MMMM – Monday March 15

(30 sec samples of one song from each release.)

The Knew – The Knew’s Pulperia
Genre/Style: rock, through and through.
Website: http://www.theknew.com/
Notes: A very guitar driven album and another fine 2010 release out of John Macy Studio in Denver on the heels of Andrea Ball – Dial Tone, The Congress – The Congress, and John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light – Beautiful Empty.  The band displays the kind of full on frontal attack of a hard old school punk band with the swirling slide guitars and blues influences you’d  expect to hear in more southern rock type styles …

Carbon Choir – High Beams
Genre/Style: Rock, post-rock, alternative adult
Website: http://www.carbonchoir.com/fr_about.cfm
Notes: originally released December 2009, we just got this copy in the CS office.  This is another very sophisticated contemporary adult listen for 2010.  It’s very ethereal, very well orchestrated, beautifully arranged, and the performances throughout are among the best I’ve ever heard from a Colorado band at any level.  There’s not a ton of tempo on this record; there doesn’t need to be.  Recommended if you like Radiohead, though don’t expect to hear them wear that influence on their sleeve.  This is a band not bound by any other imagination than their own.  A sure early year contender for many “Best of Colorado 2010” lists.

The Intervention Band – Homey
Genre/Style: Jazz
Website: http://theinterventionband.com/
Notes: this is drummer Bob Levey’s project. Bob’s history is extremely deep.  Bob Levey is the son of Bop drummer Stan Levey who pioneered the original Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie groups in the mid 40’s and then went on to play with every major star in the music business from that period.  He has played with an impressive array of names, and his work has also contributed to the world of Hip-Hop, most notably being sampled on the platinum selling “When the Shit Goes Down” by Cypress Hill and De La Soul’s “Intro” on the hit CD “Buhloone Mind State”.   This is jazz – plain, simple, unobtrusive – think Johnny Mercer, Bill Evans, J.J. Johnson – all of whom he covers twice each on this record.  The pianist and the bass player are young guys – in their early-mid twenties… they are very tasty players – very smooth and mature sounding in the traditions they’re playing to.  Tim Fox plays piano on four of the selections, as well as trumpet throughout the album.  For some strange reason I recall George Shearing in his work – but then, this was the kind of jazz my Dad used to play when I was a little kid, so maybe it’s just those memories coming to mind… I don’t know.  But count me in – this is a great listen… from start to finish.

Chuck Pyle – The Spaces in Between
Genre/Style: Western Pop Folk
Website: http://www.chuckpyle.com/
Notes: It’s Chuck Pyle.  The man is a Colorado legend.  Chuck’s songs have been recorded by John Denver, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Suzy Bogguss. Country fans know him best for writing, “Cadillac Cowboy”, recorded by the late Chris LeDoux, and “Jaded Lover”, recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker. This album is as full of the gracefulness of storytelling as he’s ever done.  It’s wonderfully produced by John McVey at Coupe Studios in Boulder.  The musicianship is stellar throughout.

I just had a flashback

I’m in the midst of an online debate with some old friends from various parts of the US and Europe about “production” vs. “song” as those things relate to mainstream acceptability – and radio airplay.  While adding an IMO to the thread, I begin listening to the songs posted on the Jonny Woodrose & The Broken-Hearted Woodpeckers Myspace page.  Jonny Woodrose had emailed me a few days ago to invite me to listen.  The first song shocks me.  It’s one of those moments when you sit and think, “is this something great or something horrendous?”  I’m maybe four songs into “Live From The Garage” and I’m sold.

I’m old enough to remember some of the weird experiments of the 60s and 70s when every single rule was broken and then broken again, just to see how many rules could be broken.  This “album” is a riot in the grandest lyrical traditions of Shel Silverstein’s “Freaking at the Freakers’ Ball,” with a hit and miss vocal performance and lo-fi garage production quality to match any early Dylan record… you can throw in some early Bright Eyes recordings for some modern relevence if you want.  This is not to say that I like everything here… as is the case with so many band Myspace pages, there’s some stuff there that I do cringe at – especially the instrumental “Broken Hearted Assholes,” the epitomy of a garage band jam, which brought an end to my listening… with one exception… I went back and relistened to the “Curse of Luann Lilly.”

Maybe it’s because of the alternative country rock vibe emoted throughout the album that this song would bring comparisons to some of the more experimental Wilco stuff…  but really – it’s much more like what I remember as a teenager in the late sixties when so many garage bands experimented with mind expanding drugs, three major chords,  layers and layers of noise and distortion, along with whatever vocal expression came along.  Take that, adding in healthy doses of tongue in cheek political psychedelic country-folk-rock of bands like Country Joe & the Fish, and you get pretty damn close to the flashback I just encountered.

This is raw, unaffected, noisy music with plenty of witty adult sophisticated humor and spirit … and it has perfectly abducted my ears, brain, and heart from listening to anything more mundane and properly produced for this cloudy Sunday afternoon.

Songs of the day – Wed. March 10

Gabrielle Louise – Strange Summer Snow – new single that she has made available for free download on her site http://gabriellelouise.com/albums.html.  In her email this morning she says she’s hitting the studio in April to record a new album.  She’s been down in Argentina the past few months, so it’ll be nice to hear some new material from Gabrielle.  Enjoy.

Tage Planetell – Don’t Worry About Me — See Tage’s website at http://www.tageplantell.com/ to download this single for free from his new album.

New Video “Don’t Worry About Me”

I first heard of Tage Plantell back when he was in the band On Second Thought.  That band called it a day in 2004.  He was also doing some solo stuff back then – kind of a Keller Williams hybrid thing w/ looping and all that — the one chance I did get to see him do this live, at the old Soiled Dove in LoDo when I was hosting an acoustic music night, he was stunning!  He just released a new album today.

Okay — for some odd reason I cannot embed a Vimeo video here … I will continue to work on that … in the meantime, here’s the link to the new video for the first single from the album, “Don’t Worry About Me.”  Enjoy.

Don’t Worry About Me from Tage Plantell on Vimeo.

Edit:  March 17 — figured out how to embed stuff here

So What’sup with CPR?

I got a very interesting email from a long time friend in public radio tonight.

Here it is … I’ve elected to not disclose the author, unless he wants to come on here and do it.    But his email to me does present some interesting issues that those of us involved in ANY kind of radio should pay attention to — public radio or otherwise.  We’re not in radio-Kansas anymore Toto….

Here’s the email:

Chris and friends in the Fort:

I’m not sure if you’ve seen this, but if you haven’t, you should:
Rating Outlook On Colorado Public Radio s Series 2002 Revenue Bonds Revised To Negative

8.2 million dollars in debt.  With a bond rating downgrade, all they can seem to do is re-finance their debt.

I hope the impact on community radio stations around the region will be minimal.  With the economy in terrible shape, Colorado Public Radio’s (CPR) need to sell their Ruby Hill property (the old KVOD location) in today’s real estate climate, and a years-long attempt (with no takers) to sell-off their 1340 AM signal in today’s radio world (CPR bought 1340 for 4.2 million dollars), there’s no place but DOWN from here for CPR.   The downturn goes to the core of operations as CPR staff morale is reportedly down.   Recently, staff began meeting with senior management to discuss items such as “benefits”; items that once seemed untouchable.  Beware of the possible fallout.

Why should everyone else in the public radio world in Colorado be concerned?

CPR is the largest public radio entity in the Rocky Mountain West, a prestigious distinction which can also translate into something much less attractive when finances start to fall apart.  The negative CPR bond rating blowback could make it more difficult for (smaller) public radio entities in the region, when they attempt to secure funding for larger ticket items (capital expenditures for equipment, etc.).

Questions can arise, such as:

–  If the region’s largest public radio entity is a financial risk, why should major lenders or investors (of CPR bonds) invest in smaller budgeted stations?

–  Aren’t smaller public stations naturally a higher risk than an entity the size of CPR?  Or

–  can smaller stations present a “mean and lean” proposal that can secure needing funding?

In this financial climate, it behooves smaller community stations to ask these questions and try to answer them honestly. Stations with solid ties to the communities they serve, with loyal local underwriting accounts, have a good start.  It’s a key part of this puzzle.  Here’s hoping you can move ahead through the financial fog.

Best wishes,

So, where DOES that leave the rest of us?  Do we have a product that people trust, that they want, that the community we live in needs, that creates a sense of urgency to engage in, and that we can afford?

Worth thinking about in this era of media contraction.