You know, I’m probably not the biggest fan of the Kings of Leon “Radioactive” single. But this cover from Cee-Lo Green has me rethinking all that. Add some understated piano and muted riffing to Cee-Lo’s unmistakable croon, as I’m seriously in love.
Cee-Lo recently performed the tune – along with others – on a BBC Live Lounge Session, which you can watch here (if you can get around the country restrictions).
For now though, you can listen to the track below. My only complaint? It ends too soon.
So this past Saturday, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary show… and man, what a treat we were in for.
It was a short and sweet slot, with only 2 interview segments, and two songs, but those two songs were pure magic. The first was the always-stunning “Fix It” (by the way, if you haven’t seen their performance of this song on Letterman, then head here. Seriously, you need to watch it)… and then straight out of left-field comes a cover of Foo Fighters “Times Like These”. I’m loving the way they perform the song, and it’s actually reminiscent of a way I used to play it at various open mic nights, which probably lends itself to a greater connection with me.
Anyway, I’ve included the entire show including interview segments below, but at the very least, listen to “Fix It” and “Times Like These”. Sheer beauty. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Live on Radio 2
So, I realised the other day that this blog has now been live for over 6 months on this domain (not including the few months I was on a WordPress hosted domain), and I thought now was as good a time as any to take a step back, and look at some of the tunes we’ve heard in that time.
I like to think that in the past few months, I might have possibly introduced you to a tune or two that might have struck a chord with you; that did something for you. And, seeing as I recently came across the Mixwit site, I thought… why not? It’s mixtape time.
Below I’ve compiled a mix tape of some of the songs I’ve featured on the blog over the past few months. Please note that, of course, it’s not all the songs, as that would be ridiculous. In particular, I haven’t included many (if any) songs from my “South African Bands you NEED to hear!” post, or the “Things I should have told you in 2007” post – as both of those would deserve a few hours on the mixtape themselves – so I suggest you give both those posts a separate read, as there are some real pearls tucked away there.
That said, I hope that the playlist below gives some kind of overview to the past few months here on Burgo’s Blog. I’ve included the playlist, with links through to the individual posts, underneath the “tape”. Just click the “play” button on the tape to start listening… it’ll stream from there. I hope you enjoy.
Most importantly, I’d like to thank all the readers who come by this blog. Thanks for the comments, thanks for the emails. They keep me going.
I’m in serious mourning here. Somehow, the fact that Howie Day was in Brisbane – or even Australia, for that matter – opening for Whitley completely flew under my radar, and I only found out after it was too late. To put this into perspective, Howie Day is one of my ultimate “hope and pray to see live” musos… and to this date I haven’t managed to accomplish that feat.
My pain is only intensified by the fact that some work colleagues went to see Whitley, and then – get this – DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO GO WATCH THE OPENING ACTS. Sigh. Can you say, “Philistines”? I can.
Howie Day performing live. Sigh… for now I’ll need to content myself with a Live Music Friday.
Pic: Javier Izquerdo
Anyway… I found it highly coincidental that I only found this out yesterday, while I was putting together a Live Music Friday post. And considering that Howie’s known for his live performances, I found it only fitting that I commiserate my misery by posting a Howie show.
I have many live Howie Day shows. In fact, I can unequivocally say that Howie Day is the reason I got into tracking down rare live shows. Anyone who has seen the 30-minute DVD that was attached to his “Madrigals EP” release can attest to what a force he is live. Looping guitar lines and vocals through his trusty POD6, performing percussion on the body of his guitar and laying down some fat bass lines, Howie Day manages to string all the elements together in loops and build up to a full sound – all while performing solo – that far eclipses even that of a full band.
It’s something that has to be seen to be believed, so I highly recommend that you get the Madrigals (Bonus DVD) set. It truly is the quintessential Howie. Here’s actually a taster, that I see someone has uploaded to Youtube. Best watch this fast, as I doubt they had permission to upload this from that DVD.
fD4iNx6HA7U[/youtbe] Howie Day performing “Bunnies” live.
In the last few years, Howie’s moved away from this solo looping and more towards performing with a full band. While it’s an understandable development, I know that many fans hope that one day he returns to his roots full-time.
This performance is from 2001, at a Howie/John Mayer performance at the House of Blues. At times Howie sounds like a younger Mitch Hedberg; considering this was before his trip to rehab, however, this isn’t too surprising. The sound quality on this recording isn’t great; the lows bottom out, and it needs more treble. In addition to that, it includes perhaps the clumsiest outro on “Ghost” to “Beams of Light” that I’ve ever heard Howie perform.
So after all this derision, why am I posting this show, of the many that I have of Howie?
Because it finds Howie at his most passionate. It finds Howie at his most personal. It finds Howie at his most cathartic. Listen to “She Says”, and you’ll know what I mean. But the main reason?
Because it has that song. That moment. The moment when Howie and John get up on stage together. Fans will know which one I’m talking about. Howie Day and John Mayer performing a killer version of “Sorry, So Sorry”. And while that track seemed to make it’s way around the internet a few years ago, the show in it’s entirety is a bit of a rarity. So I post it here for the true fans, who want to add it to their collection.
I’ve also posted a remastered version of “Sorry, So Sorry” as a separate download, for those who need better sound quality (albeit only slightly).
Oh. And if Howie, or his publicists come across this post, please know that I’m sorry for missing the gig.Now come back to Brisbane soon, ok? I’d pretty much resigned myself to never seeing him play live when I lived in South Africa, and now that I’m in a country that he actually visited and simply didn’t know about the gig… well, it’s killing me. So come back. Seriously.
Bob Schneider is, quite possibly, one of my favourite singer-songwriters of the last decade. The man’s writing is… prolific, to say the least. In fact, I recall reading an interview with him once, where the interviewer asked him how it was possible to produce – consistently – so many hit tunes. To which Bob replied something to the effect that, if you’re in the habit of writing at least two songs a day, every day, you’re bound to strike it lucky occasionally. While that answer is typical of Schneider, trying to shrug off the accolades with an easy smile, it really is needless modesty that underplays the brilliance of Schneider’s poetic, hauntingly beautiful songs. He truly is – in my eyes, at least – nothing less than a lyrical genius.
Anyone who has heard more than one song of his will be impressed with his versatility; some songs are witty, whimsical and naughty; stuffed with double-entendres and straight-forward raunchiness… most often these are the songs that come about as a result of his playing with his sometime band, “The Scabs”. Other times, the songs are remorseful; chilling; unsettling; winsome and things of pure, unsullied beauty. It’s when Bob enters his more contemplative mode that he truly shines, for me. Really, it’s perfection.
This set, a show from December of 2002 at Antone’s in Schneider’s hometown of Austin, Texas, is perhaps one of my favourites of the many live shows I have of his. There’s a nice interplay between the flippant songs, and the more serious fare that makes for a nice entry point to Bob’s music. And the fact that he’s playing with long-time collaborator, Mitch Watkins, only sweetens the deal. It’s a long set, at 33 songs, so make sure you’re comfortable.
If nothing else, please make sure you listen to the track “Queen UK”. Please. As someone who used to play in a band, it breaks my heart every time I hear it.
The only thing that could have made the set better, for me? Including “King of the World”, “Tokyo” or “Gold in the Sunset” in the setlist. Still, you can’t have everything I suppose…
Listen. Love. Support.
Bob Schneider & Mitch Watkins, Live at Antone’s, 7 December 2002
Billy Bragg recently performed a live set on PRI’s “Fair Game”
Billy Bragg, the “working class hero”, recently performed a set on one of my favourite shows, PRI’s “Fair Game“. And it was stunning.
I truly feel that Bragg has been responsible for some of the best protest songs that we’ve heard in the last 30 years… just listen to his EP “Between the Wars” to see what I’m talking about. Couple that with the fact that Nora Guthrie – daughter of Woody Guthrie himself – asked Bragg to set some of her father’s unrecorded lyrics to music (side note: can you imagine how intimidating that would have been? Woody Guthrie, a giant in the folk protest song world, “this machine kills fascists” on his guitar Woody Guthrie? Man… that can’t have been an easy act to follow), and it becomes clear why I have such a tremendous amount of respect for the man.
So it was with much excitement that I listened to his latest show on “Fair Game” last week. We were treated to a collection of three songs, which I’ve included below. The first, “Sing Their Souls Back Home“, is a sad, but ultimately hopeful song… in the best tradition of protest. The second, “I Keep Faith“, has been getting a panning from music critics recently, but I’m a huge fan of this Van Morrisonesque sounding tune. There’s just something about the song that recalls “Into the Mystic” for me, and I’m not sure why. But it’s a good thing.
The final tune is a more upbeat number, and is a cover of the Bob Dylan tune, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right“… and what a great way to close a set it is.
Billy Bragg’s new album, “Mr Love & Justice” went on sale last week.
After almost a week off from the blogosphere, there are a few songs that I haven’t told you about… so we’ll just jump right in…
Matthew Ryan – American Dirt & Gone For Good
Matthew Ryan… don’t call it a comeback!
Matthew Ryan has – for the most part – flown under the mainstream radar, even though he’s been releasing albums for more than a decade now. In fact, a quote on his Myspace page even reads, “Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years“. And the lack of mainstream exposure is absolutely shocking, as Matthew Ryan’s output over the years has been nothing less than consistently brilliant. I suspect, however, that 2008 will be the year that he finally hits the big time.
There’s just something about Matthew Ryan’s voice; it has the very real ability to reach right into your soul and tug on it until it wakes up.
I’ve included two songs here: the first, “American Dirt“, is off his latest album, “Matthew Ryan Vs. Silver State“, and is a ball of seething rage and purpose. The song smothers you in it’s intent, which is more steely than anything I’ve heard from Matthew Ryan before. Matthew Ryan Vs. Silver State came out on April 1, and I seriously suggest you check it out. Ryan is on top form with it.
The next song, “Gone For Good“, is off his 2007 release, “A Late Night High Rise“, and is a slow, delicate number that displays Ryan’s versatility. There’s a Bon Iver kind of vulnerability in his breathy, pleading lyrics here, that absolutely breaks me every time I hear it. A must-listen.
Josh Ritter… one of the best songsmiths of our time.
Stepping back in time a bit here, to Josh Ritter‘s 2006 release, “The Animal Years“, and it’s standout track, “Thin Blue Flame“. A 10-minute track of epic proportions, it’s like something out of Revelations… really, it’s a 10 minute opportunity to re-examine your life, and the way we live.
I wondered what it was I’d been looking for above.. Heaven’s so big there ain’t no need to look up. So I stopped looking for royal cities in the air — only a full house gonna have a prayer.
Only a full house. – Josh Ritter, “Thin Blue Flame”
Josh Ritter — to me at least — is still one of the best songsmiths in contemporary music. Point blank. And Thin Blue Flame is no exception. It’s a direct plea to his listener… and one that I can’t turn away from.
One of my guilty pleasures last year was One Republic’s tune, “Apologise”. As cheesy and formulaic as it was, there was something about the song that I just dug. So this is included here, really, as just another guilty pleasure. New Atlantic can produce some interesting stuff, but their cover of “Apologise” is a nice, cheesy, formulaic cover. Heh. But it’s cool for a spin.
The Kooks have just released their second album, “Konk”.
The Pete Townshend-beloved Kooks are back, and I’m really digging where they are going with their second album, “Konk“, which came out last week. This song, “Tick of Time” is a ridiculously catchy closer to the album, and shows them in their best light… a band, just having fun.
I’ll admit it, I was sceptical that The Kooks would be able to deliver — again — on their hype. But this song clinches it for me. Well played lads, well played.