Introducing: Dan Bern…he likes olives…and you too.

Dan Bern sounds a lot like Bob Dylan. There, I said it…it is done…now let’s move on. I imagine Dan Bern feels the same way. One of my favorite Dan Bern quotes comes from him being asked about the similarity between him and Dylan he replied,

I guess Bob Dylan was sort of the Dan Bern of the ’60’s“….

Now, before I move into complete fanboy gushings I will post this description of Dan that I swiped from musicbox-online. They are more professional and better writers and probably better looking than me…so, without anymore rambling:

“Like Loudon Wainwright, Dan Bern mixes pop culture with personal reflection, humor with cerebral eloquence. His acerbic wit can sometimes be a bitter pill to swallow, but in the blink of an eye he easily can shift gears to reveal the most intimately tender moments.”

there…now…ON WITH THE FANBOY! <- that’s me…wink wink.

I became familiar with Bernstien almost 10 years ago when my local community radio station began playing “Jerusalem” off his, then new, self-titled cd….My full blown love affair w/his music was cast in cement upon the 1998 release of “Fifty Eggs” and I have since preordered every release as soon as he or his label started taking orders.

Coming from the antifolk scene of the ’90’s Dan Bern has evolved over time and his music has even grown to include a full band but through it all he has maintained his dry wit and biting social commentary that made me fall in love with his music so long ago….One of the hardest things about writing this entry was trying to decide what songs to post with it…there are so many that are so freaking good..You really should pay a visit to his website and read the lyrics section…there are also some stories by Mr. Bern and while you are at it take the time to listen to these songs…Dan Bern is one of the best song writers you you’ve never heard of…and what a lucky break for us that he’s had a pen laying around…now listen to these songs…please…don’t make me beg…cause…i will….

Alaska Highway
Tiger Woods
Talkin’ Woody & Bob, Bruce and Dan Blues (a joking take on the Dylan, Guthrie, Springsteen influence, presented in the style of a Guthrie or Dylan talking blues song)

I would be very interested in hearing what you thought in the comments section.

Dan Bern is currently on tour and his latest cd “Breathe” was released on Tuesday thru Messenger Records. You can stream some of the tracks from the new cd on his myspace site and at Messenger Records.

The Ashes of Grisum

The Ashes were a Tampa Bay area blues band that enjoyed a brief celebrity before completely fizzling out around the start of the new millenium.

I’m very particular about music, and while some people assume I’m sticking to established genres or some other ignorant elitism, that’s simply not true. I like what I like, and it crosses all genres. The Ashes of Grisum is a great example of that. I don’t generally find a lot of blues that resonates with me, but the Ashes, with that mournful instrumentation and those wild, despairing vocals, really did it for me.

Listening to later works, recently made available by sometime-bandmate Vinnie Saletto, it seems obvious that the spark had died out even before the band did. The raw earnestness had faded into self-made clichés of Biblical references, emotional hardships, and lamentations of all kinds.

But for a short while they were the real deal, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Ashes of Grisum – Fool for Nothing

Killers "Sam's Town"…not so great say Rolling Stone.

The past few months there has been a lot written about Flowers and Co.’s new cd…quotes of “one of the best cds of the past 20 years” and “There’s nothing that touches this album.” Well, yesterday I cam home to find the new Paste in my mailbox and there is a story about the guys. The first thing that jumped out to me was the picture….Here are the former glam boys all scruffy and western. To be honest, it looked contrived. The article had scenes of Flowers being serenaded at a urinal, epiphanies back stage @ U2 shows and quests to find the essence of Springsteen. I must admit though, at the end of the article I was convinced that The Killers wanted desperately to be more than a flavor of the season band who wrote a perfect pop album @ the perfect time. I was (and still will) gonna give the cd a test drive and see how they did.

Well, seems they were none to successful of you listen to the folks over at Rolling Stone.

All over Sam’s Town, the Killers leave no pompous arena cliche untweaked in their quest to rewrite Born to Run – even though one of the reasons Springsteen’s a genius is that he’s never tried to rewrite Born to Run himself. On Hot Fuss, Flowers got boyish emotion out of his flat Gary Numan voice box, which is how he charmed his way through fantastic anthems like “All These Things That I’ve Done.” But here, he strains for a high register he doesn’t have and ends up with a screech. Yet even a more deft singer couldn’t save bloated epics with I-swear-I’m-not-making-this-up titles like “Bling (Confessions of a King)” and “This River Is Wild.” “My brother, he was born on the Fourth of July”? “I woke on the roadside/In the land of the free ride”? “Enterlude” and “Exitlude” frame the album with a vague hotel/casino theme (“We hope you enjoy your stay” – where are we, the Paradise Theater?), but the concept adds up to nothing except faux-Boss cliches already picked clean by Eighties never-weres from Lone Justice to John Eddie.

The new cd “Sam’s Town” comes out October 3.

Blur/Gorillaz singer starts new band

Gorillaz’ Albarn launches new band

09/25/2006 4:00 PM, Yahoo! Music

The first single from Gorillaz/Blur singer Damon Albarn’s new band, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, will be released in October, it has been announced.

“Herculean” will be released on CD and 7-inch and then deleted on the same day. The artwork has been designed by former Clash bassist Paul Simonon.

Simonon is joined in the band by former Verve guitarist Simon Tong, Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen, and Gorillaz/Blur mastermind Albarn.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen play their debut show at the Roundhouse in London on October 26, which is part of the BBC’s Electric Proms series of gigs.

“Herculean” is due for release on October 30, according to the British music weekly NME.


New Beck cd leaks

Okay; admittedly I am not the biggest Beck fan in Tampa.  Hell, I am probably not even the biggest Beck fan in my neighborhood and if we are gonna continue down this road it is probably a stretch to call me a Beck fan at all.  I do not own any of his cds and the only album I am particularly fond of is “Sea Change“, his least Beck album to date.  That said, if you are bumping Beck in your car and I hopped in I would not be disgruntled…I am firmly in the take him or leave him boat I suppose.  I will say that a couple of seasons ago I saw him on Austin City Limits w/the Flaming Lips as his band and I thought that was freaking awesome and I have looked forward to seeing him live the next time he comes through the Tampa area ever since.  A couple of months ago I saw an article where Beck mentioned his new cd was gonna be a hip-hop cd. Well, this peaked my interests to say the least…I figured one of 2 things…complete train wreck trash *or* it could have a Buck 65 type sound and kill.  Well, the cd leaked and while a “hip-hop record” it is not it does have its moments and I am glad to say that outside of “1000 bpm” there are no complete trainwrecks.  The “non hip-hop” tracks are standard Beck fare and, to be honest, are pretty good.  The new cd comes out October 3.

Beck – Cellphone’s Dead
Beck – Dark Star

Buck 65 – Wicked and Weird

Footnote: Beck has also announced details of a 10-year anniversary reissue of 1996’s ‘Odelay’, which will feature rarities and remixes by Aphex Twin and Dust Brothers (warning: this link causes siezures). The reissue will also include B-sides and ‘Deadweight’, which was included on the soundtrack to the 1997 film ‘A Life Less Ordinary

Basking in Sunn O)))

Someone clued me in on the existence of Sunn O))) recently, and since then they were brought up in conversation by someone completely unrelated to the first person. Certainly such coincidence communicates a need to check them out for myself. So I did, and because I like what I heard I suggest you do too.

The sound of Sunn O))) varies a lot depending on who they collaborate with, but generally you can expect down-tempo, chill soundscapes behind moody instrumentation and sometimes abstract vocals. The selection I chose is slightly more energetic than most of the others, but if you find yourself dancing to it, you’ve either managed to play it at the wrong tempo or you could probably stand to sober up a bit.

Sunn O))) & Boris – Akuma No Kuma

Also, just to be clear, this is Sunn O))) the band:
Sunn O)))

Not to be confused with Sunn O))) amplifiers and so forth:
Sunn O)))

Okay? Good, then.