I Have Returned.

The Foo Fighters may be on hiatus, but I have officially returned from mine.

Hello blogisphere. I missed you.

It’s been a long three months, filled with concerts, festivals, beaching, “life organization”, and a splash of day job consumption. But I’m here now. And we have LOTS to catch up on. It blows my mind that despite my absence, my readership has continued to stay strong. I have received countless emails, messages, and face-to-face questions about my continuation of this blog that I hold so near and dear to my heart.  Well do not fret, because Bask in the Music isn’t going anywhere.

The past 3 months in pictures…

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…Peace out, Summer 2012. You rocked.

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!

Some Unreleased Foo

Really quick post, but I wanted to share these two unreleased tracks from the Foo Fighters’ first recording of their 2002 album “One by One” – which, was originally called “Million Dollar Demo”.  Many of the original tracks were abandoned after the second recording of the album, and even though over the years a few instrumental versions of tracks from “Million Dollar Demo” have surfaced, the public has never heard any of the full, original songs.

Today, two of these songs, “Have it All” and “Come Back” appeared on YouTube. Foo Fighters fans, rejoice!

Check out the tracks below.

A Guitar Named “Grohl”

Yes, I named my brand new Mitchell acoustic “Grohl”.  And yes, I’m sure that his reaction to that would be something along the lines of “Shut the fuck up.”

But you can’t deny…  they do kind of look alike.

Let me start at the beginning…

So last Monday (you know, Kurt Cobain Day – or, to the rest of the United States, “President’s Day” – Oh gosh, how unpatriotic am I?) I had off from work.  I figured I’d take advantage of my day, hopped on the 6 train, and traveled down to 14th Street.  I have to admit, I had never been to Guitar Center before.  Since I’ve been attempting to learn rock songs on a nylon string Kiso-Suzuki classical from the late 1960s, that had been passed down to me from my sister, who’s father (yes, different fathers, same mother) had passed it down to her when she was in high school, I figured it was time to get my ass to a guitar store and get an acoustic that fit me and my goals a little better.  Don’t get me wrong, the classical was a great learning tool, and unless anyone asks for it back, I plan on hanging on to that puppy for as long as possible. But I digress…

So I walked into this place, and if you’ve never been, I suggest you go.  There are guitars freaking everywhere- all over the walls, on display all over the floor, and people just hanging out all over the place playing them, like one giant, unsynchronized jam session.  I walked into the clearly labeled “Acoustic Room”, that somewhat resembled a log cabin that James Taylor would rent for a weekend, and this guy walked up to me and asked me if I needed any help.  At first I said “No thank you,” acting like I actually knew what I was doing and what I was looking for (Ha!) But after about 10 minutes of walking around and bashfully picking up random guitars amongst some clearly accomplished musicians, I finally sought the help I clearly needed.  The salesman, David, who turned out to be incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, pointed me towards a very traditional, spruce top, acoustic Mitchell guitar. I immediately liked the feel of it, but, if you know me at all, you know I’m not going to go for anything “basic” or “traditional”.  So he pointed me towards another Mitchell, but this one had a vintage Sunburst finish, which I thought was both beautiful and kind of bad ass at the same time. I knew that was my guitar when I saw it, but my decision was confirmed even more so when he told me that the one on display was the last one.

We then made our way into the adjacent “Vintage Room” where he showed me how to restring it.  He also set me up with a humidifier, a gig case, and a hand full of free picks.  While he was ringing me up, I took a look around and snapped a couple of shots of some of the guitars that were on the walls.  Some of them were really freakin sweet… and all of them were very expensive.

  

My favorite was that seafoam green Fender Telecaster (right).  If I were a lefty with an extra $14,000 kicking around, that guitar would be in my apartment right now.

As for the naming my new toy “Grohl”…

I have been a huge Dave Grohl fan ever since his days as Nirvana’s drummer (baby Grohl), and I’ve always been a fan of the Foo Fighters. But aside from the fact that he’s a very well-known, accomplished and talented musician, my favorite thing about him is his general aura.  I know that sounds weird, since I’ve never met the guy, but any interview I’ve read or seen, he just seems like such a chill dude.  He’s not remotely arrogant.  He’s charismatic, funny, down-to-earth, and just totally real. Below are a couple videos that prove my point.

“Life’s a Bitch” – Yeah, good luck getting that out of your head for at least the next 48 hours…

I love everything he says in the Nylon interview about the rise of the Internet and blogging and the ability to have an opinion and a voice no matter who you are. That genuinely inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing – writing, playing, learning. I also love that the Foo Fighters just won 5 Grammys for an album that they recorded in his garage. And these are the reasons why I named my guitar Grohl.

Dave, you’re the man.

“So Get Off Your Rich Asses and Let’s Have Some Fun” (The 54th Annual Grammy Awards)

ImageBruno Mars performing “Runaway Baby” from his album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans

ImageChris Martin of Coldplay & Rihanna performing their colaborative “Princess of China”, off Coldplay’s 2011 album, Mylo Xyloto

ImageDave Grohl of Foo Fighters performing their award-winning single, “Walk”

The always amazing Adele performing her single “Rolling in the Deep”

ImageDeadmau5 performed with the Foo Fighters, and then jammed solo to the song “Raise Your Weapon”

I have to say that I was surprisingly impressed with the 2012 Grammy Awards. Above, I’ve listed some of my favorite performances of the night.  I, of course, went into the show with my fingers crossed for the Foo Fighters.  I always feel like rock (I mean ROCK rock) is extremely underrepresented at main-stream music award ceremonies.  However they clearly did not need any help from me, since they ended up taking home 5 awards, including Best Rock Performance for “Walk,” Best Rock Song for “Walk,” Best Long-Form Video, Best Rock Album for “Wasting Light,” (which was recorded in its entirety in Dave Grohl’s garage) and Best Hard Rock and Metal performance for “White Limo“.

Adele, not surprisingly, took home 6 awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Short Form Music Video. Everyone knew that this was going to be a total sweep for her.  She is, after all, the first artist in history to lead the Billboard 200 concurrently with three Billboard Hot 100 number ones. 21 is the longest running number one album by a female solo artist on the UK Albums Chart, and is tied for the longest cumulative stay at number one by a female solo artist. So yeah… she’s pretty good.

Now, I need to make a confession. And, I think this is a very opportune time to announce this, a. because it’s relevant to this post, and b. because I only just recently started this blog, so I think it’s good for me to get this out in the open early on.

With that being said, here I go…

I. like. Coldplay.

Are you still there?  If so, hear me out. I realize it’s not the “cool” thing, and many consider them “boring sellouts”, but I actually really like their music.  In all fairness, I do have to say that I like their older stuff better than their newer stuff.  I was a huge fan of their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, and X&Y is pretty good too.  You also can’t deny that Chris Martin is a very passionate and talented guy – I mean, he practically humps his piano when he performs… That dude freaking loves it!  And I did really enjoy their performance last night.  His collaboration with Rihanna (“Princess of China“) was beautifully done in acoustic fashion, and I have to admit, I’ve been singing their song “Paradise” all day.

Another performance that completely caught me off guard was Bruno Mars singing his single “Runaway Baby“.  I am so estranged from pop music these days that I had never even heard the song before, but his performance was arguably the best of the night.  It was like watching a current-day James Brown (and he actually did that reference justice!) He is definitely a talent in my book.

The other “performance” — I guess you would call it — that was truly notable, at least to me, was the section of the show which paid homage to dance music. This genre took the U.S. by storm this past year, although it has been popular throughout Europe for years and years now.  I’m actually a relatively big deadmau5 fan, so I was excited to see what he would do.  I have to say, I was kind of underwhelmed by his choice in song.  I was hoping he’d do something either a little more well-known or at least a little catchier (like “I Remember“, “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” or “Some Chords“), but maybe that’s just me.  Either way he’s awesome, and clearly well-deserving of the recognition he receives.

 And, of course, I cannot fail to mention the many many tributes to Whitney Houston throughout the night.  Most notably was Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You”, which was actually originally a Dolly Parton song, but  was certainly the most famous song of Whitney’s career. I would be lying if I said that this has truly affected me on a personal level, since I wasn’t really a fan.  But it is certainly a loss to the music community regardless, and I can’t argue that she was, at one time, one of the best female vocalists ever.  She had a range that no one else could touch. It’s a shame.

My sincerist thoughts go out to her family, friends and fans.

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