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

 

 

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

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Hey, guys. Happy Friday.

Here’s a playlist, if you’re interested. This one is allovertheplace in a good way. I’m still whittling down the massive lists that I started and abandoned in May, so I’m not sure how much of this qualifies as new. Newness and relative newness from Cut Copy, Phoenix, Washed Out, Drake, dvsn, Vince Staples, St. Vincent, The National, Lorde, Ryan Adams, and LCDS. And from a couple of Canuck collectives, too – that lot from Montreal and the true ballers from the Six … Heaven’s own orchestra: Broken Social Scene. The rest is less new, but still good. Bowie’s Big Brother has been a go-to lately (love the over-the-top-theatricality in service of a sorta weak concept).

I’ve done 50 tracks for the past two playlists. I’m not sure if that’ll be a permanent change (what’s another five tracks between friends), but I’m quite sure that I’m out of practice with this. Hopefully, I’ll get my groove back.

Have great weekends, all around. Phish is in Chicago, so my best friend and I will be at the Saturday show. I’d promise a review, but that got me into trouble last year around this time, haha.

More soon.

JF

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

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Hi, guys. Happy Summer. I missed out on wishing you a fantastic solstice, and I hope it was. Weird coupla months, tbh. But I’m back in some way/shape/form with a Friday playlist for your long holiday weekend.

As usual, it’s eclectic. I tried to include a lot of stuff that dropped recently and never featured here. So, ahem…

There’s new Big Thief, The War on Drugs, Wavves, Waxahatchee, Colleen fGreen, Sheer Mag, Chazzy Belt, and Palm. There’s new HAIM (the video hasn’t exactly discouraged my crush on Danielle), Miley, Carly Rae, Katy Perry, and Iggy Azalea. Don’t miss the drop in the new Hundred Waters, which sorta kicks off an EDM section. After a nice dvsn/SZA/Frank Ocean segment, this one finishes strong with newness from the xx, the Kills, Chromatics (that song closed the second episode of the new Twin Peaks season), Grizzly Bear, the New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, Real Estate, and Courtney Barnett.

Enjoy. And have fun on Independence Day. My little sister turns 40 on the Fourth, which makes me feel proud and extremly old.

More soon. Please understand, though, that soon is a relative term. My Spotify is a mess, so there’s no guarantee that I can clean up one of the increasingly massive dump playlists to post a fresh 45 tracks next week. We’ll see. Cross fingers.

JF

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Grateful Dead Monthly: RFK Stadium – Washington, D.C. 6/10/73

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Hi. LN is back.

Last year’s Grateful Dead Weekly has morphed into this year’s Grateful Dead Monthly. There are reasons for that – mainly, a blogpost about a GD show every week is a lot of work. And highlighting one show every month lets us focus not just on the lost gems, but also on the classics. May’s post was about 5/8/77. June’s post is about 6/10/73.

On June 10, 1973, the Grateful Dead played a three-setter at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. Originally named the “District of Columbia Stadium,” RFK opened in 1961. It was renamed in 1969 in honor of Robert Kennedy. The NFL’s Washington Redskins played there from the beginning until 1997, and MLB’s Washington Senator’s also played there until they moved and became the Texas Rangers in 1971.

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6/10 was the second night of a quasi fest featuring the Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. The GD and the ABB had history. The latter opened for the former at the famed February 1970 shows at the Fillmore East (later memorialized as Dick’s Picks #4). And both played “closing” shows there in 1971. The Dead’s April shows were amazing, and became part of the Ladies and Gentlemen box set. The Allman’s March shows were probably better (or more well-known), and became part of their iconic At Fillmore East live record. They also played the final shows at FE in June of that year, and some of the invitation-only set on the last night appears on the reissue of Eat a Peach.

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According to a really nice post on the WETA (D.C. pbs) website,

“The two bands’ managements laid plans in 1972 for them to do a tour together, and even scheduled concerts for the following spring in Athens, Ga. and Houston. But those were cancelled after yet another Allmans member, bassist Berry Oakley, was killed in a motorcycle crash.  After the grieving subsided, according to rock historian Alan Paul’s book on the Allman Brothers, it was decided that the bands would play a scaled-down tour–a pair of concerts in Washington and another at the Watkins Glen racetrack in New York in the summer of 1973.”

The Watkins Glen stuff is material for another time – the Dead’s soundcheck jam (and its proto-“Fire on the Mountain”) will always be my favorite piece of music that they ever played. RFK is the point here. On 6/9, the Allman’s headlined. On 6/10, the Dead did. Doug Sahm was the opener for the first day and Wet Willie was for the second.

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Apparently, both bands played long sets and the second show extended well past midnight.  ECM, my Dead sensei and research go-to, told me that the shows shows used “GD’s prototype Wall of Sound with a stereo PA System with JBL speakers inside Alembic cabinets plus a stereo Auxiliary PA.” I can’t pretend to understand what means, but it seems cool. Tickets were $7, and the attendance was healthy.

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The WETA blogpost is excellent, so I’ll quote it at length:

“When the horde descended upon Washington, pandemonium ensued. District police made a decision to allow concert-goers to hang out all night in the open area surrounding RFK Stadium–‘If 2,000 kids show up and sit on the grass all night, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it,’ Lt. Albert Yowell explained to the Washington Post.  The bands’ fans took him up on that, partying until late and then sleeping in their cars outside the stadium so that they could get to the front of the line. They left mounds of trash and beer bottles in their wake.

According to an lengthy account of the concert by Washington Post reporters Lawrence Feinberg and Tom Zito, things soon got even more chaotic. On the morning of Saturday, June 9, the turnstiles were scheduled to open at noon. But 45 minutes before that, a restless mob of 2,000 tore down a gate, and about half of them forced their way into the stadium before District police were able to blockade the entrance. At that point, stadium officials decided to open all of the gates, and thousands more rushed in to grab seats, which weren’t reserved.

With the multitude quickly in place, the party from the night before resumed, as Texas rocker Doug Sahm opened the show. The police had been so overwhelmed by the size of the crowd that they didn’t stop them from bringing in coolers full of wine and bottles of liquor. The Post reported that drug dealers roamed through the crowd, selling marijuana and Quaaludes as if they were bags of peanuts. (Because of the latter, ‘many of the passageways to the grandstands contained youths who were sprawled out on the concrete with their eyes closed,’ Feinberg and Zito wrote.)  One male reveler discarded his clothes and roamed through the stands in the nude. Though he and 17 others were arrested for disorderly conduct, for the most part, ‘the crowd was peaceable,’ the reporters noted. Those in the first-day crowd of 53,000  who weren’t stoned on downers spent much of the time dancing, despite the 90-degree heat.

The bacchanalia grew so frenzied that when Larry Magid, the concert’s promoter, climbed atop a brace holding the stage wall in place to survey the crowd around noon, even he was dismayed. ‘This is no fun!’ he told a Post reporter.

Things were equally crazy for the performers. According to Paul’s book on the Allman Brothers, the pressure that came with the band’s growing fame and success was taking its toll on the musicians. But in Washington, the stress came to a head. The Dead’s roadies–who were, as Weir noted, ‘evangelical about LSD and had no compunction about dosing people’–were slipping it into the food and drinks backstage.  The Allman Brothers musicians themselves had been warned beforehand, and kept their hands on their beer cans to cover them, but the band’s crew didn’t get the word, and some undoubtedly spent the afternoon struggling to work in a hallucinatory haze. Allmans roadie Kim Payne recalled opening a case of cables and freaking out–‘they were all moving and looked like snakes,’ as he later told Paul. At one point, a brawl even broke out between some of the crew and record company executives.”

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The Post seems to think the Allmans stole the first show. That’s fine. But the Dead won the second.  Again, the Post…

“The Sunday concert attracted a smaller crowd of about 30,000, who packed the infield, making it ‘as uncomfortable as a New York subway car during rush hour,’ according to a Post account by Zito and Megan Rosenfeld. The dancing throng was joined by saffron-robed members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, who handed out incense sticks and tried preaching to the intoxicated. At one point in the show, fans scaled two iron scaffoldings in the infield–hanging from them, according to the Post, ‘like denim monkeys,’ until police made them get down.  The Dead, who this time headlined the show, started out with ‘Morning Dew’ and gave an ultramarathon performance, playing for six hours before concluding with a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode.’ They got a negative review from Rolling Stone critic [Gordon] Fletcher, who complained that ‘though they frequently displayed commendable instrumental virtuosity, they suffered from a relative paucity of musical ideas.’ “

Hahahaha. Whatever, Fletch.

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Guys, this show is top five, imo. It hasn’t gotten an official release, but it’s worth your time.  The band opens with a relaxed Morning Dew. There’s a fun Wave That Flag (with the pre-U.S. Blues lyrics), a nice Bird Song, a still-upbeat They Love Each Other, and a long and interesting Playing in the Band in the first set. The second set opens with an incredibly extended Eyes of the World > Stella Blue segment. Then there’s a well-rendered Here Comes Sunshine and a huge Dark Star > He’s Gone > Wharf Rat > Truckin’ segment. The third set features Dickey Betts and Butch Trucks from the ABB, and the NFA > GDTRFB > NFA sandwich is great.

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Transport to the Charlie Miller upload of the soundboard recording (with a couple audience patches) HERE. And transport to the Kevin Tobin matrix recording, which Ed called “strong,” HERE.

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If you want to hear the Dead’s 6/9 set, Dave Usborne’s matrix recording is HERE. (Ed says the highlights are They Love Each Other, Loose Lucy, the post Truckin’ Jam > Playing in the Band, and the Eyes of the World > China Doll segment.) A stream of the Allman’s 6/10 set is HERE. And download links for the Allman’s 6/9 and 6/10 sets are HERE.

Finally,  Gregg Allman.

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I liked the Allmans when I was a kid – Ramblin’ Man is one of the first songs that I remember, and Jessica was staple in high school. Neither are Gregg songs, obviously. I didn’t understand how cool he was until college. The simple depth of Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More resonated to lazy sophomore me, and still does. His voice and keyboards have been part of the twenty-some years of my life since then. The good times and the bad ones.

Gregg Allman died on May 27, one day after my dad. Rest in peace, brother. You will be missed.

I have Friday playlists in the works, and next month’s Dead show is Colorado-y.

More soon.

JF

 

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It’s Friday, I’m in love…

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Hey, guys. I know it’s not Friday. It’s Monday. This blogpost and associated playlist were ready to go a few weeks ago. But life happened.

Back when I started this playlist project, I mentioned an earlier one. When my best friend and I were getting reacquainted, I sent her a mix cd in the mail every week for an entire year. 52 actual cds (with a fun-flavored pack of gum each package). I had pre-boyfriend game back then that puts my real-boyfriend game and especially my husband game to shame.

There’s part of me that wants to quit with this one. Symmetry or whatever. 52 of those when I was still cool. 52 of these now that I’m not anymore.

Maybe I should make a Spotify playlist for each of the original cds for posterity sake. (I might.) And maybe I should just keep going. Because there’s always music to hear and share – more literally every day.

This time, it’s new and old. A new Sun Kill Moon track leads into some older slowcore.  There’s a new Record Store Day single from The War on Drugs. There’s also new stuff from Real Estate, Amber Coffman (x-Dirty Projectors), the Shins, the Buckingham/McVie Experience, Paramore, Lana + The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Shabazz Palaces, Kendrick, Circa Waves, and Waxahatchee.

Fwiw, that’s the first time that Circa Waves and Kendrick were mentioned in the same sentence.

Have great weeks.

The header image is by Mark Lovejoy (@marklovejoy on Ello). Thanks to him.

More soon. Really, I’m working on stuff besides playlists. But there will be a hiatus for personal reasons.

JF