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October 17, 2012 / jhsaeger

Record Store Day’s Black Friday Rundown

        Every April, Christmas comes early in the form of Record Store Day, but for the third year in a row the unique releases which are exclusive to independent record stores have also been made available in the heat of the most Kringlesque shopping day of the year – Black Friday. This year’s releases may lack pizazz of past Record Store Day collections, as some traditional heavy players (Black Keys, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen) have abstained from the 2012 list. A good selection of rarities still remains available for consumption, although most are 7” singles rather than full album releases.
The early list of the 2012 Black Friday edition of Record Store Day releases was put out yesterday. Of these, the best and most intriguing is a reissue of Joan Jett’s solo debut Bad Reputation as a 180-gram vinyl and a live release from Mayer Hawthorne. The highlights of the list include:
– Beach Boys, “Surfin’ Safari” – 10” black vinyl
– David Bowie, “Jean Genie” – 7” picture disc vinyl
– Captain Beefheart – three seven-inch singles
– Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley, “Hallelujah” – 7” split single
– Mayer Hawthorne, KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic – 10” vinyl
– Joan Jett, Bad Reputation – 180 gram vinyl with bonus CD
– Nirvana, Insecticide 20th Anniversary Edition – double 12” vinyl
– White Stripes, three 7” singles
 

October 16, 2012 / jhsaeger

Live From Daryl’s House Goes Down The Shore With Sharon Jones and Allen Stone

        For a webcast that continues to reinvent itself almost every month, Live From Daryl’s House veered into a very different direction in its 59thepisode, selecting seven cuts from a concert that combined a soul-slanted lineup of Daryl Hall, Allen Stone, and Sharon Jones. Taken from an April 14, 2012 show at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel, Hall’s most recent tour with guests from his internet webcast displayed the typical infectiousness of an LFDH episode that was honed by the fantastic live sound of the Hall & Oates band.

The first two excerpts from the concert came from Hall’s 2011 album Laughing Down Crying: “Save Me” and the excellent “Eyes For You.” Midway through the episode, Hall trotted out Allen Stone, the young blond-maned, blue-eyed, golden-voiced singer who had brought an inescapable feeling of déjà vu to episode 51. Hall acknowledged the feeling to the audience, saying “He reminds me of myself when I was his age.” The pair shared two tracks that had also appeared on the original episode “Celebrate Tonight” and “Unaware,” a song that is reminiscent of early H&O records and seemed to reflect itself through their performance through the palpable chemistry shared by the two singers.
Unlike earlier in the show, where Stone and Hall shared the spotlight, the end of the show singularly belonged to Jones. The Dap Queen, who had originally guest starred in episode 34, brought her powerful presence to “100 Days, 100 Nights” and “I Learned The Hard Way.” It takes a special kind of flair to steal someone’s band from them as they stand a few feet away, but Jones managed to do just that by commandeering the H&O band with the shake of her hips and the direction of her hands. As Jones moved across the stage, she directed drummer Brian Dunne, the musicians on stage, and even Hall in an amazing take of “100 Days, 100 Nights”.
After an unfair, hunger-inducing segment which spotlighted Tony Luke’s Borgata restaurant as a reprise of the cheesesteak’s presence on Stone’s original appearance on LFDH, the episode wrapped with an emotional version of Hall & Oates’ “Everytime You Go Away.” In a way that continued her captivating presence as a performer, Jones stole the spotlight again, even as the song’s writer stood center stage and she shared the backing microphone with Stone. 

October 16, 2012 / jhsaeger

The Joy Formidable’s “This Ladder Is Ours”


     Welsh band The Joy Formidable continued what has been a strong buildup into their second album, Wolf’s Law on Monday evening. The band has already streamed “Cholla” and “Wolf’s Law” to build up the hype for the record, but on Monday they released the track “This Ladder Is Ours” as a single on iTunes.      
       A bass and drum heavy track, “This Ladder Is Ours” does not possess the volume of “Cholla” nor the beauty of “Wolf’s Law.” The track meets in the middle with a perfect blend of the band’s rhythm section Ritzy Bryan’s guitar to form one of the band’s strongest pieces of work yet. Check it out here: 

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October 15, 2012 / jhsaeger

Touch Of Gray: Artists Whose Careers Have Aged Gracefully


            The aging process of an artist, their discography, and capabilities on stage is a very complex process which usually has a way of working itself out as a musician reaches their golden years. While a great deal of it is our individual perception, not every artist ages well or gracefully. In some instances the toll of a hard lifestyle hastens the aging process and in others an artist can overextend new material that falls short of earlier efforts. What that does do, however, is make the artists who have found a way to sustain their creative longevity that much more special. Keeping that creative spark, continually reinventing their styles, and redefining catalog while still enjoying performing and recording can be the difference in an artist appearing canned or dated versus timeless and legendary. Here are some of the artists who have stood the test of time and find themselves as important today as when they first burst onto the scene:
Neil Young – As much as anyone on this list, Neil Young has retained the fire and spark that has always lit the fuse of his songwriting. Watch one of his more recent concerts on Palladia and you still see the 66-year-old getting every inch of life from his guitar, still playing as if everything hangs on his next chord. 
Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – While Springsteen and his bandmates have managed some very good records in this stage of their career, the prime reason why they remain the top drawing card every time they hit the road is because of the energy packed into each live performance. During his spring swing into Philadelphia, Springsteen managed a stage dive and crowd surfing while seamlessly conducting a band as he was pulled across the crowd of the Wells Fargo Center. How many 60-plus rock figures stage dive?
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Petty and the Heartbreakers recently concluded their first European tour in quite some time. Recently, they have managed to tour every two years, dropping an album as their high school band Mudcrutch, a Super Bowl halftime show, and a pair of very good albums – Highway Companion and Mojo. Check out this performance of “Refugee” from this year’s Isle of Wight festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3PrIEp-W0o
Paul Simon – The last two years have been very busy for the New York City songwriter. In 2011, he put out his wonderful So Beautiful Or So What and he recently celebrated the 25thAnniversary of his seminal album Graceland, which he performed in its entirety at a 2012 Hard Rock Calling in London:  http://www.longafterdark.net/2012/09/hard-rock-calling-2012.html
Bonnie Raitt – Earlier this year Ms. Raitt put out her first album in seven years, Slipstream. Raitt still retains her golden voice and deftness as a master of the slide guitar as she appears to have achieved the rare accomplishment of greater popularity in the second half of her career than the first. 
Paul McCartney – Despite having just turned 70, McCartney still retains the youthful bounce that first endeared him to an international fan base while a Beatle and Wing. McCartney has continued to diversify his career, having overseen the ballet Ocean’s Kingdomin 2011 and covering several song standards for his poorly-named 2012 record Kisses On The Bottom. 
Paul Rodgers – Paul Rodgers’ vocal cords are simply a physical anomaly. He has managed to keep himself in fantastic shape and sound as well as any 62-year-old singer can. That in itself has allowed his tenure with Free and Bad Company to endure, particularly during his time fronting for Queen. 
Hall & Oates – Powered in part by Daryl Hall’s revolutionary webcast Live From Daryl’s House, the groundbreaking pop duo’s music has outlasted many of their contemporaries and has experienced a resurgence amongst a whole new generation of artists. In addition to his seasonal tours with Hall, John Oates has remained busy as well, having released the well-received Mississippi Mile last year.
October 12, 2012 / jhsaeger

Rolling Stones Cut “Doom and Gloom,” First New Song In Six Years

            With every large box set there is typically some new wrinkle to add enticement for the consuming masses, even when you have one of the most storied discographies in contemporary music. In the instance of the Rolling Stones’ GRRR!, the rockers will mark their 50th Anniversary with a massive career-spanning compilation complete with two new tracks, including “Doom and Gloom,” which was released to the internet yesterday and will be available in its physical form on November 13th. The second single, “One More Shot” will be released on a yet-to-be-announced date in the very near future.
            The track is vintage Stones, who are firing on all cylinders after a lengthy hiatus and a public spat between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Jagger’s vocals are still solid, although Richards’ guitar and Charlie Watts’ drumming make “Doom and Gloom” work best. Even though it is only the first of two songs, it is still a good thing when the Rolling Stones are making fresh music, their longevity is a truly remarkable accomplishment. Enjoy: 
October 11, 2012 / jhsaeger

Long After Dark Radio Show VIII

            WLAD VIII begins with a pair of personal favorites, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s instrumental remix “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love).” The pair reshaped a Bobby Bland classic, possibly making it better than the original hit. Week eight of WLAD then coasts into a pair of Marvin Gaye classics. The most interesting tracks come in the form of Gary Clark Jr.’s “Ain’t Messin’ Around” and the Black Key’s most recent collaboration with RZA, “Baddest Man Alive.” 

Jay-Z, “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) Instrumental” – Blueprint
Marvin Gaye – “Inner City Blues” – What’s Going On?
Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On?” – What’s Going On?
Gary Clark Jr. “Ain’t Messin’ Round” – Single
Black Keys, RZA, “Baddest Man Alive” – Man With The Iron Fists
Black Keys, “Dead and Gone” – Rehearsal Tapes EP
The Cult, “She Sells Sanctuary” – Love
Beck, “E-Pro” – Jools Holland
The Killers, “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” – (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered) 



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October 9, 2012 / jhsaeger

Black Keys Release Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP

             Amidst a recent wave of buzz about recording sessions for a new album that would be released in 2013, the Black Keys have put out Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP today, a six-song release containing cuts from the rehearsal that preceded the El Camino tour.        

           Four of the six songs on the EP came from El Camino and two from the band’s previous album, Brothers. These sessions reveal an even rawer sound of the Black Keys’ new material than those that made the cut onto both albums. Without the studio-honed polish, the guitar tones of “Gold On The Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy” sound a shade closer to the band’s garage rock roots, an aspect of the duo that does not always reveal itself on either El Camino or Brothers.
Of the songs on the EP, “Dead And Gone” stands out in terms of veering furthest from the sound on the record. Without the influence of the studio, the Black Keys rhythm section of drummer Patrick Carney and touring bassist Gus Seyffert make it the must-hear track of Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP, which is very much worth downloading for hardcore fans of the band.
            Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP is available as an iTunes-exclusive release for the first two weeks before it becomes more widely available on digital platforms.