Avenue Community Relations Director
Maybe it’s the fall weather, or maybe it’s the nostalgia inspired by our new Mile of Music Flashback series…but I find myself wanting to slow down and revisit some favorite music lately. Normally, I’m chasing new music and feeling pulled down more musical directions than I can manage. It’s a great problem…so much music, so little time.
In the last week I’ve spent a good amount of time in my car. Rolling down the highway between decent radio stations, I reached into my console and found the “Less is More” cd by Milwaukee-based Listening Party. I love this album front to back. I love the catchy simplicity of the title track. I can hear how much fun these guys are having in the rollicking rhythms of “Train.” I feel the nostalgia in “Ruthie” and “Disco” – both tunes that honor grandparents of band members. Then there’s “Bones,” “My Old Self” and “Rocky Road,” all songs that are very easy to love on first listen – which for me can also mean they burn out quickly. But these songs just get better and better to my ears. And while I hate choosing favorites, I think I found one on this disc in “Old American” – the vocals are warm and comfy like the right scarf on a cold autumn day.
These guys have become favorites – I can hear them on The Avenue and have seen them a lot live. But in my car, with the opportunity for focused listening, I found an even deeper appreciation for this album. And I found myself pondering the lyrics and before I knew it, it had repeated 3 times and I still wanted more. Check out their music and live schedule here listeningpartymusic.com
Listening Party “Train” https://youtu.be/ANMoRX5IUlM
Listening Party “Bones” https://youtu.be/ZVvONBMHe3g
The Mile of Music Flashback series got me thinking back over my own Mile of Music 6 experience. It’s easy for it all to become a blur, but I kept coming back to a couple of performances that felt almost magical, not only for the music but the dreamy atmosphere created during the performances. One of those performances was by another Milwaukee-based artist, Abby Jeanne. I caught a partial set and was definitely left wanting more. Unfortunately the performance I tried to see at Mile was rained out, but I was inspired to see her live in her hometown. I found her on-stage energy joyful and completely intoxicating. And I can’t sum it up any better than Shepherd Express did, “Milwaukee wailer Abby Jeanne has a robust, jazzy voice that rivals the greats – Ella, Amy, even Janis. Her music plays like a talent reel, shuffling through bluesy torch songs, moody trip-hop experiments and unhinged rockers, the constant thread being Jeanne’s go-for-broke determination and her refusal to let the world wear her down. What an absolute thrill it is hearing a singer this powerful just cut loose, free of any genre restraints.”
She’s headlining a show at Turner Hall in January. Learn more here abbyjeanne.com
Abby Jeanne “Be in the Sun” https://youtu.be/s-HkJx3am9Q
More videos here http://www.abbyjeanne.com/videos-1/
And in this same vein, I almost accidentally saw Pip the Pansy’s performance in The Alley at MoM6, and I’m so thankful I did. Enchanting, magical, trippy, dreamy, a kaleidoscope of colors. And now I’m hooked and so are many others. When she returned to Appleton (from Atlanta) last month, a whole crew of local devotees showed up adorned in Pip-style flower adornments and hair styles. I love floating away to “Royal Blue Daydream” listen here https://youtu.be/jK6WWYDHaBM
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This week in the Listening Room we catch up with another one of our very talented, local singer/songwriters, Nicholas Raymond. Raymond first caught the attention of audiences as the drummer and singer for Traveling Suitcase. He most recently released Summer Shoes as a solo project and has been touring in support of that. He stopped in Avenue studios recently to talk music and influences and a couple of songs from that album. We loved getting to know Nicholas a little better by learning what music influenced him.
Check out Nicholas Raymond’s music for yourself here www.nicholasraymond.bandcamp.com and on The Avenue.
“It took me a really long long time to pick a few key records. These are the albums that are always my go-to.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sex Sugar Magik
“My first memory of the curiosity of music was seeing the “Give It Away” music video. I was 4 and would dance around the living room in my underwear with my blanket pretending I was in the band and full of attitude with Anthony Kiedis. A few years later I stole the tape cassette out of my older brother’s room. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood, blaring it as loud as my Fischer Price tape player would go. The album has amazing dynamics and I swear the compression on the snare drum on that record subconsciously made me a heavy hitting drummer to this day.
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away” https://youtu.be/Mr_uHJPUlO8
Incubus – Morning View
Freshman year of high school was when I really dove into the album Morning View. I’d say this band has shifted with every decade of my life since then. I originally fell in love with Incubus when seeing them perform a song live on television for Ozzfest for their record Science. Years later I have a memory of being at a summer festival and the song “Pardon Me” from Make Yourself played on a radio by the ferris wheel and I was mesmerized when I learned it was Incubus. I was struck by how different a band could sound and I found myself dedicating all of my free time to becoming a better drummer. I wanted to be in a band like Incubus, or any band really.
Then I heard “Wish You Were Here” sitting in the kitchen and thought THIS band was going to be my new favorite band. Much to my surprise, it was Incubus. This band is always changing and trying new things. Sometimes it takes me a few listens when they release new material. I couldn’t ask for more out of art, something that inspires change and can make you uncomfortable because it’s new.
For me Morning View was made at the peak of the band really finding a voice for themselves in a big industry. They all lived in a house on the beach together and made this record in that house. Much like my first pick was made with Red Hot Chili Peppers. Man I love these bands so much I'm in tears because of how grateful I am that they truly made me the musician I am.
Incubus “Wish You Were Here” https://youtu.be/8295rOMvtQI
Queens of The Stone Age – Villains
Last, but not least, out of the 20 years of alternative rock filling my mind & soul, this band is my favorite and each record is a coming of age musically and lyrically.
Josh Homme is a songwriting machine to me. I love the way he makes things dirty, haunting and intelligent. I dream of catching a gig with a pro like this. It’d be like going to Harvard or Yale.
Queens of The Stone Age went from hole-in-the-wall dive bars to packing out arenas and making records with people who produce Lady Gaga albums. Hence why I think Villains is so awesome. They went with someone who turned their already super unique recording techniques into a new dimension of sounds. The thing I enjoy about Queens is all of their riffs are catchy and they feel like the best rock & roll dance moves you could ever bring to the floor. When you get hit with tracks like “Fortress” and “Villains of Circumstance” and goosebumps go down your back and your heart hurts a little. In this record Josh talks to his children and family. Being a pro is tasking, the amount of miles Homme has put into his craft is insane. Lines like “Miss you now what’s come over me? We’re hostages of geography” reminding everyone it’s not easy to work as hard as he does.
Queens Of The Stone Age is my favorite band to watch live and I dream of coming close to hitting any ripples they’ve influenced.
There is so much more that moves me and fills me with passion for music. These records are ones I pick over and over. Thank you to these artists for paving such a cool road to try and keep up with… For setting people free and bringing all different humans together all over the world for decades to share a concert and a moment.
Queens of The Stone Age “Villains of Circumstance” https://youtu.be/fsqhJcGbaEI
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