Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Robbers On High Street Contest

Last week, Grand Animals, the second album from the trio Robbers On High Street hit the shelves. Included on the album is the super swanky guitar rocking song that has been circulating for some time, The Fatalist (available below if you haven't heard it already), and ten other equally ear worthy tracks.



If you haven't picked up the album yet, here's your chance to score a copy along with a Robbers On High Street t-shirt (pictured to the left). All you have to do is leave a comment (or e-mail me) with your name and e-mail address and you'll be in the running. I'll pick a winner next Tuesday'ish and notify them pronto.





Robbers On High Street - The Fatalist : Grand Animals

Robbers On High Street - The Ramp : Grand Animals

and one from their last EP:

Robbers On High Street - Monkberry Moon Delight : The Fatalist and Friends (available on iTunes)

Visit their website, their label New Line Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Aaron Schroeder - at it again

A little less than a year ago, I wrote about Aaron Schroeder's debut album Southern Heart In Western Skin (read about it here if you have some time to waste). Well, Aaron is back with his sophomore effort, this one titled Black & Gold, and although I haven't heard the whole thing yet, the two songs I have heard (both below) show great promise for a triumphant return. This time around, he's got a boatload of guests to back him up including Ben Barnett (of Kind Of Like Spitting), Justin Medal-Johnsen (of Beck/Air/Ladytron/etc.), Tyler Blake (of Young Americans), and Jeremy Castillo (of Mighty Six Ninety).

If you haven't listened to Aaron before, give the following tracks a chance. The first, What We Don't Know, is the lead off track for the new album. Call Out To Me, the second song, is a quiet acoustic guitar driven ballad that could be sung around a campfire. The last, Santa Anna, is my favorite track off his debut and is a jiggy Irish punk sounding sort of zipper.


Aaron Schroeder - What We Don't Know : Black & Gold

Aaron Schroeder - Call Out To Me : Black & Gold

and one from his debut:

Aaron Schroeder - Santa Ana : Southern Heart In Western Skin

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Architecture In Helsinki (in NYC)

The six member frolicking group of musicians known as Architecture In Helsinki are back with their third album, Places Like This, which is scheduled to be released in a few weeks on August 21st. The group has relocated their center of gravity from Melbourne, Australia to NYC and as Cameron Bird (vocalist / songwriter) puts it, "Compare my reality in Melbourne to the reality of living in New York? Well you can't really. It's like living on two different planets." Listening to their latest album, you, too, might think you've travelled to a different planet!

It's certainly a high energy affair with the six members of the band bringing in bass, drums, congas, percussion, synthesizers, trombone, guitars and samples that all mix together like your favorite tropical umbrella drink to spice up your summer. For those of you who might not have heard Architecture In Helsinki before, think Modest Mouse meets The B-52's with a sprinkling of synth-pop love to sweeten the deal.


Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races : Places Like This

Architecture In Helsinki - Lazy (Lazy) : Places Like This

and one from their last album:

Architecture In Helsinki - The Cemetery : In Case We Die

Visit their website, their label Polyvinyl Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Modest Mouse - All Nite Diner : Building Nothing Out of Something

The B-52's - Love Shack : Cosmic Thing

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Looking back with Vanguard Visionaries

The fine folks over at Vanguard Records have dug through their vaults to put together a collection of albums from influential artists which they've titled Vanguard Visionaries. Every album contains ten defining songs from each artist, almost a greatest hits album, but with these artists a greatest hits album would have to be something like three discs, not one. Here are three of the thirty four artists they are offering:


It would be difficult to talk about the regeneration of traditional Celtic music in the United States without The Clancy Brothers coming up. Coming straight over to New York City from the Emerald Isle in the 1950's, the Clancy brothers (Tom, Pat and Liam) along with friend Tommy Makem (the group was originally billed as The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem) originally had dreams of becoming actors and first performed at fundraisers for a local theater. An appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961 sealed their fate as musical troubadours.


The Clancy Brothers - Finnegan's Wake : Vanguard Visionaries

Flogging Molly - If I Ever Leave This World Alive : Drunken Lullabies

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Although only together for four years before being forced to disband (they later re-formed with various personnel), The Weavers are still incredibly well known as well as immensely influential in bringing American folk music and popular music together. Although its members were all politically active before forming the band, because of the ugly McCarthy years the music they played was as innocuous as possible, which allows one to listen to it now and enjoy it just as much as when it was first played in the 50's. The Weavers' music helped set the stage for later artists such as Bob Dylan and Don McLean.


The Weavers - The Crawdad Song : Vanguard Visionaries

Bob Dylan - Shelter From the Storm : Blood on the Tracks

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This last artist might be one that you might not recognize, but you should if you consider yourself a fan of the Blues. Buddy Guy was a key musician in the development of the Chicago blues sound but because his label Chess Records didn't appreciate his raw live sound, he was often forced to work as a session guitarist for other acts for many years before getting his due. When Eric Clapton names you his favorite blues axeman though, you know that you did something right. Besides Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan both cited Guy as a major influence. Listen to his absolutely rocking version of Knock On Wood below to get a taste of Buddy.

Buddy Guy - Knock On Wood : Vanguard Visionaries

Eric Clapton - Hoodoo Man (live) : 24 Nights


You can get a chance to win all 34 titles in their Vanguard Visionaries series (including the 3 above) by heading to their website here to enter.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Rock of Love (and skanks)


Confession time: If you were to look at my the list of playlists on my iPod, you would find one labeled "Big Hair." Within this list you'll find such influential artists as Cinderella, Europe, Guns N Roses, White Lion, and Winger. And of course, Posion.

Last night I was finally able to watch Vh1's new show Rock of Love, which stars Poison's frontman Bret Michaels in search of true love with the perfect companion for a star of his caliber (or at least a skanky ho who can drink lots and has large breasts - which don't necessarily have to be real). The show was on for an hour, and I can honestly say that other than lots of drinking, name calling, cat fighting, and pole dancing (maybe not enough of this), not much really happened. But hey, with a show focused on an 80's glam band icon, and recreational drug use looked down upon, what else do you really need?

The "challenge" the girls faced to remain in contention involved some role playing in a scenario where Bret pretended to be on the road with the band and he was calling home to speak with his honey. The girls' goal was to do whatever they could to give him some warm fuzzy feelings and make him feel like he was at home with her. Otherwise known as phone sex. The girls gave it their all, dressing up in lingerie even though they were actually using a phone to talk to Bret and he was in another room where he couldn't even see them. In order to determine a winner, Bret had what basically looked like a sphygmomanometer (what the doctor uses to take your blood pressure) wrapped around his...ummm...member to detect...ummm...excitement caused by the lady on the other end of the phone. Very technical - they even had the results printed off on line graphs to show who peaked Bret's interest and who flat-lined.

At the end of the show, those woman who weren't loose enough...errr, I mean who didn't "connect" with Bret the best were sent home, while those who had chemistry with Bret (i.e. had big boobs and could party) were invited to remain and rock his house.

Poison - Talk Dirty To Me : Poison's Greatest Hits 1986-1996

Poison - Every Rose Has Its Thorn : Poison's Greatest Hits 1986-1996

Visit Poison's website and become their friend on MySpace.

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Motley Crue - Girls, Girls, Girls : Girls, Girls, Girls

Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane : Love At First Sting

Warrant - Cherry Pie : Cherry Pie


Thursday, July 26, 2007

start theSTART

I've done some very bad things, I have no excuses...

So begins Ciao, Baby, the third album from theSTART. The band is a foursome, but the real draw here is Aimee Echo on vocals. Take for example, the opening track, Wartime! (It's Time To Go Now), from which the above lyrics come from. It's an industrial / techno track with a dark edge, but still retains a seductive danceability to it with Aimee sweetly admitting to being a bad girl. It sounds like something out of The Matrix - maybe a cut scene showing Neo and Trinity making love in their black leather outfits with a touch of S & M mixed in for the fun of it.

The rest of the album holds onto that darkly frisky mood on top of dance inspired electronic beats that will please synth-pop lovers everywhere. The group has recently switched over to Metropolis Records, home of another techno-pop band I talked about last month, Client. Like Client, theSTART takes that electronic industrial sound down a few notches to make it something to move your body to, and not in the thrash around with a chain attached to your nose sort of way. For example, Dance Revolution, available below.


theSTART - Wartime! (It's Time To Go Now) : Ciao, Baby

theSTART - Dance Revolution : Ciao, Baby

and one from their last album:

theSTART - Life Is Sweet : Initiation

Visit their website, their label Metropolis Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Children Behave...



Children behave,
That's what they say when we're together,
And watch how you play,
They don't understand,
And so we're,

Running just as fast as we can,
Holdin' onto one another's hand



Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Commonwealth - Not so Common

Start with Daniel Duncan. Add a bassist, Liz Adams. Connect the dots with members from the University of Louisville's music school. Sounds complex? Well that's what you should expect, and that's what you get. There is A LOT going on in Commonwealth's self titled album. I'm talking about layers and layers of instrumentation (specifically horns and strings) that oftentimes is backing sound or dabbled here and there on other albums, but is brought front and center to drive many of the songs on this one. Sounds that begin and end and begin again, leaving you to wonder, what's next?

The group experiments quite a bit over the course of the album, as one might expect with six band members contributing, and the feel of the sound changes accordingly. I'd love to say they remind me of so-and-so. Or if you like _____ you'll love The Commonwealth. But I can't. I've given you two tracks below for you to sample. The first, Stick With the Logs, will give you an idea of how the band plays with instrumentation to radically alter what a listener usually perceives as what's up front and what's in back supporting. The second, Mirror, is simply kitchy catchy fun. But to be honest, the only way to sample the album is to listen to the whole thing. Two songs just can't encompass what the Commonwealth accomplishes on it.


The Commonwealth - Stick With The Logs : The Commonwealth (self-titled)

The Commonwealth - Mirror : The Commonwealth (self-titled)

Buy a physical copy of the album from their MySpace page or a digital copy here.

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

SiCKO

Last night I went and saw SiCKO. What a great film. Regardless of whether you're a fan of Michael Moore or not (and I won't say either way), you have to admit that there are some real problems with the American health care system (unless of course you work for said health care system). If you've seen any of his other films, you'll recognize a lot of the same techniques: vintage film clips with bombastic background music, understated observations, statistics that seem hard to believe, a trip with victims (a la K-Mart headquarters in Bowling for Columbine), and tear jerking interviews. And although he has claimed to be party-neutral in the past, this film really does not stick it unfairly to red or blue.

The film takes a look at some individuals who've had problems with the health care system. And these people aren't some of the millions of uninsured citizens of the U.S., they're the ones who are supposedly covered until they actually need it, at which point their HMO's jump ship. Michael Moore also travels to several other countries with socialized health care systems, Canada, France, England, and Cuba, to see if they truly are as bad as they're made out to be. What he finds is quite startling, and not just in terms of health care, but also in vacation time, employee rights, and government assistance in many forms. Let me just say that it makes me stop to think about buying some learn to speak French tapes.

Led Zeppelin - Sick Again : Physical Graffiti [Disc 2]

Ben Folds Five - Hospital Song : The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner

Film School - Sick of Shame : Live on KEXP 5-10-06 (studio version on self-titled album, Film School)

The New Pornographers - The End Of Medicine : Electric Version

Lou Reed - Sick Of You : New York

Sleater-Kinney - Call The Doctor : Call The Doctor

The Pogues - The Sickbed Of Cuchulainn : The Ultimate Collection

Benoit Charest - Belleville Rendez-Vous (French Version) : The Triplets of Belleville Soundtrack

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'll think of him never...


He taught me to love him, he called me his flower
That blossomed for him all the brighter each hour.
But I woke from my dreaming, my idol was clay
My visions of love have all faded away...





Thursday, July 19, 2007

Do it for the pets...


Fourteen bands for $15 ... how can you go wrong? If you're going to be anywhere in the area of NYC or the Catskills on Saturday, August 14th, this a great line-up for a great cause. All the money raised is going to Friends Of Snuffy, a volunteer organization aimed at improving the lives of pets and stray animals through education programs, grants and direct funding in the central park area. Founded in 2006 by animal lover and music executive Mary Gormley, Friends Of Snuffy has rebuilt the Shandaken dog shelter as well as founding Training Wheels, a community outreach program that helps pet owners train their animals. Friends Of Snuffy also provides direct funding for veterinary care, funded adoption programs and prompt community volunteer participation.

Rachael Yamagata - The Reason Why
: Rachael Yamagata EP

Cary Brothers - Honestly (Live) : Studio version on Who You Are

Kate Havnevik - Travel In Time (Featuring Carmen Rizzo) : Melankton

Stars of Track and Field - With You : Centuries Before Love And War



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ride my Gravy Train!!!

Where to being with Gravy Train!!!? If you haven't heard them before, imagine Peaches hooking up with The Go! Team and you'll start to get an idea of what to expect with their music. They just released their third album entitled All the Sweet Stuff with a new label, Cochon Records, and they are continuing their tradition of dirty new wave cheese-alicious fun.

With lyrics like "But things really start to cook when I think of how you'd look on my face" (from All the Sweet Stuff) and "Whether you use a Flowbee or work at Vidal Sassoon you gotta handle that bad perm because it's startin' to give off some fumes" (from The Hair Stare) you really can't take Gravy Train!!! too seriously but honestly, that's not what their game is all about. Chunx, Funx, Junx, and Hunx (the four members of the band) are all about getting the heat turned up high in your pants and then having a pillow fight in the buff.

The best thing about Gravy Train!!!'s music: it comes up labeled "children's music" in iTunes.


Gravy Train!!! - All The Sweet Stuff : All the Sweet Stuff

Gravy Train!!! - Strip 4 Me : All the Sweet Stuff

and one from their debut:

Gravy Train!!! - Titties Bounce : Hello Doctor

Visit their website, their label Cochon Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Peaches - Tent in Your Pants : Impeach My Bush

The Go! Team - Bottle Rocket : Live at Lollapalooza 8-5-06

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bandwidth Thief

For those of you who have been trying to download songs near the end of the day and haven't been able to, I apologize. I pay for my file sharing service and get a limited amount of bandwidth for all of you nice folks to use to listen to the songs that I share here. Unfortunately, someone else is hot-linking right to my files as well and using up some of the limited bandwidth that I have at my disposal, which results in me running out of bandwidth before the end of the day and you not being able to listen to the songs that you want to.

If one of you reading this post is that person directly linking to my mp3 files, please stop. Like I said above, I pay for the service, and by you directly linking to them, I'm not able to share music with all of the kind people who visit Mainstream Isn't So Bad. If you need help finding a file sharing service (many of which are free), please e-mail me and I'll be more than happy to help you.

In the meantime, for the rest of you kind readers, enjoy the following:

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing (live) : Live at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater 07/23/91 (studio version on Ritual de lo Habitual)

Belly - Thief : Tank Girl soundtrack

Cold War Kids - Robbers
: Robbers & Cowards

The Beastie Boys - Rhymin & Stealin
: Licensed To Ill

Monday, July 16, 2007

Got to send this tape to you...



I was thinking about your face
Rolling up the river
I was worried what you thought
And I'm sorry if I can't remember
But there's no time for crying
Only time for trying now



The Frames - Your Face : Fitzcarraldo

Sunday, July 15, 2007

skin to skin

Kissing Jones Beach, 1981 [Joseph Szabo]

oh my love
you the wave
me the naked island
you go
you go and you come
between me
you go and you come
between me
still i retain myself


i love you





Saturday, July 14, 2007

the Macabre Bryan Scary

In the present days of self-production, the fact that Bryan Scary recorded his debut The Shredding Tears alone in his Brooklyn apartment is nothing to write home about (with the help of Jeremy Black from Apollo Sunshine on drums). What IS impressive about the album is its sound: its grandiose pomposity, an inherit "louder than thou" sound that's a result of the composition, and not shear volume or over the top instrumentation. It's got a piano driven dramatic presence that reminds you of Queen's theatrical rock and the Beatles' story-driven rock (think the White Album: The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill or Rocky Raccoon).

And speaking of theatrics, the band is supposedly incredible in person. I'm planning on finding out myself on August 7th in Boston. Below is a list of tour dates; see if Bryan is coming anywhere near you.


Bryan Scary - A Stab At The Sun : The Shredding Tears

Bryan Scary - Misery Loves Company : The Shredding Tears

Listen to the entire album here.

Visit his website, his label Black and Greene Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

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Queen - Flash's Theme : Flash Gordon Soundtrack

The Beatles - The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill : The White Album

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Tour Dates

Jul 25 2007 8:00P
Grog Shop w/ TIGERCITY Cleveland, Ohio
Jul 26 2007 7:00P
Lager House w/ TIGERCITY Detroit, Michigan
Jul 27 2007 8:00P
Radio Radio w/ TIGERCITY and THE HEDRONS Indianapolis, Indiana
Jul 28 2007 10:00P
The Note Chicago, Illinois
Jul 31 2007 9:00P
Mojo's w/ TIGERCITY Columbia, Missouri
Aug 1 2007 8:00P
Glassworks w/ TIGERCITY Louisville, Kentucky
Aug 4 2007 3:00P
Lobsterpalooza w/ TIGERCITY Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Aug 7 2007 9:00P
Great Scott w/ TIGERCITY Boston, Massachusetts
Aug 8 2007 9:30P
Jammin' Java w/ TIGERCITY Vienna, Virginia
Aug 10 2007 8:00P
Union Pool Brooklyn, New York

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fast Forward to The Class of 3000

Yesterday it was Ocean's Thirteen, today it's a soundtrack of an entirely different sort. Many of you might know Andre 3000 as half of the group OutKast. What most of you might not know is that he is involved with an animated series called Class of 3000 on the Cartoon Network. Now in its second season, Class of 3000 includes Andre 3000 playing the role of Sunny Bridges, a music teacher at the fictional Westley School for the Performing Arts. On July 3rd, the soundtrack for season one was released, and it of course includes Andre 3000, but also the voices of kids/characters from the series. On it are the theme song and thirteen other tracks from season one's episodes. They range from goofy (especially the ones with the kids in them), to jazzy and snazzy (My Mentor), to just plain bizarre (UFO Ninja).

Want to check out the show? Tune into the Cartoon Network Thursdays at 7 PM.


Andre 3000 - UFO Ninja : Class Of 3000 : Music Volume One

Andre 3000 - The Crayon Song : Class Of 3000 : Music Volume One


OutKast - Hey Ya : Speakerboxx/The Love Below



Visit the show's website, OutKast's website, and become Andre's friend on MySpace.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And I thought there were only 4 oceans...

Although there will certainly never be another Rat Pack, their legacy continues to live on. In this case, three times. Back in 2001, director Steven Soderbergh decided to take the classic 1960 movie Ocean's Eleven, re-vamp it, add today's most popular actors, and amazingly it worked, both commercially as well as artistically. Since then, two more sequals have appeared: Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen just last month.

Accompanying the three films are three soundtracks, all supervised by DJ David Holmes, who on previous soundtracks assembled an even mix of some tunes associated with the locations and action in the movie as well as writing some original instrumental pieces. With this third soundtrack, Holmes focuses less on digging for classics (only 4 out of 20 tracks) and more on his own instrumentals (16 short cuts, most under 2 minutes long). His original tracks have got a 70's funk / swinging jazz feel to them that I'm sure fit right into the film's action (I haven't seen it myself yet - waiting to rent it) and will make you instantly feel like a hipster by just listening to them. One of them, , is below for you to sample, as well as Frank Sinatra tipping his hat to Vegas in This Town. Further down are some songs that appeared in the original movie as well as one from the 2001 version of Ocean's Eleven.


David Holmes - Shit!Shit!Shit!
: Ocean's Thirteen Soundtrack

Frank Sinatra - This Town : Ocean's Thirteen Soundtrack


Visit the movie's official site as well as its MySpace page.

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Songs from the original 1960 version of Ocean's Eleven

Dean Martin - Ain't That A Kick In The Head : Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 5: Wild Cool & Swingin

Frank Sinatra - The Tender Trap
: The Capitol Years (Disc 1)
(an instrumental version was in the movie)

Frank Sinatra - Learnin' The Blues : The Capitol Years (Disc 1)
(an instrumental version was in the movie)

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Elvis Presley - A Little Less Conversation : Ocean's Eleven Soundtrack

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Could you love Owen?

The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi

could you love
someone
enough
after all you've had and you've lost?
it's a simple question
i'm only asking 'cause i don't wanna die
alone

could you love
someone
completely?
and yes, by someone
i mean me
spoiled sick like milk you let sit too long
it's a simple question

as i lie awake
waiting for you to lay beside me
i can almost hear
the sad waltzes
of Pietro Crespi

could you love
someone
who does
whatever he wants to do
whenever i want to
it's a simple question
i'm only asking 'cause i
don't wanna die
alone

It's a beautifully hopeful song based on a beautifully tragic novel written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez named 100 Years of Solitude. Pietro Crespi, mentioned in the title and the lyrics, is a character from the book who installs a pianola in the house of two sisters, Rebeca and Amaranta. The two fall in love with him but Pietro responds to Rebeca and the two are engaged to be wed, much to Amaranta's dismay. As is the case in tragic romances, the wedding is put off several times until finally Rebeca falls in love with another man and unexpectedly marries him. Although crushed by this cruel turn of fate, Pietro recovers and begins to court Amaranta. She plays with his affections but then cruelly rejects him when he proposes to her. Unable to deal with the emotional anguish of losing both sisters, Pietro commits suicide.

Much of the rest of At Home With Owen conveys the same intimate tragedy as the story above. It feels like Mike Kinsella (A.K.A. Owen) opens up his heart to the listeners during the eight tracks of the album with a soft touch that feels almost confessional. The album opens with Bad News, availabale below from Owen's Daytrotter session, and also includes his interpretation of Lou Reed's Femme Fatale.


Owen - The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi : At Home with Owen

Owen - Bad News : Daytrotter Session (studio version on At Home with Owen)

Visit his website, his label Polyvinyl Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Introducing...Seth Lakeman (to non-Brits that is)

One would think based on the two digital EPs that Seth Lakeman is releasing, titled Introducing ... Seth Lakeman Vol. 1 (out now) and Introducing ... Seth Lakeman Vol. 2 (out July 24th), that he's a brand new artist trying to break into the music biz. The fact of the matter is that Seth originally made music with his two brothers with whom he first released an album back in 1994, and then released his first solo album back in 2002 in the UK. His second solo album, Kitty Jay, which was recorded for the the hefty sum of approximately $600, received a Mercury prize nomination in 2005. These digital EPs are only preparing the way for an upcoming album in September titled Poor Man's Heaven, the first to be released in the US through Manhattan Records. Here's the line-up for the two EPs:

Introducing… Seth Lakeman Vol. 1 (released June 26)
1. Lady Of The Sea
2. King and Country (single version)
3. The White Hare (acoustic version)

Introducing… Seth Lakeman Vol. 2 (to be released July 24)
1. The Colliers
2. Setting of the Sun
3. Captain’s Court

All but one of the above songs appear in the original forms on Seth's last album, Freedom Fields. The one song that doesn't, Captain's Court, is the B-side on the Lady Of The Sea single. All of which are imports over here in the States, hence the whole "introducing Seth Lakeman" thing.

At first listen, Seth sounds like a neighbor of the musician I posted on yesterday, Fionn Regan. With his fiddle work on Lady of the Sea (available below), Seth gives off some serious Celtic vibes. On the majority of the tracks, the primary instrumentation is acoustic guitar, again much like Fionn, but with a little more pop. For UK listeners, you're probably already familiar with Seth; US listeners, download now, enjoy, and look forward to Seth's first US released album in September.


Seth Lakeman - Lady of the Sea (Hear Her Calling)
: Introducing...Seth Lakeman Vol. 1 (available digitally via iTunes / originally on Freedom Fields)

Seth Lakeman - Setting of the Sun : Introducing...Seth Lakeman Vol. 2 (available digitally via iTunes / originally on Freedom Fields)

and an older one...

Seth Lakeman - Blood Upon Copper : Kitty Jay

Visit his website, his label Manhattan Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sailing with Fionn Regan

Hailing from County Wicklow, Ireland, 26 year old Fionn Regan is ready to make his mark on the musical world. Although he grew up in a household full of music and poetry, The End of History (which will be released July 10th) is Fionn's debut album.

Although I'll probably get some flack for suggesting this, at times on the album Fionn's vocal delivery and style reminds me of a young Irish Bob Dylan. The songs focus on his words, and although there is sparse instrumentation backing him up (primarily acoustic guitar), his lyrics are really the primary focus, sometimes easily gliding along, other times more spoken then sung. And although the album has somewhat of a melancholy mood to it, there are some high points as well. The simplicity in the structure of the songs almost makes me feel Fionn is a darker version of earlier Page France (not necessarily their newest ...And the Family Telephone, which feels more developed. Incidentally, Page France will be offering and iTunes exclusive EP, also available on the 10th, titled Page France and the Bonus Telephone EP). Especially when I listen to Hey Rabbit, which you can also listen to below.

Fionn has this to say about his debut:
“I bought this coat in a thrift store, and inside there was this brown paper envelope, folded over,” he explains. “The only thing written on it was that phrase, you reach certain stations in your life, completing that record marks the end of an era for me. Getting to it wasn’t easy; I’ve said making the album was like building an ocean liner with a butter knife. Your fingerprints are all over it, you learn to use the butter knife to your advantage, and then you have to see if it’s seaworthy.”
So take a listen yourself to see if in fact, the music sinks or floats.


Fionn Regan - Be Good of Be Gone : The End of History
(watch the video)

Fionn Regan - Hey Rabbit : The End of History

Visit his website, his label Lost Highway Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

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Page France - Hat and Rabbit (live)
: Live 03/17/07 in Austin, TX (studio version on ...and the Family Telephone)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Xavier Rudd - connecting with Earth

If I were to award a "Green Album of the Year" award, most likely it would go to Xavier Rudd's fourth release, White Moth. Besides having a beautiful image of a moth on its cover, the album picks up where Australian band Midnight Oil left off in the 80's and 90's.

The album has an incredibly organic feel to it, one might even go so far as to say Earthy crunchy. Besides expressing Rudd's personal relationship with the planet, the album also addresses the treatment of the Indigenous Australians and perpetual land rights issue which has plagued Australia since the first prisoners were sent there in the late 1700's. In fact, just recently, Prime Minister John Howard announced a new campaign to curtail aboriginal rights without consulting the Aborigines what-so-ever (read about it here).

Xavier's music is a reggae tinged Australian folk with Xavier playing most of the instrumentation himself, including the native Australian instrument the didgeridoo (the 50,000-year-old wooden trumpet of the Aborigines). Also present are guest vocals by Australia's aboriginal musical group Yothu Yindi. The combination produces a laid back sound that just sort of grooves through its numbers with no urgency, just enjoyment.


Xavier Rudd - Better People : White Moth

Xavier Rudd - Land Rights : White Moth

Xavier Rudd - No Woman No Cry (Bob Marley Cover) : Solace

Visit his website, his label Anti-Records, and become his friend on MySpace.

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Midnight Oil - Progress : Scream In Blue (Live)

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Catch Xavier Rudd Live

7/19, The Eagles Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
7/20, St. Andrews Hall, Detroit, Michigan
7/21, Lifestyle Communities Pavillion, Columbus, Ohio
7/23, Vogue Theater, Indianapolis, IN
7/24, House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
7/26, Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
7/27, Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
7/28, 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
7/29, 8 X 10, Baltimore, MD
7/31, Pearl Street Ballroom, Northampton, MA

8/1 Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts Mansfield, MA (with The Dave Matthews Band)
8/2 Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts Mansfield, MA
(with The Dave Matthews Band)
8/4 New England Dodge Music Center Hartford, CT
(with The Dave Matthews Band)
8/5 New England Dodge Music Center Hartford, CT
(with The Dave Matthews Band)
8/7 Tweeter Center at the Waterfront Camden, NJ
(with The Dave Matthews Band)