Archive | December, 2009

Dollar Records: Bent Fabric = Jazz Cheese, Danish Style

10 Dec

Bent Fabric - The Drunken Penguin

Danish trad-jazz composer/pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre is best known by his stage name, Bent Fabric, and his biggest hit, 1961′s “Omkring et Flygel” (“Around a Piano” in english) is best known in the States as “The Alley Cat.” It’s a cute, swingin’ piano instrumental that first caught my attention the year I attended 17 Bar Mitzvahs.

Following its American success, Atco Records attempted to capitalize on “Alley Cat” by lending animal-themed english-language titles to the next three releases: “The Happy Puppy,” “Organ Grinder’s Swing,” and “The Drunken Penguin,” which I flipped upon at The Groove‘s bin several weeks ago.

Instrumentation on these sessions is basic and constant: Fabric’s lively piano, soaked in slapback echo; a kit with brushes; a baritone guitar instrument, likely a Fender Six; a lightly strummed gypsy guitar.

In its day, this was hep party music for squares, and it’s still great aural wallpaper, especially when the Fender Six goes treble up and takes a lead in “Thanks For The Buggy Ride.” I’m transported to a room of adults in suits dancing badly, enjoying an abundance mixed drinks. A few leave to go sledding at midnight. Somebody wears a lamp shade, etc.

This music feels many cultures removed from the rock era, or whatever era we’re in at the moment. It’s wild to think the guy who made it is still with us–Bent turned 85 on Monday.
–Brett Rosenberg

Do You Feel Left Out During the Holidays?

9 Dec

This one's for Brett.

This one's for Brett.

I just spent 20 minutes attempting to make an image of a menorah that would represent what I am about to tell you, which is a lot of awesome free music, but I failed at that, so hilarious old album cover about a Jewish Christmas it is.

I feel like being Jewish in the Bible Belt might be a little rough. I mean, I’ve seen more churches in Nashville than I think I’ve seen in my whole life put together, and I’ve been to freaking ROME. I mean, there isn’t a Peanuts cartoon special for Hanukkah, every store on the face of the Earth is blasting you with Christmas/Jesus songs constantly, and musicians seem to do special things for fans not during Hanukkah, but during Christmas.

I think that the last one there is a flaw in the system. Christmas is one day, Hanukkah is EIGHT! That means you could get a free song or something every day! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

Oh wait, someone has, and his name is Paul Burch, a big favorite here at N4F. We’ve mentioned him before, yes, but  I swear he isn’t paying us off. Anyway, Paul has decided to stream a new song for free on his website each day of Hanukkah (but not necessarily songs about Hanukkah) starting at Sundown on Friday. Each song will be available for 24 hours before another one takes its place, and on the last day all of the songs will be available for a 24 hour only free download! If you’ve been looking to check out some new music for free then this is for you.

It gets better. Paul is great on his own, but he also has a lot of friends who have decided to help him on this project. Friends such as the Waco Brothers, Kelly Hogan, Laura Cantrell, members of Calexico, Lambchop, the Mekons, and Superchunk.

Yeah, I know, pretty rad, right?

So, there you go. You have nothing to lose, in checking out these awesome songs. If you like him a lot check him out in February at his Family Wash residency.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot (no I didn’t). In case you didn’t know, Brett is Jewish, but he has a Christmas song on his website for free. Thanks for that, Brett. We adore you. Rock’n'Roll Christmas. Sounds like my kind of holiday.

-Emily

Weekly Highlights: Dec. 7-13

6 Dec

Monday

8 Off 8th – 9pm

Mercy Lounge’s weekly free showcase series. Bands TBA. Seriously. We have no idea who’s playing this week. KOL? Just kidding. Seriously. Don’t think it’s gonna be KOL because it’s NOT.

Lipscomb Christmas Concert – 7:30pm
This Christmas concert will feature the A Cappella Singers and the University Wind Ensemble at Collins Alumni Auditorium. A stage full of musicians will offer a great night of classical and holiday music, including Three Yuletide Evergreens, Haydn’s Run, Ye Shepherds, to the Light, Mendelssohn’s Ehre sei Gott in der H’he, Brahms’ Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, and Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo. This event will be held in Collins Auditorium. Who’s Collin?

Tuesday

Chelsea Crowell In-Store – 6pm

Grimey’s is hosting Chelsea Crowell for an intimate in-store. I’m not familiar with Crowell’s music, but it says in the newsletter that she was banned from the Misfits Fiend Club because she wrote a strongly worded letter to Jerry Only and it pissed him off. At this point, getting kicked out of the Misfits fan club earns you more street cred than actually being in the Misfits as far as I’m concerned. Her debut record also features songs with Lambchop, Silver Jews and Bobby Bare Jr.

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Dollar Records: Rod Stewart + the Osmonds + black mold

5 Dec

FOOLISH BEHAVIOURPeople with taste tend to ignore Rod Stewart albums released after the demise of Faces. That’s a bit hasty–for one, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, the hit off 1978′s otherwise insipid/forgettable Blondes Have More Fun, is one of the most effective, trance-inducing dance singles ever, even as it lifts its chorus hook from Brazilian Samba-rocker Jorge Ben Jor’s “Taj Mahal.”

But where Blondes… finds Rod the Mod moving questionably into Rod the Bod territory, 1980′s Foolish Behaviour(purchased for 99 cents at The Groove) is exponentially more dangerous, independent, musical, and fun. Only the hit, “Passion,” attempts to create another “Do Ya” styled dance single, going so far as to employ the latter’s verse melody in the chorus hook.

First shot fired is “Better Off Dead,” a ridiculous, three-minute ’72 Stones blaster sporting soccer-chant-grade gang vocals in its chorus. It’s one of four tough, Faces-style rockers on the album, the best being the paranoid “Gi’ Me Wings.” Rod the Bard sings: “Driving in my car/There’s nothing on the air/Play a song that’ll ease my pain/D.J.’s telling me/That this is what’ll be/Help me I’m depressed again.”

Buried at the end of Side One is “Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight,” an indispensable, seven-verse, homesick folk-rocker knocked out of the park by Stewart and his hot band who, tellingly, are individually credited as co-writers on every song. Again, the lyrics: “Would have wrote you a letter, but the telephone calls are free/’Cause the boys in the next apartment are working all day/They’re a great bunch of guys but I think they’re all gay.”

There’s certainly some lite rock at this party, but only one song–the final cut, “Say It Ain’t True”–is saccharine enough to make me reach for the stylus. Indeed, “My Girl” and “Somebody Special” may be two of the best stabs at by-the-book, blue-eyed soul Rod has committed to record. Once I stop expecting him to be the white Sam Cooke, it’s easy to realize: he’s the British Sinatra.

The stories in these songs are vivid and full of laughs, the band brilliant, and Stewart in fine voice. Rod himself said on Oprah back in the 90′s that Foolish Behaviour was his favorite album. It sounds like he enjoyed himself, and the feeling is mutual for this reviewer. For those wishing to take post-Faces Rod seriously, this is an excellent point of entry.

osmonds
Michelle and I paid a visit to The Groove (103 South 11th Street) yesterday. We scored a copy of The Osmonds ‘ Phase III, in which these Mormon teeny-boppers first attempt to shed the Jackson 5 routine for a hard rock sound. The follow-up, Crazy Horses is infinitely more successful in this campaign, and helluva lots more listenable, although “He’s The Light of The World” is some legitimately groovy God-rock, I suppose. The main attraction of this dollar record find was the HUGE poster of the Osmonds (pictured above) which, unfortunately, was covered with black mold. It’s sitting on my front porch. I can’t commit to throwing this beautiful thing in the trash, but I don’t really want it in my house, either. –Brett Rosenberg