MUSIC

We will all eventually die in the end

My grandfather has lived through the deaths of nearly everybody he’e ever known over the years. He turns 80 years old this July.

We often chat about this very topic over vodka and tonic each time he makes his annual trip south to pay me a visit. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’ll be sitting in his seat decades from now sharing similar stories.

If it’s not the recent passing of pop culture figures I’ve grown up with in some form or fashion, such as David Bowie or Prince, it’s the moms and dads of friends who’ve been laying to rest for the final time over the past few months.

(more…)

Looking back at ‘Trouble Man’ with Robert Hooks and Marvin Gaye

I’d been hip to the soundtrack by Marvin Gaye for years.

But it wasn’t until late Saturday that I sat still long enough to watch 1972’s Trouble Man starring Robert Hooks as the original Mr. T.

For starters, the title track by Gaye is a classic in his collection. Be sure to check the video and give it a listen down below.

As for the film, Hooks nails it as an all-around badass-for-hire who’s not to be messed with while playing things cool and confident, even in the most dire of situations.

It’s surprising how the character and film are not as highly regarded in its genre as others from the time period.

(more…)

My Top 30 Songs From 2015

I wouldn’t consider this list an absolute “best of” when talking about the songs that came out in 2015. But I can certainly say that I would play each and every one of these tracks on my show if I were still doing the college radio thing at WPRK.

Those were some damn good times, by the way. I miss spinning tunes in that dusty old basement.

There’s plenty of albums I’ve yet to get around to listening to from 2015, so I’m sure I’ll come across plenty more gems to add to this list at another time. For now, enjoy this collection of tracks that abused the speakers in my house and car the most over the past twelve months.

(Also, check out the extended list on Spotify)

(more…)

Sometimes I dress up like Santa Claus

I tried like hell to hold back tears the first time I dressed up as Santa Claus to entertain kids at an income-restricted apartment community in Orlando.

A little girl told me, while sitting on my lap as I was dressed for the part, that all she wanted for Christmas were shoes for her little brother. A young boy said he just wanted for his mom to be happy while another boy asked to receive nothing at all.

Similar requests were made in between the typical interactions of kids asking Santa for toys and gadgets they’ll lose interest in by February.

It was the looks in the eyes of parents and grandparents that made my heart ache most as they soaked up whatever joy these kids were experiencing.

(more…)

Scott Weiland is dead and nobody is really all that surprised about it

Scott Weiland is dead.

Anyone that knows a thing of two about Scott Weiland is hardly surprised by the news that spread throughout the world early Friday.

Over the course of a decade Weiland fronted Stone Temple Pilots, which built a massive following in the midst of a transition from the grunge era of the early 1990s to the stadium rock scene that followed.

Truthfully, I was lukewarm to STP’s arrival when their 1992 debut Core was put in rotation. The song “Plush” was just too much of a Pearl Jam ripoff for me to ever embrace. But then 1994’s Purple arrived and caught my attention with its layers of depth and groove. In 1996 Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop took the madness to an unprecedented level, and at that point I found myself in way over my head in the band’s psychedelic rollicking.

(more…)

Beastie Boys live in Glasgow, Scotland

You really missed out if you never experienced the Beastie Boys live in concert.

I saw them twice back in the 1990s, first on May 17, 1995 during the Ill Communication tour and again on August 14, 1998 in support of Hello Nasty. Two times seems far too few now that I think about it.

But I’ll never forget the shenanigans shared on the way to and from the Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio each trip. Remind me to tell you all about it the next time we see each other.

Until then, relive the Glasgow, Scotland show from 1999 featuring Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D and Mix Master Mike. I just did, and it was pretty damn great.

Blueprint: Persevere w/ Perspective

I planned to share my disbelief regarding what took place Friday in Paris, then I realized anything I wrote would be best served encompassing the issue as a whole.

That wasn’t going to happen. We just don’t have much time for that nowadays. But the magnitude of the tragedy, much like any other that’s happened during our existence, is a hard reality to digest when confronted with it.

I can’t imagine attempting to pick up and carry on from such tragedy. Or living with the imagery of horror that was witnessed firsthand.

Imagine having to persevere in search of a new perspective. It’s certainly something to think about. Allow Columbus, Ohio’s Blueprint to take you down that path…

(more…)

AC/DC released “Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap” at right time

I’m not much of an AC/DC fan. Don’t love them. Don’t hate them. But they did hold my ear at different parts in my life.

One album stands out among the rest.

I was introduced to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap more than 20 years ago. And I believe it contains two of the band’s best songs.

Aside from the title track – a fitting classic in its own right – “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)” and “Ride On” remain at the pinnacle for me.

(more…)

Mashup Music Monday: Pink Floyd & Bee Gees in “Stayin’ Alive in the Wall”

It’s unexplainable.

That’s really the only way to explain how “Another Brick on the Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd and “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees can coexist into one fascinating song.

Just know that where there’s brain-washed kids marching in a single file line circa The Wall there’s gonna be John Travolta working the butterfly collar via Saturday Night Fever.

Brillant mashup from Wax Audio.

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

One of the best songs on one of the most creative albums of the year comes off even better in video form.

Kendrick Lamar released imagery for “Alright” earlier this week, a horn-infused and repenting track produced by Pharrell Williams and Sounwave. The black and white video, directed by Colin Tilley, pushes the same type of buttons the To Pimp a Butterfly album has already evoked from listeners.

It’s a refreshing seven minutes of cinema. You’ll want to run this one back a few times.

The Muppets mashup w/ Beastie Boys, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Biz Markie, Digital Underground & Naughty by Nature

Shout out to isthishowyougoviral on YouTube for giving the world 1990s hip-hop music video mashups featuring everyone’s childhood heroes The Muppets.

The footage below is synced perfectly with classic throwback tracks by the Beastie Boys, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Biz Markie, Digital Underground and Naughty by Nature.

The best part is how each clip has a different Muppet character featured in a lead role including Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Animal, Dr. Teeth and others.

We can only hope Jim Henson is somewhere smiling as widely as we are at this very moment.

(more…)

B.B. King is dead, long live his blues

The longer we live the more people we’ll see moving on from this crazy world. It’s inevitable. Many will be famous, others closer to home.

Late Thursday word began to spread of the passing of blues guitarist B.B. King at the age of 89. Whether you dig the blues or not, you most certainly know that King ranks among the greatest guitar players of all time.

Born in Mississippi in 1925, his music was a reflection of his upbringing. It connected with people of all walks of life and backgrounds, such is evident in videos below featuring U2 and Big K.R.I.T., and it’ll continue to inspire and live on for countless generations to come. Just as it should.

(more…)

Ice Cube (1990-1994) – Spotify Playlist

The four albums that unleashed the solo career of Ice Cube onto the world are a treasure in the history of hip hop.

Whereas stereotypes have largely perpetrated rap in certain ways over the past couple decades, the initial era of the former backbone of N.W.A. is worthy of revisiting as he’s helped legitimize social concerns for an entire group of people.

Once you get past the menacing attitude of the production and equally intimidating delivery of the emcee, there’s lots of depth to peel back within each album. Ice Cube in the early 1990s comes complete with commentary matching the times, which can be tough to digest upon first sitting if hesitant to soak it all in.

There’s scathing tracks about corruption of law enforcement and the prison system, and government degradation and racial tension, and tales of street life and sexual relations. It’s all packaged with punk rock bravado from a ghetto-American point of view.

(more…)

Roots Manuva – “Stolen Youth”

I’ve always been attracted to the imagery of the music video. Too bad they don’t get much play anymore on television.

But the beautiful thing about the technology of the world today is that the music video fan has taken over where the big-budget directors have left off. So take that, MTV.

The “Stolen Youth” track by Roots Manuva has gotten the DIY treatment by Karina Tolmacheva and Balazs Kajcsa, each of whom captured its essence in different ways while adding to how powerful the song already is on its own.

(more…)