Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brass Monkey Interrupted...

It was 1986 in Gainesville, Florida and I was working at a regional record store chain based out of Atlanta...Turtle's Records. Turtle's was big in Georgia during the 80's and early 90's and it branched out into North Florida during this time...I'm not so sure they are around anywhere these days. But it was back then in Gainesville that I heard  the Beastie Boys for the first time. We had the promotional posters up everywhere for the heavily anticipated "Licensed To Ill" and when the record, and it was literally a "record", was released we played it as much as we could get away with playing it. The sound was still new to me, rap was not a favorite of mine, but this sound was becoming a lot more mainsteam with Run DMC  also breaking out that same year with crossover hit cover of Aerosmith's Walk This Way featuring Steven Tyler. The Beastie Boys along with groups like Run DMC blazed a new path in sound by blending the very urban sound of rap with a punk and pop aesthetic... aggressive music that you could shake your ass to.

It was yesterday that Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys died from a three year battle with cancer. MCA dead at I grew up with these guys, we were very close in age. Major bummer. And, its not like these guys ever became irrelevant, I am still listening to "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" which came out last Spring. Their music developed quickly in those first four albums and by 1994's "Ill Communication" they had cemented their sound by blending rap, funk and rock into a genre jumping, more broadly appealing groove. I have listened to their whole catalog and own most of it on various audio media but it was those first four records that played a big part on the soundtrack of my life during those years. Music is a great place-marker in the stream of time.

"Your knees start shakin' and your fingers pop, like a pinch to the neck from Mr. Spock"...Adam"MCA"Yauch

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that music is a big component of my interests. Homefry Sketchbook is clay/art, garden, and music for the most part, although random topic posts help to season the mix. Each year end, I feature a music "best of" and on a regular basis feature Youtube videos of what I am currently listening to on the sidebar of this blog.  So in honor of MCA, I'm keeping it music chat today and recommending some new tunes to check out for the soundtrack to your own life. The following are in no particular order.

Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls...She sounds like Janis Joplin and James Brown's love child and her band really rocks. They were featured on my "watcha listenin' to" for the last couple weeks with their stellar single "Hold On"...but just don't  buy that, the whole record is a will be hearing about this band.

Justin Townes Earle, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Know...Earle is flexing his great songwriting skills on this record. More mellow than his previous record but the songs are really strong and the addition of more horns gives a bit of a Van Morrison feel to his rustic country fried tunes.

Jack White, Blunderbuss...this has only been out a week or so now and I have been listening to it quite a bit. I actually bough the CD at my local independently owned record store in Indiana, PA and have enjoyed the ease and simplicity of just poppin' the disc in my car scrolling through my Ipod...yes! Jack White pulls out all the stops with his tweaked out guitar blues mixed with traditional elements, interesting song structures both sparse and lush and plenty of piano banging too.

Galactic, Carnival Electros...If you do not know, Galactic is a New Orleans band that was and still is immersed in the rich music traditions of the area. Its just that they have grown...they are an amazingly successful blend of old and new...fantastic artists/musicians embracing change with energetic party music...New Orleans jazz meets contemporary urban funk.

Death Grips, The Money Store...MCA himself might have liked this pick. This is one of the most visceral records I have listened to in a while. Aggressive, dark rap...screamed in your face with a punk ferociousness...and major butt shakin' and sickly catchy grooves. Blast it from your car(if I was 20) or rock it on your headphones while running on the treadmill at the Y(since I'm an old fart).

"Because you can't , you won't and you don't stop"...Beastie Boys, Sure Shot.

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