Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jake Bugg-Simple as This and Country Song

Picture Credit: Luke Dyson Photography

Listening to Jake Bugg sometimes feels like listening to a 21st century teenager who stumbled upon a time machine and decided that he wanted to do nothing more than to go back to the 60's to record music. Modern references sometimes clash with the stripped down musical backing, and although you might feel that the 18 year old hasn't lived enough to make an album of folksy rock tunes, Jake speaks about what he knows. On his self-titled debut, Bugg at times struggles to maintain consistency throughout the 14 short tracks (most of which clock in at a very retro 3 minutes or less), but shows enough promise that you keep listening and are left with the feeling that only special things will come from the young Brit. "Simple as This" and "Country Song" are great tracks to get to know his musical stylings and are standout tracks on an album whose inconsistency is far outweighed by true talent and a committed dedication to the British tradition of storytelling.

Buy Jake Bugg here

Download Jake Bugg Simple As This

Download Jake Bugg Country Song

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ben Harper-Suzie Blue (Live Acoustic Ukulele)

Though I often proclaim my love for music on this blog, my personal attempts at music creation have seemed to crash and burn. Apart from a brief stint playing the trumpet, and later as a member of a virtuouso extremely underground rap crew, my most recent foray into the world of music making has been with my ukulele. The always optimistic instrument has challenged me the last few years, and although I succeeded in my original goal of being able to decently play IZ's version of "Over the Rainbow," I hit a plateau fairly quickly. Ben Harper is a wizard of instruments (growing up in his grandparents' music store in Claremont didn't hurt) and never seems to be afraid of cutting everything away from his songs until only the bare bones remains. In his recent acoustic tour which went through New Zealand, Harper brought his uke along and plays a minimalist version of "Suzie Blue" that I love. Giving a completely different feel to the song which was originally featured on his 1999 album Burn To Shine, Harper also helps out the beleaguered instrument gain some clout in its eternal quest to do so. Check out the .mp3 of the live version, the video of the live version, and an .mp3 of the album version all below.

Download Ben Harper Suzie Blue (Live Acoustic Ukulele)

Download Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals Suzie Blue

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka-Home Again

Many of the songs featured in the Marathon Jam Playlist on Monday were endeavors in musical brinkmanship, pushing the limits of what a song is and can be. But sometimes what you want from a song is simplicity and comfort and "Home Again" from Michael Kiwanuka provides just that. Apparently a big hit in Britain, today's jamandahalf rolls along in waves and has a repetition to it that is undeniably soothing. The son of Ugandan refugees, Kiwanuka was born and raised in the UK and has crafted a perfect jam for rainy, wistful days like today has been. Projecting melancholy hopefulness, "Home Again" perfectly captures that peculiar feeling of going back home. Check it out below.

Buy Home Again

Download Michael Kiwanuka Home Again

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spotify Playlist-8+ Minute Marathon Jams

The only thing that binds these disparate jams together is their length which in some ways is their defining feature.All clocking in at 8 minutes or more (with only one exception by a few seconds), these songs are the musical equivalent of taking the scenic route-they might take their time to get there but when they're done you're almost always glad you took it. Without the confines of a time limit, pictures are painted more vividly, stories are longer and in more depth, and of course, the jam session is let loose. Proving that almost all artists love a little extra canvas sometimes, this playlist features artists ranging from Berry White to Wyclef, Deadmau5 to Miles Davis. Don't start this playlist if you're in a hurry but if you have a few hours to fill, jam away.