Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tesoro, Duran Duran at The Loft and U2's Latest

Hi kids!

Just a general re-cap this time of various musical goings-on the last few months.

I caught Tesoro (finally!) in September at Crossroads Park. For those of you not familiar, Tesoro is a local band that describe themselves as Latin Gypsy pop. (Think Gipsy Kings). They did a 90 minute set for about 200 of us that fortunately didn't get rained out. Great music, talented guys, and a great look too. (And I'll just add that I've harbored a crush on the bass player for some time.)

I also caught Duran Duran at the Loft in September as well. Not in person, mind you, but a concert film directed by the one and only David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, etc.) Hmmm, not exactly impressed. I think part of the issue is that this was filmed in 2011 and at least for me, already seems dated. Some other people in the audience apparently thought so as well because I heard someone say, "How old is this?" Much of the film consisted of material from an album they released in 2011, All You Need Is Now, and I think most of the audience were not familiar with the songs. Of course, the film also had some of their hits, such as "Hungry Like The Wolf", "Girls On Film", "Ordinary World" "Rio", and a nice re-imagining of "A View To A Kill", probably the best part of the set. The film was entirely in black and white, and much of the time the band members were obscured with various images that Lynch superimposed on the film. Terribly distracting at first but I guess I got used to it as the film went on. They also had several guest stars sing with them, including Kelis and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, which again, gave the film a dated feel. To be blunt, not worth my time. Duran Duran are WAY better in person.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reid Park ZHU

Let's talk about two very important topics: the new baby elephant at Reid Park Zoo, Nandi, and LA electronic producer ZHU (marvel at the shaky "zoo" connection I'm forcing into this post). First things first: how cute is that baby elephant? Take a look at her picture and feel your worries slip away: "Baby Elephant Cuteness Overload." The rest of the world also loves this little rascal; a video of little Nandi blowing bubbles made it to the top spot on mega-website Reddit a few weeks back!

But since this is a music blog, let's discuss ZHU. The secretive artist came into the electronic scene this year like a cloud of smoke, doing the remarkable feat of staying (halfway) anonymous in the internet age. ZHU wants his music, not personal life, to define his image, and has given fans a stunning first EP to back up this vision.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Changes in Band Lineups and the Ubiquity of Songwriters

Search the music of Ben Burnley, Jasen Rauch, and Rob Graves at with your library card number and PIN.

Major hard rock act Breaking Benjamin went through an unfortunate situation a few years ago – while on personal hiatus in 2011, lead singer and founder Ben Burnley sued his own bassist, Mark Klepaski, and guitarist, Aaron Fink, for collaborating with another artist in remixing an early Breaking Benjamin track, “Blow Me Away”, apparently without his permission. What happened next was the disintegration of one of the most popular mainstream rock acts today: Burnley eventually fired his two bandmates and gained complete control of the rights to the band after the lawsuit ended in 2013.

Already, the many, many Breaking Benjamin fans around the world were pretty saddened to hear the news that half of their favorite band had been essentially fired by their own lead singer.

We had hopes that the true band would stay together. Chad Szeliga, the drummer, stuck around for a little bit longer after that, promising the return of Breaking Benjamin, but left of his own accord in 2013 after Burnley had been given exclusive rights. The reason he gave was for “creative differences”.

After that second shock, we all wondered if Breaking Benjamin was over. Or, more correctly, how could this not be the end of Breaking Benjamin? Could they ever come back?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Legends, Icons and Rebels

The other day I came across a terrific coffee table book in the library. "Legends, Icons and Rebels" covers amazing artists like Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, Buddy Holly, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Curtis Mayfield, Billie Holiday, Little Richard, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, Carole King, Sam Cooke, Louis Jordan, The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Dylan.

The book comes with two CD'S that feature all of the aforementioned artists. The layout and look of the book is fantastic! Very vibrant and cool. Kind of like a picture book for adults. This is the type of book perfect for a rainy day like today. To order this book , Please click here.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Faithless on Freegal

Faithless was a successful and much-acclaimed UK dance group active in the 1990s and 2000s. Fronted by Maxi Jazz, one of the smoothest rappers you're likely to hear, Faithless produced electronic music highlighted by intelligent lyrics which took on contemporary political and social issues, at times stirring up some controversy.  In 2006 MTV refused to play the video for "Bombs," a single released by the band which was pointedly critical of US and UK military involvement in Iraq.  A trilogy of animated videos Faithless released in support of their last album, The Dance, also generated some internet buzz with its erotic and psychedelic imagery.

During their 15 year career, Faithless frequently used noteworthy vocalists as a counterpoint to Maxi Jazz's rapping, among them Boy George, Cat Power, Dido and Robert Smith.  The instrumentation in Faithless's music was created largely by Rollo Armstrong (Dido's older brother) along with a female DJ (a rare thing in the male-dominated world of the disk jockey) named Sister Bliss.  Since they recorded all but their final album on Sony (or one of its affiliates), Freegal offers us a nearly complete collection of their music.  Read on for a quick tour of highlights from the band's releases on our download service.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

As I wrote in a previous blog post, I am a huge fan of Sia. The Australian singer's big break came by providing HBO with the epic closing number,"Breathe Me," for their hit show Six Feet Under. In recent years, producers and DJs have tapped the power of Sia's raw, incredible vocals to create smash hits including David Guetta's She Wolf and Titanium and Flo Rida's Wild Ones. This is in addition to Sia's writing credits for megastars Beyonce, Shakira, and Kyla Minogue among others...

As a musical lightning rod, I am pleased to say that Sia's new album, 1000 Forms of Fear, is a stellar pop album that differentiates itself from the pack with something few pop stars have: Sia. The "1000 Forms of Fear" in the title refer to the troubles Sia has experienced in recent years: alcohol and pill addiction, suicidal thoughts, diagnoses with Graves' disease, crippling depression...this album has Sia coming face-to-face with these challenges (with the listener a VIP seat in her therapy sessions). Sia's voice is a weapon as she combats issues of self-harm, empty love, and searching for hidden strength deep inside herself. Her voice will send chills down your spine as it dips to the lowest point of human darkness and soars to the loftiest heights. Read on to discover more about this fabulous CD.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chris Isaak Puts On A Show

It's July 22 as I write this and I see some of you probably caught Chris Isaak at the Desert Diamond Casino on the 18th, because there are now waiting lists on all of his albums here at the Pima County Public Library. I was also at the show and wanted to share my review. This was my third time seeing Chris Isaak and his band, the first time being in 1991 at the county fairgrounds on a chilly night and the second time in 2011 at AVA on a very hot July night.