Black Eyed Peas

I know, but hear me out. Fergie and her humps are nowhere to be seen on this album. That’s not necessarily a dig on Fergie, and honestly I don’t know if it has anything to do with it, but the sound is much different without her. They’re back to the original three, and they’ve gone from big pop hooks back to the old school fusion of funk, soul, hip hop and rhymes. Killer rhymes. Killer beats. Killer melodies. Killer cameos by guys like Nas, Slick Rick and a couple female artists that bring some serious talent. Cover to cover this thing bounces and grooves its way through so many good tracks. I’ve had this one on repeat in my car for a week.


We lost a punk rock legend recently. Steve Soto founded the Adolescents back in 1980, helping to usher in the Orange County hardcore punk scene with other bands like Social Distortion and Agent Orange. Throw in some bands from up the 405 a bit like TSOL, Circle Jerks and Black Flag, and So Cal punk raced along with the help of the Adolescents in furious one-and-a-half minute, mosh-inducing sonic blasts. Soto and the Adolescents brought a harmonic element to the music that can be heard here in Amoeba, off their self-titled debut album. This is from a live show sometime in the 2000s. They may be older, but they still bring it.

Thelonious Monk

I don't pretend to be a huge jazz head, but I do love me some Miles, Mingus and Monk. I always dug the stilted way Thelonious played. I chose this one because someone once said "If you want to get a better understanding of jazz, listen to the album 'Thelonious Plays Duke Ellington.'" I'm paraphrasing and I can't even remember who it was, probably Wynton Marsalis. But the point behind it was that you can take these standards that we all know, put them in someone else's hands, and have a totally new take on the song while still being instantly recognizable. Check out Thelonious banging out this classic with the velvet hammers he calls fingers. 

Cage the Elephant

I'm choosing a live video clip, because the studio tracks can't possibly capture the raw energy of a Cage the Elephant show. I saw my first one a few weeks ago, and became an immediate fan. From what I can tell, they usually end with this song, and you couldn't choose a better closer. Pounding, straightforward, hooky guitar riff and rollicking drums lay a bed for an absolute maniac of a frontman, leaving the audience wondering what the hell just punched them in the chest. Matt Shultz is in better shape than me. The guy kept up this level of energy for the entire hour-long set. It's like Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop had a baby in a Kentucky garage. So fun to watch live. You can skip the last three minutes of this video because it's mostly feedback while Shultz crowd surfs, but give the first couple minutes a gander. Are you into the beat?

Creedence Clearwater Revival

This one goes way back for me. Mom dropping the needle on turntable and filling the house with the timeless grooves of CCR. The slow swing of the rhythm section, mixed with the emotion in Fogerty's voice rings the tuning fork in my soul. Tough to pick just one Creedence song, but this has always been a favorite of mine. Next time you're in a dark, semi-crappy bar, drinking and shooting pool, head over to the jukebox. If you see Long as I See the Light in the catalog, put your money in, order another whiskey and rack 'em up.

Queens of the Stone Age

Two in one day, and some good old rock n roll lest you think I'm going soft. Off the album this blog was named for, No One Knows is a driving force of rock, relentlessly pounding beats into your ear drums. Josh Homme (pronounced Homm-E) put together a tremendous album with the help of Dave Grohl murdering the drums with seemingly reckless precision. A fine album to drive through the desert to. 

DJ Quik

Horrible album cover. Great album. DJ Quik released his first album, Quik is the Name, right before Dr Dre's The Chronic. While not as celebrated as the good Dr, DJ Quick effectively ushered in the G Funk sound. That being said, I prefer this later album titled Rythm-Al-Ism. It's more refined and chill. This track is called Down, Down, Down. Enjoy. 


The Kinks

Pioneers of punk and even grunge, eventually evolving into a softer, more complex sound, the Davies brothers lead the British Invasion headlong into the New World. They released smash hit after smash hit that etched their place in rock 'n' roll history. You've heard them all before. Here's a lesser known one that still rocks pretty hard. It's called "Rats" and the lyrics are still relevant almost 40 years later.


Will Kimbrough

I have my old friend Johnny Gwin to thank for this one. He turned me onto Will Kimbrough, oh almost 20 years ago now. Although fairly popular down south, Will hasn't reached the fame I'd hope for a songwriter of his talent. Honestly though, I kind of like having a guy that feels like my little secret out here on the West Coast. 


File this one under criminally underrated. Dramarama had everything going for them and two things working against them: the 80s and a horrible 80s band name. Other than that, they were excellent. "Anything, Anything" would be the anthem that everybody knows, but I'll put this one here. It's called "Scenario." The whole Cinema Verite album is full of gems.


When you hit shuffle on your entire catalog and iTunes knocks it out of the park on the first pitch. Today it was Los Angeles by X. For my money, it's one of the quintessential punk tunes, by one of the quintessential punk bands. 

Leonard Cohen

A lot of turmoil in the good ol US of A this week. Amidst the nuttiness, Leonard Cohen passed. The guy was a master songwriter and poet. This one is allegedly about an encounter between him and Janis.

Future Thieves

Saw these guys at the Kaaboo Music Festival in San Diego. They seem like they've got their shit together and are all supremely talented individuals. I also saw Hall and Oates at the same festival, and it was awesome, but that's another post for another day. Future Thieves out of Nashville. Enjoy.


Hit a lot of singles

A famous ad guy once told me that. He knew that in advertising, like in baseball, singles are valuable. I might have gone with doubles, but that's not the point.

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