Sunday, August 22, 2010

Telephone Song - The Vaughan Brothers

Many people say that the greatest electric guitarist of all time was Hendrix. These people are tripping balls.

The greatest guitarist who has ever lived was Stevie Ray Vaughan and while this is not my favourite track (that honour is taken by 'Long Way Home') the funk inspired blues groove just suits my mood right now, when by all means I should be feeling like Mozart's requiem.

Anyways! This song is so groovy and with the, at least, 3 guitars floating all across each other this should by all means be a confusing mangled mess yet the brothers manage to slinkify it into a place of clarity.

Now: this is basically your standard 12 bar blues... however they get all sneaky...

Verses: I____________IV__ I____V (all the same).. then! II7 (ie V7 of V) which goes to V!!! then back to I

Then the chorus:


Then there is a beautifully constructed guitar solo (read: Goes over 1 head and builds to a very effective climax, restrained virtuosity - no showing off)

Pay attention to:
The various layers of guitar sound
Stevie's awesome texas-accented voice
The cool chords at the end of the solo

Why you should be listening to this right now:
Best cure for Sundaynitis that I know of is funk-blues.

Goes Well with:
any other funk blues.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Golden Brown - The Stranglers

Woo. I am being evicted. Or ' we' are being evicted rather.

In a classic share-house moment I am sitting in my old man dressing gown, in the sun, on the kitchen floor, drinking wine and cackling at the world, while burlesquely hungover from last night. My housemates are 'keeping up appearances' and putting on a feast for a visiting relatives, after having received our (rather unjust) eviction notice via an email this morning. We of course will contest this as the grounds are ridiculous in the least....

But whne I am having such a moment, I think of 'He died with a felafel in his hand' the seminal work on Australian share-house culture. The song that comes to mind ('this is sydney, you gotta lighten up Fyodor..') is Golden Brown by the Stranglers.

Basically an ode to heroin, this song is way cool with it's neo-baroque use of harpsichord and epic time signature changes.

So let us cut to the chase, since I may not last much longer:

Pay Attention to:
-The cool time signature changes - 3/4 - 3/4 4/4 wooo
-The lovely guitar solo
- The lyrics, simple yet evocative. Never overt, they can be read as an espousal of heroin, or just as a sort of obscure dialogue on nothing

Why you should be listening to this right now:
Life sucks. Then you die. If you are lucky you will get to live in a share house in between. This is the soundtrack to share-house living, fun yet obscure. Arcane yet approachable. Any more babble from me and you may stop listening..!

This goes well with:
Centrelink 'on hold' music, Nick Cave and 4am. White wine and fish-fingers. Badly played guitar at 4 in the arvo.

Here is the youtube link

Ciao chickadees.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shiksa Goddess - from 'The last 5 years'

Ok. Let me just get out that I do not like musicals.

I also do not like cats. Sometimes, however, an individual cat manages to win some affection from me. I still detest cats (plural) but I am prepared to engage with cat (singular and specific).

This goes for musicals as well.

The last 5 years is really just quite brilliant, and sadly it premiered unexceptional critical acclaim.

The musical is about a couple, Jamie and Kathy, who are a writer and an actress. They meet. They fall in love. They get married. They fight. They break up. This process takes 5 years.
What makes this musical stand out is the way that this is approached. Jamie and Kathy are the only 2 characters in the musical and they are only on stage together for one sequence; their wedding.

Jamie moves through the musical in a chronological fashion, but Kathy's experiences begin at the end of the relationship and move backwards (so the musical begins with Kathy 'still hurting' as Jamie leaves her and ends with Jamie saying 'goodbye forever' while Kathy sings 'Goodbye until tomorrow'.

The music is exceptional. Set for piano, guitar, bass, two cellos and violin, Jason Robert Brown does a fantastic job of making this ensemble stand out. He uses all different styles ranging through jazz and klezmer, folk and pop and everything else he can integrate skillfully.

This particular song is Jamie's first in the musical and runs directly out of the end of Kathy's wistful and heartfelt opening number. 'Shiksa Goddess' is Jamie saying how glad he is to have met a girl who 'is not from Hebrew school'. Originally titled 'someone like you' Robert Brown had to change this song after being sued by his ex wife Theresa O'Neill for basing the musical too closely on their relationship.

It is a sort of salsa inspired latin song which has everything a cheerful number should have. It is not musical 'cheesy' and has some genuinely funny lyrics. The music is great (particularly the piano part). This song is sort of the equivalent for Jamies character that 'Summer in Ohio' is for Kathy. It's a chance to really belt it out and also let loose a bit.

This musical is really quite tragic... but I love the way Jason Robert Brown sets this concept.

Pay Attention to :
The lyrics! 'if you came from spain or japan or the back of a van, just as long as you're not from hebrew school...'
The music - The chords are really great and give real momentum to this piece
The instrumentation - With minimal instruments the piece is still very strong. The strings are used superbly.

Why you should listen to this:
If like me you are being continually left high and dry by musicals then this is a chance to find something wonderful in this very very very overdone genre.
If you adore musicals then I shouldn't really have to sell this to you, right?

This goes well with:
Any thing else from this musical. I do not have any other jason Robert Brown stuff, but I am chasing it up!
Check out 'climbing uphill for

AS always here is a link to a youtube video: