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This weekend our daughter got to choose for family movie night and we watched Sing, a cartoon about animals in a singing competition. If there’s an eight-year-old in your family too we recommend it. And after watching the movie we were all thinking about our favorite songs, one of which was performed by a gorilla pianist. Turns out it was a cover of this 1983 hit by Elton John, from the album Too Low for Zero. It’s a pretty good tune, but the video is incredible. It’s our new favorite…

We’ve been waiting a couple years for a new album by one of our favorite songwriters in the Twin Cities. Brian Just (whose Brian Just Band once told the City Pages “We didn’t waste time thinking up a cool band name”) is equal parts Brian Wilson and Jay Kaye — that is, he walks his own wavy line between almost familial familiarity and the detached amgibuity of the latter’s single album (a 1968 psychedelic masterpiece titled J.K. and Co.). Just often offers everything the others lack, especially in delivering a live performance that can alternately cut right to the core of rock & roll yet also offer inspirationally pondering moments. His albums are superbly crafted and often to our ears earn that old compliment offered to be very best and briefest of Rossini and Verdi’s operas: there is not a single superfluous note.

These things take time and we’ve been patient even though we’ve heard about it’s recording for what feels like ages. It sounds like the anticipated album, Changing Traffic Lights, will drop the “Band” from the spine, but we don’t expect a stripped down affair or the disappearance of his long-time collaborators. In fact, the two early ‘sneak peeks’ through these videos suggest something more substantial than 2013’s Enlightenment and the group’s over-titled first album released two years earlier. The video for “She” posted on Youtube today, coupled with an earlier one for the title track, offer a sample in line with what we’ve expected.

It’s planned for a September 9th release with a special show at the Turf Club, and it will be Just’s first recording available on vinyl. We are sure to post again about this album’s anticipated arrival.

 

Why would somebody put a tortilla on a turntable? And why would they post it to Youtube?

Whatever the reason, we’ll use it as an excuse to post “I Love Tortillas” for about the fiftieth time.

i love tortillas

From this “Toy Polloi” video on Youtube, we find that the Empire has harnessed the power of the record player!

We have a bad feeling about this.

A good friend sent us the link to this Youtube video of a classic Lowell Fulsom song. It’s been a couple weeks but we’re still struggling with our aching backs from all the work around our block party for record store day.

We’re sure thankful that the weather for our block party last Saturday was so beautiful, because here we are just a few days along in the calendar and it’s darn cold and rainy out there.

While we had nothing but good luck as far as the weather was concerned, on Sunday morning something unfortunate befell our turntable at home. Turns out the cartridge on the player in our living room has finally pooped out. It’s an old Shure V-15 Type II, and while we’ve always been able to get new needles for it they haven’t made the cartridge itself since the sixties.

We haven’t decided what to replace it with, and in the mean time we felt like Burgess Meredith at the end of that Twilight Zone where the end of the world has finally afforded him the time to read in peace. Here we are in this house with thousands of records, and the turntable isn’t working.

 

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