During some 1970's summer, in the housing projects of Newark, NJ, a young Puerto Rican girl would listen as the bold, brassy sounds of New York City's salsa wafted from open windows, like the unmistakable scent of chuletas fritas. (No, that's too obvious.) The bold, brassy sounds of New York City's salsa fell from open windows like newborn babies. (Oh, god, too gruesome.) The bold, brassy sounds erupted like gunfire, falling into rhythm with police sirens and train whistles. (Whatever.) The music was everywhere. Our young Puerto Rican girl listened to it, and fell in love with it. She (very innocently) plastered the walls of her virginal bedroom with the colorful artwork of her favorite album covers.
When I was younger, in my teens and early twenties, it happened all the time. On a whim, I'd go out to a small rock venue, and be absolutely shocked, ignited, devastated by some young, unknown band. Afterwards, I was always too shy to speak to the musicians, but, if I had any extra cash on me, I'd be sure to head to the merch' table and pick up a demo, maybe even buy a button or t-shirt. The feeling was as intoxicating and brilliant as New York City's snow-covered streets on a sunny winter day. This band was now yours to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, or until they signed to a major label.
I've realized why the opening few moments of Tom Abbs & Frequency Response's "Lost" make me want to just stop and cry. I find those moments so painfully beautiful because they remind me of my grandmother (my mother's mother) singing to me when I was a child. At first, I thought it was "You Are My Sunshine," but now I realize that it's "All the Pretty Horses." Listening again, I wish now I had someone to sing it to, someone to play it for.
For the past several days, I’ve had Neil Young’s newly remastered solo debut playing on repeat. Robert received a copy of the Neil Young Archives Official Release Series HDCD and I swiped it from him. (Actually, I was like, “May I please listen to that awesome stuff, please?”) Young’s first four albums, Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Goldrush, and Harvest, make up the first offering from the NYA ORS:
For Christmas, I received the new vinyl reissue of Nirvana’s seminal 1991 album, Nevermind. This beautiful thing, mastered by acclaimed engineer, Bernie Grundman, and pressed at RTI on extremely quiet 180gm vinyl, is brought to us by Original Recordings Group. Thank god for them.
The music begins before he arrives. There are horns and hollers and hand claps. Then comes the MC: "Right now, ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to introduce the star of our show, the young man you've all been waiting for, Mister Soul! So, what d'you say? Let's all get together and welcome him to the stage with a great, big hand! How 'bout it?! How 'bout it?!"
Willie Nelson's Phases and Stages was released one year prior to Wainwright's Unrequited and takes a somewhat similar artistic approach. It is clearly a concept album with two distinct, but closely related, sides.
Yesterday's episode of Sunday Morning on CBS included a segment with Herbie Hancock, whose River: The Joni Letters won two big prizes at the 50th annual Grammy Awards: Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
I didn't know what this was when I picked it up. The jacket offers no band name or album title. Kind of like the Park Tavern on West Side Avenue in Jersey City; there's no way of knowing it's the Park Tavern unless you walk in, and once you're in, you never really want to leave.
It seems like forever ago that I became interested in Santogold's music. In fact, however, it's only been four months. What made that time so hard to stand was that I couldn't listen to her music as much as I wanted to, in the way that I wanted to. Sure, I could listen online. And I did. But that wasn't enough.