music clip of the day


Month: May, 2014

Saturday, May 31st

Life as a criminal-defense lawyer involves travel to many glamorous destinations. Just this week, for instance, I went to Lisbon, Ohio (pop. 2,821), where I whiled away a sunny morning at the federal prison.

Bon Iver, “Lisbon, OH” (Bon Iver, 2011)


[Justin] Vernon composed the instrumental as he was writing letters to his friend Ian Wallace serving three years in prison in Lisbon, Ohio. . . . [H]is pal ended up in jail as a result of attempting to blow-up two university buildings for the Earth Liberation Front.



Friday, May 30th

Feeling too good for TV keeps getting harder.

The Handsome Family, “Far From Any Road”

True Detective (2014), theme song


Live, England (Lochside Theatre, Castle Douglas), 2008

Thursday, May 29th

No matter where you are, new sounds are just around the corner.

Marcos Balter (1974-), Strohbass (2011), Shanna Gutierrez (bass flute) and Ryan Muncy (baritone saxophone), live, Evanston, Ill., 2011


Wednesday, May 28th

basement jukebox

The Five Jets, “Down Slow,” 1954

Tuesday, May 27th

the other night

The sky’s all thunder and lightning, and it’s almost midnight, and I’m sitting in a Walgreens parking lot near Midway Airport, waiting for my son Alex’s long-delayed flight to arrive, and if it weren’t for Rubinstein’s recordings of Chopin’s nocturnes, which I keep playing over and over amidst the rain and the neon, I’d be going absolutely bonkers.

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1; Arthur [Artur] Rubinstein (1887-1982), piano



random thoughts

Listening to Chopin, reading Chekhov: if I ever retire, maybe I’ll relocate to the 19th century.

Monday, May 26th

This piece had its world premiere in 1941; the venue wasn’t fancy—a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp.

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time), live, ChamberFest Cleveland (Franklin Cohen, clarinet; Yura Lee, violin; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Orion Weiss, piano), 2013

Sunday, May 25th


This old world is not my home. I’m just passing through. But while I’m down here, I’ve got a job to do. . . . I’m just working—singing—for my train fare back home.

—Willie Rogers

Willie Rogers (Soul Stirrers), “When the Gates Swing Open,” live

Saturday, May 24th


Sun Ra & His Arkestra (with John Gilmore, tenor saxophone, et al.), “Take the ‘A’ Train” (B. Strayhorn), live, Switzerland (Montreux Jazz Festival), 1976

Friday, May 23rd

what’s new

Where would Western civilization be without the invention of the three-minute pop song?

Dream Chart Top 40 Songs: May 2014 (5/24/14)

Thursday, May 22nd

Happy (100th) Birthday, Sonny!

Sun Ra (AKA Herman “Sonny” Blount), May 22, 1914-May 30, 1993, keyboard player, composer, bandleader, singular spirit

Today, celebrating his centennial, we revisit a few favorites.

Sun Ra All Stars (SR, keyboards; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet, vocals; Lester Bowie, trumpet; Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone, vocals; John Gilmore, tenor saxophone; Marshall Allen, alto saxophone, percussion; Philly Joe Jones, drums; Clifford Jarvis, drums; Famadou Don Moye, drums, percussion), live, Germany (Berlin), 1983


Sun Ra & His Arkestra, live, Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, 1974


Sun Ra Arkestra (SR, piano; June Tyson, vocals; John Gilmore, tenor saxophone, et al.), “Springtime Again,” live, Rome, 1980


Sun Ra (piano) & Walt Dickerson (vibraphone), “Astro” (Visions, 1978)




WKCR (Columbia University): Sun Ra all day—tomorrow, too.

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