things I like

So I guess you could say this post falls in the category of things I like.  As many of you who have followed my blog over the years knows, I love the 4AD music label(specifically the earlier years – the past 10-15 years have been somewhat hit/miss). One of the bands that I enjoy from the earlier years is RED HOUSE PAINTERS.  I recently acquired their SHOCK ME ep.

This recording features 4 official tracks and one untitled “hidden” track (at the end of track 4). Released in 1994 it really is a wonderful collection of covers and original material.   For this post I want to focus on the title track which is a cover of the KISS song Shock Me (written by Ace Frehley) that was originally on the KISS album LOVE GUN.    In fact there are two versions on this EP (the electric and an acoustic version).  Both versions are very solid and very unlike KISS.   Which is one of the things I love.

Don’t get me wrong; I love kiss I actually saw the Alive II tour at a local venue called the Richfield Coliseum (near Cleveland – which no longer exists – how time flies) on 8/1/1978 and what a show!  But that was in my fist pumpin’ hard rockin’ teen years.   Maybe you’re not a fan of KISS or are not familiar with this song.  That’s okay.   Ace Frehley wrote this song after an event that actually occurred on the KISS’ ROCK AND ROLL OVER tour where he was nearly electrocuted.   If you’re familiar with KISS you can imagine this song has the tell-tale chugging hard rock sound that many love from the make-up clad quartet.   I’ll post that video at the end of this post for comparison sake.   But first I want you to listen to the RED HOUSE PAINTERS version.

RED HOUSE PAINTERS have been described as slow core and folk rock. While their music inhibits both of those worlds this song is definitely in the slow core vein.   One of the things I enjoy about it is that is has a very Velvet Underground feel to it.    The second iteration of the song which is acoustic sounds familiar yet very different.  I can sit with my eyes closed listening and imagining Lou Reed and Peter, Paul & Mary singing this.   It really is quite beautiful.

The EP has ephemeral/ethereal cover art that 4AD was known for in the early days.    If you don’t recognize the image – it is a detail of an old broken down upright piano keyboard.   A beautiful simple image that resonates so well with the RED HOUSE PAINTERS sound.   Dean Carlson of ALLMUSIC described this version of the song and the EP as “Somehow quietly splendid”.   I look at the KISS version of SHOCK ME as the “I dare you to” version and the RED HOUSE PAINTERS versions as the “surprise me” versions.  Because even though the lyrics and music is the same the songs couldn’t be more different.  And I think a great original cover of a song that basically re-invents the songs potential is also great art.  I think I’ve said all I can at this time.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Finally the moment you have been waiting for?  Here’s the KISS version from a concert in 1998 in all their makeup and costumed glory.   🙂

music theme for summer 2020

Do you ever pick a theme song to get you through the summer? I do because the music feels cool no matter how hot the temperatures may get.   I started doing this in 2003.   That first year the album was THE THORNS – with their songs “Runaway Feeling” and “I Can’t Remember”.

This year with everything that’s happening culturally, politically, globally it just feels like a nonstop hurricane.   I choose to sing and dance.   Most people think these things are just about feeling good, joy, celebration etc.   But you can also sing and dance in protest.   And that’s my mindset this year.   So my theme song for 2020 is “Dance In The Hurricane” by Toya Willcox.   I listened to Toya occasionally back in the 1980’s when she was just starting her career.   In addition to music she is a gifted actress and author.  She never really broke big here in the United States.  I lost track of her over the years.    I recently re-discovered her with her new remastered collection, when she recorded with a band simply called THE HUMANS.   I started doing some googling and reading and found that somewhere after I stopped listening to her she married Robert Fripp –  yes, that Robert Fripp, of KING CRIMSON fame (**see note at end).   Now my curiosity was piqued and started seeking out her most recent music.   She just released (in 2019) a remastered edition of her last studio album IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON QUEEN (2008) re-imagined w/bonus tracks (a deluxe 2 disc set).    I listened to a couple of snippets on YouTube and thought “Oh what the heck”… and I bought the album.   It blew me away.  One song, especially, just grabbed me in the fiercest way – its ideas and the driving rock sound.   “Dance In The Hurricane”  features some narration by Robert Fripp. Its an encouraging and powerful song to be listened to repeatedly during difficult times.

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:

“…Don’t write my rules,
Love your life, Dance in the Hurricane…Only heaven knows how life will write your song. Be loud, be heard, be proud…”

[chorus] “I danced in a hurricane with the god who has no name, I had to run or face the pain, hold on to love, and learn to trust again…”

Final line in the Lyrics – “One constant law remains, if the light goes out dance again.

So I dare you to DANCE!
DANCE IN THIS HURRICANE!! Let this song be your dynamo to re-charge your soul battery so your light can shine again.

Another great track from this 2 disc set is the track, “Sensational”.

(** I don’t know if you’ve followed them at all but since the lockdown Toya and Robert have been posting “…Sunday Lunch” videos that are weird, quirky and just good fun like when her and Robert dress up in bee costumes…. or when they dance Swan Lake in their back yard. Just a real hoot and a holler!)

fun new(er) music

Church of the Cosmic Skull.

The cosmic recipe:

one part glam
2 parts psychedelia
a dose of progressive
frosted with boogie and harmony

from their second album SCIENCE FICTION (2018)

The Church of the Cosmic Skull believers creed:

THE 7 OBJECTS
Recognize the hallucinatory nature of reality
Investigate all aspects of the reality-hallucination
Receive all phenomena with equanimity
Celebrate and uphold the freedom of art, science and thought
Meet mistakes with forgiveness and determination
Do what you want, with love in your heart
Maintain focus on the unity of all living things

 

https://cosmicskull.org

https://churchofthecosmicskull.bandcamp.com

… on… a river of love….

River Of Love

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of grief that floods through our lives
It starts when a heart is broken into
By the thief of belief in anything that’s true
But there’s a river of love that runs through all time

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of tears that flows through our eyes
We fight through the night for freedom as it fades
Into a jail where we fail everytime we make a break
But there’s a river of love that runs through all time

I had to run before I knew how to crawl
The first step was hard
But I have had trouble with them all
But now the night grows darker
And the day grows dim
Cause I know I never will see you again
And I almost made you happy

There’s a river of love that runs through all time
But there’s a river of fire that burns with no light
The flame is the pain of dreams gone up in smoke
From the lies we deny and breathe until we choke
There’s a river of love that runs through all time

~T-Bone Burnett