Monday, February 28, 2011

New Music Monday - Yuck...Seriously, Yuck

A lot of good music has been making it's way to my ears lately.  Last week's band, Bear Hands, is still really fresh on my mind because the album is just fun in the same way a Flaming Lips album is fun.  The new TV on the Radio single, Will Do has been playing quite a bit over the last few days, James Blake has been a really pleasant surprise and I've obviously been worshiping at The King of Limbs alter all week, too.

I can always take a second to think about where my obsession with music really began.  I've been a "fan" of music for as long as I can remember.  I grew up hearing The Police, The Cure, Tears for Fears and various other bands on the radio.  I liked those bands and still listen to them, but my true obsession with music really began with one album: Nevermind by Nirvana.  That may seem cliche, considering the widely accepted importance of the album, but it's true.  The subsequent inevitability of listening to Nevermind obviously led me, and many others, to other bands of the time (and geographic area, as well) like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.  We all know those bands.  There are, however, a few bands that didn't garner so much exposure and only gained limited success.  Bands like Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, The Melvins, Teenage Fanclub, Dismemberment PlanSebadoh and Dinosaur, Jr. flew under the radar or were simply mainstays on MTV's 120 Minutes.  BUT, for me, the lesser know bands were the bands that interested me just as much as the wildly successful bands.

That interest began what's become some serious fun for me; finding new bands that play great music. . .and we took a self guided tour down musical memory lane because this week's band seems to have embraced the sound of the abovementioned bands to heart, and released an album to prove it.

Yuck is a London based four piece, comprised of colorful members.  When I say, "colorful," I mean it.  Daniel Blumberg, (lead vocals, guitar) and Max Bloom (vocals, guitar) are both from London.  Bassist Mariko Doi is from Hiroshima, Japan and drummer, Jonny Rogoff (with a mean fro) is from The Garden State, New Jersey.  Collectively, they form Yuck and, based on this fuzzy guitar, dreamy beats and freed noise that seems to recall the early guitar genius and "beyond comprehension" arrangements of musicians from a different time.  Album opener, "Get Away" screams Dinosuar, Jr. and just a few seconds into "Operation" and you'll swear Yuck is somehow channeling Sonic Youth at their best.  But continue through the album and you'll hear touches of The Cure and the fuzzy rock of bands like Jesus and Mary Chain or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  You'll also hear touches of Pavement and Red House Painters (Mark Kozelek is an unappreciated genius in my eyes) and, if you survive the album, it closes with a guitar drowned, Mogwai mixed song, "Rubber," which, in my opinion, may be the best song on the album.  Did I mention that they signed to a pretty good label, Fat Possum.  If you don't know the label, check out their roster and get back to me.

If it sounds like I'm harping on this band, you're right.  The seem to be adept at wearing their influences directly on their sleeves without ripping any of them off completely.  If you have any sort of affinity for the kind of music I just described, you should really check out this album.  Here's the business end of my dribble:

Until next time . . .


Start Your Week Right: With My Morning Jacket - Mahgeetah

Start Your Week Right: With My Morning Jacket is going to be a recurring segment written by the fine Gabrielle Eagle. Gabrielle can be found on Twitter tweeting away My Morning Jacket goodness in anticipation for their new record at The Countdown. The Steam Engine Labs ran tests and has concluded that starting your week off with My Morning Jacket leads to higher salaries, increased love drive and, most importantly, a sunny disposition. 


Happy Monday, everyone! Over at The Countdown, we’re celebrating tracks from My Morning Jacket each day that brings us closer to the release of Circuital, MMJ’s sixth studio album. You can check out The Countdown on Twitter for hourly updates.

This week at The Countdown, we’re starting with the closing track from 2001’s At Dawn, “Strangulation!” Then we’ll roll on to the first third (tracks 1-4) of 2003's It Still Moves, MMJ’s major label debut (BMI/ATO). ISM saw the first of the band’s lineup changes, with Patrick Hallahan joining in 2002.

Today though, let’s take a closer look at ISM’s first track, "Mahgeetah."

Now, there are a few schools of thought on what “Mahgeetah” actually refers to. Some believe it is another pronunciation of “my guitar,” others say that it simply recounts a love affair. I’ve even heard that the song refers to a monkey (this rumor(?) was also cited in “My Morning Straightjacket”). Is it a loving tribute to the Flying V, a woman, or a monkey? All three? Or none of the above?
Sittin’ here with me and mine, all wrapped up in a bottle of wine
Little we can do, we gonna see it through somehow
So, now are you ready to go, my lady? 
Regardless, for me, a song’s meaning emerges not from lyrics, but the from feelings I get while listening. Lyrics don’t contribute too much to the song’s overall substance. I think Jim’s lyrics are cryptic in this way so that we’ll focus in on the music itself, not the literal meaning. "Mahgeetah" invokes feelings of romance and uncertainty, that kind of passion and insecurity we at some point feel about a person, place, or thing.
Can he see me? Does he feel me? Does he know me at all? 
Does it shiver? Always deliver? Does it know me at all? 
I hope this post finds you pleased and confident going into the promising week ahead. Leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Morning Jacket - VH1 Storytellers

Post show set
Thursday night My Morning Jacket performed an incredibly intimate set for about 150 people at a tiny TV studio in New York City. The two hour set covered a range of songs, old and new, not unlike a regular concert, BUT on this occassion the inspiration for each song played was discussed moments before it began. The audience questions that were submitted with the contest entry were taped pre show so we did not get to see those answered, I like the mystery of that come air time though. It was truly excellent to watch Jim James almost squirm in front of the crowd during his explanations, more than once mentioning that they just want to play - not talk when on stage. As we all know Jim is a bit out there and his storytelling almost always started with a large far out concept that by the end he tightened up quite nicely, making sense of it all.

Pre show line and the VH1 control bus (Pretty sure that's what it was)

The new record (which is apparently going to be called Circuital, watch the video below. NOT from Storytellers) is going to be massively beautiful if the new songs were any indication. We've had "Circuital" and "Wonderful (The Way I feel)" (which, in my mind, is one of the most stunning songs ever) for a while now but "Moving On" (Not 100% on the title) was completely new and fresh and we got to hear it twice due to some difficulties VH1 had with the audio. The song sounded fine to us, it was their recording setup. Regardless, we got to hear it again near the end. Jim made a pretty funny joke on playing the same song twice - "It's like you tell a funny joke then the people say "Now tell us that same joke again!"" Jim was pretty on fire with the gut busters (don't let my lousy interpertation do it justice!).

I wrote this in a New York cafe, watching people shuffle through the rain and listening to "The Okonokos Project." I can't help but feel an overwhelming joy after a night like that and listening to the guys from the band with the most positive energy on this planet brings that back. I've said it before and I'll say it again - no band on this planet makes me "feel" like My Morning Jacket makes me feel.

I'd go into further detail about Jim's explanations but I'm going to keep that mystery to be unveiled when the show airs on June 3rd.

Wordless Chorus
The Way That He Sings
Moving Away (?)
Smokin' From Shootin'
Moving Away (?) (Played twice due to studio difficulties)
28 Second Song (Shell Silverstein Cover. Literally 28 seconds long)
Lullabies, Legends and Lies (Shell Silverstein Cover)
One Big Holiday

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DOWNLOAD - My Morning Jacket - 2006-04-22 - Northwestern U. - Chicago, IL

Photo by: Morgan Glier

Start your day right with this tasty set from My Morning Jacket.

Good work taping by Brian Skalinder.

01. < lead-in >
02. At Dawn
03. I Will Sing You Songs
04. One Big Holiday
05. Off the Record
06. What A Wonderful Man 
07. Lay Low
08. I Think I'm Going To Hell
09. Dondante
10. Golden
11. The Way That He Sings
12. Anytime
13. < fade-out >
14. < fade-in >
15. Wordless Chorus
16. Gideon
17. Mahgeetah

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Music Monday - Radiohead Has Me Hypnotized ... Yet Again

I'm having a horribly hard time sitting down to write about anything this week other than the new Radiohead album.  Since I got it, I have listened to little else.  I can't figure out why, but it seems that I've formed a little bit of an addiction to the The King of Limbs.  I'm sure I'm not the only one, so don't judge me people.  Just mentioning it makes me want to turn of what I'm currently listening to (this week's band, Bear Hands) and listen to The King of Limbs a little more.  I have to stop talking about it . . . it's just too tempting at the moment.  On to the good stuff (relatively speaking, of course).

Bear Hands, simply put, makes me happy.  How would I describe them?  Well, to be blunt, if MGMT were a much better band, they'd be Bear Hands.  The music is upbeat and seems like something I'd play at a spring time cookout on my patio.  It's lively an takes all the best aspects of MGMT's danceable sound and combines it with a sound that reminds me of Girls and Waaves playful lyricism.  The end result is a sound that is just a little spot of sunshine, a teasing musical look into the impending warmer temperatures of spring.
"Well, to be blunt, if MGMT were a much better band, they'd be Bear Hands"
For me, the stand outs on the New York four-piece's album, Burning Bush Supper Club are, first and foremost the completely addictive, "What A Drag."  The chorus will get stuck in your head and you'll find yourself singing it without even realizing what you're doing.  "you've go them long nails, i'm dreaming of your god**** long nails . . ."  The album opener, "Crime Pays" is the perfect introduction to the opus that is Burning Bush Supper Club.  Bear Hands frontman, Dylan Rau, especially likes "Wicksey Boxing," which he says is about getting plastered and fighting with your buds. "'Wicksey Boxing' is when you get drunk on whiskey and you try to say whiskey boxing but it comes out wrong," he says with a laugh. "It's happened to me a lot — I broke a rib nine months ago after boxing my friend."  If that's not a testament to the playfulness of this band, I don't know what is.

You can find them on FacebookTwitter and on MySpace.

So, if you an tear yourself away from the new Radiohead album, venture out and give this band a listen.  You'll tap your foot and probably put, "What a Drag" on repeat.  You've been warned.

Have a good week, boys and girls . . .cause I said so.


DOWNLOAD - My Morning Jacket - 2005-10-26 - Live at Bogart's - Cin City, OH

Photo by: Jonathan Moore
It has been too damn long since we've had a Jacket show up! Especially after the flurry of news we've had over the last month or so: Wakarusa, Mountain Jam, Hangout Fest, Bonnaroo AND VH1 Storytellers. It looks as if our favorite group are going to destroy the festival circuit this year and continue to spread their sonic awesomeness across the world. Man, 2005 seems like a world away from where the boys currently stand.

I will be at the VH1 Storytellers taping on Thursday, I'll report as much info as possible so be watching The Steam Engine Facebook and Twitter later this week.

01 Intro (WKRP tease) 
02 Wordless Chorus 
03 It Beats 4 U 
04 Off the Record 
05 One Big Holiday 
06 What A Wonderful Man 
07 I Will Sing You Songs 
08 Golden 
09 Sooner 
10 Lay Low 
11 Dondante 
12 Gideon 
13 Run Thru 
14 Low Down 
15 Anytime 
16 Mahgeetah

DOWNLOAD - Bright Eyes - 2011-10-02 - BBC6 Session

Thank you SBB for passing this along. Enjoy great acoustic versions of new tunes from Bright Eyes latest and last album, The Peoples Key. Check out SBB"s excellent review of the new record here and if you haven't already given Love Monsters - Monsters of Folk + More a look do so now!

01 Firewall
02 Triple Spiral
03 Beginner's Mind

Friday, February 18, 2011

WATCH - Radiohead "Lotus Flower" Video

The Radiohead goodness won't quit today.

LISTEN - Radiohead - King of Limbs - Available For Purchase Now

Your wait is no more. Head to here to download your copy now. Mine is coming down the pipeline as we speak, you'll be hearing from me throughout the day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REVIEW - Bright Eyes - The People Key

Onward and Upward
A collection of thoughts about The People’s Key

Bright Eyes is Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott and they have got a new record called The
People’s Key coming out on the 15th in the United States and on the 14th in the rest of the world. It is a record filled with heart, passion, energy and hope and it is a record that’s very easy to love.

Still the sound of the record is unlike anything Bright Eyes has previously done, but at the same time it tips its hat to a lot of their previous work. If we hold this to be true, does that mean the different sounds on The People’s Key are sprawling? Actually no, as different as the songs are from each other, they mix together effortlessly. Slow hypnotic rhythms (Firewall, Approximate Sunlight), groovy pop swirls (Haile Selassie, Beginner’s Mind), heart-shocking rock (Jejune Stars), relaxed playful beats (One For You, One For Me) and gut wrenching, haunting melodies (Ladder Song).

A Perfect Sonnet
“There was an effort to make something more… pop maybe? “
(Conor Oberst, BBC 6 Music, February 2011)
Oberst said this questioningly and as with my other favorite band My Morning Jacket, it is hard to pin down a specific genre for this album and this band. I never did agree with the notion that the sonic real estate on 2007’s Cassadaga was too crowded, but in comparison The People’s Key does have more space and it also feels more relaxed. It’s filled with energy, modern with a twist of 80’s sounds and above all you can truly hear the joy of making music.
"We have an ability to morph our sound from record to record, if Conor says we're going in a new direction, I get behind him."
(Mike Mogis, Ventura County Star, February 2011)
Another thing that stands out on the record is Oberst’s vocal style, it was apparent even from the first release off the album (Shell Games) that something had changed. Just like the record, Oberst’s voice is rich with energy, as well as uncompromising focus. It’s as if he decided to challenge himself vocally and needless to say it worked out magnificently.

No Lies, Just Love

Before The People’s Key the band’s most recent activity was protest song Coyote Song and the band
has been known to mix music with political activism, so is this a political album? Not explicitly, more
in the sense that it contains a desire for open-mindness, empathy and a world less divisive. The
songs point to humanity, togetherness and make an effort to remind us that we’re all the same.
The songs all definitely have a meaning to me, but I long ago realized it's better to let people find
their own meaning.
(Conor Oberst, Spin 2011)
When listening to The People’s Key it’s also apparent that there are ways in which Oberst lyrical
approach has transformed. He has said that he deliberately tried to write songs more open to
interpretation and he appears to have shifted from a confessional personal style of writing, to a
broader perspective approach in the process. So if it on occasion has been hard to understand the
meaning of Bright Eyes songs in the past, it has grown slightly harder now that there’s no conscious
effort from Oberst to make the listener understand.
“Love has always been the message, it’s just, circumstances happen, right? People freak out, just flat flip out.”
(Shamanic vocals on Firewall, by Denny Brewer,)
That being said, when listening to records by Bright Eyes one can’t help but notice certain lyrical themes and phrases recurring throughout their records. The People’s Key contains some familiar themes, such as the continuous battle with spirituality, the pursuit of innocence gone astray and the ever so present quest for some scrap of clarity among the confusion. Oberst is not afraid to thoroughly examine these themes and more often than not he also scrutinizes himself in the process. Though with this record we find yet another difference compared to previous formulas, if Oberst’s lyrics have at times seemed weary of the world, they now seem hopeful. If he had already come to the conclusion that we got a problem with no solution, but to love and be loved, it’s as if he’s just now started to believe in it.

An Attempt To Tip The Scales

So is there anything at all that The People’s Key is missing? Well, after watching Oberst and Walcott performing an excellent version of Lua at a Mystic Valley Band show, with Walcott adding a stunningly beautiful and heartbreakingly wistful trumpet solo, I’d hoped for some trumpet on this record. There isn’t any, but I take comfort in knowing that according to reports from the band’s current tour that so far whenever Lua has been played, Walcott’s solo has been included.

At The Bottom of Everything

Before I finish this collection of thoughts on The People’s Key, I’d like to say that this is an album that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and am confident that I will continue to enjoy for years to come. It is filled with melodies that go into those parts of your heart and mind that few songs can touch. Oberst, Mogis and Walcott have been making high-quality music together for a long time and this truly is Bright Eyes at their best.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bonnaroo Lineup Announced - My Morning Jacket Will Be There

BOLD faced text indicates excitement.


Monday, February 14, 2011

New Music Monday - The Valentine's Day . . . thing

Valentine's Day . . .HOORAAAAAAAY . . .or not.  By the way, that's a Valentine's Day card for Snooki and that "bad case of you" is actually a case of herpes.  Way to go, Snooki.  You stay classy.  If you can't tell, I'm not really a fan of V-Day (unless "v" stands for vajayjay).  If you want to know my true thoughts about February 14, you can read all about them right HERE.  That's all I have to say about that, so on to the music!!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here or not, but I'm a huge fan of the blues.  I don't care if it's old Delta Blues, Hill Country Blues, Chicago Blues or old Country Blues . . .I like it all.  I made my pilgrimage to Mecca of the blues, the Mississippi Delta where, as legend has it, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to play the blues near Dockery Plantation in Cleveland, Mississippi.  From there the blues gave birth to the early forms of R & B and rock 'n' roll.  Without the old Blues players, there never would have been the Beatles, The Stones, The Who . . .the list could go on and on.  The Blues quite possibly gave birth to music in general.

Although I'm partial to the Delta Blues, my collection runs the gambit of players, from Robert Johnson to Bobby "Blue" Bland to Muddy Waters to Johnny Winter to R. L. Burnside to Jimi Hendrix.  I like it all, including a more recent players influenced by the blues like all the incarnations of Jack White, The Black Keys, Rocco Deluca and this week's musician, Lincoln Durham.

The Texas native joins a long and impressive list of players that honed their skills in the bars and jukes that litter the monstrous southeastern state.  Along with blues masters like Freddie KingBobby "Blue" BlandAlbert CollinsLightnin' HopkinsBlind Lemon Jefferson (his song "Black Snake Moan" is where the title for the movie originated) and Johnny Winter, Durham manages to capture the feeling of the dirty floors and stale beer of the old time blues clubs in his playing, channeling the Texas greats while adding his own flavor to the slide he plays.  Durham plays like he's old enough to have seen Buddy Guy in his youth and sings like he's spent a lifetime on the road, traveling from dusty stage to dusty stage, somehow managing to pack two lifetimes of experience into barely a quarter of a life.

Listening to Lincoln Durham is like listening to history, to all the great blues players that came before him, somehow collectively playing the blues through this man and allowing him put his own spin on the songs, give them a new voice and a new outlet for their energy.

Lincoln Durham plays the blues, bridging the past with the present and giving me hope for blues in the future.  If you haven't noticed or if i haven't been clear enough, this guy is good.  His slide play reminds me of greats like Son House and present players like Rocco Deluca.  It's dirty . . .dirty like Jack White playing "Death Letter" live.  

I could go on and on about this guy, but I'll save you dribble . . .here's some links:

Do yourself a favor and listen to Lincoln Durham.  If you like the blues or you just like great guitar playing  . . .or if you just like great music.

Don't let your Monday get out of hand, and if you do, take lots of pictures afterwards.


p.s.  you'll notice that i made no mention of SRV when mentioning the great Texas blues players.  it's not from a lack of respect or any sort of grudge i have.  it's just that his name often gets thrown around and as soon as people see it, they discount those that came before him.  i'd rather look at the roots of the music, rather than the post popular players.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

VIDEO & DOWNLOAD - Wanda Jackson - Riot In Cell Block #9 w/ Jack White

Had to get this out there. It's just that sweet. When I play Wanda Jackson's excellent new Jack White produced record, The Party Ain't Over, people do not believe me that the woman is 73, and neither will you after this video. That voice is truly something else. This was recorded on January 18th at Nashville's Third Man Records on the night of Wanda's premiere live show. Watch the video below and snag both the MP3 and 720p MP4 way below.

Watch for Wanda on the road, check out the dates here.

DOWNLOAD - Wilco - 2004-07-07 - Goteborg, Sweden

Photo by F*ck Yeah My Morning Jacket

Tasty little treat of the Wilco variety here. This is a heavy A Ghost is Born set, meaning: download a immediately and turn "At Least That's What You Said" up to deafening.

In other Wilco news, LP8 should be out some time later this year followed by "...many, many concert dates." Check out this update from their Facebook page:
“Okay just a reminder: Wilco are recording a record. It will be out later this year and will be followed by many, many concert dates. To quote Derek Smalls, they shall tour the ‘World and Elsewhere’ beginning in Late 2011.”
On top of that excellent news the boys of Wilco also utilized a little Spinal Tap knowledge, love it!

01 Muzzle Of Bees
02 At Least That's What You Said
03 I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
04 War On War
05 Hummingbird
06 Handshake Drugs
07 I'm The Man Who Loves You
08 Poor Places
09 A Shot In The Arm
10 The Late Greats
11 I'm A Wheel
12 Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

DOWNLOAD - MGMT - 2008-12-09 - Hordern Pavilion - Sydney, Australia

Awesome set from MGMT this morning for all of you. "Of Moons, Birds and Monsters" is a great tune, I'd love to see it live. Check it out below.


01 4th Dimensional Transition
02 Pieces of What
03 Of Moons, Birds and Monsters
04 The Youth
05 Time To Pretend
06 Electric Feel
07 The Handshake
08 Future Reflections
09 Kids

01 4th Dimensional Transition
02 Pieces of What
03 Of Moons, Birds and Monsters
04 The Youth
05 Time To Pretend
06 Electric Feel
07 The Handshake
08 Future Reflections
09 Kids

DOWNLOAD - MGMT - 2008-12-09 - Hordern Pavilion - Sydney, Australia

Monday, February 7, 2011

DOWNLOAD - Bright Eyes - 2005 - Triple J Studios - Australia

Last week was an odd one but this week we're back on rails. Don't forget to check out the always wonderful "New Music Monday" with Chris and be sure to check back a lot this week, I'm going to try to have a huge week on The Steam Engine.

When you have a chance, listen to the latest Bright Eyes record, The People's Keyhere, then pre-order it here. I'm into it.

01 Intro
02 Soon You Will Be Leaving Your Man
03 Southern State
04 At The Bottom Of Everything
05 I've Been Eating For You
06 Motion Sickness
07 When The President Talks To God

New Music Monday - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye . . .

The music world lost The White Stripes last week.  I have to say that it kind of felt inevitable considering everything Jack White has his hands in these days.  Multiple bands (Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and stamping is brand of approval producing local Nashville acts, like Daniel Pujol . . .it just seemed like something had to give.  Unfortunately for me, it was The Stripes.  To me, that was his best work.  It was music purity at it's best.  It was two people, playing their guts out with undeniable passion.  They were raw and managed to capture you in songs that were simply constructed on two instruments unlike most bands (the only two that come to mind are the glaringly obvious Black Keys and the lesser know, but genius Death From Above 1979 (who called it quits a few years ago, but just announced that they're getting back together).

The best part about the three bands I mentioned above is that they all have two members, yet they churn out a HUMONGOUS sound with such simple instrumentation. There's no flash, just pure energy, pure emotion . . .pure genius.  Take DFA 1979, for example.  There are two members.  One plays drums, the other plays bass.  If you used the like above, you get an idea what I'm talking about.  THAT sound comes from guys playing the hell out of their instruments.  That brings us to this week's band, who, at their own admission, embrace a "less is more" approach, and it works beautifully.

Austin's, Whalers are four guys how simply seem to get the most they can out of their instruments.  The core of the band, guitarists Kyle Rother and Dan Martin, have been writing  together since 2003, when they both worked for the radio station at TCU.  After graduation, they moved back to Austin and in 2008 the duo became a trio with the addition of drummer, Milos Bertram.  The final piece of the Whalers puzzle was added with the addition of singer, Gus Smalley and bassist Amir Mozafari (who replaced Joseph Goessling in 2010), and the table was set.

The best part of Whalers songs is the '60's reverb that gives the songs a timeless, hazy Beach Boys quality that seems to swim around in the layered guitars and Smalley's piercing vocals.  This all sounds complicated, but it's not.  Whalers, with the help of sound engineer, Kevin Ratterman (who TSE favorite, My Morning Jacket covets as a genius) lay down songs that are transportive in nature, but not overwhelming to the ears.  Everything fits and each song is tight.  My favorite track on their EP, "How the Ship Goes Down" is Heatwave, and just one listen will give you an idea of what I mean.  The guitars are dreamy and the drums never take over the song.  The vocals compliment the entire feel of the song and, in the end, you're left with a remarkable song and an amazing EP, collectively.

Go get it now.  Here are some links:

You can stream/purchase the album HERE

You can find their Facebook page HERE

Check them out ASAP.


P.S.  some of you may hear them and make a Strokes connection, but I didn't mention The Strokes because I'm already sick of hearing about them and their new album.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

DOWNLOAD - Fleet Foxes - 2008-11-21 - Den Haag - The Netherlands

This weeks Fleet Foxes news has me digging through my archives, eating up every bit of Fleet Foxes goodness that I can. While we do have to wait quite a bit of time for a new record (May 3rd), we did get the title track to the new record, Helplessness Blues, to wet our gullet. Listen to the new track below.

For those of us about to get hit with a nasty little snowstorm: download this, mix up a whiskey drink and watch the snow accumulate.

01 Intro / Tuning
02 Sun Giant
03 Sun lt Rises
04 Drops in the River
05 English House
06 White Winter Hymnal
07 Ragged Wood
08 Your Protector
09 Crayon Angels (Judee Sill Cover) (Robin solo)
10 Oliver James (Robin solo)
11 He Doesn't Know Why
12 Mykonos
13 Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Robin with two unknown girls)
14 Blue Ridge Mountains
15 Outro

Bonus / Soundcheck
16 ???
17 Sun Giant
18 English House

DOWNLOAD - The Decemberists - 2006-11-01 - WXPN Studios - Philly, PA

The Decemberists great new record, The King is Dead, is pretty recently out and to commemorate the occasion I dug up this The Crane Wife era recording done on NPR World Cafe and broadcast on Philly radio.

I'll have some more recent Decemberists soon, in the meantime enjoy this wonderful set.

01 Interview
02 The Crane Wife, Pt. 1 & 2
03 Interview
04 O, Valencia
05 Interview
06 Summersong
07 Outro 

New Music Monday - I Tripped, Fell and Landed in Finlandia

A funny thing happened to me over the weekend.  My nephew turned eight and we threw a party for him.  Not just any party . . .NO, it was a Super Mario birthday party, complete with Super Mario place settings, balloons and a winner take all Super Mario Battle Royale (i still haven't figured out exactly what the rules were or how they determined the winner, but there were goodie bags to be won and i'm happy to report that i managed to escape the party with some poor kids bag.  it's disappointment, kid.  get used to it.).

Somehow, between the arrival of the first party participant and the unveiling of the birthday cake, I found myself in quite the conundrum:  I was thirsty AND bored . . .a horrible combination for me.  The Sprite that I found just wasn't doing the trick and then i found it.  Hidden away in the closed off bar area of the house was a large bottle, a "handle" if you will, of Finlandia.  "A HA," I said to myself, out loud.  Mixed with Sprite, I could successfully hide my degenerate desire to make this party into a better party, where an eight year old could get a complimentary body slam from crazy uncle Chris and, before I knew it, the bottle of vodka was all but gone and I was throwing a Nerf football across the street, daring them to go get it and NOT get hit by a car.  I that mean?  Maybe.  Was I entertained?  ABSOLUTELY.  So, all in all, the party was a success.  I made it out alive, drunk and with somebody's goodie bag.  It could, however, have been a complete disaster had some poor kid played chicken with a car and lost.

Moral of the story: Don't invite me to you kid's birthday party.  Now, on to the good stuff . . .

What does it sound like to hear things go horribly wrong?  How does it smell to have something you love wash away in a storm that nearly killed a city?  If you want to know, ask Steven Stubblefield of this week's band, Starlings, TN.  Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005 and took with it the music Stubblefield had been recording.  The storm washed away the hard drive that contained months of his work and, a result, he spent the next three years on a bit of a musical hiatus, helping people in Biloxi, MS in recovery efforts.  Eventually, he made his way back to his hometown of Hattiesburg, MS, saying of his time in Biloxi, "I enjoyed the time I was in Biloxi and will never forget the things I saw, heard, and the people I met while I was there. There were many precious moments. When Katrina blew in I had already begun recording the ‘next album.’ I lost the hard drive I had been recording to during the storm and when I discovered several instruments were also lost, I was devastated"

Eventually, he was able to replace the lost instruments and hard drives and ended up laying down an album that pays homage to his musical inspirations.  Having grown up around gospel, you can almost hear the church pews creaking and the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams humming approving harmonies in the background in songs like "Sweet Rosianne," "Burnin' Barrel" and "Can't Do Nothin'."

On other songs, Stubblefield channels storytellers like Bruce Springsteen, recounting the stories of the downtrodden and wounded.  The album closes with two amazing songs that could would have fit perfectly on Springsteen's iconic album, "Nebraska."  "Reason to Believe" and the title song, "How Dark it is Before the Dawn" find Stubblefield alone, strumming away two gorgeous songs.

If you like "Jacksonville City Nights" era Ryan Adams, J. Tillman or Damien Jurado, you'll love the simple arrangements  and the pure honesty that shines through in each song.  The perfect example is the song, "Missouri."  Stubblefield sings, "you're in Mississippi, while i am in misery . . ."

Starlings, TN on the web:

Have a nice week, boys and girls . . .