Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 11 !

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While rummaging around today I found this thing I drew about 10 years ago & it’s a real head scratcher. Not sure what I was trying to achieve. All I know for sure is that she is way, way cooler than me 🙂 But hey (!), it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring a bunch of beauteous songs that are currently # 1 in some infinitely better alternate universe. They are all 🔥, check ’em out below, you can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify !

Soundcloud:

Spotify:

Weekly New Wonders #10 of 2020 !

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I drew a small creature to go with the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST which is also small. There are weeks when there are so many good songs it’s difficult to edit the playlist into something lean & efficient…but this week we weren’t inundated with a lot of grand newies which is understandable. While there weren’t a ton of songs, there were definitely a handful of mighty fine ones. Check ’em out below….

Soundcloud :

Spotify:

Beach Boy-esque : A Playlist…

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I have a geeky question for you, ready ? With no boundaries of time or place, what would your “dream band” sound like ? The one that would encapsulate everything you love in the musical universe in every way ? Vocals, sound, songs, everything. Is it Geddy Lee fronting The National ? Alicia Keys singing with The Band ? Janis Joplin belting it out with Low ? Tierra Whack weirding out in a band with Frank Zappa ? Sorry just doing some absurdist spitballin’ here.

I love hearing people’s answers to this especially if they are outright ketchup on pop tarts weird. I’ve sadly spent many waking hours pondering this question & came to the realization that my mythical band would sound something like Chaka Khan or Gladys Knight fronting the Beach Boys circa 1966-1973 ( the “lovelorn-psychedelic” years). Alas this mystical unicorn will only ever exist in my mind.

And so as a means of somewhat satiating this fantasy, I’m perpetually on the lookout for things that at least sound like The Beach Boys of that era, even in the smallest way. If you are a Beach Boys fan & want to hear some cool 21st century, maybe obscure, sometimes one off songs touched by that particular bit of Wilson genius ( all 3 brothers), please check out the “BEACH BOY-ESQUE PLAYLIST” below featuring some beautiful & slightly off the wall acolytes of that sundown sound. It’s full of tracks that have that influence, that feel, that signature Wilson thing. And forgive me for that playlist title, I just need things to be 100% on the nose so my old ass can find them easily in my antique i-Tunes library 🙂

 

The Beach Boy-esque Playlist:

 

p.s. I wanted to include songs from Lewis Taylor’s “The Lost Album”, which is basically the sound of a one man British-Soul-Beach Boys, and is absolutely gorgeous. It isn’t on Spotify or YouTube as of this writing so I can’t attach it here but it is available on Apple Music. Anyway I highly recommend tracking it down because again, it’s amazing ! FYI: The UK and U.S. versions had different covers, here’s what they look like :

*Nerd note: In the early days of this blog I ran this piece in a slightly edited form, this is a miraculously updated version

When You Hear This Song: “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie (2003)

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Glorious grunge popper Celeste Taucher aka Talker celebrates the gorgeous epic that sets her heart alight, Death Cab for Cuties’s “Transatlanticism”

I’m not totally sure when I first heard the song “Transatlantacism”, it had definitely been out for a while by that point (I was eight years old when it was originally released). But when I was in high school really finding my own tastes and discovering music, I fell in love with Death Cab for Cutie. Hard. They’re my favorite band and Ben Gibbard is my favorite lyricist. I loved it right away, but it actually had a second life for me when I moved away to college. My campus had a lake that I would walk around and just sit by listening to this song (the whole album really) and get way too in my feelings.

Everything about this song gets to me. The lyrics are perfect, and very classically Ben Gibbard. The visual he paints of the feeling of distance between two people is so beautiful, and yet so full of desperation and agony. And musically it’s gorgeous, the way it builds into this huge cathartic ending is so moving. I have a few memories attached to it, but the main ones that come to mind are actually of seeing the song done live. I’ve been lucky enough to see Death Cab perform a few times, but there were two particular shows that really got to me. First one took place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during an especially emotional time in my life, and the other was in Mexico City during a another really special time. Both experiences were really moving in different ways but I will say it’s really special to stand in a crowd of people, crying, and all singing together with your favorite lyricist.

While the song and album didn’t necessarily lead me to discover other music, it really got me further into Death Cab’s discography. All of their albums carry a lot of meaning for me and have been really essential to my own development as an artist and a human.

I still get emotional when I listen to the song and it will never really lose its meaning or its relevance to me. We’re always going through changes, we’re always missing someone and yearning for something we don’t have. That’s a universal experience of the human condition and I think this song perfectly captures it. I’m sure over time it will evolve to mean different things for me, too.

This song (and  Gibbard’s writing as a whole) has been a huge influence on my own work. I think I draw a lot from his writing style and visual storytelling. I’ve wanted to cover it forever, but I don’t think I would do it justice. I think it’s untouchable !

🐬 You can check out Talker’s amazing Wax EP below, one of 2020’s finest :

 

PuR First Quarter Favorites⚡️!

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That bird up there is a Great Argus & it is by far the BEST bird I’ve seen in person in 2020 ( they have one at the Bronx Zoo) but I digress…..PuR is a very small & somewhat silly blog, so small it wouldn’t even qualify as a pin prick on the pinkie finger of Pitchfork…but I still get genuine joy from sharing new music & writing ridiculously self-indulgent essays about old “uncool” music  that require the patience of a saint to actually read all the way through. In other words, I love doing this.

In light of what is happening right now, in all the misery & uncertainty, it seems even more important than ever to say thank you & show some love even in the tiniest ways. With that in mind I wanted to shine a light on some of the most brilliantly wonderful songs & artists that have surfaced over the first quarter of 2020. I hadn’t planned on doing this, didn’t occur to me until last week but this stuff is medicine & I’m grateful it all exists right now. Hopefully you’ll discover ( or rediscover) something here that’ll warm your heart for a minute. Rock on y’all⚡️

🔥PuR First Quarter Favorites🔥

SONGS (in no particular order):

Talker: Personal Space

Talker aka Celeste Tauchar released an excellent EP titled Wax this year & “Personal Space” is an unadulterated highlight. A melodic marriage of vintage grunge, Julien Baker style crescendos & Avril Lavigne’s forever banger “I’m With You”, it’s a real stunner.

 

Clea: Soft Blow to the Head

If “Soft Blow to the Head” had been born in 1994, it would’ve been played in an endless loop on both MTV & the radio & would likely have found it’s way into a good old Gen X film soundtrack. It’s a sweet jangle with a defiant core & a bit of Belly, smidge of Sundays & ounce of Cardigans embedded in it’s memorable melody.

 

Laveda: L

“L” sounds like a tranquilized, dreampop version of the Smashing Pumpkins “1979”, it’s hazy, hooky & just so languorously lovely.

 

HEBE: Out Of Sight

Bit of a vintage Zero 7 vibe to this sweet pop groove that explodes into something special when it hits the bridge; things get quiet, HEBE’s lustrous voice hovers over a spare backdrop & then it’s boom, boom, boom hands in the air for a semi-manic all too brief coda.

 

The Satellite Station: Phantom

A theme song for driving in circles in an empty parking lot at 2 in the morning feeling alone, alone, alone, the type of thing there can never be enough of, especially if they’re as fine this.

 

Eliza Shaddad: Pure Shores

It seems wrong to exult this cover of All Saints 2001 megahit “Pure Shores” as the finest Eliza Shaddad has to offer since her original stuff is so freakin’ good…but gotta love how she toughened it up, turning the electronic pop anthem into a vintage 90s alt rocker with a sweet Liz Phair/ Juliana Hatfield vibe; it’s just sublime.

 

Snowgoose: The Making of You

Sandy Denny, the late legendary vocalist of Fairport Convention & Fotheringay as well as incredible solo artist in her own right, could make traditional centuries old folk songs sound like pop songs & pop songs sound like traditional centuries old folk songs. Glasgow’s Snowgoose make music that is cut from that same glorious cloth. “The Making of You” is regal, rustic & handsome & hearing a band doing songs in this vein, this well in the pop-infested universe of 2020 is revelatory.

 

Charli Adams: Cloverland Drive

Adams is a truly gifted country singer and songwriter & this evocative reminiscence brings to mind peak Trisha Yearwood namely 1993’s “The Song Remembers When” & it don’t get much better than that.

 

ALBUMS:

Ellis: Born Again 

One of the more striking characteristics of Ellis’s debut album is how nearly every track starts off quietly standing in the corner then invariably erupts into either a wall of stirring shoegaze or a melodic twanging tearjerker…which is a very roundabout way of saying there isn’t a single weak track on it and it’s a total treasure.

 

Steve Reidell: Duke (40th Anniversary)

Steve Reidell of Air Credits, The Hood Internet & Black Moth Super Rainbow covers nearly every track from Genesis’s pop-prog masterpiece from 1980, Duke with complete, unabashed love. The fact that it even exists is wondrous enough but that it has the audacity to be as good too, well, that’s just a beautiful bonus.

And for the millionth time, Phil Collins Genesis > Peter Gabriel Genesis

 

And lastly, my favorite video:

HULA are a super duo featuring Bktherula & Hook & this is an unbelievably simple video, created by the digggers that so perfectly suits & celebrates the song ( & HULA themselves), it’s impossible to separate the 2. Whoever chose the mall setting is clearly some kind of super genius 🙂

 

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 9 !

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When things are chaotic & uncertain, it can be calming to follow a routine, as in get up at a certain time, eat at a certain time & so on. I’ve been doing this but have found my calm disrupted by an unexpected intruder, namely Questlove. For the past several weeks he has been doing live DJ sets that run from about 10pm to 130am ( or later !) every night & transmitting them via all the socials. In the short time he’s been transmitting, I have come to truly LOVE these things & have officially found myself at the “I can’t ever miss one” stage. My preferred way to watch & listen is on Instagram, mostly so I can see all the endlessly scrolling loved up, crazy comments of everyone else listening ( last night during his Bill Withers tribute there was extended conversation about grits happening).

You should probably know that being of the same deranged species As Questlove, namely HARDCORE MUSIC NERD ™, I have always longed to be his friend, have imagined detailed scenarios involving the two of us eating chips & sitting in front of a stereo with LP’s spread all over the floor yelling deranged hyperbolic things at each other about how the Five Stairsteps were really more gifted than the Jackson 5 or how everyone has slept on Tears For Fears “Seeds of Love “ album & they’re idiots.

His DJ sets are ridiculously eclectic, spanning all genres, & he often gets on the mike dropping in facts, anecdotes & opinions. And listeners respond to him at a furious pace; the scrolling never stops. And naturally when a song or opinion hits I too weigh in, secretly hoping he “recognizes” me & responds ( though nothing short of “I love your blog” or “let’s hang out” is going to satisfy me). The sensation of being ghosted in realtime when you can actually SEE the other person is both disconcertingly funny & soul crushing. Still I live in hope that Questlove will eventually come to his senses & realize that we are kindred spirits & will therefore continue to devote my every night to his endless sets. By the way I did that drawing of him up there with my ballpoint pen because I clearly care waaaaaay too much 😉

And with that, I invite you to head to the blog (link in bio) for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST , featuring the MOST HEARTSTOPPINGLY WONDERFUL NEW SONGS we heard this week. I genuinely hope you find a new friend.

Soundcloud:

Spotify:

 

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 8 !

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Guessing we’ve all been receiving a lot of those emails from Netflix & Hulu, as well as websites like Paste & Vulture, recommending things to watch while quarantined at home. While some of the suggestions seem genuinely interesting & potentially addictive, I haven’t watched any of them. All I’ve wanted to watch are animal & nature docs. National Geographic & Real Wild shows about elephants, owls and wild dogs. I’ve gone down a literal rabbit hole full of actual rabbits. And as brutal as nature can be ( you wouldn’t want to be reborn as an impala ), there’s still something oddly comforting & transportive about watching these shows even if it means watching how wild dog pups get fed which is exceptionally disgusting…but still I say bring it on you regurgitative, big eared fuzzballs, you’re still awesome. Anyway, IT”S TIME FOR NEW MUSIC ! We now offer you the finest songs from recent days by some beautiful humans within the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST. There’s a whole bunch of ethereal gorgeousness in there this week, here’s hoping you find something to love….

Listen on Soundcloud:

Listen on Spotify:

That’s Their Pet Sounds : Kenny Loggins “Celebrate Me Home” (1977)

Mission statement:

No matter who we are in this absurd, brief, and messy life we can all lay claim to a peak, a shining moment where we were the best we could be, where all the stars aligned and we freakin’ delivered the goods.

Welcome to “That’s Their Pet Sounds”our semi-regular feature where we endeavor to spotlight and celebrate a heretofore maybe uncool, often unjustifiably underrated, sometimes polarizing, not as acclaimed as they should be, or “what the hell?” artist’s grandest artistic achievement i.e. their greatest album.

*”That’s Their Pet Sounds”is named after the Beach Boys landmark 1966 LP which is universally regarded as one of the greatest albums ever made but yeah, you probably knew that.

 

Now grab yourself a cushion and let’s go chill in the gazebo…

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Kenny Loggins’ BEST ALBUM :

Celebrate Me Home (1977)

Background : By the end of 1976, after 5 years as a performing duo, pop troubadours Loggins & Messina decided to end their musical partnership. It’d been a great run that saw them score no fewer than 5 platinum albums, 2 Gold albums and a top 10 pop hit with the somewhat polarizing “Your Mama Don’t Dance” ( the “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” of it’s day). Loggins explained the situation in classic rock-speak, stating that things were starting to feel “too comfortable”, that they needed to break up for “creative reasons”, adding that the decision to split “was mutual”. “We both felt it was time to put ourselves in different environments”. But really it was inevitable. For it had become abundantly clear over the course of the partnership that this Loggins guy had something. Not only did he write ridiculously melodic and memorable pop songs like nobody’s business and resemble the world’s sexiest mountain man, he was also blessed with a special voice…which is to say, damn,could he sang.

And so from the ashes, in 1977, did the Loggins (heretofore to be referred to as KL) solo career begin in earnest.

Celebrate Me Home, the first KL solo album, was produced by Phil Ramone and Bob James whose merged styles could best be described as “slick” with a side dish of “smooth”. Built on a bedrock of ace musicianship, lush strings, assertively strummed acoustic guitars and fat Fender Rhodes chords, there are no detectable blemishes or visible pores anywhere on Celebrate Me Home. Now while “slick” and “smooth” would no doubt get their asses kicked on the rock ‘n roll playground by “shredding” or “thrashing” or even plain old “rocking”, in the case of Celebrate Me Home, stressing the smooth side of things perfectly suited the lush KL songwriting style. If you ever want to simulate the feeling of watching an exquisitely perfect sunset lasting exactly 45 minutes over the Pacific Ocean in 1977, this is your soundtrack. Okay, I know what you’re thinking and yes, I suppose you could also play Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue with it’s equally bearded, beached, beauteous, born in ’77 vibe but you’d be settling in for a significantly rougher and more angsty ride. I recommend you just start your evening with Celebrate Me Home and save Dennis as a chaser soundtrack for when you’re getting wasted later that night because it’ll make way more sense then.

 

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Don’t let the riding crop scare you, he’s only looking to tame you with his melodic dreamscapes and lustrous voice.

 

Why it’s his Pet Sounds: Picking Celebrate Me Home as KL’s peak performance, where his melodic gift was firing at maximum capacity was an easy choice…pretty much. It should be noted that the 3 studio albums that followed were of a supremely high standard and all totally ruled in one way or another, from the dark, lusty moodiness of Nightwatch (1978), to the romantic spirituality of Keep the Fire (1979), to the angry AOR of High Adventure (1982). They are each in possession of some undeniably timeless, epically wonderful songs. And we should also acknowledge latter day album and dark horse Leap of Faith (1991) which was full of handsome, loved up new age pop as well. But as far as nailing it across the board in terms of mood, melody, overall vibe ( and there is one) and expertly mimicking the feeling of being on some languid and dreamy sailboat with an attentive and romantic captain, Celebrate Me Home is without peer. This album somehow manages to make rejection, lying and cheating sound warm, sweet and reassuring.

 

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The inner sleeve photo. No innuendo to see here folks, move along.

 

The Songs (side one): “Lady Luck”,  the lead track on the album is a beauteous, glossy acoustic led groove with a nice fat bass bottom that relates a semi-cryptic tale involving the devil and selling your soul. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it and everything is just a metaphor for cheating and being unfaithful. The song features this soon to be KL trademark of stopping or quieting the band mid-flight to spotlight some ethereal harmonizing or over the top vocal flourishes before waving them back in again. He’s employed this aural quirk in multitudes of songs throughout his career from “This is It” to “I’m Alright” and it always works. Speaking of that, when it comes to singing, Kenny Loggins can also be a scenery chewin’, word stretchin’ son of a gun… which is to say you can expect a fair amount of of vocal taffy pulling within most of his performances here ( and in most subsequent recordings). “Lady Luck” features one of the more endearing examples of that particular idiosyncrasy wherein Kenny reshapes “love triangle” into “love Try-YANGah“. Now that there’s some quality chewin’.

 

Most of the songs on Celebrate are co-writes, the coolest collaborator being legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb who penned the lyrics to poisonous little rose “If You Be Wise”. While promising on paper, it’s definitely one of the second tier tracks whose main purpose is to act as sweet glue between 2 absolutely killer tracks. It’s pretty laid back affair with an optimistic melody and features a pretty hummable chorus. Lyrically though, it’s another story, for “If You Be…” is really a shoulder shrugging, finger wagging warning about getting too attached to a touring musician because you know, there are temptations on the road babe and he’s only human.

 

“I Believe in Love”– Right so as mentioned earlier, KL can sang and this song offers the space and opportunity to show off his entire range, from the cooing falsetto to the full throated blast. It’s both joyful and melodic, featuring an odd tinge of calypso as well as enough breathing room in the chorus to allow KL to seamlessly ask the audience in live settings if they believe in love ( here’s what they said) .

The song was written by KL ( the music) and the long-time Barbra Streisand collaborators and married songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman (the lyrics). The song first appeared in the 1976 film of A Star is Born as sung by Streisand in a bitchin’ blue polyester suit. And okay, gonna say it, KL’s version destroys Barbra’s. Crushes it into microscopic dust.  Anyway the Bergman’s were a couple of old school composers who weren’t remotely rock ‘n roll (their credits also included Streisand’s “The Way We Were” as well as her duet with Neil Diamond “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”). Still they managed to pen a verse within “I Believe…” that is totally rock and doesn’t care about anyone but itself :

 

But I don’t want to find myself one day

Wakin’ up and lookin’ at Monday

With some what’s her name left from Sunday

I Believe in Love

 

Right, I’ll call you sometime okay ? We still have aways to go this tour and I’ll be kind of busy but I’ll try, no promises. One of the eternal wonders of the Celebrate Me Home album is how skillfully KL plays the roles of both bearded rock stallion and sensitive ’70s hippie guy without ever favoring either. Such is the magic and mystery of Kenny Loggins.

 

“Set It Free” remains one of the finest KL tracks ever, an epic ballad of realization that sounds like a mournful rainy day for the first 4 minutes and a cultish worship song for the last 2. Bob James’s opening intro on keys and the delicate KL vocal on the first verse literally feel like an embrace; it’s that warm and enveloping a combination, all swoons and sighs. There’s a great cover version of “Set it Free” by revered Norwegian jazz singer Radka Toneff from 1981 that’s also absolutely worth hearing. In her arrangement, she eschews the entire choral style ending and just sticks to the verses and chorus, offering up a heart-squeezingly desperate and beautiful vocal; it really drives home how exceptional the song is at it’s core. She died from suicide soon after this recording was done, at age 30, making this a undeniably poignant listen.

 

The romantic tables are turned on the ballad “Why Do People Lie” this time with the woman doing the cheating and KL doing the I don’t wanna believe it’s. It’s a showcase for the absurdly seductive KL falsetto which he milks here to the 1000th power. Naturally that meant once he took the song into a live setting he could really milk it. Check out this performance of the song from his 1980 album Kenny Loggins Alive to hear an audience member spontaneously combust upon exposure to said falsetto in the second verse. It truly is a weapon.

 

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Right, someone please get me to the  time machine asap…

 

The Songs (side two): “Enter My Dream” sounds just like it’s title and is pure luxuriant mellowness ( yes, it kind of is like a warm bath and if it gave off a scent it would be that of a subtle, intoxicating vanilla candle, a good one, not one from The Dollar Store). It is quite possibly imbued with subliminal messages because it’s hard to listen to it and not immediately want to go lie down in a field of grass and stare vacantly at the sky for hours. It also features one of those patented KL “stop everything and just listen to me singing and nothing else” moments mentioned earlier in it’s coda…and despite having heard this song 3000 times, I am still not 100% sure what he’s singing at that point. I mean it sounds like ” And I love a lot about dreaming, and I dream a lot about love“. But honestly, as it’s not printed on the album sleeve lyrics, I have no f-ing idea but who cares right because it still sounds utterly magnificent.

 

“I’ve Got the Melody (Deep in My Heart)” was written by jazz pop diva Patti Austin who provides the guest vocal on the track as well. It sounds a lot like something you would have heard on a typical ’70s  variety show, when the host and guest star do their big duet number. Affectionate, slightly lovey dovey but stopping well short of sexy ( actually it’s miles away, definitely no tongue here ). I call this one a default listen. As in, it was on the LP and I wasn’t going to get up and move the needle to the next track necessarily because it wasn’t terrible just ineffectually pleasant.

 

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It’s about to get dark in here…

 

KL is of course best known by the general population for his gargantuan ’80s soundtrack hits “Footloose”,“Danger Zone” and “I’m Alright”, all of which are basically fun and unquestionably frothy.  I always look at the big soundtrack hits as the end product of KL’s day job. It’s a job he was good at and got paid for but it didn’t really reflect the passions of the Real Kenny™. The songs bore no resemblance to what he was building out in the garage on Sunday afternoons, what he was truly passionate about. The Real Kenny™ can only be found on actual Kenny Loggins albums. They are him and he is them. Which is to say the true KL signature song is not “Footloose” or any of it’s arm wrestling, golf bag carrying wingmen, but is in fact this gloriously plush and sentimental singalong right here, the please don’t forget me epic “Celebrate Me Home”.

Now near as I can figure, after years of hearing it, “Celebrate Me Home” is about coming home after having been away for awhile and, like a battery getting charged overnight, getting enough attention from family and friends that you can use it to power you up  during lonely moments when you go back to…wherever it is you came from that keeps you far from home…which in KL’s case is, you guessed it, the bastard road .

Still it’s not quite specific enough that it’s sentiments can’t be applied to other scenarios. Amongst the fascinating, weird and sometimes obvious interpretations I’ve stumbled on across the web, my favorite was seeing the song recommended for funeral services, “home” being another word for, you know, heaven. It’s a stretch but I’m telling you, once I read that I never heard the song the same way again. When you listen to Joy Division or Nico, you expect to brush shoulders with the grim reaper, but to come face to face with the other side in a freakin’ Kenny Loggins song ?  It’s just perverse and you’ve gotta love it.

To counter that idea or perhaps offer another version of what “heaven” might be like, please enjoy this extended live version of “Celebrate Me Home” (below) from a show in Santa Barbara in 1981. Watch in slack-jawed awe, at around the 7 minute mark, as KL, here playing the role of “Sexy Jesus”, descends into the crowd and ignites an extraordinary display of audience horniness the likes of which you rarely see outside of a National Geographic animal documentary.

 

 

“Daddy” is kind of an awful word. It sounds slimy coming from anyone over the age of 5 but okay. “Daddy’s Back” is a smoothy groove with a memorable tune and breathy, scenery chewing vocal that gushes with endless optimism. Of course based on his previous behavior throughout the album it’s hard to trust that “Daddy” is being truthful when he says he “can see an end to Daddy’s days as a rolling stone” but the rugged, passionate vocal ad-libbing at the end is enough to blind anyone to the truth at least temporarily.

 

“You Don’t Know Me” is a remake of an Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker penned standard from 1956 that by the time KL had recorded it, everyone and their mother had taken a crack at. Elvis, Ray Charles,Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Roy Orbison and Jackie Wilson to name a few hundred. And it was understandable why so many artists would want to, as it’s story of unrequited love was laid out so straightforwardly that most of humankind could relate to it’s lonesome yearning.

Thing is nearly every version sounded like it was made in a cheese factory, the majority of them overrun by ludicrously over the top backing vocals and schmaltzy instrumentation working as a devilish tag team to destroy the songs sad dignity ( and usually succeeding)…which is why the KL version stands amongst the absolute best. For one thing the arrangement is so skeletal and spare it sounds like a demo…okay one made by virtuosic musicians but still. And the vocal itself is extraordinarily understated by KL standards as in he doesn’t lose his shit until the last verse and sounds convincingly defeated throughout.

The inclusion of this cover is another reason why this album is so kick ass: to close with something so morose, slow and rainy after the flying above the clouds for nearly the entire LP takes some balls ( or a maybe a strong riding crop).

 

In Conclusion:  Celebrate Me Home only got as high as # 27 in the album chart in 1977 but it did ultimately achieve platinum status in 1980. Which seems about the right pace, for this is the one KL album that seems cool with laying back and letting others speed wildly to their ultimate destination. It’ll get there when it gets there. Look at the cover art, see how blissed out Kenny is to be home after months of touring ? He wants you to be blissed out too, chilled, that’s why he made this for you.  Sure, there’s some dishonest unfaithful behavior and disingenuous promise making happening in the songs but babe, that’s just life. The fact is underneath that hoodie beats an enormously empathetic heart with the magical ability of molding pop songs into ravishing sunsets.

If all the hyperbole here isn’t sitting right with you, I’ll offer you a more pragmatic explanation: basically Celebrate Me Home is like a less drugged up, totally shined, fragrantly showered, and contented version of Jackson Browne’s definitive life on the road diary album Running On Empty. It’s reassuring arm around your shoulder, “bound to roam” but always coming home. It’s his Pet Sounds.

 

Hear it here:

Or here:

Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 7 !

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When it comes to writing about music, I usually categorize myself as an evangelist or a missionary. You know, presumptuously sharing things that I think will enrich the quality of someone’s life & testifying maniacally about how wonderful they are and why. It seemed somewhat noble and marginally dignified to think of it that way. But a friend of mine recently informed me, I am not an evangelist/ missionary,  I am in fact, a “fluffer”, providing the “set-up” needed in order to make someone want to listen. I was taken aback by this for a second …but then I realized, it’s totally true, as lowbrow & unappealing as it sounded. And so I’ve decided to accept this categorization & hope you find the virtual aural fluffing you’re about to receive fulfilling. And so for a really good time, please enjoy the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST where you will find the hottest & most beautiful new songs & artists, all of whom are dying to meet you. Amen.

Listen on Soundcloud:

Listen on Spotify:

Calm: A playlist for right now…

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How are you feeling right now ? Maybe anxious & unsettled, maybe afraid, maybe lonely. Most of us have don’t have a point of reference for how to deal with this specific type of situation or have had any life experience that we can call on & go “yeah, that’s what I’ll do to alleviate this anxiety & stress, my tried & true method that always works whenever this happens”.

Despite how all that sounds, this is not an infomercial I swear, & I’m not about to offer a surefire way to feel better. I just wanted to share this thing I made that I listen to when shit gets crazy because it simply calms me down. It’s just a little neo-classical, sort of ambient, playlist featuring some especially cool pieces of music. As much as I love the POP music, I play this thing nearly every day in some variation & have done for months; it’s basically a vitamin plus medicine. Anyway, wanted to share it in case anyone isn’t feeling well because I’ve found it to be very calming, even as a simple backdrop to whatever task or project or life activity you happen to be indulging in…though I personally just like to put on the big fat headphones & drift away to it. Or sometimes I just pick a track & play it on an endless loop because sometimes you just plain need to do that. Here’s hoping you find it helpful & peaceful.

Listen on Soundcloud:

Listen on Spotify: