Friday, February 20, 2009

Viva la Vinyl: Whiskeytown's Theme For A Trucker

After setting up and installing my USB record player, the first piece of vinyl I reached for was probably my rarest and most prized piece.

Whiskeytown's Theme For A Trucker Double 7" was released in April of 1997. Personnel included - of course - Ryan and Caitlin, as well as Phil Wandscher, Steve Terry, Bill Ladd, and Chris Stamey. The 7" is comprised of 3 songs that would later see album releases in some form but begins with an otherwise unreleased title-track. A remastered version of each one of these tunes was released with the Deluxe Edition of Stranger's Almanac but just remember that these come straight off an original vinyl pressing - to your ears. The pops and scratches are authentic and provide an unmistakable ambiance. Enjoy.

Theme For A Trucker ~ Vinyl Rip
1. Theme For A Trucker
2. My Heart Is Broken
3. Houses On The Hill
4. The Strip (Dancing With The Women At The Bar

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Digs: The Stones....

Ha. You were thinkin' Mick and Keith Right? Wrong.

Actually it's Angus and Julia, and Stone is this brother-sister duo's last name - which gives them more of a right to be called The Stones than The Stones.....

Anyway, this sibling folk outfit from Sydney, AUS is the most interesting new thing to have hit my ears thus far this year. Angus and Julia split time leading vocals on mainly acoustic tracks with plenty of pleasing musical layers. They emerged on the scene in 2006 with two EP's, Chocolates & Cigarettes and Heart Full of Wine. Those were followed by another EP, The Beast, in 2007. That year, The Stones released their debut LP, A Book Like This, in Australia. In 2008, the duo unveiled two more EP's, Just A Boy, and Hollywood. The US release for A Book Like This is set for sometime this year. If you can judge someone's worth by their prolificacy, these two are doing just fine. Plus, they've recently been added to the 2009 SXSW lineup.

Angus flaunts a smooth, effortless voice that leads the melody in his songs; his guitar adding a wandering ambiance. Julia looks like Keira Knightley without the harsh angles and sounds like a more accessible Joanna Newsom. Together they create a completely unique and fresh sound that adds one more notch to the growing list of amazing talent from Down Under.

I first came to know The Stones thanks to a Rollo & Grady post in which he predicted the two were "going to be huge stars." I couldn't agree more.

from The Beast [EP] (2007)
Just A Boy
from A Book Like This (2007)
Red Berries
Purple Skivvy
from Hollywood [EP] (2008)


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Extra Pepperoni....

Ryan Adams (Lost Highway) released a Valentine's Day EP, Extra Cheese, today available on iTunes for $3.99.


With stacks and stacks of Ryan's unreleased gems, they decide to rehash 5 previously released studio cuts. Oh, but they included one bonus track of a semi-unreleased tune. If you've been coming here for a while, you would've gotten the whole evolutionary story behind Hey There, Mrs. Lovely/These Girls a long time ago. Try to keep up, Lost Highway.

So, today I offer up an alternate version of this love song EP. And this one's completely FREE!

Extra Pepperoni:
1. Two - early version The Elizabethtown Sessions (2005)
2. Blossom - live acoustic version Arlington Theatre (1.21.08)
3. Answering Bell
- alternate version The Suicide Handbook (2001)
4. Evergreen
- extended live version Ambassador Theatre (11.8.08)
5. My Love For You Is Real
- Cowboy Technical Services (2001)
6. Desire
- live version The Paramount Theatre (10.13.08)
7. Hey There, Mrs. Lovely*
- The Destroyer Sessions (2000)

*It sounds like this is the same version as on the iTunes release, but don't tell Lost Highway...

New Felice Brothers Track...

FYI - Head over to SPIN's website to stream one of the tracks from the forthcoming Felice Brothers' Yonder Is The Clock.

'Penn Station' out-energizes anything from last year's album and has the feel of the final track on Tonight at the Arizona - a raucous live version of 'Take This Hammer.'

The rest of the track names definitely keep things interesting - especially #7 'Katie Dear.' I haven't known The Felice Brothers to do too many traditional songs, but if they were going to try one out, this tune (aka Silver Dagger) takes the cake. Here are some previous versions of the song:

Old Crow Medicine Show - The Silver Dagger
from Eutaw (2001)
The Cheiftains with Gillian & Dave - Katie Dear
from Down the Old Plank Road (2002)
Joan Baez - The Silver Dagger
from Bowery Songs (2005)

Still no pre-order links available yet, but I will keep you posted. And as I said, the album will also be pressed on vinyl with a release date set for April 7th. Check out more early '09 releases.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ryan Adams: The Swedish Sessions....

Oh, how I love the internet. If you spend enough time just trolling around, little nuggets of gold can be found. I was under the impression that I had collected, reviewed, and posted all of the studio sessions that helped form Ryan Adams' Demolition, but if you look back at that post, you'll see that one song, 'You Will Always Be The Same' was not credited with a session of birth. That tune was originally recorded in October of 2001 during what would the final studio session needed to complete Demolition.

Ryan took some time during an overseas tour to stop in at Nord Studio AB in Stockholm, Sweden and lay down yet another album's worth of tracks. The Swedish Sessions rival 48 Hours as the best unreleased album in his repertoire. Hell, this one may even go twelve rounds with Heartbreaker. The Swedish Sessions are in fact very reminiscent of that solo debut. When Ryan is plaintive and full acoustic, it's downright heartbreaking. But somehow, he can mix in a screaming harmonica fueled jam in the middle and it just works.

The two lead-off tracks were unfortunately the only survivors from the session. 'For Beth' was later renamed 'Friends' and became the final track on Cold Roses. 'Dear Anne', a song dedicated to Anne Frank, is an obvious standout with Ryan's classic vulnerable yet so emotive soft vocals.

Track 4 busts in the room with a slick groove and even a great joke thrown in the lyrics: "Why'd the boat get drunk? Pier Pressure." Ryan also offers up one of his best attempts at a true blues number with both takes of 'Madeline.' The rising pressure in the song never seems to fully escape, but you gotta give him credit for staying true to the style and not overcooking it.

'Oh, Charles'
, a prison letter ballad drags you right into the dark cell with the narrator. Offering a glint of hope and beginning the ascent back up in the album is 'Come Monday' that leads into a slightly humorous 'Not In Love' showcasing expert fingerpicking. 'Friendly Fire' shows Ryan building to the melodic perfection that was Cold Roses. The Swedish Sessions ends with an acoustic groove as good as 'Choked Up' or 'Monday Night.'

1. You Will Always Be The Same buy Demolition
2. For Beth (aka Friends)
3. Dear Anne
4. Poor Jimmy
5. Madeline I
6. Madeline II
7. Oh, Charles
8. Come Monday
9. Not In Love
10. Friendly Fire
11. Fool For You

Swedish Session ZIP

Check out more Ryan Adams:
show all

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Early '09 Release Forecast....

I figured the best way to get back in the groove of posting was to begin with a little Album Release Forecast. I've had this in mind for a while, but kept putting it off because so many of the expected releases I know of don't have much substantiating evidence. Thanks to MySpace for keeping me in the loop with most of these bands' happenings, but as you can see, there are many details still left to be determined.

February 2009

Dan Auerbach ~ Keep It Hid (2/10/09)

Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach has decided to step away from his rhythm-making partner for a solo album. The tracks I've heard show a style more geared toward the vocals - which are quite smooth - but still as groovy as anything from The Keys.
1. Trouble Weighs a Ton
2. I Want Some More
3. Heartbroken, in Disrepair
4. Because I Should
5. Whispered Words
6. Real Desire
7. When the Night Comes
8. Mean Monsoon
9. Keep It Hid
10. My Last Mistake
Pre-order the Cd/LP here.

Ryan Adams ~ Extra Cheese - Valentines Day EP (2/10/09)

Looks like Lost Highway is gonna suck everything they can out of their contract with Ryan. This rehashing of old love songs from Ryan will only appease those people that actually enjoyed Cardinology. It will only be available through iTunes ($3.99). Stay tuned here and I may just post these tracks before it comes out.
1. Two
. Blossom
3. Answering Bell

4. Evergreen

5. My Love For You is Real

6. Desire

7. Hey There, Mrs. Lovely

March 2009

Justin Townes Earle ~ Midnight At The Movies (3/3/09)

Dropping in March is the new one from JTE. had the pleasure of hearing this album early and wrote up a little review. There will also be a limited edition vinyl version of Midnight At The Movies. Here's the song that I mentioned hearing (and adoring) at his show back in December made available on the Bloodshot Records website.
1. Midnight at the Movies
2. What I Mean To You
3. They Killed John Henry

4. Mama's Eyes

5. Dirty Rag

6. Can't Hardly Wait

7. Black Eyed Suzy

8. Poor Fool

9. Halfway to Jackson

10. Someday I'll Be Forgiven For This

11. Walk Out

12. Here We Go Again

The Roadside Graves ~ My Son's Home

Folk outfit The Roadside Graves' new one is scheduled for a Spring Release on their new label Autumn Tone Records. Although no release date or tracklist has been divulged, more info can be found here.

My Son's Home(Demo)
Far & Wide

April 2009

The Felice Brothers ~ Yonder Is The Clock (4/7/09)

Hoping to make 2009 as big a year as '08 was for them, The Felice Brothers have a new album scheduled for a spring release as well as a slew of tour dates - including some with Old Crow Medicine Show. I'm planning on attending the New Orleans show on February 13th. Here's the tracklist for their upcoming album which will also be available on vinyl:
1. The Big Surprise
2. Penn Station
3. Buried In Ice
4. Chicken Wire
5. Ambulance Man
6. Sailor Song

7. Katie Dear
8. Run Chicken Run
9. All When We Were Youn
10. Boy from Lawrence County

11. Memphis Flu

12. Cooperstown

13. Rise and Shine

Slaid Cleaves ~ Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (4/14/09)

Slaid's last album was released in 2006 and was a covers compilation. I, therefore, have extremely high hopes for the songs that will make up this new one.
1. Cry
2. Hard to Believe
3. Beyond Love
4. Green Mountains and Me
5. Run Jolee Run
6. Dreams
7. Black T Shirt
8. Tumbleweed Stew
9. Twistin'
10. Beautiful Thing
11. Temporary

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers ~ Songs In The Night (4/28/09)

Samantha's first full-length album is one of my most anticipated releases to be mentioned yet. Likewise, she's gaining quite the critical buzz around the net. From the mixture of songs I heard at this show and the ones she did for Daytrotter (which is more than half), Songs In The Night should be a stellar debut.
1. Rising Sun
2. Songs in the Night
3. Long Division
4. Get the Fever Out
5. Bananafish Revolution
6. Scissor Tales
7. Devils In Boston
8. Bullfight (Change Your Mind)
9. Calm Down
10. You Never Know
11. The Dam Song

Other Notes:

Reigning This Mornin'... album champion These United States stated briefly in a MySpace bulletin that they have a new album in the works - no details or release date though.

The Avett Brothers have mentioned that their next full-length release on American (Columbia) Records, produced by Rick Rubin, will see a Summer Release.

Bombadil told us that their next album for Ramseur Records will be produced by Scott Solter.

The Fleet Foxes mentioned today that they have begun preparations for recording their next album - in a rented house in Port Townsend, WA.

Ramsuer Records has reported that The Everybodyfields hope to get a new album out "later this year."

Band of Horses have not given out an album title or release date, but I've heard that they have done some recording at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama as well as Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC.

It's been six years since the last Gillian Welch album, but rumor still has it that there is one due this year.

The Return of a Couple Things....

How've you been?

C'mon... it was just a couple weeks.

You already took me off your RSS reader?!?

Okay, so I have no excuses. Just like anything else, it became easier to put the blog aside with each day that I took off. But with this post, I intend to get back into full posting action (no guarantees here, though). After all the mundane tasks that went into making my year-end lists, some of the fun was sucked out of the music. And, frankly, I'm not going to post when I feel a little less than expired.

Spoon - Back To The Life
from Spoon's Daytrotter Session

In my defense, I have been somewhat pre-occupied in the evenings fixing up the old High School stomping grounds. We spent most of our youthful nights across the street from my current location in a converted garage that housed a pool table and endless amounts of beer.

Now with a friend back in the house, and a few more years under belts, the time has come for a little remodeling. The pool table has been re-felted, the beer boxes have all fallen off the ceiling, and the sound system/music library has received a much-needed overhaul. We wiped clean my old desktop computer, loaded with nothing but iTunes and a few thousand choice musical selections and wired it to a vintage but powerful receiver to pump the room full of aural goodness. Providing the bass in the room are the big speakers from an old ROCK-OLA 45" Jukebox. The ultimate goal is to fill it with record store gems, but until then the original speakers are doing just fine. No home bar in Texas would be complete without a State flag under spotlight and a semi-creepy portrait of The Duke. We also removed the stand from the back of the monitor and mounted it on a swivel so one can DJ from either side of the bar. Going through the uploaded tunes to make brand new playlists has allowed for an eye-opening musical review of the many songs I've picked up over the last couple years.

Whiskeytown - Bar Lights
from The Freightwhaler Demos (1996)

The Replacements - Pool & Dive
from Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? (2006)

Cross Canadian Ragweed - 17
from Purple (2002)

The Belmont isn't complete yet, but the transformation is more than underway. And we've made the decision to never again decorate with cardboard.