First Listen: The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, 'Midnight Sun'

2014 has a lot of great records and it’s only April. As we listen, this is certainly one of them

Miley Cyrus Performs “Why You Only Call Me When You’re High” Live and Unplugged - Our daughter loved Hannah Montana and has moved on from Miley. I feel the same straight through, she made some strange decisions but she’s a star and a pro and would have been one in any age.

Gabriel García Márquez   March 6, 1927- April 17, 2014

I wrote a song back in the 80’s based on 100 Years of Solitude called Elusive. A wonderful, gifted writer with great imagination and scope and economy of words.

Gabriel García Márquez   March 6, 1927- April 17, 2014

I wrote a song back in the 80’s based on 100 Years of Solitude called Elusive. A wonderful, gifted writer with great imagination and scope and economy of words.

Like something fizzy shaken up in a bottle, Pop is blasting from Spirit Kid’s newest release.  ”Is Happening" has provided a couple of songs on the Pop Tones Top 40 and promises to deliver more to follow. Spirit Kid is mostly the creation of Emeen Zarookian with the help of various members of Here We Go Magic, Babydriver and Zeus

Zarookian’s high pitched voice cuts through the instrumentation like pure pop should but there’s an endearing, everyman quality to his sentiments. The guitars have a heavier sound here and there with a compressed, 70’s style distortion. Indeed, Making Excuses lifts it’s riff from the Song Remains the Same. Comparisons with Led Zeppelin end there but the playing here is crafty and tasteful.  If modern rock/pop stars were characters from the Hangover movie series, Zarookian would be Zach Galifianakis, to Brendan Benson's Bradley Cooper and A.C. Newman's Ed Helms.


The Orwells performance on Letterman was a bit of a train wreck but fun as well. The lead singer with the distinguished name, Mario Cuomo, seemed lost and missing queues. At one point he kind of trips and gyrates on the floor to make up for it. Then he goes and sits in the guests chair for a bit in the throes of his own teenage angst.

There are many other songs we would have preferred to see them do but “Who Needs You" is the title track of their latest record so oh well. Paul Shaffer and the band got involved after Dave suggested they play more. Dave loved the performance. Who knows what he really thinks about the band, if anything, other than being tickled that Cuomo was walking around half-cocked. You have to love Letterman for cheering on the chaos instead of signaling a commercial.

Shaffer mocked Cuomo by gyrating in the same spot while his band covered Who Needs You. Apparently it wasn’t too difficult to learn in a couple of minutes.

Letterman is retiring next year. Lets hope his replacement, Steve Colbert, occasionally lets things like this happen when he takes over.

GOASTT! Not long ago we requested Sean Lennon put out some new music and behold, he’s doing just that. Not only music but intense “arty school” videos such as this one. We love this video and not only because the display of nudity is more than ample. We’re really enjoying Sean’s exploration of surrealism. A style papa John did so well.

Last year’s Baz Luhrmann movie, The Great Gatsby was a bit of a dud but what made it sink? Was it the acting or the script? The costume and set design rocked so that wasn’t it. We’re sure Jay-Z is blaming the script but what about the music? Was it smart to do a movie about the Jazz age sans the Jazz? 

There’s been a number of movie version of the Great Gatsby. Robert Redford was in one from the 70’s and it didn’t inspire much adoration either. It could be that this is a case where the novel’s strengths can’t be translated to the big screen very well. There’s no real hero in the story which also doesn’t help. This review sums up the hero problem well 

The music doesn’t help because it’s distracting. Did we really need Jay-Z’s rapping and supervision on the soundtrack? Just because he’s talented and ambitious (probably thinking of himself as a modern day Gatsby) does that mean you hand him the reins to the music of a different era and let him make a soundtrack that amounts to hip hop with dashes of 1920’s styling here and there?

What Baz Luhrmann, the filmmaker, disregards is that in any era, especially the 20’s, the music, fashion and cultural happenings all worked together. If you take one aspect out, in this case the music, then the dancing doesn’t quite sync up, as well as the cadence of how people spoke. For lovers of the deliciously jaunty music of the 1920’s there can be nothing but profound disappointment with this soundtrack.

When Luhrmann does use period music, such when we first see Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby at one of his parties, it has a wonderful power thanks to Rhapsody in Blue's soaring crescendo. We certainly don't feel like we've lost anything going backward. Indeed, we gained something special. Luhrmann has used modern music in period movies before such as Romeo & Juliet and the Moulin Rouge but in those movies it created a flavor that added to the overall effect. In the Great Gatsby, the distraction is more jarring and hence seems to draw out other deficiencies in the movie.

To hear the best tune in the soundtrack, you have to wait until the credits when Sia's Kill and Run finally plays. This song elevates the precedings to high drama. Sia’s performance and the song’s arrangement would have also been right at home as a centerpiece in a  James Bond movie. Sia here commands the vocal treatment, indeed, like a young Shirley Bassey. 

Here we are backstage with Jonathan Richman. We caught his show at the Middle East in Cambridge a couple of weeks ago playing with the incomparable Tommy Larkins on drums. We had some vintage pictures of the Modern Lovers playing in Cohasset from 1972 (more on that later) that we showed him and Tommy.

Here we are explaining to Jonathan why we was such a big influence on our own musical career. He had the balls to be himself despite his love of the Velvet Underground and Iggy and the Stooges.

Not much chance Jonathan will see this. He seems to have nothing but contempt for the internet. It’s not the modern world of highways and neon lights he once sang about. Now he makes fun of folks who are using their smartphones at his shows, wondering aloud what movie they’re watching.

Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal 

2014 is really heating up and we don’t mean that it’s finally Spring. Parquet Courts are releasing a new album. Sunbathing Animal is the first release from it and it puts the pedal to the metal and flat out rips straight along on mostly one chord. We’re gonna have some fun figuring out the lyrics but there’s definitely a heavy lp coming soon from these guys.

War Paint - Keep it Healthy - Live in Paris : Here’s a live version of a song that’s been doing well on the Pop Tones Top 40. Just found out that they’re an all girl band. That should someday not be a novelty. The rolling patterns of picking guitar lines and rhythms on this song remind one of Radiohead. Emily Kokals’ vocals and lead guitar make us think of a mellower Kristin Hersh.

War Paint is another group out of L.A. like the Vertical Scratchers making waves. Good to see that Brooklyn isn’t hogging all the interesting bands. Maybe 2014 is the year for L.A. GO DODGERS!