Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Alphabet Project: B is for Brutal

Artists/Bands = 71
Albums = 269
Songs = 2983

When I took on this project, I really never realized how much music I actually have. Almost 3000 songs for one letter is crazy by any stretch of the imagination. I know some people who have an iphone or nano and seem to get by without a care holding 5000 songs total. Thankfully, this letter was one of the larger ones and C looks like a cake walk compared to what I just went through. In fact, I'm almost halfway through it, so stay tuned.

I refuse to believe that I can write ANYTHING about The Beatles that hasn't been said before, but 2 things struck me as I listened to their entire catalog. First off, if you have not purchased or heard the new remastered versions that were released last year, you are missing out. Ever since the invention of the MP3, digital music has managed to compress and clog a lot of the sound that you would normally hear on a cd or vinyl album. Even worse is the fact that few people realize this. A beautiful song like "Here Comes The Sun" sounds so clear and warm, never overpowering you or losing its' crystal clear guitar. I heard new instruments, strings, minor keys that let me hear the song for the first time. The second surprise was their most recent release "Love" which was created for the Cirque De Soleil show of the same name. There is no new material on the album, instead a mix of 26 songs that cover their entire career. The courage and talent of George Martin and his son, Giles should be commended as they produced this release and really take you on a trip through some of the greatest music ever made.

I've been a fan of Bright Eyes for a real long time. Conor Oberst has attempted to move on to other projects, but this was his baby and if you've never heard them, you need to. As I dug through the albums and EP's I was amazed it his amount of material and how much was still good. While I was listening to the old material, I received some good news. Although the band had said they would not continue to make new music, a re-issue of the split EP "One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels" is due at the end of this month with 4 new songs. I may have been raised on Motown and Classic Rock, but I've always been amazed by artist who can tell a story with great lyrics and a simple acoustic guitar. I don't know if there is anyone better at that then Conor Oberst. This might not get you running for the record store, but it's my favorite song, so sad and honest...
Poison Oak by theearlynerd

I could have taken this letter and spoken about a bunch of other artist I respect (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, the Beastie Boys, Ben Harper), but these 2 have had the most impact on me as a listener. In twenty years, I'll still be listening to the Beatles and Bright Eyes. One of those is probably obvious, but the other is exactly why I started this blog.

Another rare track from Bright Eyes, he's that good...
Going For the Gold by theearlynerd

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John Mayer - Milwaukee 3.1.08

John Mayer's recent tour for Battle Studies will not hit Chicago until April, so I had to hop on the road and catch it in Milwaukee. Throughout the tour, he has played an average of 6 new songs which really had me wondering what was going to be left out. It seems if you are looking for anything from Heavier Things you might be disappointed. The only track played last night was Bigger Than My Body. Suprisingly, his first album still has some life in it and the crowd ate them up, especially 3x5 with Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire as an intro. Every show has started with Heartbreak Warfare and judging from the merchandise booth, he's going to stick with that for a while.

This show was my 7th, and it really does rank up there due to a few factors. First and foremost were my seats, I was 5th row, slightly to the left. Being that close I often found myself staring at his guitar or drummer, Steve Jordan. Second, was the songs and little changes he made to them instead of playing the album, only louder. Steve Jordan's drum intro to Waiting On The World To Change just shakes the foundation. Half of My Heart ended with bits and pieces of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide. The closer, Gravity ended the night perfectly with Buddy Guy's I Got Dreams To Remember wrapping up what would already be considered a great show. But, the cherry on top was a NEW song that will make this night unforgettable. Let's call it "Everything You'll Ever Be" and it is fantastic. Only 39 days until the show in Chicago, see you there...
1. Heartbreak Warfare
2. Good Love Is On The Way
3. No Such Thing
4. Vultures
5. Perfectly Lonely
6. Assasin
7. Everything You'll Ever Be
8. 3x5 (I'm On Fire Intro)
9. Waiting On The World To Change (Steve Jordan Drum Solo)
10. All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye
11. Crossroads
12. Half Of My Heart (Landslide Outro)
13. Bigger Than My Body
14. Why Georgia
15. Who Says
16. Gravity (I've Got Dreams Outro)