Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ear X-travaganza - 2010-12-26

It was a pretty insane night at Louisville's very own Headliner's Music Hall the day after Christmas. The event causing the commotion was the ear X-tacy fundraiser - ear X-travaganza, one of the hottest bills I've ever seen for $20.

Scott Carney of Wax Fang played a great solo set, closing out with the Talking Heads "Psycho Killer," a favorite of mine.

The Watson Twins blew me away with their soulful sound. Their Buddy Guy (and I'm 99% sure of that) cover to close out their set was excellent, especially given my recent rash for the blues.

Ben Sollee sounded good when I could hear him but it was difficult from where I was at with the crowd noise. Other than the two tracks Mr. Jim James played on I couldn't hear him great.

I think Cabin left the largest impression on me of the bands I didn't travel to Louisville to see. Great sound and a killer set puts them in my second favorite slot.

Jim James and Patrick Hallahan. Man. Talk about doing the exact opposite of what anyone would expect. Jim rocked a bass guitar for most of their set, summoning sounds I've never heard come from a bass. And the way he played it! There were moments of him shredding a big four string bass like he shreds his Gibson. And Patrick didn't let up one bit. He was hammering away on those drums like they were playing with the entire band.

They opened with the Black Sabbath version of "I'll Be Home From Christmas" that resulted in a bass/drum freak out (a lot of their songs ended with one). It was incredibly dark and 100% bad a*s. Then we got "Gideon", "The Way That He Sings", acoustic "Golden", "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)", and "Bermuda Highway", an electric "Smokin' From Shootin'" and then the song that just about tore that building down, "One Big Holiday" on bass and drums. It was insane. Watch the video below to get an idea.

While in Louisville I had the good fortune to hang out with some excellent (and infamous) Jacket fans and hook up with some old some friends. Once again I left Louisville with a smile, that town has some serious charm. Before/during the show I had an opportunity to meet Jim's folks as well as his Aunt and Uncle (thanks Dylan, you are the man sir) and I got to meet My Morning Jacket's ex-drummer, KC Guetig.

I'd like to throw a HUGE thanks out to John and Bridget. You guys are two incredibly special people.

All of the above pictures are by the excellent Kory Johnson. I've been a fan of his photography since pretty much day one of my Jacket interest and he and Dylan's work over at one of Louisville's finest resources, 37 Flood, continues to impress me. For the rest of Kory's shots click here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 - A Year In Review

2010 treated me well. I went to a lot of shows, I discovered tons of excellent new music, some of my favorite acts came out with great new records and, 2010 was indeed, the year of the Jacket. I'm not going to approach this as a straight up "best of" list but rather as a "this is what I was most into this year" list, everything mentioned may not even be from 2010.

The Year of The Jacket

2010 was my greatest year with My Morning Jacket despite them not coming out with a new record. I caught the boys as a full band 7 times. Once in Columbus, OH, once in Chicago, IL and five times in New York City. Carl Broemel played some shows this year and I was able to attend 3 of them, one of which featured every member of MMJ sans Jim James. In Chicago I had the good fortune to speak with Carl and his father a bit after the show and at Carl's NYC gig I was able to meet all the guys in attendance, share some words and get autographs. The entire NYC stint was the most amazing week of my entire life. The people I was able to meet and share many special moments with are in my thoughts on a daily basis, that's how great of an impression they made on me (take MMJ out of that equation and I'd still go on that trip). The shows were the grandest events I've ever known. Each opening act seemed to be paired with the sound MMJ were bringing that night and then each night was almost 2 separate MMJ concerts; the album and the encore. Every night surpassed the one before it. If I'm ever in a deep Inception type dream situation I'm going to populate my world with memories from that week.

Jack White

It's been quite the Jack White year. Now, before 2010 I casually liked SOME White Stripes and SOME Raconteurs. I was never a fanatic and never really paid all that much attention to the unstoppable force that is Jack White until the around the time the guitar documentary It Might Get Loud came out. The guitar is a big part of my world and I was incredibly eager to check this film out. Jimmy Page, Jack White and the Edge (I'm not nuts about U2 or the Edge. Wanted to put that out there!) got together to discuss the instrument that made them what they are today and director Davis Guggenheim couldn't have captured it in a better way. I wanted to see the film primarily for the Jimmy Page bits but after viewing I was left saying "Jimmy Page who?" The fever began. Then The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights came out. I'm intrigued with this man by this time, I've been digging deeper into The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather as well as reading about Jack as much as possible. Well, little did I know that UGWNL and Jack White would be a staple in my life for a long time (I watched it yesterday). The first time I tossed the blu-ray in I watched it 2 or 3 times in a row. It captivated me to the point that it was almost paralyzing. It's all I could think about, he was all I could think about. Amazingly, I was able to meet him due to a special lady out there, you know who you are! It was at the peak of my craziness for him too, I get the chills just thinking about it.

Jack has an amazingly interesting and effective approach towards music (that same approach can be ported to real life too): Do it. Finish it. It might suck and you might be uncomfortable but get it done. You'll be a better musician (or person) after it. It's character building. Now, that is not a direct quote by any stretch of the imagination but you get the point. Jack White is undoubtedly one of the finest, most talented musicians this planet has ever seen. His guitar playing has changed the way an entire generation of players will approach the instrument. His record label/company is bringing about an analog revolution in a digital world.

Jack, I hope you never stop.

The Black Keys

What hasn't been said about these guys this year? My first show of the year was The Black Keys on New Years day 2010 and my last will be The Black Keys New Years Eve 2010. I've been a fan of these guys for a while a now and I've been familiar with all their material for some time but 2010 saw me maniacally listening to all of their records. Every song that Dan Auerbach writes is oozing with bluesy grit. That grit comes through in the guitar playing, the lyric writing, the guitar tone, hell, even their image. They look like they were ridden hard and put away wet yet always bring enough energy to power a medium sized country for a week.

New Years Eve should be excellent.

Roger Waters Performing "The Wall"

In terms of sheer mass, this was BY FAR the biggest single event I attended this year, probably ever. For those of you that don't know: I'm a Pink Floyd fanatic. They're the first band I was ever really into. They're the band that got me out of my 8th grade music slump (Eminem, Slipknot and.. Wilco, WTF was I thinking?!?) and ultimately they're the foundation of my musical skyscraper. The hours I've spent listening, watching, analyzing and blowing speakers to "The Wall" could be measured in weeks. Being able to witness its' creator perform it in its entirety was truly amazing.


Here are some of my favorite records I got into this year. They weren't all new for 2010 but they were new to me. These aren't in any order and there are countless others, these are just some stand outs.

The Black Keys - Brothers

Definitely my most listened to record. It's a bummer that I sound like everyone else but Brothers was my standout record of 2010. Nice to see a real band get some mainstream recognition they deserve.

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

New Music Monday man Chris sent this to me a ways back. Refreshing is the first thing that comes to mind. Nice harmonies too.

Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

The blues. There is something about the blues that resonates in me. It just feels right when I listen to it. Buddy Guy plays guitar on this mostly acoustic record, fantastic stuff.

Black Mountain - Black Mountain

My appreciation for these guys is growing. Lots of dark, bluesy guitar (my favorite), great male and female vocals, I highly suggest checking them out.

Dave Rawlings Machine - Friend of a Friend

Listen to "Method Acting/Cortez the Killer" and tell me it isn't amazing.

Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam - Live at the Gaiety Theater

Davy Knowles is a guitar maniac from the Isle of Man that currently resides in Chicago. Lots of soul for a little white guy.

Delta Spirit - History From Below

These guys have a great sound AND this record was produced my MMJ's Bo Koster, pretty cool.

Everest - On Approach

After seeing them kill the stage before MMJ demolished it on the last night of the MMJ T5 stint I was hooked.

The Greenhornes - Four Stars

These guys should have a larger following. The Beatles would have sounded something like this if they were from Detroit (I know The Greenhornes are from Cin City Cincinnati).

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - III/IV

The return of DRA. It's been tough without him and I'm glad 2010 saw him unloading plenty of unearthed material. I'm in love with this record but it took some time. Initially I thought "Okay, chalk this up to a loss" and "Not what I wanted, what the hell?" but at around 6 spins it clicked and my ears opened wide, drinking in that Ryan Adams goodness. There is something about his lyrics that stir my soul I guess you could say. It's what his lyrics say and how they're delivered, it chills me.

We got around 25 tracks (III/IV + random tracks he released, usually as a sorry for Pax-Am malfunctions, haha) from Adams this year but none were "new." Everything was for the most part recorded in or around 2007. When will we hear "The Ryan Adams Band?" I'm sure 2011 will host a new chapter in Ryan Adams musical career.

Iron & Wine - Walking Far From Home EP
Model Stranger - Dreams & Bones
Isaac Hayes - Black Moses
Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks
Jimi Hendrix - Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight
Junior Kimbrough - Sad Days, Lonely Nights
MGMT - Congratulations
Neil Young - Le Noise
Pavement - Brighten The Corners
The Raconteurs - Live at the Manchester Apollo
Spoon - Transference
T. Rex - Electric Warrior
Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground
We Are The Willows - A Collection of Sounds...
Woods - Songs of Shame
Yim Yames - Tribute To EP


Overall I saw a ton of live music this year. I got to 8 or 9 states for music this year and went to a few full on fests. Hopefully I can double all my numbers in 2011.


While I'm not nuts about the jam band scene I do enjoy it in doses and I always enjoy watching fine musicians. Summercamp was a blast and I think it'll be a regular thing for me.


The first year of LouFest was a great time. Apparently year two will bring acts larger than She & Him and Jeff Tweedy, can't wait.

Pitchfork Fest


MMJ NYC T5 Stint

Enough said I think.

It's been an amazing year. Maybe my best year. Thanks to everyone out there that checks this site, that's sends me an email, that shares a link with their friends. It was great to meet so many of you this year. Have a wonderful Christmas, have a happy New Year. I'm not done posting shows this year, make sure to check back when you can, the holidays can be crazy.

Model Stranger - Where Do We Go From Here? Video

Chicago favorites Model Stranger just released a video for their song "Where Do We Go From Here?" off their great 2010 album Dreams & Bones (available for FREE). They held an open shoot and encouraged fans to come out, drink beer on them and engage in the madness. Check it out below.

Everest - 2010-11-01 - Live at Le National

Their cover of Neil Young's "Revolution Blues" is what sold me on these guys.

01 I've Had This Feeling
02 House of 9's
03 Keeping the Score
04 Fallen Feather
05 Revolution Blues (Neil Young Cover)
06 Rebels In The Roses
07 Let Go
08 See It In Your Eyes

The Black Keys - 2008-03-31 - KCRW - Morning Becomes Eclectic

01 Same Old Thing
02 Remember When (Side B)
03 Girl Is On My Mind
04 I Got Mine
05 Interview
06 Here I Am, I Always Am (Captain Beefheart cover)
07 Oceans And Streams
08 Strange Times
09 10 AM Automatic
10 Outro

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Black Keys - 2010-12-13 - Morning Becomes Eclectic - KCRW

This recording is popping up all over the place and I think I know why: it's really f*cking good. Watch Dan do his thing on "Sinister Kid" below.


01 Intro
02 Everlasting Light
03 Next Girl
04 Dead Air
05 Chop And Change
06 Howlin' For You
07 Interview
08 Tighten Up
09 She's Long Gone
10 Ten Cent Pistol
11 Sinister Kid
12 Banter
13 Your Touch
14 Outro

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Black Mountain - 2010-09-15 - BBC 6 - London

Thank you Honest Abe! For those not familiar, Honest Abe is the man behind the seriously cool Mystic Chords of Memory V. 2.

Black Mountain grabbed my ear about 4 months ago with their self titled record. I read a review of their latest record Wilderness Heart and they were compared to Neil Young and My Morning Jacket, I would have been ignorant not to inquire! Their dark bluesy sound really strikes a chord within me, check out "Radiant Hearts" below.

01 Interview
02 Hair Song
03 Radiant Hearts
04 Interview II
05 Rollercoaster
06 Buried By The Blues

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everest - 2010-06-14 - Live at Amoeba Records

EXCELLENT recording and video of Everest doing their thing at LA's famous Amoeba Records. It's a pretty heavy set, it would have been incredible to witness this. Front man Russel Pollard has a voice that gets stuck in my head for days.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Satan Claus Strikes Again

Good tidings and seasons greetings to you all.  I’m totally in the Christmas spirit after braving a blizzard to do some Christmas shopping and just happened on the PERFECT Christmas present.  I was walking through Target, enjoying the heartfelt laughter of the hundreds of kids there with their parents, just laughing and singing Christmas carols . . .yeah, that’s a lie.

I braved traffic on Saturday to pick up a few things and I swear on my life, it made me an even stronger gun control advocate.  If I had a gun, I would have literally gone a killing spree because people’s IQ drops to the number 4 during the holiday season.  Combine that stupidity with the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle and you’re left with Christmas purgatory where everything moves in slow motion, EXCEPT YOU.  You are moving at regular speed while everyone else moves at the speed of smell. I swear to Christ, December moves slower than an ice age and the build up to Christmas is nowhere the actual stocking full of crap that Christmas ends up being.  The best part of it is the fact that I don’t need an excuse to get black out drunk AND wear a Santa hat.  Any other time during the year, it’s just creepy.  During the holidays it’s EXPECTED and, out of the goodness of my great big Christmas heart, I can’t let anyone down.  That being said, let the binge begin!!

Before I get into the meat of New Music Monday, has anyone heard about this . . .i don’t even know what to call it.  Apparently, if you stagger the songs on the Radiohead albums “OK Computer” and “In Rainbows,” they songs flow into each other.  Apparently you start with track one from OK Computer, then to track one on In Rainbows and stagger the corresponding tracks . . .try it.  You guys have probably already heard about this, but it’s news to me.  I’m not going to spoil it for you, but take a few minutes an set up the playlist and try it for yourself.  Read for yourself HERE

Do you ever hear a new song and immediately get transported to a time in the past when you knew you were hearing something great.  It happened to me over the weekend.  For the most part, I listed to Wilco all weekend. I don’t know why, I just got on a kick.  Somewhere in the haze of my own personal Wilco Weekend (complete with pints of beer and some vodka to boot), I heard this band called “Grooms.”  For a brief moment, I was transported back to the early 90’s when it was cool to wear lots of layers, flannel, FUCT tshirts, baggy jeans and carry a skateboard.  MTV still played music videos and once a week they had a show called 120 Minutes that was dedicated to lesser known alt/indie bands and their videos.  That, boys and girls, is where I first heard Sonic Youth and I have to say, it transformed the way I saw music.  Sonic Youth had a nerdy looking Thurston Moore on guitar and vocals and girl. Sonic Youth had a girl in the band (I don’t count Smashing Pumpkins in the “has a girl in the band” subcategory because Billy Corrigan was whiny enough to be a girl and James Iha looked like a girl, so basically, they were Hole’s wimpy little sister).  Kim Gordon played bass and always had her hair in her face.  She looked like she might smell a little like stale beer and smoke, but that’s what was appealing. 

That reminiscent moment was brought to you by a Brooklyn based band called Grooms.  The Sonic Youth ‘esque experimentation was evident from the onset and that’s what got me.  They have weird bass lines, distortion and feedback . . .AND THEY HAVE A GIRL IN THE BAND, TOO.  That seems stupid, but it just makes the comparison that much more perfect.  Grooms have it.  They have the knack for noise and intelligent percussion, which lays the foundations for a freedom in the guitar work.  I can’t say enough about this band, but they deserve your attention.  Here’s some info on the band.  Check them out HERE

Alright . . .i'll see you guys next week.  I need a drink.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - III/IV Live

Awesome compilation of the available live songs from Ryan Adams & The Cardinals forthcoming III/IV, due out next week on the 14th. I'd like to thank darkrendar for putting this together.

Let me clear a couple of things up: 1) "Cemetery Hill" will be an iTunes bonus track, it is NOT on III/IV. 2) Another version of "Typecast" finishes the compilation off instead of "Kill The Lights," the actual last track on the record. darkrendar thought this fit well and I agree.

Alright!, there were others involved and there is lots of detail so I'll let the man himself explain:

"A compilation of live & soundcheck recordings of songs from the upcoming album III/IV. Most of these are Bedhead 6 sourced. Thanks a lot to John Carlin and Joel Swaney for taping, mastering & sharing these beautifull tunes. All tracks are soundboard sourced. Track 12 is not on III/IV, but is another unreleased song from Bedhead 6 Disc 5 I found very fitting and named from what might be the chorus. Edits made with Audacity.


01. Breakdown Into The Resolve*
02. Wasteland
03. Ultraviolet Light
04. Happy Birthday
05. Kisses Start Wars
06. No
07. Gracie
08. Typecast**
09. Star Wars
10. Kill the Lights
11. Cemetery Hill
12. Let There Be A Light
13. Typecast***

*   2006-07-22 The Norva, Norfolk, VA / taped & transferred by Craig Davis
**  2006-10-22 Olympia, Dublin, Ireland / taped & transferred by John Carlin & Joel Swaney
*** 2006-10-15 Kesselhaus Kulturbrauerei, Berlin, Germany / taped & transferred by Vortex

all other tracks recorded on soundcheck / taped & transferred by John Carlin & Joel Swaney

2006-09-24 Rock City, Nottingham, UK - Track 3, 4 & 7 
2006-09-28 Manchester Academy, Manchester, UK - Track 6
2006-10-11 Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway - Track 4, 5, 9 & 11

Thanks to jrb_27 for sharing the track titles for Bedhead 6 Disc 5. Thanks to Craig Davis & Vortex for taping & sharing. Also thanks to gspinn for the idea.

Most of all thanks to Ryan Adams for releasing new material and allowing the taping & sharing!



There you have it! Enjoy guys, check out "Wasteland" below:"

Who CANNOT WAIT for III/IV to drop next week!?!?!

EAR X-TRAVAGANZA! w/ Jim James,Ben Sollee,Scott Carney,Watson Twins,Cabin+

I know I'll be trying to get tickets!

From ear X-tacy Facebook:

Local Artists Celebrate ear X-tacy with a unique live show!

ear X-tacy and Jump In, LLC present … EAR X-TRAVAGANZA!!!

December 26th, 2010 at Headliners Music Hall

Local artists and promoters have come together in support of ear X-tacy. Please join us for a unique night of live music like you’ve never heard it before. Ben Sollee, Cabin, Jim James, Patrick Hallahan, Scott Carney, The Watson Twins and the possibility of a few additional artists and surprise performances.

The live show at Headliners Music Hall will be dedicated to the support of ear X-tacy, which has shown many signs of struggle in the last year.

“I can’t say it enough. The vitality of this scene, as I see it, is a three-legged stool … WFPK, the venues and promoters, and ear X-tacy. The art itself rests on top … but if you remove any one leg, it’ll topple,” says Billy Hardison of Headliners Music Hall.

Tickets on Sale Saturday, December 11th - $20.00 - ALL AGES!!!

$20.00 - Available at ear X-tacy (CASH ONLY), or at and

Thanks so much for the continued support!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dave Rawlings Machine - 2010-01-09 - Daytrotter Session

Dave Rawlings Machines' 2009 record Friend of a Friend has had a lot of my attention over the past month or two. Dave Rawlings has worked with Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, has a long time musical partner in Gillian Welch and is an extraordinary guitarist and vocalist: dude is on the level. I don't have much time today so I'll shut up now and let you listen to this wonderful Daytrotter session (don't forget you can buy the higher quality FLAC files at the Daytrotter site!). The version of "Method Acting / Coretz the Killer" (Bright Eyes / Neil Young) might bring a tear to your eye.

01 Welcome To Daytrotter
02 Ruby (written by Mel Tillis, performed by Kenny Rogers)
03 Method Acting / Cortez The Killer (Bright Eyes / Neil Young)
04 Sweet Tooth (Original?)

John Lennon & Friends - 1971-10-09 - Let's Have A Party

October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980
Sorry I didn't get this up yesterday. Rest in peace sir, the world is a little bit brighter because of you.

John Lennon
Yoko Ono
Ringo Starr
Phil Spector
Eric Clapton
Klaus Voorman
Allen Ginsberg
Jim Keltner
Mal Evans
Neil Aspinall

01. What'd I Say
02. Yellow Submarine
03. On Top Of Old Smokey
04. Goodnight Irene
05. He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
06. Like A Rolling Stone/Twist And Shout/Louie Louie/La Bamba
07. Bring It On Home To Me
08. Yesterday
09. Tandoori Chicken
10. Power To The People
11. Maybe Baby
12. Peggy Sue
13. My Baby Left Me
14. Blue Suede Shoes
15. Crippled Inside
16. Give Peace A Chance
17. Crippled Inside
18. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
19. Happy Birthday
20. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
21. My Sweet Lord

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LouFest 2011 Dates Announced

The second annual LouFest has been announced! Last year we had an excellent time checking out Lucero, Built to Spill, Jeff Tweedy and She and Him (as well as a slew of others). Right now there aren't any acts announced but official word is:
 "We’re bringing in bigger national headliners and booking artists from a wider range of genres.  We’re also adding more restaurants, more retail, a bigger kids village, and throwing in a few other surprises we’ll announce as the Festival gets closer.  And this year, we're offering a limited number of pre sale tickets at a deep discount."
Keep your eyes and ears peeled, it sounds like LouFest 2011 will be even more promising than 2010. "More" is apparently the theme this year! Mark your calendars for August 27th and 28th, Forest Park in St. Louis, MO will be calling your name.

Get a serious discount on tickets here. (What music fest has weekend passes for $49?!?!?!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

i know where you can stick your Monday . . .

 . . .and it's dark there . . .very dark.  Usually, I'm pretty chippy on any given Monday, but today, I'm not.  Let this be the first of many "bah, humbugs" you hear from various sources.  I'm sick of Christmas already.  I know that's not the best thing to say, considering that Christmas is still roughly three weeks away, but that's just how it is  I'm sick of the traffic, I'm sick of the lines and I'm sick  . . .ohh so sick  . . .of the Christmas music.  I heard a Coldplay Christmas song somewhere and, to be honest, I'd rather someone sit me in a room, staple my eyelids to my forehead, flash Christmas images across a gigantic screen while simultaneously playing An Anne Murray Christmas over and over and over . . .Clockwork Orange Style . . .until I went crazy with seasonal cheer, than I would hear a Coldplay Christmas song . . .or any other Coldplay song, for that matter.

I guess it could be worse.  It could have been a Kanye Christmas song.  That would have prompted a post office style shooting spree or, at the least, shanking someone with a sharpened candy cane.  I listened to his new album over the weekend, trying desperately to spot the genius about which everyone raves, and I just couldn't find it.  The best song on the album, So Appalled, is stacked with special guests like Jay Z and RZA . . .you know, guys with more talent than him.  All in all, it's a few hours of my life that I'll never get back.  His new album now occupies a place that has been reserved for James Cameron's recent "movies," Titanic and Avatar.  Based on the time lost watching those movies, Cameron owes me about seven years of my life back.  I now hate them both.  That places them on the list with Bieber, that guy Lady Gaga and all nineteen Jonas Brothers.  BAH, HUMBUG.

I have a love/hate relationship with NPR.  At times, they dead on with music, insightful and passionate about artists and artistic pursuits.  Other times, they become self indulgent and patronizing, spouting the genius of whichever trendy band is the "IT" band of the moment (i.e. Arcade Fire or Vampire Weekend).  I hate it when they gush over a band continuously, without regard to the actual music being made.  They like a band because it's the band, not the music.  Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend are good, but are they THAT good?  Are they changing the way music is made or simply change the way that people advertise music?

I love NPR for introducing me to Setting Sun.  I had a great description all planned out touting this band, but then I read the bio on their website and realized that I couldn't possibly describe them any better.  Read for yourself:

"The recording of "Fantasurreal" was a cathartic moment for Setting Sun. Tired from a tour schedule that encompassed much of 2008-2009, Setting Sun, aka. prolific songwriter Gary Levitt returned to the quiet of his studio in upstate New York. Over the course of six months, the record just flowed. “This was the easiest record I’ve ever made,” says Levitt. “It felt natural to come home to my studio and let these songs pour out while embracing some solitude that is so hard to find on tour. It was a big relief and a great way to ease back into my life.” The end result was energetic indie folk textured with percussion, swirling electronics, trumpets and strings creating a record that exists somewhere between Beck’s most insular moments and the giddy excitement of MGMT, simultaneously undercutting the vitality with raw, emotive vocals and lyrics that channel Bright Eyes or Elliott Smith. Buoyant pop songs like “Driving” share space with introspective indie folk tunes like “Don’t Grow Up”. Add in booming floor stomps like “Make You Feel” and Fantasurreal becomes Levitt’s most diverse work to date."

When I first heard "Make You Feel" the first thing that came to mind was "Open Heart Surgery" by Brian Jonestown Massacre.  It has the same tempo and dreamy quality and I was hooked like I was when I first heard BJM.  I loved them even more when I saw the documentary, "Dig" that included BJM and The Dandy Warhols.  Enough talk . . .go check them out and decide for yourselves.

I'd stick around and ramble more, but I'm going to start drinking early today so I'm not inclined to burn down fake Santa's North Pole retreat and practice my punting skills on his elves.  I honestly think elves are just leprechauns that made it through the twelve step program, in which case, they should be eliminated because nobody likes quitters.

Until next time . . .



want in on the daily madness?  get it HERE 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pearl Jam - 1992-11-01 - Bridge School Benefit

Have a great weekend everyone, stay warm.

01 Footsteps
02 Jeremy
03 Black
04 Alive
05 Daughter
06 Angel
07 Patriot

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The National - Castle Rock Session

My main man Chris (who's also doing the incredibly cool "New Music Monday" segment here at TSE) sent me this around a month ago but only recently have I been listening to it and man, it makes me want to really get into these guys. Front man Matt Berninger has such a unique voice, it fits their music incredibly well. This was recorded in 2010 around the time of the release of their latest (and excellent) record High Violet. Check out this quick 3 song EP, you won't regret it.

01 Terrible Love
02 Anyone's Ghost
03 Little Faith

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Unreleased Tracks

Hot off the press. Unreleased tracks sent via email by Pax Am. "Darkness" and "The Blue Canoe" do not appear on the upcoming III/IV but I certainly wouldn't mind if we got a few songs like this odd couple. "Darkness" sounds like something he could have recorded with The Pinkhearts (as of now I'm particularly fond of this tune) and "The Blue Canoe" is a Ramones type quick punk song that sort of drones you in and by the end it's hard to tell if that's even Ryan singing. Listen to them below, download them via SoundCloud or check out the new "Multiload" uploading service I'm testing out. I upload it to one place, it uploads it to 7 places. Some variety, let me know how it goes.

UPDATE - Upon putting these tracks in iTunes I discovered that the album comes up as "Helicopter Soup" a record he said he wanted to put out years ago. I always that he was just being weirdo Ryan Adams but I guess he was serious! Check out the conversation below:

Arcade Fire - 2010-07-09 - Oxygen Festival - Ireland

I've been giving this some spins lately. I still need to see these guys, they know how to make some powerful tunes.

The tracks in brackets were not broadcast.

(1. Keep the Car Running)  
(2. Modern Man) 
(3. Neighborhood #2 (Laika)) 
4. No Cars Go 
5. Haïti
6. Empty Room
7. Rococo 
8. The Suburbs 
(9. Ready to Start) 
(10. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)) 
(11. We Used to Wait) 
12. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) 
13. Rebellion (Lies) 
(14. Month of May) 
15. Intervention 
16. Crown of Love  
17. Wake Up  
18. DJ Outro

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Music Monday - Turkeys Have A Lame Sense Of Humor.

So, here we are . . .the Monday after a holiday that involved the sin of “glutton.”  That’s right, I said it.  Thanksgiving is a gluttonous, lie of a holiday . . .but who cares!?  It’s a time when you can sit down at a table with your family and, for a few hours, forget that you have the uncle in jail and your cousin just came out of the bathroom with the remnants of some mysterious white powder around her nose.  Without the strung out cousin, you’d never have the better pool on whether it’s coke, meth, heroin or just makeup she reapplied while she was in the “powder room.”  Coincidentally, how aptly named is THAT room now, considering the amount of extracurricular activity that goes on in there!  Aside from all the eating and whatever else you happen to do on that certain Thursday in November, there’s always my favorite part . . .the drinking.

I don’ t know about you, but the holidays bring out the alcoholic in me.  I’m not one of those, “wake up and down some vodka to face the day” drinkers.  I’m not nearly that classy.  Nope, I’m one of those “beer at 9 AM?  Why not!” drinkers.  You know the ones.  You met them in college.  Wait a minute . . .don’t judge me.  It’s that or shank someone with the gravy spoon before dessert is even served.  You go to therapy and whine about your parents not loving you enough . . .I’ll drink.  My way is cheaper and you can actually SEE your progress.  Sorry . . .got a little testy there.

Anyway . . .

In my ongoing effort to remember all the good songs I’ve been hearing lately, I decided to do sort of a “year end” playlist for myself.  It will eventually be on One Word Titles, but for now, it’s still in the planning phase (and also because it’s fifty-eight songs so far) but it will come to fruition.  I’m waiting partly because I’m sure I’ll include some new DRA/Cardinals songs in there, but at the same time that might require an entire write up all on its own.  See my dilemma?

That brings me to this week’s music.  All four happen to have found their way onto the year end playlist over the last few days because, although I’ve been listening to Interpol a lot lately, I have listened to these bands/songs just as much because for one reason or another, they caught my attention.
Girls is, in no way, a “new” band.  I literally devoured their first album, appropriately named, “Album” and their latest release, “Broken Dreams Club” is just as good.  Girls somehow manages to combine genres that wouldn’t normally sound good together.  Listening to the album, you’ll hear hints of 50’s do wop rock, early steel pedal playing that we heard in alt country bands like Uncle Tupelo, Sun Volt and Wilco and even fuzzed out guitars that you so prominently hear in bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Jesus and Mary Chain.  And, to top it all off, I think Charlie Brown’s teacher (or the trumpet that she really is, actually sings on the title track, Broken Hearts Club) singing backing vocals. The standouts on the album, for me, are Broken Hearts Club and Carolina. Give the album a listen and see for yourself.

Home Video and Weekend are two bands that I’ve just recently discovered, so my knowledge of them is going to be a bit limited.  I will say this: they are both in constant rotation the last few days.  Home Video is a Brooklyn based band that manages to combine moody, infectious bass lines with a Duran Duran lyrical approach.  If Duran Duran had a kid with The XX, it would be Home video.  The have the perfect musical ability to remind you of something, but come nowhere near ripping it off.  For a couple of Brooklyn by way of New Orleans musicians, they have the uncanny ability to make music that is simultaneously dark and sexy.

Try and google Weekend.  Seriously, do a google search and see what you turn up.  I’ve been trying for the last three days to find out what I can about these guys and what I’ve found is this: they’re from San Francisco and there are three guys in the band.  What’s the worst part?  I can’t even confirm that, so at this point, what I know could only be classified as speculation.  Now that you know what I know, I’ll tell you this:  Weekend manages to get a huge sound from such a small band.  Like Girls, they revel in the same fuzzed out guitars that made me like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain.  In more recent years, BRMC and A Place To Bury Strangers have taken hold of that sound and run with it.  Weekend does it beautifully and incorporates the feedback that made bands like The Screaming Trees, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth so avant garde in the 90’s.  I would provide you with links, but I can’t really find any.  Stay tuned . . .I’ll leave a comment when I find out more information.

I’m sure that you’ve all heard of Deerhunter and have all heard at least a song or two from this year’s, “Halcyon Digest,” but you may not have know that singer/guitarist for Deerhunter, Bradford Cox, has a little bedroom side project called Atlas Sound.  Cox is constantly releasing free music out via the internet under the Atlas Sound moniker and I’ve been really enjoying his Bedroom Databank series (you can get Volume Four HERE.  Atlast Sound is very much Deerhunter, but at more of a lo-fi approach to production, which I really really like.  Think about it like this: if Deerhunter played an “unplugged” set, you’d get Atlas Sound . . .but only to a point.  Atlas Sound seems to be a vehicle that allows Cox to really focus on songwriting and he really shines on these songs as a songwriter.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and didn’t get mugged on black Friday.  If you did, I’m sorry, but I have an alibi.  I was robbing someone’s house for beer and leftovers.

Stay tuned to One Word Titles this week where I’ll be discussing movie soundtracks and my year end favorites. . .

Until next time . . .


p.s. because i'm super excited about the new Ryan Adams stuff coming out, i've been listening to one of my favorite live shows.  it was recorded at Tractor Tavern in Seattle on Valentine's Day, 2000 along with Kim Richey and Chuck Prophet.  you probably already have it, but if not, i'll share mine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

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@thesteamengine sounds great... lets talk this week.

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Jason Madey

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Monday, November 22, 2010

New Music Monday - Jesu Cristo On A Tricycle . . .

It's Monday again.  These things just sneak up on me and it's never really a comfortable thing.  I trust you all had good weekend and your  respective football teams won.  I was just reading through all the "news" on the internet and saw that a Canadian won big at the AMERICAN Music Awards.  Oh, the irony.  I remember when award shows were fun and actually held come sort of credence with me.  Not anymore . . .no way, no how.  They've become a farce . . .a side show popularity contest that, because they're televised, serves some sort of entertainment value.  Oh well . . .who am I, right?  Oh yeah . . .I remember now.  I'm the all knowing, all showing, divinely inspired . . .ok, I tried to keep a straight face through all of that, but failed miserably.  Let's get to the good stuff, shall we . . .

On a completely unrelated note, is anyone watching The Walking Dead?  I don't know what station it's on or anything like that, but I actually take the time to watch it . . .partly because I read the "graphic novels."  If you've seen the show, tell me what you think.

And we're off . . .

A few weeks ago, I stopped by to talk about a few Nashville area bands that had been recommended to me by a reader and Pujol was one of those bands.  As I listened, I struggled to figure out how to compare them.  They are lo-fi, like The Black Keys or The White Stripes (both TSE favorites and in an odd turn of cosmic events, some guy called Jack White actually worked with the band), but lacked the blues inspired sensibilities that both bands have.  I would like to think that, had the Beatles began in a garage in some city located at the exact center of a triangle drawn from Detroit to Akron to Nashville and back that Daniel Pujol would occupy the point in the absolute center of this triangle.  There's a mathematical equation for this, but I don't remember (much less care) what it is.  Wait, maybe that was a circle . . .oh well.  Anyway enough babbling.  Go buy his music ASAP and you'll see what I'm talking about.   Here are some links, some to relevant information, and some to useless places, like the RNC (i wouldn't really do that to you.).  Thanks to the awesome guys over at Free Music Archive, here's a link to a raucous live set.

I'll be the first to admit that I have what some health care professionals would call, "music A.D.D," meaning I jump from one song to another, one band to another, one genre to another, one decade to another . . .you see where I'm going with this, right?  The next band, Harlowe and the Great North Woods, have been on my radar for the last few weeks and somehow, I've managed to keep them to myself . . . until now.  You see, in addition to having a name that sounds like it very well could have been the title to a Jack London novel, HATGNW have an unmistakable sound that will appeal to fans of Iron & Wine, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.  The instrumentation has a mellow, folksy sound and as you listen closer, you hear banjos and what sounds like a clarinet.  Just give "Roses" a listen and tell me you disagree with the company in which I put them.  Here's the usual . . .

Check out some more info HERE.  Be sure to clink on the "Listen to Our EP" picture on the left side of the page.  You won't be a bit disappointed.

Also, cruise on over to On Word Titles this evening to find out more information about what has quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year.  I'm thinking of having a little "Comment Contest" and giving away free stuff to whoever leaves the most creative comment.  What do you think?  Comment below . . .
As always, have a great week . . .


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - "Destroyers"

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals III/IV (recorded in 2007, Easy TIger sessions) went up for pre-order today and along with that pre-order Mr. Adams has also posted the unreleased track (from the same sessions) "Destroyers." Listen to the song below, download it just below that. This makes me excited guys, I ordered my vinyl already. This might deserve a day off a work when it ships.


The White Stripes - 2005-11-30 - Live at VH1 Studios

Jack White really has a hold on me and this good news from the White Stripes camp (in an interview with Jack from Vanity Fair) has me mucho excited:

"We thought we'd do a lot of things that we'd never done: a full tour of Canada, a documentary, coffee-table book, live album, a boxed set. It was one long project that took almost three years.Now that we've gotten a lot of that out of our system, Meg and I can get back in the studio and start fresh."

01 The Denial Twist
02 My Doorbell
03 As Ugly As I Seem
04 Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
05 Ball & Biscuit > Man