Friday, October 31, 2008

Ryan Adams: Halloween.....

i'm gonna jump a little out of order here in my Ryan Adams Spotlight - for date relevance's sake and to offer up a little treat for Halloween.

The last solo project Ryan did before his last solo project
29 (ET... whatever, the cardinals played) was this Halloween Promo EP.

Released in July of 2004, the sampler includes some great tracks that show Ryan's progression from the introspective self-medication of Love Is Hell into the type of sound The Cardinals would soon be creating.

1. Halloween

Halloween was also included as a bonus track on the UK Release of Love Is Hell, Vol. 1 in late '03. As a throwback to Gold-era Ryan, and completely disparate from most of Love Is Hell, the song offers up a positive tone as Ryan sings "it's okay, man, she's got friends. Cause we are here to help you sing your song." This hopeful little tune is perfectly augmented with a chipper, high-end piano run throughout.

2. Closer When She Goes

Simple lyrically and musically, Closer When She Goes seems as much like a filler song here as it did a month before on the This Is It Single. This one didn't make an album for a reason - failed relationship regurgitation.

3. Funeral Marching

Because the title track is deceptive in its intentions, Ryan completes the promo with a rockin' fatalistic tune.

"Oh, what's the use in trying?
Thick as thieves and packs of lies
Marching to the palaces of night.

All my life I've looked for something.
All my seas are drops of rain
Drunk as sailors drinking from your hand.
Now, you're swingin' like a funeral march in June.
And it's way past July."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"i could smell the summer dust burning in the vents"

Drew Womack – Leaving October
buy Drew Womack (2004)

Fired up the 'ol heater for the first time this year.

Don't Look At Me, Try These Folks....


i've been both a little uninspired and busy with work (yes, i have a job). Nothing new has hit my ears lately, but i have been sorting through all my '08 discs, giving them a full spin, and doing some preliminary ordering.
i started doing those 'one liner' posts 1) to feature some of my photography and 2) to help me through moments of idea-lessness. Today, i will start another post to help when i've got nothing to say - one that nearly everyone else does - a blog roundup:
  • Nelson from A Fifty Cent Lighter... posted on his Top Five Most Played Songs in iTunes. Very interesting concept that uses one of the many amazing features of the program. i made a comment and gave mine - if any of you out there use iTunes, drop by and give him your list. He also added another disc to his Essential Albums - one that i only recently got into but am really enjoying.
  • Daytrotter's got a bunch of new live sets since i last talked about 'em - including one from The Punch Brothers, Chris Thile's astute bluegrass band that i got to see in Austin a few weeks ago. These United States stopped by for their second session a while back, too.
  • Many of my daily reads are reporting some frightful news. It seems that mp3 bloggers are receiving an increased number of take down notices from copyright holders. When Blogger receives this alert, often they will completely delete the posts in question without notifying the author, totally undermining each blog's sampling/song removal policies. Paul from Setting The Woods on Fire has actually suspended his writing/posting efforts until this all clears up - sadly, just after his 1 year aniversary post. Fortunately, nothing of the sort has happened at This Mornin'... but keep your fingers crossed.
  • Star Maker Machine, despite a couple of the aforementioned post removals, is still inspiring great music. Last week, the theme was simple but fruitful: we posted songs whose titles were made up of an Adjective Noun combo. This weeks is a festive Halloween theme.
  • The Tuning Room has joined the Kasey Chambers bandwagon.
  • Keeping it fresh nearly every day, Rollo & Grady continues to offer up rare Whiskeytown & Stones, blues, and live stuff.
  • Go here and get Todd Snider's new one, Peace Queer, FOR FREE for the next 3 days. Todd's never been one to conform, and this album is another example of that. It's a sparse, short collection (8 tracks - one spoken, one instrumental, and then the spoken one made into a song) highlighted by Patty Griffin's strong presence on 2 tracks.

It wouldn't be right if i posted something on this Tuesday without mentioning a certain new release. My Cardinology vinyl should be here any minute, but sadly, i'm not utterly excited. i streamed the album two times through and it's decent - and that may be a little nice. Hopefully it will unfold a little on me with time and patience, but initially it seems to be in the same vein as Easy Tiger. However, i refuse to offer up too much critisism until i actually hold the thing and hear it in all its fidelity. Luckily, i'll only have to wait another month before i get my next piece of Ryan Adams paraphenalia - the pre-order of Infinity Blues will ship before Christmas.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cover/Uncovered: Obscure Covers....

Bands have been reaching outside of their influence bag to find those not-so-normal cover songs for quite a while. In the 90's The Gourds covered Snoop's Gin & Juice, Alien Ant Farm went MJ on us with Smooth Criminal, and and Dynamite Hack paid tribute the original gangsta Eazy E with their mellow version of Boyz In The Hood.

Here's a semi-new batch of obscure covers - originals are not included this time since pop music is evil and contagious.

Deer Tick - Beautiful Girls (Sean Kingston)
i love that John noticed the Doo-Wop undertones in this song an expanded on them - even breaking into Stand By Me at the end.

The Kooks - All That She Wants (Ace of Base)
buy Radio 1 Established 1967 (2007)
A perfect fit for these guys.

Nickel Creek - Toxic (Britney Spears)

Simply amazing musicianship/showmanship.
Forgive the quality - it's a youtube rip. Check it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In The Toolbox: Dublin Blues (1995)

Often, the greatest measure of an artist's wealth is how their peers speak of them. Strangely enough, those that are most admired by others in the music community tend not be be widely popular. For songwriters in particular, having their work covered by those in the business who are 'bigger names' may be the the extent of the fame they'll receive. Guy Clark has had his songs re-interpreted by the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Jimmy Buffett, Brad Paisley, and Emmylou Harris. But the general public - even those that claim to be country music fans - couldn't tell you who Guy is.

Guy spent much of his young life runnin' around with Townes Van Zandt and various Texas music-makers (Check out To Live's To Fly - a Townes Van Zandt biography with plenty of first hand anecdotes from Guy). He says he obtained much of his songwriting inspiration from Townes, watching how he imagined and formulated songs. Guy released his debut Old No. 1 in 1975 on RCA. The album contained a couple tunes that would become veritable anthems in the 70's Texas Music scene. Desperados Waiting For a Train is a wrenching tale of an old oil-man who's seen "seventy years of livin." On the other side of the emotional spectrum lies L.A. Freeway, whose climbing melodies evoke a nervous anticipation to change one's surroundings.

i'll admit, there's a lot of Guy's work from the 70's and 80's i know nothing about. But in my opinion, you only need one disc to size up Guy Clark:

Guy Clark - Dublin Blues
Asylum (1995)

He couldn't have picked a better title-track and lead song if it had come to him in a dream. The album starts with one of the most elegant pieces of music Clark has written and includes what "might be the coolest lick [he] ever learned." Guy is so rich with emotion he doesn't even have to form words to get his feelings across. The simple "mmm-mmm" that codas the first line in each verse tells you all you need to know.
Dublin Blues

In an homage to one of his proteges Rodney Crowell, Stuff That Works speaks of the simple pleasures in life and is a perfect portayal of Guy's durability through both his resistance to change and his sage wisdom.
Stuff That Works

In Hank Williams Said It Best, Guy is simply showing off. Eight verses full of inventive turns of the cliche One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Hank Williams Said It Best

Clark enlisted the help of songwriter/guitarist/friend Darrell Scott for much of the guitar work on the album. But Guy is no slouch on the instrument. The acoustic work on Dublin Blues, Stuff That Works, and Baby Took a Limo to Memphis is something to marvel at. Clark dabbles in carpentry and often plays self-made guitars. In nearly every interview i've seen of him, Guy is in his workshop - with tequila and smokes never out of reach. Many of his stories of the shenanigans he and Townes got into sound like jokes long passed around. Guy Clark is the storyteller variety of a songwriter. He's got that voice that stops all other conversations in the room. In The Randall Knife Guy bares his worn soul like never before - and he simply speaks the words. Imagine hearing this song on a quiet night in Luckenbach.
The Randall Knife

Buy Dublin Blues

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Playlist Pulse: Pianoforte....

1. Iron & Wine – The Devil Never Sleeps
buy The Shepherd’s Dog (2007)
2. Whiskeytown – Mirror, Mirror
buy Pneumonia (2001)
3. The Felice Brothers – Love Me Tenderly
buy The Felice Brothers (2008)
4. The Raconteurs – You Don’t Understand Me
buy Consolers of the Lonely (2008)
5. The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend The Night Together
buy Between The Buttons (1967)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"someday i'm gonna get it straight, or somebody's gonna straighten me out..."

Mike McClure Band – Skies Are Turning Red
buy Everything Upside Down (2004)

19 tracks of Red Dirt Goodness. Just Buy It.

"i got poison, i just might bite you..."

Townes Van Zandt - Snake Song
buy Flyin’ Shoes (1978)

It's sad how little i've talked about Townes here.
i'll try to change that in the near future.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Digs: Folk Women.........

If you would've asked me two years ago if i liked music from females, my short answer would have been no. And then i would have gone into a "but, i kinda like...." consisting of a few songs here and there. i don't know who to credit with opening my eyes to the beauty of female crooners (most likely Kasey Chambers...), but sometime over the last couple years i've come to enjoy more and more music from women. It's gotten to the point now where the gender of the artist doesn't matter one bit - as long as the music is good. And the simple reason that my library consists mostly of guys is that female artists are a serious minority in the type of music i tend to like. But those that are here.... are real good.

Gillian Welch and Patty Griffin have done more for contemporary folk music than most men have. They prove that women can help drive an entire scene - and not just supply some sweet vocals. Kasey Chambers has shown that success doesn't mean you have to forgo your musical values (at least not Down Under). And then there's the power of many with folk groups like The Be Good Tanyas, The Wailin' Jennys, and The Waifs. Feist, Cat Power, and Birdie Busch are bringing more of an indie edge into the female folk scene. Groups like The Greencards, The Gougers, and The Everybodyfields split time between male and female voices only to bring in more variety and sweet accompaniment. Samantha Crain, Sharon Van Etten, and Allison Francis are part of a slew of new young women that will keep the scene moving in the right direction.

I still have a few reservations, though. i tend not to discriminate upon the basis of gender once i hear a song, but the chances of me downloading or sampling a song from someone i haven't heard drops slightly in the case of females. i can't tell you why.... maybe it's that those women that i do listen to have a certain reputation that precedes them - so i know what i'm getting myself into. That's why it's taken me a while to get into these next two artists.

i could make a loooong post out of this, but i wanna get to the music. The two female artists i'm highlighting today have no shortage of good praise around the blogosphere, nor are they the newest acts around, but like i said - it takes an extra push to get me to try out new women - uh, musically. A trick that helps is this situation - as well as in life in general - is to judge someone by the company they keep.

Jenny Lewis, aside from being the former front-woman of the indie-pop group Rilo Kiley, has toured some with Ryan Adams & The Cardinals. After much success with her band as well as contributing vocals on various indie acts such as The Postal Service, Jenny was urged by Conor Oberst to make an album for his newly formed label Team Love. She enlisted the help of The Watson Twins to record Rabbit Fur Coat in 2005. In '07 Rilo Kiley recorded their last and most acclaimed record Under The Blacklight. Just last month, Jenny released her first completely solo album, Acid Tongue, and it's her best work yet. On top of pop-rhythms and jazzy pianos sits Jenny's sultry vocals that could fit right in with the likes of Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris.

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins – Rise Up With Fists
buy Rabbit Fur Coat (2005)
Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
buy Acid Tongue (2008)
Jenny Lewis – The Next Messiah
buy Acid Tongue (2008)

If Jenny lo
oks familiar in another way, she started her career as an actress - at the age of 10. Most notably, she starred in Troop Beverly Hills - a film i'm only aware of thanks to my older sister.

The newest artist to be added to the growing list of Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) side projects is Ohio folkster Jessica Lea Mayfield. This 18-year old has played shows with The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys, and likewise young newcomer Samantha Crain. Her debut album With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt is a bluesy folk disc filled with foreboding lyrics the likes of Neko Case. The songs send a chill through you that is somehow comforting - and very reminiscent of the slower songs that The Black Keys have put out.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again
buy With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt (2008)
Jessica Lea Mayfield – We’ve Never Lied
buy With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt (2008)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fiction Sounds Good.......

Time again for one of my sporadic movie/soundtrack posts.

Just finished watching Stranger Than Fiction, and i like. Will Farrell toes the line between humor and oddity better in this film than his other 'dramedies.' This was a movie that i hadn't been dying to see, by any means, but i'm glad that a rainy Monday night allowed me to do so. With a guest list of folks like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, the movie has promise from the start. Thematically, it's witty and original - Will plays a remarkably boring/borderline OCD IRS agent whose life inadvertently becomes the subject of a novel written by Emma Thompson's character. In turn, the pages of the novel begin to control Will's own fate and change his lifestyle. You've at least seen the trailer, so i shall not go on.

But we all know the reason why you're here, so let's get to it....

The songs in the film, expertly placed between Thompson's narration and impressively relevant to the movie, are superb. Britt Daniel (above) of Spoon collaborated with soundtrack veteran Brian Reitzell to create half original score/half amazing soundtrack. The tracks that weren't written for the film are made up of a few Spoon songs and a handful of relatively unknown (at least to me) post punk tunes. The movie is somewhat dark, and the contrast between that and the upbeat, sanguine nature of Punk music somehow works perfectly. Hearing Britt's work placed next to this style of music reveals obvious influences i may not have noticed otherwise. i've always thought that Spoon fits the elemental mold of indie-rock, but now i'm starting to see something seep out of the edges. The highlight track is from Wreckless Eric - sounds like a grunge Donovan - Will Farrell gives us an impromptu acoustic version in the movie (see below). This Monday movie night has just presented me with a few new bands to look into.

Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World

Maximo - Going Missing
Califone - Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy)
Spoon - The Way We Get By
Spoon - The Book I Write

Buy the Soundtrack

Buy the Movie

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Star Maker Theme 9/28-10/4

Go check out the past week's posts over at Star Maker Machine.

The theme, Blog Names, features songs used in the titles of different music blogs from around the web, but has become more of a "check out this great blog" thread. The SMM contributors, myself included, have simply praised some of our favorite music-related reads for the last 7 days. If you've been looking for something new to add to your readers, you've found it.

i did a write up on The Late Greats and No Depression.

As a thank you to Boyhowdy for writing a very generous piece on This Mornin'... i want to tell everyone to go check out his blog, Cover Lay Down. It strictly highlights covers - centered around the folk world - and is written with as fresh a perspective as many of the cover songs themselves. Whenever i read something from Boyhowdy, i feel as though i form sentences like a 3rd grader - the dude writes well.

Jon and Roy - Thanks For That
buy Another Noon (2008)

Kimya Dawson - So Nice, So Smart
buy Juno - Music from the Motion Picture (2007)

Friday, October 3, 2008

No Show......

i didn't take that picture.
But i could have.
Like... five minutes ago.

That is, if The Kooks hadn't have canceled their show in Houston tonight. Although i only bought my tickets 2 days ago, i was hugely pumped to see that show. And just before i was to leave town and head for Houston, across the wire came the news. Some sort of illness. Shit.

So here i am.
In front of the computer instead.
Whiskey & soda.

i don't get to catch many shows as it is in these parts. Especially not folks like The Kooks. i was ready to have my face melted by the hottest thing to come out of Britain since fish n' chips.

i'm gonna continue to vent here....

Just 3 weeks ago, i was in Austin and hours away from seeing Kasey Chambers (who came even further than Luke Pritchard and band). Until my craigslist ticket connection backed out on me.

So there goes two chances to see great music that won't happen again for quite a while.

But alas, disaster-barring, i WILL see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals in Austin in 13 short days. There is hope, folks.

That is all.

The Kooks - If Only
buy Inside In/Inside Out (2006)

Kasey Chambers - Guilty As Sin
buy Wayward Angel (2004)

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - NY, NY (punk version)

Ryan Adams: Pinkheart Sessions (2)

Here's the second of the two Pinkheart Sessions.

This time The Pinkhearts were: Ryan Adams, Billy Mercer, Brad Rice, & Brad Pemberton. The session took place in July of 2001 at Javelina Studios in Nashville and was produced by Dave Domanich. The tracks here that also appeared on the first session are slightly more produced - with things like saxes added. This session saw the completion of the tracks that would make up Demolition. But like the first, much of it is wild and very unfocused - it seems Ryan and Brad Rice may have had a few solo battles.

A narrative of any given Saturday on the town with the Pinkhearts - Saturday Night, and a very groovy tribute to a man who simply cannot be killed by conventional weapons - Song For Keith.

1. Blowin' The Coup (instrumental)
2. Blue and Shy
3. Ca
ndy Doll
4. Down At The Movies
5. Fuck It ... I Broke Your Cat
6. Gimme A Sign
7. Interstellar Collider
8. Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)
9. Mega-Su
perior Gold
10. My Baby's Going Home (aka Tomorrow)
11. Nuclear
12. On My Way (instrumental)
13. I Took Your Puppies To A Race Car Track
14. Saturday Night
15. Song For Keith
16. Starting To Hurt
17. Tennessee Sucks

"It's hard to have a fight in a tent. How do you show your anger?
You can't slap the flap...
What do you do, zipper it up really quick?"

Check out more Ryan Adams:
show all