Friday, June 26, 2009

Avett Brothers New Single

So I really wanted to wait to post this until I found the album art, seeing as that's the only lacking bit of album detail, but I just couldn't wait anymore. All the goodies found here have been posted all around the blog world already, but in case (nice, huh?) is the only one you read, I figured I'd re-hash the info here.

The Avett Brothers' 2009 album, I And Love And You, won't be available until September 29, but the guys have unleashed upon us the tracklist as well as a sneak peek at the title track.

1. I and Love and You
2. January Wedding
3. Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise
4. And it Spread
5. The Perfect Space
6. Ten Thousand Words
7. Kick Drum Heart
8. Laundry Room
9. Ill with Want
10. Tin Man
11. Slight Figure of Speech
12. It Goes On and On
13. Incomplete and Insecure

It's gonna be a tough 3 months of waiting, but to wet your thirst for banjo-plunkin' goodness, check out this video of a 3-song set The Avetts recorded for NPR. It features track 8 from the above album, an even newer song, and Bella Donna from their most recent Gleam EP.

Just because I'm feeling generous, here's a couple more videos - complete with ripped mp3s - of Avett Brothers Covers.

The Avett Brothers - Glory Days (Springsteen)

Scott Avett - Ramblin' Fever (Haggard)


Just a quick post to let everyone know that I've purchased the domain

One of goals this summer is to give the ol blog a new look - and I figured the best place to start was with a dedicated domain. From there, I may change to WordPress or another format that allows for more freedom in the layout. If you have any experience with this 'switchover' please let me know your thoughts.

So feel free to update your bookmarks, links, etc. I'm not sure if the RSS feeds will need to be updated, but I'll try to keep you posted. Until the move is finalized, will still work - it simply redirects you to

**For the time being, the 'www' is required. I will try to work this out over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Digs, Vol. 23

Here's another set of new tunes I've been diggin' on to help get you through your week.

Every so often, I'll burn a CD of 'loosies' - random songs that I grab off music blogs that are normally the only tracks I own from a particular band. Sometimes I'll forget what songs are on the disc when it makes it into the player in my truck. It's kinda like mystery CD, and often I'm very pleasantly surprised at what I hear. The tracks today are from my newest 'Random New Stuff' CD.

Great Bloomers - Speak of Trouble
I grabbed this song over at Captain Obvious a while back. It's definitely been my most played tune over the last few weeks. This three-fold melody/tempo change keeps the song fresh and interesting. I just picked up the rest of this album (from which this title track comes) on eMusic and I suggest you do the same.

Great Bloomers: [Website][MySpace][iTunes][eMusic]

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Drain The Blood

I had seen this band pop up nearly everywhere for quite a while, but never payed too much attention. That all changed when I heard this song on my latest new mix.

Rural Alberta Advantage:

Theresa Andersson - Birds Fly Away
Found this soulful songstress thanks to Nelson at Fifty Cent Lighter. I love the how cheery mood set by the various instruments in contrasted by Theresa's sultry voice.

Theresa Andersson: [Website][MySpace][iTunes][eMusic]

Maria Taylor with Andy LeMaster - A Good Start
Maria Taylor has been making music for quite a while now. I first learned about her when she helped collaborate with Conor Oberst in Bright Eyes (you can see her playing the drums in the Four Winds video). This tune is simply beautiful - kinda like Maria.

Maria Taylor: [Website][MySpace][iTunes][eMusic]

Enjoy Responsibly....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Following The Elephant....

There were only two debut albums that made my Best of 2007 list, but both of them placed very high. The Kooks' Inside In/Inside Out was my 2nd best album for that year, while Deer Tick's War Elephant took the 3rd spot. The reason I bring this up is that breaking onto the scene with a knockout album can often be a blessing and a curse for a new band. With every subsequent release, critics will continue to use that stellar introduction disc as a barometer of sorts - at least until they outdo themselves. While some never do, I have faith that both The Kooks and Deer Tick will someday surpass the success of their first albums - though neither quite have with their second.

Leading up to the release of The Kooks' follow-up, I anticipated that they may have a tough time matching the effect of their debut. Konk, alone, from the British rockers didn't even come close to the greatness that was Inside In. If it hadn't been for the inclusion of the Rak Bonus Disc, I may have completely forgotten about the album, but this set of extra songs served as a little precursor to what the band has in store in the future - and I'm excited for it. Check out an old post on that bonus disc here.

I didn't have any of the same reservations before Born On Flag Day dropped (today, officially). I never doubted that John McCauley, now with a tight-knit band behind him, would pull off another superb set and blow the doors open. I can't say that Deer Tick has done exactly that, but first, let's explore this new wax.

As Far as making an entrance goes, 'Easy' does its job and grabs your attention. Loud, driving, angry... all while still very much under control. The biting lyrics and la bamba-esque riff in the chorus make the song stay with you. In fact, this track was the only pre-release preview we got, so I've been spinning for about a month and find myself singing it all the time. But by the time the album hit my doorstep, the track was old-news and this makes for slightly less excitement when it happens now. The same can be said for some of the other tracks. 'Little White Lies' and 'The Ghost' were displayed at their Daytrotter Session as well as a live show I have. About the same time I picked up War Elephant, I found an early recording of 'Hell On Earth.' While all of these songs were vastly improved in the studio for this record (The Ghost, especially with the addition of a whining harmonica), much of the freshness has been used up.

But that, folks, is where my disappointment ends. The 'new' tracks are just about all I could have asked for. Well-written, well-structured laments full of bare-faced emotion and building tempos. One of the most impressive aspects of War Elephant was the wide range of influence present in the song styling. Born On Flag Day lengthens this range with hints of John Prine ('Song About A Man'), Chuck Berry ('Straight Into A Storm'), and even some classic 50's-style melodies and vocals ('Stung').

A fresh voice enters the mix on 'Friday XIII' when Liz Isenberg, another Providence native, joins John in a duet she co-wrote. She goes from simple harmony addition to taking on a verse herself, and they finish with some fast paced call-and-answer vocals.

The album is capped of with a live sing-along (hidden track) of the classic bar-closer 'Goodnight Irene' sure to give new Deer Tick fans a glimpse into the Deer Tick live experience and drink-loving demeanor.

My favorite line on the disc comes in the aforementioned 'The Ghost' as an irrelevant Surgeon General's warning doesn't phase John, simply for the fact that he is neither pregnant, nor a woman:
"There's a label on the bottle that I read
But it don't have a thing to do with me
I ain't carrying no child; it's only dreams I got inside
And tonight they're getting drunk with me"
All that said, I can't put this new one above Deer Tick's debut. As is often the case, you can never duplicate your first experience with a new band, so maybe I'm just spoiled. Thanks guys.

Song About A Man
Straight Into A Storm

Pick up Born On Flag Day today.
CD: [Direct/Amazon]

Vinyl: [Direct/Amazon]
Digital: [iTunes/Amazon]

For a limited time, grab a download of War Elephant for $5 at Amazon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Links & News for June....

Well, just as I said I had plans to increase my post frequency, work kicked my ass and I went an entire week without a post. Oh well, no hobby should ever be stressful, so I won't fret. In order to easily get some new words up on this page, here are some links and news I've come across recently.
  • Rollo & Grady posted the tracklist to the new Avett Brothers Album, I And Love And You - out on American (Columbia) Records later this year.
  • Aquarium Drunkard interviewed Steve Earle regarding his latest effort, Townes. Steve enlightened us to the song choice/recording process for the tribute album.
  • had the mp3 version of Ryan Bingham's Roadhouse Sun available for $3.99 for a limited time. Sorry, the album is now more expensive - only $8.99 - but still includes an exclusive track.
  • Pitchfork reported that Conor Oberst, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and M. Ward - who've toured together frequently - are releasing an ablum together. Monsters of Folk (the name of the supergroup and the album) will be available September 22 and will reportedly feature new originals from each member.
  • Also reported on Pitchfork, The Jayhawks have readied an anthology entitled Music From The North Country.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Essential iPhone Music Apps....

I haven't been able to put my down my iPhone since I got it last week. Just like any new toy, you spend more time getting to know it at the beginning, but somehow I just don't see myself slowing down on this one. I've loaded up two extra pages of Apps - most free - but there are two that I have payed a few dollars for. These Apps are essential to accommodate my music research on the go. This topic may become a recurring theme if I continue to come across useful music Apps, but for now, here are the best I've found.


That's what this website looks like on my iPhone. Carbon copy, huh?

Every time I tap the screen, I am amazed at the simplicity and the obvious user input that went into the design of this thing. Of course there are some limitations. One, for example, is that apart from playing the iPod in the background, you can't really do any two things at once. I'm sure this helps the device run faster (once an app is closed, it is shut down completely, preserving running memory) but it limits the overall functionality. But there are always alternate routes.

As I was running through my RSS feeds, I came across a post at songs:illinois that, although I remember seeing when it was first posted, quickly forgot because I hadn't yet joined the iPhone club. They reported on a Music Blog App that allows you to stream embedded music from any blog to your phone in the background, thus allowing you to continue reading all about the music you're hearing.

iHeartNewMusic is the App and it's made by Scafell Software. This App is consists of three main screens: a full-featured web browser, a tunes playlist, and a bookmark page. The App comes loaded with pre-set blog links in various categories including Rock, Indie, Hip Hop, and Folk. To make browsing even easier, links to The Hype Machine as well as Skreemr mp3 search are provided.

As you load the blog you want to read, the App is simultaneously gathering all the links to songs on that page, leaving them one tab and one tap away from your ears.

In addition to the provided blog links (which include some of my favorites - including NineBullets, AquariumDrunkard, and SlowCoustic) you can add your own favorites to the list. I shot an email over to the creator suggesting that this blog be added to the pre-sets and even put a good word in for Rollo & Grady and Captain Obvious. He said the next update will have these blogs added as well as increased functionality in the bookmarks tab.

~Check out this iHeartNewMusic video tutorial

~Purchase the App in iTunes - $1.99

But what if streaming just isn't enough for you? What if you want to download that song right to your phone? Clicking (tapping) on a link to an mp3 file in the Safari browser will stream the song in the Quicktime player, but you must stay there to hear it; there is no right click, save as option.

That's where iDownload comes in. This App allows nearly any file that is otherwise just a link to become downloadable. iDownload features a limited-functionality browser where you can insert the URL to a page with the file you want to download. When you tap the link in the iDownload browser, the options you see above will become available. From there, the App will take you to your downloads page where you can view the status of the download. However with copy and paste hard to come by on the iPhone, this method becomes laborious. But, alas, there's an easier way. Following these instructions will allow you to add the 'open with iDownload' link to your Safari bookmarks. This way, when you come across a file while browsing, the link in your bookmarks will automatically open the webpage in the iDownload App.

While this makes downloading files a possibility on the iPhone, you still cannot add downloaded mp3's directly to your iPod library, nor can you access the files when the phone is plugged into your computer. iDownload says they're working on these issues.

~Purchase the App in iTunes - $1.99

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Digs, Vol. 22

It's June. Wow.
This month I will hit the quarter-century mark in my life.
Kinda scary.

I like having a June birthday - it splits the year perfectly in half. This way, I'm never more than six months away from a substantial gift, either from the family or as a treat to myself. I'm hoping to get a real camera this year - a digital SLR. I'm fairly certain I wanna go with Canon/Nikon, but I don't know which, so shoot me a line if you have any intel on the matter.

However, I did just spoil myself with a brand new iPhone and I'm pretty sure it's already changed my life in less than a week. The fact that I'm such a fan of iTunes/iPod/now the iPhone makes me wonder why I haven't yet made a full-on MAC switch.

Having the world at my hands with a simple tap has reawakened my quest for music across the web as well as my desire to get back to regular posting here. I've re-upped my RSS feeds on the new phone to reflect a handful of new blogs I've been reading, been listening to Pandora again lately, and I've been refining my music library with artwork and details so my iPhone looks as good as it's supposed to.

To help quell the lack of updates here, I've been going through the list of feature posts (sidebar) with the intention of getting out a couple new editions each week. New Digs has easily been the most prolific post feature here; this post making the total 22.

Middle Distance Runner - Brother John

I came across this DC band by accident. I thought I was clicking on a link to a cover of the song 'Middle Distance Runner' (Sea Wolf) by a band named Brother John. I obviously had this backwards but was surprised to really enjoy what I was hearing. As I checked out all the songs I could find from MDR, I was continually impressed. This band strays slightly from my usual realm with their subtle electronic/hip-hop influence, but I can't seem to get enough. They sound a little like Spoon (heavy piano riffs, hand claps, etc.) and, interestingly, a little like Sea Wolf.

Middle Distance Runner - Momma

Middle Distance Runner: MySpace/eMusic/iTunes/Website

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Stop The Bus
from This Is Somewhere (2007)

I had seen Grace and her band mentioned in alt-country circles for a while, but hadn't payed much attention until I learned that ex-Cardinal Catherine Popper was now thumpin' bass for them. The addition of the long-legged bassist with the already smokin' Grace makes this band an equally visual and aural knockout. 'They have a new album nearly complete, although it has no title, produced by T-Bone Burnett. It's Grace and band's third studio album.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: MySpace/iTunes/Website

Those Darlins - Whole Damn Thing

Another band that, for whatever reason, I simply passed up despite numerous mentions is Those Darlins. They've opened for such acts as Deer Tick and Dan Auerbach and played at this year's SXSW. The subtle hints of punk influence fused with undeniable country roots make this female trio one to watch out for. I'm not too late jumping on their bandwagon though, because they have yet to release their debut album. You can pre-order it now on VINYL and CD. Also check out their Wild One [Single] at the links below.

Those Darlins: MySpace/eMusic/iTunes/Website

As always, enjoy responsibly.
Go to shows.
Buy their stuff.
Tell your friends.

Check out all the past New Digs....

Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb (not a repost)

If you take a look back at the archives - or at the Mailbox Music feature link - you'll see back in April of 2008 I had a post with this same title. Ramseur spark plugs Bombadil had contacted me and shot over a copy of their debut full-length, A Buzz, A Buzz. I immensely enjoyed the freshness and originality of the album - and band for that matter.

Well guess what? The guys from Bombadil were generous enough to contact me saying that they had a copy of their newest disc, Tarpits and Canyonlands (out on Ramseur July 7th) with my name on it. How thoughtful. Last weekend, I picked up my care package (complete with personalized note).

Tarpits starts where A Buzz left off, building upon an already strong base of inventive folk music whose influences span the dial and the globe. Not only has the Peruvian flute returned on this new album, but one song is sung entirely in Spanish - and beautifully done, by the way. They move on to pay tribute to the capital of Malaysia in a groovy tune called 'Kuala Lumpur.' This world-traveling theme is echoed in the artwork for Tarpits. The album title was taken from a short narrative written by Matthew Swanson (art by Robbi Behr) that is reproduced along the folds of the album case. Buy the album for this inspiring artwork alone and you won't be disappointed.

I've often thought that while lyrics have the ability to evolve along with the human race, melodies and structures are a non-renewable resource bound to one day run out. I still don't know if that's quite true, but if it is, Bombadil has gotten us much closer to that day. The band has used way more than their fair share of original melodies, tempo changes, and out-right 'what just happened's' on their two albums. As long as we have fresh minds like theirs behind the controls, we should be good for another couple eons.

What surprised me about Bombadil's first album was an element I looked forward to on this new one: a band that obviously shines when multiple elements are working together at a lightning pace can downshift so effortlessly and provide us with a beautifully simple love song.

Bombadil - Reasons

But as I said, you can't speak of Bombadil without mentioning the barrel of fun that is their controlled chaos.

Bombadil - Oto The Bear

Pre-order Tarpits and Canyonlands (7-7-09)

Purchase A Buzz, A Buzz
Also get their self-titled debut EP

I got quite a chuckle when I imported the disc into my iTunes as the suggested genre was set to 'unclassifiable' - I couldn't agree more. I'm never quite sure what it is I'm listening to with Bombadil, but I don't care.

~I would like to send well-wishes out to the band, Daniel in particular, who is suffering from tendinitis that has caused the band to cancel their tour until he can recover. Get well soon, then come play some shows in Texas.~

Check out Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb (original)

This post will hopefully begin a resurgence of those feature posts I initiated last year; Mailbox Music being severely neglected. I don't get discs in the mail every week, but I DO get songs in my email every day. So I will make more of an effort to give these a try and share them with you.