Monday, March 31, 2008

Moby and Last Night

"A night out can ideally contain a multitude of experiences, from the celebratory to the despairing to the comforting to the frightening to the conventional to the transcendent. Very simply, to me this record sounds like a night out in New York, with all of the sex and the weirdness and the disorientation and the celebration and the compelling chaos. If you're out some night in NYC, I'm sure we'll run into each other. See, I go out way too much and always have."
-Moby, on Last Night

I can really think of no other techno/electonic artist who has remained on the scene and retained as much visibility as Moby. I can also think of no other techno artist who did more to bring the genre into the mainstream and serve as the face of a throughly impersonal art form. Three years after releasing his last album of new material, Hotel, Moby is back with Last Night.

It's something of a conceptual album as it's supposed to represent an entire night out in the span of roughly 60 minutes. According to Moby, he "wanted to make an album that was a little more playful, a little more reflective of [his] life as it actually is." That being said, the beginning of the album is a total throw-back (in more ways than one). First off, they're total house cuts that will remind you of Moby's earliest work that was straight out of the clubs. Secondly, the second track, I Love to Move In Here (listen below), teams Moby up with truly legendary old school rapper, Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, the man who provided most of the rhymes for hip-hop's first big hit, The Sugarhill Gang's Rappers' Delight.

As you get deeper into the album, the tracks shift from the dance floor to the more sublime, from the physical to the astral. Again, this work also hearkens back to some of his previous ambient work. About the only period of his career that he doesn't return to here is the hard-rock guitar work from Animal Rights. Along with Grandmaster Caz stopping in to add to the album, Nabila Benladghem, a Algerian French (my apologies Nabila!) vocalist graces the seventh track, Hyena (offered below), with her hypnotic voice.

The album comes out tomorrow (April 1st) here in the states. While you're counting down, enjoy the following tracks.




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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Cold Crush Brothers - The Cold Crush Brothers At The Dixie
: Wild Style Soundtrack

Grandmaster Caz - South Bronx Subway Rap : Wild Style Soundtrack

The Sugar Hill Gang - Rapper's Delight : Sugar Hill Gang

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Soul - Let It Happen



don't push away
these arms that long to hold you
don't deny my lips
or the right to touch you
you can't keep on running
pretty soon you got to stop

we got to let it happen
we got to let it happen
let's fall in love, love, love, love, love



James Carr - Let It Happen : Let It Happen 7"

James Carr - A Losing Game : Let It Happen 7" B-side



Friday, March 28, 2008

My Blueberry Nights

"My Blueberry Nights, my first English-language film, is the story of a young woman taking the long way to cross the street to true love. In order to understand how she might travel from one ocean to the other, I took that long journey myself, not once but three times - three different routes from New York to Santa Monica...Mile after mile, the view outside my window and the music from the car stereo synced in unexpected ways to give me my first glimps into the landscape of Elizabeth's heart. These trips not only shaped the story of MBN, but the soundtrack as well."
-Wong Kar Wai, producer


On April 1st, the film My Blueberry Nights will premier and the soundtrack will hit the street. Since I've only listened to the soundtrack, I can only share a few tidbits about the film that I know. First, it stars Norah Jones in her big screen debut (and the soundtrack includes a brand new song from her, The Story, which she wrote specifically for the film and which opens both the movie and the soundtrack) as the film's main character, Elizabeth. Jones/Elizabeth has just gone through a painful break-up and is heading across the country on a soul searching expedition, all the while dealing with her own heartache and inner pain. Having driven cross country myself in search of a change, I can somewhat empathize with that desire.

Even without knowing any details of the movie's plot, the soundtrack itself does a great job of conveying that melancholy longing which seems to define Jones' character. It's got a just-on-the-cusp of tragicness to it, a feeling of being on the edge of tipping into despair. There's a mix of material here, some new (like the Norah Jones track as well an another from Hello Stranger), some from fairly recent releases (two Cat Power tracks and one from Amos Lee), an obligatory soundtrack cover (Cassandra Wilson covering Neil Young's Harvest Moon), some instrumentals (three from Ry Cooder, a harmonica version of Yumeji's Theme from Chikara Tsuzuki, and the Central American flavored Pajaros - all of which give it a Tarantinoesque Kill Bill feel to it), and some classic R&B/soul tracks from Otis Redding, Mavis Staples, and Ruth Brown. Here's the full track listing:

1. Norah Jones - The Story
2. Cat Power - Living Proof
3. Ry Cooder - Ely Nevada
4. Otis Redding - Try A Little Tenderness
5. Ruth Brown - Looking Back
6. Ry Cooder - Long Ride
7. Mavis Staples - Eyes on the Prize
8. Chikara Tsuzuki - Yumeji’s Theme
9. Amos Lee - Skipping Stone
10. Ry Cooder - Bus Ride
11. Cassandra Wilson - Harvest Moon
12. Hello Stranger - Devil’s Highway
13. Gustavo Santaolalla - Pajaros
14. Cat Power - The Greatest

I'd love to tell you that the album ends on an upbeat note, but it doesn't. Looking for something to contemplate your life with? Give this soundtrack a spin.




Visit the soundtrack's MySpace page and the soundtrack's label Blue Note Records.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Be Your Own Pet is BACK!

If you haven't heard yet, Boston Tennessee punk band Be Your Own Pet released their eagerly anticipated (at least by me at the very least) follow up to their self-titled debut last year. It's titled Get Awkward, and you can tell the band has grown up since they hit the scene last year, but by no means would I call it growing pains. Whereas their debut was full of material that the band had perfected while playing for years before getting signed, this new one is full of new tracks that the band has cooked up since. And although I don't think it will ever fully apply to his band until after they retire, I dare say that they've matured since their first outing!

If you heard their first album, Jemina and crew were cranked up to 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. There was an immediate urgency to rock hard, fast, and as loud as possible. Listening to it brought forth images of a sonic tsunami just crushing down on you. It was almost downright scary how much angst was projected from Jemina's voice as she wailed out lyrics. With this new one, although there are some tracks that still convey that desire to be louder than loud, but there are also tracks that you might even describe as melodious (that being a relative term to their previous material!) which are toned down to, oh...say...a 9. Compared to a lot of other music being played out there, it's still at the upper end of the loudness spectrum, but the band isn't just relying on sheer intensity anymore (even though sheer intensity is still there).

While the album came out last week, unfortunately the US release was three tracks short of what the rest of the world will be able to listen to. Lawyers decided that they were "too violent" and the band was given the choice to re-work the songs or remove them. You know how the story ends. Once you listen to the two tracks below, order the album for the criminally insane price of $7.99 from Amazon (brand new), then you can search around though, and you'll be able to find all three deleted tracks to piece the album together as the band wanted it to be.




and one from their last album:

Be Your Own Pet - Wildcat! (Live) : Be Your Own Pet (iTunes only)


Visit their website, their label Ecstatic Peace! Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Rosie Taylor Project

Looking at the group seated around the table above, you'll guess that they're not a bunch of raucous knockabouts. As a group they're known as The Rosie Taylor Project, and listening to their debut album This City Draws Map will only codify that initial assumption. Its eight tracks wistfully glide along sporting delicate and airy instrumentation with nary a hiccup. About the most rousing part of the whole affair are some horns that devilishly sneak in here and there to ease out a few notes before disappearing back beneath the surface. Imagine Camera Obscura in their quieter moments with a male vocalist but even slower and mellower and you'll be in the right neck of the woods.

The album comes out next month on the 21st from fledgling label Bad Sneakers Records. Coincidentally, the album is not only the band's debut release, but it's also the debut release of the label. The album is chock full of beautiful melodies that sweep through your ears as smooth as honey. If the album is any any indication of good things to come, hopefully both the band and the label will be around to put out more tunes.



and one from the first 7" single:




Visit their label Bad Sneakers Records and become their friend on MySpace.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Lemonheads Return

While it's easy to think of the Boston indie scene in the 80's and early 90's as belonging to all the girl bands (Throwing Muses, Belly, The Breeders, etc...), you just can't forget the contributions of Evan Dando and The Lemonheads. The band labored in obscurity for roughly five years until they majorly hit the big scene with the release of their 5th album in 1992, It's a Shame About Ray, which sky-rocketed the band into the public's gaze. Fueled originally by their alt-punk cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson (recorded as publicity for the video release of The Graduate), the album brought the band much critical and popular acclaim. Interestingly enough, the album was originally released without Mrs. Robinson and ended with the twelfth track, Frank Mills (which gives the album's closing notes a completely different feel). I actually never knew that fact until I read the liner notes for the re-released collector's edition, which comes out today.

Another interesting factoid which I didn't previously know about Frank Mills, which happens to be my favorite track on the album, is that it is a cover of a song from the Broadway musical Hair. Expanded liner notes with facts like that alone are enough to convince me to pick up re-issues of classic albums like It's A Shame About Ray. Then, add on ten more bonus tracks: a B-side (Shaky Ground) and nine demos (see the list of additional tracks below). And then then throw a DVD with 45 minutes of videos and live performances that were previously released only on VHS as Two Weeks In Australia, and you've really sealed the deal.

14. "Shaky Ground"
15. "It's A Shame About Ray" - Demo
16. "Rockin Stroll" - Demo
17. "My Drug Buddy" - Demo
18. "Hannah & Gabi" - Demo
19. "Kitchen" - Demo
20. "Bit Part" - Demo
21. "Rudderless" - Demo
22. "Ceiling Fan In My Spoon" - Demo
23. "Confetti" - Demo

Honestly, if you've never heard this album, it's worth every bit of the hype. Don't judge it on the Mrs. Robinson cover alone, as there's much more to it than that. Besides this fabulous re-issue, the band is due to release a long awaited album of brand new material next month.


The Lemonheads - Frank Mills (Hair cover) : It's a Shame About Ray (Collector's Edition)

The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray (Demo) : It's a Shame About Ray (Collector's Edition)


Visit their website, the re-issue's label Rhino Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The Lemonheads - My Hero, Zero : School House Rock! Rocks

The Lemonheads - Stove : This Is Fort Apache

The Lemonheads - Purple Parallelogram (w/Noel Gallagher) : Unreleased

Shelley Plimpton - Frank Mills : Hair - The American Tribal Love Rock Musical (1968 Original Broadway Cast)


Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter basket of EPs

Today, enjoy a collection of EPs: some from older artists, some from new kids on the block (and I don't mean NKOTB)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


The first is from a group that I've written about before almost a year ago back here. At that time, Midnight Movies was releasing their second album Lion the Girl. Earlier this month they released a new EP (titled simply Nights EP) with 6 tracks that make an interesting mix. Starting out the EP is a cover of the Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin (fairly admirably done), and closing the EP is the same song, but sung in French . In addition, there are two tracks from the last album re-interpreted: the album opener Souvenirs remixed by Nick Zinner, and the James Iha remix of Patient Eye that had been floating around previously. To round out the EP are two tracks that were recorded during the Lion the Girl sessions that failed to make the album: Should Have Known and Stormy Eyes. All in all, this is a fine addition to the library, especially if you were a fan of their last album - in fact these tracks feel like they should be added on for a special edition of the album some day.

Midnight Movies - Nights In White Satin (Moody Blues cover) : Nights EP

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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Another band I wrote about previously (back in December), The Terrordactyls, also released their Mike Bowers EP earlier this month. Just like their debut album, this 5 track EP is quick and quirky. All 5 tracks are covers of songs by a Seattle band who they're close friends with (and label-mates), The Pharmacy. They've taken songs that originally feel like garage punk and turned them into songs you feel you could hear in a daycare. Suffice to say, just like with Midnight Movies, if you enjoyed their debut, you'll enjoy this EP as well.

The Terrordactyls - Prince (The Pharmacy cover) : Mike Bowers EP

The Pharmacy - Prince : B.F.F.

Visit their website, their label Don't Stop Believin' Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


The next artist is a new project from Davey La, who used to front the UK quintet Ambershades. He's gathered some mates together to put together a compact 4 track EP titled the Rotten in Denmark EP. It's definitely got that Brit-indie-pop feel to it (think Franz Ferdinand) with an uptempo feel, a very loud and thick instrumental backdrop, and a live track that wraps things up nice and tidy showcasing the bands concert chops. It's out April 15th, so in the meantime, enjoy this song that you won't find on it once you order it.

Davey La - Naked Jesus : Unreleased

Visit his website and become his friend on Myspace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


And now for someone completely new: Boo and Boo Too. They're a five piece hailing from that hotbed of indie music: Lawrence, Kansas. Their music is loud, fuzzy, and swings from 2 to 10 on the drop of a hat. Think The Cure if Robert Smith stopped feeling so bad for himself and started feeling pissed off. The EP is self-titled, and like Davey La's, is a compact 4 track affair.

Boo And Boo Too - Couch on Fire : Boo And Boo Too EP

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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Last, but not least are the New Jerseyites Of Fate and Chance (that's right, music didn't end there with Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi). Whereas Boo and Boo Too turn up the noise and get a little fuzzy and distorted along the way, Of Fate and Chance rock out loud and clear. The group has been friends since Middle School, when they first came together to rock out. The music has a hard-driving quality to it that seems like the perfect soundtrack for rolling down the windows and driving fast once Spring shows up.


Of Fate and Chance - Bravery : An Atlas to Solutions

Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Red Rum, Red Rum!

So they might not be the bloody twins from The Shining, but Romy and Sari Lightman, the two members of Canadian band Ghost Bees, are twins who claim to be telepaths. What brings the Red Rum twins to mind (besides the whole twins thing that is) when listening to Tasseomancy, the Ghost Bees' debut album, is it's haunting eerieness. The strange thing is that they use fairly typical instrumentation, but it's put together in a quietly sparse arrangements. Think Joanna Newsom in stereo, but whereas Joanna makes you think of elfin dances in forest glens, Ghost Bees make the sunlight start to fade, with shadows falling over those flitting faeries.

The album comes out on April 8th north of the border with no announced US release date yet. You can order the import from Amazon (a little pricey though), or you can get it digitally from Zunior.com (it's not listed yet, but keep your eyes open for it).








Visit their label Youth Club Records and become their friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Joanna Newsom - Sawdust & Diamonds : Ys


Friday, March 21, 2008

Leerone

No, her name doesn't rhyme with Zamboni. It's Lee (like the jeans) - rone (with a long O sound - as in rhymes with zone). Leerone. And she's absolutely deadly behind the piano. Her first full length album (she released a debut EP back in 2003) is titled Imaginary Biographies, and it's eleven tracks are piano-rich compositions that remind you that the piano is for more than just classical music and Christmas carols. The comparison that instantly sprung to mind upon first hearing the album was with another woman whose career has blossomed with her straddling a piano bench: Tori Amos.

Leerone's voice just oozes that simmering sensuality which Tori also exudes. It's got a nobility to it that can soar in one instant, yet come back down to Earth and feel infinitely intimate the next. While delivering lyrics a little more down to Earth compared to Tori (although no less thoughtful of meaningful), Leerone's piano fills much of the musical space behind her. Some tracks have additional instrumentation in them, but the piano is always omnipresent, sometimes placing delicate notes here and there (try Happy + Homemade = below), and other times rollicking along (give Share a listen).




Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Tori Amos - Angie (Rolling Stones cover) : Crucify EP

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Body of War

"The songs collected here are the sounds that have helped me and keep me going as I struggle to find the strength to deal with my new physical limitations, while trying to find the energy to fight when many parts of my body and brain are telling me to stop and let the uninjured vets do the work, which I have to admit I have done at times."

-Tomas Young

Tomas Young is the young man in the picture in the wheelchair. He's also an Iraq war veteran who at age 22, joined the U.S. military a few days after 9/11 in the surge of patriotism that swept over the country, hoping to help bring justice to those responsible for that horrendous act. Two years after enlisting, Tomas was deployed to Iraq where, only five days after arriving, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. By now hopefully it doesn't need to be pointed out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Now entering its fifth year, the war has claimed close to 4,000 American lives and has wounded somewhere near 30,000, one of whom being Tomas Young (check here for the statistics). Released last year, the documentary Body of War tells Tomas' story: what it has been like for him coming home and dealing with the seemingly inexhaustible challenges, both mental and physical, that he faces as a result of what has happened to him in Iraq. Released in tandem with the movie is the soundtrack of the same name. It contains thirty tracks picked by Tomas himself, gathered from diverse artists, from diverse genres, from diverse record labels, all coming together to take a stand on an issue they feel strongly about.

There are some big name artists here such as Eddie Vedder, Rage Against the Machine, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young lending tracks and their clout. There are also some indie darlings like Bright Eyes, Kimya Dawson, Lupe Fiasco. There might even be a few artists that you're not familiar with represented: Brendan James, Blow Up Hollywood, John Lennon (OK, maybe not the last one). Some are inspirational, some tragic, many political. As can be expected in a collection of thirty tracks, there will be a few that you will skip past, but as a whole, there's a whole lot to enjoy here. Check out the track listing for the 2 CDs below.

CD 1
“Hero's Song” - Brendan James
“American Terrorist” - Lupe Fiasco
“Light Up Ya Lighter” - Michael Franti & Spearhead
“Guerilla Radio” - Rage Against The Machine
“Son Of A Bush” - Public Enemy
“Empty Walls” - Serj Tankian
“Let Them Eat War” - Bad Religion
“White People For Peace” - Against Me!
“Letter From Iraq” - Bouncing Souls
“War” - Dilated Peoples
“Overcome (The Recapitulation)” - RX Bandits
“Fields Of Agony” - No Use For A Name
“Bushonomics” - Talib Kweli & Cornel West
“The 4th Branch - Immortal Technique
“B.Y.O.B.” - System Of A Down
“No More” (Live) - Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper

CD 2
“Devils & Dust” - Bruce Springsteen
"Masters Of War” (Live) - Pearl Jam
“When The President Talks To God” - Bright Eyes
“Gimme Some Truth” - John Lennon
“The Restless Consumer” - Neil Young
“Battle Hymns” - The Nightwatchman
“Anthrax” - Kimya Dawson
“WMD” - Blow Up Hollywood
“State Of The Union” - David Ford
“Yo George” - Tori Amos
“Love Vigilantes” - Laura Cantrell
“Black Rain” - Ben Harper
“To Kill The Child” - Roger Waters
“Day After Tomorrow” - Tom Waits

What might be the best thing about the album is that all proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Iraq Veterans Against the War. Buy it now to support these veterans that have given so much yet now are ignored by the government they served. And if nothing else, it's the largest collection of songs that contain the lyrics "weapons of mass destruction" I'm sure you'll ever find assembled!







Visit the official site for the movie and the music.
Go to the Official YouTube Channel page to see video.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ledisi - Diva in Training

Ella Fitzgerald. Sarah Vaughan. Nina Simone. I could listen to them all day, every day. Talk about true divas. You would be hard pressed to find a female vocalist today that lives up to that crowd. Ledisi would like to change that. Haven't heard of her? Neither had I until I spun a copy of her latest album, her third, titled Lost & Found. Considering the fact that she had been releasing her previous work on her own label, that's hardly a surprise, but with jazz giant Verve Records signing her, her underground status is sure to change. The album was nominated for a Grammy, and unlike the album it lost to: Chaka Khan's Funk This (a collection of re-workings of older songs), it's full of original material that spans the broad R&B spectrum.

It's got tracks that slow-cook (Joy and You and Me) , tracks that simmer (the opener Been Here and Best Friend - easily my favorite track on the album, listen below), and tracks that lightly touch on hip-hop (Think Of You). It's got a hint of that old-fashioned soul she's learned from those great vocalists before her blended with a contemporary urban R&B feel. In some ways the album reminds me of another vocalist's album I've really been enjoying and recently wrote about - Angie Stone's The Art Of Love & War (who coincidentally was also nominated for a Grammy for her song Baby and ALSO lost to Chaka Khan!, read my review here) - but whereas Angie draws upon a more heavily beat driven hip-hop influence, Ledisi feels a little more focused on the smoother groove.

And speaking of Ella Fitzgerald, check out the video below of Ledisi performing on a PBS tribute special to Ella. In it, Ledisi performs a cover of Ella's song Blues in the Night.



I've really been enjoying this album for the last few weeks and have found myself coming back to it over and over again. If you have a single R&B bone on your body, please do yourself a favor and check this album out.




Visit her website, her label Verve Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Livin' la vida Gato

Australian superstars The Cat Empire are hoping to break into the States with their third release, So Many Nights, set to hit shelves in the U.S. (physically and digitally) next month. The group is huge in their home country, as well as around the world, and they've played big-time shows at Glastonbury and Bonnaroo, which might lead you to ask why they don't have a bigger rep here in the States.

The album picks up where their last album left off - at times it's got an R&B edge on it that shifts from brassy horns boisterously engaged in the Latin laced Fishies (think Ricky Martin, but good) to more subtle tracks like the slower tempod funk of Lonely Moon. In between, be prepared for lots of horns. In some tracks they're front and center, in others they're pacing the perimeter. You might jump to the assumption that their sound is Ska-like, and in some places it gets pretty close, but it is more likely to exude a little more authentic Caribbean feel to it. Bottom line is that the horns really are central to what The Cat Empire is doing.

Check out this video, in which the band talks about making the album.


The album comes out in a little over a month on April 22nd. While you're waiting, enjoy the following tracks:

Stream The Cat Empire - Fishies : So Many Nights

The Cat Empire - Lonely Moon : So Many Nights

and one from their last album:

The Cat Empire - Two Shoes : Two Shoes


Visit their website, their label Velour Music, and become their friend on MySpace.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Slainte!


"I don't know if most Irishmen realize how thankful they should be to Mother England. I know four of them who do - Tommy Makem and The Clancys. We make a nice living out of singing Irish rebel songs, drinking songs, and laments of one sort or another. Without England on our backs, they would never have been made. The rebel songs, of course, come from a 700-year struggle to shake off John Bull's benevolence, the laments from all the times we were beaten down and, needless to say, a drink is always needed to raise the heart in troubled times."

-Liam Clancy, of The Clancy Brothers



Strummin' along with Richard Julian

Richard Julian has been kickin' around for a decade or so, although he hasn't garnered the attention that he deserves, which is a shame because in the heavily populated land of folksy singers/songwriters, Richard really belongs in the forefront. Although you might not recognize his name, he was/is a member, along with Norah Jones, of The Little Willies, who released an album of classic country covers along with some original material back in 2006.

This last month, he released Sunday Morning In Saturday's Shoes, his fifth solo album. Don't expect anything revolutionary here; it's an album of very solid sounding and well written material. It's delivery is where the magic happens. At times it roils, other times it rollicks, and yet underlying it's apparent carefree vaudeville manner there's a sense of melancholy (listen to If You Stay below to see what I mean), an attempt to deal with an imperfect world, a weariness that Richard's voice conveys that belies the upbeat tone. It's almost as if he's trying to trick himself into thinking that everything is right in the world. Accompanying this lassitude are bluesy folksy riffs that roll along at a cantering pace. Backing him up is a simple trio that provides just enough of a foundation for the album's eleven tracks

My personal favorite track on the album is one of its quietest: A Thousand Days. Take a look at the opening lyrics while listening to it below:
i remember the way the window
barely let the morning
into the attic apartment she rented
i remember
the deep south and the mild december
the ornaments adorning
the yellowing lawn as the evening ended
and we befriended
i remember
a sadness in her laughter
but the madness that came raging after
it struck without warning
and it burned through a thousand days and a dozen seasons
now a thousand days and a dozen seasons are gone
The rest of the album is just as good, so listen to the following and then consider buying the entire thing for yourself (buy a physical copy and you'll get a whole slew of cocktail recipes with the liner notes that go along with the tracks), and then check the tour dates at the bottom to see if he's coming anywhere near you.


Richard Julian - If You Stay : Sunday Morning in Saturday's Shoes

Richard Julian - A Thousand Days : Sunday Morning in Saturday's Shoes

and an older one:

Richard Julian - Please Rene, Not Now : Good Life


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

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Tour Dates

17-Mar San Francisco, CA Yoshi's
19-Mar Monterey, Ca Monterey Live
20-Mar Eugene, OR Cozmic Pizza
21-Mar Portland, OR MS Studios
22-Mar Bellingham, WA Acoustic Tavern
25-Mar Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
26-Mar Toronto, ON Courthouse
27-Mar Rochester, NY Water Street Music
2-Apr Durham, NH Mill Pond Center for the Arts
3-Apr Northwood, NH Lake Shore Farm
12-Apr Easton, MD Coffee East
13-Apr Philadelphia, PA Tin Angel


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Soul - Just a crumb...



I thought you loved me
and you wanted to be my bride
like the crumb from the table
you swept poor me aside

I'm just a crumb in your bread box of love...



Ted Taylor - (I'm Just A Crumb In Your) Bread Box : (I'm Just A Crumb In Your) Bread Box 7"

Ted Taylor - Houston Town : (I'm Just A Crumb In Your) Bread Box 7" B-side

Get both, along with all of his other singles with Ronn Records,
on Ever Wonderful.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hanne Hukkelberg

Earlier this month, Norwegian singer Hanne Hukkelberg released her sophomore album, Rykestrasse 68 on her new label Nettwerk. In some ways, Hanne reminds me of Icelandic singer Bjork, with her distinctive elfin vocals that effortlessly hovers in whispers at one momemt and then soars with strength and authority in the next. She started singing and playing instruements at age 3, and her natural ease is evident. Behind her are instruments just as striking, ranging from the more typical: vibes, glockenspiel, theremin, strings, to the more unique: typewriter keys click-clacking away, cats purring, kitchen utensils, and spinning bicycle wheels.

The album has a sparse smokey jazz feel to it at times that befits a dark lunge but which evolves out and soars into atmospheric orchestratic arrangements that transcend four walls and seek to fly free. Hanne took a minute to explain the story behind the album's second track, A Cheater's Armoury.
"This song was the song that was the most fun to write and was the hardest to record. I composed it in Berlin and it was pretty spontaneous, but back then it was a song way too groovy to suit the rest of the songs, it was actually not a very serious song, was just made for fun. But it was too cool to throw away so I had a huge job working with the lyrics and the music. The producer and I used way too much time on this song, but it got very nice in the end, and I was very glad having Andreas Paleologos to make me a very beautiful animation video for the song."
Another stand out track on the album is a hauntingly striking cover of an old Pixies' song, Break My Body. You can listen to both below to sample Hanne's range.



(watch the video)

and one from her first album:



Visit her website, her label Nettwerk Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The Pixies - Break My Body : Surfer Rosa


Thursday, March 13, 2008

We will not retreat!

"This negative energy just makes me stronger,
we will not retreat...this band is unstoppable!"
-Cliff Poncier, lead singer of Citizen Dick

I simply love the movie Singles. That being said, when I heard the above quote sampled in 65DaysOfStatic's track Retreat! Retreat!, I felt it was a sign that I just had to share it. So here it is, regardless of your negative energy.



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


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Singing like a Canary

I'm going to confess some geographic ignorance here. I really know just a smidge bit more than nothing about the Canary Islands. Here's the depth of my knowledge: they're located off the coast of Africa. That's it in a nutshell. Strike that, I now know something else about the Canary Islands: it's where musician Norma Wilow lives.

Norma fronted a Britpop band in the 90's named Tiny Monroe that I know about as much about as the Canary Islands. Thankfully they don't play an important part in this story. Norma parted ways with them, moved to the above mentioned Canary Islands, and started making music of a different vein. The Cyber Cafe, her third album, features her, her, and also her (and a guest guitarist on one of the tracks). It was recorded in her home studio with basic equipment which while readily apparent, does not detract from the album as a whole. It's a thoroughly acoustic set, fairly upbeat in tempo, laying the foundation for Norma's warm mature vocals.

Try the following two tracks and then head to Norma's website to hear a few more and order some for yourself.


Norma Wilow - The Edge of the World : The Cyber Cafe

Norma Wilow - Persuasion : The Cyber Cafe



Visit her website.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Alan Cohen Experience

No, that's not Alan in the picture there to the left, it's just the physical manifestation of his musical creational ability, which manifests itself audibly in The Alan Cohen Experience. Alan is not new to the musical scene, but he just released his debut solo album, Revolutions, last month.

The album starts and ends with different versions of the title track. Packed in the middle are eight tracks that are not only enjoyable, but entirely too educational. Imagine a beat poet inspired by the offbeat instrumentation of They Might Be Giants with the informativeness of a School House Rock! song and you'll start to imagine what Alan Cohen has in store for you. The album is aptly titled as you'll hear about such figures as Nelson Mandela (offered below), Che Guevara (hear the iconic Che's song below), Fidel Castro, and Ned Ludd (in a reinterpretation of a historic folk ballad which was also once covered by Chumbawamba), and historical events such as the French, Industrial, and Digital Revolutions. More historical information hasn't been brought together since Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire.

Although at times some of the lines feel a little forced, one can't expect Alan to rewrite history just for a jingle. You can buy a physical copy of the album through CD Baby or you can download the entire album for free at his website. Listen, learn, enjoy.




Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

They Might Be Giants - (She Was A) Hotel Detective [Single Mix] : Miscellaneous T: B Side / Remix Compilation

Moby - Verb: That's What's Happening : School House Rock! Rocks

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire : 12 Gardens Live

Monday, March 10, 2008

Apply some Local Anesthetic

In 1981, Denver’s Wax Trax Records co-owner Duane Davis formed the in-store label Local Anesthetic and released the debut single by Denver band Gluons featuring part-time Colorado resident Allen Ginsberg on vocals. With the fuse lit, Anesthetic would go on to release some of the most thrashingly good punk and hardcore music of the early 80's (while being the only lasting independent label in Colorado). And now, over 20 years later, Smooch Records has collected all of Anesthetic's rare 7" releases, as well as a few other Denver area punk band recordings, for a total of 33 tracks that fire off like a machine gun with their power and intensity.

While all the tracks would fall under the broad genre of punk, that's not to say it's that same sound repeated 33 times. There's a wealth of style here from a wide range of bands including Frantix (whose song My Dad's a Fucking Alcoholic was the biggest hit of the label and is included on the disc), White Trash (listen to Wake Up below), Bum Kon, the before-mentioned Gluons with Allen Ginsberg, Jeri Rossi (including a sick cover of James Brown's It's a Man's Man's Man's World), and several others. It's raw, sometimes unshaped sound that can overwhelm your senses. The album came out last month, so lace up your combat boots and get ready to pogo.




Visit Smooch Records, the kind folks responsible for bringing you this mayhem.