Staff Picks: Music
Do not miss the remarkable album 19 by Adele. You'll recognize her influences (Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald) from the first note. She has received awards in the UK and now her song "Chasing Pavements" can be heard regularly on radio and tv in the states.
The best CD of 2006 in my humble opinion was a British-folk, prog-rock inspired album from the Portland based band The Decemberists. The Crane Wife is filled with songs about Japanese folk tales, murderous tales, Romeo and Juliet type romances, and a criminal committing the perfect crime. The band, who often dresses in period clothing will be performing in East Lansing this Wednesday. They were at the top of my "most favorite band, but never seen live" list.
The Crane Wife
My first Bob Dylan concert was October 27, 1978 - thirty years ago last week, as a matter of fact (ulp… has it really been that long??!). That was Dylan’s first visit to Kalamazoo and at the time I remember saying, “He’s probably past his prime…” (I was rather fond of the "Hard Rain" period then), “…but who knows when we'll get another chance to see this living legend in our area again?” As it turns out, he was not by any means past his prime and has (quite thankfully) returned several times since... State Theater, Van Andel Arena, Fifth Third Ballpark, and elsewhere.
Dylan never ceases to amaze me. Not only for his ability to create a seemingly infinite stream of relevant new material, but along with each live show come unique new interpretations of his own ageless classics and forgotten gems – and perhaps even a unique cover version here and there. Not to mention the profound influence the man continues to have on his contemporaries (Pearl Jam's version of “Masters of War” or Ben Harper’s take on “All Along the Watchtower” immediately come to mind). As a result, I was very happy to see that Kevin has added several new Dylan titles to the collection. There’s some terrific stuff here – old and new. Dig in and enjoy.
So, here we are some three decades later. This weekend, Dylan returns to Wing's Stadium, Kalamazoo's long-time hockey arena and venerable old concert canister. Past his prime? Certainly not. Dylan continues to intrigue and influence several generations of listeners and performers. Worth going to see? You betcha. Reviews of the tour so far indicate there’s much to look forward to. Besides, who knows when we'll get another chance to see this living legend in our area again?
Bob Dylan titles in the KPL catalog
On a recent trip to the Big Apple, I stumbled upon the two-piece band MGMT via my I-pod while passing the time on the Amtrak. If you are a fan of the Flaming Lips and their infectious way of mashing together psychedelic pop with dance-friendly hooks, then I think you’ll enjoy MGMT and their new album Oracular Spectacular. Give it a listen.