By Kilgore Trout

Here’s a look at what crossed my desk this week at HIGH TIMES and what I thought about it for what it’s worth.

Listen:

The Soul of John Black: The Good Girl Blues

The Soul of John Black is headed by Miles Davis protégé and former Fishbone member, John Bigham. After dropping a self-titled debut album in 2003, TSoJB is back with the follow up to that venture.

Truth be told, you can just stop reading this right now and go to directly to your local record store or iTunes or wherever the hell you download music for free online - you friggen criminals - and grab The Good Girl Blues.

This album is an absolute must own for anyone who thinks talent blues musicians possessing silky smooth singing voices, capable of infusing incredibly original songs with R&B, soul, and funk are extinct. They’re not. The Soul of John Black is proof.

The fact that this group is under the radar says all you need to know about the crumby pop music scene but, lucky for you, you don’t have to miss out.

A modest suggestion, if I may: grab your gal/guy, pop in TSoJB’s The Good Girl Blues, fire up something kind and enjoy the evening indoors. Do it. You’ll thank me.

Fake Problems: Spurs and Spokes/ Bull > Matador

Hmm…I have no idea who sent me this. Just randomly ended up on my desk. Lucky me. Okay. So. Real interesting sound. They’re kinda indie-pop. But they also sound as if they probably listened to a lot of punk growing up, despite the fact that their music isn’t really punk. Not even really pop punk. In fact, just enough of the phantom hint of quasi-pop punk to warrant the mention that they probably enjoy listening to punk on their own time. Got it?

They’re also kinda country. But not really at all. I guess they’re tough to place.

Alright, rather than worry about immediately pigeonholing the band, let’s look at the album. There are some fairly infectious tunes here and lead singer Chris Farren has the type of non-traditional voice that lends itself to admiration.

What’s more, they really carry the mid ‘90s indie rock scene vibe reminiscent of acts like Knapsack and Skelton Key and even early Modest Mouse. However, they produce a bigger sound that seems to smack of potential. As this is the band’s first release, I’m certainly interested in what’s to come.

Downside? Okay. Well…8 songs, 22 minutes. Just when they win you over, the album ends.

Live:

Jets vs. Raiders @ Giants Stadium - December 31st, 2006 (1pm)

Not something I’d normally include in HEADS Up! but, damn it, I was there to see the Jets clinch a wildcard berth and – considering their 4-12 record last season – I’ll throw it out there.

Overpriced hotdogs and beer, partial frostbite in three toes of right foot and obnoxious Raiders fan behind me. Worth every second.

By the way, Warren Sapp looks even bigger in person (he’s also a pretty good dancer. Hey, it gets cold in the swirling winds of the Meadowlands, you do what you can to keep warm…).

moe. @ Radio City Music Hall – December 31st, 2006 (9pm)

What can I say about this 3 set monster NYE show? Well, first off, the venue is worthy of mention. Radio City Music Hall has quite a history. And if you’ve only attended the Christmas Spectacular in your youth accompanied by your folks, you’re missing out on all this fine venue has to offer.

As for the show itself, I felt it was second only to their ridiculous late-nite masterpiece at Bonnaroo 2002 (a show that included guest spots from Robert Randolph, as well as members of the Disco Biscuits, String Cheese Incident and Umphrey’s McGee) – but, admittedly, that might just be the, um, eggnog talking.

Upon taking the stage (Rob and Al donned suits for the occasion) the boys launched right into “Godzilla” and closed the first set with “Spine of a Dog > Lazarus.” The third set included the New Year countdown and massive balloon drop from the lofty Radio City ceiling, ending with “Recreational Chemistry.” The encore, which included an out of control “McBain,” certainly started 2007 off on the right foot (what’s left of mine after the Jets game).

Surf:

www.expressobeans.com

Like art? It’s okay to admit you do. Expressobeans.com – no, that’s not how you spell ‘espresso’ but, in their defense, they’re not selling espresso – is an excellent site that allows members (sign up is free) to search user submitted concert art/items that are available for trade or sale (complete with sales history, item details, comparable ebay auctions, etc.).

If you’re looking for a hard to find piece, or just something that has sentimental value to you or a friend, this is an excellent site to check out.

If you’ve got something you think warrants mention in HEADS Up! let us know. Send an email to mailbag@hightimes.com with “HEADS Up!” in the subject line. If it’s really good (or really bad) we’ll spread the word.