4280. “Honor, Riches” by Judith Malafronte

Posted-by-the-artist Video

The excellent Shakespeare’s Songbook and its accompanying CD have shown up here several times. Mezzo-soprano Judith Malafronte is the featured singer on this excerpt from The Tempest.

Book author Ross Duffin spent years researching the different songs in Shakespeare and figuring out what they likely sounded like. He produced this book of sheet music and scholarship to give us an idea. Good stuff.

4279. “Flight II” by Judgement Day

Live video:

Memo kindly introduced me to “Flight II” some time ago and its always a pleasure when it pops up in my library. An epic track by Judgement Day, who describe themselves as “string metal,” the song is an instrumental that takes us on a considerable musical journey. I highly encourage you to check out the band and a good way to start is to listen to the tracks Memo already shared.

Favorite 4278. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest

Official video:

Judas Priest also moved leather and bondage gear into the mainstream of heavy metal. I’m not making this up. My cousin was super in to Judas Priest so, of course, he needed studded leather something. The only place in our world where he could get that was Provincetown, MA. I wonder how many homophobic New England metal heads (who were decrying Billy Squier as homosexual around the same time) trekked off to Provincetown to buy leather wear so they could be more like their (then presumed to be straight) idol, Rob Halford. Homophobia was rampant in metal fandom in my part of the world in the early 80’s, but so was a kind of willful blindness. For example, we all thought Freddy Mercury was straight. It was this homophobia (and the fear that coming out would end a career in metal) that kept Mercury in the closet. It was a huge act of not-giving-a-fuck courage on Rob Halford’s part that he came out. Oddly, this makes me proud to be a Judas Priest fan (albeit much less of one than I was thirty years ago). I honestly believe that his coming out changed the attitudes of a bunch of people in my generation. I know it changed my cousin’s attitude.

Anyhow, I ownded Screaming for Vengeance on cassette and it was a well loved, frequently played album, let me tell you. Nothing like loading up the cheap $20 boom box with batteries, bringing it into your ’72 Plymouth Fury (which only had AM radio) and cranking the volume as loud as that little boom box would go (which was not very loud).

So, I gave Priest a lot of credit for the big move to party hard rock in my last entry, but Priest, of course, was at least somewhat influenced by commercial considerations – witness the mind blowing success of Van Halen around the same time. Priest took the Van Halen party ethos and made it British and dangerous. The biggest threat Van Halen offered is that they might steal your girlfriend. Judas Priest would knife you and say something witheringly sarcastic as you bled out.

Which is why I still am afraid to mention this. The title of “You Got Another Thing Comin'” is not the correct idiom. It as a huge hit for them and is a great song, but the correct idiom is “you’ve got another think coming.” Source.

I’ve used this phrase incorrectly for years and its Judas Priest’s fault. Its ok, Judas Priest. I’m still going to use it wrong. F the haters.

*runs away sobbing*

Favorite 4277. “Living After Midnight” by Judas Priest

Official video:

Judas Priest are considered to be one of the most important and influential heavy metal bands of all time. In the early 1980’s, I loved the band, in part because my cousin (who was my hero for a good portion of my youth) was a huge fan and in part because I genuinely liked some of their songs. I’m a little stunned that I only have two songs by them in my iTunes library, but I’m also not bothered by it. I think that these two songs kind of capture everything I loved about them at the time.

1980’s British Steel is widely considered to be their greatest album. Buoyed by “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight,” the song was a mainstay on every teenage male metalhead’s cassette player in Connecticut through the whole of the early 1980’s. I assume every teenage male metalhead in the world, but who can say?

This is going to sound a little reductive, but what I enjoy so much about “Living After Midnight” is that its essential a party song. Now, there had been some hard rock bands whose main focus was “let’s party” before Judas Priest (Kiss, for one)), obviously, but if you look at the metal songs that followed British Steel in the 1980’s, you’ll note that they’re not about misty mountains and blues riffs and heartbreak. They’re about girls and drinking and more girls. Judas Priest, for better or worse, started that trend for this particular British heavy metal sound – indeed, most “let’s party” heavy metal songs for the next decade were pale shadows and imitations of “Living After Midnight.”

4275. “Peteneros” by Juan Zarzuela & Pedro Pimentel

The fourth challenge with addressing songs from the Songs of the Outcast CD is that they don’t always spell everything correctly. Here’s how I got these track names. First, I saved the tracks to my iTunes library. ITunes figured out the titles and artists all by itself. Then, I copy and paste all the titles into a single document. Then, when its time to search for any given song, I copy and paste the title to Google.

Long story short, searching for the title above doesn’t even turn up its listing in Songs of the Outcasts. I already had to correct the title of the previous entry. Bah.

Juan Zarzuela is the singer here and I’m 99% certain this is the same Juan Zarzuela:

Similarly, I’m 99% certain that this is the same Pedro Pimentel:

Some searching around suggests that the title here should actually be peteneras, which is a specific flamenco palo. It is, of course, possible that “peteneros” is a different noun form of “peternas” in Spanish, but wow whomever transcribed the titles of the Songs of the Outcast tracks didn’t make it easy for additional research.

Here is a petenara with dance:

4274. “Farruca” by Juan Pinilla & Carlos Zarate

Apparently, the words to “Farruca” are communist. Who knew? Certainly not I.

Farruca is yet another form of flamenco. The Wikipedia entry I just listed describes some of its typical qualities.

Here is a farruca with a dance. Dance is an essential part of the flamenco tradition and, whoa, the dance is always so bad ass. Flamenco dancers, male and female, appear to be the coolest people in the world.

4273. “Taranto” by Juan Pinilla & Carlos Zarate

Oh jeez, “Taranto” is also a form of Flamenco.

Juan Pinilla is the singer and Carlos Zarate is the guitarist on this piece, also from the CD from the book Songs of the Outcasts. Here’s Pinilla singing an entirely different piece with a different guitarists:

I would love to be able to share the piece I have with you because I think its an especially excellent example of Flamenco singing. Such is life.

4272. “Taranta” by Juan Cortes Coquillo

We’ve explored several flamenco tunes from the CD that came along with the book Songs of the Outcast. I’ve faced several challenges in tracking down online versions of these tracks. The major one is that the tracks aren’t always labeled correctly. I could be wrong, but it seems from some cursory searching that Juan Cortes is the name of the performer here and Coquillo is his nickname.

The second challenge is that “Taranta” is the name of one of two related styles of flamenco music. So this guitar solo by Mr. Coquillo (or, perhaps, Mr. Cortes) is probably not named “Taranta” so much as it as an example of Taranta.

The third challenge is that my ear isn’t good enough to tell if any of the flamenco “Taranta” videos online are different pieces or the same piece interpreted differently by different guitarists.

So, with that all said, here’s a great “Taranta” that doesn’t sound like the one on my iPod by Joe Hernandez. It is a great introduction to the Taranta style and he’s a phenomenol guitarist, so I hope you’ll forgive me if he’s neither the artist in the title nor is playing the piece I’m ostensibly discussing.

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things that intrigues me about flamenco is that it sounds “formless” to me. This, of course, is impossible. If a style of music is popular enough to be identified (“Hey, that is flamenco”) then clearly there are formal elements and characteristics that identify it as such. I find the piece on my iPod particularly intriguing because it sounds like the guitarist has a certain amount of freedom to explore, but the piece also sounds like there’s a clear, deliberate journey. I can’t really explain it and I’d love to have a lengthy discussion with a flamenco expert to come to a better understanding of this musical form. Its gorgeous.

Favorite 4271. “Whirring” by The Joy Formidable

Cat-filled Official video:

I am pretty sure I first heard the terrific “Whirring” because of its inclusion on Pitchfork‘s “Top 100 Songs of 2011″ list. Really, its as good a rock song as you’re going to hear in the 21st century (and I say this as a big fan of 21st century rock). The ending, especially, is a gorgeous build of psychedelic guitar/bass/drum noise. I confess that I’ve not paid much attention to the lyrics, but that’s just because I’m overcome with excitement from the music. Also, the lead singer has a fabulous rock voice.