Gush: ‘Chequered!’ by Chubby Checker

This album is everything. Very grateful that Damien Jurado & Richard Swift’s cover of “If the Sun Stops Shinin'” brought me to it. Chubby Checker is famous for the pop hit “The Twist” – happy to report that this album brings so much more.

1971 was a good time. I allllmost wish I could time travel back to live through all the good music.

The opening track is a bold 7:46 long. I can’t think of another album that’s tried that move.

Death Cab For Cutie revisits ‘Transatlanticism’

deathcabre TransatlanticismWell folks, today I learned that this gorgeous album is only available on vinyl. As an avid CD collector, my heart broke a bit to think that I’ll live off the MP3s and the occasional spin of the record. My rationale against records is that I just cannot justify a more expensive music purchase, I do not like flipping records after four or five songs, and finally I cannot see the practicality in the size of a record.* This is the second or third occasion where I’ve run into a band that has released vinyl only!!!!!

I am slightly happy to have the gorgeous artwork bigger and larger than the CD and I cannot wait to spend some time admiring it this evening. Alright, I’m a little cheesed after purchasing this record to find that the artwork is just the old Transatlanticism packaging but bigger and the demo album was never pressed as a hard copy, MP3s only. The album has been out-of-print for a while now…

*Please note that records were awesome when bands put work into their appearance and packaging. I love when posters and small add-ons accompany the record… That’s worth the extra effort in owning a record.

Note a few of my favourite vinyl releases:

no-dice rabbit

And the very sweet poster that came with Rabbit Fur Coat:


Kronos Quartet and Bryce Dessner, Classical Music

Meet the Kronos Quartet, started in 1973 by David Harrington (not to be confused with DARKSIDE’s Dave Harrington). The Kronos Quartet are a four-piece string ensemble that has enjoyed extensive fame over the last forty years, which I believe is due to their ability to stay current. In 2003, thirty years into their outfit, they decided to take on a project they titled Under 30, where they took on the work of composers under the age of thirty.

Now, why I stumbled upon these guys is because of the work of a fellow aged thirty-seven and a member of the very successful band, the National. Meet Bryce Dessner, a rock musician with a surprisingly high level of education in his instrument, the guitar. Dessner earned a Masters of Music from Yale University, which is the very same program my good friend Alan attended. Alan told me, knowing my scary adoration for the National, that Bryce guest spoke to his class… My heart melted. Dessner is currently a composer-in-residence at an institution in the Netherlands called Muziekgebouw Eindhoven. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more, I do not speak or read Dutch!

Thanks (again) to NPR, you can stream Bryce’s composition performed by the Kronos Quartet titled Aheym. It made my head spin a little listening to it, but I really enjoyed it. The piece is being played by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony on November 9 in Toronto through the Royal Conservatory of Music at Kroener Hall. It should be a great gig with pieces by Nicole Lizée and Dan Deacon. Indie meets classical!

I also loved the film A Late Quartet. The group that performed the music throughout the film is called the Brentano String Quartet, who got their starts at Princeton University in New Jersey. They just did a gig at my alma mater the University of Toronto!!! I missed it! Got the light review from my roommates!

‘Telegraph Avenue’ Michael Chabon

chabI just started reading this gem after getting sucked in by its fantastic artwork, music focus, and the Bay Area. There’s so much mention to albums that I’ve never laid my ears on, so here mark the spot of a wonderful new project… As if I needed another one on my plate…

I am going to try and listen to as many of the albums mentioned as possible… Here’s my start based on today’s read:

Donald Byrd Electric Byrd Blue Note 1970
Melvin Sparks Sparks! Prestige 1970Melvin Sparks Spark Plug Prestige 1971
Charles Kynard Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui Prestige 1971
Airto Fingers CTI 1971
Andy Gibb After Dark RSO 1980
John Coltrane Kulu Sé Mama Impulse! 1967
Miles Davis On the Corner Columbia 1972

And that’s just 25 pages in!!!!


Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” on Breaking Bad

That’s a lot of B’s.

How about that ending. I won’t delve, in case you haven’t seen it yet, but I will reveal the show’s closing tune – Badfinger’s 1971 gem “Baby Blue.”

I’m no stranger to this song as my Dad’s a HUGE Badfinger fan. It’s really nice to see the band get a moderate resurgence after the use of their tune in the series finale of Breaking Bad. Here ya go folks:

Album: George Harrison ‘Living in the Material World’

1973 was a good year…

I also started listening to Gram Parsons’ album GP recently, also released in 1973. 1973 was the year Parsons died of an overdose… He was two months shy of club 27….

This post however is about my favourite Beatle–George, and his brilliant album Living in the Material World.

And this marvelous documentary Martin Scorsese directed: