Tag Archives: Hot Chip

The Daring Adventures of Richard Thompson

I’ve inherited a lot of my musical tastes from my dad. His record and CD collection played a big part in weaning me away from just new releases. I’ve got a really distinct memory of driving down the highway in the back of the car listening to Paul Simon’s “Look at That” trying to imitate his quick scatting in the second half of the song (on the topic of Paul Simon, I also remembered being absolutely shocked by his song “Pig, Sheep, and Wolves” when I was young). Other guitarists like Nick Drake, Leo Kottke and Chris Smither also played a big role in my musical childhood.

Richard Thompson

But the artist that brings back above and beyond the most memories is Richard Thompson. Hailing from West London, Thompson, a skilled guitarist and the son of a Scottish detective, formed his first band (named “Emil and the Detectives”) at his all boys high school. That was around 1967. By 1972, after playing with two more bands, Thompson was playing solo with his newly married wife, Linda Thompson.

But it wasn’t until after their separation in 1982 that Thompson really fell into stride with the audience he had been collecting: members of the rock and folk communities, as well as those drawn in by his Scottish and jazz influences. In 1991, Rumor and Sigh was nominated for a Grammy, and rightly so. One of his singles off of that album is still the most requested song on NPR. Can you guess which one?

1996 saw the release of You? Me? Us?, my favorite Richard Thompson album to date. The record was released as a double disc set – one side labeled “nude” and the other “voltage enhanced” and they make a truly unique listening experience. “Business on You” is a great track, but he also provides dual versions of “Hide It Away” and “Razor Dance”, which are lovely to hear back to back.

Richard Thompson released his latest album Sweet Warrior in 2007, and has managed to preserve the sound and styles while evolving and pushing the boundaries of his music. “Needle and Thread”, the first song on the album is a great example of this. It’s a throwback to some of the songs off of You? Me? Us? but has a lovely new feeling to it.

But there have been a few gems that have popped up online that  stick out of the regular Richard Thompson canon for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, this one was a shocker when it first appeared on the internet:

At first it seems to be a trifling cover, but as one YouTube commenter says “I think It’s [sic] amazing how [Richard Thompson] can play a bit of fluff and take it beyond irony into something artistically relevant.” Too true, adjectivesarecool – especially the section when Thompson takes the pop song and changes it into a 12/8 folk instrumental.

But going back to Rumor and Sigh, there was one song that didn’t quite fit in with rest of the pack. That was “Psycho Street” – apparently Thompson’s “antidote” to an Australian song about hopelessly happy neighbors. Here we see a decidedly younger and more energetic Thompson howling and acting and quipping from behind the mike:

If you missed some of those lyrics, I’ll give you a sample.

A man has an inflatable doll made that looks exactly like his wife.
He murders his wife, dissolves her body in acid, and marries the doll
Three years later he leaves her, for another doll…

Thompson’s music has become somewhat tempered in the twenty years that have come and gone since that video was made. However, his quirkiness is still quite intact at 61. As we know, with age comes wisdom – something that Richard Thompson is known for appreciating to its fullest. Here’s a song all about his love for women – of the wise and intelligent kind, of course:

Thompson, who played the Paramount Theatre in Peekskill last year doesn’t have any New York shows coming up soon, but I highly recommend you see him when you have the chance. So, thanks Dad for introducing me to some great music. Maybe one day I’ll convince you that Muse deserves a second listen, yeah?

Happy Listening,

~Josh

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Concerts This Week:

FLAMING LIPS!!! TONIGHT!! GO SEE IT!! 8 pm at the Wellmont Theater

Jakob Dylan @ Town Hall on Wednesday at 8 pm.

Thursday’s got a bunch of shows:
– Famed Jennifer-Lover (ew) Mike Doughty will be at Le Poisson Rouge at 7 pm
– Hot Chip (see last week’s post!) will be playing at Terminal 5 at 8 pm (or catch them the next night, also at Terminal 5 but at 9.

Friday will bring you Mr. Elvis Costello at United Palace 8pm
– Also see Willie Nile at the Turning Point in Piermont on Friday!

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PEAK KEYWORD: INFLATABLE

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A Healthy Dose of Indie Music… Concerts

Anthony Kiedis of RHCP

For me, spring time means concert time. But for a college student like myself, there’s a very intricate matrix that determines what shows I’m going to see. Most of the time, it boils down to money (if you’re curious the other factors include, but are not limited to, proximity of the concert venue to a Chipotle, likelihood of me badgering the drummer into giving me a drumstick, and how many friends I can convince to come with me).  I’d love to spend $75 dollars to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Radiohead whenever they’re in town, but as much as I love playing “count the tattoos on Anthony Kiedis’ shirtless torso”, it gets a little pricey.

Fortunately, small-time indie bands are much more in my price range. Today hopefully I’ll get you excited about some upcoming concerts through their music videos.

First up: a band that opted for a name on the more unique side, the Freelance Whales. The band is just shy of 2 years old, but already rising quickly with a sold out show at the Bowery Ball room tomorrow night. Here’s their video for their hit, “Generator ^ Second Floor”:

What’s not to like? When have you ever seen a band of Cinco de Mayo skeleton mariachi this cheerful? While “Generator ^ First Floor” is about the beginning of life, and the Second floor, as you may have guessed is its end. As the beautiful chorus implores:

Don’t fix my smile, Life is long enough
We will put this flesh into the ground again.

And the bells and joyful voices in the song and the light-hearted nature help to support this serene view of Death. If you’re bummed about missing them tomorrow, no fear! They’ll be back in town at Webster Hall on May 5th, opening up for the Shout Out Louds.

Next up: Hot Chip, a band from London that will be coming to Terminal 5 on April 22nd and 23rd. Check them out. Here is their video for “And I Was a Boy From School”:

Hot Chip has been hot “ship” lately – touring recently with the XX, and getting scheduled to play at both Coachella out in California and Lollapolooza in Chicago. Overall they’re a pretty low-key lounge-y band, with electronic-laced beats and lyrics that have a tendency to be repeated a lot. Trying to figure out what the game is in this video keeps you entertained however, even if the end result is a little tacky. They’ll also be coming to NYC’s Summerstage this August in Central Park – so you can get those tickets now.

Ok that last one turned out to be a little metaphysical, too. Here’s two bands offering some more upbeat music.

First is the Irish folk-rock duo Guggenheim Grotto. They’ve released two albums now, and have a knack for creating truly artful music. The video for “Her Beautiful Ideas” off of 2009’s Happy the Man, has some whimsically great stop-motion animation. What are her beautiful ideas?

Well, the Guggenheim gentlemen have one idea: Let’s get naked and get under the sheets. Out of context it sounds a little strange sure, but this song is bright and sunny and full of love. Catch the Grotto at The Bowery Electric on June 2nd.

But here’s a song that just about music. The Peak’s been digging this track recently, “Song Away” by Hockey:

The first time I watched this song I didn’t really connect with it – due to some things that the video tried to tell me were true: like white kids from Portland playing craps, or that they found lots of fancy recording equipment in the LA river. But the next few spins (and that hawk!) really got me. Benjamin Gruber, hipster extraordinaire and lead singer of the band has got a voice that sounds unique and classic at the same time. The video blooms with color about two minutes through with vivid blues and oranges, and the $200 dollars of fireworks don’t hurt either. All in all, a fun song that celebrates all aspects of life.

Unfortunately, they’re not coming to NY soon, but they played Bonaroo last year, so there’s a chance that they might show up at All Points West.

If not, hopefully at least one of these artists has whet your appetite for some wholesome indie music. Please comment if you’re going to a hip show soon!

Happy Listening,

~Josh

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Concerts this week:

Ben Folds continues his tour with two more shows tonight and tomorrow at
:: Town Hall!

Blast from the past: Third Eye Blind will be playing at the Wellmont Theatre in
:: Montclair, NJ on Tuesday as well.

And guitar legend Joe Bonamassa will be playing two shows this week, first on
:: the 15th at Town Hall, and then again on the 17th at the Paramount Center for
:: the Arts in Peekskill. Check it out!

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PEAK KEYWORD: FIREWORKS

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