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The SHIIIIIIIIINS!

So, as I’m sure you might assume, I am so FREAKING PUMPED for The Shins’ new album, Port of Morrow, which drops tomorrow (or I guess today, depending on when I finish writing this post.)

I have loved The Shins ever since the first time I saw Garden State – which is one of my favorite movies and, in my opinion, has one of the top 10 greatest soundtracks of all time.  The Shins are a major contributor to that soundtrack, in which their songs “New Slang” and “Caring is Creepy” are featured.

Just a little background for those of you who aren’t fans (yet…)

 The Shins were formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996.  They are fronted by vocalist and guitarist James Mercer, who, at the time of fruition, was actually the singer/songwriter of a band called Flake Music.  Their first major album, entitled Oh, Inverted World (which featured the songs mentioned above) lined them up for nationwide success.  After touring with Modest Mouse in 2000, they were recognized by Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, who also famously helped raise acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr., and the Postal Service (among others) to stardom.  In 2008, after three records (Oh, Inverted World, Chutes Too Narrow, and Wincing the Night Away), they finally decided to part ways with Sub Pop and announced that their next album would be released on Mercer’s new label, Aural Apothecary. After 4 years, several delays, and a few changes in band mates, a date was finally set – March 20, 2012 – TODAY!

Their first single off of Port of Morrow is “Simple Song“, which was officially released on February 21, and performed on Saturday Night Live.  Check out the performance here.

Breaking News: John Mayer Cancels Upcoming Tour “Indefinitely”

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Have any opinions you’d like about the guy’s personal life (or his discretion when publicly discussing it), but you cannot deny that he’s certainly a talent.  I spent the entirety of 2002 listening to his album Room for Squares (young, sweet, dreamy John…), followed by 2003’s Heavier Things, 2006’s Continuum, so on and so forth.  He is an awesome blues guitarist, and his voice has the ability to make women (and men) weep.

In anticipation for his May 2012 release of his upcoming album, Born and Raised, Mayer planned a spring tour.  In September 2011, Mayer discovered that he had developed something called granuloma, which is essentially a growth on his vocal cord.  He had surgery and it was determined that he would fully recover and be able to seamlessly fall back into recording and performing.  However, it was officially announced a few nights ago the tour would have to be cancelled and that he would enter an “indefinite hiatus”.

Mayer took to the interwebs, addressing the matter in writing:

“I’m pretty emotionally burnt out at the moment, but please know how hard I tried to resolve this and how disappointed I am that I can’t perform this record yet. The only thing that stops me from devolving into a puddle of tears is knowing that it’s a long life, and the greatest gift in the world is being able to create music no matter what the circumstances. So these are the new circumstances, and I’ll find a way to make it mean something. That’s all you can ever do.”

I hope that we’ll get to hear your beautiful voice again soon, John.

Pretty Little Butterfly

It’s actually a little embarrassing that I never made this connection before.  Maybe I just assumed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in all their glory, could also see the future.  I wouldn’t put it past them, honestly.  But today I was listening to some old school (I mean OLD school) RHCP songs, and I came across the Frusciante/Flea collab jam, “Pretty Little Ditty” from 1990. They were kids. I was 3. That’s crazy town! (Pun intended.) When it suddenly dawned on me that a riff about halfway through sounded so hauntingly familiar to me.  Well duh, Baskin..

Check out the two videos below:

(Note the 0:37 mark of the video above)

Now I’m not going to hate on Crazy Town. (Trust me, one hit wonders have it hard enough.) And, to be frank, I always liked their song “Butterfly”. But now it makes even more sense as to why I liked it so much.

I hate to bore you, but there actually wasn’t any drama revolving their sampling of “Pretty Little Ditty”. It was totally legal, and in fact, they even toured with the Chili Peppers after the release of their album The Gift of Game in 2001.  I guess it just proves, even further, how respected my boys are.  And that Flea looks great in a pleated skirt.

Weekend Update

There are definitely some exciting things going on in Music Land the next couple of weeks.  First, let’s talk about a few new album releases.

This Tuesday, March 6, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band will be releasing “Wrecking Ball”, which will be their 17th major studio album.  That’s pretty impressive. And even though I’m not huge fan, I have to support my fellow Jersians. Plus, you have to admit, Brucey’s maintaining his swag in his older years.

 

If you’re interested in getting a sneak peak of the album before its official release, they will be streaming it in its entirety on their website, brucespringsteen.net on Monday, March 5.

Below is a performance from last night’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”, featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and, of course, The Roots.  Jimmy is a huge Bruce fan, even dubbing this week “Springsteen Week”.

Check out the performance here.

Other upcoming March album releases include:

The Decemberists’ “We All Raise Our Voices to the Air”– a live album from their 2011 tour.  They also recently recorded a song called “One Engine”, which will be included on the much anticipated The Hunger Games soundtrack. That soundtrack will be released March 20, and will include music from Arcade Fire, The Civils Wars, among others.

On March 20th we also have The Shin’s new album, “Port of Morrow”, and on March 27th we have Miike Snow’s second album “Happy to You”. But more on them later…

Now, let’s talk birthdays – or rather, a specific birthday.

If you know me, you know that I talk about John Frusciante as much as I talk about AMC’s “Breaking Bad” (seriously though, that show is addicting.)  This Monday, March 5 is his birthday, and being that he is my favorite musician, I can’t not mention it. Words can’t express how I feel about this man as an artist. He is otherworldly. Now, I’m having a hard time deciding what I should include about him in this one post, since – let’s face it – I could probably write an entire blog solely about him, and never run out of material. So, for now, I’m just going to leave you all with my favorite guitar solo of all time – not just of his, but of any guitar solo in the history of guitar solos.  I’m sure my roommates have had their fill of this one, since I’ve been listening to it at least once a day for the past 5 months. If you haven’t seen it or heard it yet, be prepared to have your mind blown.

Also, just a side note: I realize I really need to get over this, but I’m still so sad that he’s no longer with the Chili Peppers.  Don’t get me wrong, Josh Kinghoffer is great, but he’s not Frusciante. Their chemistry with John was pure magic.  Here’s hoping he’ll show for their induction ceremony at the Rock Hall of Fame on April 14…