Archive for the ‘Weekly Jam!’ Category

Weekly Jam! (8-13-07)

August 13, 2007

Your Weekly Jam! for the 2nd week of August may be the most unexpected one yet!

I’m not much of a Wilco fan, nor am I a Beatles fan. So, it’s certainly a surprise to see me wheel out a new Wilco song that sounds almost exactly like an old Paul McCartney song. I guess sometimes I just feel the need to keep you guys on your toes.

This week’s Weekly Jam! is from the latest Wilco release, Sky Blue Sky. The song, Hate It Here, has quickly become one of my favorites of the year, getting back to what Wilco should have been doing since day one… writing great songs. With their “experimental” days now behind them (I now await the deluge of comments either claiming that their new music is equally experimental or that their best work was in the “experimental days”), the other half of Uncle Tupleo has decided to bless us with the sounds that Tupelo fans have longed for.

Hate It Here is funny and slightly upbeat, while addressing a dreadfully sad subject. Nearly every man that I can think of can relate to this considerably better version of Trace Adkins’ Every Light In The House Is On. Enjoy!

Wilco – Hate It Here

Weekly Jam! (7-30-07)

July 30, 2007

Today’s Weekly Jam! comes from the, “Really?  They’re still around?” files.

Today, we’re grooving on the new single from Ocean Colour Scene.

 

I don’t have much in the way of snappy commentary for this one, largely because I’m just amazed to hear that they’re still around, and that they’ve finally managed to produce a quality song.  So, just check it out for yourself.

 

Ocean Colour Scene – I Just Got Over You

 

 

 

Weekly Jam (7-23-07)

July 23, 2007

Your Weekly Jam for the 23rd comes all the way from Norway, well, actually Oakland.

Before packing up and moving to Scandinavia, Seasick Steve lived the ramblin’ life that is normally reserved for the picture shows.  At the age of four, his parents split up.  He spent his formative years living on the streets, hopping rail cars and bouncing from town to town.  He lived in the Haight-Ashbury district in the 60’s, the Left Bank of Paris in the 70’s and Olympia, WA in the 90’s… in the apartment just below Kurt Cobain.  He’s played with Son House and Lightning Hopkins, he opened one of the Seattle area’s most revered studios, producing records for Bikini Kill and Modest Mouse.

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Now, considerably older, Seasick Steve has chosen to bless us with an album of his own.  The instruments are largely of his own design, or passed along from friends.  From the Wikipedia article:

As well as an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, Seasick Steve owns (and plays) a few obscure and personalised instruments such as these:

  • The Three Stringed Trance Wonder
    • This is a normal guitar, but with only three strings. It has an old Harmony pickup added (with duct tape) and is played tuned to G, G and B using an E string in the A position, a D in the G position and a G in the B position. He often tells the story that he bought it for $75 in this condition in Como, Mississippi from a man named Sherman Cooper, and vowed never to add another string, and that he would tour the world telling his story of how Sherman ripped him off as Sherman told him that he had only paid $25 for it the day before. He has since done this, telling the story at all his gigs. He also says at his gigs (while picking up or putting away the guitar) that it is the “…biggest piece of shit in the world, I swear”.
  • The ‘MDM’, The Mississippi Drum Machine.
    • A small wooden box that is stamped to provide percussion. It is decorated with a Mississippi licence plate, and a small piece of carpet.

As strange as his instruments may be, the sound is bare-bones, mostly acoustic blues styled in the Memphis/Mississippi Delta tradition.  The record is fantastic, a must have for even casual blues observers like myself.

Seasick Steve – Cut My Wings

Weekly Jam! (7-16-07)

July 16, 2007

Great musical trends come in cycles, and just like the music itself, so do great musical cities.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the country was buzzing with talk of major developments in Athens, Ga… a few years later the rest of the world found themselves enjoying records from the B-52’s and R.E.M.  Athens managed to get a little stale, leaving the door open for Seattle, (to a lesser degree) Cincinnati, Detroit, Portland… aaaand now back again to Athens.

Athens hasn’t exactly been stagnant over the years, as its Elephant Six Collective produced some of the most prominent and indispensable indie rock records of the 90’s.  Apples In Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power and most recently Of Montreal each have roots in the city, whether or not they actually originated there.  However, the most recent rebirth of the South’s only real hipster-rock haven is beginning to generate a buzz in the blog world, largely thanks to the aforementioned releases from current hipster-idols, Of Montreal.

Two of the most highly touted burgeoning talents from the region, seeming to be on the lips of every “too cool for school” type, are Parade and Telenovela.  Parade, drenched in poppy hooks, strikes me as a genuine “take ’em or leave ’em band,” meaning that I wouldn’t exactly walk out of a party if someone put them on, but I won’t be rushing out to the show any time soon.  However, there’s something special about Telenovela.  The single, Breakfast with Birds, is one of my favorites, and just so happens to be today’s Weekly Jam!

Keep your eyes on the bulldog, as we may see something amazing in Athens in the coming months.  As for me, I’m guardedly optimistic.  Rarely a year goes by without one or two “scenes” being the “next big thing,” and as we all know… they never really seem to pan out.

Telenovela – Breakfast with Birds

Weekly Jam (7-9-07)

July 9, 2007

Sorry for the delay on the Weekly Jam, internet problems. However, better late than never, and that certainly applies to this week’s goodness. Today I’m blessing you with my very favorite track from arguably the summer’s most highly anticipated release/leak. Today we’re going to rock out to a little Animal Collective.

The new album, Strawberry Jam, is available in your favorite internet hidey-hole as we speak, although I’d strongly urge you to either attend a show or buy an actual copy… this ain’t exactly The Rolling Stones, these guys could probably use the money. However, in the interest of fairness, everyone should get to preview a track before buying a record, so for your listening pleasure I present For Reverend Green from the upcoming release, Strawberry Jam.

Animal Collective – For Reverend Green

Weekly Jam! (7-2-07)

July 2, 2007

I’ve had a change of heart. I pulled the preacher jam, figuring that it was old news. Instead, I’ve decided to hit you with something that I’ve only had the pleasure of hearing a few minutes ago. Within a few seconds I was hooked, feeling compelled to share it with the world.

Put on your most soulful grin and prepare for Vanilla Place!

Miss Fairchild – Vanilla Place

Weekly Jam 6-25-07

June 26, 2007

Sorry folks, I know this is coming a day late, but I was sidelined yesterday by a rather nasty virus. Luckily, I’m feeling much better today and have decided to share with you a song that makes every day a little brighter. A friend of mine once described a Coldplay song as “the one song I’d pick, if I had to listen to the same song every morning for the rest of my life.” That’ s essentially how I feel about this one.

It’s a great way to start your day, even better than freeze-dried coffee.

Wilco – California Stars

Weekly Jam (6-18-07)

June 18, 2007

When any great tragedy affects a community, we pull together. We take steps to make our way out of the darkness and into the light. In my life, I’ve found two methods of coping that bring me comfort and ease my pain… attempting to remember life before tragedy struck and diving into a pile of records. That normalcy, in the face of a situation that may never be normal again, can bring incredible comfort. As can that dusty old pile of records in your corner.

I spend a lot of time on this site talking about music in general. It’s not just because I’m a fan, it’s because music has power. Music has brought down empires, enriched lives and given strength to the weak. Whether it’s the chant of a downtrodden labor movement, the exuberance of a church on Sunday or the call for revolution, music profoundly touches our lives each day. Think back to a tragic or wonderful moment of your life, if you think hard enough, you can probably recall what was playing on the radio at the time.

Live music lets us bond with like-minded people, gives us momentary bliss and allows for a break in the awkwardness of a first date. In a church, live music can lift the spirit, while in that same church it can mourn the dead. Your records can give you hope on a lonely night, score the greatest party you’ve ever attended or comfort you in times of need. Subconsciously, we even tie certain songs to certain times of our lives, hearing them years later and experiencing them again.

That is why I care so much about music, and why it means so much to share it with you.

Today (Sunday), a great man was laid to rest. Certainly a cause to mourn and a time for reflection, but in my opinion, more of a cause to celebrate a life and carry on as we know he would want us to do. When I lost my grandmother a few years ago, I chose a song for her funeral that was, at the least, a little unusual. Not many ladies in this part of the country head to their final resting place to the tune of a Blur song. But it wasn’t a desire to be unusual, or a feeling to set her ceremony apart from the rest that compelled me to choose this particular song. It was the message, a message that we’ll get through this, a message that love is the greatest thing we have.

So, in honor of a wonderful life cut too short, and with eyes looking to the future, I’d like to share that song with the Lacy family. Our lives are precious, and far too short. But while we are given the privilege to stand here together we must remember that love is the greatest thing we have… and the greatest thing that we ever will.

Blur – Tender (For the Lacy family, and my grandmother)

Weekly Jam (Contd. – Wednesday)

June 13, 2007

The hits just keep coming!

Oh, how time flies. Here it is, Wednesday already. As promised, the rock is ready.

Today we’re going to make a drastic turn, exploring some of the more progressive elements of Icky Thump. Todays jam, Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn, is a beautiful, sweeping track fueled by middle eastern influence… and a little bit of Led Zeppelin. The faux-sitar (no doubt a keyboard effect) adds a lush harmony to the mandolin backbone of the song. And, even though I’m not a Led Zeppelin fan, it’s hard to dismiss the Robert Plant feel of White’s vocals.

The only noticeable flaw that comes with posting Prickly Thorn… is the inability to post the follow up track, St. Andrew (The Battle Is In The Air). As the tracks skip, the music never breaks. The outro becomes the intro as Meg takes over the vocal duties, changing the feel of the song and providing one of the best 109 second periods of the entire album. However, sticking to the rules, I can only post one track per day. Seeing as how St. Andrew… wouldn’t make sense without Prickly Thorn…, I had to go with the latter.

I should also note that on this record, The White Stripes seem to have graduated from the Fall Out Boy school of track naming. I’ve never had to issue so many abbreviations.

The White Stripes – Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn

Weekly Jam (Contd. – Tuesday)

June 12, 2007

More More More!

Icky Thump leave you wanting more? Then look no further, as cory-graham.com presents the 2nd installment of our week-long tribute to The White Stripes! Today we’re going to thrust the codpiece of rock directly into the air with the 2nd track from the new record , You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told).

You Don’t Know… has the feel of an old-fashioned, southern rock ass kicker. The overpowering guitar crunch sounds like Bad Company’s Shooting Star, while the bridge sounds like every great White Stripes song you’ve ever heard. I’ve become completely addicted to this one, playing it on repeat nearly all day and gradually learning the words. Which, I’d say, is one of the stronger points of the song. It’s a fantastic sing along jam, anthemic and ready for the stage.

It should feature prominently in the set lists of upcoming shows, and should turn places like Bonnaroo into beer-fueled dance parties by the 2 minute mark. It’s the perfect song for an encore, or to open the show… or to play three or four times in the middle.

The White Stripes – You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)