put together this list of various artist who have been bouncing about my brain the past week. There is a good mix of old and new such as The Velvet Underground, The Jam, Black Madonnas, and Gris Gris. Click here to start your week.

1. Ripped-Up Suit! - Comet Gain
2. Hand In Glove - The Smiths
3. Unwanted - Kill Hannah
4. Rent * - The Black Madonnas
5. Upperhand Woodhouse Edition - Clorox Girls
6. Strasbourg - The Rakes
7. Skin Mass Cat - The Gris Gris
8. The Hardest Walk - Jesus and Mary Chain
9. Lady Godiva's Operation - Velvet Underground
10. Handcuff Luv - The Earaches
11. Kissing Cops With My Ass - The Hatepinks
12. Here Comes A City - The Go-Betweens
13. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight - The Jam
14. My Little Brother - Art Brut
15. No More Smiles - The Smoking Popes
16. Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
17. Clampdown - The Clash
18. Draw Us Lines (Album) - The Constantines
19. Panic In Cicero - The Jesus Lizard
20. You Could Have It So Much Better - Franz Ferdinand
21. How I Wrote Elastic Man - The Fall

Song of the Day - November 14, 2005

Oh, London does it again! The Black Madonnas create a great garage sound with screaming guitar licks, walls of feedback, pounding drums, and a rawness that is hard to duplicate. On their album, The Black Madonnas Have Stolen the Moon, one of my favorite tracks is "Dirty River." This track rocks from the beginning with screeching feedback that explodes into a pounding riff that continues to build momentum with the chanted chorus of "dirty river, dirty river," while an incendiary guitar riff burns in the background. I highly recommend it. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Song of the Day - November 11, 2005

The Rakes are another great band out of England in the spirit of Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, and Art Brut. I just love these British bands. The Rakes have been hugely popular in England and Rhapsody recently posted their latest EP Retreat. There is something about British pop that I find hugely appealing. Their song "Dark Clouds" has echoes of Joy Division, especially in the lyrics, yet the overall feeling imparted by the song is one of relative happiness. I suppose it is a bittersweet combination. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Song of the Day - November 10, 2005

Pattern Is Movement excels in math rock style music. As a confirmed wine lover, I must admit that I am a sucker for a song called "It's The Wine." I was pleasantly surprised to find that the music was as intriguing as the title. The song is built upon repetitive rhythms and lyrics accented with occasional bursts of funky guitar in the style of Gang of Four and cello accompaniment. The combination may sound unconventional but the results work. As I have repeatedly listened to this song over the past few days, I have become infatuated with the repetition of the song. Though not necessarily a fugue, the song has a similar hypnotic effect that a Bach fugue may have. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Song of the Day - November 9, 2005

Normally, I like to keep my songs of the day relatively current. However, today is different and I thought a trip back in time would be appropriate for the unique and ground breaking music of Faust. One of the original founders of Krautrock, Faust has become a legendary band. The song "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl," is a classic from the early 70's and a song that is truly lodged in my cerebellum. The constant tom tom beat of the drums is hypnotic. When the beat is combined with the chanting of "It's a rainy day, sunshine girl," the effect is almost zen like. Synthesizer sounds swirl amongst the steady beats, combined with a wailing harmonica and an unconventional saxophone chorus to create a true masterpiece of minimalist rock. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Song of the Day - November 8, 2005

I like The Like. The Like are an LA based trio of young women who make great music in the style of The Pretenders, Blur, and The Kinks. Lead singer Z Berg has a beautiful voice and when you combine it with the vocal harmonies of Charlotte Froom and Tennessee Thomas the end result is just irresistible. One of the standout tracks on their debut album Are You Thinking What I Am Thinking? is "What I Say and What I Mean." The track starts with a catchy guitar riff and Z Berg's lovely vocals only to explode to a rockin' chorus with the added benefit of a little Siouxsie and the Banshees influence. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Song of the Day - November 7, 2005

Brian Amsterdam is a musical wunderkind, having played in front of audiences since the age of 9 and jamming with a slew of famous musicians from the likes of The E Street Band, Phish, and Les Paul. His latest release is called The Sore Score. My favorite track is "Farms + Arms," which is strongly influenced by Sgt. Pepper era Beatles. The song has a nice acoustic guitar melody which is overlaid by a psychedelic reverb drenched keyboard riff. The effect makes me feel as if I am floating through the air looking down upon the Earth with rose colored glasses. Click here to float away.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Song of the Day - November 4, 2005

We Are Wolves are a French Canadian trio that haunts your electro-punk nightmares. The track "La Nature" starts out with a screaming distorted siren-like noise, followed by a heavily overdriven bass that reminds me of very early Joy Division. In the background one hears what may possibly be the fragmented calls of a wolf. The frantic music builds to a climax, stops briefly to tease you, and starts all over again. Eventually mangled vocals enter into the mix. When I listen to this track I feel that the music is obscured, analogous to wandering in a fog shrouded forest on a moonless night. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Descent Into Madness

As the week comes to a close I feel a steady descent into madness. The music starts out in a gentle melancholy mood but gradually evolves into a deeper funk. A darkness settles over the music as it proceeds to increased levels of agitation, fits of noise, screaming, and eventually total madness. Click here for an escalator ride into madness.

1. Cut Me In Two - Rocky Votolato
2. My Broken Bones - Dios Malos
3. Voices From The Front Line - The Halifax Pier
4. Losing Haringey - The Clientele
5. Born To Dive - Mad Happy
6. Broken Boy - Hundred Hands
7. Tiny Spiders in My Hair - Infinite Number of Sounds
8. Ecks Em Eye - The Gris Gris
9. Something Clicked And I Fell Off The Edge - The Rakes
10. Atrocity Exhibition - Joy Division
11. Satan's Daughter - Alex Gomez
12. Hothead - Rotters, Liverpool 29/10/1980 - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Bands
13. Vampire Zoo - The Mae Shi
14. Bristol Connection - C
15. Mutiny - Ex Models
16. Intro - Nirvana
17. Set Me On Fire - Baseball Furies"

Song of the Day - November 3, 2005

Oh man! Seattle does it again. The Earaches are unbelievable, one of the hardest rocking bands I have ever heard. Hey, and I think The Earaches is an awesome name for a rock band. Their debut album Fist Fights, Hot Love is just unbelievable. If you like Iggy and the Stooges, then you will be in heaven. The songs are in your face, loud, fast, and cannot be ignored. This band deserves greater recognition. They are the essence of rock and roll and this album proves it. My absolute favorite track is "I Used to be a Loser." This psychedelic, reverb drenched song is destined to become a cult classic. Click here to listen. Their album Fist Fights, Hot Love rocks from beginning to end with great tracks such as "Bust Out!," "All My Fault," "Misunderstood," "Fire," "Prednisone," and "Just Wanna Rock 'n' Roll."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Song of the Day - November 2, 2005

Back in January I featured The Gris Gris as my song of the day. Ever since then, I have been infatuated with their modern take on psychedelic music and have eagerly awaited the release of their new album For The Season. Just as yesterday's post regarding The Skygreen Leopards, I would have to say that this release is one of the best of the year. However, it probably will not appeal to everyone. In fact, it qualifies as an acquired taste. There are free jazz sax squeals and large amounts of dissonance, but the patient listener will be greatly rewarded. I just can't get enough of it. Outstanding tracks include the Rolling Stones influenced "Pick Up Your Raygun," the eerie "Skin Mass Cat," and the Syd Barrett sounding "Big Engine Nazi Kid Daydream." My favorite track and song of the day is the reverb laden "Cuerpos Haran Amor Extrano" with The Gris Gris' psychedelic take on a Gregorian chant. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Song of the Day - November 1, 2005

I stumbled across the Skygreen Leopards latest release Jehovah Surrender last week while in a drug induced haze from various cold medicines and it made me feel better than any chemical substances possibly could. Of course, it might have been a transference from the band themselves who have developed a beautiful sixties influenced psychedelic sound that may have been chemical influenced. Their sound is influenced by other San Francisco Bay area natives such as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. One of my favorite tracks is "Julie-Anne, Patron of Thieves." Click here to listen. I just love the sound that they create! Though Jehovah Surrender is only an EP, I think it is one of the best releases of the year. Every track is excellent. I especially enjoyed "Jehovah I Surrender" and "Play For The Spring."

October's Songs of the Day

October was a month of discovery. Just as Columbus discovered the new world, The Covalent Bond is on a quest to discover new music. Many times the discovery process is accidental, but it worked for Columbus, so why not The Covalent Bond. I was especially fond of The Hatepinks, Girls in Hawaii, and Minus Story. Their styles vary greatly, but their music is great. Oh yeah, I can't forget the Electric Eel Shock and their great track "Bastard." Click here to listen to October's songs of the day.

1. Mexico - The King Of France
2. Right Foot - The Washdown
3. Destroy Everything You Touch - Ladytron
4. Puke a Pitch Black Rainbow to the Sun - Boduf Songs
5. Really Bad Weekend - Art Brut
6. Was There Ever - The Wrens / The Five Mod Four
7. No Direction Home - I Am Kloot
8. Dance 2 - Kiss Me Deadly
9. Sasuke - Ex-Girl
10. Susan vs. Youthclub - The Fall
11. Working the Wall - The Cops
12. Waking Up - Minus Story
13. I Saw You In The Wild - Great Lake Swimmers
14. Happy Birthday (Album Version) - The Birthday Massacre
15. Plastic Bag Ambitions - The Hatepinks
16. Mona Lisa - Ladell Mclin
17. Pretty Loser - Mommy and Daddy
18. Not a Hit Song - Tim Fite
19. Bastard! - Electric Eel Shock
20. Flavor - Girls In Hawaii
21. Monster Mash - The Misfits

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