the black rose, the screaming eagle of soul

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires brought soul, funk, and sequins to the High Noon Saloon on December 4, 2013. The victim of love himself shouted and shimmied his way through two sets and an encore, often proclaiming his love for the crowd and even stepping offstage to hug his fans. Click on any photo below to see more shots from the night, or follow this link.

focus your audio: name

In M|H’s weekend feature, focus your audio, I’ll be looking at some of my favorite songs. Some I haven’t listened to in years, some I keep in regular rotation, but all having in some way informed my life, my taste, and and how I view music.

Goo Goo Dolls – Name

I learned about the Goo Goo Dolls from a sticker on my new classmate Luke’s binder at the beginning of sixth grade. Our last names were close in the alphabet, so we were seated next to each other in nearly every class. Aside from the number 69 doodled all over it, the binder’s most defining feature was a blue oval sticker that just said GOO. I asked him about it, and he told me it was a cool band he heard over the summer called the Goo Goo Dolls. A few weeks later “Name” was released on the radio and everyone knew who they were.

The song is totally 90s (and the video painfully more so), but I still love it. If I’m scanning through the radio and I hear it, I’ll stop. I think it’s the solo and its weirdo tuning – there’s really nothing else that sounds like it. Despite being all over the radio in the late 90s with their material from Dizzy Up the Girl, “Name” is the only song I hear still getting played now – I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard “Iris“, their biggest hit and arguably one of the most popular songs of the 90s.

I saw the Goo Goo Dolls live in the early 2000s, opening for Bon Jovi. Despite being a fan of theirs during the Dizzy Up the Girl era, I expected their set to be eye-rollingly awful but remember being pleasantly surprised and actually having a good time. It didn’t inspire me to get back into their music, but I will vouch that they’re solid performers. Even when you outgrow a band, there’s usually a song or two that sticks. For me it’s “Name”.

please please me oh yeah

Fifty years ago The Beatles released their debut album and the world of rock and roll was forever changed. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d share our favorite songs from the record.

Please Please Me


The harmonies. The edge to John’s “come on”s. The perfect balance of rock and pop.
Check out this live video to see some of the charisma our favorite foursome exuded at the height of their fame.

Love Me Do


A little bit bluesier and subdued with a not-so-subtle nod to the Everly Brothers.

Twist and Shout


Yes, it’s a cover, but goddamn if it’s not one of the best. We all wait for that “woo!” and we’ve all pretended to be Ferris Bueller at some point. The raw quality of John’s vocals abutting the sweetness of Paul and George’s backup efforts is incredible.

Baby It’s You


I almost didn’t include this as it’s another cover, but it’d be a lie to leave it out. There’s something so sad about it that I can’t help but love it. Damn you, Burt Bacharach!

I Saw Her Standing There


What a way to open a record. This is one of my favorites not just on Please Please Me, but of The Beatles’ entire catalog. If you can sit still through this song, I’m concerned that you’re not actually hearing it.

If you’ve got half an hour, go ahead and listen to the whole album:

focus your audio: for nancy (‘cos it already is)

In M|H’s weekend feature, focus your audio, I’ll be looking at some of my favorite songs. Some I haven’t listened to in years, some I keep in regular rotation, but all having in some way informed my life, my taste, and and how I view music.

Pete Yorn – For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)

Pete Yorn hit the scene at the end of my junior year of high school with his debut musicforthemorningafter and lead single “Life on a Chain“. I loved it upon hearing it with its bluesy base, but my favorite song from the album has always been “For Nancy”. I listened to this album throughout the rest of high school and got to see Pete Yorn play at  the 2002 Y100 FEZtival on the main stage. He played in the afternoon so I was able to get close and he was an amazing performer.

As the years went on, musicforthemorningafter fell out of my regular rotation, but when I was living in San Francisco in 2009 I rediscovered it while using the mp3 player I had bought and loaded up during my sophomore year of college. I’d had it on shuffle and “For Nancy” came on while I was on the bus in the Marina headed to work at the Exploratorium. After listening through the song I took my player off shuffle and listened to the entire album, remembering why I’d loved it in the first place.

what a difference a decade makes

This morning I realized that yesterday was the ten-year anniversary of the first concert I ever booked. As a freshman in college I joined the WUD Music Committee after seeing their ad in the student activities guide and then attending a free concert featuring Hey Mercedes. The committee quickly became the center of my extracurricular activities and social life, and at the end of my first semester I managed to book one of my favorite bands from home, Punchline, and this little Chicago band that they were on tour with – Fall Out Boy.

This is what I looked like exactly ten years & one day ago.

The show was at the very beginning of the spring semester of 2003, and being that it was January in Wisconsin it was freezing cold and snowing. One of the people who had co-booked the show (Madcap, Count the Stars, and 504 Plan were also on the bill) had nightmares leading up to the show, dreaming that nobody came. Happily, the show ended up being packed. Below is an era-appropriate photo collage from the night, as well a video sampling of the bands that played.

12503collage

504 Plan – Fathead

Count the Stars – Taking It All Back

Punchline – Play

Fall Out Boy – Chicago Is So Two Years Ago

Madcap – Going on the Road

favorites of 2012: albums

We’ve been just terrible the last few years about getting out a favorites list to you (2011’s is still sitting half-finished in our drafts, sad but true). There’s been a ton of good music this year, and we here at M|H hope to eventually crank out a complete list, but for now we give you what we know in our hearts: our top three albums of the year.

***

Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Sub Pop – 05.01.12 

Usually we don’t rank our favorites, but Fear Fun is hands-down our favorite album of the year and near the top of the list for our all-time best. It’s musically compelling, the lyrics are funny and smart, and the entire Misty persona drips with charisma. We can’t say enough good things about this record or Josh Tillman so just trust us and listen to the record if you haven’t become irrevocably obsessed with it already.

Our review: I’ve Got Smoke in My Lungs and a Past Life in My Trunk

***

Zulu Pearls – No Heroes No Honeymoons
Cantora Records – 09.18.12

We rarely get to spend the amount of time with an album as we’d like, but No Heroes No Honeymoons is one that found itself on repeat. There’s a cool confidence and ease that comes to Zulu Pearls and listening to the record is the easiest way to get close to that. There’s something very real about what Zulu Pearls is doing; these songs would be playing in the car, on the jukebox, soundtracking your life. 

Our review: I Like the Feel of Silver, But Now I Want the Gold

***

Reptar – Body Faucet
Vagrant Records – 05.01.12

If you’ve ever wondered what unadulterated happiness feels like, go see Reptar live. It’s impossible for us to divorce the live show from the album and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Reptar is a weird, weird band but the joy they exude while making music endows them with relatability. Body Faucet‘s quirky tunes will dance their way into your heart and mind and you’ll never stop wanting to move.

Our review: Edge of Low Verses, They Blew My Mind

focus your audio: understanding in a car crash

In M|H’s weekend feature, focus your audio*, I’ll be looking at some of my favorite songs. Some I haven’t listened to in years, some I keep in regular rotation, but all having in some way informed my life, my taste, and and how I view music.

Thursday – Understanding in a Car Crash

The second concert I ever drove myself to was Saves the Day at the Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The show was on November 20th, 2001, the day after my 18th birthday. This was significant because it would be the first show I didn’t have to worry about leaving early to be off the road by 11 PM – Pennsylvania had what was colloquially referred to as the ‘Cinderella license’ and anyone between 16 and 18 couldn’t drive after that not-so-magic hour.

After falling down the punk and emo rabbit hole by reading lyrics by Dashboard Confessional and Saves the Day in a friend’s AIM profile, Saves the Day had quickly become one of my favorite bands. I looked forward to the show for months and had such a singular focus in seeing them that I didn’t bother to check out the opener ahead of time, some band called Thursday. While waiting in line for the show, freezing in my hoodie in the November air, word made it through the line that Thursday had cancelled. Several dudes in black t-shirts got out of line and went home upon hearing the news, and the club responded by pushing back the door time and leaving us to freeze outside. Someone started a fire in a dumpster for warmth/in protest, and I recall the bouncers flipping out because if the fire marshall came they’d be shut down – in those days CrocRock was notorious for over-selling shows and breaking the fire code by stuffing itself to the gills with tiny, teen-aged bodies. The fire was extinguished and the show went on and I was happy because I got to see Saves the Day.

Not too long after the show I came home from school one day to turn on the TV to MTV2. The video that was on looked like it’d been filmed on someone’s camcorder and featured quite a bit of screaming. I watched, rapt, getting my first taste of screamo that didn’t drive me up the wall. I anxiously awaited the song info to appear at the end of the video, and when Thursday appeared on the top line my heart sank. This was the band that cancelled? I missed seeing this? I then understood why so many people had dropped out of line. Thursday sounded nothing like Saves the Day. But they were damn good. They showed me that screaming didn’t have to equal noisy racket and opened me up to a lot of bands I probably would have ignored after the lackluster bands I’d encountered prior to hearing Thursday’s shouts.

A couple years later my roommate Cara and I would have a deep obsession with the band’s third release, War All the Time, but that’s another story for another day.

*This feature was formerly called songbook, but we’ve always felt terrible about ripping off Nick Hornby and finally stumbled across a phrase that better encapsulated our idea.