Remembering My Previous Life Through The Music Of Ropeadope

Even though I shower daily, avoid patchouli, hate Phish, never got into the Dead and now prefer a 3 minute song to a 14 minute jam, I’m still known around Rind HQ as the Noodle Queen/resident Hippie/jamband lover. So, with that in mind, I’m going to share a few of my favorite albums from the Ropeadope catalogue:

The Benevento/Russo Duo
Best Reason To Buy The Sun

Before the Duo formed, I never would have guessed I’d love an instrumental album by a keyboard and drum duo. I mean, I love keys, and while I know drums are instrumental (pun intended), I’m one of those people who use drum solos for a bathroom break. So I must have had absolutely nothing else to do one night when I first saw them in Boston, where I lived at the time. I was immediately hooked. I saw them many more times, including their performance at SXSW 2005 where I realized I LOVE this band, and their show on a boat that was docked in the East River because it was broken. Needless to say, when BRTBTS was released it quickly turned into a favorite. Listen to “Sunny’s Song” when you’re walking through Manhattan at sunrise and “My Pet Goat” at dusk.

Charlie Hunter

Sometime in the early 2000s my friend gave me a bootleg so I could hear this incredibly sexy, soulful singer: Norah Jones. I fell so much in love with this one song (“Day Is Done” on Charlie Hunter’s Songs from the Analog Playground on Blue Note) that I saw both the band and the vocalist the next time they came through Boston. (As it turns out, Charlie Hunter sold out a 650 seat theater and Norah Jones had about 12 of us join her at a little jazz club.) Anyway, fast forward a few years and I’ve certainly kept listening to Charlie Hunter, while Norah Jones never really makes it into my music rotation. Copperopolis, released in 2006, is filled with classic Hunter tunes; but, for something slightly different check out Pursuit Package.

Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet
Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet

I’ve always been a sucker for sax [ed: words cannot describe how much we regret Jaclyn passing up the opportunity to call herself a “sax addict.”], so I’ve tried to see Skerik with whatever group he happens to be playing with…whether Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade* or Garage a Trois or Mike Clark. It was a happy day in 2003 when I heard about his own project: Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet. (I must point out that 5 years ago I didn’t know what a taint was). While absolutely nothing can compare with seeing Skerik live, this album at least makes me want to chair dance at work.

Alright, flash forward to present day and Ropeadope has a slew of new digital only releases that will make this foray into jambands seem so 2003. Check ’em out here:

*Watch the trailer for Les Claypool’s film debut: Electric Apricot (Quest for Festeroo)

Melvins Madness: Streaming Boots!

In the interest of keeping this non-stop Melvins lovefest alive:

The Melvins are taking over the world, one step at a time. Last week they premiered their album on Myspace, before tossed love in their direction with another pre-release full album stream. This week, Boots is blasting on AOL – check it out here, and buy buy buy!

And lest you forget all the chances to see this behemoth live, the guys are bringing their punch to a boatload of cities across the U.S. and beyond in the coming months.

MP3: The Melvins – Nude With Boots

Flamenco Legend Enrique Morente Releases Picasso Homage ‘Pablo de Málaga’

If you’re familiar with flamenco music, chances are you’re familiar with Enrique Morente, the 65-year old Granada-born singer who has transcended and expanded the genre for over 40 years. Having already been the first flamenco singer to use modern and classic poetry in his lyrics, Morente’s latest release Pablo de Málaga is perhaps his most ambitious, taking previously unpublished writings by Pablo Picasso and adapting them to music. The writings were given to Morente by someone close to the painter, along with a series of never-before-shown Picasso engravings. These engravings are currently only available in a PDF booklet via iTunes’ exclusive version of the album, which came out this week. There is also one track, “Autorretrato” (self-portrait), composed over an actual recording of Picasso’s voice.

Pablo de Málaga comes more than a decade after Morente’s groundbreaking 1996 release Omega, in which he collaborated with Spanish rock band Lagartija Nick to adapt texts from poet Federico García Lorca and re-work songs by Leonard Cohen into a flamenco-punk masterpiece. And if that’s not enough to solidify Morente’s indie credibility, he also appeared on stage with Sonic Youth at a 2005 Valencia concert and counts Broken Social Scene/Apostle of Hustle’s Andrew Whiteman as one of his biggest fans.

Having left Granada for Madrid while still a teen, Morente began singing in flamenco clubs and learning from the masters at a very young age. The start of his recording career in 1967 found him working to revisit the old cantes (song styles) that were no longer popular, separating himself from the pack as someone who was interested in pushing boundaries of both tradition and experimentation. His innovation continued, and in 1977, Morente was the first flamenco artist to be awarded the National Spanish Popular Music Prize for his initial foray into the “tribute” album, Homenaje a don Antonio Chacón. He has since won numerous other awards and released over ten more albums.

MP3: Enrique Morente “Adiós, Málaga”


Grayson and the Stumpknockers ‘Rott ‘N’ Roll’ All Night

Deep in the mountains of Franklin, Tennessee, you can find Grayson Capps and the Stumpknockers wandering around behind his property, gettin’ deep with the Native American spirits. Of course, that’s if the spirit isn’t flowing. When it is, you can bet your boots they’re laying down whatever comes to mind in Grayson’s home studio. The result? 13 tracks of gritty, folky, bluesy southern rock Mr. Capps and co. like to call Rott ‘N’ Roll, out September 9th on Hyena Records.

Rott ‘N’ Roll is an attempt by Grayson and co-producer Trina Shoemaker to encapsulate his live energy into one album, if that’s at all possible. There’s down to earth tracks like “Guitar” and “Back To The Country,” which offers a glimpse into Capps’ soft inner core, while others like “Big Ol’ Woman” are full of drunken wandering rednecks backing the choruses…literally. “The Sun Don’t Shine On Willy” even references the classic To Kill A Mockingbird!

The current tour includes a few dates around Alabama, with a short stint overseas in Norway. Dates after the jump!


Melvins’ Nude With Boots

The Melvins
Nude With Boots / Ipecac / BUY

Know who needs no intro? A band that’s been in biz for about 25 years, with just shy of 20(!) records under their belt. So, no, we won’t go into detail about how King Buzzo and his mighty Melvins all but created Grunge. Or how they distilled the ever-loving piss out of sludge and made it cool to sound down, dirty, and slower than slow. Or how they influenced anyandeverything you might call “heavy” nowadays. Instead, we’ll just breathlessly praise the knock-down, drag-out intensity of the band’s latest full-length, Nude With Boots. Picking up where 2006’s (A) Senile Animal left off, Boots throws its weight around with the best of them, whipping back and forth from raucous riff rock on the album-opening “Kicking Machine” to Spaghetti Western voodoo on “Dies Iraea” to beefy bluesman metal on “A Suicide In Progress.”

Once again featuring the rhythm section of Seattle sludgemiesters Big Business — Jared Warren and Coady Willis, for those keeping score at home — the album builds on the template guitarist Buzz Osbourne and drummer Dale Crover set forth back when Reagan was in the White House: interstate-wide grooves, impossibly-proportioned riffs, and eye-bugging, from-the-gut vocals. But what sets Boots apart is its ability to sound 100% menacing while swinging for the fences with its “pop hooks.” Check the hyperblast Thin Lizzy, or hulked up Cheap Trick vibe on the title track below. But don’t fret if “Nude” is too cheery for your taste, there’s plenty of hellfire and squealing Melvmetal on the album-closing “It Tastes Better Than The Truth.”

Long live the Melvins!

MP3: The Melvins – Nude With Boots