It’s Friday, I’m in love…

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Hi, guys. Happy Friday.

This week’s playlist is all over the place. New stuff from Guided by Voices, Brightness, Palehound, Girlpool, Fake Laugh, Grizzly Bear, The National, Destroyer, Hundred Waters, LCDS, Julien Baker, and EMA. Old stuff from other people.

Thanks to @sashapavicevic on Ello for the spacey, eclipse-related image.

Enjoy your weekends.

More soon.

JF

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Gloria Ciceri @gloriaciceri

Happy Friday.

Another week, another playlist. Some new, some old. All good. Sorta dream-poppy, in a late-summer way. I don’t have any notes, so … just enjoy.

The header image is great. It’s by Gloria Ciceri (@gloriaciceri on Ello).

Have great weekends with your people.

More soon.

JF

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

Anders Hoff @inconvergent

Hey, guys.

It’s Friday playlist time.  Another 50 with a lot of new music. Waxahatchee, Brightness, The National, Japanese Breakfast, Charli XCX, Purity Ring, and Hundred Waters.  There’s also a big segment this week with EDM/IDM stuff, featuring newness from Kedr Kivanskiy, Keita Sano, Four Set, and Actress.

The cover image is by Anders Hoff (@inconvergent on Ello).

Have great weekends. Hope your summers have been relaxing. OM and I may be collaborating on a meta-level thing about the new Arcade Fire record and reactions to it – no timeframe on that, but soon? And I’m still thinking about more OC besides these dumb, long playlists.

More, as they say (I say), soon.

JF

Grateful Dead Monthly: Roosevelt Stadium – Jersey City, NJ 8/6/74

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On Tuesday, August 6, 1974, the Grateful Dead played Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey. This was their fourth visit to the stadium, where they debuted in 1972.

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Named after FDR, Roosevelt Stadium was a WPA project completed in 1937. The art deco municipal venue originally hosted sporting events – baseball, football, boxing – and eventually concerts just a few miles from the Statue of Liberty.  According to Wikipedia, its capacity was 24,000.  It was demolished in 1985 to make room for a gated community.

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The venue didn’t offer much cover from the weather.  (That’s a picture of the Band opening for the Dead at Roosevelt Stadium in 1973.)  The show was originally planned for August 2, but a storm forced a reschedule, despite the “rain or shine” caveat on the ticket. There are a lot of amusing anecdotes in the LMA reviews from people who were there with heads full of acid and nowhere to go.

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So the Dead moved on to Philadelphia, where they played two weekend nights at the Civic Convention Hall Auditorium, before returning to Jersey City.

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8/6/74 is a good one in a year full of them.  The focus here, oddly, is an excellent first set, rather than the second with its typical jammed-out segments.  In fact, frame one features the longest songs of the show: An 18′ Eyes of the World and a whopping 36′ Playing in the Band > Scarlet Begonias > Playing in the Band sandwich.  Both are worth your time, but it’s some of the shorter material that provides the main highlights. LMA reviewer Mind Wondrin calls it like this:

“1st set – hardly any pauses, the band just wants to go go go (opposite of the over-rated Veneta ’72). The kind of set that makes you reset what you call 5 stars! I think it’s due to Billy’s propulsion and extra fills (this is right before Mickey first came back). Bertha is very pop-and-lock. This is the Mexicali you want as well. Be attentive for Jer’s descending half-slide 2 mins into BioDtL…. Sugaree has incredible sustain tone! But Keith doesn’t run with it so they tidy up, making it average for ’74. Conversely, Jack Straw is perhaps the best of ’74. Every single member is freaking spanking Eyes in a top 20 all-time version. This is where Jer was a genius – who else could come up with that many variations and themes? C’mon man, gimme my face back. He’s so animated on Promised Land that Bobby has to give him some room during the verses. There’s barely a pause into Deal, the expected set closer. The set low point, it’s still above average (’74 was the Deal-e-o year) and doesn’t hint that a sandwich will now be served. So uptempo you would think it’s Playin’ too fast, it has been much remarked by traders. But, though unique and super-long (quantity isn’t always quality in Dead Land), it’s not the best playing of the set. Still, the tempo, the hotness of the band this night, the backline, and Jer mostly put it over, with lots of hints of ’76/’77. The meat is a pre-Fire Scarlet (!), but it’s kind of Jer deciding ‘look, here’s Scarlet, guys,’ though the jam gets better. The sandwich-bottom is a good-enough, 27-minute excursion. Not the best of ’74 but it goes to some cool places and even Donna’s prescriptive wail is circumscribed.”

Amusing review. Might as well let him describe the rest of the show:

“2nd Set – Super long. Uncle John’s has another jam, in a jammy show, and again the jam is the tighter section. It’s a full stop and Phil tries for El Paso before Peter. Again, the end jam is best, but it takes a long time to get it to really melt. Phil gets his El Paso (now say thank you, Bobby). Jer is all over it like the GOP on an anti-science soundbite; like escaped chimps on the overturned banana semi. Best of ’74…. Loose Lucy is tight, funky, and inventive. Big River was performed so heavily in ’74 but damn if this isn’t up there[,] and I can’t recall a better Ship…. Donna is good in a peppy (not draggy) Row Jimmy but it’s Billy that makes it here. It’s a golden segue with Phil on the harmony section of He’s Gone and though Bobby flubs Truckin’ (like he does Sugar Mag), Jer and Billy are hammers. Sunshine Daydream is mostly an opportunity for Bobby yelp and Donna screech[,] but the encore is astonishing (after bumps?). Jer so rarely did punk-styled, single-note staccatos, so it doesn’t come across as a generic riff, but punctuation.”

Phil

Inbetween sets, Phil Lesh and his friend Ned Lagin did their Seastones thing, providing the crowd with a bit of interstitial “electronic cybernetic biomusic.” Whatever. I thought about doing a little research on Seastones, but it’s just not that interesting – it’s like Space without Jerry performed by music theory eggheads. Phil and Ned released a studio album with some of that material in 1975. I don’t recommend it.

The Eyes, Playing sandwich, and UJB from 8/6/74 have all been officially released as part of Dick’s Picks #31, along with highlights from the preceding Philly shows.

For the whole show, there’s some debate over whether the soundboard or the audience recording is better. The question, according to Mind Wondrin, is “SBD is best served by the Wall of Sound.” That doubt is echoed by Icepetal at the deadlistening.com blog. In his post about 8/6/74, he says, “the Wall of Sound wasn’t something possible to capture on a soundboard tape.”  Icepetal has more to say about the AUD, and it’s great:

“This is another outdoor AUD, and the taper, Neil Merin, is firmly in the sweet spot. Sitting in the midst of Roosevelt Stadium, the tape captures a great deal of the fun being had by the crowd. But it also captures the intense volume level of the Wall itself. This is hard to pin down, really. But it is clearly one of the ethereal properties of AUD tapes. The music is LOUD. It feels loud. It feels good. You don’t wish that you (the microphone) could be sitting just a little closer. And as you find yourself being absorbed by the transcendent music of the show, you might find yourself sweetly reminded that this is just some dude sitting in the midfield, somehow clutching the mic, deck, extra batteries, et al, and coming away with a spot on excellent recording. This thought hits me over and over while listening to this tape, and it elevates the enjoyment all the more.

. . .

Jerry’s guitar bristles with electricity on 8/6/74. As clumsy as the description is, that’s the best way that I’ve ever been able to describe this recording. And Phil may as well be sitting in your lap. The music conveys its sheer power on this tape. I feel this is a necessary sound experience in the makeup of anyone’s multi-ingredient mix of things that form your appreciation of the Dead’s music. It gives you a top shelf AUD, along with a top shelf show.

After listening to this one, you might find it hard to hear a ’74 SBD and not wonder what a really good AUD of the show might provide.”

Transport to the SBD on the LMA HERE.

Transport to the Marin AUD on the LMA HERE.

And you’ll find the Kevin Tobin SBD/AUD Matrix on the LMA HERE.

Thanks, as always, to LN GD Sensei-in-Chief ECM. Fwiw, Ed does most of the research – photos, LMA links and reviews, other website content, etc. – for these posts. I’m just the writer. It was sorta like that back when we were doing the Dead projects on Phantasy Tour Phish many moons ago. I hope my stuff is close to the quality of Ed’s 31 Days of the Dead stuff.  His Instagram is well worth a follow.

More soon.

JF

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

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Hey, guys.

This week’s playlist features a lot of new stuff. It’s all good, but pay particular attention to   London Grammar (obsessed), Waxahatchee, Japanese Breakfast, Beach Fossils, Hundred Waters, and Lorde. The Radiohead track, too, which comes from the OK Computer reissue. It’s the best Smashing Pumpkins song that Billy never wrote.

As always, you can access the playlist here in WordPress. Or here on Spotify. And this blogpost will be on Facebook when I figure out why Zuck is stripping the header images out of my stuff there and telling people to login to here. And it’ll be on Twitter eventually. Enjoy.

Header image: Joe Gegan (@joegegan on Ello). Hope your Julys have been ok.

More soon.

JF

It’s Friday I’m in love…

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Hey, guys. What’s up? Thematic playlist this week.

I was in college from 1987 to 1991. Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet dropped near the end of my junior year. I had listened to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Me Back a lot. It beat out Sonic Youth’s epic Daydream Nation for #1 on the Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll in 1988. (DN has aged better, imo.) I didn’t listen to a lot of rap/hip-hop back then, but the accolades for ITAN made me curious.

PE was/is challenging. They’re definitely an east coast outfit. But unlike contemporaries  KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions, PE just sounded denser? That’s a vague word. I’m really in deep water here. There was just something different about Chuck D and Flavor Flav rapping over the beats of Terminator X and the production of the Bomb Squad that made my far-suburban Chicago (Indiana) ears pay attention.

FOABP was even better. That record changed my life. It moved and woke me. Not in a cheesy, apologetic-liberal way. In an honest way. PE opened my eyes to some real things and inherent biases that I just accepted, as somebody who grew up in a mostly-white town in a mostly-white state.

So I started listening to hip-hop. That was the era of Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer, when the stuff went mainstream and MTV had a show called Yo! MTV Raps. I didn’t follow music then like I do now, so I can’t give a great background on this playlist. It’s just tracks that I heard as younger person – a snapshot of the late ’80s/early ’90s. Some meant something (and still do), some didn’t.

I stopped listening to hip-hop when I heard Pavement and Superchunk for the first time. That was around 1993, my second year of law school. My best friend back then wasn’t into raps. I made him a mix tape of the best I had. He demurred, and made me a mix tape with Slanted and Enchanted on one side and No Pocky for Kitty on the other side. I was sold on indie rock and really haven’t looked back, as OM would confirm when we talk about Kendrick Lamar.

In later years, my best friend discovered hip-hop. Wu-Tang Clan and that orbit, mostly. So this is dedicated to MRH. Miss you, dude. You’d appreciate this now. And we’d laugh about Fab Five Freddy.

Header image is by Tim McFarlane (@timmcfarlaneart on Ello). An echo of the Jay-Z/Kanye West record Watch the Throne, which is awesome.

More soon.

JF

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Grateful Dead Monthly: Red Rocks Ampitheater – Morrison, CO 7/8/78

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On Saturday, July 8, 1978, the Grateful Dead played Red Rocks Ampitheater in Morrison, Colorado. It was the second night of two, and their debut there.

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Located ten miles west of Denver, and owned by the city and county, Red Rocks has been a music venue since the beginning of the 1900s. It’s current design dates back to the New Deal, when it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  According to Wikipedia, the Beatles played the first rock concert at Red Rocks on August 26, 1964. Its capacity is a mere 9,525.

According to rumor circulated by blogger BourneDead, 7/8/78 was in the group of Betty Boards with 5/8/77 snagged at the storage locker auction that I mentioned in May’s GDM. The Red Rocks shows are now two of the five released as the July 1978: The Complete Recordings box set. As consistently good as most of 1977 was for the Dead, 1978 was more uneven. Some great shows, some not so great. 7/8/78 falls into the former group. It’s famous for a reason, guys.

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The first set opens with the pretty common Bertha > Good Lovin’ segment. There’s a really nice versions of Bobby cowboy songs El Paso and New Minglewood Blues. And the Ramble On Rose has a sweet Jerry solo.

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The second set, though, is where the magic really happens in two massive segments that bookend Drums > Space. There’s an atypical and fantastic Estimated Prophet > The Other One > Eyes of the World. Here’s LN’s own Dead guru ECM:

“In a show that has so many highlights, it’s difficult to narrow it down to one favorite. But if I were pressed to do so, I would pinpoint the smokey segue between Estimated Prophet and The Other One. Jerry uses his Mutron to create what I visualize being huge, groovy bubbles of musical notes that ring into the cosmos and carom off the majestic, jagged red rocks surrounding the amphitheater. Cymbals quietly splash about in the background. The drummers drop into the tribal drum beat signaling The Other One. The pace quickens and the tension builds until is is unbearable. Finally, Phil emerges with his signature entry by dropping a bass bomb of such cataclysmic proportions that it surely must have shaken a few rocks loose.”

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There’s a great essay by Michael Parrish about the evolution of Drums > Space on the Grateful Dead Guide blog. The band had always been percussive, but the traditional segment that we all love to hate (and sometimes hate to love) became a second set staple during the Spring 1978 tour. Parrish explains:

“The beginning of the 1978 spring tour was the point when ‘drums’ became a ritualized part of the Dead’s performances. During that tour, the ‘percussion jam’ featured not only the two drummers, but also the other band members, roadies, and hangers on, all onstage banging on a variety of percussion instruments. These free-for-alls appeared to be fun for all concerned, but rarely made for memorable music. By the summer, the drum duels were stripped down to Billy and Mickey going at it furiously.”

The version here isn’t particularly noteworthy, but what follows is: an even more atypical and excellent Wharf Rat > Franklin’s Tower > Sugar Magnolia.  The band closes with a rare triple encore, including a short, punchy version of the recent Terrapin Station.

 

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7/8/78 wasn’t just a part of the July 1978 box set. It also got it’s own official release. You can find it on Spotify. Enjoy.

More soon.

JF