Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If I could I'd fold myself away

There are two major reasons why Ryan Adams' Easy Tiger keeps finding its way into the Toyota's CD player:

1. Oh My God, Whatever, Etc. (mp3). First, there's the little piano melody that comes in unexpectedly, and it's the perfect complement for the acoustic fingerpicking. And then there's this verse that hits me every time, like an upper cut:
If I could I'd fold myself away like a card table
A concertina or a murphy bed, I would,
But I wasn't made that way, so you know instead
I'm open all night and the customers come to stay

2. These Girls (mp3). The second song this year that reminds me of Neil Young's Good To See You Again. I could spend hours learning to play this one, and it would be time well spent. Here's another verse that brands itself into the hide of memory:
However many lies I tell without my tongue
Get twisted into memories 'til I believe them some
And I toy with you
And you toy with me
Can you stop this please
God bless all the late night girls,
and they're coming out to play

Own Easy Tiger.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Swell Season - Live at the 9:30 Club, 7-27-2007

A few days ago, I posted music from the Once motion picture soundtrack by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Last week, they played the 9:30 Club as The Swell Season, and the show was webcast on NPR.org. Here are a few highlights from the stirring show:

The Swell Season - Live at the 9:30 Club (27 July 2007):

19 - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
12 - Cactus (Pixies)
13 - Pavement Tune (I Want My Life To Make More Sense To Me)(The Frames)
1 - When Your Mind's Made Up

Friday, July 27, 2007

When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder (I'll Be There)

There are cleaner Mississippi John Hurt recordings out there, and his guitar has been more in tune & has had newer strings than on these recordings. But there's something in that beat-up sound that gives these songs a little more edge. Strings that can't hold their notes without bleeding into a tinny noise are unnerving, and yet this singer plays on. It has to hurt a little, but maybe that's one of the messages here - you go on, even when it hurts.

Mississippi John Hurt - When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder (mp3)
Mississippi John Hurt - The Ten Virgins (When The Bridegroom Comes)(mp3)

From D.C. Blues: Library of Congress Recordings, Vol. 2

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock's forthcoming album, None Shall Pass, is out on August 28th, and there will be a tour this fall in support of Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Octopus Project, and others. Here's the immediately addicting title track:

Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass (mp3)

Nick Lowe, Live on Fair Game, 7-19-2007

The inimitable, irrepressible, and always imaginitive Nick Lowe played four songs in the Fair Game studio last week. Listen to the man cast his spell with the perfect setlist.

Nick Lowe - Live on Fair Game, 7-19-2007 (mp3s):

What's So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?
The Beast In Me
People Change
I Trained Her To Love Me

Own At My Age

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Music From Once

oh...that's actually just my guitar neck.

Glen Hansard's Fallen From The Sky (mp3) is a collection of staccato bursts glued together by vocal melody and lazy guitar notes. The lyrics welcome a friend or lover from a figurative crash:

You must have fallen from the sky
You must have shattered on the runway

Hansard's duet with Markéta Irglová, If You Want Me (mp3), is a timeless song of yearning, with a fingerpicked chord progression from another time, another plane.

Both songs from the movie Once, starring Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Alarmists, Live on The Current, 7-16-2007

Minnesota's The Alarmists just released their debut full-length, The Ghost and the Hired Gun. The CD release show is tonight at First Avenue in Minneapolis. If the band always sounds as good as they did in this performance from Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, you'll definitely want to check them out when they're in your town, and pick up a copy of the new album.

The Alarmists - Live on The Current, 7-16-2007 (mp3s):

Nobody Knows YouOn The Way
Try To Be Kind

Order the CD from The Alarmists' Myspace.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Alex Dupree, on the making of Las Meridanzas:
...And community swallowed individuality but we were proud of our ideas and didn't notice...

...we groped desperately at hope, never expecting that we would hurt each other. And I led the parade shouting, until my friendships could barely stand the strain. They began to break apart. And the first disappointment set in.

...I felt responsible, and I felt disgusted that I felt responsible...all I could see was a crumbling community, and I was overcome by guilt. So I left Austin.

I toured across the country and lived in my car for four months, playing music with a friend under the name HOOCH DUPREE AND THE WHISKEY PRIEST. On returning home in 2007, I set about mixing and finishing the second Trapdoor Band album by myself. Exploring and scrutinizing every moment of each live take.

Every moment of our life together. That essential tension between an individual and his community. This album, heavy with the events of the past two years, is LAS MERIDANZAS.

So much regret and despair. So why does its release, in the form of song, sound this brilliant and rejoiceful?

Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band - We'll Never Make It (mp3)
Alex Dupree and the Trapdoor Band - The Hidden Legacy of Elisabeth Ney (mp3)

Own Las Meridanzas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fionn Regan

Fionn Regan is a fingerpicking virtuoso. What he does on the guitar is dazzling, and could pass as magic. And his lyrics...well, I don't really know, because I haven't been able to get past the guitar yet. I've tried, but believe me, it's hard. He's all over the fretboard on The Underwood Typerwriter, and you could swear that there were two people playing 40-fret guitars. And check out the hammer-ons in Black Water Child, which remind me of Neil Young's Good to See You Again.

Fionn Regan - The Underwood Typewriter (mp3)
Fionn Regan - Black Water Child (mp3)

Own The End of History

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chinese Boxes

If you've heard of Kim Richey, you're more encyclopedic than I am. I only recently discovered her. I should have heard of her before, though, and you should have too - she's worked with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Trisha Yearwood, and her music was featured on Grey's Anatomy. How could I have missed that? On her new album, Chinese Boxes, she gets help from singer-songwriters Mindy Smith, Katie Herzig, Joan Osborne, and others. The songs, as you might imagine, are written to stick. They probe those recesses of the mind and heart that cling to the debris of past relationships - they stir up all the regret, confusion, acceptance, and hope.

She's made the kind of record you wish Nashville would produce more often.

Take the first two verses of The Absence of Your Company (mp3), softly sung in a rain of gently fingerpicked chords:

If you can say that you don't love me
If you can look me in the eye
And say that you don't love me
I can say goodbye

If you can tell me you won't miss me
And sound convincing when you say
You won't miss me
I can walk away

Or the opening tercet from Something To Say (mp3), a lazy-life stroll among a persistent strum:

Some days I look outside my window
Wonder where the time goes
Why I throw it away

How good do I think she is? Her singing, songwriting, and the consistency and integrity of her album are reminiscent of Sarah Mclachlan and k.d. lang. Real good.

Find treasure in Chinese Boxes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Alice Clark

Alice Clark sang with a soulful power that rendered the listener powerless. Her voice rose and soared, and the listener, the medium she needed to reach a mind to make her songs complete, surrendered, and even now, surrenders.

Alice Clark - Don't Wonder Why (mp3)
Alice Clark - I Keep It Hid (mp3)

From Alice Clark (1972).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mi Gente

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are the stars of the forthcoming movie El Cantante, the biopic of salsa legend Héctor Lavoe. Fania Records has compiled 13 Héctor Lavoe songs for those who must dance after the movie ends. Imagine the on-screen shaking that you'll see during this track:

Héctor Lavoe - Mi Gente (remix) (Louie Vega EOL Radio Edit) (mp3)

Own El Cantante: The Originals.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

When Your Feet Hit The Stars...

Carrie Biell's voice is as bold and strong as Nico's, and her stream-of-consciousness lyrics hit nerves that chords alone could not. Take the first lines of Swinging:

We had wooden swings outside in my backyard,
and I thought my own feet would always hit the stars.

I knew I was not alone out there as she stood behind pushing me.
I knew she felt all alone out there when we were swinging.

I drew spiders crawling up and down her back...

You might think that these two elements would clash with a country folk sound, complete with twangy acoustic slide guitar and violin, but you'd be wrong. This is smart Americana, an uncommon marriage of southern music and powerful imagery, stuff to return to again and again.

Carrie Biell - Cross The Line (mp3)
Carrie Biell - Dive (mp3)
Carrie Biell - Don't Blame Me (mp3)

Own When Your Feet Hit The Stars, released yesterday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Spiderman Of The Rings

Selected comments from Dan Deacon's crazily high-traffic Myspace:

Jul 7 2007 12:05P
Dan, that was an awesome show last night. Thanks for signing my shoe man. Sorry if my girlfriend or I knocked your stuff out of allignment.

Jolly Hank
Jul 7 2007 1:43A
Bless you, good sir.
I hope you swing your party somewhere near here soon.
...I've never had more fun at a concert before, and I doubt I ever will.

Jul 6 2007 9:10P
Your Dekalb show was so awesome! I can't wait to see you again at Pitchfork. I've never danced so sassy at a show before. Thanks!

Jul 6 2007 2:17P
oh dan!!!!!!
my heart is still ponding!

Sethro Tull
Jul 5 2007 1:05P
Yr show at the Happy times Fun Club was some real happy sweaty nasty joyus stuff. So here's a real crappy video i took of it! Come back soon and we'll make a crazy human sauna in someones bedroom again.

Dralexander Drunkrur
Jul 5 2007 11:34A
im goin to see yo ass in dekalb tonight, you better fuckin rock the shit out of me (i know you will)

Jul 4 2007 3:56P
Sonic Warrior,
Come in Sonic Warrior.
Eire calling,
A foul mouth jolly rancher told me that a young daniel deacon is coming to wee eire. Is this a rouse to get me on a bus for 5 hours to go to the land of hill and cats that is Cork on the eve of august 18 to discover that all that is in cork are hills and cats. I hope not Sonic Warrior.
I hope not.

hurricane sophie
Jul 5 2007 7:18A
i never do this but....come to australia (specifically adelaide)! you will be loved, possibly humped.

Dan Deacon will be playing the Pitchfork Festival this weekend.

He also played a couple of songs for MPR's The Current last Tuesday:

Dan Deacon - Trippy Green Skull (Live on The Current) (mp3)
Dan Deacon - Silence Like The Wind (Live on The Current) (mp3)

...and his tour-opening colleagues, Videohippos, played this song:

Videohippos - The List (Live on The Current) (mp3)

Own Dan Deacon's acclaimed Spiderman of the Rings..

Monday, July 09, 2007

The vacation is over, dammit.

I already miss all the places I've been over the past two weeks, especially Michigan.

But all is well, because I missed posting daily, and my snail mail box was full of goodies. Oh, and I found out today that my beloved The Octopus Project will release their new album on October 9th, with an extensive supporting tour. I Saw The Bright Shinies is the 8th track, and it doesn't have any singing, but the talented Yvonne Lambert's theremin serves as a lonely and blue voice - it's like Orbison, summoned at a seance, singing from the grave.

The Octopus Project - I Saw The Bright Shinies (mp3)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Specter of RGX

It's a music video.

Of sorts.

Rachel Specter knows what separates the men from the boys.

Who takes the time to put this kind of stuff together?

Are you ready to step up?

Get some RGX.

Love Is On The Air

The newspapers say that a lot of people are getting married this Saturday, 7-7-07, and the media is sure to be covering individual ceremonies, causing maximus vomitus with pure sap and bad background music.

If you're one of those fortunate couples, here are the perfect wedding tunes to make your ceremony unique, to break your wedding through the clutter and make it just a little more special than others. These heartfelt love songs are by Adam Chandler. Add them to your wedding mix today.

Adam Chandler - All I Want Is You (mp3)
Adam Chandler - Tawnee (mp3) recommend you replace "tawnee" with the name of your bride.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Short Stories

I like to listen to music podcasts on long trips, especially CBC's R3-30 Podcast, and WFMU's Downtown Soulville with Mr. Fine Wine. It's instant mixtape bliss, without all the work, and you're sure to hear something you haven't before in every episode. Get them while you can, before Net Radio goes lights out.

Anyway, a recent R3-30 podcast played the first track from Oh Susanna below, which I heard for the first time somewhere here in Michigan. Timeless country folk, the voice of an angel wearing cowboy boots.

Oh Susanna - Pretty Face (mp3)
Oh Susanna - Greyhound Bus (mp3)

Own Short Stories.