tirsdag 31. januar 2012

Bangles - If She Knew What She Wants

Bangles became immensely successful with their cover of the Prince song "Manic Monday" in 1986 and followed up with yet another cover, Jules Shear's brilliant pop song "If She Knew What She Wants". These two were both featured on Bangles' sophomore album Different Light, along with other brilliant songs such as "Walk Like An Egyptian", "Walking Down Your Street" and "Following".

Watch and listen

Neil Young - Down By The River

"Down By The River" is epic Neil Young & Crazy Horse. It's a slow-moving bluesy rock song, more than nine minutes long, and heavy on the guitars in the best Neil Young fashion. It tells the story of a man who catches his woman cheating on him and shooting her "down by the river". Released in 1969 on Neil Young's second solo album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, it's still a cornerstone in his output.


The Rolling Stones - Beast Of Burden

Have I said how much I like The Rolling Stones' 1978 album Some Girls? I think I have, and here's one of its very best songs, the exquisitely cool country shuffle "Beast Of Burden". Enjoy!


First listen: Jack White's new single, from his first solo album

At long last, one of the hardest working men in show business, will release his solo debut. Having been busy with bands such as The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs and the Rome project, the former White Stripe has recorded the album Blunderbuss for an April 23rd release. The first single "Love Interruption" can be streamed online now, and by following the link below you can also read a short interview with White on Billboard.com..

Read and listen

Listen to the entire new Paul McCartney album now

12 standards, two new songs featuring Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder respectively, Diana Krall's band and a legendary singer... voila!  Here's Kisses On The Bottom, Paul McCartney's brand new album to be released this Friday. You can listen to the whole thing by  going here.

søndag 29. januar 2012

10 songs about food - more or less

My wife Helle is a killer cook. Last year she even won the title Best Norwegian Hobby Chef, which is pretty impressive. To honour her, and to say thanks for some of the best meals I've ever had, here's ten songs about food - to a certain extent, it has to be said. At least all of them mentions food one way or the other, but most importantly, these are all great songs.

Rufus Thomas - "Do The Funky Chicken"

The B52's - "Rock Lobster"

Hank Williams - "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)"

Crowded House - "Chocolate Cake"

The Searchers - "Sugar And Spice"

Warrant - "Cherry Pie"

Jack Johnson - "Banana Pancakes"

Booker T. & The M.G.'s - "Green Onions"

Lone Justice - "Soap, Soup And Salvation"

Nilsson - "Coconut"

The Black Crowes - Hard To Handle

Otis Redding's "Hard To Handle" was successfully turned into a piece of mindblowing Southern rock by The Black Crowes on their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker. This is a scorcher, nuff said!

Watch and listen

Phil Lynott - Old Town

We never really got know what Phil Lynott could have achieved as a solo performer. The Thin Lizzy frontman released two albums on his own before he died in 1986, Solo In Soho (1980) and The Philip Lynott Album (1982). "Old Town" is one of few really good songs on these, a single from the latter. It was co-written by Jimmy Bain of Rainbow and Dio fame, and is a sad and melancholy up-tempo love song, absolutely brilliant. It's been covered successfully by The Corrs, but here's Lynott's faultless original, complete with a music video recorded in his hometown Dublin.

Watch and listen

lørdag 28. januar 2012

Sinéad O'Connor - You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart

This is a song from the soundtrack to Jim Sheridan's 1993 film In The Name Of The Father, the story of the Guildford Four, four Irishmen falsely accused and convicted of the IRA pub bombings that left four off-duty British soldiers and one civilian dead. The song perfectly fits the film and the film's theme, and Sinéad O'Connor's vocal performance is just part of it. The arrangement is the key. It's absolutely mindblowing, a perferct example of how you can build a song up until it almost bursts with energy. It was written by Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer.

Watch and listen

The Cure - A Forest

The Cure took a big step forward on their second album Seventeen Seconds. From their new wave/post-punk beginnings, they were almost a new band, releasing a record full of atmospheric, gothic gloom. The only single from the album was "A Forest", released in March 1980, and it's a fantastic song, still one of their very best if you ask me.

Watch and listen

The Pretenders - Thin Line Between Love And Hate

The Pretenders did a magnificent version of The Persuaders' old 1971 hit "Thin Line Between Love And Hate" on their Learning To Crawl album in 1984. Chrissie Hynde perfectly captures the song's soulful spirit, making the song her own. In the accompanying video you can just see how she feels the song, you can see it's practically creeping into her bones. If for some mysterious reason you have been doubting Hynde's qualities as a singer, you will doubt her no more after hearing this one. Absolutely faultless!

Watch and listen

fredag 27. januar 2012

Trini Lopez - If I Had A Hammer

Who said protest songs couldn't be joyful? Famous Chicano singer Trini Lopez' version of Pete Seeger and Lee Hays' "If I Had A Hammer" is about the most outlandishly jubilant song ever recorded. From 1963 and just as good today!


A Band Of Angels - (Accept My) Invitation

Alright, I'm stealing this tip and the following information from Jon Vidar Bergan, also known as a walking musical encyclopedia, so thanks, pal! Here we go:

"Blue-eyed soul at its best, and a Northern Soul favourite. "(Accept My) Invitation" from 1966 is the A-side of the fourth and last single by British group A Band Of Angels - fronted by Mike d'Abo before he joined Manfred Mann. He's also the songwriter."


Mike D'abo Collection Vol 1

The Clash - Death Or Glory

Woo-hoo! The Clash' 1979 album London Calling is my all time favourite, and it's completely impossible to find a bad song on it. Among a total of 19 tracks, there may be three or four that isn't absolutely top-notch. "Death Or Glory" is not among those, but rather an explosion of youthful energy that is a pure joy to hear - again and again!

Watch and listen

torsdag 26. januar 2012

UB40 - Red Red Wine

UB40's version of Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" was a huge hit upon its 1983 release, deservedly so. It's even become such a staple of the UB40 hit catalogue that most people think it's an original. Still, I don't feel much pity for Neil as he's the one raking in the royalties. Great version of a great song!

Watch and listen

Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls

The second and final version of Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" single broke them pretty much worldwide in 1985. It was also of course featured on the duo's debut album Please released in March of 1986. Still a fantastic pop song, please enjoy!

Watch and listen

New Order - Morning Night And Day

"Morning Night And Day" is a song off New Order's last album Waiting For The Sirens' Call (2005). It reminds us just how good a band they were - and are. Although renegade bassist Peter Hook is not on speaking terms with the rest of the band, the others are back together these days. No new music is forthcoming yet, but this March sees the release of the eight track minialbum Lost Sirens with outtakes from the 2005 sessions. The song "Hellbent" that popped up on last year's compilation Total is one of them, the remaining seven are as yet unreleased. But for now, here's "Morning Night And Day"!


Bob Woodruff - I'm Losing You

Bob Woodruff recorded two excellent albums in 1994 and 1997 called Dreams And Saturday Night and Desire Road. They were filled to the brim with fabulous and catchy honky tonk tunes, some of the best new country music to emerge in the 1990's. The story that followed is not as nice, as Woodruff battled with bad career advice, a sick mother he had to take care of and an escalating heroin habit that resulted in several overdoses. Luckily he didn't die and he is recording again these days for the first time since the 90's, so let's hope it results in something. For now though, please listen to the astonishing "I'm Losing You", one of the best songs off 1997's Desire Road.

By the way, by following the link below you can access the entire Desire Road album and two tracks from the equally good Dreams And Saturday Night, thanks to the streaming service called Grooveshark.


onsdag 25. januar 2012

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Never Understand

Three minutes of highly melodic noise is what The Jesus And Mary Chain's second single "Never Understand" is all about. You can apply the same words to most of the band's early output. Brothers Jim and William Reid shared a love for Phil Spector-style pop that they envoloped in as much fuzz guitar as possible, creating something that was truly unheard of in 1984 and '85 when their first singles appeared. Note also that future Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie is the guy banging the drums here.

Watch and listen

Kathleen Edwards - Change The Sheets

Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards appears to finally stand on the brink of the major breakthrough she deserves with her brand new fourth album Voyageur. Having hooked up with Justin Vernon (a.k.a. Bon Iver), she's made ten mostly excellent new songs that I think must be called her most varied batch until now, and attention is coming her way in droves. If there was any justice in the world the single "Change The Sheets" would become a hit, but let's see what happens! It's a super catchy pop song, I hope you like it!

Watch and listen


Fifth Norah Jones album produced by Danger Mouse

Say what you will about the quality of Norah Jones's many records, but she is not lazy. A frequent contributor to other people's projects and member of "hobby group" The Little Willies who just released their second album, she's returning as a solo performer this spring with the release of her fifth album. It was produced by Danger Mouse (whose real name is Brian Burton) for whom she helped record the exciting Rome album, a film music tribute project he released last year with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, where Jack White also contributed vocals. Her new album is as yet unnamed and has no set release date, but after the disappointing third and fourth albums, Not Too Late (2007) and The Fall (2009), let's hope this one will be a bit better. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of her stunning 2002 debut Come Away With Me.

Associates - Take Me To The Girl

"Take Me To The Girl" was Associates' last great single, incredibly romantic-sounding and featuring sweeping synths, a discofied bassline and Billy Mackenzie's otherworldy voice, performing a distinctly European song. He's even tossing in a few words in German for good measure. It was released in 1985 when the band in reality had become a solo project for tortured singer Mackenzie, as co-founder Alan Rankine left after their 1982 masterpiece Sulk. Mackenzie soldiered on after "Take Me To The Girl", but without much success, and eventually commited suicide in 1997, aged 39.

Watch and listen

tirsdag 24. januar 2012

Michael Kiwanuka - Whole Lotta Love

The most eagerly awaited debut album of 2012 is Michael Kiwanuka's Home Again to be released on the heel of three great EP's/singles in late March. He was recently pronounced the winner of BBC's Sound Of 2012, and here's a live studio recording of the Led Zeppelin classic "Whole Lotta Love" that sounds great!

Watch and listen

Miley Cyrus - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

This may come as a surprise to some, but teen idol Miley Cyrus's version of Bob Dylan's classic "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is very good. The occasion is the charity record Chimes Of Freedom: Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International to be released this weekend. Both Amnesty International and Bob Dylan's recording career turns 50 this year, thus this monster Dylan tribute album, with 73 Dylan covers by an impressive range of big names including Diane Krall, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Adele, Brian Ferry, Sinéad O'Connor, Ke$ha, Maroon 5 and Kris Kristofferson over four CD's. Cyrus's take on the Blood On The Tracks classic is a stripped-down affair with a gentle swaying country arrangement, consistent with the 1975 original. I've heard far worse, and there may actually be a few duds on the album. This is not one of them.

Watch and listen

Mary Chapin Carpenter - On With The Song

American singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter's fiery protest against her government's foreign wars were released as a single off the album The Calling in 2007 but of course didn't chart on the Billboard Top Country Songs. Sadly it seems that Carpenter's most commercially successful days are long gone, but it's no wonder really with songs as political as "With The Song", a rant against warmongers, crooked politicians, religiuos fanatics and profiteers.

One of the verses go like this:
"This isn't for the man who can't count the bodies
Can't comfort the families, can't say when he's wrong
Claiming I'm the decider, like some sort of messiah
While another day passes and a hundred souls gone"

Her conclusion to it all and the way she sees her own role in the world is just as clear: "I've got to be true to myself and to you, so on with the song, I don't give a damn!"


Neil Diamond - Sunday Sun

Happy birthday to Neil Diamond, who's 71 today! Here's one of his many genius songs, a lesser-known gem called "Sunday Sun", released in 1968 on his third album Velvet Gloves And Spit. It's in every way typical of Diamond as a songwriter and arranger, a joyful, highly melodic tune that's bound to make you smile no matter what.


mandag 23. januar 2012

Gram Parsons - In My Hour Of Darkness

Gram Parsons co-wrote this hymn-like country song with his muse Emmylou Harris, and the finished song appeared as the final track on his second solo album, the posthumously released Grievous Angel (January 1974).


Listen to the new Leonard Cohen album in its entirety here!

At long last, eight years after his previous studio album Dear Heather, our good old friend Leonard Cohen is back with a batch of ten new songs under the title Old Ideas, to be released this Friday or early next week depending on where in the world you live. I have only listened through it once, but I think it sounds very good. At 77 his singing can hardly be called singing any more, it's more of a rasp, but it's full of emotion, full of truth. From the excellent opening track "Going Home" to the final "Different Sides" this is an album that fits nicely into the Cohen canon, and I'm really looking forward to get to know it better. Welcome back, Leonard! You have been missed.


The Dream Syndicate - Merritville

One of my all-time favourite rock albums is Medicine Show (1984), the second album by Los Angeles outfit The Dream Syndicate, led by Steve Wynn who went on to have an interesting solo career as well. His songwriting skills are exquisite, and it's never more evident than on "Merritville", a seven and half minute long masterpiece. There are two major elements to this song apart from Wynn's sneering and biting delivery of the dark and mysterious lyrics, and that's the Roy Bittan-esque piano trills played by hired hand Tom Zvoncheck and most importantly Karl Precoda's incredible guitar excesses. In the song's intro you get a taste of both and they each get their chance to shine later on, Precoda in the middle of the song and Zvoncheck towards the end and eventual fade-out. It's an amazing song, that should have its place alongside epic rock classics such as Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" or Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland", but is largely ignored and/or forgotten by most. That's a great shame.


søndag 22. januar 2012

Fra Lippo Lippi - The Treasure

Norwegian band Fra Lippo Lippi is of course most famous for their hit single "Shouldn't Have To Be Like That" from breakthrough album Songs (1985), but they had a history before that. "The Treasure" is a song from their second album Small Mercies, released in 1983, and the first to feature singer Per Øystein Sørensen. It was a transitional album, the link between their first album In Silence, a Joy Division-inspired, gloomy piece of work, and Songs, their pop masterpiece that earned them a recording contract with Virgin Records. Small Mercies was highly melodic, featuring some Eric Satie-inspired piano, thus creating a melancholy and very beautiful album that was far more accessible than its predecessor. "The Treasure" is just one of several excellent songs from that album and it still has that magic of 29 years ago. Stunning!