Watch This: Adam Savage At Third Man!

I’ve become a big fan of Jack White ever since I watched It Might Get Loud and continue to support his projects in any way I can. I haven’t been able to hit up the Third Man locations in Detroit or Nashville, but I can direct you to watch this amazing video of Mythbusters star Adam Savage recording a song at the Michigan location.

White’s mission is so cool and pure that I wish I had the money to join his Vault club, but for now that’s just not happening. I have a feeling that, if I lived anywhere near a Third Man store, I’d spend most of my money there, which might become a problem. Watching this fantastic video, though, is no problem at all! I’m still blown away that White’s set up this whole thing where you can play a song and record it right to vinyl in such a short period of time. It’s an amazing connection to the old ways of recording that is super important to keep alive.

My 12 Favorite New-To-Me Records Of 2012

It’s impossible to keep up on every record ever made, but I do my best. This is a pretty eclectic mix of missed out classic rock, folk revival, stripped-down rock, dirty blues, weirdness and pure, unadulterated funk. It’s a fun mix. pogues if i should fall from grace with godI freely admit that I actually discovered The Pogues by way of a cover of their classic downtrodden Christmas carol “Fairytale of New York” and the use of “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” in a car commercial. I am not proud of these facts — well, mostly the latter one — but that’s how it is. I’m mostly disappointed that it took me so long to discover this band and this record which is filled with the kind of Irish punch rock folk spirit still alive in bands like The Dropkick Murphys and Mumford and Sons. It’s like finding an integral piece of history that also happens to rock my face off. thin lizzy jailbreakSpeaking of face-rocking, I picked up Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak this year. It’s the first of their records I’ve ever actually owned, but I used to listen to my dad’s copy of their greatest hits record. This record of course contains “Jailbreak” but also “The Boys Are Back In Town.” It gets a little slower in the middle than I expected, but those songs are still well crafted and solid, I just wish this was wall to wall block rocking beats. zuzu's petals music of your lifeAs part of my only completed Ambitious Reading List, I read Laurie Lindeen Petal Pusher about her time in a band I’d never heard of called Zuzu’s Petals. After finishing the book, I was super interested in listening to her music as well as her husband Paul Westerberg’s first band The Replacements. So, I hopped on Second Spin and found four records that I wound up really enjoying. Zuzu’s Petals only recorded two records, Music Of Your Life and When No One’s Looking, and while the first one is definitely better, I found the mixture of honesty, pop and rock to be incredibly appealing. Plus, it’s cool to have some legit lady rock for Lu to listen to when/if she’s interested. the replacements let it beI felt the same way about The Replacements’ Pleased To Meet Me and Let It Be. I know very little about pre-grunge 90s rock and roll and honestly assumed it was all kind of in that same downer vein. And while many of the subjects that The Replacements wrote about are similar to songs by bands like Nirvana, there’s a more positive feeling behind them. Listenting to these records was kind of like discovering an alternate universe and wondering what music would have been like if these bands blew up all over the world. gary clark jr self titledI’ve been hearing a lot about Gary Clark Jr. lately. He’s been featured by some news outlets I keep an eye on and also had a stellar performance at the 2010 Crossroads Music Festival which I watched on Netflix Instant. I was happy to see his self titled EP on sale on Amazon and gave it a download. Clark’s the real deal when it comes to down and dirty rocking blues, something most people have probably heard here and there with the track “Bright Lights.” He’s definitely one whose records I want to explore more deeply. flaming lips yoshimi battles the pink robotsIt’s funny how we develop preconceived notions about bands with minimal exposure to their actual music. I had developed one about the Flaming Lips that they were just a bunch of weirdos making weird music. And, you know what, they are and that’s okay. I like weird and I’ve liked weird for a long time, so why didn’t I give them a shot earlier? No idea. Wayne Coyne was on an episode of WT with Marc Maron that reminded me that I knew very little about that band, so when Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots popped up on Amazon for $5, I gave it a whirl. I haven’t listened to it a ton, but when I did it was kind of a full experience. I’d like to sit in a dark room and just listen to this record, or maybe write to it. It creates a really dense atmosphere that I want to wade into. Stretchin' Out In Bootsy's Rubber BandSometimes you just need to funk it up. My experience with Parliament records has not been the best. Sometimes those long, winding intros and funkadelic jams just get a little tedious. But, I did not have that same experience when listening to Parliament bass player Bootsy Collins (and bass hero of mine) on his solo record Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band. Wall to wall funk, the tracks are long, but always interesting. You WILL dance to this record.Avett Brothers EmotionalismMy buddy Jesse Thompson has turned me on to some of my favorite records in past years, most memorably Stephen Kellogg. We’ve talked quite a bit about The Avett Brothers, one of his favorite bands, so when I saw them on the cheap, I had to give it a listen. Emotionalism is actually the perfect title to this record which digs in like a less Irish, but still folky Mumford and Sons and doesn’t let go until all the tracks have said what they have to. hanni el khatib will the guns come outI don’t remember how I heard about Hanni El Khatib or why I downloaded his record Will The Guns Come Out, but I’m glad I did. This record is definitely in the same vein as Jack White’s music, but with maybe a bit more stripped down/punk rock vibe to it. I dig it. Sleater-Kinney Dig Me OutSleater-Kinney and Wild Flag are two more bands that I started listening to because of a podcast. Well, a podcast and a TV show. Carrie Brownstein is on Portlandia, a show I quite enjoyed the first season of (season two just hit Netflix Instant!). I also liked her interview with Marc Maron on WTF and decided to check out her first band Sleater-Kinney’s Dig Me Out and her current group Wild Flag’s self titled album. I intended to do a Supergroup Showcase on Wild Flag, maybe this will be my incentive. Anyway, I like rock and roll and powerful women, so this combination of the two is aces in my book. There’s a certain chord that Brownstein hits with her vocals that lingers in my chest. I can’t explain it, but I like it. Dead Weather Sea of CowardsAs I wrote about, I got really into Jack White and his bands The White Stripes and The Raconteurs a few years back. I still haven’t gotten his solo record Blunderbuss, but I did pick up The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards. Jack’s really good at showcase individuality in his bands while still keeping things cohesive. The cool thing about White’s music is that they all feel like part of one big narrative or theme. It’s kind of like reading Grant Morrison’s DC comics. They’re all kind of weird and look different, but they’re all connected by pieces of what came before. In this case, that’s literally White’s voice, but also the kind of raw style he evokes from those around him. Black Lips Arabia MountainI discovered The Black Lips by way of their track “O Katrina” on the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World soundtrack which still gets regular play in my car (I still rock the CD visor holder in my ride). I loved the song’s surf rock vibe, a kind of music that seems somehow imprinted on my soul. Since then I’ve kept my eyes peeled for one of their records on the cheap and came across their most recent Arabia Mountain. I can’t compare it to their previous works, but I really dig the old school feel that mixes everything from 50s/60s surf pop and New York punk rock. This is good music to get things done to.

I picked up a lot more albums than these ones, but this dozen really made its way into my brain. Some I just haven’t given enough listens to to give a solid review of, but I’d put my seal of approval on these bands and records without batting an eye.

Casting Internets

The awesome Jen Van Meter did me a solid and talked about her Five Favorite Avengers for Marvel.com.

I’ve also been super busy writing about comics over CBR including this great interview I did with Joe Keatinge. If you dig the logo of me and the chimp at the top of the page, check out my pal Rickey Purdin’s other sketches for possible logos over on Rowdy Schoolyard.

I do not care about the Watchmen prequels, but I dug my pal Brett White’s take on it for CBR.

Wish I had thought of doing this Godzilla misconceptions list for Topless Robot.

I am very excited to listen to Jack White’s very first solo album. It’s called Blunderbuss and drops in April. Something to look forward to! (via Rolling Stone)Scott C did an Over The Top Showdown! Awesome!

Alan Lomax was a dude who went around the country recording folk, blues and country artists to create an aural history of American music. According to Rolling Stone, his archives are being digitized and will be streaming and sold as CDs, this is very cool news.

Dave Grohl and Dana Gould are working on a rock star based sitcom for FX? Considering how solid all the FX comedies are and how much I like the Foo Fighters and Gould, this should be an excellent show. (via THR)

Finally, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, I’m selling a never opened Garindan Long-Snoot minibus from Gentle Giant over on eBay. Happy bidding.

Favorite New Old Albums Of 2010

After listing my favorite new albums of 2010, I figured I’d also have some fun with a list of records I really dug that I bought this year, but didn’t come out in 2010. I’ve mentioned this before, but I buy a LOT of CDs on the cheap at garage sales, yard sales, flea markets and at stores. I rarely spend more than $7 on something new and get all kinds of deals at those other places, so I’ve been able to acquire lots and lots of music I missed out on in previous years. This list has a whopping 12 records and/or bands on it, but I’ve written about a few of them previously, so I won’t get into too much detail on those. Hit the jump for all the goodness you can handle! Continue reading Favorite New Old Albums Of 2010

Music Musings: Jack White

I used to HATE Jack White. The White Stripes blew up when I was in high school, maybe it happened earlier there than everywhere else in the world because they’re from Detroit which is only a half hour away from where I grew up in Toledo. Anyway, as a bass player, I was immediately put off by the idea that they didn’t think that position was important enough to fill in their band, even though I was pretty sure there was bass on some of the tracks. I also didn’t really like the schtick with the red, white and black color scheme and “are they siblings or married?” talk in regards to band members Meg and Jack White. But the most damning thing in my opinion was a Guitar World interview with Jack where he badmouthed blues players. That was it for me. Fast forward a decade or so and now I can’t get enough of White, The White Stripes or The Raconteurs (I haven’t gotten into The Dead Weather yet, but I will).

So, why did my opinions change so drastically? Well, first off, I hope I’m not as a judgmental asshole as I used to be in high school. But, even more importantly was watching It Might Get Loud, one of the (if not the) best musical and most interesting rock and roll documentaries I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it (and you really should it’s on Netflix Instant right now!) the conceit was to get three very different kinds of rock and roll guitar players from different generations to tell their stories separately and then get together to talk about records and play music. The three musicians are Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page who I love, U2’s The Edge who I don’t care for (technically, I don’t care for the band, he’s fine) and Jack White. I really appreciated seeing White talk about working as an upholsterer while coming up in the Detroit music scene and even now he does things not to make life easier on himself, but to test his limits. Whether he’s playing with a guitar that is forever going out of tune or putting the microphone a few more feet away from the keyboard, the man seems dead set on challenging himself when it seems like most rock stars decide to take the easy road. I can respect that. There’s something very bluesy about his mindset and hardworking, which comes straight out of the Midwest or really any cold place where people have to work hard for their money.

I was such a fan of the movie and White’s after watching it, that I immediately went out and picked up one of the two Raconteurs records (I honestly can’t remember which one I bought first) and then got the next one. Of course, I’m talking about 2005’s Broken Boy Soldiers and 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely both of which I have become a huge fan of and have been on regular rotation ever since. How great is “Steady As She Goes”? Super freaking great, but the thing I like most about these two records is how broad they are. You start of with a pretty straight forward rock song like “Steady” and then from there it’s all over the place. The songs might seem disparate at times, but there’s an earthiness to the proceedings that tie all the tracks together. I actually got a Beatles vibe from the records because of all the different elements and kinds of songs, which is not a compliment I offer lightly.

From there I went back to The White Stripes and wound up getting their first album, The White Stripes (1999), and their most recent studio record Icky Thump (2007). Stripes has a lot of raw energy to it which you might expect to have faded by their last record, but that’s not what I see. If anything, I see musicians who have gotten more comfortable with each other (in a good way, not a lazy way) and who have decided to branch playing more kinds of music. I’m nowhere near an expert on the band, only having watched It Might Good Loud and the band’s Canadian tour film Under Great White Northern Lights, and like I said, I’ve only got two of their records, but I feel like I’ve got a handle on the mindset behind the music (at least as much as White is willing to show). He’s a hardworking man with a love for music of all kinds and isn’t afraid to push himself to try and make that music better, which is a huge part of UGWL. Not only do we get more behind the scenes type goodness, but also White’s desire to play shows in unexpected places, to play for people who aren’t fans and to hopefully turn some of those people into fans. I guess that’s what he did to me, so mission accomplished!

From here I’m keeping my eyes open for the White Stripes records I don’t have and getting into The Dead Weather (the fact that he’s a multi-instrumentalist is also impressive) as well as keeping my eyes peeled for other projects he might have in the works, like when he gave Conan O’Brien and his then-touring band a place to record or, well, really anything else the man has planned. He might literally be the hardest working man in rock and roll at the moment, in a time when most people are using their success to make things easier, White’s making himself work harder, even bringing his talent to other artists through his Third Man Records. Anyone with a work ethic like that, is aces in my book, ten year old remarks about the blues aside.

Record Review: Conan O’Brien & The Legally Prohibited Band 6-10-2010

Back in June I did a post about how I wished I could have been in Nashville for a performance by Conan O’Brien and the Legally Prohibited Band at Jack White’s Third Man Records (click the link for all the details and a video from the performance). At that time I went and pre-ordered the vinyl recording of the show from TMR’s website (you can buy it here). It took awhile for the record to actually get pressed and sent out, but I probably got mine a few weeks ago. It was a nice surprise because I had basically forgotten about the whole thing.

The record’s a ton of fun to listen to. You can tell that Conan’s still bummed out about not being on the Tonight Show and even does a great bit where he jokes how he’s going back in time from hosting the show, to going on a tour, to pressing a record and will most likely be a steamship captain in the near future. It’s fun to listen back now that we know he’s got a show on TBS coming up and that it will simply be called Conan. The set list included “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Rock This Town,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “On the Road Again” which he rechristened “I Want to Get My Own Show Again,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” a brief version of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” Radiohead’s “Creep” in a hilarious British accent, “The Weight” and finally “Twenty Flight Rock” with Jack White. I’m fairly sure that “Creep” just happened spontaneously on stage and their performance actually made me kind of like Radiohead, a band I think is ridiculously overhyped.

I wish the record would have come with some kind of download code so I could easily put these tracks on my iPod, they’re that fun to listen to (and let’s be honest, Conan’s band has always been the hottest on television, with the possible exception of The Roots on Fallon). I’ve got one of those record players that converts to MP3, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass to operate. Oh well, considering I do most of my work from home anyway, it won’t be a big deal.

So, if you’re interested in listening to an actual record of a giant Irishman backed by a hot band playing songs written by old black men from the south (plus some Brits, Elvis and a few other folks), then this is the perfect thing for you to pick up!

News Of The Day: Jack White Erupts While John Goodman Slims Down

Thanks to It Might Get Loud, I’ve become a pretty big Jack White fan after disliking him for many years (more on this on Friday!), but I haven’t made my way into the Dead Weather yet as I’m still checking out The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. Anyway, news came out today that White yelled at a bunch of Hollywood clowns while playing a show with The Dead Weather. Here’s a clip from the Daily News story:

“F- you, you hip motherf-ers!” White screamed at the audience, which included Liv Tyler, rock royalty Alexandra Richards, Shaun White and Mary-Kate Olsen. “Why don’t you rock the f- out?! Maybe I should go grab those free drinks and shove them down your throats, you hip motherf-ers!”

Pretty awesome, no? Why go to a concert if you’re not going to have some fun? The worst part is that he apologized at the end of the show (according to the article). What happened to rock stars that they’ve started apologizing for being egomaniacal jerks?

In other news (this time from People.com) John Goodman lost 100 pounds. Good for him! Having watched lots and lots of Roseanne over the past year, I noticed how big he got and still seemed when he’d pop up in things like Studio 60, Speed Racer or Confessions Of A Shopaholic. He’s one of the funniest guys around and anyone getting healthy is good news. Well done, John!