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, April 28, 2006

Song of the Day - April 28, 2006

I pulled my original song of the day, when I discovered Neil Young's Living with War available on Rhapsody. What can I say, I am a huge Neil Young fan and I am hugely impressed by his latest release. This is a classic album, a protest against the Iraq war, that will be remembered decades from now. Neil even employs a 100 person choir and the results are magnificent. The choir's version of "America The Beautiful" brought tears to my eyes. This album will be on the top of everyone's list for best of 2006. America has not seen a protest album of this magnitude since the 60's. Though I am sure the album will cause considerable controversy, especially the track "Let's Impeach the President." surely we have more reasons to impeach Bush than we did Clinton; I can think of over 2000 reasons. This album is a masterpiece and it comes as no surprise that this work comes from one of rock's greatest Neil Young. Beside the aforementioned tracks, I love "Shock and Awe," "Flags of Freedom," and "Looking for a Leader." I would vote for Neil Young for President, too bad he is Canadian. Any of the above songs could be song of the day and probably should be, but I truly enjoyed "Restless Consumer." The godfather of grunge rocks out on this number with distorted guitars and his beautiful choir. Please take the time to listen to the lyrics on this song and all the others. We can all learn something from Neil Young. Click here to listen.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Song of the Day - April 27, 2006

I have been anxiously awaiting the new Dresden Dolls album Yes, Virginia. I adore their punk cabaret style; very few other bands have the courage to pull off what the Dresden Dolls do with such success. Their fans are practically a cult contributing artwork, video, sculpture, plays, etc. to the Dresden Doll's unique brand of performance art. A few of my favorite tracks include the frantic "Modern Moonlight," the soaring vocals of Amanda Palmer on "Delilah," and the angry "Backstabber." However, my favorite track is "Dirty Business" with its alternating fast and slow passages, brief toy-like piano sounds, and Amanda's dynamic vocals. The Dresden Dolls will be performing at Lollapolooza this summer and I will be there. Look for me up front near the stage. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Song of the Day - April 26, 2006

It is difficult to categorize Gram Rabbit. Their influences include Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, not your typical artists, while incorporating various styles such as electroclash, neo-country and western, and psychedelic influences often in the same song. Their fans are known as The Royal Order of Rabbits and often sport rabbit ears on their heads during concerts. I think Frank would love it. Their sophomore album Cultivation just came out and you must listen to "Bloody Bunnies." The song totally fools you by starting with heavy dance beats and pop-like vocals by Jesika von Rabbit only to launch into a heavy barrage of electric guitars, metamorphosing the song into a great rock song. This song will grab you and not let you go. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Song of the Day - April 25, 2006

Samara Lubelski, founder of Hall of Fame, late last year released Spectacular of Passage. The album is full of understated psychedelic pop that would have been perfectly at home in Haight Ashbury in the late 60's. The one track that I have been playing over and over is "Sister Silver." It's mellow laid back groove and Samara's vocals combined with the haunting trumpet on the chorus just put me in a make love not war kind of mood. Click here to listen.

What Is that Buzzing in My Head?

There are times when I must listen to drone music. I find it strangely comforting and often exhilarating music. It is a style that transcends borders and time. The range of music is truly astounding from the music of India with its tambura and sitar, to the bagpipes of Scotland, as well as the modern music of today. One can even find drones in modern classical music. Try listening to the Wagner below for a sample of the drone. Paula Oliveros recording Deep Listening was made underground in a giant cistern using all acoustic instruments. The effect is stunning partly due to the 45 second reverb that existed in the cistern. Just as Paul Oliveros recording has a soothing effect, the music of Bardo Pond has a much more ominous sound. The list is by no mean all inclusive. Let me know what your favorites are that I may have left off the list. Click here to listen.

1. In the Shadow of the Mountain - Growing
2. Bo Go Gyaling -
3. Pase El Agoa - Charalambides
4. Gat Kirwani - Ravi Shankar
5. Ione - Pauline Oliveros / Stuart Dempster / Panaiotis
6. Das Rheingold: Scene I: Vorspiel - Richard Wagner
7. Birth Of Liquid Plejades - Tangerine Dream
8. El Medahey - Master Musicians Of Jajouka...
9. Warmachines - Daturah
10. Pibroch Variation 1: Hail To My Country - City Of Glasgow Police Pipe Band
11. Absence - Bardo Pond
12. Music in Twelve Parts - Part 2 - Philip Glass
13. When I See Scissors I Can't Help but Think of You - The Dead Texan
14. Absolution - Pelt

Monday, April 24, 2006

Song of the Day - April 24, 2006

The treasure trove of new releases in April continues with Magneta Lane's Dancing with Daggers. If you are not familiar with this band you are in for a treat. This all female trio from Canada have taken the best of Blondie and The Pretenders to mold their own sound. Lexi, Nadia, and French are young, beautiful, and they rock with the best of them. "Carnival In Spain," "Bridge To Terabithia," and "Daggers Out" all are great tracks. The track that I really love is "22" with its fuzzed out bass line, distorted guitars, and Lexi's great vocals. If you happen to be in Brighton, U.K. on May 18th - 20th, Magneta Lane will be playing at The Great Escape. Do not miss it! Click here to listen.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Song of the Day - April 21, 2006

The Black Angels album Passover is a throwback to the Sixties and the anti-war movement that parallels our own current problems in Iraq. The music reminds me of a mixture of Velvet Underground and Neil Young with a very strong psychedelic sound. I must say that I have really enjoyed listening to this album, and it is a strong contender for top 10 of 2006. "Bloodhounds On My Trail" immediately appealed to me with its country blues sound, droning guitars, and Neil Young inspired vocals. The song borrows heavily from Canned Heat's "Let's Work Together," but that doesn't bother me in the least. You can't go wrong with any track on The Black Angels Passover. Click here to listen.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'

Here's a groovy playlist composed of both old and new artists. I had a great time putting the list together, which includes a mixture of folk, psychedelic, neo-psychedelic, acid folk and a few other styles. I love the Clive Palmer track and I was surprised to find The Monkees cult classic album Head available on Rhapsody. Check out the current wide range of artists who record in the neo-psychedelic style like the Espers and Pothole Skinny. Click here to listen.

1. We've Got A Groovy Thing Goin' - Simon & Garfunkel
2. Can You Dig It - The Monkees
3. Angel Song - Gram Rabbit
4. O For Summer - Clive Palmer
5. Stones Throw From Heaven - Josephine Foster
6. Black Is The Color - Espers
7. One Too Many Mornings - Joan Baez
8. Magic Winding - Samara Lubelski
9. Amerilie - Vetiver
10. Somewhere Between - Six Organs Of Admittance
11. A Breeze Of Pine Blows Through Me - The Skygreen Leopards
12. Prince Charlie Stuart - Amps For Christ
13. Happy Happy Oh - Devendra Banhart
14. Three Hours - Nick Drake
15. Translucent Carriages - Pearls Before Swine
16. Antique Gasoline - Pothole Skinny
17. The Father - Apothecary Hymns
18. Thoughts Of Norea - Your Team Ring
19. Shirts For Pennies - EDISON WOODS
20. No Man's Land - Syd Barrett

Song of the Day - April 20, 2006

The Ark has landed on the shores of North America with their first U.S. release State of the Ark. This Swedish quintet are ardent glam rockers producing music in the style of Bowie, Queen, and the New York Dolls. They are extremely popular in their native Sweden and will surely grow in popularity in the U.S. "Clamour for Glamour" best exemplifies their style of catchy riffs, high pitched vocals, and sizzling guitar licks. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Song of the Day - April 19, 2006

Check out Be Your Own Pet! Their recent release Summer Sensation totally rocks. It is hard to believe this is just a group of immensely talented teenagers. Lead vocalist Jemina Pearl is destined to be a star. The energy of Jemina and the whole band is unbelievable, especially in the track "Bicycle, Bicycle." Though Summer Sensation is just an EP, a full length album is scheduled to be released this June. If you are lucky enough to be at Coachella later this month you can see them perform. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Song of the Day - April 18, 2006

J. Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr. fame, has formed a side project called Witch. Witch has J Mascis on drums, Dave Sweetapple is on bass, while Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons of the psych-folk band Feathers sing and play guitar respectively. Their self-titled debut has only a single track available on Rhapsody, but it is a killer. This has changed since I originally wrote this post, now the entire Witch album is available. "Isadora" starts out with mellow folk guitar only to explode into a psychedelic-laced tune of distorted guitars, distant vocals, and pummeling drums. This is stoner rock of the highest caliber. The Negative Creep gives two thumbs up. Click here to listen.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Are You Ready For This?

If you are not awake yet this morning, you will be after you listen to this post. This playlist is loud, rude, and angry. I suppose it is the essence of rock and roll. Don't miss the track from J Mascis' latest side project Witch. Click here to listen.

1. Heart Attack American - The Bronx
2. Seer - Witch
3. Hidden From My Neffews - Mean Reds
4. In A Better World - Altamont
5. Caught In Between - F-Minus
6. Big Surprise - Animal Alpha
7. 1% - Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards
8. Magazine Girl - The Super Bees
9. What's Your Problem - Circle Jerks

Song of the Day - April 17, 2006

Please, please give a listen to the newest album Elan Vital by Pretty Girls Make Graves. This is a truly great album. There sound is slightly toned down from past efforts, but it doesn't matter, the overall effect is even better. The task of picking just a single song from this album as the song of the day is practically impossible. I love "The Number," "The Magic Hour," and "Pictures of a Night Scene." However, it is "Pyrite Pedestal" that won me over with its relatively gentle beginning to the driving rhythmic transition, cool bass line, and great vocals. Do not pass up this album. Click here to listen.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Song of the Day - April 14, 2006

I stumbled upon Bright Channel while perusing recent new releases, only to find that their latest was missing from Rhapsody, but their debut self-titled album was available, so I gave it a listen. I was blown away with the first track "Final Stretch." It starts out with a heavily distorted bass line, drums, and a guitar sound as if from outer space. The song rockets through space slowly throttling the intensity until they reach warp speed. Bright Channel's sound is best described as a hallucinogenic cocktail composed of equal parts Joy Division, Swervedriver,and Mogwai. A little research uncovered that Steve Albini's engineering talents were put to work on the album and that they will be opening for Dinosaur Jr. in Boulder, CO. tomorrow. Two very good indications of the quality of their music. Click here to listen.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Song of the Day - April 13, 2006

Back in March, I featured the Sparks "Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls" from a few years back. Spark's latest release Hello Young Lovers has some outstanding songs, but the absolute best is "Dick Around." Yes, I know the song is sophomoric, but I love it. It is irreverent, but addictive. The music borrows from Queen and their Bohemian Rhapsody era harmonies. The music builds, threatens, and alternates between relative calm periods to moments of pure orchestral chaos, anger, and strange beauty. It reminds me of a rock and roll version of Orff's "Carmina Burana." Click here to listen.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Song of the Day - April 12, 2006

I just love that British sound, and I was not disappointed by the U.S. release of Babyshambles' Down In Albion. Led by ex-Libertine, Pete Doherty, infamous rock star, who helped drag down Kate Moss's career, Babyshambles' Down in Albion debut features the British hits "*uck Forever" and "Killamangiro." However, the album has much more to offer including the infectious "32nd of December" and "A'rebours," which starts out with a great funky bass line and just keeps getting better. Kate Moss even contributes some background vocals on the opening track "La Belle et la Bete." The album was produced by The Clash's Mick Jones and the similarities to the Clash are clearly evident throughout the album. The track "Pipedown" brings back memories of the great Clash album, London Calling with its raw sound and ska influenced rhythms. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Song of the Day - April 11, 2006

If you enjoy The Beatles, especially their later years, The Lovetones will not disappoint. With their second release, Meditations, The Lovetones have mastered the psychedelic sounds of the late 60's and early 70's. Their influences include Pink Floyd, Bowie, and obviously The Beatles. "Mantra" starts with an organ drone and a few drum beats, before the vocals kick in. Matt Tow sounds remotely likely John Lennon in this track, the effect is more pronounced in other songs, such as "Inside A Dream." When I played this album for some friends, everyone said it reminded them of the Beatles. Click here to listen.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Cocktail - Part II

This weekend I continued my research in the study of the perfect cocktail. My subject was the Rob Roy. To the uninitiated, it is essentially a Manhattan made with scotch. In my quest for the perfect Negroni, I had acquired what has to be one of the finest sweet vermouths on the planet, Punt e Mes. This slightly bittersweet Italian concoction brought me one step closer to cocktail nirvana. As scotch varies greatly in taste, the question becomes what scotch to use. My supply of blended scotch and vatted scotch having been depleted, I was forced to use a single malt. I know this is heresy, but I had to continue with my research. A quick survey of my library of single malts led me to the Aberlour 15 Year Old Sherry Cask. With cocktail shaker and plenty of ice, I set out to prepare the ultimate Rob Roy, The Aberlour, when combined with the Punt e Mes in the ratio of 3 parts scotch to 1 part vermouth, with a dash of Angostura bitters, shaken and served up with a twist of lemon peel, was exquisite. I hesitate to try another scotch, as this elixir was heavenly. All research into the science of cocktails is further assisted with a selection of great music. A classic cocktail, such as the Rob Roy, is best served with great jazz. Click here to listen.

1. Alfie - John Scofield Trio
2. Survival Blues - McCoy Tyner
3. El Burlón ( The Joker) - Yosvany Terry Cabrera
4. The Mercenary - Lee Morgan
5. The Wizard Of Montara - Christian McBride Band
6. Eye Of The Hurricane - Herbie Hancock
7. Blues To Steve Lacy - Martial Solal and Dave Douglas
8. Happy Time - Francesco Cafiso Quartet
9. Minor Yours - Chet Baker
10. Love And Hate - Grachan Moncur III
11. Close Your Eyes - Sonny Stitt
12. Body And Soul - Dexter Gordon and Junior Mance

Monday, April 10, 2006

Song of the Day - April 10, 2006

The musical invasion continues from all fronts. The Canadians have done it again with The Meligrove Band's Planets Conspire. The album is chock full of good tunes, so many in fact that it is hard to find a favorite. There is a shadow of the 70's hanging over the album, especially from Bowie. However, I also detect a fondness for The Cure. The opening track "Isle of Yew" shows its 70's influences with a somewhat toned down Robert Plant vocal stylings. "Our Love Will Make the World Go Round" combines the current jangly guitar style with Bowie circa 1970, while "Planets Conspire" with its rhythmic keyboards pounds into your skull. Song of the day honors go to "Everyone's A Winner," which starts out with a Beatles' style solo piano and vocal intro, only to erupt into an indie pop classic with driving drums, nonsensical chorus, beautiful harmonies and of course a guitar solo. The song just forces you to dance. Click here to listen.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Song of the Day - April 7, 2006

Chad VanGaalen, last year, released his debut album Infiniheart on Sub Pop Records. This album was many years in the making and can be considered a best of collection of the hundreds of songs that he has written during his career. I must say it is a thoroughly enjoyable effort. Chad has clearly been influenced by Neil Young, particularly his vocal style, but also in his acoustic country/folk approach to many of the tracks. "After the Afterlife" sounds eerily like Neil Young not only in the vocals, but also in the arrangement of the song. As an artist, Chad VanGaalen has succeeded in producing some beautiful songs, that are definitely worth spending some time discovering. Click here to listen.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Song of the Day - April 6, 2006

I am a big fan of The Dead Science and I am glad to see their latest Frost Giant on Rhapsody. It was released last year, but I recently noticed it while trolling the depths of Rhapsody. Sam Micken's vocals are very restrained, understated, and ultimately very creepy. The track "Drrrty Magneto" best exemplifies Sam's vocal stylings paired with the rhythmic backing of the band, which at times almost feels tribal. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Song of the Day - April 5, 2006

Here's another great record from the label Kill Rock Stars. Comet Gain late last year released City Fallen Leaves, a truly brilliant example of indie pop with a British slant. Many of the songs deal with nostalgia of times past when everybody was younger and had fewer cares in the world. If you haven't experienced it you will soon enough. The album has intelligent lyrics and just a great sound, every listen brings something new to it. One of the best tracks is "The Fists in Pockets," which reminds me of something the Jam would have done. The crazed chanting of "I can't take it anymore" and the infectious chorus "If you're looking for me, I'll be down there on the beach" are entirely addictive. Just a note, the song starts out very softly and you may not hear anything until you are about 25 seconds into the song, your patience, however, will be rewarded. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Tribute to Jackie McLean

One of the great alto saxophonists, Jackie McLean, passed away last week at the age of 73. Jackie was a direct link back to the development of bebop, having heard Charlie Parker play when he was just a youngster. His neighbors growing up in NYC included both Bud Powell and Sonny Rollins, two legends of jazz. All of these artists heavily influenced Jackie. He appeared on some of Miles Davis early recordings, as well as working with other greats such as Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, Gene Ammons, Lee Morgan, and scores of others. His long career produced many albums, especially on Blue Note, included classics like Let Freedom Ring and Destination Out where he stretched his bluesy hard bop style to encompass the new modal and free jazz idioms. The jazz world will miss Jackie McLean. Click here to listen to Jackie's work both as a leader and sideman.

1. Lights Out - Jackie McLean
2. Conception - (bonus track) - Miles Davis/Sonny Rollins
3. Why Was I Born? - Jackie McLean
4. Vertigo - Jackie McLean
5. Outburst - Jackie McLean
6. Pithecanthropus Erectus - Charles Mingus
7. A Fickle Sonance - Jackie McLean
8. Love And Hate - Jackie McLean
9. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square - Jackie McLean
10. Cattin' - Gene Ammons
11. Vernestune (A.K.A. The Three Minors) - Jackie Mclean
12. Beau Jack - Jackie McLean & Co
13. 116th And Lenox - Jackie McLean
14. Cool Struttin' - Sonny Clark
15. Hootnan - Jackie McLean
16. Eco - Jackie McLean
17. Cool Green - Jackie McLean
18. Minor Apprehension - Jackie McLean
19. Quadrangle - Jackie McLean
20. D's Dilemma - The Jazz Messengers
21. Jacknife - Jackie McLean
22. Chasin' The Bird - Jackie McLean
23. Omega - Jackie McLean

Song of the Day - April 4, 2006

The flow of talent from Seattle seems to be a never ending flood. Kill Rock Stars recently released the debut album from Shoplifting, Body Stories, and at this point in the year I definitely consider it a contender for the best of 2006. To the uninitiated, their music may be a little hard to swallow. However, it is worth the effort. Shoplifting's music glorifies dissonance, asymmetrical rhythms, and frantic beats, musical elements which I crave. As you would suspect the influence of bands like Gang of Four and The Fall loom large over Shoplifting. The album is filled with great songs like the heavily Gang of Four influenced "Talk of the Town," and the track "Untrust/Trust" which brought back memories of DAF, with its repeating chorus and driving beats. The opening track, "M. Sally" gets my vote for song of the day mixing shades of Gang of Four with the intensity of Killing Joke. If I am lucky maybe they will appear at one of the three great musical festivals in Chicago this summer: Intonation, Pitchfork, and Lollapalooza. Click here to listen.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Song of the Day - April 3, 2006

The Beach Boys and Beatles have influenced many artists over the years and continue to do so in the work of Kelley Stoltz. His latest album Below the Branches sounds as if it could have been recorded in the late 60's or early 70's. I especially liked the track "Ever Thought of Coming Back," which has glorious Beach Boy harmonies that just can't help but put a smile on my face. It is somewhat ironic that the music is so upbeat, while the lyrics are just the opposite; one could think of it as an antipasto of musical agrodolce. Click here to listen.

March 2006 - Songs of the Day

March brought an excellent selection of music. I loved The Duke Spirit, the David Bowie influenced Destroyer, and the return of Dan Treacy and The Television Personalities. In addition to the aforementioned bands, a number of bands from foreign countries were featured: Australia's The Grates, Denmark's Figurines, Brazil's Apollo Nove, and Norway's Animal Alpha. This is one type of outsourcing that I don't mind. Click here to listen.

1. The Winding Staircase - New Radiant Storm King
2. Fantasies Are Nice (French Version) - The Rogers Sisters
3. Timing is Everything - Swearing At Motorists
4. Up From The Floor - The Bomb
5. Sister Says - Field Notes
6. It's Getting Light Outside - Clearlake
7. Inexplicata - Apollo Nove Feat. Ceu
8. Not Everyone - Nine Black Alps
9. THE Story of INAZUMA - Many Birthdays
10. Creepy Feeling - Ani Kyd
11. We Got The Bling - Bling Kong
12. Plastic Man, You're The Devil - Pink Mountaintops
13. Maniac Psycho - Miguel Mendez
14. Darling, You're Mean - The Duke Spirit
15. Bundy - Animal Alpha
16. San Telmo - Tarantella
17. Rubies - Destroyer
18. Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls - Sparks
19. Insistor - Tapes 'n Tapes
20. My Dark Places - The Television Personalities
21. Trampoline - The Grates
22. The Wonder - Figurines
23. two wings to fly - Cezanne

Site Meter