Staff Trax: Wilson Pickett, Dom Kennedy, Yeasayer, Ash
Arguably, this is the most significant, underrated, underplayed classic rock song that AOR radio tragically glazed over. Pickett's goosebump-inducing vocals on this cover the The Beatles' "Hey Jude" tear through the clouds where James Brown's voice hits and quits. Duane Allman, who was poised to become one of the world's greatest rock guitarists (should he have lived longer), trades barbs of solo and vocal with Pickett at the end. All the while, The Memphis Horns singe and pierce the air behind them. It's true history from a late '60s recording session in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and a real moment of light for rock and roll. --Alan Ayo
Anyone savvy in the burgeoning-of-late world of indie rap should know that, beneath the surface of much of the stuff that gets all of the radio spins (and, let's be honest, cheapens the genre as a whole), is a coast-to-coast movement of self-made emcees who refuse to play the game in order to gain mainstream popularity. One of these rappers is the self-produced and self-distributed Los Angeles native Dom Kennedy. A couple weeks back, he released his latest album, From the Westside, With Love , which contains this track "Long Way Home." Old school production, smooth delivery, nostalgic subject matter, and an overall good vibe drives this album to the fore of hip-hop releases in 2010. --Nic Hernandez
This week, I continue my advocacy for Yeasayer as a brainy pan-musical art band that swings for the fences in its music and supporting collateral. This video for "Ambling Alp," the first single off Odd Blood is by Radical Friend, a video production team originally formed at the Savannah College of Art and Design and now residing in Los Angeles. Says Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating of Radical Friend: "Give them a year or so and they'll be making some really wild features." --Doug Davis
Right around the time I grooved to Rival Schools in the summer of 2001, I also listened to Ash's Free All Angels quite a bit. Considered a return to form for the band after the darker Nu-Clear Sounds , this record proved that the band still had legs to walk on. As a personal aside, I listened to a copy of this record quite a while before its proper release (thank you, BearShare!), but I still bought it when it came out in England (thank you, CD-Wow!) and then again in the U.S. a year later (Thank you, Kinetic, even though you went out of business a year later!). --Eric Grubbs
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