Current Tracks

I just dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in) and more importantly, to share this certified grade-A banger by way of reddit’s r/ListenToThis community. It’s called Twisted Love by Bastion. Enjoy…

 

-jaliner

RIP Prince (1958-2016)

Today is a sad day in the music world as we’ve lost one of the all time greats, Prince. The guy had swagger before 2015 pop-culture took the word ‘swagger’ and murdered it 1000 times over.

Any time I think of Prince, the first thing that comes to mind is the absolutely hilarious Chappelle Show sketch featuring Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy. No idea if this clip has any basis in reality, but I sure hope it does. RIP Prince, you outrageously magnificent sonnova bitch.

In Defense of John Mayer

The guitar is arguably the single most important instrument of the last 100 years. It’s the cornerstone of one of the most powerful and popular genres in modern music, Rock and Roll. As a guitarist myself, I may be a bit biased, but I have a deep appreciation for the instrument.  When you look at much of the popular music that’s been made in the last century, there’s really only two instruments that are generally featured front and center in any band: guitar and piano. While piano is a wonderful instrument, it lacks the authority and power responsible for birthing musical gods. Think of the Hendrixes and Pages of the world. These men transcended Rock and Roll and became music icons. They sold out arenas and brought people to their feet. This is the mystical power of the guitar.

When we talk about the greatest guitarists in history, there’s always names that get mentioned without argument. Hendrix, Clapton, Page, SRV, Santana, Frusciante, Richards, B.B. King, etc. Their contributions to music are unquestionable and their talent otherworldly. Lost in the mix is a name that I like to bring up, and subsequently catch a lot of heat for doing so: John Mayer.

This is when you roll your eyes at how I can even mention a guy who wrote a song called “Your Body is a Wonderland,” and 10 years ago captured the same demographic as Hanson and The Backstreet Boys. This is also where you’re wrong. I mean sure, that’s John Mayer, but there’s also this John Mayer:

(please excuse the double popped collar… we’ve all made mistakes)

and how about this John Mayer?

 

People either forget or don’t realize that he’s an incredible blues and rock guitarist. Most people have no idea he’s part of an entirely separate blues-rock band called John Mayer Trio alongside accomplished musicians like Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan. The bottom line is, this guy shreds. He knows his way around a guitar. Anyone who understands and appreciates music can hear the complexity and technique in his playing. He’s openly talked about his appreciation for most of the names I’ve mentioned above, and you can hear the influences of guys like Hendrix and SRV in his playing. I think in particular what makes him so special is his versatility. He’s equally comfortable playing pop, rock, blues, folk, you name it. He’s the guy that made Room for Squares and Continuum. It’s difficult to name many artists who have abandoned the style and sound that made them famous in the name of evolution and remained successful. This was definitely a calculated gamble on Mayer’s part, but it seems to have paid off. Now when you look around at John Mayer concerts, there’s a pretty interesting demographic on display. There are hipsters standing side by side with basic bitches. There are middle aged parents and their teenage children equally enjoying the music. Pretty much everyone likes John Mayer music because he has a sound for everyone. Across his entire discography, including his work with Trio, there is bound to be an album you gravitate towards. While admittedly I don’t love much of his most recent work, I admire his progression and have no doubt over the course of his career, he has picked up more fans than he has lost.

It seems the hardest part about listening to John Mayer is telling other people you listen to John Mayer, and we need to change that. To all my fellow Mayer fans out there, let us unite. Let us stand strong in the face of music snobbery and remind the less enlightened that John Mayer is the voice of a generation. In an age of music dominated by computers, he is a member of the last bastion of true musicianship, and that should be something that everyone can get behind.

-Jaliner

New Music Mondays: Like Woah

The Youtube abyss is a terrifyingly wonderful place. You descend into its depths unaware of how or when you’ll return. I usually set out on these journeys without any real goal, except maybe to entertain myself for a few hours. Last night I stumbled upon a relatively new artist, Logic, and his new single, Like Woah. The future of hip-hop is looking bright. Enjoy.

and as always, here’s the sample

-jaliner

Friday Feels

Sending you into the weekend with M.O.P.’s Ante Up

Friday got me like

Alessia Cara, Portishead, Isaac Hayes, and why I hate FM radio

AlessiaCara

2007 was an awkward year for automobile technology. On one hand, car technology had evolved to the point where Bluetooth was becoming pretty ubiquitous and you could connect your phone to your car to make/receive calls. On the other hand, that was about all you could do with bluetooth. The concept of being able to use the technology to stream media from your phone to the audio system of your car was still a couple years away at best. Unless your car had an AUX port or you wanted to rely on those shitty AM/FM transmitters, you were basically stuck listening to CDs or the radio. If you’re anything like me, you haven’t purchased a CD since 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (21 questions is my JAM) and your current computer can’t/won’t burn a goddamn CD. I know this is a first-world problem. Shut up.

I’m currently driving a car from 2007. It’s a sweet ride and there’s a lot to like (I digress), but what I don’t like is being forced to listen to FM radio. FM radio was cool when you were 12 and getting tickets to Z100’s Jingle Ball was a thing. Now it’s pretty much only good for ironically listening to Spanish music stations (shout out to Amor 93.1)

Have you heard Alessia Cara’s new single Here? I have, because they play it a whole fuckton on FM radio. Maybe you’ve heard it. Maybe you even like it. I do, it’s a good song, but it’s good primarily because the entire melody is a sample of Isaac Hayes’ song Ike’s Rap II. Take a listen.

I’m aware of the fact that pretty much all mainstream music today is derivative in some form or another of stuff that came before it. There are producers out there who have made a name for themselves entirely by sampling music from decades past (see: Kanye West). The thing is, I’m not mad about it. Sometimes paying homage to a GOAT like Isaac Hayes while also flexing your vocal abilities is the perfect way to launch your career and enter the spotlight. Cara’s song is different enough that it feels exciting and original, unlike that canal street Birkin bag you bought from a shady Ethiopian for $100 (you’re not fooling anyone, Becky)

But that’s not even the best part. There’s another artist out there who has sampled Mr. Hayes work and I think it’s even better than Cara’s take.

Portishead’s Glory Box, off their first album, Dummy, is a first ballot trip hop hall of famer. This song oozes sex. It’s the leadoff batter on my James Bond playlist (I’m done with the sports analogies, I promise). Go give the album a listen and tell me what you think.

-Jaliner

portishead