Archive for June, 2011

29
Jun
11

Slightly Stoopid – Sweet SoCal-Ska-Reggae-Grooves

On all places I would least suspect to be enlightened about good music would be my digital radio station on my television, but low and behold channel 1263 (Reggae) enlightened me once again to a band I had never heard before.

I usually put on my television reggae station as background music when I’m washing dishes or preparing a meal after work, most of the channels music is mundane or nothing more then the usual overplayed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, or Toots and Maytals hits.  Every once and awhile a gem might pop up such as some Burning Spear, Dennis Wilson, or Yellowman, but it’s truly rare to hear something new.

When I heard Slightly Stoopid’s song “2 a.m.” the first thing that came to mind was that it was some obscure Sublime or Long Beach All Stars track never before heard. That all so identifiable and unique SoCal groove was so sweet, however,  I could not place the song to save my life.  Why had I not heard about these guys before? That was the thought that resonated through my head over and over;  the more I listened the more I could not get over how good these guys really sound.  I had to jump on a torrent and grab some samples to see if these guys were for real and viola, yep, they are the real-e-o deal-e-o!

The torrent had user made “best-of” compiliations from their 8 albums; so my first introduction to the band was what others considered their best music.  I was able to obtain all of their albums and decide for myself how consistent their sound truly is; to their credit these guys have released solid albums without question.   Their first two albums – Slightly $toopid (1996) and Longest Barrel Ride (1998) are long out of print and highly desirable by collectors; they provide a rough and gritty base for the band with a mix of punk, hardcore, and reggae influences that may not fit everyone’s taste.  I feel the band cleary defined themselves and refined their sound with the album Everything You Need (2003); this album offers a number of solid songs and is worth picking up without question.

The band followed up that album with a mix of live and studio albums that, again, should not be overlooked.   Closer To The Sun (2005)  and Chronicitis (2007) are solid albums that stand on their own right with brilliant arrangments and incredible beats that are just so much fun to play over and over again; this band is easy to get addicted to listening to on a regular basis.  There music is a perfect background to an outside barbeque  party, or just playing in your car on an awesome summer day.

Check these guys out if you can and you will thank us here at HiFi!  The band is currently on tour and hitting some pretty sweet venues across the U.S., so check them out and see if they are coming to your city this summer. 

Click here to see tour dates.

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21
Jun
11

Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon – Perfect Summer Sounds

In earlier posts I have raved and enlightened listeners to a great resource for legit free concert downloads of some of the greatest jam bands of the past few decades; Nugs.net.

One concert that I consider a highlight of what’s available is the Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon concert at the 2003 Bonnaroo Music Festival.  There are times when musicians from different backgrounds just seem to meld together and make the perfect combination, these guys are a perfect example.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

15
Jun
11

The public demise of Gene Simmons

Here at HiFi Central we often turn away from gossipy trash regarding the music industry, but recent developments with Gene Simmons have been all the buzz around the water cooler. 

For years Gene Simmons has been the poster boy of living the Rock and Roll sex lifestyle to excess; with a claim of sleeping with more than 5,000 women (I think this puts in him in second place since Julius “Dr. J” Irving who claimed to have been with 10,000 women; while porn dork extrodinaire Ron “The Hedgehog” Jeremy takes third place with a claim of only 3,000) apparently has caught up with him and his partner of 28 years, soft-core, b-rated, self-proclaimed successful movie actress Shannon Tweed.  Ms. Tweed made a public spectacle of her displeasure of his continued practice of enjoying women of ill repute on the nationally broadcast Joy Behar Show this week.  It was in my opinion, probably the most uncomfortable interview of all time.

As I watched in disbelief all I could think was “Wow, this is Gene Simmons getting busted on national television and the guy just keeps his composure the whole time”, it’s beyond me how this guy doesn’t snap and punch Tweed in the face.

Sadly, the display between Simmons and Tweed is just a classic example of how the Rock and Roll lifestyle eventually can turn ugly and contribute to a disfunctional relationship. Whether sex, drugs, booze or all three mixed together clearly reflect the inevitability towards self-destructive behavior in the entertainment industry.  The strange thing about Simmons is that he’s always had the “too cool for school” type attitude, and his business sense building the KISS empire I’m sure has contributed to his feeling of doing as he pleases, when he pleases, (and with throngs of women throwing themselves at him after nearly 40 years in music) with whom he pleases.  Being damn near 70, I’m sure young little 20-somethings are difficult for him to turn down, and clearly he has not taken that path.

Regardless, it’s sad and pathetic to see this rock god wittled down to what appears to be a sleezy old man who doesn’t seem to acknowledge that his personal behaviors have severly impacted his spouse to a the point of no return.  To add insult to injury, having it spewed on national television is just so degrading, but America’s thirst for reality entertainment doesn’t make this a bizarre event as it would have a decade ago.   

I’ve provided a link to the interview and it’s worth watching, but again, get ready to squirm at both the uneasy climate between the two.  I’m not sure what is more uneasy, Gene’s composure while Tweed’s clear disdain for his behavior clearly is on display for the world to see, or his one liners that fall flat and just add fuel to Tweeds burning rage.

Check it out by clicking here.  Let us know if  you think Tweed is being too hard on a guy she clearly knew prior lived the rock and roll lifestyle to excess when she met  him and therefore should have accepted it no matter what, right?  Well, whether a stunt by Simmon’s and Tweed to self-premote their vile reality show at the beginning of a new season or true disfunctional puke about their cheezy-corny-plastic surgery-lame relationship it’s troubling.