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, May 31, 2006

A Pajama Party for the Deranged

Here's a little touch of madness for the last night of May. If you decide to have a pajama party for the musically advanced, may I suggest this list. Partial credit for this list must go to the Negative Creep. Click here to listen.

1. Rip Van Winkle - Witch
2. Always Got Something - The Black Hollies
3. Good, Not Great - Mission of Burma
4. Laughter Then Violence (Album) - The Makers
5. The Money Will Roll Right In - Fang
6. Pajama Party In A Haunted Hive - Beat Happening
7. A Good Dose - The Beautiful New Born Children
8. We Will Ride - Demolition Doll Rods
9. Bulbs of Passion - Dinosaur Jr
10. Little Girl - Death From Above 1979
11. Cat-O'-Nine-Tails - L7
12. Chicago Fanphair '93 - Local H
13. Hidden From My Neffews - Mean Reds
14. The Sniper At The Gates Of Heaven - The Black Angels
15. Time has come Today - Die Hunns
16. I Wanna Be Your Dog - Iggy Pop
17. Those Dumb Punk Kids (Will Buy Anything) - Jello Biafra With The Melvins
18. Death Valley '69 - (with Lydia Lunch) - Sonic Youth
19. Six Pack - Black Flag
20. My Blood Is Boiling For You - The Black Madonnas

Song of the Day - May 31, 2006

Danielson is a huge collective of artists led by Daniel Smith. On Ships, Smith collaborated with artist such as Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Sereena Maneesh, Leopulde, Half-handed Cloud and others to create this magnum opus where he is assisted by a 20-piece band. Danielson and all its derivatives Danielson Famile and Brother Danielson are definitely a cult like phenomenon with their Christian leanings and psychedelic hippie-like music. The music is great and it is the idiosyncrasy of their songs both musically and lyrical that attracts me. "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" immediately jumped out at me with it's lyrical trumpet intro that dissolved into an acoustic guitar and a great vocal interchange between Daniel Smith and the chorus. This is a musical treat of the highest order. Click
here to listen.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Song of the Day - May 30, 2006

Chicago continues to have an excellent music scene. My latest find is The Saturday Nights; a band that is not trying to create a new musical genre, but crafts beautiful tunes with catchy lyrics and solid hooks. Their debut effort is Queenslandicus, an album that should get the attention of many. "Julianna Convince Me" just blows me away. This track slowly slithered and burned its way into my brain with a gigantic guitar sound that envelopes everything in the immediate vicinity with an unbelievable fuzzy feedback and bluesy guitar licks. Click here to listen.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Song of the Day - May 29, 2006

There has been a fair amount of press about Beirut and his debut album Gulag Orkestar. Zach Condon has created a brilliant effort that glorifies an Eastern European/Balkan aesthetic. There is not a single guitar on this album, and I do not mind in the least. The instrumentation ranges from trumpets, pianos, ukeleles, organs, cellos, accordions, and glockenspiel contributing to Beirut's unique sound. Zach's music tends toward melancholy tunes and a sense of weariness in life, yet Zach is only 19. Zach is assisted on this album by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeremy Barnes and A Hawk and a Hacksaw's Heather Trost. With friends like that and Zach's immense talent, I am sure we will have a wealth of great music to listen to in the future. "Brandenburg" is one of my favorite tracks with its aggressive Eastern European beat, mandolin accompaniment, and Zach's plaintive vocals. The trumpets add another level of sophistication to this great track. Click here to listen.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Song of the Day - May 26, 2006

I am currently reading T.C. Boyle's Drop City, a tale that explores the hippie culture in the 60's. Music is a crucial element of the novel. While The Black Hollies did not exist then, their music would have easily made the scene. Cream, Yardbirds, Pretty Things, and The Kinks can all be heard in the riot of sound that The Black Hollies create on their album Crimson Reflections. The Black Hollies are the members of the Rye Coalition with the addition of drummer Scott Bolasci. "Crimson Reflections Through Looking Glass Mind" creates a psychedelic haze of fuzzed out sounds, bluesy guitar jams, and crashing cymbals. I need to find my bell bottoms, tie-dyed shirt, and rose colored shades and mellow out to the sounds of The Black Hollies. Click here to listen.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Song of the Day - May 25, 2006

It's time to get back to some Chicago bands. Crush Kill Destroy, transplants from Ann Arbor, create a musical melange of intertwined guitars, feedback, dissonance, and jagged rhythms. Their brand of post-punk noise rock clearly is influenced by great bands such as The Gang of Four and The Fall. The Fall's influence can be seen in Brian Hacker's vocals, which are reminiscent of Mark E. Smith. The dissonance that Gang of Four brought to the music scene permeates Crush Kill Destroy's latest release Metric Midnight. Highlights include the epic "Is this the New Black," with the dueling guitar drone of clashing chords and "Tim Quits Painting," a track of jagged rhythms and ringing feedback. Song of the day honors go to "Off Point," which has echoes of a mutated island beats, that transform into a spastic fit of chaos. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Song of the Day - May 24, 2006

Here's another great Seattle band, Mountain Con, which recently released Sancho Panza. It is a little bit hard to characterize their sound, which combines element of folk, rock, and occasional hip hop influences. Traces of Dylan, The Kinks, and even Franz Ferdinand can be found in their music and it is those influences which really entice me when I listen to their music. Dylan probably stands out the most prominently on the track "House Party in the New Dark Ages." It particularly reminds of Dylan during his Highway 61 Revisited era. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Song of the Day - May 23, 2006

I don't believe the British invasion has ever stopped. The latest lads from England to invade our North American shores are The Len Price 3 with one of the best garage rock sounds around. The Kinks, The Who, Jam, and The Beatles can all be heard in the songs of Len Price 3. One listen to their track, "Christian in the Desert" and you will be up dancing around and bouncing off the walls. It is almost a religious fervor. The enthusiastic chorus of "hallelujah, I said hallelujah!" never sounded so joyous in church. I only hope they will visit Chicago soon. Click here to listen.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Song of the Day - May 22, 2006

I am extremely impressed by Shearwater's recent release Palo Santo. This is a great album, on the whole it is a relatively subdued album, but it is full of complexity, beautiful sounds, and brief moments of dissonance. I always welcome a little dissonance. Palo Santo is a perfect album for lazy Sunday mornings. I would say it is one of the highlights of the year. Their sound is an amalgamation of many influences. My musical palate detects hints of Neal Young, Antony and the Johnson, and Bryan Ferry. Jonathan Meiburg's falsetto vocals have a lilting quality, that are just irresistible. The album is full of highlights including the arresting opening track "La Dame Et La Licorne," the harder rocking, Neil Young influenced "White Waves," and the beautiful acoustic trance inducing title track "Palo Santo." All of the above are great, but I particularly enjoyed "Johnny Viola," with it's Roxy Music overtones. The instrumentation is gorgeous, with a wonderful balance of piano, drums, guitars, bass, and trumpet. I mustn't forget Meiburg's awesome vocals. Click here to listen.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Song of the Day - May 19, 2006

It's time for a little ska. Bison, a 10 piece band from Sheffield, recently caught my attention while looking for new releases. The Beast with Nine Backs is not Bison's latest release, but having never heard them before will do until Rhapsody posts their latest, Herd Mentality. This is some of the finest ska music I have heard since the days of Madness and The Specials. "One Fine Day" has everything that I am looking for: irresistible rhythm, great horn arrangements, echoing voices, and British accents. Click here to listen. While visiting their website, I was given a glimpse of their latest album, which features a song entitled Sponk. Look under the mp3 section. It is a killer of a track that starts out with a Star Wars theme, which expands into a full fledged ska induced party. If you happen to be in Granada, Andalucia, Spain today, catch their show at The Rocket Festival Check it out!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Song of the Day - May 18, 2006

Seattle's Mon Frere are back with their first full length album Blood, Sweat, & Swords. "Bigshot," one of my favorite tracks, is a condensed, short shot of rock. At under two minutes, the song starts with a bang of guitars and drums, which are soon overpowered by Nouela Johnston's pop punk vocals. Short songs leave me craving more of that energy, which Mon Frere delivers in songs like "Let It Bleed (Teen Wolf)," and "Bulliton." As winners of Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, I am sure we will hear more from the talented trio Mon Frere in the future. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Song of the Day - May 17, 2006

The influence of Joy Division and New Order continue their tremendous impact on the music scene. One listen to South's third album, Adventures in the Music Industry, Journey to Selling Out, will prove the point. As I suffer from Anglophile musical hysteria, the appeal of South should come as no surprise. Opening track "Shallow" definitely is one of the highlights of the album. Starting out with sounds of traffic and a trip to the tube, the song evolves into a beautiful piece of British pop. The guitars have that New Order sound, while the harmony during the chorus afflicts me with a soothing bliss. The appeal is immediate and South will probably gather a larger audience in the near future given that their music has appeared on the O.C.. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Song of the Day - May 16, 2006

Attention all men, women, and children: It is time to get up and dance to "Monkey, Monkee, Men." I don't know what is going on, but this is the second song this month featuring monkeys. Check out the May 3rd post of The Apparitions' God Monkey Robot. Men, Women, & Children are hard to categorize, but if forced to make a choice, I would put them in the new wave, disco, dance, punk category. "Monkey, Monkee, Men" is a particularly virulent strain of musical virus that may cause the world to erupt in a pandemic of dancing. Do not bother looking for a vaccine; there is no cure. Click here to listen.

Twenty for Tuesday

Here are the latest tunes from twenty bands that have been buzzing between my neural receptors. Most of the tunes are relatively new, but a few old gems are thrown into the mix. Click here to listen.

1. Chatham Town Spawns Devils - The Len Price 3
2. Devotion Is So Twentieth Century - Mountain Con
3. White Waves - Shearwater
4. Everybody's A Star (Starmaker) - The Kinks
5. Tout Le Monde Se Fout Des Fleurs - Stereo Total
6. Charlie's Kids - Gram Rabbit
7. Sixteen Ways - Green On Red
8. Don't Believe In Love - Brian Glaze
9. Daggers Out! - Magneta Lane
10. Bonaparte - The Beautiful Mothers
11. You Are One - South
12. Isle of Yew - Meligrove Band
13. Killamangiro - Babyshambles
14. Better Off This Way - We Are The Fury
15. Vehicle - Bright Channel
16. Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking - Bob Dylan
17. Silence but for the Gentle Tinkling of the Flowing Creek - Frog Eyes
18. Hey Boy - The Blow
19. Magic Winding - Samara Lubelski
20. Life Is Short - Devotchka

Monday, May 15, 2006

Song of the Day - May 15, 2006

Last year I picked The Gris Gris' For The Season as one of the top albums of the year. Now, I don't have to wait any longer to hear music that has the fingerprints of Gris Gris. Greg Ashley of Gris Gris is collaborating with Brian Glaze, formerly of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, on Glaze's Let's Go to the Sea. This is a great neo-psychedelic album, the influence of early Pink Floyd and more specifically Syd Barrett loom large over the sound of Brian Glaze's latest effort. "Daylight" starts with a burst of feedback, only to launch into a slow dreamy reverb and organ accompanied vocals. An ominous feeling pervades the song, leaving one wondering what will happen next. Click here to listen.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Song of the Day - May 12, 2006

Mecca Normal has created a masterpiece of an album with The Observer. The album tells the story of lead vocalist, Jean Smith's, online dating adventures. Jean is backed up by David Lester, primarily on guitar, but also playing various assorted instruments. Jean is from the rock poet school, famous graduates include Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. However, I find Jean Smith's tales reminiscent of Tegan and Sarah and Regina Spektor. "Attraction is Ephemeral" tells a long tale of a first date that rambles from having tea, to lingerie, a sexual encounter, to the price of oranges. Mecca Normal's songs intrigue you with their stories; the path they take remains a mystery, as they navigate the labyrinth of Jean Smith's mind. Click here to listen.

Ode to the Mock Porchetta

Last night I prepared Zuni Cafe's mock porchetta, a dish I highly recommend you try. The mock porchetta is a pork shoulder that is inundated with a lustful mixture of rosemary, sage, fennel, capers, lemon peel, garlic, and black pepper. It is slowly roasted for hours until the surface is carmelized and succulent. Russian banana fingerling potatoes and Vidalia onions were roasted in the pan drippings. The drippings were later enriched with a touch of chicken stock and a whisper of vermouth. The porchetta was sliced and served on fresh baked buns slathered with pan drippings and topped with the roasted Vidalia onions. To accompany this Tuscan inspired meal, I served a Cusumano Nero D'Avola from Sicily and a healthy dose of jazz. Click here to listen.

1. Jeg Gik Mig Ud En Sommerdag - Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen
2. In Her Honor - Sean Jones
3. Your Warm Embrace - Ron Blake
4. Berda's Bounce - Terell Stafford
5. H And T Blues - Thad Jones/Pepper Adams
6. Six Steps - Jimmy Heath & Brass
7. Lazy Afternoon - Grant Green
8. Major's Minor - Stanley Turrentine
9. A Night In Barcelona - Bobby Hutcherson
10. Wildflower - Herbie Nichols
11. Autumn Leaves - Gene Ammons/Sonny Stitt

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Song of the Day - May 11, 2006

Kate Hinote's vocals of Ether Aura on "6 Days Yesterday" are absolutely beautiful. This relatively upbeat number is a joy to listen to and is reminiscent of the great girl groups of the sixties. This track is probably one of the lighter tracks on their album Crash, as their sound tends to be heavier with atmospheric guitars and more avert shoegazer tendencies. Actually Ether Aura handles either style with talent and eases my hunger for some tasty tunes. Click here to listen.

A Funky Tripped-Out Flashback

I felt a little nostalgic this morning for the 60's and early 70's, so I couldn't resist putting together an ensemble of assorted flashbacks. There are lots of funky keyboards, great horns, psychedelic guitars, and guilty pleasures thrown into the mix. The list could probably go on forever, but here is small hit. Click here to listen.

1. A House Is Not A Motel - Love
2. Pigmy - Booker T. & The MG's
3. Miss X - MC 5
4. Don't Tell Me The Truth - The Remains
5. Oh Yeah - The Shadows Of Knight
6. Cissy Strut - The Meters
7. I Need Somebody - ? & The Mysterians
8. You Better Run (Single Version) - The Rascals
9. Wooden Ships/Dharma For One - The Ides Of March
10. Western Union - The Five Americans
11. She (LP Version) - The Monkees
12. The World Turns All Around Her - The Byrds
13. Love Is All Around - The Troggs
14. Out Of My Mind - Buffalo Springfield
15. Almost Cut My Hair - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
16. Hang On To Your Life - The Guess Who
17. Where Is My Mind - Vanilla Fudge
18. Psycho Daisies - The Yardbirds

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Song of the Day - May 10, 2006

Centro-Matic has been receiving quite a bit of press lately for their album Fort Recovery. Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers has praised Centro-Matic's Fort Recovery calling it his favorite album of 2006. Will Johnson and his band of Texas cohorts have been producing albums for at least ten years and this may just be their best work yet. A few have labeled them freak pop, however, I find them to be more from the Neil Young school of rock. They can combine quiet acoustic, country tinged ballads, with songs that are much harder in nature. "Calling Thermatico" is one of the tracks that favors their harder sound and is my favorite track from their latest opus. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Song of the Day - May 9, 2006

Before I ever heard a song by The Beautiful New Born Children, I expected the band to favor a friendly sweet pop sound. My presumptions were wrong, extremely wrong. The Beautiful New Born Children are the very essence of the lo-fi, garage band sound. Every track of their album Hey, People! is bursting with raw power. Yes, that is a reference to Iggy and the Stooges, as many bands before and more to come have taken inspiration from the legendary Iggy Pop. "Ok, Allright, Fine" best exemplifies the spirit and attitude of The Beautiful New Born Children. The energy level is off the charts, the attitude is snotty, and the sound is raw. It actually sounds as if it was recorded in a garage. Click here to listen.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Song of the Day - May 8, 2006

Oxbow's Love That's Last: A Wholly Hypnographic & Disturbing Work Regarding Oxbow is one disturbing album. Actually, it is CD/DVD collection of live tracks, rare works, and reworked songs that will appeal to their longtime fans. One of the most disturbing but intriguing tracks is "Insylum," which is based on a Willie Dixon tune. Believe it or not, Marianne Faithful is a guest vocalist on "Insylum." This blues drenched number starts out with deranged screaming and a touch of Pink Floyd influenced guitar. A Hammond B3 organ accompanies Marianne Faithful's vocals only to be interrupted by the crazed vocals of Eugene Robinson. The madness continues to multiply unabridged. I can't say I am a fan of all of Oxbow's oeuvre, but this track holds a sinister appeal. Click here to listen.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Song of the Day - May 5, 2006

I normally do not feature straight instrumentals as the song of the day, however, exceptions must be made from time to time. The time is now for Charlie Hunter's "Cueball Bobbin'," from his recent release Copperopolis. This song is a masterpiece of funky jazz fusion employing rock-like riffs and an irresistible beat that makes preventing dancing an impossibility. This song reminds me of something Jeff Beck might have done with a smidgen of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" thrown into the mix. Charlie Hunter's sound can partially be attributed to the fact that he plays an eight string guitar allowing him to play bass lines and melody all on one instrument. John Ellis provides perfect keyboard accompaniment, while Derrick Phillips keeps the funky beat on drums. Click here to listen.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Song of the Day - May 4, 2006

Wow, Starlight Mints album Drowaton is full of great indie pop, one that you might hear on some great underground AM radio station, if such a thing existed. Their music has been labeled bubblegum psych by some critics. The Starlight Mints use a wide variety of instrumentation to create a rich sonic palette; everything from violins, church bells, synths, guitars, drums, and the rest of the usual suspects are thrown into the mix culminating in a luscious stew of musical treats. A few of the standout tracks include the almost folk-like "The Killer," the high energy, punctuated with electric guitars "Pearls," and the silly whistling chorus of "Tort." "Inside of Me" has hit written all over it. I love the intro with the piano glissando and the falsetto backing vocals during the chorus. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Song of the Day - May 3, 2006

The folks leading the intelligent design movement might just ban The Apparitions latest release, As This Is Futuristic, for the track "God Monkey Robot." The Apparitions can be described as a hybrid between The Flaming Lips and The Pixies. The infectious chorus of "First there was God, then came the monkey, then came the robot" will not depart from my brain. It's no matter, as I will happily sing this contagious indie pop gem over and over. Give the song a listen, but if you are in Kansas you better wear headphones. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Song of the Day - May 2, 2006

Holy moly this is one rockin' record! This is like 110 proof whiskey, a distillate of pure rock, straight from the cask, undiluted raw power. The Beautiful Mothers Half American Serviceman deserves, no, demands to be listened to now. Their sound is huge, reminding me of Nirvana, Local H, and the frantic chaos of The Fall. There is a Nirvana connection in that Jack Endino, who worked with Nirvana, recorded the latest from The Beautiful Mothers. The album rocks from beginning to end. Favorite tracks include "Cornel West," "Smoke Rings," and "Heart Transplant." I am sure you will have your favorites too, but my absolute favorite track is "St Mary St." The track starts out with pounding drums before the rest of band kicks in with a thunderous sound. I love the chaotic angry vocals, great guitar licks, and the overdriven distorted sound. Click here to listen.

A High Pressure Release

It's Tuesday and it is time to blow off a little steam. I thought I would start out with some Local H, as I recently caught their killer live show. I couldn't resist adding some more of The Beautiful Mothers. The intensity level of the songs below is high, so if you are looking to relax, look elsewhere. Click here to listen.

1. Back In The Day - Local H
2. Heart Transplant - The Beautiful Mothers
3. Jet Boy - New York Dolls
4. Prole Art Threat - The Fall
5. White Riot - The Clash
6. Lexicon Devil - The Germs
7. Back Against the Wall - Circle Jerks
8. To Hell With Poverty - Gang Of Four
9. The Oven Is My Friend - Church Police
10. Problems - The Sex Pistols
11. Police Truck - Dead Kennedys
12. Bundy - Animal Alpha
13. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Rehearsal Demo) - Nirvana
14. Jesus Built My Hotrod - Ministry
15. The Fall Of Because - Killing Joke
16. Born To Be Wild - The Knitters
17. Louie Louie - Iggy Pop

Monday, May 01, 2006

Song of the Day - May 1, 2006

Kill Rock Stars have been releasing the back catalog of Stereo Total, which have been previously relatively unavailable in the US. If you are not familiar with Stereo Total, they sing in a variety of languages, most notably German, French, and English. Their Europop sound is a blast. Serge Gainsbourg is one of their biggest influences and the track "Vilaine Fille, Mauvais Garcon" on their 1999 release My Melody is a cover of a Serge Gainsbourg tune. Stereo Total even cover the Beatles' "Baby, You Can Drive My Car" under the French title "Tu Peux Conduire Ma Bagnole." One of the greatest and most fun tracks on My Melody is "Diskjockey" which is sung in French accompanied by what sounds like a toy electronic keyboard. Click here to listen.

April 2006 - Songs of the Day

Wow, what a month April was for new discoveries and releases! I loved the Killing Joke/Gang of Four influenced Shoplifting, the 70's sounding Meligrove Band, Babyshambles' British rock, and the psychedelic stoner rock of Witch. There were many other excellent choices, which you can listen to below. The most important release, however, was Neil Young's sure to become classic protest album Living with War. Click here to listen.

1. Ever Thought of Coming Back (Album) - Kelley Stoltz
2. M. Sally - Shoplifting
3. The Fists In the Pocket - Comet Gain
4. Drrrty Magneto - The Dead Science
5. After The Afterlife - Chad Vangaalen
6. Everyone's A Winner - Meligrove Band
7. Mantra - The Lovetones
8. Pipedown - Babyshambles
9. Dick Around - Sparks
10. Final Stretch - Bright Channel
11. Pyrite Pedestal - Pretty Girls Make Graves
12. Isadora - Witch
13. Bicycle, Bicycle - Be Your Own Pet
14. Clamour For Glamour - The Ark
15. Bloodhounds On My Trail - The Black Angels
16. 22 - Magneta Lane
17. Sister Silver - Samara Lubelski
18. Bloody Bunnies (Superficiality) - Gram Rabbit
19. Dirty Business (Album Version (Explicit)) - Dresden Dolls
20. Restless Consumer - Neil Young

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