Man, the last week has been a whirlwind. Penelope is just over a week old now and doing awesome. We’re hoping to take her home form the hospital this weekend if everything stays as planned. Cannot wait! I don’t know if it’s having a kid, being home from tour for a minute, or just the start of summer, but I’ve been really getting back into listening to music lately, which rules because I had been feeling pretty burnt out on all things music as of late. The trusty Camry has been blasting some crazy tunes to and from the hospital. Here’s what I’ve been feeling recently. Let’s call it the Billion Bonus Jam Bonanza.
Los Lobos Del Este De Los Angeles. I think I’ve talked about this album before, but it is the absolute perfect thing to blare from your car or porch on these beautiful end of spring/start of summer mornings. Mike played this for me on a trip to Madison for the F. Stokes release party a few years back and I’ve been hooked ever since. I think this was one of the first records they ever put out, self released way back in ’78, and it features their take on a bunch of different traditional Tex-Mex songs. SO good.
And here’s a heart warming bonus video of them performing “El Canelo” on Sesame Street!
Late 80s/early 90s New Jack Swing R&B. I’ve been bumping Hi-Five’s Greatest Hits album ever since I heard “I Like The Way” (above) in the liquor store last week. I got into R&B as a kid right around the time these guys were on their way out, and I hadn’t realized how deep their catalog of hits really was. Drive around the city with some of these jams pumping out of your car and you will demand respect from every other car/pedestrian in your vicinity, both young and old. Guaranteed.
While we’re on that R&B feel, I gotta mention After 7. “Ready Or Not” (above) is an all time classic quiet storm jam. Come to think of it they were playing this in Chi-Lake Liquors the other day too (best liquor store musical taste in the city). Turns out two of the guys in this group were Babyface’s brothers, and you can kind of hear it in the vocals. The rest of their stuff doesn’t really come close to “Ready Or Not,” except for the out of nowhere late 90s one off reunion cover of Hall and Oates’ “Sarah Smile”!!!! Amazing. “Sarah Smile” was the first song that Cam and I danced to at our wedding, so I’m extremely biased, but this cover is truly unique/visionary. Check it out.
I know, I know. Randy Newman again. I’ve come to the realization that while most people have Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash or Tom Waits as their go to old man sing along cry into your beer staple, I have Randy Newman. He’s like the musical version of a Kurt Vonnegut novel to me or something. Lately I’ve been really getting into his Little Criminals album again (the one with “Short People” on it). I guess he ended up recording the majority of it with The Eagles as his backing band, not something I’d generally be too pumped about, but they really locked into something special on this one. “Jolly Coppers On Parade” (above) is one of my all time favorite Newman joints ever.
And here’s the Toy Story 3 bonus jam “We Belong Together,” simply because it is one of the happiest songs of all time (plus he got an Oscar for it so you know it’s legit). I’ve been playing this on my way home from the hospital every day and it pretty much sums up everything I feel about little Penny and being a new father. The chorus gets me all choked up with big intimidating man tears every time.
It’s been a minute since I really sat down and listened to some Marvin (unfortunately I think I OD’d on What’s Goin’ On back in high school). I’ve been obsessed with his Here, My Dear album though lately. It’s a double record chronicling the demise of his marriage in the late 70s, and it is INTENSE. The story goes that at the time before this was made Marvin had blown through so much money that he wasn’t able to pay alimony or child support for his son, so his attorney came up with a plan to give his wife 50% of the royalties from his next record. He went into the studio to phone in Here, My Dear and ended up coming out with some serious emotional ruminations on marriage and divorce. INTENSE.
This is the newish electonic/R&B project from Dev Hynes, that dude from Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion. I’m late to the party as usual, but I got super into this Coastal Grooves album right before we left for Europe and ended up playing it around 600 times between all the plane rides. “Champagne Coast” (above) is easily the best new song I’ve heard in over a year, and the subtle guitar playing all over this album is super fresh sounding and dare I say innovative (especially the amazing Thin Lizzy guitar solo tribute on “Forget It”). To top it all off this dude rocks Air Jordan earrings, so you know his taste is in the right place. Try not liking this.
OK, there you have it: The Billion Bonus Jam Bonanza. I’ll be back next week with the Billion Bonus Jam Bonanza (Local Edition) to showcase the impressive onslaught of new songs and videos coming out of Minnesota recently. Until then I’ll leave you with this one Baby Bonus Jam. Here’s Penelope making one of the craziest, most content baby faces I’ve ever seen. I swear she is the reincarnation of one of those turtles in Finding Nemo.
Hope you have a wonderful week. See you next Tuesday!