What you're about to read is a collection of pointers to some of the music I've discovered on the iTunes Music Store, music I like enough that I want to share it. If you're an iPod owner and an iTunes fan (and if you aren't, what are you doing here?), maybe you'll find something new. Click on any of the CD covers to bounce over to the store and sample a few tracks. And then maybe stop by my other blog for a few well chosen words (and maybe a random snark or two).RSS feed
All the music (502)
  Alternative (67)
   Audiobook (10)
    Blues (3)
     Children's Music (5)
      Classical (28)
       Comedy (10)
        Country (21)

  Dance (4)
   Easy Listening (2)
    Electronic (13)
     Folk (27)
      French Pop (1)
       German Folk (1)
        German Pop (1)

  Hip-Hop/Rap (2)
   Holiday (5)
    Jazz (35)
     Latin (4)
      New Age (8)
       Podcast (5)
        Pop (72)

  R&B/Soul (4)
   Reggae (4)
    Rock (105)
     Soundtrack (32)
      Spoken Word (1)
       Vocal (15)
        World (15)

Have some music to recommend? I can always use a few pointers. Use the comments link at the bottom of the page.
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Wed, 12 Sep 2007

The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse / The Besnard Lakes
Funny that a track called Disaster should be so contemplative. Although if it and Devastation are any indication, this duo from Montreal is not among nature's optimists. Then again, neither am I. The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Wed, 29 Aug 2007

Who Killed Rock N' Roll / Rick Springfield
Asked and answered.

(Sometimes I'm ashamed of myself. Then I get over it.)

Who Killed Rock N' Roll
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Mon, 27 Aug 2007

The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter / Josh Ritter
The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter Historical Conquests starts out sounding like Dylan, except less nasal, but where it goes after that will surprise you. At least it surprised me, as the too-cheerful-for-a-sleepless-Sunday-morning tracks gave way to the almost Cat Stevensesque The Temptation of Adam. The styles here are all over the place, but in the best possible way. Surprises are good, although not necessarily on a sleepless Sunday morning.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 20 Aug 2007

Emerald City / John Vanderslice
Emerald City is sort of political, in a covert rather than an overt way. I'm told the title refers to the Green Zone in Iraq. And as in Iraq, the tracks begin with tension mixed with hope and pass through increasing stages of desperation, resignation and grief. Which sounds more dire than it is, especially if you prefer to ignore the subtleties at play and just listen and enjoy at a superficial level. That's certainly my plan; superficial has gotten me through more than one great political issue of the day. Emerald City
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 15 Aug 2007

No Promises / Carla Bruni
I have no words more convincing than thirty seconds of Those Dancing Days Are Gone. Go. Listen. Then come back and tell me what I should have told you. Or are words superfluous? No Promises
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 18 Jul 2007

At My Age / Nick Lowe
There's always been something quietly subversive about Nick Lowe, going back at least to 1979's Cruel To Be Kind, whose title song I enjoyed without noticing for a moment the discordancy between its catchy pop melody and the rather more antisocial tone of the lyrics. I was oblivious back then, albeit somewhat less so now. Now he's giving country music the business, with an album so syrupy and rich it'll give you flashbacks to Freddy Fender and Ray Price. Occasionally the perfect American accent slips to reveal the Brit beneath, but mostly the mask stays on. Which, as it always does since I first realized I'd been had, makes me wonder just what he's hiding back there. At My Age
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 13 Jul 2007

Thinking Room / Anika Moa
As with my last post, all the credit for this one goes to my host on Waiheke Island. He has this determination to make every detail of his guests' experience perfect, down to the music at dinner and in our rooms. Anika Moa's second CD, Stolen Hill was my second selection from the room's discs. Sadly, it's not available in iTunes yet, so we'll have to make do with her debut. Tough, I know. Thinking Room
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 06 Jul 2007

Sky Blue Sky / Wilco
Sky Blue Sky In my last post I invented a new musical genre called Uneasy Listening. (If anybody else has used that line, I'd rather not know about it. I've even avoided Googling it, which will show you how serious I am about preserving my ignorance.) And now we have, well, calling Sky Blue Sky Easy Listening would be to demean it. But what do you call it when a band gives up some of its edge and becomes downright pleasant? Maybe this is the real Uneasy Listening. I suspect Wilco's fans are experiencing exactly that. Me, I like taking it easy now and again.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 04 Jul 2007

Fort Nightly / White Rabbits
There's something both appealing and disconcerting going on here, a combination of styles that ought not to work, maybe takes some getting used to, but that seems likely to reward the effort. Quoting MusicRemedy quoting AllMusic.com (talk about lazy; I can't even steal from somebody firsthand!), "If Liberace joined a swing band, and enlisted a guitarist addicted to eclecticism (Western, surf flecked, and C&W included), it might sound a bit like this." Another reviewer hears ska in the mix, although without the rough amateurish quality we associate with ska. (If it isn't rough and amateurish -- and I mean that in a good way -- is it ska?)

Maybe we need another genre. How about Uneasy Listening? Think anybody's go for that?

Fort Nightly
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 02 Jul 2007

Anthology / The Rubinoos
Anthology What we have here is a classic case of serendipity, as like the Princes of Serendip I went looking for one thing and found quite another. I've been doing this MySpace marketing thing for a friend, looking for fans of thrillers who might be persuaded to check out his most excellent contributions to the genre, when what should my MySpace Googling find? Only Jon Rubin, who started his Power Pop band back in junior high, had a minor hit with a cover of Tommy James' I Think We're Alone Now and is still touring and rocking (or whatever the pop equivalent is) more than three decades later. For someone who gets bored doing the same job for more than a couple of years, I have to admire their sticktoitiveness. And also their music, which is both nostalgia-inducing and catchy as all get out.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 20 Jun 2007

Estimated Charges / The Flying Other Brothers
Anybody else hear early Dire Straits on Kick It Open?

Just me?

Okay, then.

Estimated Charges
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 18 Jun 2007

Find Your Own Way Home / REO Speedwagon
Find Your Own Way Home With so many of the bands I grew up with either long gone or on the life support of PBS Pledge Drive concerts, it's reassuring to know that some of us are still alive and kicking butt three decades on. REO Speedwagon's latest album sounds great. It doesn't sound old, and it doesn't sound tired, and it isn't just a retread of older and more glorious times. Guess we don't all have to go gentle into that good night.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 15 Jun 2007

The Boy with No Name / Travis
Maybe you're old enough to remember when movie theaters weren't so strict about selling tickets for a particular performance, when you'd arrive when you arrived, walk in the middle of one showing and then stick around for the part you missed. Or was that just me? Anyway, that's kind of the feeling I get when I read comments for Travis's new album. They of course compare The Boy with No Name to the band's earlier works, finding it wanting in various ways or just not the breakthrough comeback album they were hoping for. Me, I just like what I hear. It's accessible by the uninitiated, which may upset their long term fans but suits me (and maybe you) just fine. The Boy with No Name
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 11 Jun 2007

Nothing But the Water / Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Huh. Here I thought the South was a place. But thanks to Ms. Potter I come to discover it's all a state of mind. How else to explain how a band from Vermont can create such a dead-on Southern bluesy sound. Are they at least from southern Vermont? Nothing But the WATER
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Wed, 30 May 2007

Saltbreakers / Laura Veirs
Saltbreakers I may have mentioned once or twice (or more, my memory not being what it used to be -- at least I don't think it is) that one of my selection criteria for this blog, and for music in general, is that the tracks not sound too much alike. Plain and simple, I like a little variety from a performer. And variety is certainly on offer here; there's folk in Nightingale, rock in Phantom Mountain, and what sounds like a Irish theme in To The Country. Whether there's too much variety for one album I'll leave to you to decide. Or is that even possible?
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 25 May 2007

Until June / Until June
Until June From one extreme to the other. If I still listened to the radio, this is just the sort of thing I'd hope to hear: good vocals, nice backing and each track over in under four minutes. Although truth in blogging (how's that for an oxymoron?) compels me to point out that The Saddest Song isn't. Not even close.
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Fri, 11 May 2007

Page McConnell / Page McConnell
Page McConnell I just hate it when a good joke almost comes my way. Case in point: this first solo effort by McConnell, formerly of Phish. Looking over his Wikipedia page, I discovered that his father was on the team that developed Tylenol. Which would have given me such a great "What the son giveth, the father taketh away" line. Except that there's nothing headache-inducing here. It's all very pleasant more-pop-than-rock. Which means that, being the unforgiving sort I am where blown punchlines are concerned, I have nothing good to say. You'll have to find somebody else to compliment your music; me, I'm still sulking.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 09 May 2007

Seeds / Martin Sexton
It's not that I'm feeling lazy, although I am, but I'm betting thirty seconds of Thought I Knew Ya'll tell you more about Martin Sexton than I could in a coupla hundred words. Bet he kicks ass in concert. Seeds
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 07 May 2007

Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection / The Corrs
Dreams: The Ultimate Corrs Collection Back around the end of the dotcom bubble, I found myself working with the classic Ugly European. Not that I mean he was literally ugly; he was, don't get me wrong, not that I've been turning down modeling contracts myself. No, I mean ugly in the sense of The Ugly American: deriding anything that wasn't the way he had it at home. Which was England, although Ugly Brit doesn't trip off the tongue nearly so well.

Anyway, one of his many examples of American inferiority, which included our unwillingness to buy new cell phones every six months, the rarity of multiformat VCRs and our lack of understanding of Brown Sauce, was the fact that The Corrs hadn't caught on here. Which comment didn't exactly impress me. I mean, I like The Corrs. Heck, what's not to like? Three incredible looking women, and their brother (if you care about that sort of thing) sing easily accessible original and cover songs with sweet voices, nice harmonies and an Irish influence that goes from subtle to in your face from one track to another. It's hardly a sign of sophistication to enjoy The Corrs' performances. And the fact they hadn't taken America by storm (yet, anyway) didn't say anything at all about music buyers on this side of the Atlantic.

Well, maybe it did. But with this clown, I wasn't about to give him the slightest credit, know what I mean? It would only encourage him.

[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 20 Apr 2007

The Bottom Half / Umphrey's McGee
There's one of those imponderables, which seems worth discussing when guys get together, at least after several beers have been consumed. Given a chance to encounter a mermaid, would it be better to have one that's top girl and bottom fish, or the other way around? Then again, there are implications that are better not considered sober.

What brought this to mind are the lovely but appallingly bottom-heavy models on the cover of this album. And which are easier to discuss than is Umphrey's McGee's music, which defies easy categorization or even description, or maybe that's just me. Still, in two CDs-worth of material there's plenty to explore, to wonder at and to enjoy, sometimes all at once. And if nothing here is quite as profound as that mermaid question, well, what is?

The Bottom Half
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

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Comments to: Hank Shiffman, Mountain View, California