Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I try to keep my robust business and blogging lives separate, but they are coming together this week in what could be called a happy coincidence.
here at the Apple App Store.
The premise of the app is very simple: with all the negativity that surrounds social media, : ) fuel is a fun, mobile way to spread happiness. Whether it's a photo, song, video, restaurant or a random thought, : ) lets you store the things that make you happy and fuel them forward to someone whose happy tank is running on fumes.
You can download : ) fuel at the Apple App Store free here.
Many things make Rock Turtleneck happy, but of course music is at the top of the list. In fact one of the things that makes us most happy is actually called "Happy": the Keith Richards-fueled barnburner that kicks off side 3 of Exile on Main St.
One of the inspirations for : ) fuel is the connection between happiness and health. Studies have shown that their is an unmistakeable link between the two, and if you are looking for proof, look no further than the Stones.
All of the band members in the 41-year-old clip above are still alive and musically active, including stoic lead guitarist Mick Taylor, who has rejoined the band for their 50th anniversary tour. (Bassist Bill Wyman left the band about 20 years ago but still plays regularly.)
The Stones seem happily re-inspired by having Taylor back in the band. They even played the Taylor-fueled showstopper "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," with him for the first time EVER last night in Anaheim.
Just goes to show the importance of doing what makes you happy.
Buy : ) fuel at the App Store here.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Rock Turtleneck has been on a well-deserved hiatus for a couple of months but we are back now for a fine reason: the release of Vampire Weekend's third record Modern Vampires of the City.
There aren't many bands around these days who follow the old-school record-release model by showing tremendous growth and a continuing sense of adventure with each full-length release, but Brooklyn-based Vampire Weekend is one of them.
The lead single from Modern Vampires, "Diane Young" is a leap forward musically, lyrically and thematically and is weird in all the right ways. It features the only creative use of auto-tune I've heard since the first auto-tuned hit song ever, "Believe" by Cher.
Here's the Columbia-educated quartet blazing through the tune on Saturday Night Live a couple nights ago.
"Diane Young" would appear to be a play on "dying young" and features some superlatively erudite lyric writing courtesy of leader Ezra Koenig (2nd from right, above):
Irish and proud, baby, naturally
But you've got the luck of a Kennedy
So grab the wheel and keep holding it tight
Till you're tottering off into that good night
If Diane Young won't change your mind
Baby, baby, baby, baby right on time
Perhaps the best part of "Diane Young" is the way he sings "Baby baby baby baby" like another RT favorite, Elvis Presley. Way to TCB gentlemen, you're keeping the right company.
Buy Modern Vampires of the City on iTunes here.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
If Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is not in your collection, you should rectify the situation immediately, and St. Patrick's Day would be a fine time to do so.
Growing up as a budding music geek, I keep seeing Astral Weeks on many "Best of All Time" type of lists in Rolling Stone and elsewhere, and would see it name-checked as an influence by idols like Peter Buck of R.E.M., but I never heard it until I was around 40, when I bought it on a whim on iTunes.
"Cyprus Avenue" is my favorite track on the 1968 record, seen here in a phenomenal performance recorded at the Filmore East in 1970.
A few years ago Van the Man did some shows at the Hollywood Bowl and elsewhere where he played Astral Weeks in full - wish I'd gone. Van is a legendarily erratic performer (I saw him open for Bob Dylan in 1998 and he wandered around the stage like he was looking for his bus at the Port Authority), but he looks like he delivered the goods at these shows.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to Van the Man and my fellow Irishmen, both genuine and otherwise.
Buy Astral Weeks on iTunes here.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
When the postman don't call on Valentine's Day
And Santa Claus don't come on a Christmas Day
That umbrella won't work on a rainy day
Don't ask me, I already know
Any one of these tunes wold make an excellent Valentine's Day theme, but the troika of them together is enough to make even the toughest type-A curl up on their couch and wallow in self pity with a pint of Chunky Monkey.
"The Look of Love"
Buy ABC's The Lexicon of Love on iTunes here.
Brought to you by TCB Walsh at 3:38 PM
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Coincidence? Not hardly.
A lot of people who were alive back then when NYC was on the upswing but still gritty and grimy have fond feelings for those days.
Granted, the city is much safer now, and being mugged and surviving isn't the badge of honor it once was, but there was a character from back then that is gone now. A lot of that vibe can still be found in the great music that came out of downtown NYC. Here are three of Rock Turtleneck's all-time favorites.
I was complaining, I was down in the dumps
I feel so strong now that you've pulled me up
Pulled me up up up up up up up up up
RIP & TCB, Hizzoner.
Buy on iTunes:
Blondie: Parallel Lines
Ramones: Rocket to Russia
Talking Heads: 77
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
It must have been something to step out for a bite and a pint in chilly January London and heard a racket coming from a nearby roof, only to realize it was England's favourite sons playing their new record.
Rock Turtleneck commemorated this anniversary way back in 2009 as well, but the final live performance by the "world's greatest tea room orchestra," as David Frost once called them, bears repeating.
The lads were at each other's throats at this point, and Yoko Ono was attached to John Lennon like so much shrieking, conceptual Velcro. The band had less than a year left in them. But they were also show-biz pros, so when it was time to play they put all that stuff aside, delivered the goods and passed the audition.
Amazing to think these grizzled, jaded living legends were all still in their twenties at this point. George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, was all of 25.
If you have a few minutes, you can watch the entire show from start to finish on YouTube, featuring fave raves like "Get Back," "Don't Let Me Down," "One After 909" and "I've Got a Feeling."
Comprar Let it Be de los Beatles en iTunes aquí.
Monday, January 28, 2013
A chance subway encounter with friend and fellow copywriter / music lover Josh Fleitas has led to Rock Turtleneck's latest musical obsession: Tame Impala. This Australian band, described by some as the "psychedelic project of guitarist/songwriter Kevin Parker" (I think he's the one on the right above) has been making waves for a couple of years, but somehow the RT radar didn't pick up on it until last week and we've never looked back.
Their sophomore record Lonerism has already shot up to the upper echelons of RT's best of 2012 list. They recall Elliot Smith, Badly Drawn Boy's first record, and above all, Ram-era Paul McCartney, particularly on their single "Elephant," which also has a soupcon of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky."
"Tame Impala make psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music. It's intended for moving one's body to, and it's intended for keeping still and observing other forms of movement. It's bombastic but it's swirling, think of the shoulder bones of a giant striding feline creature through some kind of tunnel. If Tame Impala's music reminds you of what you'd want to put on when you next visit your mind's engine room then they're happy. If not, whatever, it's just music. Put it on when the sun next shines. Basically it's all about the feeling."
Sounds good to me. Here's a dreamy gem from Lonerism called "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" that recalls another McCartney-related project, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Lonerism is a trippy, melodic delight from down under, from beginning to end, and a surefire way you through the doldrums of winter.
Buy Lonerism by Tame Impala on iTunes here.