Dan Spaugy’s Short Takes

Short Takes82024034_3215704421791938_7875423866997178368_nToday’s Short Takes comes courtesy of guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Dan Spaugy (photo of Dan used with the kind permission of Holding It Still Photography).

To say that Dan is involved in several music projects here in Dayton is to actually under-represent his involvement in the Dayton music community. Dan is in Age Nowhere, Neo American Pioneers and is an often in-demand session player for other musicians’ records. Dan’s guitar work elevates any song her contributes to with his passionate yet deliberate playing style.

We appreciate Dan taking the time out of his busy schedule to share the music that is currently part of his listening journey with us!

Dr. J: What are you listening to right now?

The Wallflowers “Bringing Down The Horse” (1996)

Year after year, usually during the summer months, “Bringing Down the Horse” is a mainstay in my listening rotation.  Some of my earliest, most vivid memories were hearing “One Headlight” on pop radio stations and seeing the music video on MTV when I was around 10 years old.  Out of all the tunes on mainstream radio, this one always stood out to me- the lyrics, driving beat, and that beautiful whistling-sounding instrument which I would later discover was a Hammond B3 Organ through a Leslie Speaker.  I actually still listen to “One Headlight” on a weekly basis and it never loses its luster.  In my teenage years while learning guitar I picked up a used copy of this album on CD at CD Connection (Dayton people- remember?).  I truly feel that there is not a low moment on this album and every song is great, which is something that cannot be said about many albums.  It is safe to say I will continue to praise this as one of the best albums released in my lifetime.  

The Black Crowes “Before the Frost…Until the Freeze” (2009)

Recently I was out at a local show (finally!) and I had a conversation with a fellow Crowes fan. I don’t know if I had declared it out loud in the past, but in that moment I made up my mind to answer the loaded age old question that music fans always get-  “Who is your favorite band of all time?”  Now of course there are the Stones, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Led Zeppelin, but having witnessed over half of the Black Crowes career unfold as a fan, I can safely come to the conclusion that they are my favorite Rock & Roll band of all time.  This double album was recorded live at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock.  The “Before the Frost” section of the album contains all things Crowes – the dual guitar work, Chris Robinson’s howling vocals, some long jams, and a couple of ballads that hit the sweet spot.  The second half “…Until the Freeze” showcases the depth of the Crowes musical influences.  The songs on this side of the record have a timeless feel and sensibility. I feel that this side of the album was a bit overlooked and would have been a strong contender for Roots/Americana music awards the year it was released.  My personal highlight of this album is the track “So Many Times,” which is a cover of a Chris Hillman penned tune for the Stephen Stills “Manassas”  project.  Chris and Rich deliver an intuitive brother vocal harmony performance that is reminiscent of the Louvin Brothers or Everly Brothers.  To top it off, guest multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell (Dylan, Phil Lesh, Levon Helm) delivers a beautiful pedal steel performance that sends this track to the next level. 

Erika Wennerstrom “Sweet Unknown” (2018)

There are so many great local albums that have come out over the last several years.  It would be hard not to leave someone out while writing this blog post so I have selected an album with a Dayton connection that has been in regular rotation. Erica Wennerstrom’s 2018 release “Sweet Unknown” often makes its way into my listening rounds. This album clocks in at almost an hour and nearly every song is over five minutes and all of them are wonderful. That is a lot to be said for me because nowadays albums with that long of a duration usually don’t hold my attention very well. For the guitarist in me this album features some of the most inspiring guitar work that I have heard in recent years. The songs are very atmospheric and contain many sonic layers.  It would be a goal of mine to make an album that had a fraction of these elements.  Seeing Erika and her band perform at Dayton Music Fest at the Brightside in 2019 was definitely a high point of my concert experiences for that year.

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Many thanks to Dan for sharing some of his musical journey with us!

If you would like to contribute to a future Short Takes essay, just let us know at drjytaa on gmail.com! Our contact us through this page. We would love to feature more artists and listeners of Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative!

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Larry Evans’s Short Takes

Short Takes20861905_10155163938436032_8287770607918622248_oToday’s Short Takes comes courtesy of Dayton musician, bass player and writer Larry Evans.

Larry was part of the Dayton-based punk musical force Lurchbox. You can hear some Lurchbox on their Soundcloud page! And we recommend that you do so!

He has been in several projects including Smug Brothers, Goodnight Goodnight as well as playing in The Last Waltz tribute project, contributing bass to the most recent DirtyClean album among other works! In this brief essay, Larry explores the influences, deep cuts and journey of rediscovery that have shaped his recent musical experiences. It is a real pleasure to have Larry share the music and songs that he has been enjoying with us. 

221456_419792818062825_117903429_oDr. J: What are you listening to right now?

Larry: I’ll never claim to have the weirdest preferences in music, or that my edgy taste will “blow your mind” (someone actually told me that, and they – sadly – didn’t). In conversations with other musicians over the years (and in reading through the submissions so ingeniously curated by Dr. J), I am humbled to learn that we all have our diverse reserves of “deep cuts” that have inspired and shaped us. I have been excited to discover the insights of some of my friends and heroes here, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some inspirations and discoveries of my own as well.

I have to start with an artist who was an early influence on my musical taste and pop instincts, and while I was a child when The Beatles were literally changing the world with their music, I came of age in my teens listening to artists who used the freshly-plowed musical landscape to nurture their inspired reactions to that revolution. So while Jeff Lynn’s tenure with the Electric Light Orchestra furthered the hook-laden, R&B/symphonic-inspired path The Beatles had ended on, a listen to his earlier work shows that he was on the same path all along, and responding in real time. Even before his time with psychedelic pop innovators The Move, Lynn’s work with The Idle Race in the late 60s displayed every bit of the playful creativity and gift for melody that would later become his hallmark. “I Like My Toys” is a perfect example of the tunesmithing that showed the Fab Four hadn’t cornered the market on stunning, seemingly effortless pop.

A lot of what I’ve been listening to lately has been a revisit to an era that I sort of skipped; while I was sold on Industrial groups like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, I didn’t stray far from that (relatively) mainstream path. So over the years, I’ve been delving into bands I overlooked, like the legendary Killing Joke (who I could devote page after page to), Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, KMFDM, and most recently, Front Line Assembly. Because Bill Leeb had originally been in Skinny Puppy (and I was never really into their sparse take on the genre), I didn’t pay much attention but I recently stumbled across 1992’s “Tactical Neural Implant” and it opened up a whole new world for me. Still relatively minimalist from a melodic standpoint, it brings a broad range of rhythms and synthesizer textures that make me wonder what the last 30 years would have been like if I’d discovered this back then.

I also have to mention that Dayton’s own Hexadiode continues under the same electronic/industrial banner, while bringing their own darkness, passion, and inventiveness into the mix. A band whose musicality and ferociousness couldn’t really (for me) be comfortably categorized under “post-hardcore” (too progressive for punk, too jazz for metal, too melodic for industrial), was Canada’s Nomeansno, and I was fortunate to discover them at a live show in the late 80’s when band founder Rob Wright was already older than most of their contemporaries: I thought he was the band’s dad or something. But then I had my face joyfully torn off that night, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Before retiring in 2016, they recorded 10 studio albums, and there were EP’s, bootlegs, a live album, and a collaboration with Jello Biafra, but 1989’s WRONG has become my favorite.

CocteauTwins.BlueBellKnoll.lpOn the emotionally polar opposite of post-hardcore is another genre that’s also consumed me off and on over the last 20-30 years: Shoegaze. I was never a fan of My Bloody Valentine (which isn’t a popular claim to stake among other shoegaze fans), and while their 1991 “Loveless” is often credited as making them pioneers of the form, I was much more drawn to melodies, as opposed to experimentation with raw noise. The Cocteau Twins’ delicate “Blue Bell Knoll” from a few years earlier in 1988 I consider a precursor, but Slowdive’s “Souvlaki” in 1993 was the defining moment for me (I also have to mention the band Ride, although at the time in the 90’s, they slipped by me altogether). A more recent (2003) entry, however, is from Andrew Saks’s project Sway, employing walls of sound thicker and more layered than anything Phil Spector could have dreamed of, and while some tracks from “The Millia Pink and Green” EP drift into MBV territory and overwhelm you with their sonic spectacle, the haunting, gorgeous track “Fall” makes it all worth the price of admission. Continue reading

Andy Smith’s Short Takes

Short TakesToday’s Short Takes comes courtesy of Dayton songwriter Andy Smith. We call Andy the ‘Mayor of Tune Town’ for his amazing approach to melody. He has been in several projects including Andrew and The Pretty Punchers with their incredible ‘Goodbye Ohio’ to projects such as Me Time with their most recent single “Catch Your Eyeand the full length Vol. 2. Andy has a rare lyrical gift that makes his music sound timeless. Check out their bandcamp page for more music!

What are you listening to right now? Little Ann – “Deep Shadows.” I always love “discovering” overlooked soul from the 60’s and Little Anne’s “Deep Shadows” may be the crown jewel. The songs, recordings, and her vocal performance are all unbelievable. The title track, “What Should I Do”, and “Who Are You Trying to Fool?” are standout tracks from the vinyl release but it’s solid all the way through. A true gem. 

Paint – “Spiritual Vegas.” One of the newer albums I’ve been really enjoying is “Spiritual Vegas” by Paint. It’s the side project of the lead guitar player from the Allah-Las. It feels old and new simultaneously, which I like. The standout track for me is “Land Man” but the whole album has a nice flow to it. 

Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band – “Wede Harer Ouzo.” Though I haven’t listened to this album very recently it was on heavy rotation for a solid year for me. I’ve never been a huge world music guy, but there’s something different about this album. The lo-fi recording, the group choruses, and Mergia’s intense organ playing had me revisiting the whole album over and over again. “Bati Bati” and “Minlbelesh” are a couple favorite but I feel like this album is best listened to in it’s entirety. Perfect for cleaning the house, taking a drive, or being alive. 

Jack Name – “Magic Touch.” I preordered this album after hearing the first single “Karolina” one time. I think that song is magical. The rest of the album held up, too. It’s a sad, thoughtful record. The vocals were recorded very close-up so it sounds extra personal and introspective. Another great release from my current go-to record label, Mexican Summer

YTAA Monster Many thanks to Andy for sharing what he has been listening to with us!

If you would like to contribute to a future Short Takes essay, just let us know at drjytaa on gmail.com! Our contact us through this page. We would love to feature more artists and listeners of Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative! 

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Brandon Berry’s Short Takes

Short Takes

Our Short Takes today comes courtesy of Brandon Berry of The Paint Splats. The band came on the scene with a blast of indie rock goodness with “I Gutted My VCR” which eventually joined nine other songs for the first self-titled record released on November 16, 2019! A split with Mike Bankhead, “Defacing the Moon” came out around the same time! Some of Brandon’s contributions to that shared record includes the heartbreakingly beautiful “Annie”.

a2463795233_10This past March, The Paint Splats released a terrific EP …With a Side of Fries. That continues the terrific indie pop and humor that The Paint Splats are becoming known for in the Miami Valley. As Brandon wrote about the project: “An unhealthy blend of power pop melodies that grew up listening to garage rock and the man shouting obscenities from the comfort of a street corner.”

Reaching out to Brandon to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was an easy call for us to make here at YTAA. Take a few minutes and review his excellent recommendations!

The Kinks – Sleepwalker

In my high school band, we attempted to cover the Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night” and our “Lola” parody, “Ebola” – but I just passed them off as another forgotten novelty spawned from, and muddled up by, the swingin’ ’60s. It wasn’t until I started taking chances at the record store that I discovered their massive catalogue of inventive tunes that would serve as major inspiration for my own songwriting. The early stuff will always be dear to me, but their late ’70s and early ’80s albums, like Give the People What They Want and Sleepwalker, stand out for the risk-taking, something they’ve been known for since the amplifier cabinet-slashing origins.


kink2Life goes on
It happens ev’ry day
So appreciate what you got
Before it’s taken away


I’m not sure if there’s a more apropos quatrain for this present moment.

Kurt Baker – Brand New Beat

Power pop never died; the arena has just been cluttered by artists who shouldn’t be included in the category. There is hope, though. Musicians like Kurt Baker are keeping the original spirit alive. I came to this guy fairly late, but after hearing “Weekend Girls” and “She Can Do It All” from Brand New Beat, I had to get the record. I wear my nostalgia on my three-quarter length sleeves. The album cover alone would’ve been enough for me to throw down the cash. With vocal fluctuations à la Elvis Costello, I can’t help but get sucked into Kurt’s expertise in the genre.

a3565109622_10The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

When I write lyrics, I channel my inner John Darnielle. Destructive and off-putting sentiments with underlying sadness and regret over a major key chord progression. When I heard that he was recording a new album during quarantine, I had no idea the promo videos involving John and his sideways, trusty Panasonic tape deck would be the final product. Going back to his roots, he released the new batch of songs on cassette. I wasn’t around or conscious enough to consider myself an original fan, but I feel like I’m a part of something special now. I’ve been listening long enough that when a limited release such as this presents itself, I am to jump on the opportunity to be one of the few to have a copy. Though the cassette hasn’t been officially released, the lo-fi grain can be streamed online. Gather up your pagan crew. Do yourself a favor and listen to this record.

Various Artists

I have a playlist on Spotify called “songs that make me feel better,” which is comprised of mostly ’80s ballads and bops, like Mike & The Mechanics’ “All I Need is a Miracle” and “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. You’d be surprised what else you can find in there. When I was a youngster, I discovered the Beatles and the Stones through my dad and the big haired ’80s through my brother, eventually blending and inspiring me to dive into genres from every era. During the time of mandated isolation (remember that?), I needed something positive to listen to, so I dug up the old playlist and added some new songs to the repertoire amongst all the Scandal and Wilson Philips songs:

YTAA MonsterI suggest you make a playlist like this, too, adding only tunes in the key of happy that you can dance to at the drop of a hi-hat. A dash of positivity never did any harm.

Many thanks to Brandon for sharing what he has been listening to with us!

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Chad Well’s Short Takes

Short TakesToday’s Short Takes come care of the Reverend Chad Wells.  He is in many ways a polymath — songwriter, artist, musician, tattoo artist, business owner, reverend and more. Chad is an accomplished musician with his band Cricketbows, as a duo with Aarika Watson (Wells & Watson) and as a solo artist. During the current Coronavirus challenge, he has been live streaming every day at 4pm on Facebook to share thoughts, reflections, live music and his honest concerns about the world around him. Part meditation, part emotional inventory, part agent provocateur, these videos have become widely viewed on Facebook.

Reaching out to Chad to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was an easy call for us to make here at YTAA. Take a few minutes and review his excellent recommendations!

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Alice CooperLove It To Death: This album is sheer perfection. It is a meticulously crafted Rock And Roll car crash. This is what I secretly wish Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album sounded like (and I love that album).

 

 

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The Be Good TanyasBlue Horse: This album is like an amazing, fluffy, warm, cozy blanket that’s riddled with a subdued and subtly related – but vast, and epically varied – array of threads that run through it’s landscape. This should be positioned somewhere near The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions…

 

sddefaultAnd On That note… Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session. In 1988 the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies released the most truly beautiful sounding and heart-string pulling album that ever was. Just a greatly matched bunch of musicians in a historic old church standing around one microphone playing the songs live. They play their instruments, they play the room, they play off of each other in the most beautiful, natural and liquid way. A desert island recording for me.

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And on an entirely unrelated but equally masterful note: Wall of Voodoo: Call Of The West. This album gets zero love. Because of their quirky style and their outlandish music video hit “Mexican Radio“, the band was dismissed as a novelty by most critics. But this album is just pure hot fire. Spaghetti western New Wave turns into wasteland noise-scapes and emotional electronic dirges flow into weird-pop masterpieces.

 

Many Thanks to Chad for sharing the music that he is listening to right now!your-tuesday-afternoon-alternative-color copy

Nick Leet’s Short Takes

Short TakesNick Leet is the principal songwriter of the excellent High on Stress who were initially known for playing with Tommy Stinson and Slim Dunlap. As the passionate vocalist for High on Stress, Leet gives life to their songs. The band came roaring back with the incredible ‘Hold Me In’ from this past April. The record captures both the energy of their musically legendary hometown of Minneapolis and the lyrical authenticity of that fertile ground that gave birth to The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Husker Du. There is realism in the songs without pretense or the sense of ideas being forced into predetermined catchphrases.

a2738656838_10It would be wrong to pigeonhole High on Stress, they pay homage to their city and at the same time transcend the categorization that comes from the label of Minneapolis music. Consider checking into their earlier records especially ‘Leaving MPLS’, ‘Living is a Dying Art‘ and Cop Light Parade.

Reaching out to Nick to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was honestly not a difficult decision. Check out his excellent recommendations!

20000000078234_(1)Jason IsbellReunions‘ – I’ve been listening to this one quite a bit since he just released it. He is one of the best writers we have out there right now. Standout track for me is the evocative ‘St Peter’s Autograph.’

Billy Pilgrim ‘Billy in the Time Machine’ is a great record that is about to be re-released.

Andrew Hyra & Kristian Bush were born to sing together. Also check out Andrew’s solo record ‘Spill‘. ‘Here I Am‘ and ‘Great Expectations’are killer tracks on that album.

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Jim Soule ‘Forget the Days’ [the record came out on June 5th] It’s Jim’s first solo record and is a great listen. Jim has a wonderful sense of melody and a big voice. Standout track: “A New Brand of Fiction.”

 

 

 

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Fig Dish ‘That’s What Love Songs Often Do’. This is a wonderful rock n’ roll record from the mid-nineties. They were a Chicago band with great hooks. The drums sound killer on here and every song is a knockout. Stand out tracks are “Bury Me” and “Quiet Storm King“. I can’t stop there…let’s add “It’s Your Ceiling” to the mix too.

 

Many Thanks to Nick for sharing the music that he is listening to right now!

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Joe Anderl’s ‘Short Takes’

Short TakesLet us take a moment and introduce our latest feature, Short Takes. We are asking musicians, artists, DJs, writers, spoken word performers and others involved in music and creative expression to write some short comments about what they are listening to right now. There are no rules regarding genre, style or year of release. What are people listening to now? What does it mean for them in a brief few sentences — hence the idea of a ‘short take.’

20992760_10159165029090537_2527313783301675441_nOur first ‘Short Takes‘ comes courtesy of Joe Anderl of The 1984 Draft. Joe is a kind, warm and thoughtful person who not only loves music, he feels it. His passion for music is inescapable in his current project The 1984 Draft. The ‘Draft are a phenomenal live band who capture the spirit of punk and post-punk melded with the introspection of the best music of the ’90s and beyond. 

The Draft’s last record ‘Makes Good Choices‘ was one of our favorite records of 2018!

The-1984-Draft-band-2018As quarantine and social distancing continue, as the world burns around us, and as I find myself filled with more and more rage over the ignorance and injustice in our county, I have found myself searching deeper in my music catalog for little nuggets of joy. Songs that remind of the past. Songs from simpler times. The thing is, there were never simpler times. Just different times. That being said, there can often be comfort in nostalgia, joy in discovering something new, and a new wave of emotions caused by a song listened to in a different phase of life.

These songs are the little nuggets of joy I have had in my life for the last couple weeks.

First, ‘Slackjawed’ by The Connells – I found myself watching a video on YouTube with the Best of 1993 from 120 Minutes. I particularly wanted to watch it as it included videos of the Afghan Whigs, Paul Westerberg, and Buffalo Tom.

R-2028725-1562522314-3760.jpegAs I watched all the videos and reminisced about wrapping tin foil around my boom box antenna to pick up 97X [modern rock radio station from 1983-2004], a song came on that I had remembered loving hearing every time it came on. That song was ‘Slackjawed’ by The Connells. I wondered to myself why I had never tried to purchase an album by them and why this song never found its way into my collection. That will change very soon as I have probably listened to it 30 times in the last week.

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Next, ‘Inside of Love‘ by Nada Surf.  I was a late adopter on Nada Surf. I heard ‘Popular‘ in high school and kind of wrote the band off as a one hit wonder. That changed some 20 something years later watching them headline at Midpoint Music Fest [Dr. J was there too! The band gave a great live performance and won over many music fans that day!] There is an absolute softness in the voice of Mathew Caws. His choice of words can often be so simple and telling in same moment.

When I listened to this song a couple weeks ago, I found myself so grateful that I live in a loving marriage, that I am on the inside of love. So much so I just keep listening to this song every time I need to remind myself how lucky I truly am.

Paul-Westerberg-Dyslexic-HeartLast but not least, ‘Dyslexic Heart’ by Paul Westerberg – What GenXer did not relate to singles in some way?

After spending the last few years of my life completely ravaging my Replacements catalog, I decided I needed to dive further into my Westerberg records. I started with something comfortable and easy. This song and ‘Waiting for Somebody‘ [also from the Singles soundtrack] have been every other day listen for me lately just to try and feel a little normal.

Thank you for a terrific ‘Short Takes’ Joe!

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