The Weekend Review: January 2011 Report

Originally posted 2011-05-15 23:30:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome to the first Weekend Review of the new year.  I hope you’ll enjoy our new monthly format, optimized for ease of use with the hope that you’ll be able to turn to LaptopSessions.com for new music news in 2011.  Hurry back next weekend for the February report!

The King is Dead
The DecemberistsProducer:
Tucker Martine

Released:
January 14, 2011

Rating:
4.5/5 stars

Top Two Tracks:
“Rox in the Box” & “Rise to Me”

After the impressive – and yet distracting – complexity of 2009’s The Hazards of Love, the Decemberists return to kick off 2011 with what may very possibly be the best album of the year.  The King is Dead, referred to as a “barn album” by band members in the deluxe edition doc Pendarvia, is an album of simple and yet profound beauty.While, to be fair, it lacks the mind-blowing scale of recent previous efforts, there is something to be said for a cohesive and eminently listenable collection of tracks.

Think of it as an acoustic rock masterpiece, headlined by the soaring “Rox in the Box” and the sing-along anthem waiting to happen “This is Why We Fight.”  Even the fully acoustic, balladic tracks like “Dear Avery” are gorgeous to such an extent that you won’t be able to skip the track, even if you’re on the road looking for a rock song.  Although the lead single, “Down By the Water,” lacks something of the “x factor” that makes songs truly great, it is still a tightly packaged, catchy tune indicative of the best of the King is Dead sound.  Oh, and if you think “Calamity Song” sounds like an aural love-child of R.E.M., you won’t be surprised to learn that it actually features Peter Buck on lead guitar.

Good, good stuff, and a high bar to be set this early in the year.

 

Mine is Yours
Cold War KidsProducer:
Jacquire King

Released:
January 25, 2011

Rating:
2.5/5 stars

Top Two Tracks:
“Royal Blue” & “Flying Upside Down”

2008’s Loyalty to Loyaltywas the album that introduced me to and left me in awe of the Cold War Kids.  Their unique sound and keen sense for mixing the slow and off-center with the straightforward and single-worthy led me to high expectations for their next release.Well, as is often the case with high expectations, the reality rarely compares.

Whether my reaction is due to what I had expected to find on Mine is Yours is honestly too early to say, but what I’ve heard here is a collection of underwhelming tracks, many of which seem to promise more than they deliver and are often longer than they deserve to be.  Tracks like “Royal Blue,” “Sensitive Kid,” and “Flying Upside Down” stand out as excellent without need of qualification, but others like “Broken Open,” “Louder Than Ever,” and “Cold Toes on the Cold Floor” beg for more consideration, more development, in order to reach the heights established on the previous record.

This is not to say that it should be like a sequel to Loyalty to Loyalty, but the songs of Mine is Yours should at least be as interesting.  While I was initially turned off by the slicker production values, I’ve entirely come around on that, which makes me wish that more attention to detail had been paid.

 

The Party
Ain’t Over

Wanda JacksonProducer:
Jack White

Released:
January 25, 2011

Rating:
3.5/5 stars

Top Two Tracks:
“Shakin’ All Over” & “Nervous Breakdown”

Slogans like “The Queen of Rockabilly” don’t typically entice me to purchase music, but in this case, it was bookended by Jack White’s name in the production credits and a nod to Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on the Mountain.”In short, I couldn’t resist at least one listen.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Party Ain’t Over holds up to repeated listens, fronted by the outstanding “Shakin’ All Over,” a track that aptly blends the gritty alternative sound for which White is so well known with the sonic signature of 50s rock and, I suppose, rockabilly.  Here, as on the rest of the record, riffs abound and Jackson’s ragged voice establishes her in my mind as the female equivalent of a contemporary Dylan, in vocal delivery if not in lyricism, craftsmanship, etc.  In the area of originality, it is clear she doesn’t hold a candle to aforementioned Bard, but her choice of covers is impeccably fitting: a devastating take on “Busted” (see: Johnny Cash), the closest anyone has come to covering a 2000s Dylan track without earning a sneer from me, and a redefining arrangement of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know That I’m No Good.”

Even the latter half tracks are enjoyable, foot-tappers like “Nervous Breakdown” and “Dust on the Bible,” as well as slower tunes such as “Blue Yodel #6” (not to be confused with #4, or my personal favorite, #9).  All in all, for an impulse purchase out of raw curiosity, The Party Ain’t Over is a testament to Jack White’s capabilities as producer and studio musician; it may not be the best album of 2011, but it bears a certain quality and strength of arrangement (both within tracks and across the album) that it deserves to be noticed.

WCJM Free Internet Radio Station: “The Best Original Christmas Song” – 2003

Originally posted 2008-08-03 03:19:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By WCJM Free Internet Radio:

It wouldn’t be WCJM free Internet radio without a Christmas show. The first show with Alberto Distefano was a Christmas show, and since then, the growing cast had done two other Christmas Morning Shows until the “Best Original Christmas Song” Show in late 2003.

The cast of Chris, Jim, Mike, Alberto, Matt, Jeff, and Becky (the same cast from the Complaining Show) came together on December 23, 2003 to do an exciting Christmas show. Dave couldn’t be at the show- he was spending Christmas in Florida! However, he did have input towards the show and approved of the content after he came back.

Jim wanted to do a show that was different from all the other Christmas shows. After all, pretty much every decent Christmas song ever made was played on the previous three shows! So, there needed to be a theme that would still keep the show interesting. So, Jim decided to make a contest. What is the best original Christmas song ever written and recorded? Why did he specify original? Well, taking classics like “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are in another class by themselves, so to even the playing field, the list was narrowed down to just “rock’n’roll” Christmas songs.

Twenty songs were chosen out of a possible hundred or so, making the final candidates list. Just like the Song for the New Millennium voting, each cast member (plus Stuffy) ranked each song from 1-20. The averages were then taken for each song’s ranking and the songs were placed in order- the lowest (closest to #1) average would become the Best Original Christmas Song!

The show also finally gave Matt and Jeff a chance to vote on the songs, as they were left out of the voting for the Song for the New Millennium Show. Scheduling conflicts almost prevented this show from happening. Each member of the WCJM cast began going his own way, so finding a time everyone could meet for over two hours in a row would be a difficult task. But, Jim was persistent and with the help of the rest of the cast, everyone made it. However, Alberto had to work and didn’t arrive until halfway through the show- hey, at least he got to hear which song won!

The show also featured every cast member in their elements. Alberto and John Daley worked out a segment before the show, making it seem that Alberto was actually there for the time he missed! Also, since Dave’s voted were calculated into the voting, his valuable input made his presence felt. Chris was a superb host for this show- on top of the schedule at every turn. Jim came up with his best comedy segments to date, and Matt and Jeff lived up to their high standards of comedy, as well. Stuffy D. Bear was back with even more to say on this show, completing a well-rounded comedy lineup.

However, the biggest surprise on the show was the long (watch it!) segment with Dr. K. His segment on this show completely overshadows (Another one! Giddy up Keckster!) his appearance on the Complaining Show and makes this show a true Moore Hits in the Morning Classic. The excitement throughout the show makes you always wanting more, whether it’s comedy you love, which song will be #1, or both! I guess this show accomplished what it set out to do: to have another WCJM Christmas get-together and to have a great, exciting WCJM Morning Show!

So sit back, relax, and get in the Christmas spirit with this comedy radio show. See if you can guess which song is Number 1!

“Glide” (Stone Temple Pilots Cover)

Originally posted 2008-11-22 23:22:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

Yes!  It’s me again two nights in a row!  I have the privilege of bringing you another previously covered band (yeah I know, it seems like it’s new to cover a band we’ve already covered, but hey).  And not only that, another cover of a song you may not have heard before (just like yesterday).  I hope you enjoyed “Mourning Train”, because it’s just another impressive hit that I am happy to bring to you.

Well today here’s another song I have always liked from another favorite band Stone Temple Pilots.  Despite their rocky past and continually shaky future, they remain a favorite band of mine.  I enjoy their catalog from the beginning to end.  However, their later material has always shone much more to me.  This is because they geared more towards a “bluesy” and guitar-driven sound, rather than the reliance on power chords of the typical 90’s alternative bands.  This made them stand out much more to me.

Tonight’s song is “Glide” from their album “No. 4”. Glide is a very unique song in that the chords are all based on the same root for all the verses.  Despite the countless inversions and add 9s in the guitar part.  Like a song I have covered earlier in the year (“Spies” by Coldplay), it’s a unique guitar part but I am happy I pulled it off (mostly) on video.

I really tried my best to relax and belt this song out.  Combine the guitar part commentary mentioned above with a huge jump in notes and the use of falsetto, and you see I picked a doozy to cover.  I decided to be a bit more forgiving of myself in the mistake department, so you may spot a couple of misfingerings here and there.  To me it does not detract from the flow or the overall feel of the song in any way.

I recorded this song in the same session as the previous cover, and I had also attempted to record another song for a future session, but after this song I was just plum out of energy.  That’s ok – you’ll still see that cover on Tuesday!

Be sure to come back for our regularly scheduled Jim Fusco acoustic cover, and then Chris Moore will make your Monday a bit less manic.  For me, i’m just gonna “glide” on upstairs to beat my wife in a game of Gin Rummy!

Until then…

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and original music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!

“Ding Dong Ding Dong” (George Harrison Cover) : Jim Fusco’s 200th Video!

Originally posted 2010-01-06 03:06:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

And a Happy New Year to you- I’m Jim Fusco back for another year of the Laptop Sessions.  I’m also back with Number 200!  That’s right, tonight’s video is my 200th and it kicks off a brand new year of great acoustic cover song music videos here on the most popular music blog that isn’t corporately-owned…well, I can’t substantiate that claim… :-)

Anyway, I figured I’d kick the New Year and new decade off right with a New Year’s song in “Ding Dong Ding Dong”, a hit single off of George Harrison’s Dark Horse album.  If you’ve heard the original version of this song, you probably wondered why George’s voice sounded so raw and raspy.  No, he wasn’t taking vocal cues from his pal (and future Traveling Wilburys member) Bob Dylan.  He was actually suffering from a terrible break-up when his wife ran off with his best friend, Eric Clapton.  It forced the two friends to not speak for a long time (yes, significant others can change people and break friends apart, that’s for sure), but eventually they reconciled…once she and Eric broke up, too!  That’s a fairytale friendship story if I ever heard one.

The title track from Dark Horse also features George’s gravelly vocals and it’s actually a nice tool he uses well on these somewhat bitter songs.  I mean, George was always one to write songs against the “establishment” (like “Taxman”, “Not Guilty”, and “Devil’s Radio”), but this time, it was a more personal fight.  One can only think that “ringing out the old and bringing in the new” has to be correlated to his estranged wife leaving the picture.

And, in the end, George ended up finding his real soulmate in Olivia Harrison, whom he was with until the end and continues to preserve George’s legacy to this day.  Now there’s a woman who really appreciated and “got” him.  So, it all worked out.  I guess sometimes a broken heart is just an opportunity to find something (or someone) better!

I’ve always considered this a Christmas song- remember my post from a few weeks ago about my father’s famed Christmas Compilation tapes?  Well, this song was on it.  And even though it’s loosely based on the New Year and it’s idea of “starting anew”, it’s really not a Christmas song at all.  But, you’ll still never find me listening to “Ding Dong Ding Dong” from January through October!

I’ve already recorded a video for next week- I was on a bit of a roll tonight.  I could’ve done more, but work is really driving me into the ground lately.  So, hopefully I’ll get more gusto in two weeks to record some more videos.  My list is ever-growing.  I have a great forgotten 60’s song lined-up, but next week’s video is a late-90’s Top 10 Billboard hit that is officially the song played most on the radio- it spent 18 weeks at Number One on the Billboard Airplay charts.  That’s the most for any song- ever!

And I can’t believe we haven’t covered it.  My only thought is that I’m the only one here that can sing the chorus, so I’m glad I finally got around to it.  Look for some new bands to come in the near future, as well- it’s going to be another productive year of great cover song music videos…if I can find the time and energy to keep up with it week after week.  Until next week, enjoy “Ding Dong Ding Dong” in LSHD (Laptop Sessions High Definition)!