Tag Archives: Buddy Holly

Luiz e Os Louises Brings A Collection of Melodies In Album Life’s A Cigarette

16 Nov

Life’s A Cigarette embodies not only a significant collection of work, but a masterpiece from Luiz e Os Louises. Out of the songs on the album that standout the most is Please Everyone and Time To Love. With the song Please Everyone, it reminds me of early Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly. The lyrics not only form a narrative, but carry the musical characteristics of classic rock at its beginning. It reminds us of a society where we have to please everyone and live up to the standards. The song not only is reflective, but carries a tone of optimistic melancholy. Time To Love carries a Devendra Banhart vibe with the light melodic tones of the guitar and whimsical tones. With lyrics such as the “night unfolds inside our bones and we will look back to say its all blown away”, its thematic elements carry the spirit of nature and tonality that is indescribable. 

For more listening:

 

 

Top 10 Songs of 2013: #10 – “Unbelievers” by Vampire Weekend

9 Dec

Vampire Weekend

And the list begins. Vampire Weekend released its third studio album in May of this year, and it immediately received laudation from many mainstream/underground music critics. Heralded as an ode to bildungsroman, Vampire Weekend certainly put out a comprehensive and potent release that played on themes of growth, religion, and relationships. The album, Modern Vampires of the City, has found its way into the top five of Stereogum and Spin’s end-of-the-year top albums chart and has reached number one on Rolling Stone’s top 2013 albums chart. It was a good year for Columbia-educated English major Ezra Koenig and his band of undead brothers.

While many who are familiar with the album might be surprised that I did not choose the effervescent Yahweh-inspired pop piece, “Ya Hey,” which pulsates with a taciturn MGMT rhythm, I hold firm that it is not the best song on the album, and thus not on this list. “Unbelievers,” the new album’s third single, is a bubbly track that effortlessly combines early rockabilly with cogent lyrics, and because of its musical diversity and thought-provoking lyric it earned a spot on the countdown.

The song was written by Koenig and produced by record producer Ariel Rechtshaid and vampire multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij. The persistent rhythm that carries the song sounds like a modernized version of Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.” The repetitive 2-chord verse follows a consistent 4-bar chorus that is carried by pounding percussion and classic Vampire Weekend harmonies. The strongest melody of this song falls at the ending diapason that combines the instrumentals into a crashing, harmonious 20 seconds that crushes listeners with a wave of indie-pop sound. It is a song that feigns simplicity and does it well. It also features some pretty top notch lyrics:

We know the fire awaits unbelievers
All of the sinners, the same
Girl you and I will die unbelievers 
bound to the tracks of the train 

Koenig goes on to question whether holy water contains “a little drop for me.” It’s a concise portrait of an individual who is bound to die an unbeliever (without religion). This explicit religious bent may serve as broad symbolism of an album-wide theme of relationship. Nice, philosophical words from Koenig.

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New to the Music Court’s annual Top 10 Songs countdowns? Check out the full-song in-review of The Top 10 Songs of 2010 and The Top 10 Songs of 2011. Tune in Wednesday for song #9.

Finally Getting a Little Respect – Hall of Fame Inductions – The Comets

13 Feb

When Otis Redding sang about “Respect” on his seminal album Otis Blue in 1965, he was backed by some members of the STAX records house band, Booker T and the M.G.’s (and a 23-year-old Isaac Hayes). In 1992, one of the most famous house bands to ever put their sound to records (they were the southern soul version of Motown’s northern soul Funk Brothers), was elected to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. There was no doubt that they earned that respect.

But, for too long, backing bands have been left off of the induction list of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and this annual controversial decision continued to anger music lovers. Thankfully, the Hall of Fame has finally admitted their mistake and added several backing bands that deserve their R-E-S-P-E-C-T (and yes, I know Aretha added that to the chorus in her 1967 version).

This year, the hall will honor Gene Vincent’s The Blue Caps, Bill Haley’s Comets, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, James Brown’s Famous Flames, Hank Ballard’s Midnighters, and Smokey Robinson’s Miracles. If you remember back to 1987 when Smokey was elected into the hall, there was a huge controversy because the Miracles, a pretty damn important part to the success of the band, was not elected with him. Artists are eligible for nomination 25 years after their debut release.

“These Inductees are pioneers in the development of the music we call rock and roll,” said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “As part of our mission to recognize the most impactful, innovative and influential artists in rock, the committee brought forth these six groups that belong in the Hall of Fame.”

All I can say is the process to get some of these instrumental backing bands into the hall was arduous, but thankfully it is coming to fruition because they totally deserve it. Joining them at this year’s induction are:

Beastie Boys, Donovan, Guns N’ Roses, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces/The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns. Thank you Rolling Stone for the neat list.

I am happy for all of the backing bands being honored. The Miracles deserved the honor with Smokey 25 years ago, but they will get it now. The Crickets (and all of the rockabilly and music world) would have been forever transformed if Holly didn’t die in a plane crash. While music was certainly changing and the British Invasion was on the horizon, I stand firm to my belief that Holly and his Crickets could have become the biggest band in the world for a long time if, as Don McLean eloquent states, Holly didn’t take the last train for the coast. Do you know who I’m really psyched for, though? These guys:

The Comets

Bill Haley and His Comets do not get enough credit for sparking the rock n’ roll craze in the United States AND abroad. They formed in 1952 when orchestral ballads topped the charts. The Comets took old-fashioned blues music and transformed it into a lively mix of brass and guitar. I do believe one can credit the Comets as being one of the first acts to successfully market this blend and I stand by my statement that “Rock Around the Clock,” written as a 12-bar-blues song by Max Freedman and Jimmy De Knight, is one of the most important rock n’ roll songs ever recorded. It served as an anthem to 50’s youth and was one of the first rock n’ roll songs I fell in love with.

So a big congratulations to:

JOEY AMBROSE, Saxophone
FRANNY BEECHER, Guitar
JOHNNY GRANDE, Piano
MARSHALL LYTLE, Bass
DICK RICHARDS, Drums

You all deserve this honor big time. Now let’s rattle some pots and pans and rock around the clock.

Yes. When we look back on music 50 years from now, people will hopefully proudly say this is simply Rock n’ Roll!

The Voice Finale and Rave On Buddy Holly

30 Jun

Javier Colon Wins The Voice

“The Voice” blossomed into a constant show for my sister and I. It also worked as an inside joke because we just could not figure out why we taped and watched every episode. We concluded early on that it was for Cee-Lo Green‘s smooth colloquy and gaudy custom-made outfits. If The Voice did one thing, it proved the verdant creativity of Cee-Lo Green to most of the country. But we both know that it could not have been just Cee-Lo Green.

“The Voice” was the ideal 10-week publicity stunt for all four judges. If you are not familiar with the premise, basically the show saw four celebrity judges (Cee-lo, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton) blindly choose eight singers by voice only for their teams. Then the judges and country narrowed it down to a top four (one from each team) and eventually a winner, Javier Colon, of Team Adam.

The show was awfully predictable, but it’s 10-week format was the correct length and it didn’t give the audience an opportunity to get completely sick of it. The reason we kept watching was the talent. Out of the 32 performers, five had serious, unadulterated talent. Four of those singers made it into the top four. How do you like that? It seems America has finally figured out how to vote in singing competitions. We have had enough practice. The winner, Javier Colon, may not be as quirky and marketable as the runner-up, Dia Frampton (no relation to Peter), but his natural voice is simply better. He was the best singer and he won the money and the recording contract. The show actually worked. I think that is why we kept watching. If the best singers were eliminated early, there would have been no reason to sit through the judge’s specious praise of bad performances. Well, I’ll be honest, we fast-forwarded a lot of the show.

Congrats to Mr. Colon and I wish him well. Unlike the last few years on American Idol, I can actually see myself buying his work and, shockingly, Dia Frampton’s albums as well. Here is Colon’s first performance, a tremendous version of “Time After Time.”

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Modest Mouse Records “That’ll Be The Day”

Buddy Holly is the quintessential example of an artist who was struck down in his prime. The Day The Music Died, the McLean term for the day when Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a 1959 Iowa plane crash, took Holly away when he was only 22 years old. I turn 22 in a month and that really gives some perspective. By the time Holly died, he released a good amount of material that would go on to inspire musicians like The Beatles. Holly’s rockabilly music was tinkering with what would become rock n’ roll. Rave On Buddy Holly, sees numerous performers, including Paul McCartney, re-imagine Holly songs. The album makes us ponder what would have happened if Holly did not die.

My favorite song off the album is Modest Mouse’s version of “That’ll Be The Day.” It is low-key and brilliantly original. Take a listen.

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