Dr. Perry Alexander

The University of Kansas

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Music Blog

The Water

19 Mar 2016

You find out who your friends are with things explode.

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The Room

18 Mar 2016

It should be pretty clear from my initial set of prototype pictures that the room and the new gear don’t exactly go together. Using the bar in the back as an equipment rack and stacking the speakers in front of the wooden built-ins is highly non-optimal. Enter Natural Breeze. By far the best remodelers in Lawrence and as I would learn later, the best guys ever.

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Bye eMusic

06 Mar 2016

Well, I’ve finally given up completely on eMusic. Too bad really as I use to love their products and their services. If you want to figure out how to piss off your core customer base, you can learn a great deal from these people.

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Chicago in The Hall of Fame

24 Dec 2015

Finally. My boycott of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can officially come to an end. Chicago is in. It simply took far too long for a band that defined a sound, was exceptionally popular in two different incarnations, and whose political activism was as unique as its music to make the hall. Every pep band in the world plays 25 or 6 to 4. Beginnings, Saturday In the Park, and Does Anybody Know What Time It Is? are among the greatest pop/rock songs of all time. 11 number one hits and multiple number one albums. Finally there is justice.

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the autumn stone - Escapists

04 Aug 2015

Escapists present a nice fun album in the autumn stone. A bit of chamber pop with just a twinge of ska - think The Aluminum Group sans electronics plus sax and you’re close to the Escapists sound. Dreamy vocals, jangley guitars, good horns, nice harmonies and a great summer feel. I really dig the lead vocalist and the groovy bass and drums. (And yes, groovy is the just right adjective here.) There is a nice consistency in the sound with a few surprises thrown in.

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Twin Within - Horizontal Lines

04 Aug 2015

Horizontal Lines presents Twin Within, a dream-pop album with fantastic vocal harmonies over acoustic guitars. However, what makes this album go and a thoroughly enjoyable listen is the wonderful dissonance these guys create in just the right places. Not dissonance in the harmonic sense, but dissonance in the logical sense. A chord progression here, stylistic twist there, then an unexpected song choice in a way that should bring listeners back over and over again.

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Chicago

15 Feb 2014

Chicago is among my favorite bands of all time. I started listening in junior high school, when through a time in high school when I wanted to be their trumpet player, and have never been able to sit still for Saturday In the Park. Very few bands that I listened to in 7th grade still appeal to me in any way shape or form. In fact, Chicago might be the only one.

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After Blue - Tierney Sutton

15 Feb 2014

Tierney Sutton’s After Blue is a collection of Joni Mitchell tunes she performs with several backing ensembles including The Turtle Island Quartet. If you’re not familiar with Sutton (I wasn’t before this) she typically does straight-ahead jazz vocal albums with a mix of standards and original work. I ran across her stuff before making this purchase, but never bit. I will be going back and listening again after this wonderful album.

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Lots of Bits

31 Dec 2013

For the first time I’ve been playing around with various sample rates and resolutions. I picked up new versions of Gaucho by Steely Dan, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, and New Moon Daughter by Cassandra Wilson. Gaucho is 96/24 flac, New Moon Daughter is 192/24 flac, and Kind of Blue is 192/24 AIFF. So, I’m maximizing sample rates and sample resolution on music remastered using the best known techniques. Furthermore, all this music is stuff I know very, very well.

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New on the server

21 Dec 2013

New tunes on the server since my last update:

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The Mountain Moves - Treetop Flyers

07 Dec 2013

Just a quick note about this really nice, retro album by Treetop Flyers. I saw a review in Paste and pulled down their sampler as I often do only to discover a reincarnation of the old pop group America. You remember America - Horse With No Name was a radio hit from my childhood. Anyway, Things Will Change could have been on an America album straight up. This is cool as I really like America, but here’s the odd thing - they’re British. British as in not America at all! Kind of fun if you ask me. Great album here. You should buy it.

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Swept Away - Marc Johnson & Elaine Elias

04 Dec 2013

I have a very soft spot in my musical heart for the classic jazz trio

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New on the server

29 Nov 2013

Lots of new music on the server since my last update. Here’s some of it:

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Single To the Moon - Laura Mvula

20 Jul 2013

Just picked this up from iTunes on a recommendation from my wife who seems to know my music tastes better than I do! This is a pop album. It is a damn good pop album like nothing I’ve heard before, but it is pop. Laura Mvula is British with an African tinge to it. The title track brings this out. Reading a bit about her, she has Gospel roots and has worked extensively with community vocal groups. This is not a religious album in any traditional sense, but it is oddly gospel. Can’t quite put my finger on why.

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New On the Server

20 Jul 2013

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Walkin’ On a Pretty Daze - Kurt Vile

14 Jun 2013

You’d think that with a name like Vile, Kurt Vile would be the front man for very angry punk band. Not so. Definitely not so. This is my second album by Kurt Vile and both are consistently outstanding rock albums in a similar vein as Josh Rouse with a bit more edge.

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Tom Dowd and The Language of Music

08 Jun 2013

Years ago I saw a documentary when doing laps around the television about Tom Dowd. Dowd was a recording engineer and producer for Atlantic Records and was among the first to use stereo and multitrack recording techniques. He also worked on the Manhattan Project and made the decision to go into recording when his classified work was more advanced than academia would acknowledge.

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At Filmore East - The Allman Brothers Band

26 May 2013

Just a quick note about this album I just picked up on an impulse. I didn’t have any Allman Brothers in my collection and this came highly recommended as one of the best live albums of all time. Holy crap is that ever an understatement! Just finished up In Memory of Elizabeth Reed an am in the middle of You Don’t Love Me. I have never heard anything like this. I mean I’ve heard a ton of music like this - southern, guitar-based rock and roll - but never played like this. The musicianship on every instrument is phenomenal. If you don’t have this album you need to. Now.

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Modern Vampire in the City - Vampire Weekend

19 May 2013

I got this album from iTunes based on a one song preview and a rating over 9 on Pitchfork. I never do that - it was a classic impulse buy. I which all my impulses were this good!

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Swing Low Magellan - Dirty Projectors

21 Jan 2013

Just picked up Dirty Projectors’ Swing Low Magellan last week and have become completely smitten by the thing. Funny thing that I’ve owned Bitte Orca for quite some time and never really paid that much attention to it. Particularly surprising given all the rave reviews it got. I just didn’t get it. I think I get it now.

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Build Anyway - The Rocketboys

21 Oct 2012

Sometimes when I’m in a music buying frenzy I end up buying something that goes on the shelf for awhile until I get through the music that started the frenzy. Such is the case with Build Anyway purchased at the same time with new Minus the Bear and Sea and Cake. Finally got around to listening to this on a run the other day and was floored. So much so that I’m listing it here before the new Minus the Bear or Sea and Cake.

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Twilight - Louis Bonilla Quintet

14 Oct 2012

Twilight is a straight-ahead quintet album with a twinge of old-style fusion, ala The Crusaders, anchored by the wonderful trombone work of Louis Bonilla. As much as I hate to admit it after years of band rivalries, I’ve grown to love trombone. Deep, warm sound - like the tenor sax of the brass section. I also tend to like the quintet format a bit better than trio, but that’s nothing but personal taste.

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Cowboy Indian Bear

14 Oct 2012

Shout out to Cowboy Indian Bear, a local Lawrence band who won the Top of the Hill award for best local band. I listened to their samples on the LJW website with exceptionally low expectations. Boy was I surprised - this guys are awesome. Very much a pop band with a bit of twee that works very, very well. Really great vocals and some serious chops. I don’t think they’re going to be local very long. Major props to these guys - I always root for local bands.

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Siren - Uri Cain Trio

13 Oct 2012

Excellent straight ahead post-bop trio work. Very classic lines throughout, but with enough twists to keep you listening. Green Dolphin Street, Crossbow and Interloper are particularly good up-tempo tracks. You can guess how Green Dolphin Street goes. Crossbow and Interloper are not tunes that I recognize. Also worth mentioning is Succubus, a great post-bop tune with nice twists and turns with stylistic surprises. Smelly has some Monk-esque feelings mixed with some original ideas and movements.

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Freedom Flight - Nicky Shrire

12 Aug 2012

Freedom Flight is a jewel - brilliant jazz vocals. Nicky has a beautiful voice, but there are lots of those. She also has simple but sophisticated and interesting arrangements and fantastic musicians behind her. Freedom Flight/Blackbird sucked me in. Material is quite varied - a bit of everything from samba through a James Taylor cover. A really good James Taylor cover I might add. I will be on the lookout for album number 2 from Nicky.

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The Beach Boys

03 Jun 2012

I’m sitting here listening and reading back issues of Paste and found a fascinating read on The Beach Boys with some words I’ve never seen before. I completely ignored The Beach Boys for most of my musical life. When I was a serious jazzer listening to such serious jazz groups like Spyro Gyra and Chuck Mangione (stop laughing), The Beach Boys were just silly. During my New Age acoustic years, they were not sophisticated enough. During my indie rock years, they were old. Then I was a tried and true Beatles guy using the Beatles/Stones classification system. You kind of get the picture.

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New on the server

27 May 2012

It’s definitely a jazz guitar month this month. New stuff downloaded this weekend:

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At the Edge - John Crowley

08 Apr 2012

John Crowley was not a name I had heard before discovering At the Edge on iTunes. I forgot what lead me there - most likely Ari Hoering - but I’ve been enjoying this album quite a bit recently. If you like your jazz with a post-bop feel and lots of trumpet, fender-rhodes, and tasty drumming, this is definitely an album for you.

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Josh Rouse and The Long Vacations

21 Feb 2012

Josh Rouse is a long-time favorite of mine. Really great, laid back pop music that kind of reminds me of Glenn Campbell in a very good way. 1972, Nashville, and Country Mouse, City House being my favorites. After a series of releases that I enjoy, but don’t hit the player that often Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations caught me a bit by surprise. It seems he has a band now, but he’s returned to a sound that reminds me of the early albums that are, in my opinion, as close to perfect as you’re going to get.

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Think Free - Ben Allison

14 Feb 2012

Ben Allison is a bassist from Portland who was recommended to me by my friend Jeff Lewis after he learned of Ari Hoenig from one of my posts. It’s great how that works, isn’t it? I’ve since invested in quite a few of Ben Allison’s projects and am a big fan.

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Beautiful Mechanical - yMusic

12 Feb 2012

I had never hear of yMusic before I purchased Beautiful Mechanical. I bought the album and let it sit for a month or so before I got around to listening. I’m a huge fan of playing classical music and listening live, but never a fan of recorded classical music. When I finally did start, I’ve listened to this album every day. The musicians are fantastic and the compositions wonderful.

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Until Tomorrow - Zara McFarlane

05 Feb 2012

Just a quick note on Zara McFarlane’s album Until Tomorrow. Very nice classic jazz vocal album featuring Zara and a small ensemble. I like most of the tracks pretty well. Of particular interest are Mama Done, Chiaroscuro, Desire, and My Favorite Things. Desire is by far my favorite track on the album - a nice, slow classic piece featuring Zara and piano. Pretty good album overall if you like vocal jazz.

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