Friday, July 31, 2009

Jessica Lea Mayfield, Are You Wandering

Facts: Jessica Lea Mayfield's first LP, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, was produced by Dan Auerbach, that bad-ace from the Black Keys. She toured with the Avett Brothers, An Horse, and Cake. Painfully, her song has been on the CW's (the WB to the Saved By the Bell generation) Gossip Girl.

Anyway, that's all good because she's DAMN good. Her first LP is a scarily good heartbreaker. Thanks to MOKB for posting this Athens Soundies video. Let's hope Jessica isn't wandering, like she sings about. We all need more records from her.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Megafaun, Record Stores and Incense

I don't smoke weed. Maybe I should, I don't know for sure. There's a scene in Almost Famous when the kid puts on Tommy, "Sparks" fades up, and I remember thinking when I was a kid: "Should I be smoking weed?"

Is it possible that music can replace the urge? Megafaun's new album, Gather, Form & Fly, comes damn close. It's baroque, dark, and full of barn hay. There's lots of exciting diversions in this album, and as the needle rounds the record, it shocks you. Trumpets and scratchy strings in between beautiful folk songs. Some of them raw, like a garbage bag is wrapped around them, giving them that cool, hippy, papery sound that folk musicians love to do these days.

If this were the Seventies, and war was going on (wait...), I'd probably be in my room Indian-style, with a fairly large bowl, with Megafaun's new record rolling on the table. It really is beautiful to think about, and even better to listen to now.

Megafaun is on tour, right this minute, with the Bowerbirds. Can you think of a better thing to do, than to see them play? And before play their records, burn some incense, and see your future? Damn that Cameron Crowe.

Megafaun - The Fade

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Avett Brothers, Daytrotter Sessions

The Avett Brothers have always written about love, but something new is in this record. The album art indicates something gothic. Daytrotter nabbed the duo and their brand new string band members for a quick session, and it's very good. I can't put my finger on it yet, (maybe it's the nomadic sadness of their single "I And Love And You" or the honesty in "Laundry Room"), but this is starting to sound heartbreaking and genuine to the point of weak knees.

"Stop your parents car / I just saw a shooting star / we won't share the wish we made"

You know in cartoons when a character runs through a wall? Leaving a hole of themselves? That's what the Avett Brothers do with their songs. There's no hesitation; they let it fly. They go for it. They recorded their Daytrotter Session in scorching hot Austin heat, at SXSW, and we can all expect for it to get better from there (here) on out.

The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You

The Avett Brothers - Daytrotter Session - Paranoia in B Major

Friday, July 17, 2009

Goodnight Hollywood, See You Soon

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Best Concert Poster Ever

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3 Tracks: Dodos - Visiter

Albums are as much a construction as a whole, the way the parts fit together, as they are about their individual songs. The way Southern Point pauses, breathes, and flows into Two Weeks on Veckatimest, or the way Have a Cigar quiets into Wish You Were Here with that gentle pause and the crackle of the TV radio.
Those albums build like a film - rising and lowering to perfectly find the mood that you want. So what I want to do in this column thing, which I will try to do every Wednesday, is highlight the way good albums are produced (and give you the music, for real).

The way good songs flow into each other, to give you brilliant (the way light is brilliant) stories.

To start with some strong and real: Dodos first album, Visiter.

Red and Purple-->Eyelids-->Fools

It opens the way a camera flashes with a huge burst of light and a sudden strum of the guitar. The Dodos sound is not about convention. The rough, crayony album art speaks to that. Immediately you are introduced to sonic guitar, a literal fly by of 12- string and piano pulsing, and the horse-clap of the drums. It's that rough feeling that starts the album, the way a street performer sings and his drummer hits overturned plastic buckets.

"Come and join us in the trenches
Red and purple by our side"

Is it a revolution or a love album? By the end, you know it's an anthem. The pace quickens, and Long's clevver lyrics transition into the succinct "Eyelids." His hope is that you will meet him when arrives he says, as he finishes, and just as you hope: the sticks come in.

"Fools" moves in a gallop, and the first thing you want to do is slap your thigh in tempo. The guitar comes cascading down, the sticks clack together, until finally Long relaxes with:

"I've been, I've been silent"

It's an exciting, stopless debut from a band just getting started. When songs come together, especially without breaks, you feel a sense of pace building, and to let that expel is criminal. The Dodos take advantage of your mood in Visiter: a sense of gathering; of following the ones you love and of revolution. Each song folds into the next one nicely, and there is an optimism to it that lacks in a lot of already great rock albums.

The Dodos - Red and Purple

The Dodos - Eyelids

The Dodos - Fools

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blitzen Trapper, Black River Killer, Coen Brothers Rejoice

Spinner online is featuring Blitzen Trapper's new Blood Simple-esque "Black River Killer" video. Are your Bob Dylan knives and blunt tools ready? This is fun. There's some pretty shots of high shutter masks floating in a fiery ocean (like the golden fur in their song, Furr) and it would make the Coen Brothers, Larry McMurtry, Fleet Foxes, Dylan, and John Wayne's boots proud.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This is the Best Song for July 4th

The only decent American thing to do on July 4th is to listen to music and drink beer. In Los Angeles, the sky is either hazy or shock blue, and every where else there's a flood of fireworks. Great, you say? You need a good song. If we're going to celebrate it, let's do it right. There are many applicable songs; a crashing symbol and timpani; the Presidential band; the wicker chair you're sitting in as crackling Lee Greenwood nonsense practically destroys the cheap school speakers.

I prefer Folk. In this case, a minimalist harmonica laid over some Americana harmonies. I'm going to go with The Low Anthem. Aquarium Drunkard published a brilliant interview with them recently, and their new CD, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, is out now on iTunes:

"And who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Fighting for a system built to fail
Spooning water from their broken vessels
As far as I can see there is no land"

Speechless. Now, unfold that crusty metal chair, put down the aviators, open a beer, and let this song wear you. Don't pussy out with Lee Greenwood, or blow the fireworks away with crap Billboard hits (though Grizzly Bear is up there now...), try some new Americana folk, some rolling skies and a harmonica.

The Low Anthem - Oh My God Charlie Darwin

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Joe Pug - Bury Me Far from my Uniform

If you heard Joe Pug playing on the street, would you stop?

Pug's been touring with Horse Feathers, who after a few Paste interviews, NPR sessions, and some wildfire folk-blog posts, is still undeservedly unknown.

"Merciful God please remember my face"

A striking and tender song, literally (in this video) with crickets playing behind him. I hope people remember him.

Joe Pug - Dodging the Wind

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