There are some things that immediately come to mind when you think of Milan. Fashion is one—everyone appears to be better dressed than you. Everyone. Food is another—if you’ve eaten Milanese risotto cooked with saffron and beef marrow or the cotoletta alla Milanese or just tasted the gorgeous gorgonzola cheese that the city boasts of, you’ll know what I mean. There are some things that probably never come to mind when you think of Milan. A blues band would be one of them. So, while listening to a recent episode of the Bandana Blues podcast, put out weekly by a maverick duo, Beardo and Spinner, I heard a great blues song that was attributed to Family Style, an Italian blues band based near Milan. I was surprised. Read more

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Every time I listen to Baba O’ Riley, The Who’s marvellous song off their Who’s Next album, I simply have to crank up the volume to as high as my ears can take. Always. Ever since I first heard that album in the early 1970s with its cheeky cover photograph of members of the band having just peed on a huge concrete piling, when Baba O’ Riley comes on, it just has to be full on—the highest volume level that I can manage. Attribute it to the violin solo on the song. Apparently, putting the violin solo into that Pete Townshend-composed song was the idea of the late Keith Moon, The Who’s pretty mad drummer. It was a great idea because that solo is brilliant and one that begs you to turn the volume knob or your iPod touch wheel or whatever works the loudness on the device that you get your fix on up high. Read more

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Rarely have I known someone to be as passionate about music as was my friend Amitava. Incorrigible Deadhead and passionate lover of guitar jams, he’d drop by in office occasionally to check what I was listening to and pass me his pen drive for a top-up. I enjoyed feeding him new music; mainly because he would not only listen to the stuff I proffered but promptly provide feedback on the music as well as regularly on this column. Amitava ‘Goldie’ Guha passed away recently and I shall miss him sorely.

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Ever since The New York Times did a gushing story a couple of weeks back about his place, Emilio Vitolo’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Salubrious isn’t a word you’d use to describe New York’s East Houston Street around where it intersects with Mott Street. Neither would you call it tony or elegant. Far from it. There is a kind of perpetual pattern about the construction that happens to take place around the area. Large trucks, big men with hard hats, scaffoldings, and paint cans…. All of this is ubiquitous around that stretch of E Houston. Not exactly a place where you’d expect star musicians to hang out. Read more

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