The first time I heard Tony Molina play guitar it was something of a revelation. His song’s are written, played, and structured like a curt and finely crafted Hemingway sentence. There’s all power, zero bullshit, and certainly no filler. He leaves you wanting more while also being thoroughly satisfied with what you’ve had. This type of editing will power and control is a rare feat to pull off, and his ability to fit so much into so little is a testament to both his Hardcore roots as well as his pop orientated ear.
Molina’s 2013 LP Dissed And Dismissed clocks in at just under 15 minutes and it’s one of my favorite albums of the past few years. OVENS was recorded by Kurt Bloch from The Fastbacks back in 2005 and is the second recording they ever did as a band, and like his other work – it totally slays.
Recommended If You Like: Metal face Weezer, Short Attention Span Thin Lizzy
The LA based trio Susan will be debuting their first 7″ via Volar Records this coming September, and you can hear the first of three tracks – “Just Call It” – below. Susan recently completed a West Coast tour and will be back at it this Fall to support the Volar 7″ as well as a cassette to be put out via Burger Records. Susan’s gorgeous three part harmonies drive their songs with bright sun soaked tones masking some cloudy commentary. This dichotomy of conflict make for some memorable tunes, and this 7″ is hopefully the first of many memories.
Recommended If You Like: Cherry Glazer, Speedy Ortiz, Fat Creeps
My good friends at G2 Technology Group were kind enough to have me spin some music as they hosted the Innovation District Summer Social in the Seaport this week. The near four hour set will help groove you into whatever weekend shenanigans you have on your agenda.
Guided By Voices
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, 07/14/14
Bam. Boom. Pop. Crackle.
My right arm is extra tender these days. There’s a deep, dark, and ugly bruise that extends from my forearm to the middle of my triceps. It’s embarrassingly large, yet I have no clue how I came to acquire such a mark. All I know is that there was Saturday. There was Guided By Voices. And there was me with no voice come Sunday.
Nearly 50 songs were played in a set that included three encores, multiple Uncle Bob kicks, and a crowd that was fervently lucid. It was constant, loud, and well received. This show was different from the last time GBV were in Boston. That was at the apex of their classic lineup victory tour. That was a show to celebrate days gone past. This was a show to celebrate days still here – and with a killer mix of both yesterday and today they achieved just that.
The sun will rise. The sun will set. And Guided By Voices will be playing and putting out great music. To think, I thought the 4th of July was eight days earlier – and like bright lights dimming in the sky, it’s a shame this bruise is gonna fade.
Bam. Boom. Pop. Crackle.
Last week I was on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. The Caribbean Nation’s beauty has few peers, and while getting lost with rum, sand, and sun I put together a podcast worthy of the gorgeous island. It’s a Summertime Mix that screams to be played loudly at any sun splashed gathering you’re at over the coming months. Please, make yourself a too strong Rum drink and float away as some of the finest Reggae, African, Soca, Dub, and Caribbean wash over you. This is Grace Bay Groove.
- Afro Funk – Hot Love (Body Music – 1975)
- Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking (Uptown Top Ranking – 1978)
- Blue Boy - Soca On The Street (Thundering Soca – 1984)
- Bob & Ty – I Don’t Mind (Clement “Coxsone” Dodd – Musical Fever – 1967)
- Paul Blake & The Bloodfire Posse – Every Posse Get Flat (Every Posse Get Flat 12″ – 1985)
- Rikki Ililonga - The Nature Of Man (Zambia – 1974)
- Seun Kuti + Fela’s Egypt 80 – Many Things (Many Things – 2008)
- Culture - Get Ready To Ride The Lion To Zion (Two Sevens Clash – 1978)
- Dub Specialist - Always Dubbing (Studio One Dub Vol. 2 – 2007)
- Gorillaz - Bill Murray (D-Sides – 2007)
- Delroy Wilson - I’m Still Waiting (Dub Plate Style – 2009)
- Wendy René – After Laughter (Comes Tears) – (After Laughter / What Will Tomorrow Bring 7″ – 1964)
- Ziggy Marley - We a Guh Some Weh (Tomorrow People 12″ – 1988)
- Bob Marley - Ego Feed (Three Little Birds 7″ – 1980)
- Andy Capp Reco - Popatop (Popatop / The Lion Speaks 7″ – 1969)
- Shadow - Ah Didn’t Want To (Doh Mess Wid Meh Head – 1980)
- Busy Signal & RC – Dreams Of Brighter Days (Silly Walks Discotheque Presents Brighter Days Riddim – 2013)
More are aware of Big Star’s music than they realize – but that doesn’t help.
Ask the average American if they know Big Star and they’ll shrug uninterested shoulders. Ask if they know the theme song for “That 70′s Show” and they’ll nod in recognition approval. Cheap Trick did a killer job interpreting the original – but goddamn, it’s a fucking bummer this is how most acknowledge a Giant’s existence – adding to the mythos that Big Star are the best band you never heard.
Watch Nothing Can Hurt Me Know – and realize truth – even if you’ve been a forever fan.
7 / 10 Devil Horns
Like Hemingway used to, I find myself writing while standing up. There’s numerous health studies that support this, but my reasons are different. I’m standing solely because my Macbook’s flanked directly next to my turntable. I digitize recently purchased records as I write, work, and idle shiftlessly about the internet. I stand because despite the technology that rules my life I’m still a slave to the analog.
I’ve known about Neil Young’s Pono project for awhile, and seeing it launch last week made the possible seem real. Do I think Pono is the end all be all for the future of music? No way. When I was Music Director at 90.9 WONY in 2001 I was told that SONY’s Mini-Disc was the future. Still, any technology that can improve the listening experience is going to grab my attention, and Moore’s Law be damned, despite these advancements of technology, Vinyl is still the King of quality.
Some dude named Edison “kick-started” the phonograph in 1878 and since then Vinyl’s met and conquered each competitor that’s stepped into the auditory ring. Reel-to Reel, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, Mini-Disc, and even the almighty MP3 have not been able to replicate or improve upon the quality of Vinyl. Listening to records is not a mobile activity however, and that’s what technology has brought us over the past Century – ease of use and portability, but NOT improved quality.
This ease of use has come at a cost, as the overall quality of what people are listening to has been compromised, compressed, and cheapened – and this holds especially true with the MP3. My “day job” for the past decade has been working with large media companies to maximize the quality of their digital media files, and anytime you sample down from the original source you’re losing quality. This degradation is necessary though, because the emphasis of technology has become portability, or more specifically, and now we’re getting to elephant in the digital room, mobile phones. In order for media to work properly on a smart phone in 2014 you’ll need to significantly degrade the quality of the source file – and this fact is universally true for both audio & video.
What’s interesting to me is that the average consumer will watch a video on their phone without complaint – knowingly accepting that the quality isn’t a tenth as good as what they’d put up with in their living room. What saddens me is that this same consumer will listen to an MP3 on their phone as well as in their Living Room and think nothing of it. The truth is that a similar gap in quality lies between the MP3 on your phone and the record on your turntable. It’s like going from HD to bunny ears, and there’s now an entire generation that doesn’t even know that gap exists.
This is what intrigues me so much about Pono. I have zero Faith that the format will become the medium of choice for this era of digital music. But I do have hope that it’ll make enough of a dent to shift the conversation some. The cost of Storage per Gigabyte has plummeted from over $10 per GB in 2000 to under $0.10 today. The MP3 did great things for helping music infiltrate all parts of our lives, however, we don’t need the MP3 anymore, it’s antiquated, cheap, and subpar for our HD lives.
In the end I think Pono will sing truest to the Audiophile Community, but it’s time for the general public, and especially this new Generation, to take its ear muffs off. I know I can’t be the only one to stand (literally) a slave to good sounding music, and if Neil and Pono can help shift the consumer back to quality over quantity, I’m all ears.