Bob’s Ode To The Past And Present

March 30th, 2020

He was around during the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam War, Oil crisis, Great Financial Crisis, and now Bob Dylan is thankfully very much around during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only that, he has released his first original song since 2020.

Murder Most Foul throws in a litany of cultural references is Dylan’s first original song, and his longest ever. Ostensibly about JFK’s assassination, that NPR has noted is “worth many repeated listens and will occupy any Dylanologist holed up at home”. One of the references is the Beach Boys own Carl Wilson.

There is a contrast between the soft musical background of piano and violins and Dylan’s harsh tone and words, which makes it partially an easy listen, and partially a difficult one. What is for sure is that it is the perfect song for these time of introspection and isolation.

Brian’s Back In His Room

March 20th, 2020

In these extraordinary times, we’re not likely to be going to live shows for a while. But Rolling Stone have set up a new series called In My Room, showcasing artists performing from their living rooms. And who better to start such a series than Brian Wilson, who plays excerpts from three songs including the series title and a very appropriate Love And Mercy. Have a look at the “show” here  with Brian in seemingly good spirits and voice.

Didn’t That Happen Before?

March 14th, 2020

It’s another 50 year anniversary to celebrate today and the album is Déjà Vu, released just over 50 years ago on March 11, 1970. The hippie idealism in many of the songs may come from another age, especially with the current uncertainties, but the album remains a quality product from four great musicians. The Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young dream was impacted by tension between the four members, but this album reflected the height of their musical unity and vision.

Dates In A Time Of Disease

March 7th, 2020

Brian Wilson has announced an extensive series of tour dates in Japan, Europe and USA -ensuring that 2020 will be another active touring year, if Coronavirus doesn’t stop everything. The new dreaded lurgy is already impacting on travel, sporting events and conferences, but one hopes that things will be under control before the touring starts.

Another Brian Wilson event is the first showing of the documentary Long Promised Road Tribeca Film Festival in April . This documentary has been in the works for a while so good to see an actual release.

 

23 Songs For Today

March 1st, 2020

1. Lightning In A Bottle- Carly Pearce
2. Love Has No Heart -Carly Pearce
3. Greener Grass -Carly Pearce
4. Crescent Noon -Carpenters
5. Big Mouth -A Girl Called Eddy
6. Charity Shop Window -A Girl Called Eddy
7. Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart -A Girl Called Eddy
8. Not That Sentimental Anymore -A Girl Called Eddy
9. Two Hearts -A Girl Called Eddy
10. Come To the Palisades! -A Girl Called Eddy
11. Life Thru The Same Lens -A Girl Called Eddy
12. Fading… -A Girl Called Eddy
13. The Brothers Williams Said -The Innocence Mission
14. Sun on the Square -The Innocence Mission
15. Dogwood -Jenny Lewis
16. Taffy -Jenny Lewis
17. OMG ILY -Madison Kozak
18. Nothing Is in Vain -MonaLisa Twins
19. A Little Crazy -Nicole Atkins
20.Neptune City -Nicole Atkins
21. Thank You Very Much -Saint Etienne
22. Tramway Song -Saint Etienne
23. Bad Habit -Sarah Darling

16 Years

February 22nd, 2020

Just over 16 years ago, on 20 February 2004, the first SMiLE concert happened.  The post-SMiLE era is still a lot shorter than the wait to hear the completed long-lost album but 16 years is starting to recede in the deeper past, even although the experience of being there still feels quite recent. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime -being part of popular music history.

Still Cruisin’

February 12th, 2020

Brian’s tour took to the seas, with a performance on the Cayamo Cruise on the high seas. There are some pictures on the main page of Brian’s website as well on his Instagram page.There is just one more show in Brian’s Winter/Cruising Tour on February 15 in New Orleans, but the website does say watch out for more dates…

Trophy Division

February 4th, 2020

Since the 2012 reunion tour, there has been a  split between the band touring with the band name Beach Boys (Mike Love and Bruce Johnston) and Brian Wilson’s tour which has been featuring Al Jardine on a pretty permanent basis in the last few years. This split has now taken an even more permanent and ideological turn after Brian and Al have slammed the touring Beach Boys for performing at a convention supporting trophy hunting.  Given who one of the convention participants is, this division is clearly not just a family feud, but part of the ideological divide in America. Don’t expect another Beach Boys reunion anytime soon…or probably forever.

Been Around And Very Much Back

January 25th, 2020

My first album review of the new decade is very likely to cover one of my favorite albums of the new ’20s. A Girl Called Eddy is back with her second full length album, more than 15 years after the first,  although she was very much part of 2018 collaboration with Mehdi Zannad on The Last Detail. The album starts with a poignant spoken “girl, where you been” on the title track, a brilliantly produced song showcasing all that is great about pop music. The video is also worth many repeated views.

What follows is another 10 brilliant pop songs that will grow on you, worm into your ears and the top of your playlists. While I am still digesting of all the brilliance a week after the release, Big Mouth, the poignant Charity Shop Window, Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart and Two Hearts are all clearly remarkable songs. Produced by Daniel Tashian , who produced Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy winning Golden Hour, the album exudes a classic pop sound which hearkens back to the best of Brian Wilson, Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. Musically, it’s a brilliant start to the new decade from a brilliant artist.

Goodbye To A Flame

January 21st, 2020

Internet access issues have delayed this post, but on Saturday, the sad news came in that Steve Fataar had passed away. An integral part of the Flames, who as a mixed-race South African group who defied apartheid became an important part of the white Californian Beach Boys, he was one who stayed at home in South Africa. While Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar joined the Beach Boys for a while and became internationally renowned musicians, Steve remained a vital part of the local music scene. Poignantly, he passed away just after performing a gig at his favorite spot. As a South African, the Flames and Beach Boys connection, is one of fascination and pride. Sadly, now, we have lost a part of that connection. As we say in South Africa, Hamba Kahle, Steve Fataar.