Sound Tribe Sector 9 - Moon Socket

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is known for their live performances. They blend many genres creating a sound based heavily on instrumental rock and electronic music crossed with elements of funk, jazz, drum and bass, psychedelia, and hip hop. Based on that description, you can see why they cannot really be categorized.

They formed in Atlanta in the late 90's, but moved to Northern California in 2000 where they have built a loyal local fan base. Occasionally they have billed themselves under the name Tzolkin, which is all five members of STS9. They have done this so they could perform in very experimental concerts to debut brand new material in a live setting without having the audience expectation of hearing existing STS9 material. The term Tzolkin means sequence of days and refers to a 260-day harmonic module calendar cycle.

Moon Socket
is off their 1999 release, Interplanetary Escape Vehicle.

Grant Green - Sookie Sookie

Apparently, I have the days of the week mixed up and missed the Hump Day Retro Closet from yesterday. So to make up for that here is the post-Hump Day Retro Closet track.

Grant Green is one of my favorite guitarists. It helps that he also hails from my home town of St. Louis. An underrated guitarists, he spent most of his career with Blue Note Records. The best description of him I have read is by critics Michael Erlewine and Ron Wynn. They wrote that Green is "a severely underrated player during his lifetime, Grant Green is one of the great unsung heroes of jazz guitar ... Green's playing is immediately recognizable -- perhaps more than any other guitarist."

His career spanned 3 decades until his untimely death in 1979. He spent much of 1978 in hospital, and against the advice of doctors, went back on the road to earn some money. While in New York to play an engagement at George Benson's Breezin' Lounge, Grant collapsed in his car of a heart attack in New York City on January 31, 1979.

Sookie Sookie is off his 1970 Blue Note release, Alive!.

Griffin House – The Guy That Says Goodbye to You Is Out of His Mind

Griffin House describes his music as rock/folk/punk. Electing to remain on his own, he mostly operates as an unsigned act, releasing his albums through Evening Records. However, his first release, Lost And Found, in 2004 and his latest release, Flying Upside Down, were in major record labels. He also tours extensively.

The Guy That Says Goodbye to You Is Out of His Mind is off both his independent release, Homecoming, and major label release, Flying Upside Down.

Janelle Monáe- Many Moons

Janelle Monáe originally planned to pursue a Broadway career, but found her love for music too strong. In 2007, Monáe was ready to release her first solo album, entitled "Metropolis." It was originally conceived as a concept album in four parts, or "suites," which were to be released only through her website and mp3 download sites. The plans changed when she signed with Sean "Diddy" Combs' label, Bad Boy Records. She released the album Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition) in August of 2008 and it was well-received and garnering her a 2009 Grammy nomination in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her song Many Moons.

Grant Lee Buffalo - My, My, My

Former members of the Los Angeles based band, Shiva Burlesque, Grant-Lee Phillips, Paul Kimble and Joey Peters fromed Grant Lee Buffalo. They had a very American sound with elements of old-fashioned country music. Many of their songs had a political and social aspects to their lyrics. They tackled issued like the the Waco siege, the murder of Yoshihiro Hattori and the Oklahoma City bombing.

My, My, My is off their 1998 release Jubilee. After the release, the band broke up and Phillips continued to pursue a solo career.

Devendra Banhart – I Feel Just Like A Child

Venezuelan American singer-songwriter, Devendra Banhart is a true eclectic. He was born in Texas, grew up in Venezuela, and moved to Los Angeles when he was 14. His name is a synonym for Indra, the Hindu god of rain and thunder, which was suggested by Prem Rawat, an Indian religious leader whom Banhart's parents followed.

He attended the San Francisco Art Institute, but dropped out to perform music. He began by busking, then moved to Paris before returning to San Francisco and Los Angeles. He ended up recording his first album after Michael Gira, owner of Young God Records, got a copy of his demo CD from his wife.

His music is as eclectic as he is and you can really hear that in I Feel Just Like A Child off his Cripple Crow release.

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros - Cool & Out

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros formed in 1999, and recorded three albums prior to Strummer's death in 2002. The band rose out of Strummer's work with Pablo Cook and Richard Norris. The three of them originally came together to write the soundtracks for two short films. Eventually they were convinced to record a non-soundtrack album and released Rock Art & The X-Ray Style in 1999. Like The Clash, Stummer's former band, The Mescaleros mixed several musical genres into their music.

In December 2002, Strummer died suddenly from a congenital heart defect after returning home from walking his dogs.

Cool & Out is a great song off their second release Global A Go-Go. Their third album, Streetcore, was released posthumously in 2003.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – The Sun Ain't Shining No More

Danish alternative band, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, is Mette Lindberg and Lars Iversen. But when touring, the band add four more regular members. They gained fame very quickly. Right after releasing a demo, the release landed in Amy Winehouse's lap, who liked it so much that she got their debut gig as her opening band at a concert in duo's hometown of Copenhagen. Additionally, their song "Around the Bend" ended up being used in an Apple iPod Touch commercial.

The Sun Ain't Shining off the EP of the same name was the song demo track that ended up in Winehouse's hands.

Lee Fields - Honey Dove

Early on, Lee Field's funk style sounded so much like James Brown that he was nick-named Little J.B. He had limited success in the 70's and basically disappeared in the 80's. However, in the 90's he resurfaced at the time when there was a deep-funk revival. His hard hitting style, reminiscent of 60's funk and soul garnered him more success than his early days.

He released several several albums in the 90's and 00's that were well-received by fans and critics alike.

Honey Dove is a great old-schools style funk ballad off his 2002 release, Problems.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Not Sleeping Around

Today's Hump Day Retro Closet tune is by Ned's Atomic Dustbin, who took their name from an episode of The Goon Show. They are unique in that they have two bass players, giving them a tense and highly driven sub-hardcore sound.

After growing a large local fan base, they were 'discovered' by the the band the Wonder Stuff, who had them tour with them in 1989 and 1990. They released GodFodder in 1991 and had a few hits in the UK and US indie charts. Issues with their record company and internal divisions, the band broke up on 1995. However, they reformed in 2000 to do a Christmas show and have done it every year since, even releasing a on-line only single in 2005.

Not Sleeping Around is off their second release, Are You Normal?

Nightmares On Wax – Da Feelin

Nightmares on Wax is George Evelyn. NOW was originally Evelyn and Kevin Harper. But after their first release, 1991's A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter, Harper left to pursue a DJ career. It took four years for Evelyn to bring NOW back, resurfacing with Smoker's Delight, a instrumental hip-hop album with a distinctively British eclecticism.

He has been recording ever since and was instrumental in reviving hip hop pioneers, De La Soul, when they appeared on the EP The Sound of N.O.W.

Da Feeling is off NOW's 2008 release Thought So...

Craig Chaquico – Gypsy Nights

California born, Craig Chaquico has been playing since the early 70's, including a long stint with Jefferson Starship / Starship (even writing the hit "Find Your Way Back").

After leaving Starship and trying to form a new Hard Rock band, Big Bad Wolf, Chaquico turned to smooth jazz and new age. As a solo artist he has also had much success, selling over a million albums worldwide and garnering a Grammy Nomination for Best New Age album for his 1994 release Acoustic Planet.

Gypsy Nights is off his first smooth jazz album, Acoustic Highway.

Naturally 7 - Feel It (In The Air Tonight)

Naturally 7 sings with a distinct a cappella style they call "Vocal Play". They sing primarily R&B with extensive beat-boxing. They use no instruments except for their own voices. They are very big in Europe and has built up a large fan base after their first single the single "Music Is the Key" with supporting vocals by Sarah Connor.

Since then, they have gained popularity in the US, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2007, at Quincy Jones' 75th Birthday concert in 2008 and appearing on Tavis Smiley, Ellen and joining Michael Bublé for a guest appearance on The Today Show.

Feel It (In The Air Tonight) is off their latest release, Wall of Sound.

Leela James – Simply Beautiful

Leela James is a throwback to 60's soul music. The first single, Music, off her first album is a lament of the current state of contemporary popular music. She condemns the glorification of materialism and misogyny that has often been attributed to the lyrical content of contemporary R&B and hip hop songs while pleading for the return of the artistry, dedication, and sincerity displayed by musicians of earlier decades. Amen!

The Al Green cover, Simply Beautiful is off her second release, Let's Do It Again As it's title says, the song itself is simply beautiful. Simple and very soulful.

The Submarines – You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie

The Submarines are John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard. As solo artists in Boston they were romantically involved, and toured Europe together as members of each other's band. The relationship lasted for four years, but ended in the 2004 when the pair moved to L.A. After the break-up, they continued writing songs, and because Hazard still recorded her music in Dragonetti's home studio, the pair quickly discovered the songs they had written were about each other and their sadness in having broken up. Knowing this, the duo decided to work on a few songs together and eventually got back together. The songs that they had worked on together were mastered for the couple as a wedding present, and those tracks eventually became their first album.

They have since released a second album, Honeysuckle Weeks, which includes the excellent tune You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie.

Interesting note: Hazard is the great-granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Kutiman - I'm New

Kutiman, real name Ophir Kutiel, is a musician, composer, producer and animator from Israel. He studied Jazz at Rimon Music College in Tel Aviv.

While working at a local convenience store in Tel Aviv, Kutiel tuned into a college radio station that was playing music that was much different than the classical jazz he had been used to playing. He was introduced to afrobeat and funk, including the sounds of James Brown and Fela Kuti. His obsession with Fela Kuti and the fact that his last name was similar led him to create the stage-name of Kutiman. He traveled to Jamaica to research reggae and afrobeat and work with Stephen and Damien Marley.

In 2008, he released ThruYOU, an online music video project mixed from samples of YouTube videos. I'm New is one of the results.

The Commodores - Easy

Yes, it's the Commodores on the Hump Day Retro Closet. I've always loved this song. It just brings a great mellow mood over you when you listen to it.

The Commodores were a funk powerhouse in the 70's and early 80's. However, two of their biggest hits were the ballads Easy and Three Times A Lady. Ironically, the only Grammy the Commodores received was for the hit Nightshift, a tribute to Marvin Gaye, recorded after Lionel Ritchie left the band. However, that was really the end of the line for hits for the band. But the band still lives on and is actually still touring.

Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance

Oren Lavie was born and raised in Israel and has been writing plays and music for many years. In 1997 he won a Israeli theater award for his play Sticks and Wheels before moving to London. In London, he studied theater directing at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and after graduation had two of his plays produced which included some of his own original music.
He gained a larger audience in when he released a stop motion video for his song Her Morning Elegance on YouTube, which has had more than 6.5 million views.

This song is off his debut album, The Opposite Side of the Sea.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Some Kind of Ride

Vermont-based Grace Potter & The Nocturnals is a great blues rock band. They independently recorded and released two albums before signing with Hollywood records in 2005. Touring extensively, they built up a large fan following and finally gained a larger audience with the release of This Is Somewhere in 2007.

This track, Some Kind of Ride, is off the album and really shows their rock and blues chops and their 60's and 70's influences. They are currently recording and album that will be produced by the legendary T-Bone Burnett.

Tristan Prettyman - Hello

San Diego born Tristan Prettyman, was 'discovered' by an employee of the production company The Moonshine Conspiracy, run by surf filmmaker Taylor Steele and professional surfer Chris Malloy. After hearing her play, they put one of her songs on the soundtrack to surf movie Shelter and her music career was born.

Inspired by Ani DiFranco's 1993 Puddle Dive album, Tristan took up music and the rest is history.

Hello is off her 2008 release of the same name.

Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work

Two Door Cinema Club
is an indie-pop band from Northern Ireland. Their sound is very much indie-electro, with slick guitar progressions, subtly infectious bass lines, and amiable vocal, which should make the absence of true percussion surprising.

Something Good Can Work is a fun pop tune.

Wolfmother - Vegabond

Wolfmother was a great Aussie band. I say was because they released one album in 2005 and broke up in 2008. However, it appears that vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale will regroup with new musicians and release a new album in October. Hopefully if will be as fantastic as their debut.

I love the way Vegabond starts off with the pounding drum beat. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise

Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie-rock band that was formed by the husband and wife team of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. They don't stay with the traditional rock instruments by using piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, keyboard, French horn, accordion, hurdy gurdy, harp and mandolin.

Ocean of Noise is a great tune off their Neon Bible album. This album and their 2005 release, Funeral, were both nominated for a Best Alternative Music Album Grammy. In between recording these albums, they purchased a defunct church in the small Quebec town outside of Montreal, and spent the early part of 2006 converting it into a recording studio, where they recorded Neon Bible.

Kraftwerk - Autobahn

I'm watching the Tour de France and had the urge to listen to Kraftwerk's Tour de France tune. I think back to the time I first heard them. It was around 1978 and my father had the Autobahn album. He put it on and I was mesmerized. This was like nothing I had heard before. My father explained that they used computers to create the music and it fascinated me that they could create this sort of music without actual musical instruments. but realized that this freed them to create any sounds they wanted.

Autobahn is an excellent album that I regularly pull out and listen to on my commute and it always seems appropriate. I could not find the original album track, this is a remixed version, but just as good. So sit back and enjoy today's Hump Day Retro Closet track and imagine driving 160 KPH on the Autobahn and still getting passed by a little old lady driving an old VW.

Poi Dog Pondering - Catacombs

Poi Dog Pondering has changed a lot over the years. One thing has not changed, though, they continue to remain eclectic. They do not have a 'sound' like other bands, but are a broad mixture of musical influences. Vocalist/guitarist Frank Orrall is the driving force behind the band which has changed musicians since they originally formed in Waikiki in 1986. Even problems with their record label forced them to create their own label, Plate.tec.tonic. But the continued to release music and tour.

Catacombs is off their 1995 release Pomegranate, an album of great diverse pop songs, ballads and dance tunes. After several years off, Poi Dog released the album 7 in 2008.

The Finn Brothers - Anything Can Happen

The Finn Brothers are New Zealand's, Neil and Tim Finn. Both brothers were members of Split Enz which broke up in 1984. Neil then formed Crowded House (Tim joined them briefly) which broke apart in 1996, but has reformed again in 2007.

The brothers got together in 1990 to write a bunch of songs in a writing spree and many of the songs appeared on the 1990 Crowded House release, Woodface. In 1995, the brothers released a lo-fi album simply called Finn, but quickly changed the name, adding Brothers, to avoid confusion with a band going under the moniker Fin.

It took nine years for them to release a second album. In 2004, they released Everyone Is Here. It was recorded twice, once in upstate New York, then again six months later in Los Angeles with a different producer and different session musicians. Some of the songs from the first recording session were kept as B sides and later appeared on a special edition of the album.

The song, Anything Can Happen, is off their second release.

The Gaslight Anthem - Old White Lincoln

Since we had The Boss on yesterday, it seemed fitting to post the The Gaslight Anthem today. They are a New Jersey based band that definitely is influenced by the Jersey Shore sound. They describe their sound as "Bruce Springsteen singing for a Cure cover band, with a tinge more aggression."

Since the release of their first album in 2007, they have received very good reviews and were even the first band ever to appear on the cover of British music magazine, Kerrang!, without the magazine having previously written about them.

Old White Lincoln
is off their 2008 release, The '59 Sound, and you can really hear the Springsteen influence.

Bruce Spingsteen - Born to Run

Since to today is America's 233rd birthday, I wanted to post a song that see as a pure American song. The first artist that came to mind was The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. To me Springsteen is America. Hard edged, gritty, in your face, but caring and fighting for the little guy.

Born to Run
is the Springsteen classic off the 1975 album of the same name. Happy Birthday America, you are a country born to run.

Björk – Isobel

Bottom line. Either you like Björk or you don't. There's not really any middle ground. I am a big Björk fan from her days with the Sugarcubes. She has such a unique voice that can go from whisper to wail in 2 seconds.

Described as Avant-Pop, Björk has continued to interpret the music in her own unique style, releasing many excellent solo albums after leaving the Sugarcubes.
Isobel, off her Post album displays Björk's range..

Great Northern - Home

LA based indie-pop band Great Northern was formed when Solon Bixler approached his friend Rachel Stolte with material he had been working on, and asked her if she wanted to sing and play piano for it. After writing and recording on a 4-track for several months, they added a drummer and bass player and released their first album, Trading Twilight For Daylight. The album name came from a quote by Rachel Stolte, who said that twilight is her favorite time of day, and that she sometimes wishes that it would take up a larger part of the day.

Home is off their debut album and has been used in the movie 21.

Blondie - Rapture

Blondie is this week's Hump Day Retro Closet tune. A pioneer in new wave, they were able to use many styles like disco, pop and reggae but still retain some punk rock edge and create a string of hit singles. Debbie Harry fronted the band and her voice is a signature of the band (how many teen age boys were in love with her in the early 80's).

Blondie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is currently touring with Pat Benatar and The Donnas. Rapture is off their 1980 release, Autoamerican, which also included the #1 hit The Tide is High, a cover of the Paragon's classic.

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