Tag Archives: Animal Liberation Orchestra

Tune In Tuesday: 6/22/10

Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all. 

Mojo

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait.  The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers.  Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar.  Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together.  The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.

Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers.  It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band.  Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold.  Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.

Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans

Fly Between Falls

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.

This album is just plain fun.  Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen. 

Key Tracks:  Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina.  With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?

The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth.  The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.

Key Tracks:  Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta). 

The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician.  The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer.  Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha.  The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics. 

While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song.  It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!

 Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: Sounds of Summer

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday.  School is out, pools and water parks are full, and my grass is dying.  It can only mean one thing, SUMMER is here. 

I believe that we all have some form of Pavlovian response to songs and that they are etched in our brain based on times and circumstance.  The following songs are one’s that take me back to the halcyon days of my youth and summers spent with varied and sundry people and places.

 Today’s topic is Songs That Remind Me of Summer. 

Song:              Boys of Summer

Artist:              Don Henley

Album:            Building the Perfect Beast

Song:              Chattahoochee

Artist:              Alan Jackson

Album:            A Lot About Livin’ (and a Little About Love)

Song:              Wasting Time

Artist:              Animal Liberation Orchestra 

Album:            Fly Between Falls

Song:              Margaritaville

Artist:              Jimmy Buffet

Album:            Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

Song:              Cannonball

Artist:              The Breeders

Album:            Last Splash

Song:              Wicked Game

Artist:              Chris Isaak

Album:            Heart Shaped World

Song:              Under The Milky Way

Artist:              The Church

Album:            Starfish

Song:              Mr. Jones

Artist:              Counting Crows

Album:            August and Everything After

Song:              Linger

Artist:              The Cranberries

Album:            Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We

Song:              Breaking the Girl

Artist:              Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album:            Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic

Song:              Ants Marching

Artist:              The Dave Matthews Band

Album:            Under the Table and Dreaming

Song:              Hey Jealousy

Artist:              Gin Blossoms

Album:            New Miserable Experience

Song:              Epic

Artist:              Faith No More

Album:            The Real Thing

Song:              Listen Like Thieves

Artist:              INXS

Album:            Listen Like Thieves

Song:              The Pretender

Artist:              Jackson Browne

Album:            The Pretender

Song:              Been Caught Stealing

Artist:              Jane’s Addiction

Album:            Ritual De Lo Habitual

Song:              In Your Eyes

Artist:              Peter Gabriel

Album:            So

Song:              River of Deceit

Artist:              Mad Season

Album:            Above

Song:              Smells Like Teen Spirit

Artist:              Nirvana

Album:            Nevermind

Song:              So Fresh So CLean

Artist:              Outkast

Album:            Stankonia

 Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 5/11

Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums. 

Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk are the latest “Super Group” to hit the music scene.  Comprised of Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), M. Ward, and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes).  These boys bring back the sweet harmonies of classic bands like The Eagles and Crosby, Stills, & Nash and evoke the not so distant memory of The Traveling Wilburys.

The music is a mixed bag of rock, folk, and as mentioned before, sweet harmony, and lush melodies.  The lead track on the album “Dear God (Sincerely MOF)” is a trippy little number that is gently bathed in R&B and is based around a sample of the 1970 gospel song “Is There Any Love” by Trevor Dandy.

Key tracks: His Master’s Voice, Temazcal, Losin Yo Head.

Joy

Phish

This is the newest ad fourteenth studio album form the Vermont Jam band.  It is also the album that brought the band back from a four year hiatus and reunited them with produce Steve Lillywhite.  The album is aptly titled as the songs all seem to have a happy, joyful quality to them.  If you have a fan or former fan, check it out and get reacquainted with the boys from Phish.

Key Tracks: Time Turns Elastic, Backwards Down the Number Line, Twenty Years Later

En Concert

Jack Johnson

This album is a great cross section of all of Jack’s work and has guest appearances by Eddie Vedder and Paula Fuga.  It also showcases the harmonizing backing vocals of Zach Gil (Animal Liberation Orchestra), who has toured with Johnson in the past but only recently became a permanent fixture on the tour. 

The special addition has a DVD that captures various stages of his 2008 tour.  The DVD has more guest appearances by the likes of Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, Mason Jennings, Matt Costa, G. Love & Special Sauce.

Key Tracks: Constellations (w/ Eddie Vedder), Gone, Flake, and Times Like These

White Lies for Dark Times

Ben Harper & the Relentless 7

The Relentless 7 is Ben’s latest incarnation of a band and is a bit heavier than the Innocent Criminals.  The album is solid from start to finish and is not a dramatic departure from any of Ben’s other work.  He still blazes on the slide guitar and is the focal vocal point of the band. 

Key Tracks: Faithfully Remain, Skin Thin, Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart), Shimmer and Shine.

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves is pure musical greatness and genius.  This Austin based singer and songwriter is a thoughtfully introspective writer who catches the subtle nuances of life in this crazy world.  He sings of love, lost, hope, faith, and the lack there of.  Not afraid to raise a political edge with his music but never appearing to be preachy or on a soapbox.  If you have not heard of him, he is well worth checking out. 

Key Tracks: Beautiful Thing, Cry, Dreams, Hard to Believe

Natural Forces

Lyle Lovett

Natural Forces is the latest album from Texas’s own Grammy winner Lyle Lovett.  There is just something about the calm confidence in which Lyle sings his songs.  This album is typical Lovett, good song selection, well crafted, and a slight sense of humor. 

 Key Tracks: Pantry, Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel, Don’t You Think I Feel It Too

Read, review, and respond.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Jack Johnson!

Jack Johnson is the easy, breezy, heir apparent to the acoustic strumming of today’s folksy surf/beach music.  In addition to being a singer/songwriter/musician, Johnson is also a film maker and former professional surfer.

Johnson splashed (notice the subtle water reference) on to the musical scene by way of surfing when he and G. Love became acquainted.  G. Love recorded Johnson’s song “Rodeo Clowns” on his 1999 release Philadelphonic.  Johnson sang and played on the track and it was the first single from the album. In 2000, he co-directed and composed the soundtrack for the surf film Thicker Than Water.  The soundtrack, coincidentally, contains four of Johnson’s songs.

With the release of his 2001 debut album Brushfire Fairytales Johnson was able to get Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Ben Harper (with his beautiful lap guitar skills) to appear on the album.  In 2002 Johnson starred in and directed the surf film The September Session.  Johnson has two songs on the soundtrack, one of which is a cover of Jimmy Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at 40”.

His sophomore release, On and On, continues the mellow vibe of his previous album and does not deviate much on his third album In Between Dreams. His third album brings Zach Gill (Animal Liberation Orchestra) in to the musical mix and is the beginning of a series of fruitful collaborations with the multi talented Mr. Gill. 

Jack Johnson Discography:

  • Brushfire Fairytales
  • On And On
  • In Between Dreams
  • Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George
  • Sleep Through the Static
  • En Concert

The 2006 soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George is a menagerie of musical talent that includes Ben Harper, G. Love, Matt Costa, and Zach Gill.    Johnson riskily yet skillfully covers The White Stripes “We Are Going To Be Friends”.  The soundtrack made #1 on the billboard chart and has sold over three million copies. 

Top 5 Jack Johnson Songs:

  1. Breakdown (In Between Dreams)
  2. Gone (On And On)
  3. Cookie Jar (On And On)
  4. Upside Down (Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George)
  5. Flake (Brushfire Fairytales)

In 2008 Johnson released his fourth album Sleep Through the Static which has electric guitars and keyboards playing a more prominent musical role than on previous albums. Lyrically, Johnson seems more mature and at times, a bit dark.  Not in a Nine Inch Nails kind of dark, mind you, but a slight departure from the relatively sunny nature of his previous efforts.

A world tour followed the release of Sleep Through the Static and from that tour, came the live album En Concert.  This album captures various performances throughout the tour and has a duet with Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and a performance with Ben Harper.

Johnson’s music is easy to digest and does not require a lot of attention.  You can get lost in the vibe of each album or song.  He has a capable voice, good musical sense and surrounds himself with great talent. 

I’ve seen him several times in concert and his live shows are just as laid back as his albums.  He is typically in bare feet or flip flops, jeans, and t shirt.  His guitar slung over his shoulder while he strums.  Jack tends to be a stationary performer and allows his music to fill the room instead of his personality or presence. 

Check out Jack Johnson at www.jackjohnsonmusic.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UbT3U-fQt4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZRvtr2g3z0&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jIca_LpXSM&feature=related

Great music awaits!


25 albums you should own!

Over time, there have many great musical artists and from each artist comes an assortment of songs that become an album. In theory the sum of an album should be equal or greater than its parts (songs).  If only this were true.  Today, with streaming audio, and the ability to buy/download single songs, the allure and importance of the album has waned.  Artists might release several EP’s before they release a full length album. 

Growing up, I had to roll the dice and hope that each album I saved for would be as good as the song I heard on the radio.  Sadly, that was not always the case.  Domo arigato Mr. Roboto!

However, some artists do indeed get it right and below is a list of 25 albums you might not know but you should own.  This collection does not include live albums or greatest hits. 

Also, I do not include any type of review for the below artists/albums.  This is in an effort to allow you to form you own opinion, keep the blog reading to an acceptable time, and selfishly save me time writing the blog itself. 

Twenty Five albums you should own! (In no particular order):

Artist Album
Alexi Murdoch Time Without Consequences
Animal Liberation Orchestra Fly Between Falls
Arcade Fire Funeral
Ben Harper Welcome to the Cruel World
The Black Keys Attack and Release
Citizen Cope   The Clarence Greenwood Recordings
Chris Whitley Living with the Law
The Dead Weather Horehound
Drive-By Truckers Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
Elliott Smith From a Basement on the Hill
Sonic Youth Daydream Nation
Jason Isbell Sirens of the Ditch
Jeffrey Foucault Stripping Cane
John Butler Trio Sunrise Over Sea
Joseph Arthur Come To Where I’m From
My Morning Jacket The Tennessee Fire
A Perfect Circle Mer De Noms
The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers
Slaid Cleaves Broke Down
Tom Petty She’s the One
The Tragically Hip Fully Completely
Joe Purdy Only Four Seasons
Son Volt Trace
Neko Case Middle Cyclone
Iron & Wine Our Endless Numbered Days

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Animal Liberation Orchestra!

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, and Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

They grew into a nine-piece band featuring a brass section and dubbed themselves The Animal Liberation Orchestra and the Free Range Horns, they began receiving considerable attention in the Santa Barbara area with their exciting live shows.  Eventually, Zach, Dan and Steve returned to their hometown and stripped the band back down to a quartet by reuniting with drummer David Brogan (with whom they played with in college) and the ultimate version of Animal Liberation Orchestra was finalized.  They are a huge hit on the jam band circuit and have drawn comparisons to everyone from Phish and The Grateful Dead to The String Cheese Incident.

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006 and in 2007 they released the album “Roses and Clovers”.  Their latest album “Man of the World” is set for release in February 2010.

Zach Gill went to college with Jack Johnson and has been touring with Jack and playing piano in his band, while Steve and Dan have toured with Brett Dennen.  ALO has toured with The Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson before headlining shows in late 2006.

I saw them a few years back when Jack Johnson came through Dallas.  The show was at the Nokia Theater and was pretty awesome.  Zach has a really great voice and is amazing on the keyboards.

ALO Discography

  • Time Expander (EP)
  • Fly Between Falls
  • Roses and Clovers

Top 5 ALO according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song) (Fly Between Falls)
  2. Girl I Wanna Lay You Down (Fly Between Falls)
  3. Monday (Roses and Clovers)
  4. Valentine’s Day (Time Expander)
  5. Barbeque (Fly Between Falls)

Check out ALO and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqKSf8bt1eM

 ALO music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.alomusic.com

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!