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300: “Nostalgia in Times Square / Angel Race” by Medeski, Martin & Wood

At a SiriusXM recording for a porn soundtrackTo celebrate #300, I’m posting a brand spanking new one from my all-time favorite law firm! Medeski, Martin & Wood fight insurance and drug companies in court with the same rigor and enthusiasm with which they tear through and assimilate musical genres.

(John Medeski – piano / Billy Martin – percussion / Chris Wood – bass)

MMW’s latest album, Free Magic (2012), is a selection of 5 lengthy live acoustic tracks from a tour in 2007. Watching them live is the ultimate way to experience their music. If you pay attention you can see them communicating with subtle glances and gestures, steering their heavily improvised musical creations with nearly telepathic coordination. Of course, they have been together since 1991, breathing each others’ emissions and syncing up their minstrel cycles.

The reactive chemistry and interplay of their music is something to behold. It’s very much like magic, an output greater than the sum of the inputs, and these guys can make it for free if you don’t count the 21 years of practice… and the fact that you pay to listen to them. Whatev. Enjoy.

Song: Nostalgia in Times Square / Angel Race
Artist: Medeski, Martin & Wood
Album: Free Magic
Label: Indirecto Records
Buy from: MusicToday | Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

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299: “Holland” by Brad Mehldau Trio

A new idea for a band photo: a WOODEN WALL. Brilliant!!Are you missing that special something keeping you from happiness?

Perhaps you see life as a dismal march toward oblivion? Perhaps you feel an emptiness wrapped around your center of gravity? Perhaps simply existing is a rodeo ride and your life is a universe-sized bull?

I have the answer to your problems, or I should say that you have the answer. Because the answer is inside you and it has been all along.

You are already free.

Shackled, worn, beaten, extorted, tortured, trodden upon, and yet still… you are free.

What I hold in the bottle in my hand is the key to discovering the freedom that lies within you. The liquid in this bottle can unlock the shackles in your mind preventing you from filling the emptiness that consumes you.

It’s pickle juice.

Really, I thought it would be a psychedelic or maybe even a thoroughly scientific breakthrough regarding brain function. It’s amazing, though. Pickle juice is what fills my emptiness. It’s the bee’s knees. Like, “Wow!”

I thought you guys would appreciate the tip.

And speaking of brimming spaces formerly empty, Brad Mehldau Trio make tunes that fill silence like sweet, sweet pickle juice for my ears. This one is “Holland,” a Sufjan Stevens cover, and it engages any vacuum it encounters.

Brad’s Trio (Brad + Larry Grenadier/Bass and Jeff Ballard/Drums) done gone and released two albums this year, Ode (2012) and Where Do You Start (2012). These three hate a vacuum as well. Go getcha some. Sit back, sip some pickle juice, and enjoy.

Song: Holland
Artist: Brad Mehldau Trio
Album: Where Do You Start
Label: Nonesuch
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

298: “The Spark Of Life” by Todd Rundgren

Listen to his music, not his hair!Todd Rundgren invented the aglet, so most people who have heard of Todd Rundgren know him as the founding father of the aglet industry.

But in fact, Todd Rundgren is a prolific songwriter, producer, artist, midwife, and bounty hunter. “Bang The Drum All Day” is the Rundgren track most likely to have earwormed you, but there is oh so much more to this shoelace maven.

The track I’ve handpicked for you is one any jamband would feel at home cracking off for its spinning sycophants. “The Spark Of Life” is indulgent, absurd, and beautiful. It’s a six-and-a-half-minute instrumental with wailing guitar and psychedelic intro, but it’s also laden with synths, 80’s-sounding electronic effects, and a drum machine trussing the architecture. Remember that this sound was created in 1974 on Todd.

Rundgren has always been diverse like the universe, and constantly pushing the edges of his music and art. He was one of the first artists aired on MTV, and one of the first musicians with a website (he still maintains his own site)… way before MySpace. This guy has done more with his time than stare at his shoelaces.

Find your inspiration, and enjoy.

Song: The Spark Of Life
Artist: Todd Rundgren
Album: Todd
Label: Rhino
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

297: “Who” by David Byrne & St. Vincent

Album cover done wrong/right.David Byrne never brings weak sauce. He brings sauce that is consistently robust, and he’s mixed it with St. Vincent as a protein this time.

This is music for people who suspect everyone else is a robot. If you’re not a robot, you will at least raise an eyebrow. It’s… robot test music.

I could tippity-type some more words about Love This Giant (2012), but it’s straw.

Enjoy.

Song: Who
Artist: David Byrne & St. Vincent
Album: Love This Giant
Label: 4AD
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

296: “When The Levee Breaks” and “Jungle Boogie” by Dread Zeppelin

Dread Zeppelin. Professional band band photo.In addition to being the single best reggae Led Zeppelin cover band with an Elvis-impersonator frontman ever, Dread Zeppelin invented the emergency poncho, which has served millions in times of emergencies requiring ponchos.

Dread Zeppelin is also the physical manifestation of a mathematical theorem striving to prove that life outside your head is even weirder than life inside your own head no matter how weird your head is. Look your ears in the eye and consider.

These guys were a great show way back in the 90’s when I was young enough to eat fried chicken right before strenuous exercise, and they’re still touring now… as though they haven’t eaten any fried chicken at all. Mathematical.

Enjoy. Especially if you’ve never Dread Zeppelin’d.

Song: When The Levee Breaks
Artist: Dread Zeppelin
Album: The I.R.S. Years
Label: Capitol Catalog
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify

Song: Jungle Boogie
Artist: Dread Zeppelin
Album: The I.R.S. Years
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube