Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Heliocentrics, Out There

Some CDs stay “In the Mix” list for a long time because I have to force myself to listen to them enough times to give them a fair review.  Others stay in the mix because we’re enjoying them so much we just can’t heliocentricsget them out of rotation.  “Out There” is of the second kind.  It’s a terrific disc.

The Heliocentrics are an eight piece band that sound like they’re led by drummer Malcolm Catto.  The music on “Out There” is instrumental with occasional brief spoken passages.  The album is supposed to capture some kind of trip into the cosmos and back – you know, out there – but the overarching structure is relatively unimportant to enjoyment of the album.  There is no simple way to describe the music in terms of genre because there really is no genre that captures it.  On “Out There” the Heliocentrics combine elements of funk, big band jazz, free jazz, fusion, psychedelia, Middle Eastern music and electronica into a mix that is so rich and varied and so well played that considerations of genre seem beside the point.  The album contains 20 tracks ranging from 0:16 to 5:26.  You never know what’s coming next but the arrangements are so adept and the band is so solidly synched on groove that even the more abstract and out there passages can be easily enjoyed by listeners who are unfamiliar, or perhaps uncomfortable, with free jazz.  There’s so much going on across this CD that you can listen to it every day for weeks and still pick up something new.

If the album has a weakness it’s that the relatively short running time for most of the tracks doesn’t give the band an opportunity to stretch out and examine the music a bit more.  More than a few moments go by that could serve as the basis for extended passages of exploration.  Of course “Out There” would then be more of a jazz album than an I-don’t-know-what-to-call-it album.  Maybe it’s better the way it is.

“Out There” is the Heliocentrics only album and there’s not much info out there about them.  The album may be a one-off from a group of studio musicians.  I sincerely hope not because if these guys can continue to make music like this, I’ll buy everything they put out on sight.  If they are a one shot and it sounds like this is the kind of music you might like, get the CD quick because it may not be easy to find in the future.  Sometimes you hear a CD and know you’re going to be pulling it out of the rack periodicaly for years to come.  In our house this is one of those CDs.   Recommended.

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04/21/2008 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews, Podcasts | | Leave a comment

Review: The Blakes, The Blakes

The Blakes are a trio composed of brothers Garnet (vocals, guitar) and Snow (vocals, bass) Keim and Bob Husak (drums).  They sound like what they are – three guys who’ve spent a lot of time on the road without blakesmoney behind them who like to get laid.  “The Blakes” is their first album.

The CD opens with “Two Times” a down and dirty rock song yowled with the lazy malevolence of a snotty teenager who doesn’t give a fuck what you think and knows your daughter will do whatever he wants because he’s cool and you suck.  Every parent’s nightmare.  If this was all The Blakes were about it would get old fast but the band keeps changing it up while keeping the focus squarely on rock.  “Modern Man” sounds so much like an “Exile on Main St.” era Stones track that Mick Jagger could sue for copyright infringement.  The main difference is that The Blakes sound more dangerous than The Stones have for several decades.  There’s more than a hint of British Invasion style rock running throughout “The Blakes” but the band rarely sounds like they’re simply copying the older style.  It’s an influence, not a model.

The Blakes are the kind of band that is becoming harder to find as the years roll by.  As rock ages, and it’s old now, the billions spent and made and the decades of image marketing and have made it more and more difficult to just play rock pure and simple.  The Blakes pull it off.  They don’t sound like they’re trying to fit into some currently popular variant of rock and, with the exception of “Modern Man”, they don’t sound like they’re trying to be a band like (fill in classic rock band here).  They’re a basic rock band that knows how to kick ass.  No gimmicks, that’s it.  If that sounds like your thing, give these guys a listen

04/20/2008 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews, Podcasts | Leave a comment

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 017 – New Year’s Eve Live

While everyone else parties the guys in the band get down to it.  New Year’s Eve has become famous for brilliant  performances by some of the world’s top musicians.  In this podacst we listen to live New Year’s Eve recordings from three monster  guitar players – Stevie Ray Vaughan, Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule, and Jimi Hendrix.  Happy New Year everyone.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download New Year’s Eve Livehere

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM017-2007-12-31.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

12/31/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | Leave a comment

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 016 – Bootsy Collins (Part 1) Bootsy in the Band

Bootsy Collins was not only one of the great funk bass players of the 1970s, he was one of the great bass players of all time.  Most musicians who begin their career as side men spend years climbing the mountain of national recognition before they reach the top, if they ever do.  Bootsy started at the summit  when he first appeared as James Brown’s 19 year old bass player in 1971.  In this, the first of two podcasts devoted to the Bootzilla, we listen to Bootsy playing with James Brown, the JBs, Parliament and Funkadelic.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Bootsy Collins (Part 1) Bootsy in the Band here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM016-2007-10-26.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

10/26/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 1 Comment

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 015 – Rockin’ the Dancefloor

Throughout recorded history, all over the world, you look at people and you find at least one thing that never changes.  People make music and dance to it.  The music changes, the dances change but humans dance.  Everywhere.  All the time.  Lately a lot of them have been dancing to music that melds elements of rock and electronica with an immense bottom end.  In this program we join them with tracks from Justice, Digitalism, !!!, Daft Punk and more, because . . .  heh . . .   we’re human after all.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Rockin’ the Dancefloor here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM015-2007-10-18.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

10/18/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 4 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 014 – The Girls in the Band

In our previous podcast we locked the singers out of the studio; in this one we let them back in.  The Girls in the Band presents music from six bands that feature women vocalists.  All of the groups identify themselves as bands, it’s not about “Marketable Chick and the Nameless Backup Band”.  The bands are also early in their careers.  Some, like Stars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have raised a lot of buzz.  Others, like The Vincent Black Shadow and The Duke Spirit haven’t.  At least not yet.  Check them out.  Maybe hear a band you like, maybe find something interesting and new.  In any case, we hope you hear something you like.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download The Girls in the Band here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM014-2007-10-05.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

10/05/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 4 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 013 – Music Without Words

In Music Without Words we lock the vocalists out of the studio and listen to a program of purely instrumental music.  Sometimes bands that feature vocalists turn out an instrumental song or two, sometimes musicians are equally comfortable writing both vocal and instrumental songs, sometimes music focuses on rhythm rather than melody and vocals become less important.  And sometimes the band just lets loose and plays.  Hear examples of all these things as we present music from Justice, The Allman Brothers Band, Frank Zappa and much more in Music Without Words.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Music Without Words here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM013-2007-09-20.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

09/20/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 012 – Larry Levan (Part 2)

Larry Levan, the superstar DJ at the Paradise Garage, had a fine ear for music and an exceptional ability to put together music in the club that sent his dancers into orbit.  After conquering the dance floor, he brought his live deejaying skills into the studio and became one of the most successful dance remixers of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  This is our second podcast featuring the extended remixes that Levan created for the Paradise Garage. 

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Larry Levan (Part 2) here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM012-2007-09-07.mp3

More Larry Levan remixes can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 002 – The Paradise Garage (Part 2) Larry Levan

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

09/07/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 3 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 011 – 1960s San Francisco (Part 3) The Second Wave

This is the third in a series of podcasts devoted to the music of San Francisco in the late 1960s.  In this podacst we listen to some of the second wave San Francisco bands that began forming around 1967 when many of the first wave bands were releasing their first records.  The second wave San Francisco bands are notable for the wide variety of music they produced and we sample some of that variety here.  In this podcast we listen to the music of Sly and the Family Stone, It’s a Beyootiful Day, The Sons of Champlin, Dinosaurs and Santana.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download 1960’s San Francisco (Part 3) The Second Wave here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM011-2007-08-27.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

08/27/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | | 4 Comments

Podcast: Correction note

An file upload problem that cut off the end of Tuned In To Music Podcast 010 – Tom Moulton (Part 2) Accidental Discoveries has been discovered and corrected.   The entire podcast is now available. 

08/21/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | Leave a comment

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 010 – Tom Moulton (Part 2) Accidental Discoveries

This is the second of two podcasts devoted to the brilliant and innovative mixer and remixer Tom Moulton.  In this podcast we examine  Moulton’s “accidental discoveries” of the extended disco break, the remix, and the 12 inch single and listen to some rare examples of each.

An file upload problem that cut off the end of this podcast has been discovered and corrected.   The entire podcast is now available. 

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Tom Moulton (Part 2) Accidental Discoveries here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM010-2007-08-20.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

08/20/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 3 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 009 – Tom Moulton (Part 1) “A Tom Moulton Mix”

Tom Moulton was one of the greatest mixers and may very well have been the greatest innovator of all time in the world of dance music.  He not only “invented” the 12″ single and the extended “disco” break, he was the one who came up with the very idea of a remix in the first place.  This is the first of two podcasts devoted to the mixes and the innovations of Tom Moulton.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download Tom Moulton (Part 1) “A Tom Moulton Mix” here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM009-2007-08-13.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

08/13/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 2 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 008, 1960s San Francisco (Part 2)

This is the second of two podcasts devoted to a survey of the first wave of bands that came out of San Francisco in the mid to late 1960’s. Some became megastars and some never did much after their first album but they all burst onto the scene playing great music that defined both a musical genre and a cultural phenomenon. In this podcast we listen to the music of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download 1960’s San Francisco (Part 2) here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM008-2007-08-06.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

08/06/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | | 2 Comments

Podcast: Tuned In To Music 007, 1960’s San Francisco (Part 1)

This is the first of two podcasts devoted to a survey of the first wave of bands that came out of San Francisco in the mid to late 1960’s.  Some became megastars and some never did much after their first album but they all burst onto the scene playing great music that defined both a musical genre and a cultural phenomenon.  In this podcast we listen to the music of Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, and Moby Grape.

If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Tuned In To Music podcasts, please add the entire URL below to your podcast software.

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/tunedintomusic.xml

You can download 1960’s San Francisco (Part 1) here

http://www.kmurnane.com/podcasts/titm/TITM007-2007-07-31.mp3

A list of the podcasts in the series can be found by clicking the Podcasts button at the top of this page.

07/31/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | 2 Comments

Podcast: Correction note

An error that was causing the links for Tuned In To Music Podcast 005 – Playlist 1 to access the wrong podcast has been corrected. 

07/22/2007 Posted by | music, Podcasts | Leave a comment