Saturday, March 25, 2017



Alex Julian Leeds: Vocals, Bass Guitar
Emily Massey: Vocals, Guitar
Teddy Matthews: Drums
Henry Stoehr: Vocals, Guitar

Nathan France: Saxophone on "Preoccupied"

All Music and Lyrics by Slow Pulp
Recorded at Mama Stoehr's 
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Henry Stoehr

Released March 9, 2017

First, I wish to send my apologies to the band for being unable to capture their live performance on the evening of March 9, 2017 as life had grown so complicated with its busyness to even accommodate one more thing to fit into it.

But even so, I had to stop by and grab the disc!

Dear readers, it has been nearly two years since the world has received any new music from the Madison, WI. based band Slow Pulp. Granted, the members of the band are extremely busy young people, juggling all manner of responsibilities from schooling, jobs and even having one band member living entirely out of the state in Minneapolis. But, much has changed since their debut release "EP1" (released June 8, 2015), back when the band existed under the name of Barbara Hans and this very collection of music went by the name that the band is now utilizing as its new, official moniker.

Singer/guitarist Henry Stoehr, bassist/vocalist Alex Julian Leeds and drummer Teddy Matthews, the trio of the newly christened Slow Pulp, have added a fourth member to their ranks in the form of singer/songwriter/guitarist and former Modern Mod frontwoman Emily Massey, and the addition has made for an absolutely perfect fit, allowing the band to unearth a previously untapped sultriness to combine with their specialized brand of low-fi bedroom pop and dream punk on their freshly unveiled second release entitled simply, "EP2."
Slow Pulp, performing live at The Frequency March 9, 2017

The night of March 9th was a celebratory one for the band as their live performance live at The Frequency (with their compatriots in Dash Hounds as openers) served as the official "EP2" release party and from what I have heard and seen on-live, the night turned out to be a triumphant one for the band, and rightfully so, as "EP2" is a clear winner, showcasing the band evolving and expanding upon the garage psychedelia of their debut release.

1. The dream punk aesthetic is on full display on "Brett Favre," the opening track on "EP2." While named after the Wisconsin Green Bay Packers football legend, the brief instrumental zig-zags from languid to full throttle power  chord assault on a dime as television announcements from an unknown Rugby match cheer loudly in the background. The significance of merging one sports hero with others from a completely different sport, as if one is appearing in the other's athletically enhanced fever dream? Only the dream weavers of Slow Pulp know for certain...

2. Opening "EP2" in earnest is the previously released "Bundt Cakes," originally part of a  2016 joint digital single alongside the Madison based band Trophy Dad, in which Stoehr also performs as a guitarist. Just as I wrote upon this site last year, the track is a punchy slice of power pop that provides more than enough left-of-center sonic curve balls to keep you on your toes while also delivering an instantly addictive melodic/vocal hook to keep you singing along as you thrash your air-guitars and drums.

3. Emily Massey's first vocal appearance upon "EP2" is truly audacious as the band raises their own game with the stunning lovelorn blues of "Die Alone." Many months ago, Stoehr was very gracious to send me an early version of the song, and even back then, I was struck with the track's meloldicism while also the fact that it sounded so...downright strange. Now, in its final version, both aspects of the song remain strongly as the sleepy purr of Massey's vocals merge brilliantly with the seemingly dilapidated instrumentation, all of which perfectly conjures up the image and feelings of what it means to be freshly heartbroken and romantically wounded to the point of near paralysis. Like I said, it is a strange sounding song as if the rich almost '70s AM radio melodics were combined with indie rock crunch. It's like The Ozark Mountain Daredevils' classic "Jackie Blue" as if the song was performed by the depressed heroine of the title.

4. Stoehr returns to the mic on "Husband Pillow," an aggressively jaunty affair that immediately snaps the band back into fighting mode from the despair of the previous track. As with "Bundt Cakes," this selection again showcases the band's fearless approach with their songwriting, ensuring the listener will be unable to predict where they will musically head next from verse to chorus or even from measure to measure, all the while packing as much music as possible into the song's scant two and a half minute running time and happily leaving you breathless in the process.

5. Slow Pulp brings the bedroom pop to the forefront with "Houseboat," on which Massey's seductive, breathily sung "Yeah" near the song's opening sold it COMPLETELY.  Somehow weaving The Andrea True Connection to my mind, the band sounds breezy, hazy, and more than a little drugged out, as if we have caught a  '70s era ingenue daydreaming. But, here comes that terrific unpredictability as the band shape shifts again, beautifully merging a speedier garage punk mid-section with its more languid opening and closing, anchoring Massey's newfound presence in the band as a spellbinding move.

6. "EP2" comes to a gorgeous close with "Preoccupied," a track where the band sticks tightly with its erotic daydream groove, again perfectly sung by Massey and augmented by the slinky saxophone by Nathan France.

With name changes and band additions, it would not be unfair to infer that Slow Pulp is a band still in search of itself while also existing as an exciting musical force capable of mixing styles and genres to their heart's content while armed with a continuously impressive skill and power. With "EP2," the band has richly expanded upon their musical palate, making me even more curious and excited as a listener to see and hear where the band will head in their future music whenever that may arrive. As of now, as excitingly so,  Slow Pulp is a band that is unquestionably difficult to pin down and that makes their presence in the Madison music community that much more vital and vibrant and deserving of your attention inside and outside of Wisconsin.

Aside from their songwriting and instrumental performances, all of which are first rate, the band has truly left me scratching my head with their sonic delivery. As with their local contemporaries in Post Social, Dash Hounds and Disq for instance, all of these band are proudly independent and low-fi. But unlike those aforementioned bands, who have all somehow made their low-fi recordings sound as lush as if they were realized in million dollar studios, Slow Pulp has gleefully remained with a scrappier aesthetic, as if they didn't wish to make their music sound too pretty, despite the glowing melodics that shine through their specialized, idiosyncratic pop songs. Whether by necessity or design, this aspect only enhances the band's identity as well as their mystery. Again, you just cannot pin them down.

Additionally, Slow Pulp's "EP2" is the sound of a band growing up to a degree. If there was something almost innocent or adolescent captured upon "EP1," this latest effort sounds as if the members have emerged from the garage and are heading up to the bedroom. Nothing salacious or prurient. But something that sounds more adult in intent and content.

Emily Massey in particular, sounds as if she especially has left the adolescent innocence of Modern Mod far behind in favor of exploring a more emerging womanhood musically, as also evidenced in her work with her other Madison based band Melkweed, which has yet to record and release material but have performed extremely well received live sets of some exquisitely realized soulful pop songs.

Whatever led to this combined effort of forces from the band's past and present, the results are captivating, beguiling and often filled with a dark allure that is inescapable. All in all, the very best thing that I can say after hearing the release of Slow Pulp's "EP2," six tracks combining in a brief but musically packed 17 minutes can be summed up in the following two words:

More please!!!!


Saturday, March 11, 2017


"DISQ 1"

DISQ are:
Isaac deBroux-Slone: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers, Drums
Raina Bock: Bass Guitar

All music and lyrics by Isaac deBroux-Sloan and Raina Bock
Mixed by Doug Olsen and Isaac deBroux-Slone
Artwork by Andrea Olson-Avina

Recorded in Isaac's basement

Produced by Isaac deBroux-Slone
Released July 11, 2016

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure and honor of performing an on-air interview with the Madison, WI based band Disq upon my Savage Radio program which airs on the Monona, WI based community radio station WVMO 98.7 FM.
Raina Bock and Isaac deBroux-Slone at WVMO studios-February 15, 2017

What led me to meeting the band and having them on-air with me was nothing less than feeling thunderstruck by the music they created for their jaw droppingly wonderful debut album entitled "Disq 1," which was released in the Summer of 2016. I first heard the album, more or less upon a whim, near the end of 2016, and actually, more specifically, while I was compiling a list of my favorite albums releases of the year.

I was simply scrolling through my Facebook feed when I happened to see a mention of the band as being an opening act for the band Whitney that evening in my fair city. Certainly catching my eye as this local band, of which I had not heard of whatsoever, capturing such a prime position on the local live scene, I was curious to hear what they sounded like. Heading over to their Bandcamp page, I began to listen to their album.

On the very first song, I was instantly and enormously captivated. Perhaps midway through that first listen, I contacted local musician, singer and songwriter, Modern Mod/Dash Hounds' Alivia Kleinfeldt to ask her what she knew of Disq, to which she practically gushed in her written reply, "They're amazing!! They're basically prodigies!" By nearly the album's end, I was feverishly writing to Disq's Isaac deBroux-Slone to extol my amazement and excitement with everything I was hearing for the very first time, and from there, our correspondence began, leading to their appearance on my radio show.

As for the album itself, it has dawned upon me that I haven't written anything truly significant about "Disq 1" at all, aside from a quick description in my favorite albums of 2016 posting last December. So, at this time, I wish to remedy this situation by giving all of you the full presentation of a band and an album that is seriously deserving of your most valuable time and hard earned time finances, should you be inspired to purchase a copy and maybe even see them perform live. Dear readers and listeners, please allow me to take you through "Disq 1."

"Disq 1" opens with a song of romantic, melancholic hurt yet filtered through a stunning neo-psychedelic wonderland. "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)" grabbed my ears emphatically and refused to let go for even one solitary moment as the music's sad sway combined with an aggressive rock star swagger captured my power pop heart within its first few moments. And then, Isaac deBroux-Slone began to sing.

"Oh Candy I can't go to sleep, 'cause being is the pain
You probably don't even know, you left me in the rain
I promised her that I would stay, you know I said it's true
But every time I look at you, I change my point of view

I'm so confused but I am used to this
I'm gonna lose because I don't exist..." 

I am so uncertain as to precisely how they achieved such power and grace, honest angst and rock and roll glory from the jump. but Disq accomplished this feat most impressively. With every sonic touch, especially with deBroux-Slone's gloriously double tracked vocals, Ringo-esque drum fills and his just soaring George Harrison/Badfinger styled guitar solo combined with Raina Bock's McCartney-esque melodicism via her bass playing, I was swept away. With just one song, I was firmly in the hands of professionals, seasoned songwriters and musicians who clearly knew precisely what they are doing and the messages they are trying to convey. Believe me, with "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)," the message was beautifully received and I became increasingly anxious as to what I would hear next.

"I'm Not Real," continues the thematic melancholic threads from "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)," but this time with a less power pop but more synthetic landscape, and a melodicism that vaguely reminded me of Jeff Lynne's 1970's/1980's studio wizardry, that certainly conveyed a romantic wooziness, a hazy heartache that lingers and haunts after a breakup, whether real or imagined, and still, it is armed superbly with an instantly infectious sing-a-long chorus.

From the album's first two tracks which demonstrated a superb confidence with building a wall of sound, the third track from "Disq 1," entitled "Neglect (Wondering)" is literally a stark contrast. Instead of layers of sound, the instrumentation is sparse--solely deBroux-Slone's drums and guitar augmenting Bock's strong, slow walking bass--all of which creates a musical palate that recalled "Let It Be" era Beatles or even Paul McCartney's classic "Let Me Roll It."

"You thought that she came from Wisconsin," begins deBroux, again showcasing his startling vocals that just snap my ears to attention. Throughout this song, Disq's melancholic tale of misconceptions, false impressions, abandonment and subsequent regret builds slowly over the course of six full minutes and why should it not as the band understand that the very best blues takes its own sweet time. Yet, when the slow burn tension breaks, it explodes into a "Plastic Ono Band" era Lennon-esque howl where deBroux-Slone shreds his vocal chords while Bock's rhythms keep that steady anchor, holding her musical partner in place, lest he should completely fall apart.

"The CIA," the album's fourth selection, goes dense and dark as the epic track feels as if two songs have been merged together to form somewhat of a hard charging rock suite. Opening with a glorious harmonized guitar riff and a driving rhythm, Disq explores the angst found within a relationship's emotional push and pull.

"You're coming close to me, I won't move away
 Not how it's supposed to be, can't you see I'm afraid
I'm waiting out for you, if I do, will you stay?
What am I gonna do when the grass has turned to paper..."

From the song's quiet middle, a passage that suggests The Who, Disq takes the song into the mountainous mantra of its second half, as layer upon layer of sound creates a musical forest you will be thrilled to find yourselves lost inside of as deBroux-Slone repeatedly sings, "hurt me tomorrow, but treat me nice today."

The second half of "Disq 1," is a sonic speedball, a triptych of short, sharp blasts of heavy power pop that connect instantly and grow more infectious with each and every listen. The pounding "Nobody Likes You," features a growling riff (is that Bock's bass guitar via a fuzz distortion or deBroux-Slone's synthetic wizardry or both?) and a rapidly free flowing stream of Lennon-esque venom directed towards a nemesis.

Opening with the sound of a warbled, broken down synthetic fanfare which soon explodes into  '70s styled AOR, the outstanding "All I Do Is Nothing," is quite possibly the most energetic, aggressive song I've heard about lethargy. And the self-explanatory "Overloaded," complete with cheesy '60s, "96 Tears" styled organ at the forefront, Disq blazes through the song like the most enthusiastic kids bashing it out in the garage and entertaining the neighbors to boot.

"Disq 1" concludes with one more epic and it is indeed the album's full culmination of all of its efforts over the previous seven tracks. The six minute "I'm Sorry" is a jaw dropper, a Beatles by way of Tame Impala psychedelia that again slowly builds its elements (even announcing some of them within the mix--a treat I just loved hearing inside of my headphones) until the point when the tension found in the increasing apologies (I love how deBroux-Slone's voice cracks on one sung "I'm sorry") releases itself via a dynamic, dramatic guitar solo beautifully surrounded by the rhythm section of his drums and the splendidly melodic bob-and-weave of Bock's bass playing. After all of the surprises that flowed from my computer speakers to my ears over the course of the album this grand finale sealed the deal tremendously.

Disq's debut release "Disq 1" is a rock and roll kaleidoscope of a debut! In many ways, that first listen captivated me just as powerfully as the first time I heard the debut album from Madison's Post Social, contemporaries of Disq within the Madison music community. As with Post Social, I was completely unsure as to precisely what I would end up hearing but what I discovered was nothing less than sensational, a feeling compounded by the fact that Isaac deBroux-Slone is now 18 years old and Raina Bock is 16 and both of them are high school students!

Yet, once again, I do not mention their ages as anything suggestive, exploitative or to insinuate any source of novelty. I mention their ages because there is indeed something in the water here in Madison, where this new generation of young people have taken it upon themselves to study, to learn, to create and accomplish something truly artistic and without any sense of jadedness or cynicism. These are young people whop have taken it upon themselves to really try to crack the codes into what it takes to write, sing and produce good songs, to learn one instrument or several to a certain proficiency.

And in the case of Disq, both Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock are clearly students of The Beatles, for instance, but they are savvy, clever and creative enough to have figured out how to create their own idiosyncratic identity, as well as to write a collection of strong pop songs and record and perform them in a fashion where my specialized brand of synesthesia happily exploded into overdrive.

The members of Disq are indeed serious musicians and already sound to be songwriters who are seasoned enough to go toe-to-toe with any of their contemporaries (and possibly even some well established artists). Yet, at the same time, they are playful enough where they clearly sound as if they are having a ball in the throes of creation and discovery, seemingly tickled that they were able to achieve one musical wonderment after another and even despite the darker, melancholic themes of their lyrics. For Disq, just like with Post Social, just like with the now defunct Modern Mod, just like with Dash Hounds, Trophy Dad, Slow Pulp, and other young, local musical heroes, the song is the brightest star in the room, and any sense of ego is not allowed.

Isaac deBroux-Slone's skills are simply magnificent, at times making him sound as if he is Madison's very own Jon Brion, the secret, melodic musical weapon in the mix of all of these wonderful music and performers that make up the Madison musical scene currently. He sings like a Beatle, performs on a variety of instruments like Todd Rundgren and yet somehow, has already discovered his own personality as a modern 21st century singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist.

While a quieter presence, so to speak, Raina Bock, as co-songwriter of all of the material, ensures that Disq is unquestionably a band, and not an extension of a solo project for deBroux-Slone. Although she does not sing, what I have discovered increasingly over repeated listenings to the album is how invaluable her bass performances actually are in guiding the music, the harmonics and the melodies of the songs. Her playing is inventive, consistently surprising in its depth, groove and fluidity, and the beautiful musical glue which holds these eight musical wonderlands of "Disq 1" together.

What a musical wonderland "Disq 1" is--a blissfully exciting, often marvelous, sparkling debut that has been a constant within my CD player and headphones since I first heard it. Dear readers and listeners, I excitedly urge and direct you to the Disq Bandcamp page ( to try out their terrific release. I honestly believe that you will not only be thrillingly impressed, "Disq 1" will blow your mind!

Friday, March 3, 2017



Hopes and dreams...

I always have hopes and believe me, you can easily say that I am a dreamer. And for right now, as we head into the (hopefully) final weeks of Winter, I am hoping and dreaming that we will be able to continue moving forwards in empathy and light and with all manner of new music to keep our hearts pumping strongly.

I am not certain what this month of Synesthesia will bring to me or you but I hope and I dream that whatever will be will be as warm and as wonderful as the arrival of Spring.

Keep breathing. Keep marching. Keep in solidarity with each other. And as always, with your music...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


February 1, 2017
"February Stars" performed by Foo Fighters
June 12, 1949-January 31, 2017
"Only Time Will Tell" performed by Asia
"Red" performed by King Crimson
"In The Dead Of Night" performed by U.K.

"Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)" performed by Erykah Badu
"Fall" performed by Miles Davis
"Reckoner" performed by Robert Glasper
"Sometimes" performed by Bilal

February 2, 2017
"Where's The Revolution?" performed by Depeche Mode-WSPC PREMIERE
"Won't Get Fooled Again" (live acoustic) performed by Pete Townshend
"Diallo" performed by Wyclef Jean
"Take Some...Leave Some" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Rinse The Raindrops" performed by Paul McCartney

February 3, 2017
"Go Your Own Way" performed by Fleetwood Mac
"These Words" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Poetry" performed by Ray Davies-WSPC PREMIERE
"Two Wildly Different Perspectives" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"Salt The Skies" performed by Tortoise

"Dumb All Over" performed by Frank Zappa
"That Day In Bowling Green" performed by Nick and Gabe-WSPC PREMIERE

February 4, 2017
"Black Man" performed by Stevie Wonder-WSPC PREMIERE

"20 Feet Tall" performed by Erykah Badu
"Slow Dance" performed by John Legend
"Faced To Face Me" performed by Skyline Sounds
"On Lankershim" performed by Foxygen-WSPC PREMIERE
"Letter To My (Back Door Friend)" performed by Lightnin' Hopkins

February 5, 2017
"On The Nature Of Daylight" performed by Max Richter
"Daydreaming" performed by Radiohead
"Untitled #5" performed by Sigur Ros
"Mad Rush" performed by Philip Glass

February 6, 2017
"One More Day, One More Night" performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Trouble" performed by Jon Brion
"Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes" performed by Beck with Jon Brion
"Song To The Siren" performed by Tim Buckley
"Je Te Veux" performed by Erik Satie

February 7, 2017
"Tommy Gun" performed by The Clash
"Public Servant" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Education" performed by The Kinks
"You Must Learn" performed by Boogie Down Productions
"Money" performed by Pink Floyd

"Too Daze Gone" (live 1981) performed by Billy Squier
"Roller" performed by April Wine

February 8, 2017
"Black Boys On Mopeds" performed by Sinead O'Connor
"Almost Home" performed by The Flaming Lips-WSPC PREMIERE

"Marquee Moon" performed by Television
"Age Of Consent" performed by New Order
"Television Man" performed by Talking Heads
"Revolverlution" performed by Public Enemy

February 9, 2017
"Stand Or Fall" performed by The Fixx
"It's A Mistake" performed by Men At Work
"Bombs Away' performed by The Police
"Red Lenses" performed by Rush
"Coming For You" performed by Ric Ocasek

February 10, 2017
"Eruption" performed by Van Halen
"Jump" performed by Van Halen

"Three Ring Government" from "Schoolhouse Rock"

February 12, 2017
"We're In This Love Together" performed by Al Jarreau
"Spanish Joint" performed by D'Angelo
"You're Gonna Get Yours" performed by Public Enemy
"Compared To What" performed by Roberta Flack
"Set Us Free" performed by Eddie Harris and Les McCann

February 13, 2017
"Are You Happy With Your Work?" performed by Mary Beth Hughes
"Keep On Working" performed by Pete Townshend
"Bluebird" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Career Opportunities" performed by The Clash
"Draggin' The Line" performed by R.E.M.
"Got A Job" performed by The Miracles

"This Is The Picture (excellent birds)"
"Secret World"
"No Self Control"
"Back In N.Y.C." performed by Genesis
"Birdy's Flight"
"Signal To Noise"

"Award Tour"/"Moving Backwards/We The People" (live Grammy Awards 2-12-17) performed by A Tribe Called Quest with  Busta Rhymes, Consequence and Anderson.Paak

February 14, 2017
"La La Means I Love You" performed by The Delfonics
"I Do Love You" performed by GQ
"I Wanna Get Next To You" performed by Rose Royce
"Have You Seen Her" performed by The Chi-Lites
"Let's Stay Together" performed by Al Green
"Early Morning Love" performed by Lou Rawls

"Love Plus One" performed by Haircut 100
"You're My Favorite Waste Of Time" performed by Marshall Crenshaw
"All I Want" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
"Heart" performed by Rockpile
"When My Baby's Beside Me" performed by Big Star
"Love Comes Tumbling" performed by U2

February 15, 2017
"Another Nail In My Heart" performed by Squeeze
"Meaningless" performed by Jon Brion
"The Ghost At Number One" performed by Jellyfish
"I Wanna Prove To You" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Feel The Benefit" performed by 10cc

February 16, 2017
"Heaven Must Be Like This" performed by Ohio Players
"Show You The Way" performed by Thundercat featuring Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald-WSPC PREMIERE
"Brave And Strong" performed by Sly and the Family Stone
"Sistamamalover" performed by Lenny Kravitz
"The Traitor" performed by Herbie Hancock

"Do Me Baby" (live 1982) performed by Prince

February 17, 2017
"Oh Candy" performed by Cheap Trick
"That's The Way (My Love Is)" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
"We Turn Red" performed by Red  Hot Chili Peppers
"Faceplant" performed by Donny McCaslin
"What God Wants Part 1" performed by Roger Waters

February 18, 2017
April 18, 1943-February 18, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield drum solo live at the Boston Garden 
"Funk Thing"
"Cold Sweat" performed by JAMES BROWN featuring Clyde Stubblefield on drums

"If You Were Here" performed by The Thompson Twins
"Woman's Got Soul" performed by The Impressions
"Knock On Wood" performed by Prefab Sprout
"The Season/Carry Me" performed by Anderson.Paak
"Through City Lights" performed by The Amazing
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" performed by Molly Ringwald

"Ali" performed by Miles Davis

February 19, 2017
"Be Nice To Me" performed by Todd Rundgren
"You Do" performed by Aimee Mann
"Goodbye Stranger" performed by Supertramp
"Rubber Ring" performed by The Smiths
"No Way" performed by David Gilmour
"The Sky Is Broken" performed by Moby
"Force Majeure" performed by Tangerine Dream

February 20, 2017
"On A Plain" performed by Nirvana
"Saint Cobain" performed by Vernon Reid
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" performed by Robert Glasper Experiment
"Friend Of A Friend" performed by Foo Fighters
"Let Me In" performed by R.E.M.
"Gone Again" performed by Patti Smith

February 21, 2017
"Thief Rockers" performed by Thievery Corporation-WSPC PREMIERE
"You Can't Unring The Bell" performed by Funkadelic
"Papa Was A Rolling Stone" performed by The Temptations
"I Know I'm Losing You" performed by Rare Earth
"Naked Eye" performed by The Who

February 22, 2017
"And The Cradle Will Rock" performed by Van Halen
"Prisoner" (acoustic live) performed by Ryan Adams-WSPC PREMIERE
"Always See Your Face" performed by Love
"Golden Years" performed by David Bowie
"One Day" performed by Fishbone

February 23, 2017
"Shepherds Of The Nation" performed by The Kinks
"Join The Parade" performed by Planet P. Project
"Imagination" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Game Is Rigged" performed by Vernon Reid & Masque
"We're In This Together" performed by Nine Inch Nails

February 24, 2017

"The Rover"
"Houses Of The Holy"
"The Wanton Song"
"In The Light"

"Mommy, What's A Funkadelic" performed by Funkadelic

February 25, 2017

"Apple Scruffs"
"Stuck Inside A Cloud"
"Loves Comes To Everyone"
"Dear One"
"Tears Of The World"

February 27, 2017

"Abuse" performed by Propoganda
"Turn To The Sky" performed by The March Violets
"Beat's So Lonely" performed by Charlie Sexton
"Brilliant Mind" performed by Furniture
"I Go Crazy" performed by Flesh For Lulu
"Can't Help Falling In Love With You" performed by Lick The Tins

February 28, 2017
"I'm Not Real" performed by Disq
"Blow Away" performed by The Lemon Twigs
"Illuminate" performed by Imperial Drag
"Big Wheels" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"Somewhere That's Green" from "Little Shop Of  Horrors"

Friday, February 24, 2017


1. "Slim's Return" performed by Madlib
2. "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" performed by Public Enemy
3. "When My Train Pulls In" performed by Gary Clark Jr.
4. "Microphone Fiend" performed by Eric B. & Rakim
5. "Sign O' The Times" performed by Prince
6. " Black Rage (sketch)" performed by Ms. Lauryn Hill
7. "Ali Vs. Frazier" performed by Jesse Johnson
8. "Simple Advice" performed by Georgia Anne Muldrow
9. "Brother, Brother" performed by The Isley Brothers
10."Life In Marvelous Times" performed by Mos Def

1. "Nuclear" performed by Ryan Adams
2. "Couldn't I Just Tell You?" performed by Todd Rundgren
3. "Love Goes On!" performed by The Go-Betweens
4. "Are You My Baby" performed by Wendy & Lisa
5. "It Must Be Love" performed by Madness
6. "When Love Breaks Down" performed by Prefab Sprout
7. "Hackensack" performed by Fountains Of Wayne
8. "Jealousy" performed by Queen
9. "Love Street" performed by The Doors
10."Pressing Lips" performed by The Pursuit Of Happiness
11."Doors Of Your Heart" performed by The English Beat
12."Bizarre Love Triangle" performed by Frente!
13."Love Vibration" performed by Josh Rouse

1. "All I Do Is Nothing"
2. "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)"
3. "Nobody Likes You"
4. "I'm Sorry"
1. "Question Of Life" performed by Fishbone
2. "Game Is Rigged" performed by Vernon Reid & Masque
3. "Hit It And Quit It" performed by Funkadelic
4. "Funky Drummer" performed by JAMES BROWN featuring CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD
5. "Fred" performed by Tony Williams
6. "Black Comedy" performed by Miles Davis
7. "Heels" performed by Q-Tip
8. "The Charade" performed by D'Angelo and the Vanguard


Released January 13, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: What a long, strange trip it has been for The Flaming Lips and for all those who have chosen to accompany them upon their fully idiosyncratic musical odyssey of their 34 year history. I joined the parade around the time of "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" (released July 16, 2002) and with that album plus their breakthrough "The Soft Bulletin" (released June 22, 1999) and the subsequent "At War With The Mystics" (released April 4, 2006), I completely fell in love with the band's trilogy of albums that blended the silly and the philosophical, the gravity and the interstellar, the acoustic and electronic with band leader Wayne Coyne's plaintive Neil Young styled lead vocals sitting warmly at the core of the band's highly distinctive musical universe.

Since those three albums in particular, The Flaming Lips have consistently challenged my senses and sensibilities with releases that became defiantly abrasive like the disturbing and very loud "Embryonic" (released October 13, 2009), the dark night of the soul in "The Terror" (released April 1, 2013), the album length EP "Peace Sword" (released October 29, 2013) and even the side project of Electric Wurms. I drew the line with their collaboration with Miley Cyrus as I just could not bring myself to even try and figure out what the purpose of that collaboration was even about,

Now, four years after their last official releases, The Flaming Lips have made their grand return with their 14th album, "Oczy Mlody," a work that supplies us with the band's most melodic work in some time while also being deceptively lighter than air. I do have to say that for what may possibly be the first time, The Flaming Lips have released an album that just hasn't grabbed me in the same ways that albums in the past have accomplished. This is not to say that "Oczy Mlody" is a weak effort. In fact, I am actually wondering just what I might be missing, what I just might not be hearing quite as well this time around--and I think my difficulty with fully latching on might be within the execution rather than the writings.

Entitled from a Polish translation and containing song titles that are named more for their sound than for any actual meaning ("Nidgy Nie," anyone?), the proceedings can often feel to be more than a little twee. And in some ways, and despite some of the music's more symphonic touches, "Oczy Mlody" feels like The Flaming Lips' quietest work, an album's worth of twinkly synthetic lullabies about purple eyed unicorns, castles, wizards, sunrises and galaxies yet filtered through some more darkly sinister themes of day-glo strippers, demon eyes that have seen death in the summertime, and free drugs that cause highs so encompassing that they have the potential to bring on the end of the world and usher in a love revolution from the ashes. Goodness!

It is all a little silly but again, the band's trademark existential melancholia is abound throughout the album, thus giving the music a little gravity that the actual musicianship did not this time around...maybe. At this time, the personnel for The Flaming Lips is seven men strong but the album really sounds as if the only band members present are Coyne and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd on an arsenal of keyboards, synthesizers and primitive drum machines, making for songs that feel like elaborate demos rather than fully fleshed out material.

But maybe, there is a method to this approach and I just need a little more time to find it.
Released February 24, 2014
Released June 10, 2003
Released March 30, 2010
Released January 20, 2017
NEW 2017 MUSIC: I just do not quite get this band...and I mean that in a good way.

Foxygen, the music duo of singers/songwriters, producers and multi-instrumentalists Sam France and Jonathan Rado have intrigued me for quite some time as their sound openly references past musical eras while wildly turning them inside out, even references that already exist upon the outer fringes.

Take their previous effort, the double album "...And Star Power" (released October 14, 2014), clearly and heavily influenced by Todd Rundgren's post-psychedelic head trip, audio kaleidoscope masterpiece "A Wizard, A True Star" (released March 2, 1973).  This was an album that possessed a smattering of stunning, gorgeous pop songs and utopian epics but surrounding them were what felt to be the most outre sonic experiments that existed somewhere between the lowest fidelity lo-fi indie rock and Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" (released July 1975). It was an album that certainly was ore than a bit of a mess and to this day, I am just not sure what to eve make of it. But...they certainly captured my attention.

Three years later, Foxygen has returned with "Hang," another release that references the past while blazing its own path into the future, this time with eight songs, beautifully composed and exquisitely produced and performed, with aid from The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd and The Lemon Twigs as their rhythm section--more on them shortly--and to greater sonic effect, a 40 piece orchestra! This time around, France and Rado have emerged with songs that inexplicably blend Philadelphia soul, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley jazz, Zappa-esque complexities fueled by Gershwin-esque sweep (or vice versa) plus even more--sometimes all in the same song--and fronted by France's often bizarre vocals which somehow recall 1973 era Bryan Ferry on a seriously dangerous bender. In fact, the album kinda sounds like Van Dyke Parks compositions as performed by the original glam rock excess of Roxy Music, a combination that may make you wonder if the w hole enterprise is an elaborate joke of some sort.

But it would be hard for me to think of music this intricately composed and performed being used as nothing ore than as a lark. And even so, France's over emphatic vocal stylings suggest that he just maybe singing in character--perhaps that aforementioned drunk as hell Ferry-esque persona singing in some far away orchestra hall fronting this powerful band. Who knows?

But, I do have to say, that Foxygen's "Hang" definitely has the goods to keep your ears listening and guessing.
Released October 14, 2016
2016 REWIND: WXRT's Lara Mondae led me here and to that, i send her eternal thanks!

Last year, if I had heard "Do Hollywood," the debut album from The Lemon Twigs, the collective of teenaged (!) brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario as singers, songwriters,producers and multi-instrumentalists, it would have sailed easily into being one of my favorite albums of 2016!!

This album is absolutely stunning and it gave my brand of synesthesia a wonderful workout due to the boys' splendid agility with melodies, harmonies and overall songcraft, musicianship and production. While The Beatles and Foxygen (from whom Jonathan Rado serves as the album's producer) are clear influences, my musical ears were often tricked into thinking I was listening to a lost album from 10cc, as The Lemon Twigs' superior melodic gifts found seemingly endless varieties of turning notes and chords upon their respective heads, making me hear pop songcraft in excitingly new ways.

I am certain for some of you, the rapidly abrupt musical, tempo, time signature and stylistic changes that occur throughout the album may make you wonder if "Do Hollywood" suffers from a certain schizophrenia. While the album does not suffer from any lack of musical ideas in the least, I have to admit that there were points where I was curious if the band could ever sustain an idea. By the time the album reached selections like "Baby, Baby" and the glorious, glistening ballad "How Lucky Am I?" The Lemon Twigs succeeded with tremendous aplomb. And for that matter, during my frequent subsequent listenings, the songs have continued to reveal themselves, demonstrating how richly all of the seemingly disparate elements merge together.

There is something to be said with this particular "everything but the kitchen sink" songwriting and performance as it completely suggests the youthful exuberance of the band plus a certain heartfelt urgency, as if this might be the only album they ever make so they'd better get EVERYTHING on it.
But, based upon "Do Hollywood," I have a strong feeling that The Lemon Twigs have set themselves up for a most lengthy career.

Released November 11, 2016
Released 1982
Released January 15, 2016



RYAN ADAMS: Vocals, All Guitars, Bass Guitar and Other Instruments
JOHNNY T. YERINGTON: Drums and Percussion
JASON BOESEL: Drums on "Do You Still Love Me?"
DANIEL CLARKE: Organ on "Do You Still Love Me?"
CHARLIE STAVISH: Bass Guitar on "Do You Still Love Me?" "Tightrope" and "We Disappear"
JOE SUBLETT: Saxophone on "Tightrope"
MIKE VIOLA: Guitar on "Do You Still Love Me?"

All music and lyrics by Ryan Adams except
"Do You Still Love Me?" music and lyrics by Ryan Adams and Daniel Clarke
"Prisoner" music and lyrics by Ryan Adams and Mike Viola

Produced by Ryan Adams
Released  February 17, 2017

"Without U there is no me..."
-Prince ("Adore")

Who are we when we fall in love? Who were we before and even after? How do we change and alter ourselves and sometimes, even lose ourselves as we attempt to merge our being with that of another individual?

Compromise and communication are indeed touchstones for potentially successful relationships but when we do compromise and how we communicate do indeed go straight to the core of our individualized beings and how we again alter ourselves just to remain romantically attached. And say, one is part of a relationship where love is strong but somehow not enough, one where the ebbs and flows are dynamic, threatening to untie the bonds? Or what if indeed the relationship concludes and each partner now finds themselves living within an aftermath. Who are we even then? Do we remain the same or are we figuring out just precisely what we may have become? And what if we have lost ourselves in another and lost? How do we even begin to find our way back to ourselves?

I bring those questions and concepts to the table as I find myself listening to Ryan Adams' latest opus, his 16th album entitled "Prisoner." While Adams clearly wears his heart upon his denim encased sleeves and is certainly not new to the arena of musically chronicling tales of love and loss--especially as his passionately beloved debut solo album is entitled "Heartbreaker" (released September 5, 2000) and one (or two) of his very best releases, the startling two-part EP set "Love Is Hell" (released November 4, 2003/December 9, 2003)--it feels more than fitting that his most recent material may be strongly perceived as being achingly personal to the point of being strikingly confessional.

I feel compelled to give the proper credit where it is due regarding the following. Shortly before the release of the album, the advance reviews were being released and I happened upon one written by Ryan Leas of Stereogum. In  his article, Leas suggested that maybe what Adams has given us this time is the third installment of a trilogy of sorts as the self titled album "Ryan Adams" (released September 8, 2014) preceded the announcement of his divorce from actress/singer Mandy Moore by several months represented the first installment and "1989" (released September 21, 2015), Adams' gorgeous top to bottom cover version of the Taylor Swift album he adored while caught in throes of emotional loss represented the difficult middle section.

As I listened to "Prisoner" for the first time, I felt myself returning to those words in the Stereogum article because they felt so very right to me, regardless of whether Ryan Adams himself ever fully addresses, confirms or denies the full emotional and artistic intent of the work(s). Even so, there was a certain emotional weight to the music that felt somewhat...different than on albums past. A considerably deeper and more painful emotional pull towards looking inwards at my own life and entanglements as well as those of the more universal romantic variety plus Adams' personal situation within the dissolution of his marriage. By album's end, and with that inexplicable feeling of having traveled down some especially mournful roads, I was unquestionably moved by the experience, therefore making Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" a work of uncompromising and acutely powerful, open-hearted fragility as well as existing as the first great work that I have heard in this beginning of the 2017 year in music.

I do have to mention at this time, that as "Prisoner" began, I was whisked to a motion picture that made a serious impression upon me many years ago. The film is Alan Parker's "Shoot The Moon" (1982), an emotionally brutal film which delves into the infidelity and marital dissolution of characters portrayed by Albert Finney and Diane Keaton and the aftershocks that occur upon them and their four children, one of whom a volatile teenager played by the late Dana Hill. As the film opens, we are privy to an interior moment, the likes of which we typically never see in the movies, the husband, in private, lost in tears and becoming unglued with the knowledge that his life is about to be irrevocably changed.

I brought up this memory of this particular film because to my ears, Ryan Adams' "prisoner" opens within the same fashion with a song of stunning vulnerability, "Do You Still Love Me?," a track that feels like a purposeful yet more despairing echo of the "Ryan Adams" opening track, "Gimmie Something Good." Much has already been written about the pseudo/retro1980's AOR power ballad framework, a la Foreigner, for instance. Backed by terrific swirling cathedral organ, heroic power chords and a flat-out killer chorus, Adams playfully and expertly creates an album overture that functions equally as air guitar fuel and aching lament for a romantic reciprocation that once existed but just might not anymore.

My own response to the song has changed quite considerably since the song was first released as a single. I was immediately captivated by the song's instantly attention grabbing charm, swagger and the soaring quality of Adams' increasingly remarkable vocals (and of course, that organ!) but with each listen, "Do You Still Love Me?" grows sadder and sadder, painfully unveiling the confusion and that lost-in-the-universe feeling that occurs when your soulmate departs, leaving you all alone to try and make sense of a forever changed world all over again. By the album's second song, the title track, the heaviness apparent within "Do You Still Love Me?" begins to carry a woeful, melancholic gravity.

As Ryan Adams sings of a heart still caught in the throes of a love now ended, I found myself locking tightly onto the song's themes of emotional emancipation deferred as the past continues to hold its grasp. "Clock don't know what your memories do," he sings. "They're stacking up beside the bed/I count 'em every night inside my head/If loving you is wrong. I am a criminal/Mmmm...I am a prisoner." As the bed of acoustic guitars find the strength to continue laying the musical ground work, the lonely harmonica wails on...

The album next brings us to "Doomsday," a song of romantic promises made and romantic promises broken ("My love, you said you'd love me now 'til doomsday comes") leaving our narrator disillusioned and dilapidated. "Haunted House" details the emotions of now living alone within a home, mind and heart filled with ghosts of the past, unable to escape from. And the stark, exposed nerve endings of "Shiver And Shake" gives the album one of its many high points. Ryan Adams simply nails the interior turmoil while creating a musical backdrop that is subtle and even disturbingly quiet, the sparse instrumentation refusing to find itself getting in the way of the actual message that Adams is trying to convey: a message of wounded emotional paralysis due to the loss of a love. From here, the first half of "Prisoner" culminates with the meditative, forlorn "To Be Without You."

"It's so hard to be without you
Used to feel so angry, and now I only feel humble
Stinging from the storm inside my ribs where it thunders
Nothing left to say or really even wonder
We are like a book and every page is so torn
Nothing really matters anymore"

Beyond the continuous and varying themes of loneliness and newfound aloneness, Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" extends to the excellent "Anything I Say To You Now," a song of how the communication and even the very language that once flowed so effortlessly entirely fails after a breakup.

Emotional and psychological stability come into question on the self-explanatory "Breakdown," on which Adams sings, "Was I dreaming did I lose something in the night? Did I lose you? Did I lose you? Maybe I'm sleeping and in the morning I will only see the sunshine. Did I lose you? Did I lose my mind?"

"I got this aching in my chest/Rollin' around like a pile of bones/In a broken little box/It sounds a lot like you/Laughing to yourself/In a quiet room/Our eyes knowing more than they probably ought to," Adams confesses in "Outbound Train," a song of departure, abandonment and painful hindsight realizations, themes that continue within the regretful "Broken Anyway."

The sparse, despondent penultimate track upon "Prisoner" is the Springsteen-esque sorrow of "Tightrope," on which our narrator wishes solely for his former lover to make him smile once again but as he explains to us, "Flip on the tube, we watch it 'til we sleep/Ain't nothing but static and the panic and and the feeling manic."

"We Disappear" is the album's shimmering, shattering conclusion, a song that echoes and reverberates through vocals and guitars that phase into ghostly ether, just like the love once shared with turbulent feelings of resentment, resignation, recrimination and again, haunting regret
remain.  To my ears, the song feels like the most overtly confessional as Adams unearths one wounded, hurtful realization after another.

At the song's opening, Adams proclaims, "If I was born to be the loner, okay/But I'm not made of stone/And I'm so blown away/Don't know what's the rubble/And the parts I want to save." Soon thereafter, he expresses, "Was I alone? Am I still?/Nobody gets in, nobody ever will/You deserve a future and you know I'll never change." And even further still, he reveals, "Wish I could explain but it hurts to breathe/Didn't fit in my chest so I wore it on my sleeve." All the while, the song repeats the refrain "We disappear, we fade away," a statement that makes me return all the way to the very beginning on this posting because once the concept of "we" ceases to be, then what happens to "me"?

Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" is a beautifully sad collection of rock and roll torch songs that serves as a complete song cycle of heartache and woe, much like Beck's "Sea Change" (released September 24, 2002), for instance. Yet, and in keeping with the idea of a musical trilogy as set forth by Stereogum, "Prisoner" is also an album that truly does inform both "Ryan Adams" and "1989," making those releases works to revisit with new ears.

In some ways, and even while we will never truly know for certain, I am now wondering if this approach may have been Adams' intent and his additional releases of his punk rock tribute "1984" (released August 28, 2014) as well as the subsequent glut of 7"/digital singles were somewhat designed to throw us off of the scent so to speak, as the sheer amount of material might have kept us occupied enough to not look too closely. For, If "Ryan Adams" was kind of designed to function as a bit of a re-introduction and re-commitment to recording after his self-imposed sabbatical after the breakup of his band the Cardinals, we may not have even considered that he was possibly addressing or dealing with the issues of his then marriage, his refusal to speak publicly about it notwithstanding.

Furthermore, with "1989," we did know that Taylor Swift's original album was one of solace for Adams after his divorce. Yet to record a full end-to-end cover version of the album and then release it to the world as well, may have been another way for him to covertly communicate with his audience, even though he was using the means of another figure's work.

While he may have done some amount of concealing himself with aspects of his recent musical output, with "Prisoner," Ryan Adams sounds unusually exposed and in doing so, he has grown even taller artistically. His musical and lyrical language throughout the album is deceptively simple, and also clean, clear, poignantly direct. He showcases an economy of music and words that ultimately reveal a world of emotion, a tactic which, to me, signifies Adams' continued growth as a songwriter, singer, musician and producer, areas in which he has long excelled but this time around, he has clearly performed some serious self-examination regarding his own musical education and how he wishes to present his music.

 Again, he has amazed me. To think, Ryan Adams, even with some of his genre shape shifting, has really remained grounded within the traditional rock and roll musical set-up of guitar-bass-drums with some additional element here and there and he has never really functioned as a studio wizard, so to speak, turning the music inside out to create different sonic universes. That has never been his style. What he does accomplish, and what is exhibited upon "Prisoner" so beautifully is knowing that the song itself is the star, and with that in mind, Adams precisely and exactly recorded only what each song needed to be represented at its finest. No more, no less. And everything is indeed in its right place.

In keeping with the possibility of this album being ore revealing than the previous two albums may lie in the overall instrumentation. On both "Ryan Adams" and "1989," he has collaborated with a full band. Yet on "Prisoner," and aside from "Do You Still Love Me?," the album is essentially the work of Adams alone in studio with only drummer Johnny T. Yerington as a collaborator, making the work feel more unfiltered.

The emotions of Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" resonate greater with each listen, its core of romantic ache and loss becoming more deeply felt. Yet, this is not a depressing album by any means. In many ways, these are sad songs meant for communication and connection, taking the personal and making the intimate completely universal in its commonality of our experiences with the peaks and valleys of love with another, and our individualized transformations throughout.

Ryan Adams' "Prisoner" is an urgent work of sustained passions and moods that has already earned a spot as one of my favorite albums of 2017.