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, June 30, 2006

Song of the Day - June 30, 2006

While waiting for the latest release from Dirty on Purpose, I thought I would take a look at last year's release, Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow. The telltale shoegazer signs are there: shimmering guitars, subdued vocals, and layers of sound. "Spider Eyes" is the standout track. I love the aggressive drumming of the intro, which only gets better when the guitars kick in. When the vocals are combined with the swirling dervish of guitar sounds a perfect musical cocktail is the result. Click here to listen.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Talisker and Copper River Salmon

Talisker is one of the premier single malt scotches and I recently had the opportunity to taste their entire product line: 10, 18, 25, Distiller's Edition, and the 175th Anniversary Edition. I enjoyed them all, but the most interesting and my favorite scotch was the 25 year. Fans of Talisker will know that it is famous for its taste of the sea, smoke, and pepper. The 10 year practically shouts this at you, while the 18 year was much more subdued in its flavor profile. The 25 year old surprised me after tasting the 18, in that it had a much more pronounced peppery profile than the 18. It was as if the 18 was a gangly teenager unsure of itself, while the 25 year old was confident man.

Copper River salmon are just about at the end of their short season. My favorite grocery store, Whole Foods, just happened to have a supply and I jumped at the chance. I believe that pristine, beautiful fish such as Copper River salmon should be prepared as simply as possible in order to enjoy their great flavors, so I brushed the fillets with a little olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper and tossed them on the grill. Oh, they were delicious. I cooked them such that they were translucent and creamy in the center. I suppose you could call it medium rare. The crisped skin, often neglected by many, just put me over the top. It was a moment of culinary ecstasy. If only I could eat this way every day.

Here's a little jazz to enjoy with your next scotch, Copper River Salmon, or your next meal. There are a couple of bands that I must make mention of in this playlist. The Metta Quintet, Cuarteto Sonando, and Avram Fefer, Bobby Few, and Wilber Morris all make outstanding music. If you only listen to a portion of this list, make sure you check out these artists. Click here to listen.

1. Fast Forward - Metta Quintet-Jazz Reach
2. The Call To All - C.O.M.A.
3. The Political Mistral - Brad Wheeler
4. Floating - Alexander McCabe
5. Three - Antonio Farao
6. Seven Steps to Heaven - Cuarteto Sonando
7. Brush - Reuben Radding
8. Tribute To Duke And Mingus - Odean Pope Trio
9. Chazz - Avram Fefer, Bobby Few, and Wilber Morris
10. Frida K. The Beautiful - Triptych Myth
11. Water / Earth - Michael Jefry Stevens / Dominic Duval Quintet
12. Cumplicidade - Ivo Perelman
13. Homer Simpson - BeebleBrox
14. Ah, George, We Hardly Knew Ya - Chico Freeman Quintet...
15. Rallier - Gerry Hemingway Quartet

Song of the Day - June 29, 2006

On first hearing The Everyothers' Pink Sticky Lies, my thoughts immediately turned to Iggy Pop. This NYC based quartet has created an EP packed full of uptempo, high energy numbers that are heavily influenced by the likes of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and Lou Reed. However, it is the songs that have the mark of Iggy that appeal to me the most. "Something Wrong" has the strongest Iggy influence and is my favorite track. Snarling guitars, a punk attitude, and raw emotion all combine to get my blood pumping. Let's hope The Everyothers play Chicago soon, but in the meantime, I will be listening to Rhapsody. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Song of the Day - June 28, 2006

The Canadians have done it again! Montreal's Think About Life's self-titled debut is setting the standard for post punk dance music. An Alien8 release, home to The Unicorns, Les Georges Leningrad, and Lesbians on Ecstasy, the label continues to develop and promote their unique brand of music with Think About Life. Though the song starts with a disco beat, "Serious Chords" soon transcends the beat into a beautiful noise and fuzzy vocals, however, the absolute pinnacle of the recording is the keyboards. They are fantastically addictive. If this is not enough to entice you to listen, they have been touring with Art Brut, one of my favorite bands. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Song of the Day - June 27, 2006

I stumbled across this tune the other day and just had to share it. The Sugarplum Fairies "Velcro Girl" is stuck in my brain. It's a beautiful indie pop song with a definite 90's feel, however, there is slight undercurrent of the 60's in Silvia Ryder's vocals and Ben Bohm's psychedelic guitar solo. Overall, this is one of the more upbeat songs on their latest release Country International Records, which is a fine album specializing in melancholy songs in the country noir vein. Click here to listen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Man, a Fruit, a Tart, and a Muffin

This weekend's trip to the farmer's market produced the first raspberries and blueberries of the season resulting in a minor culinary explosion of creativity. The aroma of blueberry polenta muffins wafted through my kitchen, resulting in ravenous attacks by family members on my blueberry muffin stash. The recipe is based upon the one used at Stars in San Francisco, see Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti. Al Forno's in Providence, Rhode Island, one of my favorite restaurants, provided the inspiration for a raspberry crostata, based on a recipe from their cookbook, Cucina Simpatica. A labor of love, I have been making crostatas based on Al Forno's recipe for years. A sweet pastry dough first must be made, frisaged (a French technique of massaging the dough), chilled and rested for at least an hour, carefully rolled out, then chilled again before I can place the raspberries and a little sugar on the pastry, after which it must be chilled for the third time before baking. Once baked, the tart is served warm oozing the luscious juices of raspberries, which have mingled with a dollop of cold creamy Hagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. This raspberry tart is one of the highlights of summer. As always music must accompany my culinary efforts and the rewards produced. Click here to listen.

1. Iron and Blood - Shalabi Effect
2. Come Another Rain Down - Brightblack Morning Light
3. Flaming Telepaths - Espers
4. In Sand And Dirt - Howlin Rain
5. Tuesday Evening - Paul Brett's Sage
6. Lavender Popcorn - Scrugg
7. The Swimmer (For Kurt Cobain) - Tom Rapp
8. Sugar Mountain - Neil Young
9. I Hope You're Happy Now - The Television Personalities
10. Doot Doot Plot - The Hidden Cameras
11. Papillon De Nuit - Le Volume Courbe
12. November And Everything After - Mountain Con
13. The Dark Side of Maria - Mecca Normal

Song of the Day - June 26, 2006

The joy of Flying can be experienced on Just One Second Ago Broken Eggshell. This Brooklyn based quartet creates psychedelic freak folk of the highest order. The lonesome male and female vocals combined with pianos, accordions, guitar, and sundry other instrumentation result in an otherworldly sound that is truly unique. "Love Dies Here" is my favorite track. Syd Barrett would feel at home in Flying, especially this track with its deranged, eerie keyboards, and lo-fi tendencies. Click here to listen.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Song of the Day - June 23, 2006

Le Volume Courbe's I Killed My Best Friend is an intriguing album. Led by London based, but French born Charlotte Marionneau, the band has created an album that most would ignore. However, Charlotte's mumbled lyrics and lo-fi production fascinates me. Her singing style forces you to listen closely to comprehend her lyrics, while the lo-fi production values give an honesty to the album that I adore. Stellar tracks include "Papillon De Nuit" with its pigeon cooing, the title track "I Killed My Best Friend," and the heavy beats and intermittent piano of "Locarno." "I Shall Skip Your Judgement" is my favorite track, with it's acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, and lonesome keyboards. Charlotte Marionneau and her bandmates remind of me Nico and The Velvet Underground combined with the folk of Bob Dylan and his idiosyncratic vocals. Click here to enter the world of Le Volume Courbe.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Song of the Day - June 22, 2006

The American Princes have released one fantastic album with their second release Less Is Less. This is a great album that makes for perfect summertime listening. Less is Less is full of high energy songs with catchy riffs, while tempered with the occasional ballad. I could see myself hitting the road, popping the CD in the player, and bobbing my head for miles while I transversed the country. I love the vocals of both David Slade and Collins Kilgore. The album is full to the brim with great tunes. Check out songs like the chaotic opener "Stolen Blues," the gently building but addictive "Never Grow Old," and the Beatles influenced "Annie." "This Is the Year" wins song of the day honors. I love the initial vocal blast, which reminds me of The Fall before the song settles down only to erupt into another Fall influenced session of chaotic vocals. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Song of the Day - June 21, 2006

I am not a fan of outsourcing, but it is a sad fact of life in our global economy. However, I will tolerate it in the musical arena. Imagine Americana from Sweden if you can, and you will have Amandine. Strongly reminiscent of Neil Young, Amandine has created a beautiful, melancholy sound on their EP Leave Out the Sad Parts. The piano intro had me hooked from the beginning on "Between What He's Saying and What He Regrets." Olof Gidlof is the lead vocalist and he does a beautiful job creating a lonesome sound, without the least bit of a Swedish accent, while the rest of the band excels at producing Americana tunes as if they were raised in the American Southwest. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Song of the Day - June 20, 2006

The Aggrolites are a southern California band that produces music in the skinhead reggae style. To be honest, I did not even know such a subgenre of music existed. Whatever you call it, the Aggrolites make some mighty fine music. "Heavier Than Lead" is one of the slower tracks on their self-titled album, but it really has that island groove; I especially like the organ riffs. It is hard to believe that this music comes from California and not Jamaica. Click here to listen.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Song of the Day - June 19, 2006

Wow is all I can say about Nomo's latest release New Tones! As you may have suspected. that isn't exactly true. Nomo creates polyryhthmic African style beats using everything they can get their hands on, including: sax, trumpet, clarinet, guitars, electric mbira, and every kind of percussion instrument imaginable. Their music goes so far as to incorporate the euphemistically entitled electric sawblade-gamelan. By the way, Nomo does not hail from the African continent, but rather Michigan. In fact, the band is mostly white guys. It is hard to believe the amount of funk generated by this talented band. The best introduction to Nomo and one of the hottest tracks on the record is "Nu Tones." The beats are multitextured combining a Fela Kuti feel with the best of 70's funk. And the horns, we can't forget the horns. They add the spice to the funky beats. Click here to listen.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Morning Hour with the Covalent Bond

Here's an hour's worth of assorted musical nuggets that should get your morning off to a good start. The list begins with Paul Weller and ends with his original band The Jam, in between are a few of my current faves. Click here to listen.

1. Come On/Let's Go - Paul Weller
2. Never Grow Old - American Princes
3. Missing Pieces - Voxtrot
4. Nobody - Shearwater
5. This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers - Augie March
6. Silver Ponds - Figurines
7. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others - The Smiths
8. Darling, You're Mean - The Duke Spirit
9. The White Unicorn - Wolfmother
10. Our Swords - Band Of Horses
11. 3000 Flowers - Destroyer
12. Haunting 56th Street - Push To Talk
13. Freakin' Out - Graham Coxon
14. Modern Art (Original) - Art Brut
15. After The Garden - Neil Young
16. The Modern World - The Jam

Song of the Day - June 16, 2006

The Society of Rockets sophomore effort, Where the Grass Grows Black, combines elements of Neil Young with their psychedelic San Francisco roots. The two best songs on the album are the ethereal "The Longest Mile You'll Ever Walk" and "Old Glory." Of the two, I would give the edge to "Old Glory" an eleven minute epic of melancholy vocals, keyboards, horns, guitars, drums, and bass. The song meanders along a path accented with occasional bursts of guitar and horns. This is a song for a dog days of summer. Click here to listen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jazz from 482

Chicago is the home of 482 Music, an independent music label that specializes in avant garde jazz. Much of their music is challenging, but rewards the listener with new sonic worlds to explore. The Greg Burk Trio is an excellent introduction to 482's musical style. I am particularly enamored of Harris Eisenstadt and his adventures in percussion. The Fonda/Stevens Group is another find, that will please many a jazz listener. If you are looking for something different in the jazz idiom, 482 Music is a great place for new discoveries. Click here to listen.

1. Old Souls - Greg Burk Trio
2. Punta d'Blues - George Schuller
3. All Dressed Up - Aram Shelton
4. Open Conversation - Francois Carrier
5. The Stalker - Fonda / Stevens Group
6. Kola #2 - Harris Eisenstadt
7. I Dreamt I Dwelt - Courage with Robert Creeley
8. Minous - Vinkeloe/Cremaschi/Masaoka
9. 3 - Matt Bauder
10. Horns and Organ - Grey Ghost
11. Aire De Repos - Michel Lambert (Jazz)
12. Gaps & Fictions - Kyle Bruckmann
13. Dreierlei - Conference Call
14. Good Morning Headache - Rosenberg / Baker / Hatwich / Daisy

Song of the Day - June 15, 2006

If you are a fan of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, and Howlin' Wolf, you have excellent taste in music. However, the little known Chicken Legs Weaver may soon join this cult of acquired taste. Chicken Legs Weaver is actually two blokes and a girl from, of all places, Sheffield, England, and they just released their debut album Nowhere. Their blues-drenched style reaches into your soul and twists your emotions in knots, while simultaneously enveloping you in a primordial musical rapture. Oh, by the way, I really like Chicken Legs Weaver. Check out "Your Enemy Cannot Harm You" for a sample of one of the best tracks on Nowhere. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Song of the Day - June 14, 2006

Scarling latest album, So Long, Scarecrow, features the vocal talents of Jessicka Fodera and fellow bandmates to create a work that is very much in the shoegazer genre. A sense of darkness pervades the album; this is not a surprise given the influence of the Cure, with whom they have toured. "City Noise" is an excellent example of music focused on the penumbra of life and killer track. The song speaks of violence and abuse, while surrounded by angry crunchy guitars and Jessicka soaring vocals. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Song of the Day - June 13, 2006

Today marks the official release date of Sonic Youth's latest album Rather Ripped, though it has been available on Rhapsody for the past week. It has been 25 years and they are still going strong. If you are one of the lucky ones, you can see Sonic Youth tonight at one of their original haunts CBGBs. "Sleepin' Around" is one of my favorite tunes on the album. It starts off with a tidal wave of distortion, that dissolves into pounding beats, guitars, and vocals. The guitars eventually come to the forefront again in another dissonant wall of feedback, which evolves into a blues tinged solo. Click here to listen.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Song of the Day - June 12, 2006

Tom Verlaine is back with two new albums: an instrumental album, Around and a vocal album, Songs and Other Things. Tom has been famous for his guitar work since his days in Television, but today I am going to focus on his vocal album. He is joined by Television bassist Fred Smith and Patti Smith's drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, who Verlaine has also played with in Smith's band. The album is framed by instrumentals, but it is the vocal tracks that standout. I especially enjoyed "Heavenly Charm," "Orbit," and "Nice Actress." The aforementioned tracks are some of the darkest on the album. I suppose I favor the dark side. "The Day on You," however, wins song of the day titles for the superlative union of vocals and guitar work. The psychedelic tendencies of Verlaine's guitar work blend masterfully with his vocals to create one of the highlights of this album. Click here to listen.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oh, My Aching Feet!

Jazz for tortured soles: A list of soothing jazz tunes to ease the agony of da feet. Sorry, but I couldn't resist using the local Chicago dialect after I tortured my feet during a marathon walking session at The Chicago Blues Festival. This selection includes some music that came out this year that cannot be ignored: Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, Christian McBride, Bob Belden, Sai Ghose, and others. Click here to listen.

1. Taurus - Aaron Goldberg
2. Big Joe - Bob Belden
3. The Shape of Things - Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa
4. Technicolor Nightmare - Christian McBride
5. Small Group Caught In The Reel World - Vinny Golia Quartet
6. O Campe'8bo - Donny Mccaslin
7. Skating In Central Park - Yoshiaki Masuo
8. Why? - Eric Reed
9. Another Wave More Waves - Wadada Leo Smith
10. Like Someone in Love - Jim Fox
11. The Sidewinder - New Directions
12. Four On Six - Pat Martino
13. 7 a.m. Special - Paul Bollenback
14. New Blood - Sai Ghose Quartet
15. Rudy And The Fox - Tony Monaco
16. Switch One - Jae Sinnett
17. Freedom Jazz Dance - Taylor Eigsti
18. Witch Hunt - Brian Bromberg
19. Deception Blues (Guitar) - Mark Elf
20. The Shadow Of Your Smile - Ron Carter
21. Too Young To Go Steady - Lonnie Plaxico
22. Have You Met Miss Jones - Martial Solal and Dave Douglas
23. Flow Part I - Terence Blanchard

Song of the Day - June 9, 2006

Oh, how I enjoy The Beatings! It has been much too long. Late last year, Boston's The Beatings released Holding on to Hand Grenades and it is a killer album. Shades of Mission of Burma, The Fall, and The Effigies can be heard in their music. This is truly great stuff. "Feel Good Ending" has distinct Mission of Burma leanings and is one of my favorite tracks, while "Remedial Math Rock" reminds me of Mark E. Smith and The Fall. The absolute best track is "This City Is Killing Me." The sonic assault that can be heard in The Effigies is heard throughout this brilliant tune by The Beatings. Click here to listen.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Song of the Day - June 8, 2006

Asobi Seksu's latest release is Citrus, a new shoegazing classic. Yuki sings in both Japanese and English, while guitarist James Hanna creates swirling guitar effects. They are often compared to My Bloody Valentine and Lush, but Asobi Seksu definitely put their own spin on things. "Nefi + Girly" is one of the standout tracks combining Yuki's falsetto vocals with a catchy pop beat, while the crescendo and diminuendo of Hanna's guitar create atmospheric effects that cannot be ignored. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Song of the Day - June 7, 2006

Young People continue to create interesting music with their latest release All at Once. The band has been condensed down to two members with the departure of Jeffrey Rosenberg. Their unique sound has been labeled slow-fi, combining elements of Americana with sparse but beautiful instrumentation, often making more of the spaces between the notes then the notes themselves. "Dark Rainbow" is an ominous tune that makes the most of Katie Eastburn's lonesome vocals. The drums beat with a heart-like consistency and the guitars have that tasty twang of reverb. The atmospheric feelings generated by this song are intense and wonderful music is the result. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Song of the Day - June 6, 2006

The Demolition Doll Rods remind me of some strange hybrid of The Stooges, Joan Jett, and Jimi Hendrix. This Detroit band takes inspiration from Hendrix's version of the "Star Spangled Banner" and reworks "Amazing Grace." Taken from their latest album, There Is a Difference, the song takes a rock-a-billy beat and distorted guitars, to create the most original version of "Amazing Grace" I have ever heard. The guitars are scorching, Margaret's vocals are whiskey tinged, and the song rocks like you wouldn't believe. Click
here to listen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Song of the Day - June 5, 2006

I last featured Lori back in February for the song of the day. Recently, I noticed Rhapsody had added two more Lori albums and I couldn't resist featuring them again. The track "One Zero Zero" from Hallejuh is just a great song. It had my whole house dancing with its catchy beat and chorus. The band sounds vaguely British, but suprisingly they hail from Ohio. From the tracks high pitched distorted guitar intro, the song just leaps forward with the momentum of a freight train. Click here to listen.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Song of the Day - June 2, 2006

Mission of Burma is back with a great album The Obliterati. They are an essential band in rock history, one of the missing links between the punk and post-punk eras. If you missed out the first time around, now is your chance. The Obliterati is full of music that I love, combining witty insight, angst, anger, dissonance, and energy. Check out great tracks like "Let Yourself Go" with its staccato rhythms, the echoing guitars of "1001 Pleasant Dreams," and the pounding drumbeats of "Good, Not Great." "Donna Sumeria" is my favorite track. A truly emotional experience, the guitars, bass, and drums combine to create a force of nature that would demolish everything in its path, while simultaneously having a little fun with the Donna Summer tune "I Feel Love." Click here to listen.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Song of the Day - June 1, 2006

Ben Vida, of Town and Country, has a side project called Bird Show. His second album Lightning Ghost is a study in minimalist soundscapes. Taking his lead from Philip Glass, Vida has constructed a lo-fi landscape of acoustic and electronic sounds that takes repetitive patterns and weaves them together to create a fugue of sonic patterns that can become trance inducing. "Field on Water" starts out in this trance inducing percussive mode, which is augmented by Vida's mantra, "you cannot separate the water from the rain." This slowly evolves into a more complex musical score which is enchanting and soothing. If Bach were alive today would this be his 21st century cantatas? Click here to listen.

May 2006 - Songs of the Day

May has been an eclectic month. There have been songs about monkeys, a sizzling instrumental track, and a tune about stepping on trumpets. Oh, don't forget the Bison, as I can't let the monkeys have all the credit. I love eclecticism. Please give me more variety. I especially loved Mecca Normal, Len Price 3, The Black Hollies, and Danielson. The others are just as great and deserve a listen. Judging by the new release schedule for June, we should have some great tunes next month. Click here to listen.

1. Discjockey - Stereo Total
2. St Mary St - The Beautiful Mothers
3. God Monkey Robot - The Apparitions
4. Inside Of Me - Starlight Mints
5. Cueball Bobbin' - Charlie Hunter
6. Insylum - Oxbow
7. OK, Allright, Fine - The Beautiful New Born Children
8. Calling Thermatico - Centro-Matic
9. 6 Days Yesterday - Ether Aura
10. Attraction Is Ephemeral - Mecca Normal
11. Daylight - Brian Glaze
12. Monkey Monkee Men - Men, Women & Children
13. Shallow - South
14. Bigshot - Mon Frere
15. One Fine Day - Bison
16. Johnny Viola - Shearwater
17. Christian In The Desert - The Len Price 3
18. House Party In The New Dark Ages - Mountain Con
19. Off Point - Crush Kill Destroy
20. Crimson Reflections Through Looking Glass Mind - The Black Hollies
21. Brandenburg - Beirut
22. Julianna Convince Me - The Saturday Nights
23. Did I Step on Your Trumpet - Danielson

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