Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 02/07/2018

February 07, 2018

Today’s Daily Tonality is brought to you by fond memories.

buckowenspromophoto4Buck Owens – Act Naturally (from the single Act Naturally, 1963) Buck Owens has the best country music name, ever. If your name is Buck, what do you call your backing band? The Buckaroos, of course. My grandparents used to have a modest collection of country records when I was a kid. I didn’t care for the majority of them, but two artists stuck out. Johnny Cash and Mr. Owens. There is just something about his brand of country western music that differs from most. Don’t ask me what it is, because I can’t explain. Just listen to his stuff and you will see. His music has a very lovely effect on me. It always makes me nostalgic for my childhood, as well as remembering my grand folks fondly. Sometimes you just have to shut up and let the music do the thinking for you.

Fun fact – There is rumor (probably true considering the crazy life he led) that my granddad, Jim, was a roadie for Buck Owens during one of his western Canadian tours back in the day. I would have loved to ask him about it, but he passed before I was given this information. If it is a true story, I hope Jim and Buck shared a laugh or two.

T.

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Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/28/2018

January 28, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Charles Bradley – Strictly Reserved for You (from the album Victim of Love, 2013) A former James Brown impersonator named “Black Velvet”, Charles Bradley did not achieve a good level of success and notoriety until later in life. For my money, he is second only to James Brown as far as male soul performers go. I discovered his music a few years back in a record store. His LP Victim of Love was being played on the turntable and I instantly knew it was special. Bradley’s voice is soulful, but has a shade of pain and experience within. His longtime backing band, The Menahan Street Band, perfectly compliment the singer’s vocalizations.

As I write this, I have found out that Charles Bradley succumbed to cancer and passed away in September 2017 at the age of sixty-eight. The world was just discovering the man’s talents. Rest in peace, Black Velvet.

T.

Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/15/2018

January 15, 2018

Today’s Daily Tonality is brought to you by the radio at work. I heard this song and thought it was perfect for song of the day.

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Men Without Hats – Pop Goes The World (from the album Pop Goes The World, 1987) Men Without Hats are a Canadian synth-pop based band which formed late in 1979, in Montreal. This is one of those bands that instantly take me back to a time when I was a young kid, just starting to develop my taste in music and appreciate radio. This is a happy sounding song that immediately gets stuck in your head. So for nostalgia sake, have a listen, get it stuck on repeat in your brain, and have a good time. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

Little Fact – The name of the band came from the band members’ refusal to wear warm hats during winter, choosing style over comfort. Thus we have Men Without Hats.

T.

Daily Tonality: Song of the Day 01/09/18

January 9, 2018

Today’s song is brought to you by putting my Spotify library on random and making the first song to play your Daily Tonality.

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Roky Erickson And The Aliens– Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer) (from the album The Evil One, 1980) Roky Erickson is an interesting fellow. He started his musical journey with the 13th Floor Elevators in the late 1960’s. After some pretty intense recreational drug use (LSD, Mescaline, DMT, and Marijuana), Erickson found himself in and out of mental institutions, receiving voluntary shock therapy. His lyrics and subject matter heavily lean towards horror and science fiction. Two Headed Dog is about Soviet scientist Vladimir Demikhov, who performed head transplants on dogs in the 1950’s. Erickson is highly respected by his peers, and quite often I have heard other artists covering his music. I am a fan of his straightforward, effective guitar playing, and intense vocal style. At seventy years old, he still plays shows and continues to write music.

Little Fact – In the 1980’s. Roky Erickson became obsessed with the mail, even getting arrested for mail theft. He wrote letters to both dead and alive celebrities during his obsession.

T.

The Daily Tonality – 01/27/17

The Daily Tonality – Your Song of the Day – January 27, 2017

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The StoogesDown on the Street (from the album Fun House, 1970 Elektra) If I could create my own religion, and have a handful of gods to worship, Iggy Pop would be one. This opening song on Fun House, Down on the Street is a continuous storm of one dirty riff accompanied by swirling guitar solos, and of course Iggy’s trademark snarl and swagger. He speaks about falling in love while “floating” around the streets. This song does anything but float. It digs right in, and if your not nodding to the beat half way through, you probably have no soul.

Fun Fact – Iggy Pop has a cockatoo named Biggy Pop, and it has it’s own Instagram account. @biggypop

T.

List-o-rama: My Five Favorite Guitar Players

My Five Favorite Guitar Players

picture-014At some point in a young man, or lady’s life, they want to become a rock star. Which kid does not want an electric guitar? A lot of people give up when they realize it is mostly just a pipe dream. There are those who stick with it and actually learn how to play the guitar. I got the bug when I was fourteen, and picked up my first six string; an awfully indistinct Squire Stratocaster. I stuck with it for the most part, and twenty five some years later I still play and enjoy it. Every aspiring musician needs a hero. A player to aspire to. For me, I have many guitar inspirations. For the sake of not getting too carried away, I will keep the list of guitar players to a minimum. This list is not based on technical skill. Skill is good, but there are so many other factors that go into these decisions; look, feel, sound, and cool factor all go a long way. Here is my list, in no particular order.

139816178_iommi_467853cTony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell)  This is the man that created heavy music as far as I’m concerned. Armed with his signature Gibson SG, Iommi’s guttural guitar sound changed popular music. His down tuned (one and a half steps) came out of necessity as he lost the tips of his fingers in a work accident. The looser strings were easier for him to bend. One of the first songs I learned was the Black Sabbath Classic Iron Man, and I still enjoy playing many of their other songs. As Sabbath winds down their extraordinary career, Iommi still goes out on stage every night and kills it. Not to mention this legend has been battling Lymphoma, and is currently in remission. So many bands and guitar players owe Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath for having the success they have.

6186089295_1bfcc46b85_bPepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity, Down) I love the dirty southern sludge guitar sound, and Pepper Keenan knows how to create some swampy stoner rock riffs. When I first hear Down‘s NOLA many moons ago, I fell in love with the sound. Soon after that, I discovered Keenan played a Gibson Firebird and I was sold. His playing fits in with modern metal, but he would also fit right in with classic southern rock bands like Lynard Skynard. He runs a lot of the same effects pedals that I use or used to use on my board. Pepper also owns a bar in New Orleans called Le Bon Temps Roule. This is one pretty cool guy, not to mention a hell of a guitar player.

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Buzz Osborne (Melvins, Fantômas, Crystal Fairy) King Buzzo! Perhaps the man responsible for the “Seattle sound” that came roaring into popular culture in the early nineties, this man, along with Melvins drummer Dale Crover, has been the one constant in sludge music for nearly three decades. Buzz is unique from top to bottom; his look, his playing style, right to his political and social views. Perhaps what I admire the most is the respect he receives from his peers, as he is always collaborating with other artists such as Mike Patton, Tool, and Jello Biafra. Just to add to his mystique, my friend Earl and I went to see a Melvins show a few years back. As we were coming into the club, King Buzzo was walking in. Earl got excited and grabbed Osborne by the arm (in a non threatening way). Buzz responded with one of the most amazing death stares I have ever witnessed.

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Matt Pike (Sleep, High On Fire) To put it mildly, Matt Pike is a beast. If this was an alternate universe, he’d be slaying dragons. He writes the heaviest riffs, and has the voice to match as the guitarist/singer for one of my favourite bands, High On Fire. I should mention that he is also guitar player for doom metal giants Sleep. He is all that, and does it never wearing a shirt while performing live. I have had the pleasure of seeing both High On Fire and Sleep perform in person, and they are among two of the best shows I can recall. If you are interested in getting your feet wet in the doom/stoner metal genre, listen to Sleep’s Dopesmoker. I feel it is a genre defining record, and Matt Pike is at the helm.

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Joshua Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) There was a time about fifteen years ago where I kind of lost interest in playing guitar. I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I heard Queens of the Stone Age debut, self-titled album. I was suddenly interested again. I can safely say that QOTSA is my favourite band of all-time. Perhaps Joshua Homme is the biggest influence on my playing. Some people say he is arrogant, a little bit of a prick, but those people also haven’t made albums with guys like Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, or Iggy Pop. Homme’s sound is always evolving, and his song writing just gets better. In a sea of endless alt-rock and pop garbage, QOTSA and Homme’s other projects prove that rock ‘n roll still has a pulse. For a kid who played polka music on the guitar for his first two years of lessons, he does pretty good for himself. Oh, and he is also the drummer for Eagles of Death Metal. I’ve said enough.

T.

 

 

The Daily Tonality – 01/24/17

The Daily Tonality – Your song of the day – January 24, 2017

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Electric Wizard Devil’s Bride (from the album Electric Wizard, 1995 Rise above Records) If you like your music full of heavy, grinding guitar riffs, Electric Wizard is is the perfect remedy for what ails you. These British purveyors of doom have been recording brilliant sludge for twenty years. Their lyrics speak of witchcraft, horror movies, and marijuana, which seems to be a common theme among bands of this genre. The song Devil’s Bride is no different as the band speaks of the woman whom Satan has chosen to bear his child. Bloody lovely. Electric Wizard came along when the doom, stoner rock scene was just beginning to pick up main stream awareness, but they have also managed to stay somewhat underground. This is one band that I have not had a chance to see live, but I would jump at the opportunity.

The video is accompanied by scenes from the 1967 film The Devil Rides Out.

The Daily Tonality – 01/23/17

The Daily Tonality – Your Song of the Day – January 23, 2017

 

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Yolandi and Ninja

Die Antwoord Banana Brain (from the album Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid, 2016 Zef Records)  If you know Die Antwoord, you have an idea of what they are about. If you are not familiar, they are a rave/rap electronic duo from South Africa. Members Yolandi Visser, Ninja, along with DJ God, incorporate the South African counterculture of Zef into their music and imagery. Usually this style of music is not my first choice, but there is something about this group that draws me in. Honestly, I enjoy the insanity that Die Antwoord represent. Although their latest album Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid is not their best record to date, Banana Brain, as well as a few other tracks are wonderful. This band may not be your cup of tea, but I promise you they are unique, and worth a watch.

 

Fun Fact – Both Yolandi Visser and Ninja appear in the 2015 Neil Blomkamp film CHAPPiE as jacked-up, ultra-violent versions of themselves.

T.

Song of the Day – 08/20/16

Song of the Day

“Till there are no stars shining up in heaven,
Till there are no stars any more”

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The Tragically Hip – Fireworks (from the album Phantom Power, 1998 Universal Music Canada) A lovely, legendary career was celebrated in Kingston, Ontario last night. The iconic band from my home land; The Tragically Hip (or if you are a Canuck, simply The Hip) played the final show of their Man Machine Poem tour. If you are Canadian, you know what this band has meant to this country. For those who don’t, it’s a shame you did not get antiquated. Thank you Hip. You embraced the character and culture of Canada, and in turn, we embraced you.

Riff of the Day 05/09 IGGY POP – American Valhalla

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Iggy Pop – American Valhalla (From the albumPost Pop Depression, Loma Vista 2016)

When I first heard that Iggy Pop was releasing a new record, I was glad to hear it. When I heard that it was a collaboration with Joshua Homme (front man and ring leader of my favorite band Queens of the Stone Age), I had to make sure I read the article right. This is a dream team for me. Homme also produced the record, and it turned out magnificent. In a world where rock n roll has taken a backseat to most garbage they play on the radio, the Queens of the Stone Age genius is doing his best to give it CPR and bring it back to life. Iggy Pop is relevant again. Not because he is a punk rock legend, but because he has made a beautiful album. Like most artists of his generation, Iggy Pop is not a novelty act. He is an artist that still records music that is influential. If this is his last record (we certainly hope it is not), he is going out on top of his game. From The Stooges, to The Idiot, to Skull Ring, Post Pop Depression makes a perfect bookend to Iggy`s legacy. American Valhalla is my favorite track on the album, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

T.