Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Neal and Del Go Home (December 2012)

Side Fa La La La
01. The Train by King's X
02. Stop the Bus by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
03. That Train by Erik Sanko
04. Bus Ride by Rocco DeLuca & the Burden
05. Plane Crash in C by Rilo Kiley
06. Miles on a Car by Rachael Yamagata

Side La La La
01. Plane Crash by Toadies
02. Trainwreck by Mastodon
03. Breaking into Cars by Raveonettes
04. Make the Bus by Janelle Monáe feat. Of Montreal
05. Car Thief by Beastie Boys
06. Blue Train by Cibo Matto

This Year We Bust Christmas Carols With Gwar

Nothing say Merry Christmas or help celebrate holiday season than Gwar invading your front lawn and singing carols (and kicking and destroying lawn decorations). Enjoy the clip and happy holiday to you and your family,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Final New Releases For The Year: Christmas Edition

With 2012 winding down, December still manages to include a nice handful of new releases including selections Big Boi, Ke$ha, T.I. and Bruno Mars. Green Day concludes their trilogy with ¡TRE! while Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rush will issue a deluxe reissue of their classic, 2112. In addition to these new releases, there have been plenty of excellent albums over the last 12 months that are more than worth your time and money.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Grammy Awards...Again?

The 2013 Grammy Awards were announced Wednesday and this might be the year where the voters became cool or, at least, modern. Yeah...modern is more accurate as nominating "Someone That I Used to Know" for Record of the Year can not possibly classify anything as being cool (looking at you, Urban Outfitters and Gap customers). This year, however, has brought forth many surprise nominations including those of Odd Future's Frank Ocean. I withdraw my earlier comment as the Grammy voters might be cool but they did vote for "Call Me Maybe" for Song of the Year so...

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Blackest of Fridays (November Mixtape)

Side 1
01. Black Sand by Jenny Lewis
02. Black Letter Day by The Cardigans
03. Black Dirt by Bumblebeez
04. Black Hole by Girls Against Boys
05. Big Black Woman by Sugar Ray
06. Black Tongue by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
07. Black Balloon by The Kills

Side 2
01. Black Jesus by Ghostface Killah
02. Black Star by Radiohead
03. Black Bock by Melvins
04. Black Wave by The Shins
05. Blacked Out and Blue by Cake Like
06. Black Sweat by Prince

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanks, Now Give Me Some New Music

Blogger's Note: Yes, this is behind but let us pretend like it was already posted...because it was.

Hello, November...have you met my wallet? This month is overflowing with reissues from Rage Against the Machine, Corrosion of Conformity, Joni Mitchell and Manic Street Preachers alongside new releases from Crystal Castles, Deftones, Bad Brains, Christina Aguilera, Alica Keys and the long awaited reunion album from Soundgarden. Closing out the month is a special Black Friday Record Store Day with releases from Lee Hazlewood, The Shins, The White Stripes and Tenacious D. By month's end, we will all be broke.

One Hit Wonder or One Hit Blunder

Today's Subject: "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba

Let it be noted that I, like many others, did not know Chumbawamba were still around until they disbanded earlier this year. It was afterward that I could not escape this ode to drinking whiskey, lager and cider drinks while singing songs that remind people of the best times. It was like 1997 revisited in the sense that I found myself singing along to this strange little pop song and equally being disappointed in myself for doing so.

"Tubthumping" is a peculiar song. It, for all purposes, is a song about the working class and a night out after the weekly grind. Perhaps, it is a song that one can take at face value and say that is nothing more than a song about drinking one's problems away. Given that it is a massively poppy song from an anarchist punk band, both of these are probably right. There might even be a sense of twisted humor in this particular band recording this particular song and then using their Top 40 success as a means of promoting their agendas through fashion and song on late night television. I guess they were singing while they were winning.

Easily, this is one of the few one hit wonders covered so far that is the most memorable lyrically. This is due to a lack of lyrics beyond the numerous alcoholic drinks (whiskey, cider and lager) consumed in the bar that special night and a bridge referencing a traditional Irish folk song in which the pipes were not calling for Danny Boy but a bar, several drinks and getting knocked down were. Then, of course, there is that all too familiar chorus which causes the true confusion of the song's meaning. "I get knocked down but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down." Again, given the band's heavy political leanings, this could be a song for the have-nots, an anthem even. On the other hand, the song takes place in a bar with a drunk guy singing songs from his past. Clearly, our protagonist has fallen off his stool, intoxicated on past glories and cheap whiskey, only to get up and order more spirits until he falls again to repeat the cycle. Even if he was singing while winning, it is he probably won't remember it in the morning.

Less simplistic (but leaning toward heavily generic) is the track's musical backing. Really, not much separates this song from the majority of mid 90's radio standards. It is the almost the equivalent of Third Eye Blind desperately trying to sound like pop-heavy, radio-friendly version of James and failing miserably. Then again, when you think about some of the hit songs of the mid to late 90's ("Semi-Charmed Life," "All-Star," "Breakfast at Tiffany's"), they all were these kind of upbeat, annoyingly catchy songs with very generic instrumentation. Sorry for getting away from the point which is to say this song, musically, is like "Semi-Charmed Life but with horns and none of the doo-doo-doo-doo-da-doo-doo parts to explain its somewhat addictive nature. The best description of it would be musical cardboard which is further illustrated in the clip for the track in which none of the member, other than the lead singer, actually seem interested in playing the song.

The fame this track provided came in the form of licensing and various late night appearances in which the band would either alter lyrics in the song to support a cause or wear slogans on their uniforms. One in particular I remember involved them labeling themselves as one hit wonders while performing the number. if nothing else, you have to respect their self-awareness and ability to mock their success. If an anarchist punk band with dance beats is not able to laugh at the their sudden success from making an overtly pop song, who can? Still, a Top 10 hit is deserving of awards and acclaim and this song does not have any other than the distinction of appearing on many annoying songs of whatever (year, decade and ever) lists. While "Tubthumping" has not held up well in the years since its release, it is hardly more annoying than "Blue," "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" or "Cotton Eye Joe," Rolling Stone magazine. I should know as I have performed it on Lips with no shame (and, more importantly, with no one within earshot of me singing it)

Easy, memorable lyrics with an easy memorable chorus
Top 10 hit in several countries
Pop hit from a political punk band
Covered by They Might be Giants on A.V. Undercover
Still receives radio airplay and has been licensed for several TV programs, films and games
Cheesy 90's pop song
Weird Al Yankovic covered it

Simplistic, almost inane, lyrics about nightlife or dreaming after a hard week...still unclear
Bland background music
Pop hit from a political punk band
Listed on Rolling Stone's 20 Most Annoying Songs Ever list
Has been licensed for several TV programs, films and games which counters band's views
Annoyingly cheesy 90's pop song written by anyone other than Smash Mouth or Third Eye Blind
Phish and Alvin and the Chipmunks covered it

Hmm...this one is a blunder based solely on the musical portion and the fact that everything about the song screams "we need a hit and we need one now." I can deal with simplistic lyrics as long as the music is interesting or rocks which this does neither. The only other Chumbawamba songs I know are "Amnesia" and "Mary Mary" and if either of those songs had broken the band big in the U.S., this whole entry would be different. Rest in peace, Chumbawamba and know that your one hit song will never die in vain. There is always a karaoke bar and several shots of cheap booze with "Tubthumping" written all over it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

P.O.S Receives Generous Donations From Fans

On the eve of the release of his new album, We Don't Even Live Here, P.O.S announced that he unfortunately had to postpone his North American tour due to health issues concerning the urgent need for a kidney transplant. Thanks to the effort and donations from fans, he was able to raise the money for the surgery. Of course, there are still various medical bills to cover after his surgery. For anyone interested in donating, you can do so here. There are a couple of videos explaining his situation and from his new release below. We Don't Even Live Here is in stores now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Whose House Are You Haunting Tonight? (October 2012)

Side Ahhhhh!
01. Ghost Rider by Suicide
02. Saw a Ghost by Trenchmouth
03. Ghost in My Mind by The Softlightes
04. Ghost Dance Deluxe by Felt
05. Feel Like a Ghost by El-P
06. Ghost Dance by Tomahawk
07. Bad Ghosts by Raveonettes

Side Boo
01. The Ghost Who Walks by Karen Elson
02. The Ghost Inside by Broken Bells
03. Her Ghost by Jon Brion
04. The Ghost of Rockschool by Belle & Sebastian
05. The Ghost of Snake by Erik Sanko
06. The Ghost That Kept on Haunting by Far

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bobbing For New Releases This Rocktober

Welcome to the month best known as Rocktober (or October to those not interested in be awesome) and this month is packed with such a varied collection of new releases that you are guaranteed to find several new ways to occupy your ears this month including new releases from Tori Amos, Tilly and the Wall, Bat for Lashes, P.O.S, Cody Chesnutt, Ellie Goulding and Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Along with several Beach Boys reissues, the month concludes with the double down of two epic box set reissues from The Velvet Underground. If you have not called this month Rocktober yet, then you, sir, have no heart.

Video Graveyard

Since the inception of the music video as a viable musical promotional tool, there have been a lot of videos involving zombies. For example, there is, of course, the legendary clip for "Thriller" as well as "Scream" by Misfits which was directed by the lord of the zombies, George Romero. Let us not forget videos starring The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed or Ke$ha over the last 20 years. One video that hardly ever shows up on the radar is Phantom Planet's clip for "Big Brat" from their third self-titled album. The clip directed by Spike Jonze is pays homage to the old "B" horror movies of yesterday while offering a sweet and bizarre love story. Even more of a reason to love this video. Enjoy this zombie love story in all of its uncensored glory from a band that is clearly obsessed with the dead/undead. Never mind the fact that they wrote and recorded songs called "Raise the Dead" "The Living Dead" and "Stiffs" or appeared on American Dreams as The Zombies or even recorded a song for Stubbs the Zombie (sadly overlooked game), it is the lyrics is "Always on My Mind" that makes me wonder about their love of the undead. You say love song, I say zombie raising incantation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

GWAR Closes Out A.V. Undercover Season 3 With A Kansas Cover

In TV, a season finale leaves with a cliffhanger or resolves many stories presented throughout the previous episodes or months. When A.V. Undercover presents their season finale (and the last ever in the little round room), you get a group of aliens covering a popular 70's rock song. GWAR takes the Kansas classic, "Carry On Wayward Son" and adds their own humorously brilliant and heavy stamp all over the song especially during the number's memorable chorus. This performance is also notable for the debut of their new guitarist, Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason). Seriously, it is GWAR covering Kansas...how could you not enjoy this? After the jump is the video for GWAR's cover of "Carry On Wayward Son" as well as a list the upcoming dates for their Fate or Chaos Tour featuring DevilDriver, Cancer Bats and Legacy of Disorder.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Rashida Jones Beatbox Manifesto (September 2012)

Side A
01. 1970 by The Stooges
02. Dying for It by The Vaselines
03. Feed Me with Your Kiss by My Bloody Valentine
04. The Mirror by Mary Timony
05. The Fire by Television

Side B
01. Vomit Ascot by Skeleton Key
02. Run Right Back by The Black Keys
03. Keep on Runnin' (Crawlin' Black Spider) by Cat Power
04. The Diamond Sea by Sonic Youth

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back To School Means Back To A Record Store This September

It is September which means summer is coming to an end as the kids pile into school. You, however, can enjoy heading into the fall season with an endless assortment of new albums and deluxe edition reissues. With  releases ranging from Cat Power to The Killers to No Doubt to Pink and everything in between, there is not any reason for you to add new sounds to your collection this month

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Failed Attempt At Charming Coloring Books (August 2012)

Side 1
01. Set Your Arms Down by Warpaint
02. Hunter by Portishead
03. Bear by The Frogs
04. Magic Dance by David Bowie
05. New Moon on Monday by Duran Duran
06. Guiding Light by Television

Side 2
01. Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
02. Velouria by Pixies
03. Editions of You by Roxy Music
04. Racehorse by Wild Flag
05. Film Music by Electrelane
06. You're Wondering Now by The Specials

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In My Time Of Absence...

So it has been awhile since my last post and/or confession. The reason for this is due to spending time working on various art projects, some finished and others really need completion, and meeting and networking with new people which is crazy in its own right. Nonetheless, I have not abandoned H&J.  As such, I shall do a quick summary of everything I have wanted to talk about but have not found the time to do so.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Last Days Before A Western Sunset (July 2012)

Side A
01. The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie by The Joy Formidable
02. Casualty by Snake River Conspiracy
03. I'm a Monster by Ours
04. We Had it Bad Today by The Softlightes
05. A Song for Europe by Roxy Music

Side B
01. The Alien Song (For Those Who Listen) by Milla
02. Don't Look Back by Luscious Jackson
03. Troublemaker by Beach House
04. Blacked Out and Blue by Cake Like
05. Roses by Skeleton Key

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Interview: Mark Meatto

Recently, I spoke with filmmaker Mark Meatto to discuss How to Grow a Band, a documentary on progressive bluegrass quintet, Punch Brothers. Currently, the film is being screened in various theaters across the U.S. with distribution from International Film Circuit and possible fall release for home and retail purchase. Thanks to Mark Meatto for granting this interview on such short notice and thanks to the Gene Siskel Film Center for allowing me to film there. This interview took place on July 14, 2012. Here is also a link to upcoming screening dates and further information on the film.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Playlist: Pitchfork Music Festival Edition

I have not been around much to do this so what better day than now to do this. This weekend, if you can manage through the heat and possible rain, is the Pitchfork Music Festival. This year's lineup features Feist, Sleigh Bells, A$AP Rocky, Japandroids, Wild Flag, Danny Brown, Beach House and plenty more acts over the weekend. Here is a small selection of what you can expect to see over the next three days.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

El-P (Bottom Lounge - July 6, 2012)

Building upon two critically acclaimed albums, rapper/producer El-P delivered a set inside Bottom Lounge that truly rivaled the 103-degree weather earlier on Friday. In his second appearance this year (the first being with his mid-late 90's collective, Company Flow in June), El-P treated the audience to a full performance of his recent album, Cancer 4 Cure, along with a few classics and bringing with him three impressive supporting acts.

Friday, July 6, 2012

El-P Brings Critically Acclaimed Sounds To Bottom Lounge Tonight

A little over a decade ago, rapper/producer El-P delivered a solid, apocalyptic one-two punch in the form of his production duties on Cannibal Ox's debut album, The Cold Vein, and his debut solo album, Fantastic Damage. These albums introduced to anyone listening to the world of Definitive Jux, the New York indie hip hop label ran by El-P and home to uniquely talented artists such as Mr. Lif, RJD2, Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, Cage and S.A. Smash to name a small few. Throughout the aughts, Def Jux became the underground face of NYC hip hop just as Black Moon, Mobb Deep and Wu Tang Clan's sounds were plastered throughout the city through their tales of street life and inner city workings in the 90's. For awhile, Def Jux was unstoppable.

Celebrate Your Independence With These July Releases

July is filled with killer new releases from Baroness, Aesop Rock, JEFF the Brotherhood, Frank Ocean Blood Red Shoes, Hellyeah and Toadies. There are also excellent reissues from Sugar and The English Beat coming within the weeks to follow. With such great music coming out this month, you owe it to yourself to treat your ears and loved ones to any of the excellent selections hitting store shelves this month.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the Land of Sky Blue Waters (June 2012)

Side A
01. I Melt With You by Modern English
02. Dots and Dashes (Enough Already) by Silversun Pickups
03. Pumpin' for Jill by Iggy Pop
04. Because I Do by X
05. Ain't That Nothin' by Television
06. Stop Your Foolin by Nervous Norvus

Side B
07. DNA by The Kills
08. Black Milk by Massive Attack
09. Dry Bone Valley by Mastodon
10. The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath
11. Beautiful World by Devo
12. Good Feeling by Violent Femmes

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Debuts Black Mold

It has been eight years since The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion shortened their name (Blues Explosion) and released their last album, Damage. In 2010, the band returned for a series of dates to promote a best-of (Dirty Shirt Rock 'n' Roll) and a reissuing of their 90's Matador output. It is two years later and the trio are now preparing for the release of a new album, Meat and Bone, and a North American tour to follow this fall with a European festival tour proceeding both. Along with this is the debut of JSBX's lead-off track from Meat and Bone, the dirty, lo-fi rocker, "Black Mold." The new single is a more updated take on the band's classic sound complete with Spencer's trademark, howling vocals. A tracklist for Meat and Bone, tour dates and a download for "Black Mold" can be found below. Meat and Bone will be in stores on September 18 on Boombox/Mom + Pop.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pick Of The Week: Faith No More and Bone & Bell

These picks could not be any further apart from each other. One recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is still one of the most brilliantly unusual albums released by a hard rock band on a major label while the other is a stellar sophomore EP that adds another layer of beauty and artistry to an artist on the rise. The picks of the week are Angel Dust by Faith No More and Organ Fantasies by Bone & Bell.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Killer Mike On The Eric Andre Show

In the vein of Fernwood Tonight, Adult Swim's The Eric Andre Show is a parody of late night talk shows. Unlike Barth Gimble and his humorous assortment of guests and crew members, Eric Andre and his co-host, Hannibal Buress, offer a manic hodgepodge of humor, confused guests, strange segueways and promos and overall random, cable access quality weirdness which is I love this show so much. To give you a good example, here is a segment that featured rapper Killer Mike as a hypeman for an opera singer. Really, that is all that I have to say about this clip and that The Eric Andre Show airs Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. CST on Adult Swim  and Killer Mike's latest LP, R.A.P. Music, is in stores now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Never Too June For New Releases

June is filled with some impressive new releases and reissues (and judging by the title of this post, bad puns) from the likes of The Beach Boys, Melvins, Jukebox the Ghost, Nelly Furtado, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Japandroids and plenty more. There is even a four-disc Heart box set to begin the month alongside Fiona Apple's first release in seven years. This is an amazing month loaded with great releases to enjoy those summer days (and nights if you are drifting away). So buy yourself some music and play it loud. 

One Hit Wonder Or One Hit Blunder

Today Subject: "I Got a Man" by Positive K

When I was 10, I learned two extremely valuable lessons in regards to women. One was to never trust a big butt and a smile and the other was if you see a fine girl, just bust a move. It was not until I was 12 that I learned the power of persistence from the Pepe LePew of hip hop, Positive K. With one question, he summed up talking to and hooking up with attached women by asking "what's your man got to do with me" on his hit single, "I Got a Man."

Monday, May 28, 2012

In Your Honor... (May 2012)

Side A
01. Angel in the Snow by Elliott Smith
02. Judy is a Punk by Ramones
03. Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing by Minutemen
04. Don't Lie to Me by Big Star
05. Twenty Four Hours by Joy Division
06. Sky Diver by Eyedea & Abilities
07. Free Form Guitar by Chicago
08. Cosmic Slop by Funkadelic
09. The Update by Beastie Boys
10. How Can You Fix a Broken Heart? by The Bee Gees

Side B
01. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen
02. Eazy-er Said than Dunn by Eazy-E
03. Brooklyn Zoo by Ol' Dirty Bastard
04. Rain When I Die by Alice in Chains
05. Man of Golden Words by Mother Love Bone
06. Parasite by Nick Drake
07. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth by Metallica
08. The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath
09. KRS-One by Sublime
10. Jet Boy by New York Dolls

Friday, May 25, 2012

Two Minutes of OFF! Live at the Whiskey a Go Go

One of the highlights of the last few years has been the emergence of OFF!, the Californian hardcore quartet lead by former Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman, Keith Morris. The band's debut, First Four EP's, was a more than welcomed injection into the arm of what the kids call punk and hardcore these days. The pop hooks and emo styled hair of modern bands has been replaced with guitar solos and short 1-2 minute bursts of pure American 80's hardcore.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mayer Hawthorne Debuts Henny & Gingerale

It was Humpty Hump who once sang "I'll drink all the Hennessey you got on the shelf" but it is Mayer Hawthorne that wants to take the same drink, fill your cup with it and throw a party as he does in the video for "Henny & Gingerale." In the clip, Hawthorne becomes a younger, modern Hugh Hefner as he sings about his favorite drink before proceeding to fill the cups of any of the attractive partygoers, If there was ever song built to sell Hennessey and the bachelor life, this is it. After this video, if Hennessey should be sending Hawthorne free bottles or hiring him as a spokesman. It is the perfect combination of baby making music and a baby making drink. (Note: if this happens, can I have my 10%?)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Adam Yauch aka MCA of Beastie Boys (1964-2012)

It is with great regret and great remembrance that H & J honors the life and art of Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of Beastie Boys, who passed away earlier today at the age of 47 after a three year battle with cancer.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Soundgarden Living To Rise

Soundgarden's first song of new material since 1996's Down on the Upside is a track for the upcoming film, The Avengers. "Live to Rise" is their contribution to the soundtrack and its video features the band performing with clips of the film thrown in (so...a standard action film theme song video). While I expected something darker and heavier ("Birth Ritual" from Singles), I can be excited that a new Soundgarden song means that there will be a new Soundgarden album in the near future which is a very exciting thing in itself. Enjoy the video for "Live to Rise" below and the soundtrack to The Avengers entitled Avengers Assemble: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture is in stores now.

May You Enjoy These New Releases

May, I bow before thee as this month's new releases among some of the best and highly anticipated releases for the year. This month features new albums from Norah Jones, Joey Ramone, Tenacious D, Best Coast, Beach House, El-P, OFF!, Garbage, Regina Spektor and so, so many more. There are reissues and additions to the catalog of Thin Lizzy, George Harrison and Pantera. Whatever you are into, there are plenty of new releases to enjoy and break the bank on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kevin Shields Talks About My Bloody Valentine Reissues

Twenty-one years later and Loveless is still a musical masterpiece of lo-fi lush sounds and distortion. It is the album by which romantic empires are created and a perennial favorite of critics and fans of shoegaze. If you have never heard the album or any of My Bloody Valentine's brilliant albums (say, for example, 1988's Isn't Anything), then you owe it to yourself to purchase the MBV's remastered reissues on May 7.

Monday, April 30, 2012

For Sarah...A Birthday Mix (April 2012 Mixtape)

Side 1
01. School Days by Loudon Wainwright III
02. Into the Void by Nine Inch Nails
03. The Mansion World by Deadsy
04. Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound by The Mars Volta
05. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 by R.E.M.
06. Greetings in Braille by The Elected

Side 2
01. Tunic (Song for Karen) by Sonic Youth
02. Human Pin Cushion by Skeleton Key
03. Erase/Rewind by The Cardigans
04. Sound and Vision by David Bowie
05. Bastardo by Charlotte Hatherley
06. A Thief at My Door by Karen Elson

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Playlist: Record Store Day Edition

Normally, this would be posted on Friday but I did it specifically for today to go along with my purchases. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper. Without any further delay, here are some of the artists whose records I purchased today. Sorry for the rush but I want to listen to them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dick Clark (1929-2012)

Yesterday, Dick Clark, America's Oldest Teenager, passed away at the age of 82 following a heart attack after a medical procedure. For many, the passing of Clark represents the passing of an era long gone and the youthfulness of that era that still resonates today within people, young and old. The ever youthful host and radio DJ was best known for American Bandstand, the ground breaking daily (eventually, weekly) show that served as a dance party in your living room and helped ease some of the racial tensions in America when they were at their worst as Clark openly invited African-American performers to a show that formerly opposed the concept.

White Denim Release New Single, Perform At Lincoln Hall Tonight

Friday, April 13, 2012

Playlist: A Tribute to Jason Voohees

Friday the 13th is best known for being the day in which a goalie masked, supernatural, superhuman, zombie-like being in overalls stalks the woods with a machete to kill campers that fornicate on the campground where his mother died while killing camp counselors yearly to avenge the loss of her son who drowned in a lake. Whew, and I thought saying Shelly sells seashells by the seashore was hard. Anyway, in honor of Jason Voorhees and his mother, this week's edition of Playlist (formally Friday Playlist) features song titles that pretty much up your time in Camp Crystal Lake. The last song, however, is probably the last thing you hear when he finally catches you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Playlist: El-P

Rapper/producer El-P has a new album, Cancer for Cure, in stores next month. Having already debuted "The Full Retard" and "Drones Over BKLYN," the album's cover art and tracklist were released today. In honor of his forthcoming album, today, we honor the works of El-P through his videos and performances. Cancer for Cure is in stores May 22 and features appearances from Killer Mike, Danny Brown, Nick Diamonds of Islands and more. In a completely related note, El-P has been performing with his old group, Company Flow, on and off over the last year in support of the reissue of Funcrusher Plus. On Friday, April 12, they will  perform their first ever show in Chicago on April 12 at Metro. Between these events and his collaboration with Killer Mike (R.A.P Music) also due next month, a moment to honor the forever, hard-working El-P is long overdue.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jack White, Record Store Day Headline April New Releases

RECORD STORE DAY!!! That is all I really need to say about April's new releases. It is a filled with exclusive releases and is a celebration of music and the independent stores supporting our habit. As awesome as this day is, this, in no way, discredits the rest of the month which features new releases from Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Screaming Females, Peter Gabriel, Florence + the Machine, Brendan Benson and The Raveonettes. There are even reissues from Roxy Music and fIREHOSE to begin this month. With plenty of selections to choose from, here are just a few of them waiting for your ears this month.

The Post Punk Pop Sounds Of Big Science At Fireside Bowl Tonight

Friday, March 30, 2012

Playlist: Tenacious D

It feels like ages since there was a new Tenacious D album. The last time we heard from the "D" was on the soundtrack to their highly under-appreciated epic film, 2006's The Pick of Destiny (and the followup DVD, The Complete Masterworks 2). On May 15, the duo will release their long awaited third album, Rize of the Fenix which, if history has already proven, will rock your head and socks off while leaving you on the floor laughing. With a new album in stores soon and the debut of the video for "To Be the Best" this week, Friday Playlist honors the visual excellence of JB and KG.

Mae Whitman's Sampler (March 2012 Mixtape)

Side A
1. Get to Know You by Mayer Hawthorne
2. Call Me Beautiful by Cheyenne Marie Mize
3. Crush by Sleigh Bells
4. Sick of You by Gwar
5. Risingson by Massive Attack

Side B
1. Lay My Head Down by Band of Skulls
2. For What It's Worth by The Cardigans
3. I've Been Loving You by Otis Redding
4. Snake Oil Saleman by Rocco DeLuca
5. Why You Fall by Jenny Owen Youngs

Friday, March 23, 2012

Playlist: Luther Campbell Edition (NFSW)

It is Friday at Hightower and Jones (as it is in the Eastern Hemisphere as well) and it time to celebrate the weekend in style and with classic videos with a post called Friday Playlist showcasing the visual arts of an artist. This week, let us celebrate (or to any teenage, horny males reading...drool over) the classiest of works featuring producer/rapper/jiggling butt afficianado Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew. Having discovered 2 Live Crew at an early age, I can safely say that I went through puberty earlier than expected and learned more butt shaking than I would ever learn in my adult life. To you, Luke, I celebrate this Friday in your name and with dreams of a version of Miami that I will probably never experience. Granted, this is nowhere as awesome (or sexy) as Kristen Bell Mondays but with this collection of videos, I am certain that it is raunchier.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

XXL 2012 Freshman Danny Brown Rips Throughout Chicago On March 30

Spin and Pitchfork listed XXX as one of their top releases of 2011. XXL recently listed him as part of their 2012 Freshman Class. Fader even referred to him as hip hop's most unique rapper and a promising underdog. This is all simply to say that Danny Brown is the best underground hip hop phenomenon that you probably are not listening to...at this moment, anyway.

Friday, March 9, 2012

El-P Releases New Single From New Album

Outside of guest appearances, mixtapes, compilation tracks, production work and various Pitchfork appearances, El-P has been in the studio preparing (and recently finishing) his forthcoming third solo album, Cancer for Cure. Five years after his sophomore release, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, the Brooklyn rapper will release the album on May 22 on Fat Possum. Last year, El-P released "Drones Over Bklyn" as part of the 2011 Adult Swim Singles Program to serve as a teaser for the new album. Today, another single from the album was released entitled "The Full Retard" was released which you can download here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Enjoy The March Weather With These New Releases

The Mars Volta. The Shins. Bruce Springsteen. Iron Maiden. Madonna. March is issuing some heavy hitters to your local record store this month. Along with these releases are new recordings from Rocco DeLuca, Soulfly, Every Time I Die, Andrew Bird and, if you are interested, there is also a Katy Perry reissue. There is something for everybody so get out there and buy yourself some new music.

Video Graveyard

There have been very few videos that have caused an equal combination of hysterical laughter, embarrassment and confusion. In fact, I can safely say that there is really only one video. "Muscles" by Diana Ross is, without a doubt, the video that makes me loathe and enjoy all there is about 80's music videos. This Michael Jackson (why Jacko, why?) penned hit features Ross dreaming about scantily clad men surrounding her, doing cartwheels on her arm and just existing as 80's eye candy. Somehow, she manages to fly over one guy's body while he features some suburban landscape on top of him. Combine this with the glow of soft lighting and you will find one of the cheesiest videos ever made to the point of calling it laughably atrocious (so...it's like "Physical" with more skin and less mustaches). While I enjoy the camp value of this video, it also makes me embarrassed to have been born in the 80's and early 80's at that. Something tells me that future generations will find this video and think that all men were ripped, all women were surrounded these same men and everything we did was surrounded by a soft, fuzzy glow and smeared in petroleum jelly. Wait, I think that is my life now as I am totally ripped, glowing and half naked on a bed with Diana Ross right now. Even with that joke, I feel embarrassed. "Muscles," you won yet another round.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jumpers & Leapers (February 2012)

Side A
01. Jumpers by Sleater-Kinney
02. Jump Through the Hoops by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
03. Hop, Skip and Jump by Squeeze
04. Did She Jump or Was She Pushed by Richard and Linda Thompson
05. Jumping Around by The Rentals

Side B
01. Jump by Green Jelly
02. No Jumpers Cables by Aesop Rock
03. Leap of Faith by The Suicide Machines
04. Leap You Bar by John Frusciante

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Years Of Pure Musical Lunacy

Believe it or not, it has been three years since I first spoke on the cinematic wonder known as Tougher Than Leather. In these last three years, I have presented you with odd mixes and thoughts on everything from on "Mambo No.5" to the cloning of S Club for one's own personal and disturbingly selfish needs. Also, in this time, there have been interviews, reviews and strange looks from Prince.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fiona Apple Plans U.S. Tour

Recently, it was reported that a new release from Fiona Apple is set for this year and with the announcement of a small U.S. tour in March, I believe this is possible. Pitchfork reported that Apple will embark on a seven-date U.S. tour beginning with a set for Pitchfork's showcase during South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 15 and wrapping up on March 27 in Boston, MA. Listed below are the scheduled tour dates for the long-awaited return of Fiona Apple.

Obama 2012: The Soundtrack

Monday, February 20, 2012

In Case You Missed It: Saturday Night Live

Sleigh Bells appeared on Saturday Night Live this past Saturday to perform "Comeback Kid" and "End of the Line." The tracks come from the band's sophomore album, Reign of Terror (in stores this Tuesday). The musical greatness did not just end with Sleigh Bells. In one sketch, SNL humorously welcomed Jay-Z and Beyonce's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, with visits from Prince, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Nicki Minaj stopping by to see the baby. In a scene stealing moment, Justin Timberlake appears as Justin Vernon of Bon Iver  which, alone, is worth watching the clip for.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Video Graveyard (NFSW Edition)

It's Wednesday and H & J knows exactly what "hump day" means. Okay, I actually have no clue what that means but a couple of fans of The Coathangers definitely understand the concept in this fan-made video for "Nestle in My Boobies." The song is one of many highlights from their self-titled debut but this video...this video is something else entirely. In summary, there is a lot of humping over background visuals of...well..yeah. I think I will just let you watch this from the privacy of your own home. Nonetheless, it is a video featuring air humping, dancing and some sexy, sexy melodica playing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jenny Owen Youngs (Schubas - February 9, 2012)

The last time I saw Jenny Owen Youngs was in 2007 opening for Vienna Teng. Then, it was just her and an acoustic guitar as she performed selections from her debut, Batten the Hatches, and amused the audience with her witty banter. Even then, her confident performance, songs and personality seemed far larger than her stripped down performance. Even speaking to her that night, her personality and charisma was immediate and engaging. The Jenny Owen Youngs of 2012, however, is whole different beast. Everything that drew me to her the first time is still intact but, now, it has a thicker, rock edge and presented through a singer that has evolved with an increasing level of musical cool and confidence with each release. At Schubas last night, Youngs performed an energetic set of career highlights for a nearly packed audience that further enforced her emergence as a confident and charismatic singer, songwriter and performer.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Porter Robinson Spitting Fire At Congress Theater February 25

Nineteen and on the rise, Porter Robinson has been creating and crafting his art since he was 12. Signed to Skrillex' label, OWSLA, the North Carolina native released Spitfire, an EP combining electro-house, trance and dubstep. Since its release, Robinson has been working hard to become (and please excuse the pun) a household name by appearing at #1 on the iTunes dance charts as well appearing alongside Deadmau5, Diplo, Moby and with spots at South by Southwest and an upcoming spot at this year's Coachella Festival. Robinson has accomplished quite a bit of success in such short time and is one star on the rise worth catching which you can during his set at Congress Theater on February 25. If his set is anything like the brilliance found on Spitfire, it is only a matter of time before you are singing the praises of Porter Robinson as well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Romantic Sounds Of February Releases

Valentine's Day is upon us and what better way to celebrate it than with new music. This month provides a multitude of releases from Of Montreal, Jenny Owen Youngs, Ben Kweller, Islands, The Duke Spirit and Amos Lee. The highly anticipated, sophomore releases from Band of Skulls and Sleigh Bells are set for the middle of the month as is the release of the acclaimed documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone. Van Halen's long-awaited followup to 1998's Van Halen III (and their first album with original vocalist David Lee Roth since 1984) entitled A Different Version of Truth hit stores today to help kick off an exciting month of music.