Friday, 27 September 2013

Guest Top 5 Favourite Things by Brandon Gilliard

OK, this is slightly out of the blue. I enjoyed this week's Live Later ... with Jools Holland which featured Pixies, Chvrches, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages and Janelle Monae. I made a passing comment about that on Twitter (where I misspelled Barrence's name) and my tweet was noticed by Brandon Gilliard who is currently playing Bass in Janelle Monae's band.

I was a little surprised as I'd not copied in any of the band's Twitter accounts but Brandon must have been searching for #laterjools or Janelle Monae and favourited my tweet. I thought I test this out and see if he was interested in writing a guest top five.

Which was pretty bloody cool I thought. Here's a bit of background about him.

Brandon is a world touring bass player who has recorded or shared the stage with artists as diverse as KIMBRA, Erykah Badu, Avery*Sunshine, Big Boi of OutKast, P. Diddy, Bob Carlisle, Jennifer Holliday, Angie Stone, Chinua Hawk and a plethora of others. He has also performed with world class ensembles such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. His bass lines have been recorded for major movie soundtracks including work for Henson Studios, Fox, Blue Sky Studios and world renown composer, John Powell. Brandon credits musicians such as James Jamerson (Motown), Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power), Pino Pallidino (John Mayer, D’Angelo) and Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire) as his biggest influences.

Brandon is currently the bass player for Atlantic Records/ Bad Boy Records recording artist and his bass work is featured on Janelle Monae’s new album "The Electric Lady". Here are Brandon Gilliard's Top 5 favourite things.

1. Performing live

2. Country Music

3. Boots

4. Basses

5. Ireland

Thanks for this Brandon, you're a dude!


Friday, 20 September 2013

Top 5 Songs of 2013 - August/September

I know it's not the end of September yet but I've already got 5 songs I like and I'm going to see one of these bands live next week so wanted to give them a plug.

1. Kiran Leonard "Dear Lincoln" - A short, sharp, piano led burst of off kilter pop that deserves to kick start his career. He's very young (and wrote this song when he was even younger) and plays more or less all the instruments on his soon to be released debut album.

2. Piskie Sits "Viktoria Plzeň" - Possibly inspired by Czech football team, FC Viktoria Plzeň's progress to the UEFA Champions League, though the lyrics seem to be more about unrequited love. Piskie Sits have been around for quite a few years but if Football Focus get hold of this before Viktoria Plzeň face Manchester City again, this could become a huge terrace anthem.

3. Giant Burger "Fridges" - Giant Burger are the band I'm off to see next week. I'm not entirely sure how I discovered them but they're doing something very interesting that lies somewhere between punk, prog and pop. They're supporting Trojan Horse at The Sebright Arms next Wednesday and you should definitely go.

4. Telegram "Follow" - By far the longest track on offer this time round, clocking in at an "epic" 4 minutes 26 seconds. It's got an irresistible riff and a sing along refrain that I can't help joining in with. Smashing stuff.

5. MGMT "Your Life Is A Lie" - Worth watching the video for this one, which does a brilliant job of literally interpreting the lyrics.


Friday, 13 September 2013

Top 5 Roadrunner Songs

Trying to keep things ticking over here with a few short but hopefully sweet top fives. I've been getting into Jonathan Richman recently and it's his Roadrunner song, combined with a bit of iPod shuffling happenstance, that got me thinking about the number of similarly titled tunes. There were less than I thought (most tunes are covers of either Jonathan Richman or Bo Diddly) but in the end just enough.


1. "Roadrunner" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers (1972) - The recording history of this track is a little convoluted. Originally recorded in 1972 with John Cale producing it was recorded again the same year with Kim Fowley in control. The Cale version eventually saw the light of day in 1976, the Fowley version(s) in 1981. Either way it's a corking song that has been covered by everyone from Yo La Tengo to the Sex Pistols.

2. "Road Runner" The Fabulous Wailers (1959) - This is a brilliant instrumental from their essential album The Fabulous Wailers - Original Golden Crest Masters. Allmusic suggest this was co-written by Bo Diddley AND Jonathan Richman, which seems unlikely. It came out the year before Bo's song and, whilst my ear for a similar tune is not the best, this is absolutely a Wailers original.

3. "Road Runner" Bo Diddley (1960) - Bo Diddley's 12-Bar blues was originally released as a single in January 1960 and has been covered almost as often as Richman's tune. A hot rod revving style slide intro kicks things off before giving way to a typical piece of Diddley riffing. The video was shot at Wembley Stadium in the seventies and there's some great crowd shots featuring both Rockers and Teds.

4. "(I'm a) Road Runner" Junior Walker & The Allstars (1966) - Junior Walker had his biggest hit with this Motown single written by the super prolific Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland.

5. "Roadrunner" Papa M (1999) - Bringing up the rear, but still a fine piece of music, is David Pajo's song recorded during his Papa M phase (he changes moniker more often than I change jeans) and released on the excellent album Live From A Shark Cage.


Friday, 6 September 2013

Top 5 Batmans

Hello, it's been quite a while since I did one of these so I thought I'd start off with a serious topic. Who are the greatest actors to have portrayed the dark knight on cinematic and televisual screens? The furor over Ben Affleck's selection to play the caped crusader in Superman vs Batman got me thinking about this. To be honest the competiton isn't huge and I reckon Affleck could be pretty good.

It was a close run thing at the top as Adam West provided me with my introduction to the adventures of the Batman and I still have enormous fondness for that sixties TV series. I did subsequently come to love the comics and realise The Batman in those was darker and more serious but I think film makers since have struggled to balance the dark side of the character with an element of fun that all big screen heroes need.

The Christian Bale movies are a little too violent in places for me (this may be a sign I'm getting older, I didn't like Casino Royale either - too noisy!) but I have to recognise they're also the closest to the very best Batman comics. Keaton sneaks third due to the genius of Tim Burton (especially in Batman Returns which is possibly still my favourite Batman film). Lowery & Wilson sweep up the minor places due to their heartfelt attempts to play a costumed detective in a time of low fidelity technical options.

Let's never talk about Kilmer or Clooney again.

1. Adam West (1966-1968)

2. Christian Bale (2005-2012)

3. Micheal Keaton (1989-1992)

4. Robert Lowery (1949)

5. Lewis Wilson (1943)


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Chop's CD Roulette - A6 "Let There Be Rock" by AC/DC

My CD rack has 11 rows of occupied shelves and approximately 68 slots from left to right. If you pick a letter (from A at the top to K at the bottom) and a number between 1 and 68, I play that CD and blog (or tweet) about it. What could be simpler? #chopscdroulette #chopscdrH33