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Suggested (m)use: JEFF the Brotherhood

JEFF

image via syndetics

With a distinct hard rock bent, Wasted on the Dream, JEFF the Brotherhood’s latest album, feels to be channeling some quite well-known rock acts including but not limited to Ozzy Osborne and Jethro Tull, (BTW, not just channeling, that eyebrow raising flute riff on the title track: ACTUALLY Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull…), not to mention (and I really wish I didn’t have to) Kid Rock (icky) and, uh, Yellowcard? (meh).  Now, I listened to this album for the first time pretty early in the morning and I was a little strung out on coffee.  That said, I really wish Karaoke, TN and Coat Check Girl had not happened.  I don’t get it, that’s all.  Was it some sort of intellectual, rock music survey album gimmick?  Do the Brotherhood really appreciate lyrical cretinism and teenagey, melodramatic vocals?  Can JEFF and I still be Facebook friends!?! … Absolutely.  They’ve really put together quite a great album.  I mean, IAN ANDERSON!

Suggested Use: Feeling rowdy?  Need a little simultaneous stimulation of your intellect and your baser nature.  Pop this disc in and take your evening (or morning) to the next level.  See disclaimer below.

Utilize with caution.  Guaranteed to influence your inner 12-year-old towards misbehavior.

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“When I’m 64″

mccartney

image via Syndetics

I didn’t used to get the Beatles.  Yes, it was clear to me that they were legendary and probably bigger than certain world religions and all that, but other than the irresistible bubblegum pop catchiness of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” they left me kinda cold.  But then one day, I heard the end of a song.  It’s a famous song, some say overrated, and I’m sure I’d heard it before, but this time I really “heard” the end.  See, up to the last minute or so of the song, Sir Paul is kind of doing his mealy-mouthed, crooner type vocal delivery (yeah, yeah, he can carry a tune but so can Buble, why should I care?) but then he sort of kicks it down and starts nearly screaming into the mic “Judey Judey Judey!”  (that’s right, the song is “Hey, Jude”), and with that simple refrain, that dirty, adeptly controlled vocal layered so finely beneath the winding ’round and ’round jam of the guitar I heard the proof of what I had been doubting.  “The Beatles ARE a rock band.”  My life has never been the same.

But let me not overstate it. I mean, I’m no SUPERFAN (I find room in my heart for the Rolling Stones, for example), but I am a fan.  I’ve had long conversations and debates about Paul vs John, I’ve opted for my favorite of the Fab Four (I’m a Ringo man, don’t judge me), and I’ve built the perfect 15 song version (down from 30!) of the White Album in my head.  And so, I felt it was appropriate, necessary even, for me to recognize and draw attention to the fact that Beatlemania has a birthday coming.  Sir Paul is turning 73 on June 18th; alas, not the iconic “64” of the song, I missed that one, but still, turning 73 makes him the same age as my grandma, which is kind of weird and awesome at the same time.  Weird because practicing rock stars rarely seem grandparentish and awesome because I can totally make the connection if I squint hard enough.  Look, here’s what I mean.  A few years ago thousands of people flocked to Chicago and filled Wrigley Field and stood in the streets of Wrigleyville and filled the beer garden at Goose Island just to catch a sound wave off those legendary pipes and a splash of surf from that mythic guitar.  Doesn’t that totally sound like some of the better family reunions you’ve been to?  You know, where Grandma presides and everyone fights over her cheesecake and its the only place you want to be.  Like, Beatlemania is a family, dude … and dudette.

So, anyway, let’s celebrate and revisit some of those favorites, like Abbey Road and the White Album and Sgt. Pepper’s and Hey, Jude and Let It Be and yes, even With the Beatles, though, I don’t own a copy.  But this is where that “family” thing comes in.  Perhaps some brother out there … or sister … could loan me a copy.  We could drag my turntable out by the street, “power up the Pioneers” (thanks for that Audio Adrenaline), and enjoy the beginnings of an entire era of rock music.  We could invite all of our friends, excuse me, family, and even SUPERFANs of The Rolling Stones, and have our own little Wrigleyville experience.  Maybe Grandma would come.  Ok, probably not, but she might hook us up with some of her cheesecake.  And be assured, birthday cake aside, there’s no cake like Grandma’s cheesecake for a birthday party.  I’ve enjoyed it in the past, we can all enjoy it now, and if and when Grandma discloses the recipe, I’ll be enjoying it when I turn 64.

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Suggested (m)use: U2

u2

So, I finally got around to listening to the new U2, Songs of Innocence, (it took me awhile even though it’s been hanging out on the shelf for a few months) and I’m glad I listened clear to the end.  Here’s why.  I was really only OK with the beginning and began to lose faith in the middle, but then I thought the last three songs or so were pretty solid tracks with some nice overtones of sly artistry.  Sure, U2 will probably remain a band that is a little too “stadium-rock” for me, but it’s hard to mess with a reputation as solid as theirs.  And they’re even nice guys, giving away albums and stuff for free.  Though, evidently, that upsets some of us.

Suggested Use: They say sharing is caring, well, I think this is a great album to put that phrase into action with.  I mean it’s U2, so famous it’s easy to procrastinate on getting around to actually listening to their newest offering but also a band that deserves to be heard, so, loan it, play it at get-togethers, leave it in your car cranked to 11 for the mechanic who’s going to change your oil.  Or even better, if you’ve got an enemy, package your copy up and send it to them in the mail…for free.  I think they’ll get the message loud and clear.

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Unread Book“, a parody of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” was created by Pogona Creative and the Orange Public Library in association with Chapman University.  Love this!

Question:  Is it just me or does the Guybrarian look like Neil Patrick Harris?

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The power of music and love

This video is powerful. It has been shared about 430,000 times on Facebook in the last year. Even if you don’t want to read what I have to say, I think you should watch the video.


This is important on so many levels, but what really catches my attention is the fact that the woman singing did not grow up with “Jesus Loves Me” as a part of her tradition. She does not believe the words of the song, but she believes the words will reach her patient. She uses songs from the patient’s childhood to break through the barriers of Alzheimer’s to get a response. She uses love and understanding to establish communication.  How different this would have been if she had decided that singing a song from a different belief system than her own was against her religion. Diseases like Alzheimer’s don’t recognize race or religion. They affect us indiscriminately.  The video gives me hope that we can all communicate with each other despite the enormous difficulties involved.  If we let go of fear and reach out to each other with kindness and openness we may find the words that will open communication.

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Suggested (m)use: Meghan Trainor

 

Meghan Trainor TitleNow, I had heard “the song,” — you know, the one about the “bass” — but honestly I had under-appreciated it.  I mean, sure, it’s a catchy song, clever, and affirming, but did you also know that it nearly single-handedly redeemed the use of the saxophone in pop music for me?  In fact, it did such a good job with the baritone saxophone lines in its make-up that I was happy to hear a return of the baritone saxophone on multiple tracks throughout Trainor’s newest album, Title, and was even able to exult in a little tenor saxophone dalliance near the end of “Dear Future Husband.”  Wow.  Oh yeah.  And Meghan, she sings pretty good, too.

Suggested Use: Definitely a warm weather album.  So, if you’re tired of the cold and ready for Summer, put this disc on and break a sweat lip-syncing to your favorite tracks.  My favorites, clearly, will be the ones with baritone sax.  I am, as you say, all about it.

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lucindaThe title of Lucinda Williams’ latest musical offering, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, accurately describes the region from which her voice comes to us.  Caught between melodiousness and growl, she imparts an incredibly grounded “otherworldly” quality to her lyrics.  And that electric guitar … well, it gives me the shivers.  In a good way, that is.  But then, well, I just love the electric guitar.

Suggested Use:  Been up driving all night?  Get some joe at the nearest Waffle House and keep on going with this album coming over your system.  I mean, Lucinda just turned 62 and she hasn’t gotten off the road yet.  Why should you?

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