Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wake Up Song

Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline album cover

Every morning, so far, I wake up. Most of those mornings I wake up with a sweet tune playing non-stop in my old noggin. If you ask me, this is a pretty sweet way to wake up in the morning. I think it's about time I start sharing some of this songs with you. This morning I woke up with a great one, Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan, kicking around in my brain. Why this song? you stoically ask. Well, I was watching the movie Mr and Mrs Smith last night (the dangerous start to Brad and Angelina's romance) and hear Magnet's rendition of this classic Bob Dylan tune. I didn't mind Magnet's version much, but I prefer to dig on the original and there it was in my mind.

So, here it is for you, off the Nashville Skyline album:

Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay


Monday, January 28, 2008

More Cat Power love

Last week I posted Sea of Love, a song that Cat Power covered on her Covers Record and that recently appeared on the Juno Soundtrack. Well, Chan was back at it again last week, releasing her second record of mostly covers called, Jukebox. Some have criticized this album for being too over produced and a departure from the more raw approach (if you will) of her previous records. Luckily, my bit is much simpler and I rely mostly on my ears and these ears are enjoying the hell out of this record. Her voice is sexy and her backing band, the Dirty Delta Blues Band, has the chops to create some sultriness, a little darkness, and a lot of feel good. Here's a little of the happy and a little of the sultry.

Cat Power -- Aretha, Sing One For Me (George Jackson)
Cat Power -- Ramblin' Woman (Willie Nelson)
[buy Jukebox here]

In other news, the new Truckers album is very good. I'll write on it one day when I can fully get my head around it.


Pandora and the Music Genome Project

Pandora's getting some press

Since 2000, Tim Westergren has been trying to decategorize music. For example, you say Elvis Costello puts out heavy rocking music, but what about that country album he did (The Delivery Man) that turned out pretty well? I'd call John Mayer "pop", but he lays down some pretty sweet blues in "Try!". So, why try to pigeon hole an artist into one little genre? Instead, Tim and his Music Genome Project takes a song by song approach to deciding what kind of music some body likes. They listen to each song (over half a million so far) and decide what it sounds like - emphasizing key, melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangements, lyrics, and vocal harmony. I'd say this approach to music analysis is pretty sweet. It's a bit more quantitative than broad genre's or popular opinion. Don't get me wrong, it's still pretty subjective, but its heading in the right direction. Want to read a bit more? Check out these interviews in the Tennessean and Inc. Magazine.

So, you want to take advantage of this sweet new technology? You're in luck, Westergren has it all set up at Pandora. You can go online and use music that you already like to set up a radio station that will play stuff that's similar. Best of all, it's free. So, I signed in and gave it a try. I tried three radio stations. One defined by Ox (a Canadian band that I've been digging on lately), one defined by Taj Mahal (sweet blues singer), and one defined by the song "Crow Jane" by the Derek Trucks Band. Here's what they spit out:

Ox: songs written by Ox, Eric James and the New Century, Thomas Cunningham, Golden Smog, Ox, Big 10-4, Revival, Landon Pigg, and Ox (in that order). Unfortunately, most of this seemed a bit more "poppy" than I was looking for. I can see how Ox songs can be imagined that way, but I think they have an extra edge that makes them a little different. Maybe Pandora missed that? I did enjoy Revival, whom I had never heard of, so not a complete failure.

Taj Mahal: songs written by Taj Mahal, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, Etta Baker, Stefan Grossman, Greg Douglass, Taj Mahal, Floyd Dixon, and John Mayall. This worked out pretty well for me. They mixed in some blues greats, some rockin electric guitar (Jimi), and some acoustic guitar instrumentals. I can't complain about this.

Crow Jane by Derek Trucks Band: song by Derek Trucks Band, Moka Only, ALO, Ryan Shaw, Dirty D, John Cleary, Jackson Browne, Little Milton, The Subdudes. I tried a song that I thought was pretty challenging, but was pretty happy how it turned out. They mixed in some standard blues as well as some funky stuff. I did not hear much slide guitar, which is Derek's forte, but I'll forgive that.

Anyway, it seems like a great way to check out some new music, hear full length songs, and break down the genre walls.

Enjoy it!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

For your viewing and listening pleasure.....

I present to you Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins fame.


She can also carry a tune, as evidenced by the following from her 2006 release, Rabbit Fur Coat.

Jenny Lewis -- Handle With Care (with M Ward)
Jenny Lewis -- The Big Guns

[buy Rabbit Fur Coat here]


Wednesday, January 23, 2008 becoming more "the shiz"

So, this is cool.....i think.

Apparently is in the process of offering a full-track playback service. I'm having a difficult time wrapping my head around the specifics....but it sounds like they're offering the ability to listen to whole tracks on their website.

For the time being, a listener will be able to listen to each track completely 3 times. After that a subscription will be required that will allow the listener unlimited access to the tracks.

Not sure about much more of the details after that, but it definitely sounds like this could be a cool thing. If anything it'll offer the opportunity to preview whole songs, rather than 30 second snippets that never seem to do a song justice.

Know anything more about this??? If so, post in the comments, i'd love to find out more info.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Punch Brothers

Finally, some sweet tunes are coming to Santa Barbara. The music scene here on the edge of LA has left me with something to be desired, but every once in a while I'll turn up a nice little nugget of live music. This time, it's the Punch Brothers - a new effort featuring Chris Thile. Chris is fresh off the disbanding of Nickel Creek and has gotten together with some premier pickers from Nashville, including Noam Pikelny, acquaintance of yours truly, and a fellow Blockus player. Punch Brothers play some sweet bluegrass and folk music, but seem to have taken the effort in a new direction, by playing some long form compositions, that are more common to Bach than Bill Monroe. The virtuosity from this group is going to be fantastic and the new take on composition is sure to be interesting. But, don't take my word for it, check out a couple sources:

Punch Brothers on Myspace
Article on
Articles from our friends at the Bluegrass Blog 1, 2

The Punch Brothers have an album coming out February 26th simply titled Punch and will be playing at the Soho Restaurant & Music Club in downtown Santa Barbara, CA on March 1st. I'm sure looking forward to checking it out. In the meantime, here are a couple live clips to you can get an idea of their sound.

Live from the Station Inn!


A Mix

Mixes seem to be a popular thing to do around here. That being said, I haven't posted one yet. I used to post the occasional webcast, but never just a good ol' fashioned mix. Time to correct this....

Here is a mix of some shiz I've been listening to recently. There's no talking by me (a good thing), and thus no shallow analysis or commentary following any of the songs (also a good thing)....just music.

So, download this bad boy.....the whole thing.....throw it on your ipod (or music listening device of your choice) and give it a listen at home, work, on the way to either establishment, or any other opportunity you deem proper. I hope you enjoy. Let me hear opinions on some of the tunes in the comments section....lets get some proper dialogue going....KGB's been lacking that a bit recently. Lets fight through this 2008 hangover.

On to the here.


1. Spoon - I Turn My Camera On: From one of the albums that doesn't have the word Ga in the title (Gimme Fiction).
2. The Avett Brothers - Paranoia in BB Major: Sad bastard in the key of banjo.
3. The Hold Steady - Multitude of Casualties:
4. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Follow the Lights
5. Magnolia Electric Company - Nashville Moon: I'm partial to the title.
6. Grateful Dead - Sugar Magnolia: Just a classic.
7. Bob Dylan - From a Buick 6: See Dead, Grateful
8. Beck - Guess I'm Doing Fine: More sad bastard
9. Okkervil River - A Stone
10. My Chemical Romance - Helena: Sorry, didn't want you to fall asleep. This song is NOT about the capital of Montana.
11. Nirvana - Scentless Apprentice: Remember that scene from last seasons Lost season finale where badass Jack was headed to that funeral home......this is the song playing in the background. I think it was a good choice. Lost debuts in 10 days. Thank God.
12. Coconut Records - West Coast: Heading there in a shade over two months.
13. Ola Podrida - New National Anthem: This guy hasn't written a song I don't like. This is from the soundtrack to the movie "Great Wall of Sound".

So, you couldn't escape shallow analysis....but whatevs. Enjoy.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yesterday for Juno, today for Counting Crows


For you Counting Crows' lovers:

The Counting Crows will release their new album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings on March 25, 2008. They are making two of the songs available for download at their website.

Counting Crows -- 1492
Counting Crows -- When I Dream of Michelangelo

Interestingly, one of the many music listservs/websites I read were discussing the Counting Crows and their best record. I believe I'm in the minority when I say that Recovering The Satellites is my favorite Crows' disc. I've always liked it more because it has a little more thunder and rawness than its predecessor (which is damn good in its own right). Anyway, on first listen, I can say that I like what I hear out of these first two tracks, esp. Michelangelo (probably because of the banjo - I'm a sucker for one in a pop song).


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For the Juno lovers

I saw Juno - I thought it was ok. I heard the soundtrack, I thought it was better. Cat Power is awesome and she has a new CD coming out this year. These tracks are for you, Juno lovers of the world.

Cat Power -- Sea of Love
The Moldy Peaches -- Anyone Else But You


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Infectious Old Crow

If you're like me, at all, then every now and then you stumble upon a song that you think might possibly be one of the best songs ever written. That's generally quite a statement considering the supersaturation of our culture with the amount of music written....but every now and then a song just hits you. And by you, I mean me.

However, whenever this happens, I cannot just let it be. I must listen to the song, repeatedly as often as possible over the near future, thus rendering it normal or to the point at which I don't care to listen to it anymore. Its a bad habit, i suppose. But great songs are my crystal meth. I risk health and happiness, buy everyday products from Wal-Mart to make the stuff in my aparment, risking tooth decay, hair quality, and possibly death, if that were possible just to get more of it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm in the middle of such an episode with an Old Crow Medicine Show song I recently "discovered". Dammit, Old Crow. Why couldn't you just make a normal, listenable song that I'm completely impartial to? Why must you make a song that gets me at my core causing me to uncontrollably hit the repeat button, thus wearing on the said greatness of the song?

The song I'm talking about is called "Wagon Wheel". Its the last song on their 2004 self-titled album. So, obviously, Old Crow is by no means, and neither is this song in particular. But I just heard it last week. Why I've never bothered to listen to Old Crow Medicine Show in the past, I'll never know.....but I'm hooked now.

They've sold me on their infectious hooks, heart-grabbing violin and banjos, country Southern-loving appeal. I'd like to use this as an opportunity to apologize for not bothering to listen sooner.

And with that:

Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel


"I'm Not There" Get's Some Bling

The new "biopic" about the many faces, attitudes, and musical musings of Bob Dylan has landed itself some gold. The movie features six characters playing different aspects of the legend's work (featured artists include Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger, Kris Kristofferson, and many others), but just one has walked away with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress - though she was playing a man... Yep, Cate got some props for her portrayal of Dylan. These kudos match some pretty healthy accolades for the movie and definitely encourage me to see it. I haven't had the chance yet, but am definitely going to give it a look see. I can dig on some Dylan and this looks pretty interesting to me.

Check out some info on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

While you're at it, here's the trailer:

And, for good measure, a favorite Dylan tune, Idiot Wind.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Woohoo 2008

We're only 10 days into January, but I am already looking forward to April because of two great releases due out. The first is the newest from Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon entitled, appropriately enough, April. This will be his first release of original material since the magnificent Ghosts of the Great Highway. A week later Centro-matic and Will Johnson side project, South San Gabriel, will be releasing a double disc of 30 songs. Great stuff - the only problem is we have to wait until April to hear this great stuff. Until then, the Drive-By Truckers new disc is almost here! Below you'll find a live cut of Moorestown, which will be featured on April and I Feel Too Young To Die from South San Gabriel's The Charlton Chronicles.

Mark Kozelek -- Moorestown from Little Drummer Boy Live
[buy here]

South San Gabriel -- I Feel Too Young To Die from The Charlton Chronicles
[buy here]


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Putin In The House

So in all the craziness of Christmas and the New Year, I am guessing that very few of you realized that one of our own received a prestigious award. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and former head of the KGB (no relation), was named Time's 2007 Man of the Year. Although I would suggest that three other people (**clearing throat**) were probably more deserving but in a less obvious way (if you don't know, I don't have time to explain why), I would still like to offer my congratulations to President Putin.

Kudos to Mr. Putin -- a worthier candidate does not exist. Seriously, the President has managed to crush all adversaries, freeze the independent media, looked the other way on corruption, and secured his power for years to come. A job well done if I do say so myself. Lucky for us, Putin will remain with us for many more years as he'll assume the Prime Minister position once his term for President expires this year.

In honor of President Putin's magnificent 2007, I present the following song:

Ray Charles with Willie Nelson -- It Was A Very Good Year from Genius Loves Company


Back in Ought-Seven

Santa Cruz Island/Channel Islands National Park -
Ought-Seven was highlighted for me by a move to California

My hiatus from KGB spanned from my Hanover years in 2002 to when Bryan posed the excellent idea of a blog in 2006. During that time, the main avenue that I used to spread good music was the all encompassing mix. I would make about 2 solid mixes a year, covering the songs that I listened to a lot and meant something to me over that time period. I'd then send this disc worth of material out to close family and friends. Since the blog came around I've had a great time putting together webcasts on various subjects, but I haven't really put together a mix of my favorite tunes. I always really enjoyed making these mixes, so I decided the end of the year offered a great opportunity for it. Little did I realize how much good music I've been digging on over the past 12 months. It's not all new (released in 2007), but its new to me and maybe new to you. A lot of this stuff has been previously presented on KGB in one form or another, but here I can put it together in one sweet sweet mix. Damn, there are some great songs. They follow in a basically chronological order, highlighting the crazy year that was my life in ought-seven. If you're interested in more detailed explanations for each of these songs, leave a comment and I'd be happy to send them your way.

1. Derek Trucks Band - Crown Jane/Songlines (2006)
2. Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Mercy Mercy Me/What's Going On (2006)
3. JJ Cale & Eric Clapton - Sporting Life Blues/Road to Escondido (2006)
4. Ox - La City/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
5. Broken Social Scene - Pacific Theme/You Forgot It In People (2002)
6. Ox - Carolinah/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
7. Uncle Tupelo - Acuff Rose/Anodyne (1993)
8. Tony Rice - Church Street Blues/Church Street Blues (1983)
9. Ox - Surrender/American Lo Fi (2006)
10. Old 97's - Question/Satellite Rides (2001)
11. Wilco - On and On and On/Sky Blue Sky (2007)
12. Os Mutantes - Cantor De Mambo/Everything is Possible (1999)
13. Wilco - Walken/Sky Blue Sky (2007)
14. Ox - Blue Morning/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
15. Madeleine Peyroux - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go/Careless Love (2004)


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Shipping Up to Boston

Two words: Denny Crane

Though it's a bit unofficial at this point, here's the big news folks - I'm shipping up to Boston. Yep, fall of 2008 I'll be starting a new job up there so we'll be moving cross country. It can't get too much different from Southern California to New England, but I think we'll manage. I'm pretty excited about the big city living and all the great things to do up there. Don't forget the new job either. I'm not so excited about rabid and aggressive Boston and New England sports fans, but I think I'll manage. So, to make this semi-official, here's the Dropkick Murphy's. Maybe they can help me find my wooden leg!

Dropkick Murphy's - I'm Shipping Up to Boston


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 - Year of the Rat

The rat? Seriously? Sounds kinda gross. I mean, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker.

But its true. 2008 is here. Hangovers are ending, work is trying to get back in full swing, and thankfully top ten lists are finished. (Mine lasted a bit longer than i wanted....but whaddya gonna do....)

I hope everyone had a fantastic New Years and that you have a great 2008. But its time to get off our asses and get back to normal. The holiday induced haze is over, and its time for Radio KGB to have its presence felt in the New Year. So, here I am...making the first of many posts in 2008. There's no real substance to this post.....just a few songs. Call them the Songs of the Week if it even makes you feel better.

Sigur Ros - I Gaer: If you don't know about or haven't at least inquired about these guys yet....shame of you. They're Icelandic and I've heard their live show is one of the most magnificent things you will ever see/hear/experience. This one has a bit of a Pink Floyd anthemic ring to it. I've been a fan since I first heard "Sven G Englar" off their 2001 album Agaetis Byrjun. This song finds itself on their latest "album" Hvarf/Hein. But I say "album" because it only has 5 songs accompanied by 6 most likely badass live cuts. I don't have the album yet, but that's nothing a Christmas Itunes giftcard can't fix.
Doesn't look very icy to me.....

Actually, the non-Pink Floyd portion of the song reminds me of another really good song by the Eels. This one:

Eels - Trouble With Dreams

So, I think this gets 200izzle off to a fair enough start. Until later......