Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Am The Mixmeister (and you are not)

Finally bit the bullet and got Mixmeister Studio. I'm enjoying it so far. Let's see if you enjoy it too.

Insane In The Sun

Push That Funky Feeling

Rock That Wolf

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh yeah. You. I Forgot About You.

Yeah yeah yeah ... I haven't forgotten about you. I've just been busy ... BUSY LISTENING TO NEW TUNES!!!

I've heard so much new stuff lately that has just blown my little mind. Unfortunately, there's so much that I haven't been able to retain it all. I would hear a song and be like "I've got to put that on that blog thing I started a few weeks ago!" but then forget about it.

Hopefully I'll remember some of it as time goes on. In the meantime, here's a hodgepodge of tunes that have been rocking my boat (but not tipping the boat over) lately.

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY'S First Breath After Coma

This is an example of "post-rock", a genre I'm kind of getting into this summer. It's music that slowly builds momentum with its instruments until finally bursting into a beautiful crescendo. I guess you could sit and study it if you wanted to, but I prefer to have it playing while I'm doing mindless chores and use it as a soundtrack to monotonous repetitions.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM'S Dance Yrself Clean

I've been trying to get into LCD Soundsystem for a few years now and never really "getting" it. This is the closest I've come to understanding the appeal. I've found myself wandering around humming "Present company excepted, present company excepted" quite a bit lately.


So you wanna go out to a sweaty, smoky funky club where you're the hippest dancer on the floor?? Don't. You'll get killed in a place like that. Instead, click this link above and listen to the finest import Australia has given us since AC/DC while dancing the funky chicken in your home. It's safer, you can dance to your heart's content and the parking is better.

TENNIS' Marathon

I heard this song on the radio last night ... Tennis is a little husband-wife duo out of Denver and I just dig the retro 60s Petula Clark vibe that it wears on its sleeve.


This song makes me want to hug it. It's such a wonderful, light, pop song that sounds great on a summer day. I think you'll like the band so much you'll want to hear another of their songs so I added ...

MATES OF STATE'S Second Hand News

A remake of the old Fleetwood Mac song. How two people can manage to pull off sounding so much like the actual band blows me away!

HEALTH'S Die Slow (Tobacco Remix)

The jury's still a little out on this one. I like it, but don't know if I love it. Time will tell.

!!!'S Me & Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard

The name of the band is pronounced "chick-chick-chick". This is a spacey dance jam that I love to lose myself in for nine plus minutes. Awesome stuff!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How I Fell in Love With Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is my favorite band.

But there was a time I HATED them.

Back when they released their first full-length album "Funeral", I was reading Blender Magazine who used to print "20 Songs You Need To Download Now!" in each monthly issue. I always downloaded the songs because you never knew when you'd find a diamond in the rough. Usually out of 20 songs, two or three would eventually become somewhat successful hits. The rest were delusions of Blender's grandeur which is one of the reasons the magazine is no longer around ... I think the people that wrote there were high as kites.

They recommended Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)".

So I downloaded it. And I thought it was the most annoying piece of noise I'd heard in months.

Therefore I never bought "Funeral" or the follow-up "Neon Bible".

Fast forward a few years and there was one afternoon I was laying on the sofa and going through the recordings on our DVR and saw an "Austin City Limits" episode on there. It was Arcade Fire's show. Having heard the buzz about the band for years yet judging them on that one song, I figured I could give them one more try to impress me.

Started the show and within five minutes ... I was asleep.

Still not hooked on the band.

Twenty-five minutes later, I woke up from my power nap as people were applauding on my TV. Arcade Fire was still on. And the guitarist started strumming his guitar until a melody formed. I soon found out the song was "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)".

The Closed Captioning helped me decipher the lyrics. Two teens, in the middle of a massive snow storm, see their small town get buried and kill the entire population. So they go off to start their own society. Strange premise ... killer song. And as the song started building and the band started loosening up and having fun with it, my toes started tapping. By the end of the song as a tremendous joyous recap of the melody came blasting out of my TV speakers, I was in love. I rewound that song several times until it was embedded in my head. It's still one of my top 3 favorite songs. I even like "Laika" now to an extent. It's probably my least favorite song on the album "Funeral", but that album is now my favorite of all time.

All this to say that the band has released two new songs today from their upcoming third album "The Suburbs".

So here's three songs ... the song that started my love affair with the band and the two new songs I'll be listening to all summer long in anticipation of my first album released by the band WHILE I'm a fan of theirs.

ARCADE FIRE'S "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)(Live at Austin City Limits)"

ARCADE FIRE'S "The Suburbs"

ARCADE FIRE'S "Month of May"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Something Old Something New Blah Blah Blah

Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird (Dance Mix)"
It never fails. At almost every party, somebody has one too many drinks and thinks it'd be funny to yell "FREEBIRD!" at me when I'm DJ'ing. Okay. You want Freebird?? Here's my version of Freebird. They rarely ask twice.

Willie Nile's "Little Light"
I've liked this one ever since I first heard it. Reminds me of an old Irish drinking song with a catchy little chorus.

Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Tin Pan Alley"
I really didn't get into Stevie Ray until a few years ago. I used to think all blues guitarists were overrated. Now, thanks to B.B. King and Stevie Ray, I know different. This song is the soundtrack to a scorching hot summer night when it's so humid it takes effort to even nod your head. I just picture a sweaty woman of Mexican descent doing a slow dance in front of a small fan wearing a black teddy while this song plays.

The Flaming Lips'"Race For The Prize"
In a perfect world, The Flaming Lips would be second to the Beatles in historical impact. Alas, they're too weird for their own good and this is far from a perfect world.

Iron & Wine's"Such Great Heights"
As I told one of my brides this weekend, I'm a sucker for a great melody and this song has got one. She wants it played at her wedding and I'm really looking forward to playing it.

Broken Bells'"The High Road"
I'm not sure how much I like this song just yet. But for now, I like it. Ask me again next week and you may get a completely different answer.

Broken Social Scene's "Texico Bitches"
I love Broken Social Scene but I really can't put into words why I do. I guess when nothing else sounds good, I can always go to Broken Social Scene and no matter how many times I've heard an album of theirs, I always hear something new again.

Neon Trees' "Animal"
A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through some channels and as I skipped over NBC, I saw these guys performing on Jay Leno. I stopped and watched it. Then I immediately rewound the DVR and watched them again. And again. Then I bought the mp3 album off Amazon. And I listened to it again. And just when I thought Power Pop was dead, I listened to it one more time. Then I got up and danced around the room while playing it loudly. Then I listened to it again. Then I went to bed.

The B-52's "Dance This Mess Around"
The year was 1979. I was at Mitch Miller's house and Saturday Night Live was on in the background. The host said "Ladies and Gentlemen ... The B-52s". A lady with a beehive hairdo started singing this sexy breathy song. Then a flamboyant, skinny man started playing a toy piano like it was the most important thing in the world. Then the other lady started screaming "Why don't you dance with me? I'm not no limburger!" And I knew I had just heard the future of pop music. All of us in Mitch's basement den were transfixed to the screen. The guys in that room all walked away with a new appreciation for pop music that night.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Wave Hootenanny

Back in the late '80s my wife and I worked in a club by the name of Stagger Lee's.

The name would lead one to believe that the club played classic hits from the 50s and 60s. One would be correct in that assumption. It was a popular nightspot ... we held 350 people and on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, we'd pack the place full. It was a "meat market" ... this was before AIDS became the epidemic that it has become and back when people had meaningless sex with each other.

They'd come to Stagger Lee's to find people to have sex with. Let's call a spade a spade here. Some people got so drunk they had sex IN the club. Some tried on the dance floor. It was a wild decadent place.

The rule was that I played "oldies" until 11 p.m. At that point we'd switch out crowds ... the 30 and 40 year olds would go home and the music would get more current and the crowd would get younger. Back then, this was a rarity among clubs ... we were fortunate and managed to pull it off because we had an awesome team of bartenders, waitresses, managers, bouncers and moi (thats French for Jimmy D).

To make a long story short is a rarity in the blogging world but I'm going to attempt it here ... this is one of my favorite series of songs that I would play back then. It's not a "mix" as the beats are kind of all over the place. These are VERY upbeat songs that, back then, were considered new and daring. It's kinda cool how most of them have turned into classics now.

How many can you name, punk?


The Workout Mix

A friend of mine wanted a bunch of 80s songs that she could work out to. I made a 30 minute mix of songs that would keep her adrenaline going. The mix probably would have went longer but it kind of derails towards the end so I quit recording. In my defense, I was trying to make a mix on the computer without any headphones which is a MUST when you're mixing music live. Anyway ... enjoy ... at least until the end. :)

THE MUSIC GUYS' 80s Workout Mix

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Innocent Pleasures


Some of these songs are guilty pleasures ... songs you almost feel guilty for liking.

Then I realized ... I'm not going to apologize for liking any of these songs. Each of them have something completely awesome about them no matter how cheesy society may deem them. Like Shaun Cassidy. Hey, I still like singing the song in the shower sometimes. And Cibo Matto, a Japanese Punk duo. The drums on that track freakin' ROCK. They're hard, loud and powerful. So what if you can barely understand the broken English vocals? I can overlook that when the rhythm pounds you like a prize fighter.

Therefore ... innocent pleasures.

TOM WAITS' "Heartattack And Vine"

Tom's gravelly voice is full of phlegm and vinegar. And it fits this song perfectly. It's an acquired taste, but I promise you, if you give Tom a chance, he'll change your world.

PATTI SMITH'S "Dancing Barefoot"

Patti has songs that I like better and I'll get to those eventually. This one is kind of more melodic than the others. U2 covered it and did a really good job with the song, but Patti ... like Tom Waits ... just has a nakedness to her sound that makes you sit up and take notice.

THE MANSFIELDS' "Frankenstein Twist"

From my Garage Rock phase. Here's a dance craze that never caught on.

JASON AND THE SCORCHERS' "Absolutely Sweet Marie"

In 1982 I started college at the University of Tennessee. I went with a couple of guys to see this band when they were Jason and the Nashville Scorchers. This cover of a Bob Dylan tune was the first song in their setlist and it blew me away. I've loved them ever since.

THE REFRESHMENTS' "Banditos (Live Acoustic)"

These guys had everything they needed to become huge rock stars. Great catchy melodies, awesome and funny lyrics ... and a guitarist with a heroin problem that was the genesis of breaking up the band. Such a shame.

SHAUN CASSIDY'S "That's Rock 'n' Roll"

It thumps. At least for a minute or so.

THE OSMONDS' "Down By The Lazy River"

The Osmonds rocked this song. Seriously. While they were a cheesy family pop band, this song and "Crazy Horses" reached out to us rock fans and made them at least a little tolerable.

CIBO MATTO'S "Know Your Chicken"

The fuzzy guitar. The two-ton drums. The Yoko-like vocals. The nonsensical lyrics. Give it a chance.

FRENTE'S "Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In"

Where have you heard this song before? Pebbles and Bam-Bam sang it in a Bedrock Talent Show. Frente covered it. I loved it.


I saw R.E.M. close a show with this song in '86 or so. Pre-Internet, it wasn't easy to find out the name of an obscure song at an arena show. I don't remember how I found out it was a Velvet Underground song, but when I found out, I bought the band's entire library and listened to it for hours until I heard this and said "THAT'S the song!!" There's a reason the band was so influential on other artists ... they were so ahead of their time and yet, so in the moment.