First, I created a super-duper 150 minute playlist called Ukraine Pop Music is Cool. Here’s the Spotify playlist and the Youtube playlist — or just click below. Man, this is a good playlist — collected over 20 years. Despite my very limited understanding of Russian and Ukrainian language, I think I have a good grasp of what is good and interesting about Ukrainian music. Ironically when I lived there in 1997-8 I went to different cities to give lectures at various universities — and my most requested topic was History of American Rock and Roll music, and I found Ukrainian and Russian music endlessly fun and fascinating. Over the decades though, Ukrainian has gone from simply imitating Russian styles and catering to Russian audiences to being unique and edgy.
Here’s my review of American Song Contest which premiered Monday March 21, 2022.
Overall, I was very impressed by the profiles and song numbers and the diversity of styles. I liked the fact that Michael Bolton was thrown in — with a pretty good song too. Some Europeans decried the number of commercials between performances, but hey, that’s just USA. I was impressed that the contestants contained a mixture of up and coming and established musicians. I don’t think the songs were overly pop or pandering to the audience, but they all had new takes on a kind of song, plus great performing skills. My favorites:
- Hueston (RI) a simple and sincere song (picked by the judges to advance, and I loved it too).
- Keyone Starr (MS) great bluesy-rock song, with a fierce beat. Athena Franklin?
- Jake O (WI). Great rock and roll song.
- Alexa (OK). Petite K-pop girl already popular in South Korea!
I put together a youtube playlist which will include all the states eventually.
Articles and Interviews
- Geoff Muldaur and the Texas Sheiks. s/t 6.99
- Two albums by Savath Y Savalas: La Llama and The Predicate (Dub Version). I’m discussing their album Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey (youtube link) on a podcast.
- 2 albums by Vryll Society: Course of the Satellite (4.99) and Pangea (99 cents)
- Secret Memories by Gentlemen. 3.99 47 minutes.
- Her Greatest Hits by Carol Douglas. (1970s disco singer).
- Texas Moon by David Allen Coe
- Tboya – Твоя by Poli Genova. 7.99 for 53 minutes. Bulgarian techno-pop singer who competed in Eurovision in 2012.
- Rey by Camila Moreno. Chilean avante-pop with cool music vids. Also Mala Madre (4.99 for 40 minutes) and Opmeitomsimla (3.49 for 37 minutes).
- Various Chandraveena ragas by S. BalachanderChandraveena: Here, here and (maybe more?). Emusic has 6 albums of live recordings, each about 45 minutes for 99 cents. Bandcamp has the albums for more.
- Infinity by Khan Jamal. 1.99, 37 minutes. Classic 1980s album by noted US vibraphonist.
- Fragment of .. by Hunt, 9 tracks, 3.99. Ladytron, Cocteau Twins, Polly Scattergood, etc. Definitely an acquired taste, but this electronica-centered album is trippier than Cocteau Twins, always unpredictable and nice and moody.
- Prototypes [DTNDLP004] by DAAT
- Portals: Energostatic (For Ukraine) by A Strangely Isolated Place
- Superradiance (name-your-price) by Deepspace
- Descent (name-your-price) by Lorenzo Montanà
Ever since I found a box set of Cole Porter classics in the 1990s, I’ve been a huge fan of songs by Cole Porter. Some of the songs and recordings are iconic, this one being one of them.
This was the first song for a Youtube playlist I made for a Ukrainian friend. Don’t know if he actually listened to it, but it’s a feel-good-during-a-war kind of playlist.
If you know the famous “Who will Save Your Soul” song by Jewel but have never heard her live 1999 performance at Woodstock, trust me: you have NEVER truly heard the song before. It’s incredible. The full concert is here:
B Lionel Yu, a classical pianist famous for staging “remixes” of classical music, paid a dozen music producers to do “remix versions” of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony for him to play. This version turned out to be his favorite.
Freegal and Library CDs
I bought a boxful of used CDs for 50 cents each.
- Irving Aaronson, 1920s Hot Dance classics
- Goofball 1920s — (Free on archive.org)
- Sans Amour Mon Amour by Amandine Bourgeois (French Eurovision diva who sings uncharacteristically blues-pop –
Reviews (Rateyourmusic/Personal Reviews, etc)