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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Song of the Day - November 30, 2006

The legendary Nightingales are back with their first album in twenty years. Originally known as The Prefects, they were at the bleeding edge of England's punk scene touring with the likes of The Clash, The Fall, Damned, and Buzzcocks. A favorite of John Peel, The Prefects eventually morphed into The Nightingales. Evoking the aural palette of Captain Beefheart, The Fall, Tom Waits, and a smidgen of Roxy Music, The Nightingales' Out of True is a tremendously refreshing listen. If a band can pull off Captain Beefheart-like riffs and not alienate the listener, they have achieved a delicate balance that will intrigue the listener to discover more of their music. Needless to say, this album is a success in my book. The polyrhythmic nature of "Born in Birmingham" and the mysterious lyrics all drive me to want to listen to everything they ever recorded. It is truly wonderful stuff. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Song of the Day - November 29, 2006

Skeleton Blues is another masterpiece by Simon Joyner. Sounding like a complex combination of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground enriched with a dash of Dylan, Simon Joyner is joined by his backup band from Omaha, The Fallen Men on his latest effort. The album was recorded live in an abandoned train station outside of Omaha. The effect is a relaxed recording that lets the true emotions of the songs show through without overproduction. My absolute favorite tune is the opening track "Open Window Blues." A song that simmers with Simon's vocals, but also is accompanied by a riveting guitar that is just as irresistible. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Song of the Day - November 28, 2006

I love this! I love Awesome Snakes' Venom. The album is a hilarious, punked out party album that is the work of half of The Soviettes, Danny Snakes and Annie Awesome. Incorporating humorous audio samples into their songs, Danny and Annie have produced one of the best albums of the year. Their just want to have fun approach, reminds me slightly of The B-52's, but with a much harder edge. Even their album cover is a hoot, taking inspiration from Motley Crue's Too Fast for Love. Using just bass and drums, the energy they produce is relentless. They possess a certain frenetic energy that is reminiscent of The Fall, especially Danny's vocals. The best place to start is "I Want a Snake." You will succumb to the power of Awesome Snakes. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Song of the Day - November 27, 2006

Mammatus are some of the most threatening clouds you may ever see, and Mammatus the band "harness instruments and amplifiers with the brave intent of transforming the natural beauty and massive fury that lies in the earth into acoustic energy." Their self-titled album is a sonic blast of stoner rock. The album was recorded simply, but to great effect in their garage; an example of lo-fi that maximizes the emotional nature of the music, rather than being a sonic nuisance. If you are going to listen to Mammatus you might as well jump right into the deep end, with their mammoth 22 plus minute recording of "Dragon of the Deep Part Two." An epic of colossal guitar jams and psychedelic drones with minimal vocals, the song will appeal to the hidden stoner in everybody. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Song of the Day - November 24, 2006

The Hidden Cameras are a Toronto based collective of approximately 13 musicians. They have described their music as "gay church folk music" and been labeled orchestral pop by others. Their latest release AWOO is not as overtly explicit as previous albums, but rather more of a grand collection of orchestral pop ditties. The music soars, the melodies are catchy, and if you don't pay close attention to the lyrics you may never be aware of their past notoriety. Great songs are abundant. "AWOO," "Learning the Lie," and "She's Gone" immediately come to mind as great tunes. Yet, it is the slightly darker "Follow These Eyes" that haunts me as I listen to the album. The track is not as beautifully happy as the aforementioned tunes, which all have bouncy melodies while maintaining a sarcastic view of the world. Life isn't always happy or easy, yet The Hidden Cameras have found a way to release the beauty of the darker moments. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Song of the Day - November 23, 2006

Fear, Electric Eels, Birthday Party, Cramps all come to mind when I listened to Black Time's Blackout. Formed from the amalgamation of various band members associated with Hotwires, Action Time, and the Quickies; London's Black Time have created rock at its absolute rawest. I am not sure if this is appropriate music for Thanksgiving Day, yet it is a reminder of the English roots of the holiday. Oh, I don't know where to begin; I love the entire CD. "White Heat Returned" is a great tune with cool organ accompaniment. "This Is a Curse" has that Cramps' swagger. "Black Time Pt. 1" is a frantic track reminiscent of The Fall. Yet, I fell for "Cold Lips, Taste Better" a song that has that "heavy vampire sound." Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Song of the Day - November 22, 2006

The second album from Sheffield native Duncan Sumpner is entitled Aeriel Days. The disc is a melancholy journey in the psych-folk tradition. Songs meander through Duncan's mind as the echoes of guitars bounce off the aural landscape. The album invokes a dark, damp, dreary day. That is not a complaint, but praise. The cover of "Dear Prudence" is beautiful and heartfelt. Yet, the standout track is "Remembering and Forgetting;" a song that transitions from some simple arpeggios on the guitar, to a much more dissonant collection of sounds involving dulcimer, reverb drenched vocals, and a disturbing crescendo of sonic chaos. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Song of the Day - November 21, 2006

Oakley Hall released their second album Gypsum Strings this year. A psychedelic folk gem that blends elements of The Byrds, X, and Fairport Convention with a strong country twinge. Rachel Cox's vocals shimmer in tracks like "House Carpenter," which combines gentle folk elements with brutal guitar licks. I love it. However, try giving the heavily psych influenced "Confidence Man" a listen if you enjoy 60's psychedelica. My favorite track is the pounding "Lazy Susan," which bears a slight resemblance to X. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Song of the Day - November 20, 2006

Which Boston band named themselves after a town in Virginia where the Civil War ended? The answer is Appomattox, and their self-titled CD is great. Their Boston heritage is evident with aural glimpses/influences of the city's musical glories such as Mission of Burma. "All of a Sudden" is an awesome track literally overflowing with energy. The kind of song that appeals to your primal senses; an aggressive tune that is full of dissonance, power, and emotion. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Song of the Day - November 17, 2006

The need for a calming force sometimes exceeds the daily forces that frequently overwhelm our lives. Benoit Pioulard's album Precis is an excellent tool in the daily battle against the mortal enemy of stress. A bittersweet, but serene collection awaits the listener while listening to Benoit Pioulard's musical collection of recorded sounds, gentle acoustic guitar, and soothing vocals. Despite the use of recorded sounds, the recordings feel entirely organic. This disc is akin to a reflective walk through a first growth forest. Start your journey with the extremely enjoyable "Triggering Back." Click here to listen.

Sublime Vibrations of an Improvisational Nature

My latest playlist focuses on jazz, an intoxicating cocktail of musical adventure. A pair of jazz titans bookends the list: Bobby Hutcherson and John Coltrane. In between a heterogeneous mixture of jazz: some old, some new, avant-garde, and mainstream. Click here to listen.

1. Jazz - Bobby Hutcherson
2. Bass Introduction - Omer Avital
3. Yokada Yokada / The Rumproller - Nels Cline
4. New Africa - Original - Grachan Moncur III
5. Syeeda's Song Flute - Archie Shepp
6. Acute Motelitis - Roswell Rudd
7. Nation Time - Joe Mcphee
8. In Cologne - John Taylor
9. Bad Reed Blues - Reptet
10. Mental Strain At Dawn - David Murray
11. And Then She Left - Anders Aarum
12. All the things you are - Ulf Wakenius
13. Coffee Shop - Neal Miner
14. Sicilienne - Kenny Werner Trio
15. The Tortoise - Frequency
16. Blue Train - John Coltrane

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Song of the Day - November 16, 2006

For fans of Animal Collective, the recording Hollinndagain has been a collectors album, originally released in a limited edition of 300. The album has long been unavailable. Paw Tracks has remedied the situation with the re-release of the only live album recorded by the Animal Collective. Though it is not initially apparent, the album is live. The first three tracks are from a performance at the fabled New Jersey radio station WFMU. The reminder of the album was recorded during their 2001 tour with Black Dice. The album is an interesting reminder of the evolutionary path taken by the band. In fact, in this early evolutionary state, the band was known as Avery Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist before they became known as Animal Collective. Tribal sounds figured prominently in their early recordings, compared to the more poppish leanings today. A perfect example is the track "Pride and Fight," which combines a primitive minimalism alla Philip Glass with drones and tribal tendencies. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Song of the Day - November 15, 2006

Oh my God! The Suicidal Birds' Z-List is a tremendous album. A Dutch quartet, their album was recorded deep in the woods of the Netherlands soley by led singer Jessie. She is assisted by other band members when playing live. For fans of garage rock, riot grrrl, and urban blues The Suicidal Birds will not disappoint. Jessie is a kinetic bundle of energy and her emotional vocals are a symbiotic marriage with the music. Their fans include J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, who they recently supported in a European tour. I recommend listening to the album in its entirety, but if you only have time for a single tune check out "Me Animal;" Jessie does childlike imitations of a barnyard full of animals, while the guitars roar ferociously around her. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Song of the Day - November 14, 2006

Wow! Swedish quartet David & The Citizens' album Until the Sadness Is Gone is the best thing to come out of Sweden since the massage. The album consists of a collection of pop gems of varying colors, brilliance, and sonic exuberance. Their sound is a mixture of Belle and Sebastian, Violent Femmes, Devotchka, and a dash of Dinosaur Jr. Choosing a favorite tune is a conundrum of the highest order. I love the opening track, "The End," the Eastern European influenced "Long Days," and the ironic cheery pop of "New Direction." Yet, I just can't escape the cerebral musical trap of the title track "Until the Sadness is Gone;" a song that reminds me of the Violent Femmes with a driving energy that just drills deeper and deeper into my gray matter. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Song of the Day - November 13, 2006

If you like loud agglomerations of sound and chaos then go straight to The Hospitals. Last year, this San Francisco based band released the bizarrely titled album I've Visited the Island of Jocks and Jazz. This is garage rock at its most distorted, yet there are vestiges of pop hidden behind the chaos. My favorite song is definitely "Rich People," a song that is loaded with reverb, a hint of The Fall, and a perverted sense of pop. Click here to listen.

A Random Walk Through the Musical Forest of Rhapsody

Here's a brief selection of assorted musical tidbits as I wander down the musical path of Rhapsody. The path traced through an alternative trail of modern musical delight with a slight detour for a few more mature tracks. Click here to listen.

1. From The Devil Himself - Viva Voce
2. Forest Gospel - Animal Collective
3. Gravity's Rainbow - Klaxons
4. Audrey In The Country - Envelopes
5. I Drive My Friend - Frida Hyvönen
6. Silhouette - The Good Good
7. Velvet Cave - Silver Apples
8. Another Day (And Yoor Still Knocked Out) - Evangelicals
9. Lost in the Cornmaze with the Id and the Odd - Coach Fingers
10. Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee - Captain Beefheart
11. Daylight Till' Dawn - All Night Radio
12. The Dawn Curtain - Flying Canyon
13. 115 Bar Joy - Unicorn
14. Voices - Espers
15. It's Not Too Beautiful - The Beta Band
16. Black Flowers - Yo La Tengo

Friday, November 10, 2006

Song of the Day - November 10, 2006

Three members of The No Neck Blues Band, Coach Jason Meagher, Dave Nuss and Dave Shuford, form the nucleus of Coach Fingers. In addition, the band consists of Sean Meagher on keyboards and George Devoe on guitar. Their album No Flies on Frank is a delight of boogie blues rock with an irreverent twist akin to Zappa, who I suppose is the inspiration of the album title. I am especially drawn to the irreverent aspects of their music such as the kazoo chorus in "Lost in the Cornmaze with the Id and the Odd." Yet, the silly song about a walrus is something special. "Wakachu the Walrus" starts out with some clearly articulated guitar picking, only to transition to a addictive chorus that Jimmy Buffett may have composed with the help of Frank Zappa. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Song of the Day - November 9, 2006

Oklahoma has given birth to the Evangelicals, a trio with quirky pop sensibilities. Often compared to fellow Oklahoma residents, The Flaming Lips, the Evangelicals have released their debut album So Gone. Many of their songs have what I call a floating nature to them, using soaring and swirling melodies. In fact, I am surprised that such a rich sound comes from only a trio. The album is a great listen, perfect for some long distance driving. There is the waltz-like rhythms of "My Headache," the crazed psychedelic leanings of "Another Day (and Your Still Knocked Out)," and the song of the day "Hello Jenn, I'm a Mess." A song that definitely soars melodically, while reminding me slightly of 80's bands like Spandau Ballet and the Simple Minds. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Song of the Day - November 8, 2006

The Good Good remind me of Deerhoof and Man Man, but toned down slightly. Think of Deerhoof as black coffee and Good Good as coffee with milk. Their album Furrows is a combination of a previously released EP and some new songs recorded for a 12 inch. The band loves to experiment using multiple instruments, sounds, and a sense of whimsy. They utilize a free jazz sensibility expressed in an indie rock idiom. "Silhouette" starts innocently enough, only to metamorphosize into a song with a bizarre but addictive chorus that Zappa would love, in addition to their chanting about alligator pie. "Clouds" features sampled children's voices accompanied by spastic guitars and drumming; I am definitely reminded of Man Man. "We Go" is my favorite. I love the frantic energy of the song, the mantra of "We Go," and the transition to a much harder song midway through the track. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Song of the Day - November 7, 2006

Global warming apparently is not all bad, for as the temperatures rise around the world, particularly in Scandinavia, the musical talent is released in a torrent of excellent artists. Swedish vocalist and pianist Frida Hyvonen has created a sonically sparse, but beautiful album with Until Death Comes. Consisting primarily of Frida's vocals and piano accompaniment, her music echoes the melancholy nature of the Scandinavia environment. Her songs remind me of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. I loved the opening track "I Drive My Friend," but "Today, Tuesday" is my favorite track. Frida's voice is hauntingly beautiful, the piano is used sparingly, but to perfection. I can only hope we will hear more from Frida. Click here to listen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Song of the Day - November 6, 2006

The Envelopes are a French/Swedish band and their album Demon, which came out last year is an utter delight. Despite the medieval looking album art, Demon is not referring to some evil monster, but rather Demon is Swedish for demo. The album is apparently a collection of their demo tapes. They have been compared to the Pixies, Pavement, and Belle and Sebastian. Many of their songs have a wonderful poppish side to them. One of my favorites in the poppish vein is "Sister in Love," a terminally addictive song. However, my favorite track is "Isabelle and Leonard." The song is accompanied by acoustic guitar, a silly backing chorus, and a great progression from gentle acoustic introduction to a more rockin' presence. Click here to listen.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Song of the Day - November 3, 2006

I love the latest album, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out, from the husband and wife duo Viva Voce. For those who are linguistically curious, Viva Voce is Italian for "word of mouth." Kevin and Anita Robinson's music has been described by some critics as a combination of The Pixies and The Monkees, and I would have to agree. There are pleasant harmonies and hand claps, interspersed with the searing guitar work of Anita throughout the album, the effect is particularly appealing. I enjoyed the almost cult-like opener "Believer," the pop-like "We Do Not *uck Around," and the rollickin' "From the Devil Himself." However, song of the day honors go to "Faster Than a Dead Horse," which had a psychedelic patina, that was intensified by Anita's excellent guitar work and the silly backing chorus. Click here to listen.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Song of the Day - November 2, 2006

The latest craze to come from Britain is The Klaxons. A band that is determined to get you up and dancing. They incorporate elements of rave music, note the sirens, but their music is more angular and jagged with a touch of Gang of Four. NME has raved about the single "Gravity's Rainbow" named after the great postmodern fiction of Thomas Pynchon, but I love the track "Atlantis To Interzone." I feel it is the standout track on their EP Xan Valleys. Once the initial sirens give way to a spastic guitar riff and high pitched vocals, you will have an uncontrollable urge to dance around the room. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Song of the Day - November 1, 2006

When I first heard the Tiny Masters of Today's EP
Big Noise, I was immediately impressed by their sound. A sound that had touches of naivete similar to The Flying Lizards crossed with elements of The White Stripes. I was one hundred percent flabbergasted to find out that this Brooklyn band is the work of 10 year old Ada and her 12 year old brother Ivan. Their EP is short, only three songs, but each entirely enjoyable. I love "Stickin' It to the Man," even more now that I know it was written by a pair of preteens. "Bushy" is an astute, yet comical observation of the current political situation. However, my favorite tune is "Tooty Frooty Clarke's Dream Song." The interaction between the brother and sister vocals is very addictive, and the falsetto burst of singing sends the song over the top. Click here to listen.

October 2006 - Songs of the Day

A wide variety of music kept me entertained during the month of October. There was the relative quietness of Magnolia Electric Co., Flying Canyon, and The Tall Firs stretching to the eclectic Les Georges Leningrad and The USA Is a Monster. In between more great music from the likes of Akron/Family and Decemberists. One of my favorite new discoveries is Dan Sartain, a talented fellow from Alabama, who takes his inspiration from the likes of Johnny Cash and The Clash. Click here to listen.

1. Don't Fade On Me (Master) - Magnolia Electric Co.
2. Don't Complain - Tall Firs
3. Murder - The Big Sleep
4. Wailing - Uzeda
5. Sunset at the End of the Industrial Age - The USA Is A Monster
6. Ask Me About Pittsburgh - The Asteroid No. 4
7. Scissorhands - Les Georges Leningrad
8. No Space In This Realm - Akron/Family
9. Special Logic - Please Step Out Of The Vehicle
10. Zelda - The Lonely H
11. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) - The Decemberists
12. Replacement Man - Dan Sartain
13. HERarchy - Two Ton Boa
14. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4 - Slumber Party
15. Indian Bones - Dead Meadow
16. Hang Me Up To Dry (Album) - Cold War Kids
17. Shipwrecked - The Gothic Archies
18. Tokyo Witch - Beach House
19. In the Reflection - Flying Canyon
20. The Room Got Heavy - Yo La Tengo
21. Molasses - Oxford Collapse
22. Blood Witch - Melvins

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