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Saturday, March 29, 2008

PLACEBO : Blue American (2000)

Time to get a little mellow, courtesy of the UK group, Placebo.

From Wikipedia:
Blue American is a song on alternative rock band Placebo's third album "Black Market Music". The song is soft and not heavily dependent on instruments, having more of a concentration on lyrics.
"Blue American" has a dark tone; in it, the protagonist seems to reflect over his life while referring to novels (such as Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin") and self-help books. The character expresses acceptance of his nature as "pretentious" and also expresses gratitude to his mother.
According to singer-lyricist Brian Molko, the character is "attacking his parents, his culture, his culture's history, self-help, psychiatry." Regarding the mention of his mother, Molko explained "[I]t just fitted. When it came out, I thought it would be really nice to make her quite happy. Because I'm sure most of the subject matter of our songs doesn't make her very happy. So, at one point, maybe for one verse at least, she might think, 'Oh, that's nice. My son still loves me.'"

Song : "Blue American"
From the LP "BLACK MARKET MUSIC" (Virgin) Oct. 9, 2000

Brian Molko : vocals, guitar
Stefan Olsdal : bass
Steve Hewitt : drums

Get it here :
Blue American

Monday, March 24, 2008

311 : Don't Stay Home (1995)

311 is on tour! They were one of the many rap-rock bands from the '90s. However, they were slightly different in that they incorporated ska, reggae, and singing into the mix, with some catchy hooks. This is the first single from the group's third album, which ended up being their breakthrough.
Song : "Don't Stay Home"
From the LP "311" (Capricorn) Jul. 25, 1995

Nicholas Hexum : vocals, guitar
Chad Sexton : drums, percussion
Timothy J. Mahoney : guitar
P.Nut : bass
Count SA : vocals, scratches

Get it here : Don't Stay Home

Saturday, March 15, 2008

UNKLE - Rabbit In Your Headlights (video)

This is the critically acclaimed video of the song.

UNKLE with THOM YORKE : Rabbit In Your Headlights (1998)

This is a track by hip-hop/trip-hop duo UNKLE from their debut album. It features Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, and unsurprisingly ends up sounding like a Radiohead song!

Song : "Rabbit In Your Headlights"
LP "PSYENCE FICTION" (Mo'Wax) Sep. 29, 1998

Vocals, bass, synth : Thom Yorke
Music : DJ Shadow

As a bonus, here is the "Suburban Hell Remix" of the song as done by none other than DAVID AXELROD: Rabbit In Your Headlights (Suburban Hell Remix)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

BUDDY MILES meets JIMI HENDRIX meet SANTANA : Them Changes (1969/70)

Buddy Miles R.I.P. 1947 - 2008

"Buddy Miles, the drummer in Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys and a hitmaker under his own name with the song “Them Changes,” died on Tuesday at his home in Austin, Tex. He was 60.

"His death was announced on his Web site, which said he had been battling congestive heart disease.

"Mr. Miles played with a brisk, assertive, deeply funky attack that made him an apt partner for Hendrix. With his luxuriant Afro and his American-flag shirts, he was a prime mover in the psychedelic blues-rock of the late 1960s, not only with Hendrix but also as a founder, drummer and occasional lead singer for the Electric Flag. During the 1980s, he was widely heard as the lead voice of the California Raisins in television commercials. "

Here are THREE versions his best-known track "Them Changes". The first was recorded New Year's Eve 1969-70 at The Fillmore in San Francisco, to be released on the only album by Jimi Hendrix's Band Of Gypsies. This version is stripped down to a three-piece. The vocals are slightly off (I guess that happens if you're playing drums and singing simultaneously), but Hendrix wails as usual. There's also an interesting breakdown in the middle of the song.
As recorded by Jimi Hendrix

From the LP "BAND OF GYPSIES" (Capitol) Apr. 1970

Jimi Hendrix : guitar
Buddy Miles : drums, vocals
Billy Cox : bass

Miles went on to re-record the track in the studio on his own album, this time with a full band. The horns add an extra layer to the track, but less jamming of course.

As recorded by Buddy Miles
From the LP "THEM CHANGES" (Mercury) 1970

Buddy Miles : drums, vocals
Bob Parkins : organ
Wally Rossunolo : guitar
Billy Cox : bass
James Tatum : tenor sax
Robert Pittman : alto sax
Teddy Blandin : trumpet

The final version is from when he teamed up with Santana's band for a one-off live album. This one brings the full band sound to the stage, and there's a great little keyboard solo in the middle. Check out the funky groove they latch onto starting at 3:32. Buddy's singing is in full form by this point. Also notice that COKE ESCOVEDO is on this one!

As recorded by Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles
LP "LIVE!" (Columbia) 1972

Carlos Santana : guitar
Buddy Miles : drums, percussion, vocals
Neal Schon : guitar
Ron Johnson : bass
Mingo Lewis : keyboards
Bob Hogins : keyboards
Hadley Caliman : sax
Luis Gasca : trumpet
Richard Clark, Coke Escovedo : drums, percussion
Mike Caravello, Victor Pantoja : percussion, congas

Get them here :

Jimi Hendrix - Changes
Buddy Miles - Them Changes
Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles - Them Changes

Saturday, March 01, 2008

LOCAL H : P.J. Soles (2004)

Local H were a rock band who got lumped in with the alternative rock scene of the '90s. Their big schtick was the fact that for the most part, they were a duo, with singer Scott Lucas re-jigging his guitar to come through bass and guitar amps simultaneously. This would create the illusion that there was a bass guitar playing with him. As always, a few bad breaks and record company mishaps let them fall through the cracks. But they're still out there plugging away, with a new album to come out this year.
This track is from a recent album, indicating Lucas' odd obsession with actress P.J. Soles (who was in "Rock And Roll High School", "Halloween", "Stripes", and more recently Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects"). Even the cover art is an homage to her!

P.J. in "Rock And Roll High School", with The Ramones :

Song : "P.J. Soles"
LP : "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO P.J. SOLES?" (Studio E) Apr. 6, 2004
Scott Lucas : vocals, guitar, bass
Brian St. Clair : drums
Get it here : P.J. Soles