Live Phish 07.15.03 (recorded at USANA Amphitheater in West Valley, Utah, July 15, 2003).
I've only been listening to Disc 2, which features a blistering 30-minute take on guitarist Trey Anastasio's solo tune "Mr. Completely," which segues into a jam on "Low Rider," then into the thrash parody "Big Black Furry Creature From Mars," "Buried Alive," a blown take on "Ha Ha Ha" (Trey blows it!), back to "Furry Creature" and then back to "Mr. Completely." If I could find Disc 1 or 3, I'm sure I would play them too. Unfortunately, Disc 2 is all I have. All this in prep for the reunion shows at Hampton for which I will hopefully find some tickets. Who's got my extra?
From the Original Master Tapes (released 1996; originally recorded in 1957 and '58)
In memory of the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly's death at the age of 22, I've been listening to a reissue of material recorded by Holly and his backing band in Clovis, New Mexico. Alongside classics like "That'll be the Day" and "Peggy Sue" are some fantastic lesser-known tracks, like the driving "Rock Around with Ollie Vee." I'm constantly wowed by the sound quality of these recordings and how much can be captured with one good mic. Download some of the tracks here.
Game Theory (2006)
This tight collection of jams from the hardest working live band on the road today showcases their knack for combining infectious rhythms with heavy lyrical statements about modern American life. This is a crew that is not to be fucked with.
Recommended track: "Long Time"
The Crucible (2008)
This is the fourth installment in Zorns Moonchild serie featuring Mike Patton (vocals), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Joey Baron (drums). Zorn joins them again on tenor saxophone and guitarist Marc Ribot appears on track 4, 9x9. My favorite in this series was 2007s Six Litanies for Heliogabalus which featured organ, a female choir and at one point an eight-minute vocal solo by Patton, whose screams, gargles, laughs, choking sounds and falsetto were perfectly conducted by Zorn (and Ive seen him recreate it on YouTube). This time out, they blend in a healthy dose of melodic Klezmer and blues and while I would never call this project accessible, this is the first time I imagined the group of them on the road playing these songs night after night.
Fareed Haque + the Flat Earth Ensemble
Flat Planet (2009)
Guitarist Haque, probably best known as a member of Garaj Mahal, has concocted a heady mélange of groove-jazz and Indian/Pakistani elements that except for a couple of songs where he lapses into prog finds an intoxicating flow throughout. For my complete review of the album, click here.
Calvin Johnson & the Sons of the Soil (2007)
I found a used copy of Calvin Johnson & the Sons of the Soil (featuring Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and K Records infamy), and the record sounds really good. Johnson's simplistic method of writing and singing remains inspiring after all these years, while combining cute lyrics with sexual desire and issues of identity in creative ways. I saw Calvin Johnson play an acoustic show at the Orpheum a few years back, and it was a very magical (but poorly attended) show.
Little Joy (2008)
Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and Los Hermanos guitarist/singer Rodrigo Amarante developed some kind of bromance when they met a few years ago. They finally set aside some time and, along with
Fabrizio's girlfriend Binki Shapiro, released their self-titled debut last fall. The Brazilian-born Amarante carries the album with his often brooding and captivating delivery. From ballads to bossa nova,
backed by ukuleles and guitars, the trio made a sweet, well-crafted album. It's just 30 minutes, but it still makes you feel like you've fallen in love, broken up and then fallen in love all over again. Fans of M.Ward and João Gilberto will dig it the most.
Recommended track: "Brand New Start," a reverb-drenched throwback that you'll swear you've heard before.
Oracular Spectacular (2007)
Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser make are the leaders of this indie rock outfit from Brooklyn. Oracular Spectacular, the bands major label debut, is a delightful assortment of psychedelic sounds and lyrics that explore youth, success and the inextricable ties between the two. The songs are groovy, feel good, mellow pieces that allow for contemplation and dancing.
Recommended tracks: "Kids," "Time to Pretend," and "Electric Feel"
--Cl Editorial Intern Michelle Stark