Piers Faccini - If I

Singer, painter and songwriter, Piers Faccini, was born in England but grew up France. He first appeared on the music scene in London in 1997, when he performed with performance poet Francesca Beard the group Charley Marlowe, playing spoken word gigs initially, and moving on to acoustic melodies after.

In 2004, Faccini released his first solo album, Leave No Trace and toured extensively. He toured with Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. In 2006, he released Tearing Sky, featuring backing vocals from Harper and accompaniment from several members of his band the Innocent Criminals.

When not busy with his musical career, Faccini is also a visual artist who has exhibited his paintings of landscapes and portraits.

If I is a great song off his Tearing Sky release.

Port O'Brien - Stuck On A Boat

Folk Indie-Rock band, Port O'Brien, is named after the bay on Kodiak Island where founder member Van Pierszalowski's parents met. The group was originally a duo of Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin. Eventually they added Caleb Nichols and Joshua Barnhart as rhythm.

They have done a lot of travelling and toured with Nada Surf, Bright Eyes and The Cave Singers and toured Europe with Modest Mouse. They have released three albums; a self record album called The Wind and the Swell and two studio-recorded albums.

Stuck On A Boat is off their 2008 release, All We Could Do Was Sing.

Visqueen - My House

Visqueen is a Seattle based power pop/punk band that formed in 2001. The band formed from former members of Hafacat (singer/guitarist Rachel Flotard and drummer Ben Hooker) and legendary punk band Fastback (bassist Kim Warnick).

With the release of their first two albums, King Me and Sunset on Dateland, the group quickly moved from a local band with a loyal following to a nationally known power punk band. Following their second release in 2004, Flotard took a hiatus to care for her father after he was diagnosed with cancer. She then worked with Neko Case before regrouping with the others and releasing Message To Garcia in 2009.

My House is off their debut release, King Me.

Trivia: The band takes their name from the brand of polyethylene film that US Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge once recommended as a defense against bioterrorism.

Rush - The Spirit Of Radio

I've been a Rush fan since an old friend had me listen to Fly By Night. Uh, wow, that was a long time ago. Anyway, since then, they have always been on my music rotation.

Rush started out in 1968 in Toronto. After the release of their first album in 1974, original drummer John Rutsey, left the band right before their first US Tour due to diabetes and a distaste for touring. He was replaced by Neil Peart. This change would have a monumental impact on the band as Peart soon took over most of songwriting and helped move the band from a straight forward Rock 'n Roll band to one that played unique and technically complex compositions. Their sound is only possible due to the incredible talent of each member. Each has won several awards in magazine readers' polls for their particular instrument; especially Peart who is widely recognized as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.

Over the years, Rush has had incredible success. They have had 24 gold records and 14 platinum (including 3 multi-platinum) records. According to the RIAA, Rush's sales statistics also place them fourth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band.

Their sound has changed over the years and recently, they have gone back to more solid rock sound devoid of synthesizers. But their fan base after 3 decades is still strong and they continue to find new fans who can still be amazed at the decades old releases like 2112 and Moving Pictures.

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is the excellent tune The Spirit of Radio is off their 1980 release, Permanent Waves.

Breakestra - Family Rap

Breakestra is a ten-piece funk "orchestra" from Los Angeles. The group is lead by Miles Tackett who put the group together as the house band for the legendary club called the Break.

The style in which the band plays is much influenced by late 60's and early 70's soul and funk music. Through the course of their nearly decade-long existence the only two members that have remained constant are bassist/guitarist/upright cellist/producer/vocalist Miles Tackett and vocalist Mixmaster Wolf. When asked about the rotating members of the band, Miles responds, “The Breakestra has always been an amorphous project.

After releasing several EPs and two full-length albums of mostly covers and sample-filled breaks, Breakestra put out Hit the Floor in 2005 on Ubiquity Records, which included all-original recordings fusing elements of hip hop, funk, and soul.

Family Rap, off their 2005 release, Hit The Floor, is an excellent example of the soul, hip-hop and R&B fusion of Breakestra.

Bob Schneider - 40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)

Austin, Texas based, Bob Schneider, gained his initial fame in the late 90's as the frontman for the Ugly Americans, a Phish style jam band, and later with The Scabs. They were regulars in the Austin scene and gained some national recognition when they toured with the Dave Matthews Band.

In 1999, he went left the band and started a solo career. He has an diverse and eclectic sound; a little bit singer/songwriter, bits and pieces of funk, country, rock, and folk. He released his first solo album, Lovelyland in 2001 and followed up with I'm Good Now in 2004. Bother releases were very well received.

During this same time, he released several albums as side projects on Vanguard records with limited number of copies released. Although he could play to larger crowds, Schneider would rather play smaller venues and he tours relentlessly.

Schneider dated Sandra Bullock for two years and it was speculated that the breakup following their passionate relationship became fodder for his music, although Schneider has been known to deny autobiographical content in his music.

40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) is off his 2009 release, Lovely Creatures and is perfect example of Schneider's unique writing style.

Langhorne Slim - Set Em Up

Folk singer, Langhorne Slim actually hails from Langhorne, PA. Now, I can see someone named East Texas, Slim or Baton Rouge Slim, but calling yourself Langhorne Slim, which is a really a north suburb of Philadelphia, is pretty funny. But this fits perfectly with him. He has been described as a one-man mixture of the Cramps, Beck's early indie records and the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou. Quite an interesting sound.

Langhorne Slim, whose real name is Sean Scolnick, released his first album, When The Sun's Gone Down, in 2005. He put together an album in 2007, but before the release, his label V2 Records folded and the self titled album did not come out until 2008.

His popularity grew with performances on Dave Letterman, US and European tours including festivals like the Newport Folk Festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Lollapalooza, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. He also sang "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch during a Phillies-Marlins game in August 2009.

His latest release, Be Set Free, came out in 2009 and the track, Say Yes, is getting a lot of airplay.

Set Em Up is off his debut album When The Sun's Gone Down.

The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

Post-punk, New Wave band, The Cure, has been around since the late 70's. The band lineup has changed many times with front-man, Robert Smith, being the lone constant member. Early Cure music was more of a goth-rock sound with dark lyrics. They released an album per year from 1979 throughout the 80's, slowly gaining popularity. In 1982, Smith wanted to move past the gloomy sound the band was know for and inject more of a pop sound with songs like In Between Days and Let's Go To Bed.

They finally broke through to the mainstream with the 1987 release Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me which had the song Why Can't I Be You. In 1989, they brought back some of the goth-rock sound from the early days with the release, Disintegration. It built on that success with the track, Love Song, making it to #2 on the US charts. The Cure was now a world-wide success and the 1992 release, Wish, made it to #2 on the US album charts.

Although they continued to record and release albums, it was much more spread out than their early career. The band line up also changed quite a bit through the 90's. Recent releases, 2004's self-titled release and 2008's, 4:13 Dream, have continued to be successful and the band routinely sells out live shows.

In 2009, received the Shockwaves NME Award for Godlike Genius.

For today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track, I chose one of my favorite Cure songs, the track, Boys Don't Cry, off their 2nd release, 1980's album of the same name.

7 Worlds Collide - Hazel Black

7 Worlds Collide is a musical project by New Zealand singer/songwriter, Neil Finn. He first put together the group in 2001 and released an album under the name 'Neil Finn & Friends'. The group consisted of many artists like Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, Ed O'Brien, Tim Finn, Sebastian Steinberg, Phil Selway, Lisa Germano, and Betchadupa (featuring Neil's son Liam Finn).

Finn got the project back together at the end of 2008 and recorded a new album with most of the original members and some new ones like Jeff Tweedy and three other members of Wilco, KT Tunstall, and New Zealand songwriters Don McGlashan and Bic Runga.

Hazel Black is off the excellent 2009 release, The Sun Came Out.

TRIVIA: Finn takes the band name from the line "Seven worlds will collide / whenever I am by your side" from Crowded House's 1993 single "Distant Sun".

Corneille - Too Much of Everything

Originally born in Freiburg, Germany, Corneille, spent most of his childhood in Rwanda. He discovered his passion for music in 1993, and joined an R&B group doing most of the songwriting and musical composition. However, his life changed after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. His father, Émile Nyungura, was a leader of a political party and as a result his parents and some of his relatives were killed in the massacre.

Corneille fled back to Germany, where some of his parents' friends took him in. In 1997, he decided to leave Germany and pursue a degree in communications at Concordia University in Montreal. But the draw of music was strong and Corneille founded the R&B group O.N.E. Although it did not last long, he continued to pursue music writing and composing music.

In 2003, he released his first solo album, a French language release called Parce qu'on vient de loin, which became a success, selling more that one million records. He then released Les marchands de rêves in 2005. Most recently, in 2007, he released his first English language album, The Birth of Cornelius.

Too Much of Everything
is off his The Birth of Cornelius release.

Datarock - Fa Fa Fa

Datarock is a Norwegian electro rock duo of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes. Formed in 2000, the band has had more members, but soon settled down to two memeber.

Their first release in 2005, the redundantly titled, DataRock DataRock was and accidental success. Although they spent almost no time recording the record, their songs were licensed all over the world in films and advertisements.

Fa Fa Fa is off Datarock Datarock and has been featured in both Coca-Cola and IPdo advertising and is featured in NHL 08, FIFA 08 and NBA Live 08 and The Sims 2: Free Time.

Devo - Girl U Want

Today's Hump Day Retro Closet track is dedicated to my buddy Gene because next week he is actually going to see Devo. How cool is that!

Devo formed in Akron, Ohio in 1973. The early band was very fluid changing members and size several times. The band took their name from the the term 'de-evolution' which is the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.

They gained some fame in 1976 when their short film "The Truth About De-Evolution" won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The same year, they released their first single, Mongoloid, followed by an odd electronic version of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

It was 1980's, Freedom of Choice, that catapulted Devo to the limelight. The single, Whip It peaked at #14 and Devo's mastery of the new medium, Music Video, kept them in the spotlight. Although subsequent releases, New Traditionalists in 1981, Oh, No! It's Devo in 1982 and Shout in 1984 lacked the success of Freedon of Choice, they remained a very success live band.

More unsuccessful releases followed and the band "broke up" in 1991. In January 1996, Devo performed a reunion concert at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and went on join the Lollapalooza tour. The members also did many side projects, releasing a multimedia CD-ROM adventure game, The Adventures of the Smart Patrol, recording a number of songs for various films, including a cover of the Nine Inch Nails hit, "Head Like a Hole" for the film Supercop and a remake of Girl U Want for the film "Tankgirl", forming a surf band called The Wipeouters.

Most recently, in December 2007, Devo released their first new single since 1990, "Watch Us Work It" and in September of this year, Warner Brothers and Devo announced a re-release of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice, with a tour performing both albums. And current rumors are the band is working on a new album.

Girl U Want is off the eternally classic 1980 release, Freedom of Choice.

Michael Bublé - Call Me Irresponsible

Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, is a throwback to the past with his Sinatra-style sound. Helped by his italian grandfather, he he began singing in nightclubs at the age of 16 facilitated by his Italian grandfather, a plumber who offered free plumbing services to get his grandson on stage. His grandfather also paid for his singing lessons with opera baritone, Joseph Shore.

When he was 18, he entered and won several local talent contests but that did not translate into much success. For seven years he would sing in anything from talent shows, conventions, cruise ships, malls, hotel lounges, bars, clubs, corporate gigs, theatres, music revues, and even the occasional singing Santa Claus.

He was about to give up and pursue journalism when he got his big break in 2000. Michael McSweeney, an aide to former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, showed the album to Mulroney and his wife. Subsequently, Bublé was invited to sing at the wedding of Mulroney's daughter Caroline. At the wedding, Bublé was introduced to David Foster, a multi-Grammy Award winning producer and record executive who had worked previously with artists such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Céline Dion, Barbra Streisand, Kenny G., Cher, Josh Groban, and Andrea Bocelli.

This led to a record deal and the release of his first album in 2003, a self-titled release, which was a success. Subsequent releases have only built on his success and he has accumulated many awards including a Grammy for 'Call Me Irresponsible'.

Call Me Irresponsible is off his 2007 album of the same name.

Zac Brown Band - Chicken Fried

The Zac Brown Band is a true working band, despite their success, playing over 200 shows per year. They began with humble roots in Georgia, playing at a restaurant owned by Brown and his father and going on the road during the week. After they sold the gourmet Southern-style food restaurant, they bought a tour bus and the touring intensified.

They released 2 albums independently and Atlantic released their third after the original label, Live Nation, went under. The 3rd album reached #2 on the Country Album chart and #11 on the Billboard 200.

Even with this success, Brown remains down to earth and is a devoted philanthropist. He bought land for his own summer camp, a venture he plans to run in cooperation with Brain Balance, an organization that works with kids with autism and ADD. This was a dream of his since he attended a summer camp and worked with mentally and physically challenged kids making him aware of how lucky he was.

Chicken Fried
is off their third release, Foundation, and went to #1 on the US County charts.

The Swell Season - I Have Loved You Wrong

The Swell Season is the musical duo of Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová. The duo were approached by the Czech film director Jan Hřebejk while touring in the Czech Republic, and were asked by him to record songs for his upcoming film Beauty in Trouble. It was the first album that Hansard, the singer for The Frames, had released independently of his band. This led to them recording their first full length album, a self-titled release.

Their popularity rose when they recorded the the soundtrack for the movie Once, in which both starred. The album when gold and they received an Oscar for Best Original Song. Hansard and Irglová were a couple on stage and off. Although they broke up earlier this year, they continue to record and perform together.

I Have Loved You Wrong is a haunting beautiful song off their sophomore release, Strict Joy.

Trivia: The group's name is derived from Hansard's favorite novel by Josef Škvorecký from 1975 bearing the same title.

The Call - The Walls Came Down

Santa Cruz, California band, The Call, is an incredibly underrated band. They released three albums in the early 80's with little success. They went 2 years without a contract due to to what singer and guitarist, Michael Been, describes as "legal bickering" between The Call's former record label and their management company. It wasn't until the 1986 release, Reconciled, that they had commercial success with the songs, Everywhere I Go and I Still Believe. Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds's Jim Kerr, and from The Band members Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson all helped out on the album.

1989's release, Let The Day Begin, was the height of their success with the title track reaching #1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The band has not officially broken up, but has not recorded or toured since 2000. Been's son is currently the frontman for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Michael Been tours with them as their sound engineer.

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is an excellent song, The Walls Came Down, off their 1983 release, Modern Romans.

Medeski, Martin & Wood – End of the World Party

Martin, Medeski and Wood, MMW, is Billy Martin on drums and percussion, John Medeski on keyboards and piano and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar. They all met when they were introduced by Billy Martin's instructor, Bob Moses. The trio originally began as an acoustic jazz group, playing mainly in the New York City area. Due to the trouble of touring with a piano, Medeski switched to a Hammond organ.

MMW gained significant exposure outside of the New York City jazz scene when they performed with Phish in October of 1995. Their inclusion in the Jam Band circuit and, their performance on John Scofield's 1997 album A Go Go helped increase thier fan base. This led to many future collaborations with Scofield, including 2006's release Out Louder with Scofield.

End of the World Party is a funky jazz, almost pop, track off their 2004 release End of the World Party (Just In Case).

The band members were introduced to each other by jazz drummer Bob Moses, who had performed with Medeski and Wood, and was Martin's instructor.

Gary Jules - Mad World

Despite incredible songwriting talent, Gary Jules remained obscure after his first solo release, 1998's Greeting From The Side, because of poor handling by his record label. It would take three years before he released a second album independently, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets. The album was even more stunning than the first.

Jules began his musical career forming the band, The Origin, with childhood friend, Michael Andrews. The band released two very good albums, but were not big commercial successes. They disbanded and Jules began his solo career, but despite his talent, he did not gain success until he released a cover of Tears For Fears' Mad World for the Donnie Darko soundtrack in 2003.

The song would be featured in many TV shows and was famously covered by Adam Lambert on American Idol. It's ironic that a song that he did not write was the one that pushed him into the limelight.

Mad World is off the Donnie Darko soundtrack and his 2001 release, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets. If you have a chance to check out his work, it is worth it.

Lyle Lovett - My Baby Don't Tolerate

Many people place Lyle Lovett in the country music category. His music does have a county/western sound, but he incorporates elements of folk, swing, blues, jazz, rock and even gospel music. This blend along with his voice creates a unique sound.

Lovett grew up in Texas, attended Texas A&M and studied German and Journalism. While in college he lived next to Robert Earl Keen. The two became friends and performed together on the front porch many evenings. This eventually grew into inspiration for a song entitled "The Front Porch Song", which both would add to their repertoire.

After several albums, Lovett was thrown into the limelight in 1993 when he married Julia Roberts. The two met on the set of the movie, The Player. After a 3 week romance, the two eloped. The marriage lasted less than two years, but the divorce was due to the amount of time they had to be apart because of their careers and the two remain close friends today.

Besides music, Lovett has starred in several movies, primarily Robert Altman directed ones, The Player, Short Cuts, Prêt-à-Porter, The Opposite of Sex and Cookie's Fortune.

My Baby Don't Tolerate is off his 2003 release of the same name. His latest release, Natural Forces, will be released on October 20th.

INXS - The One Thing

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is from INXS. They started out in 1977 as the Farriss Brothers in Sydney, Australia. They released their first album, a self-titled release, in 1980 gaining moderate success in Australia. Shabooh Shoobah, released in 1982, was the first release to gain a foothold in the US, peaking at #46 on the billboard charts.

They became international stars with Listen Like Thieves in 1985, Kick in 1987 and X in 1990 and had several top 10 singles. The band's sound that made them so successful was also a cause for their downfall as the were boxed in by that sound as people tastes changed. But they continued to record and tour throughout the 90's. The band hit the low point in 1997 with the dead of front-man, Michael Hutchence. They continued to tour with several different singers like Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stephens, finnaly settling on a new singer, a former Elvis impersonator from Canada, J.D. Fortune. They released the album, Switch, in 2005 reaching #17 on the Billboard Top 200.

The One Thing, off Shabooh Shoobah, was the first song I ever heard from INXS, first hearing it on a low-watt local St. Louis Radio station, KYMC and then seeing the video on MTV (when MTV showed music videos 24 hours a day).

Will Dailey - Eliza

Boston based singer-songwriter, Will Dailey has released three full-length albums since 2000. But his most recent project is unique. The project, Torrent, is being digitally released as a burst of new music approximately every 3 months, and then compiled, along with bonus material, as a physical and digital audio package twice a year. He has released Torrents 1 and 2 this year.

To raise money for his first release, GoodbyeRedBullet, Dailey sold his car. Although he made enough to fund the release, he did not have any money to pay for a tour. He relied on his family and friends to generate publicity, and built up a mailing list of more than 25,000 worldwide. The release sold more sold more than 10,000 copies.

Eliza is off his 2006 release, Back Flipping Forward.

Laura Pausini - Love Comes From The Inside

Italian pop star Laura Pausini started to sing in local piano bars with her father Fabrizio, a musician and singer, when she was only 8 years old. At 13, she recorded her first album and then in in 1993 she launched her professional career when she signed a contract with Warner Music Italy to release her first professional album, Laura Pausini. She was a success in Europe. She released future albums in Spanish as well as her native Italian.

Pausini released her first English album, From the Inside, in 2002. Her first single 'Surrender' peaked at #1 in Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts.

Love Comes From The Inside, off the From The Inside album, is a soulful funky tune that seems much more American than Italian. This post is presented by my sister, Maria, who has pretty good taste in music, too.

Sheryl Crow - Detours

Sheryl Crow burst onto the scenes in 1993 with the song Leaving Las Vegas off her debut release Tuesday Night Music Club. But there is a lot that happened leading up to that.

Crow was raised in Kennett, Missouri (a small town in rural Missouri) and attended the University of Missouri, majoring in Music. She became a music teacher in suburban St. Louis. This allowed her time sing in bands on weekend where she met local musician and producer Jay Oliver. From his home studio he helped her record advertising jingles for local and national ads.

From this she eventually became a back up singer with Michael Jackson on his Bad World Tour from 1987-1989 and often performed with Jackson on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". After that she recorded several songs for TV and movies. In 1992, she joined a group of musicians known as the 'Tuesday Night Music Club' which was a casual songwriting collective that rapidly developed into a vehicle for her debut album after her arrival.

In 1993, she released 'Tuesday Night Music Club' and her success has only grown, releasing 8 albums and winning 8 Grammys.

Detours is an excellent song off her 2008 release of the same name. The album was written as perpective on her life after her battle with breast cancer, her relationship with Lance Armstrong and her adopting a baby.

Suzanne Vega - Calypso

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is from Suzanne Vega who I love because she writes very intelligent literate songs. While attending college at Bernard College, she was a regular contributor to Jack Hardy's Monday night songwriters' group at the Cornelia Street Cafe and had some of her first songs published on Fast Folk anthology albums. In 1984, she received a major label recording contract, making her one of the first Fast Folk artists to break out on a major label.

Her self-titled debut album was released in 1985 and reached platinum status in the United Kingdom and got great reviews from critics. She then release Solitude Standing in 1987, which was a critical and commercial success with two hit singles, Luka and Tom's Diner. Luka was unique in that it was one of the first successful pop songs to really address child abuse. Tom's Diner was one of the first songs used in testing the MP3 format, making Vega the 'Mother of MP3'. Tom's Diner was released as an a cappella tune and also made into a dance track my UK's DNA.

Trivia: The diner shown in Seinfeld episodes is the Tom's Diner from the song.

Vega continues to record and release music, not for commercial success, but the songs that she wanted to write. Calypso is off the Solitude Standing release. Although Luka and Tom's Diner were the hits from this album, Calypso was always the song that I gravitated to when I was was listening to the album.

Owl City - West Coast Friendship

Owl City formed in 2007 is one person, Adam Young. He states he started making music and created Owl City as project in his parent's basement as result of his insomnia.

Owl City's initial success was through it's MySpace page with the track 'Hello Seattle' had more than 6 million hits. They released the first two albums while not being signed to a record deal. However, with the help of entertainment attorney Ken Abdo, he was signed to Universal Republic.

West Coast Friendship is off their debut self label release, Maybe I'm Dreaming (probably a jab at his insomnia).

Trivia: Owl City was named after Adam Young's hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota.

Beck - Orphans

Beck is one of the most creative and idiosyncratic musicians around. He grew up in Los Angeles and was strongly influenced by all the music that LA brings. Struggling early, he became a sudden success with the single, Loser. His success also brought criticism that he was a one-hit wonder.

With the release of his Grammy winning 1996 release, Odelay, the critics were silenced. Beck continued to create unique music, taking inspiration from anything and everything around. This mashup of musical tastes has allowed Beck a freedom many artists don't have; namely he can record almost anything and it's accepted as Beck's sound.

Orphans is off his 2008 release, Modern Guilt. This is the first collaboration between Beck and producer, Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton). The pairing works well and the album shows.

Interesting Note; Beck is second-generation Scientologist. His wife, Marissa and her twin brother, Giovanni Ribisi, were delivered by Beck's mother, Bibbe.

Change in Posting Schedule

I love spreading my love of music through Hoi Polloi. But, my real life has become very busy and I need to reshuffle my priorities. I don't want to stop Hoi Polloi, but to be able to keep it up along with everything else. To do this I will need to change my posting schedule from every day to 4 days per week. Starting today, I will begin posting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Once things settle down, I hope to pick back up again.

If there is anyone out there who is interested in being a guest poster to help out, please send a comment on this post.

Thank you all for your support.

Groove Armada - Hands of Time

Groove Armada
is the English duo of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay. The two were introduced by Cato's girlfriend and eventually started a club called Groove Armada. They began to release songs in 1997, eventually releasing their first album, Northern Star, in 1997. The duo started out by creating chill-out music, but have moved into the dance and club music as well. Since their debut release, they have released several albums and their music can be heard in everything from advertising campaigns, movies and TV shows to computer games.

Hands of Times is soulful tune with the great Richie Havens joining in. Havens also sang on two tracks from the 2001 release, Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub). Hands of Time is off their 2003 release, LoveBox, and was also included on the 2007, from the vaults release, GA10. The song is included on the soundtrack to the movie, Collateral, as well as the ending track for the pilot episode of the TV show, Trauma.

Charlie Mars - Listen To The Darkside

Mississippi born, Charlie Mars, released three independent albums before finally catching a break with the 2004 release of his self-titled album on V2 records. Since that release, he has toured relentlessly. He made the album on his own, borrowing the money to pay for it and the CD is pretty much what was recorded with very minimal post production mixing.

Mars has good mix of southern rock with some more friendly pop sound. He polished his songwriting skills by majoring in English at college in Dallas and concentrating on the romantic poets.

Listen to the Darkside, is a solid Mars tune off his 2009 release, Like a Bird, Like a Plane. Interesting note: Mary Louise Parker stars in his video.

Dolores O'Riordan - Human Spirit

Former singer for the Irish group, The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan, took several years off after the band breakup in 2001, to take care of family affairs. In 2006, she went back to the studio to record a solo album.

During the time between 2001 and 2006, she was not musically inactive. In 2004, she teamed up with Italian artist, Zucchero and recorded 'Pure Love' for his album Zu & Co. The same year, she worked with composer Angelo Badalamenti on the Evilenko soundtrack, providing vocals on several tracks, including "Angels Go The Heaven", the movie theme. In 2005 she appeared on the Jam & Spoon's album Tripomatic Fairytales 3003 as a guest vocalist on the track "Mirror Lover". O'Riordan also made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler comedy Click, as a wedding singer performing an alternate version of The Cranberries' song "Linger", set to strings.

In 2006, she went into the studio to record her first solo album, Are You Listening. Human Spirit is a excellent tune of he debut solo release. Her second solo release, No Baggage, was release in August of this year.

The La's - There She Goes

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet tune is from The La's. The La's are unique for many reasons. First, the founder of the band, Mike Badger, was forced out before the recorded and album. Second, their only studio release only made it to #196 on the US top 2000 and #30 on the UK charts. Finally, although many people have not heard of them (except some real brit-pop fans), they have heard the song, There She Goes, off their self-titled debut release. Many believe it to be the perfect pop song.

Perfection was the undoing of the band. Leader Lee Marvin was such a perfectionist, the band broke up as he was so fixated on every detail of the music that recording a new album was impossible.

Interesting not: Bassist, John Powers left The La's and formed Cast. The last word of the last song on the La's only album is 'Cast'.

Los Lobos - Hurry Tomorrow

Los Lobos has been playing and recording for over 30 years achieving 3 Grammys. Formed in Los Angeles, Los Lobos ('The Wolves') in 1973, they released their first album independently in 1978. They teamed up with T-Bone Burnett and released How Will the Wolf Survive? The album was a sort of coming out and put Los Lobos on the map.

In 1987, they released By the Light of the Moon and also recorded several tracks for the soundtrack to the movie La Bamba. The title track became a #1 hit.

They have released over a dozen albums including their most recent release of a Disney covers.

Hurry Now, written by Robert Hunter (who wrote many of the Grateful Dead songs) is off their 2006 release, The Town and the City.

Donovan Frankenreiter - Move By Yourself

Donavon Frankenreiter is a long-time friend of Jack Johnson, sharing music and surfing. As a teenager, he took up surfing in San Clemente, California, and was signed to a sponsorship deal with Billabong. This allowed him to travel which is where he met Johnson. He rented a room in North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii, from Jack Johnson's parents. They formed a strong surfer-musicians friendship which may be why they both have a similar sound.

His early music career is not as well known as he does not talk about it in interviews, so many believe he is fairly new He played in local bands, but in 1996 he began to seriously pursue a musical career when he formed the band Sunchild. He did not sing, but played lead guitar. They released two very hard to find albums.

In 2000, he went solo, recording a self-titled debut on Johnson's Brushfire records. Johnson produced and appears on the album. Frankenreiter has released 3 more albums, 2 EPs and a DVD since going solo. He has built up a large fan following around the world. His music has become more polished, but has never lost that free-spirit surfer feel that makes you want to just kick back relax, have a cold one and enjoy the tunes.

Move By Yourself is a perfect Frankenreiter tune off his 2006 release of the same name.

Jeff Golub - Cold Sweat

Jeff Golub started off by learning and playing 60's blues rock guitar like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. But once he heard Wes Montgomery play, his guitar playing course completely changed. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and in 1980 he moved to New York, joining rocker Billy Squier. Jeff appeared on 7 Squire albums and 3 world tours before joining Rod Stewart from 1988 until 1995, performing on 4 albums and 5 world tours as well as recording the live DVD "One Night Only" live at Royal Albert Hall.

However, playing jazz is his first love. He released his first solo recording, Unspoken Words in 1988 and then became a band leader for Avenue Blue when he released the band's self-titled album in 1994. In 2000, he went solo and released Dangerous Curves, releasing five more solo albums since. He is an excellent guitarist that crosses over between jazz, smooth jazz, blues, rock and pop very easily. For his latest release, he returns to his '80s rock roots with the electric blues album Blues for You which includes vocals from such old pals as Billy Squier, Peter Wolfe and John Waite.

Cold Sweat, the classic James Brown tune, off his 2002 release, Do It Again, really showcases what he can do.

The Donnas - Take It Off

The Donnas are like a female version of the Ramones and AC/DC mashed together. These girls can definitely rock. Hailing from Palo Alto, CA, The Donnas formed in eighth grade as a metal band called The Electrocutes. After high school, they decided to create a second band with the same four members with a bit less edge and called themselves the The Donnas. Like the 70's hard rock girl band, The Runaways, they all changed their names with each taking the name Donna and their last initial: Donna A., Donna R., Donna F., Donna C.

Darin Raffaelli, a onetime member of trash-punkers Supercharger, heard them and presented several Ramones style songs he had written and then took over as their manager. Almost from the beginning, they became an underground rock favorite. They released their first Album, a self-titled release, in 1998 and their fan base has only grown.

Take It Off is a rocking song off their 2002 release, Spend The Night.

Dean & Britta - Night Nurse

Dean & Britta are the duo of Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips. They were both former member of Luna. Wareham was a founding member in 1992 and Britta joining in 2000 as a replacement bassist. In 2003, Wareham was working on a solo project when he heard Phillips demo tapes. He asked her to join him and they released L'Avventura as Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips.

After Luna broke up in 2005, Wareham and Phillips teamed up again and worked on several film scores and on a Luna documentary. Later, in 2006, they went back into the studio to record a follow up to L'Avventura. During the recording, they married and released the album under the shortened name, Dean & Britta.

Night Nurse is off their debut release L'Avventura.

Aimee Mann - Looking For Nothing

After dropping out of Berklee College of Music, Aimee Mann began her career with a punk band called Young Snakes. If anyone listens to her music now, that would seem surprising. Mann described them as "a little punk noise-art outfit". After a few years, she left to seek a return to "sweetness and melody". She then founded Til' Tuesday and immediately gained success with the hit Voices Carry. After two more albums with the group, she left to pursue a solo career in 1990.

This was a good move as it allowed Mann to really develop as a songwriter. Although her early work did not achieve strong commercial success, she did get excellent reviews from critics. Her first album, Whatever, suffered when her label, Imago, went under. She released her next album through Geffen, but experienced conflicts with the label.

It was her friendship with film director Paul Thomas Anderson, through her husband Michael Penn, that helped her regain success. Anderson asked her to write and record the soundtrack for the movie he was working on called Magnolia. The soundtrack was unique in that Anderson deliberately worked from Mann's lyrics to create the film's characters and situations.

She gave up on established labels, formed her own and released Bachelor No. 2, which she recorded while with Geffen, but the label saw no hits and did not release it. The album was originally sold at shows but eventually sold through distributors and was a commercial success.

Mann continues to record as a 'more indie than indie' artist and has release several more excellent albums. Looking for Nothing is off her 2008 release, @#%&*! Smilers.

Cal Tjader - Soul Sauce

I still remember the first time I heard Cal Tjader. I was in college and was dating a woman. We went on a date and had a bite to eat on the Delmar Loop area of St. Louis. Afterward, we stopped by the stellar used record store, Vintage Vinyl. We browsed around and she pulled out Cal Tjader's 1954 Mambo with Tjader. She went up and asked them to put it on and began to dance to the first track, Mamblues. Soon almost everyone in the place dancing and jamming. The beginning of a memorable night. Ah, youth....

Tjader was born in St. Louis in 1925 and moved to San Mateo when he was 2. After serving in WWII, he attended San Jose State on the GI bill, intending to teach. He transfer to San Francisco State where he took timpani lesson. While in San Fransisco, he met up with Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond and became the drummer in the Dave Brubeck octet. The octet broke up, but Tjader and Brubeck formed the Dave Brubeck trio and became a fixture in San Francisco jazz scene. It was during this time that Tjader taught himself the vibraphone.

The trio disbanded in 1951 after Brubeck's diving accident in Hawaii and Tjader bounced around and became more influenced by the Latin Jazz sound. He recorded several album on the Fantasy Label before moving over to Verve in the early 60's. He recorded with a wide range of artists including Donald Byrd, Anita O'Day, Willie Bobo, Armando Peraza, Kenny Burrell and a young Chick Corea.

He continued to record prolifically but was hurt in the 70's by the huge growth of Rock and Roll. He played on and in 1980, he earned his only Grammy, winning Best Latin Recording for La Onda Va Bien. He died in 1982 while on tour in Manila.

Today Hump Day Retro-Closet tune is Soul Sauce, Tjader's biggest hit, off his 1964 recording of the same name.

Joe Jackson - Invisible Man

Joe Jackson is one of those musicians who will move between genres, not because that is where popular music moved, but instead where he moved. In his 30+ year career, Jackson has ranged from post-pink new wave to old style swing and blues to soundtrack work to Orchestral work.

Born David Jackson in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire and growing up in Portsmouth England, he suffered from severe asthma throughout his childhood and turned to music instead of sports. He played violin, timpani and oboe and then eventually his parent bought a second-hand piano. He won a scholarship to study musical composition at London's Royal Academy of Music in 1973. No wanting to stay with classical music, he gravitated toward pop. After several unsuccessful bands in the mid 70's, producer David Kershenbaum heard Jackson's demo tape, and signed him to A&M Records in 1978. Jackson quickly went into the studio and record the fantastic album, Look Sharp!.

The album was a hit and the song 'Is She Really Going Out With Him' is still a staple on many FM stations. The song was was nominated for a 1979 Grammy - Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. He soon released I'm The Man and then Beat Crazy. Beat Crazy was not a commercial success and Jackson's band broke up. Jackson went into the studio and then recorded Jumpin' Jive, featuring the songs of Cab Calloway, Lester Young, Glenn Miller, Louis Jordan. And quickly followed up with the 1982 album, Night and Day, which was a tribute to the wit and style of Cole Porter. Night and Day became the only top 5 album from Jackson with two top singles in Steppin' Out and Breaking Us In Two.

He continued to record and release music, and it seemed by the late 90's he had retired from mainstream pop, instead concentrating more on semi-classical pieces. But in 2000 he began to record pop tunes again with his release of Night and Day II. However, he never regained the mainstream success of his early career.

Invisible Man is a great tune off his 2008 release, Rain, and shows that Jackson can still write great music.

Trivia: Jackson took the name Joe after is was said he looked like the puppet Joe from the late 60's British show Joe90.

Christine Anu - Sunshine On A Rainy Day

Many people first heard of Christine Anu when they saw her sing the song, the song "My Island Home", at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremony. She has been performing for several years, first as a backup singer for The Rainmakers. She released her first album, Stylin' Up, in 1995. It took 5 years to release her second, Come My Way, which went gold in Australia. She has since release 3 more albums, stared in several Australian TV shows and Broadway plays, including Rent.

Sunshine On A Rainy Day is off her 2000 release, Come My Way.

Kings of Leon - Use Somebody

Kings of Leon is a family affair, consisting of brothers Anthony "Caleb" Followill, Ivan "Nathan" Followill, and Michael "Jared" Followill, with their cousin Cameron "Matthew" Followill. Each member of the family group is known by their second name as opposed to their first name.

The brothers spent their childhood traveling the south while their father, a preacher, preached at churches and tent revivals. They were essentially home schooled until 1997 when their parents divorced and they moved to Nashville. Here, they honed their songwriting skills and the two older brothers, Caleb and Nathan signed on with RCA Records, but the label wanted them to have a band.

In an interview, Caleb admitted to "kidnapping" their cousin Matthew from his hometown in Mississippi in order for him to join the band. They told his mother that he was just staying for a week, but they just never let him return home. Drummer Nathan added, "When we signed the deal with RCA, it was just me and Caleb. The label told us they were going to put a band together, but we said, 'We're going to buy our little brother a bass, he's a freshman in high school. Caleb will teach himself the guitar. Our cousin Matthew played guitar when he was 10 and I'll play drums.' The record label agreed,". Jared was just 16 when they released their first album, and EP titled Holy Roller Novocaine.

From there, they're fan base grew and since 2003, they have released four albums. Use Somebody, is off their fourth full release, Only by the Night.

Useless trivia: They named themselves Kings of Leon in honor of Nathan, Caleb, and Jared's father and grandfather, who were both named Leon.

Great Lake Swimmers - Your Rocky Spine

Canadian acoustic group, Great Lakes Swimmers, has been compared to Nick Drake and Iron and Wine blending the same haunting and melodic acoustic sound with intellegent lyrics.

They released their first album in 2003 in Canada, which was then picked up for release in the US in 2005. Since then they have released 3 more albums, each one receiving excellent reviews. It was not until Your Rock Spine, off their third release, Ongiara, was featured on the soundtrack to the show Weeds.

Their fourth album, Lost Channels, expands on their brand of mellow folk-pop but add more orchestrated sound.

Afro Celt Sound System - Deep Channel

Afro Celt Sound System (sometimes just called the AfroCelts) uses modern dance rhythms (trip-hop, techno, etc.) with traditional Irish (Celtic) and West African music. Producer-guitarist Simon Emmerson
put together the group after playing Afro-pop star Baaba Maal in 1991. While making an album with Maal in Senegal, Emmerson was struck by the similarity between one African melody and a traditional Irish air.

Emmerson put together a group of accomplished world music musicians and released their first album on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records label. They are reportedly the best selling artist on the label.

To date, they have released five albums and have gained a large worldwide fan base and several artists have recorded with the group; Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Pete Lockett, Sinéad O'Connor and Heather Nova to name a few.

Deep Channel is off their fourth release, 2003's Seed. If you haven't heard them before, I would highly recommend giving them a listen. The music is lush and you can listen to a track several times and each time hear a new instrument or melody hidden in there.

Bell X1 - The Great Defector

Bell X1 is a great Irish band that creates wonderful music with witty and whimsical lyrics. The began as the band Juniper, which was a success ground in Ireland in the 1990s. The group included Damien Rice before he became a solo artist.

Bell X1 (named after the Bell X-1 - the first plane to break the sound barrier) has a definite Talking Heads sound which can be easily pick up on any of their four studio albums. After their third studio release, Flock, keyboardist Brian Crosby left the band to persue writing music for TV and film. The three remaining members, drummer Paul Noonan, bassist Dominic Philips and guitarist Dave Geraghty.

The Great Defector is off their 2009 release Blue Lights On The Runway.

XTC - Senses Working Overtime

Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is from XTC, a smart witty British band. They came onto the scene in the 70's during the punk era and their sound was a mix of funk, punk, ska, reggae, and art rock. They were never a huge success, save a few hits, but were always favorites of the critics.

The band had many personnel changes over the years and singer Andy Partridge early on took over the songwriting and singing. In the early 80's they became a studio only band (with occasional radio performances) after a Andy Partridge's breakdown in 1982 at a concert in Paris. Partridge's wife threw out his supply of Valium, which Partridge had been using since his was a teenager to help cope with his parent's divorce.

The band settled into a trio of Partridge, Dave Gregory and Colin Moulding for the rest of 80's and 90's, with first Gregory leaving in the late 90's then the duo breaking up in 2005 after Moulding lost interest in music.

Sense's Working Overtime off the excellent release, 1982's English Settlement, was on of XTC's early hits.

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