I haven’t written much about The Pixies or the various off-shoot projects by principle song writer and frontman Black Francis (foreground above).  I came to The Pixies a bit backwards having stumbled onto Frank Black and The Catholics but quickly caught up to what I had missed.

Harder to categorize than most bands, many reviewers cite a clear mix of surf music and punk rock.  There are a lot of influences here but that label hangs pretty well.

The Pixies were formed in Boston in the mid-80’s and the current lineup includes founders Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (guitar) and David Lovering (drums). Co-founder Kim Deal (bass) left the group last year and was replaced for touring by Kim Shattuck and by Paz Lenchantin for this year’s tour.

Wildly successful in the UK and Europe, they have a very loyal and broad fan base while not exactly achieving mainstream pop success in the U.S. (outside of Boston).


They broke up in 1993 in a cloud of bad feelings but regrouped in 2004.  In 2013 they released their first album in over a decade.

Among the gems of their catalog, the standout for me is the tune “Here Comes Your Man”.  Originally a demo song it was finally included on 1989 release “Dolittle”.  Penned by Black (as a teen) it’s been described as their breakthrough hit.

Spin magazine reviewer Jon Dolan commented that it was “the most accessible song ever by an underground-type band.”

  1. “Here Comes Your Man”
  2. “Monkey Gone to Heaven”  (Letterman show clip)
  3. “All Over the World”
  4. “Where Is My Mind”



100,000 Hits – Thanks!

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized


The Eclectic Ear reached 100,000 hits today!  Thanks very much for visiting.  There’s more great music to come…



Literacy is one of those things most of us, including me, take for granted.  Stop and think for a moment about what it would be like not to be able to read.  A few years ago I found myself standing in a bookstore in Tokyo where only Japanese books were sold.  It sunk in a bit as everything, every sign, every title, looked meaningless. I could sense the futileness of trying to understand what the characters meant… nothing.

10,000 Maniacs, originally fronted by the multi-talented Natalie Merchant, addressed literacy in their 1987 song “Cherry Tree”.   Found on the album “In My Tribe” it’s well worth a listen.

So a brief, rare for me, PSA.  If you’ve been looking for something worthwhile to do with some spare time or think it’s time to give back, why not consider teaching someone how to read?


Lyrics below….

Cherry Tree – by Natalie Merchant & Robert Buck

Over your shoulder, please don’t mind me
If my eyes have fallen onto your magazine
Oh, I’ve been watching and wondering
Why your face is changing with every line you read

For all those lines and circles to me a mystery
Eve pulled down the apple and gave a taste to me
If she could it would be wonderful
But my pride is in the way
I cannot read to save my life
I’m so ashamed to say

I live in silence, afraid to speak
Of my life of darkness because I cannot read

For all those lines and circles to me a mystery
Eve pulled down the apple and gave a taste to me
If she could it would be wonderful
Then I wouldn’t need someone elses eyes
To see whats in front of me
No one guiding me

It makes me humble to be so green
At what every kid can do when he learns A to Z

For all those lines and circles just frighten me
And I fear that I’ll be trampled if you don’t reach for me
Before I run I’ll have to take a fall
And when I pick myself up so slowly
I’ll devour every one of those
Books in the tower of knowledge



So yet another one for the “old but new to me” band category.

Bend Sinister is an indie band formed in 2001 now based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The band takes its name from a dystopian mid-40’s novel by Nabokov.  Formed in 2001, they have ten albums under their belt and played out a lot around the hometown of Kelowna BC before hitting their stride and getting some notice.  They went through a few personnel changes and did three Canada-wide tours to support their debut release Through the Broken City.


After a few more changes to their lineup, Bend Sinister returned to the studio once again in 2008 in order to put together what was to become their second full-length album, Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers. It was released on October 21, 2008.[6] Since then, the band has welcomed new guitarists Henry Alcock-White and Joseph Blood and released a music video for their song “The Same Things”.


I like their sound a lot and find them reminiscent of early Queen with perhaps a little less of the theatrics and a bit more of a western Canadian accent to them.  Take a listen….

Find out more here:  http://www.bendsinisterband.com/animals/index.html

  1. “Better Things To Do”
  2. “Fancy Pants”
  3. “Best of You”



This upbeat pop gem combined elements of the Motown sound, complete with a horn section, and the Merseybeat sound honed by The Beatles.  It was a breakthrough hit for The Outsiders in early 1966 and was also the title of their debut album.

If it sounds familiar, it was also covered more recently by NJ-based band The Smithereens who contributed it to soundtrack of the movie “TimeCop” starring Jean Claude VanDamme.

1966 outsiders

The principal songwriters in The Outsiders, the late Tom King and Chet Kelley, had more success penning tunes for others than they did fronting the band.  Among their contributions was the song “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven” that was a hit for The Righteous Brothers.

The band eventually broke up and one member, Sonny Geraci, went on to form the group Climax who charted big time with “Precious and Few”.




A friend and I caught the Tedeschi Trucks Band at The Beacon on Friday night.  It was a great night and they added to the excitement with two special guests, slide master Jerry Douglas and blues legend Taj Mahal.

Derek, of course, hails from The Allman Brothers Band (his uncle Butch is a drummer and founding member) and Susan Tedeschi, his wife since 2001, is a blues woman with powerful vocals and serious guitar chops.  With the multi-talented TTB behind them they laid out some heavy blues tinged with just the right amounts of soul, jazz, and R&B.

With the ABB now headed towards a self-imposed retirement (Warren and Derek announced earlier this year they were leaving the band at the end of the year), and Greg announcing the end of their touring days, the crowd seemed primed for Tedeschi Trucks to be the natural successor.  The heirs to the throne of what, for me, has been the greatest electric blues band to grace the stage since the late ’60’s.  Those are big shoes to fill but I do think this band has what it takes.  Whether they wear that crown remains to be seen.

The addition of guests Jerry Douglas and Taj Mahal just made the night all that more special.  Jerry isn’t a household name (well at least not in NJ) but he’s among the best resonator and slide guitarists on the planet.  A fixture in the country and blues scene for decades, Jerry has played on more than 1,600 albums.  For a glimpse at his skills check out Vince Gill’s performance at Clapton’s Crossroads Festival when he rips through “Oklahoma Borderline”.  Jerry takes a memorable solo and shows how it’s done.

Last night Jerry and the TTB did a great version of Leadbelly’s “On a Monday” but the highlight was Jerry and Susan teaming up to cover a soulful blues version of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”.


Although he turned 72 last May, blues legend Taj Mahal is still going strong.  He’s long been known for blending other influences into his music.  Using everything from West Indies rhythms to Mingus-infused jazz lines, Taj formed the band Rising Sons back in the mid-’60’s with Ry Cooder and honed his craft to legendary status.  He fit right in with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and rocked through “Diving Duck Blues” and his standard “Corinna”.


Here’s the set list and some video (from other nights).

SetList / 9-19-2-14 Beacon Theater NYC

Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Traffic cover)
Do I Look Worried
Don’t Miss Me (The Derek Trucks Band cover)
Keep on Growing (Derek and the Dominos cover)
Midnight in Harlem
More and More (Little Milton cover)
Idle Wind
On a Monday (Lead Belly cover)(with Jerry Douglas)
These Walls (with Jerry Douglas)
Done Somebody Wrong (The Allman Brothers Band cover)(with Jerry Douglas)
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Bob Dylan cover)(with Jerry Douglas)
Diving Duck Blues (with Taj Mahal)
Corinna (with Taj Mahal)
Bound for Glory
The Storm
Leaving Trunk (The Derek Trucks Band cover)
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Hambone Willie Newbern cover)




I was totally blown away today by a singer whose latest release found its way to my inbox from the folks at Dotted Music.  I love great vocals and Larissa’s fresh, contemporary sound was just what I needed.

Larissa Tormey, a Russian born, Ireland based singer-songwriter, released her debut EP, Doors to Joy, on September 1st with a full-length to follow later in the Fall.

The title track, Doors to Joy, is a true love song. But not in the standard sense of one person loving another romantically. It’s much deeper than that. It’s a song about loving life in every possible way, and being able to help someone realize their fullest potential in life. And to realize this full potential, one must unlock their Doors to Joy. This type of love is highlighted in the music video for the title track, which will be released shortly after the EP.

Doors to Joy was recorded in Ventry Studios, Ireland with producer and multi instrumentalist David McCune. The EP additionally includes two bonus acoustic versions of earlier singles, “Addiction” and “Enchanted Night” which were recorded with Irish pianist and musical director, Gavin Murphy, who played piano on all tracks for the EP and album and feature internationally renowned guitarist Bill Shanley, who has worked with artists like Ray Davies, Mary Black and Sinead O Connor.

Larissa is a native of Russia, where she was educated as a pianist and vocal coach. In 2001 she moved from the busy city of Moscow, to the quieter countryside in Ireland. Living on a rural farm has given Larissa a new way of writing music that is influenced by classical, contemporary, jazz, pop and folk music. In June 2014, Larissa was accepted as a guest singer at YOUBLOOM Global Music Village, a music conference event for the best international artists, in Dublin. Larissa also spends a lot of time working for charities and fundraising for different causes that are dear to her heart.