Doom and Gloom

At the beginning of September, the Stones announced that they would be releasing a greatest hits album, title: GRRR!, U.S. release date:  November 13, in celebration of their 50th anniversary.  Hardly an “album”, it will actually be available in a few different versions, including a three-CD 50 track version, and a four-CD 80 tracks version, and will act almost as a time machine, from their start to present day, with songs including “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Get Off Of My Cloud”, “Jumping Jack Flash”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Brown Sugar”, “Miss You” and “Start Me Up”.  It will also include two new songs, one of which was released today and entitled “Doom and Gloom”. Check out its brand new lyrics video here.

Now if only they would release some 2013 tour dates..

Helen Burns

Michael Balzary, or who we music folk know as “Flea”, released his first solo album yesterday.  I just had my first listen, and I’m still processing it, but it is purely phenomenal, and unlike anything you’d expect.  You can really hear his jazz-influenced background (and, in my opinion, some definite John Frusciante influence) shining throughout.  He tweeted a few days ago, “Helen Burns is not RHCP music, it is not funky, it is not normal songs… It is soundscapes I made on my own at home, it is mostly instrumental.”  It’s also fucking brilliant.

I’ve already tweeted the link, but in case you don’t follow me (which you should…) the album is available for download here, at numerous available prices – including the $0.00 option.  However, all proceeds go to funding for his Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-for-profit which facilitates music education to local youths.  For more information on the organization, click here.

More than Music

I found this video, which was created by a Portuguese student as a project for her English class, on YouTube today, and I thought it would be a perfect introduction to this post…

To Maria Carolina,

Beautiful work. Thank you for sharing this.

For the first time is a very long time, I’m finding that I’m at a loss for words about something I’ve listened to.  As you all know, I am a huge John Frusciante fan. I always have been and I always will be.  He has taken a lot of risks in his life, including leaving one of the greatest bands of our time. But the creation of Letur Lefr might exceed them all.  It is unlike anything I’ve ever heard.  I’ve just started listening to the album in it’s entirety, so I’m going to have to get back to you all about my thoughts on it, but I wanted to post this one song, “In My Light”, on Bask in the Music as soon as possible.  Take a listen.

This is truly more than music.  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s beautiful.

Saturday Night Jagger, My Guitar Hero & A Little E. Sharpe

There is a very long list of reasons why I love summer – the days are longer, my skin is less pasty, day drinking is less scrutinized, and everyone tends to be in a better mood.  The only real bummer is taking a break from some of our favorite T.V. shows. One of these shows for me is Saturday Night Live. Although some might argue that it hasn’t been any good since Will Ferrell peaced out in 2002, I have continued to be a relatively avid viewer of the show.  Despite popular belief, sometimes it is actually still funny, and you are almost always guaranteed a great live musical performance.  Mick Jagger hosted the last episode of this season, and performed some of his classics with Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, and Jeff Beck.


Check out the amazing performances by clicking the links below:

“The Last Time”

“19th Nervous Breakdown”

There was also the so so sad farewell to one of my all time favorite cast members, Kristen Wiig, to two of my favorite Rolling Stones songs, “She’s a Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday”.

On a different note, more exciting updates surfaced yesterday regarding John Frusciante’s 2012 album release from the man himself!  A letter on his NEW WEBSITE, www.johnfrusciante.com, explains that there are actually two new records coming out.  The first is an EP entitled Letur-Lefr, and the second is an LP entitled PBX Funicular Intaglio ZoneLetur-Lefr will be released in Japan on July 4th, in North America on July 17th, and in the rest of the world on July 16th. PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone will be released in Japan on September 12th, in North America on September 25th and in the rest of the world on September 24th. Here is a sampling of the cover art, which John created himself. Love.

Today the first single from Letur-Lefr was released on the web.  The 1 minute 30 second instrumental jam Glowe is very chill, purely John, and yet only slightly telling of what we should expect from the rest of the album.  His continuous unpredictability is, after all, one of the reasons we love him. Check it out:

Speaking of new releases, today was also the release of the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ second album Here.  In typical E. Sharpe fashion, the songs have generally cheery, upbeat and folky tendencies.  Although soulful to the brink of churchy, it’s still definitely a good listen for sunny days spent skipping through an open field (or days stuck in a cubical when you wish you were skipping through an open field…)  Either way, if you were into their first album, it’s definitely worth a listen.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a sweet ass summer playlist for you guys. I’ll let you know via twitter once it’s ready.

Follow me @baskinthemusic for updates!

July 9, 2012 – A.K.A. The Best Day Ever

Holy shit, it’s happening.

It was announced on Friday that John Frusciante, despite years of anticipation and worry from his fans, IS, in fact, releasing an album this year.  July 9 is Letur Lefr’s official scheduled release date.  With the exception of a few collaborative projects throughout the past couple years (including work with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and the Mars Volta, and his wife 😦 Nicole Turley’s band, Swahili Blonde), this will be the first solo release of his since the brilliant 2009’s The Empyrean ::swoon::

48 days and counting, my friends.  It will be worth the wait.

(A big shout out to Invisible Movement for being the first to share this exciting news.)

Noctourni-What? And Hilariously Awkward Music Videos

Let me start by saying that I did a ton of research on The Mars Volta before their new (and apparently their last) album, “Noctourniquet” was released last Tuesday.  I have total respect for Omar Rodrigues-Lopez, and I generally appreciate some of their older work, so I figured I should be excited about the new album. After I finally got a first listen on Tuesday morning, I found myself sort of bewildered by what I had just heard. I proceeded to read a couple of online reviews (which I usually try not to do until I form my own opinion.) To my surprise, for the most part, all of these reviews were extremely positive!  What?? How could this be?  I took another listen.  Yeah, nope. I found it overwhelming, confusing, angry, and in many cases lacking any sort of cohesiveness or melody. One song literally hurt my ears (and not in a blasting-my-headphones-because-it’s-so-freaking-good kind of way.)  By all means, I respect progressive and experimental rock, but this is a whole other level. If you’re into that kind of thing, definitely check it out; but I was disappointed, to say the least.

And, as many of you may already know, Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers announced about a month ago that John Frusciante will not be attending their induction into the Rock Hall of Fame on April 14.  He quoted him as saying, “I’m just not really comfortable with that, but good luck and thanks for inviting me.” I realize I need to respect his decision (plus, how can you stay mad at that face???) but my heart is a little bit broken.

With all that being said, I definitely need a little cheering up from the music world. And what could better cheer me up than…

MAKING FUN OF REALLY CHEESY MUSIC VIDEOS!

As we all know, there was a lot of confusion going on in the 80s… Women wore scrunchies in public, and men wore very small shorts.

 

But something that we should definitely be thankful for was the rise of the music video –  The awesomely weird, cheesy, awkward music videos that, even today, bring so much joy to our lives.  Music videos from the 80s are, therefore, excused from scrutiny, as I see them as almost experimental (but funny, nonetheless).  Bad music videos from later, more technologically advanced times, however, have zero excuse.  And so we watch, and we laugh.

Here are some of the best of the worst:

Oh George… I love you, and we miss you so much, but what the hell is this? You’re in a dark house, the fire’s raging, your dog’s there. All of the furniture and animal heads are moving with the music. Cute, right? (But pay special attention around the 1:57 mark. It’ll blow your mind.)

This is actually just an excerpt from the movie “Tommy”, the rock opera, which I absolutely loved when I was little. I have to hand it to The Who – They were definitely my gateway into the world of classic rock.  I would obsessively listen to this cassette I had of all of the songs after seeing it on Broadway with my dad when I was 7.  I rediscovered the movie version relatively recently, and even though it’s not technically a music video, I couldn’t not put it on here. People spraying pesticides in an open field, forest bombs, beach cartwheels?!  And the special effects when he’s running at the very end are truly groundbreaking.

What. The. Fuck.

Shots of an iconic Tina Turner in her famous chain dress, interspersed with scenes from the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which stared the lovely Mel Gibson.  This song was actually nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and received a 1986 Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance – proving that music video humor, like a fine wine, only gets better with age.

Mel Gibson, the face of a hero.

I’m sorry, guys. You know I love you with all of my heart, and this is actually a great song, but… this video.  Acrobatic mimes swing dancing, and flying cartoon skeletons.  I’m just not really sure where you were going with this.  The animation kind of reminds me of something I would’ve seen on Nickelodeon in the early 90s. And poor Chad on the cowbell – Here come the Will Ferrell jokes (as if he didn’t get it bad enough already.) At least Anthony’s body is redonkulous.

My only question while watching this video was, “How was he not embarrassed?”

Journey, and the most dramatic performance at a dock warehouse the world ever saw.

They were really excited about using a green screen, revolutionizing fake fire backdrops. Freddie Mercury… so sweaty.

I put this one up, not so much for the video itself, but as an ode to my childhood. This song was a huge hit when I was in 6th grade, when all of the eleven year old kids would recite the poetic lyrics sung by human-sized monkeys.

So put your hands down my pants and I’ll bet you’ll feel nuts
Yes I’m Siskel, yes I’m Ebert, and you’re getting two thumbs up

It brings a single, glistening tear to my eye.

This video is about a professor who’s in love with/borderline stalks his blind female student.  He even prank calls her at 3:39.  But whatever he’s doing, it’s obviously working, since all along she’s been working on a sculpture of his head. Aw.

And that’s all for now.  I have to say I feel much better, but I do apologize in advance for being the reason why any of the above songs are now drilled into the deepest corner of your brain.  Good luck with that, and have a nice day! 🙂

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.

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…

Maraqopa

Quick post for now – but everyone needs to check out Damien Jurado’s new album, Maraqopa, officially released yesterday.  This guy is phenomenal.

I’ve included a little sampling of a couple of his older songs, as well as some of his newer work below.  If you’re at all into indie/folk rock, be prepared to get hooked, ladies and gents. Seriously, he’s awesome.

From Maraqopa:

You can purchase his new album here.

Also, an FYI to all my fellow New Yorkers: He will be playing in NYC at the East Village’s Mercury Lounge on May 19th!  Click here for more info.