Friday, October 30, 2009

Yeasayer: Ambling Alp

Yeasayer's myspace describes their music as "Enya with Bounce." If you've seen Yeasayer live in the past few years, after the release of their excellent 2008 album All Hour Cymbals, then I'm betting you've bounced. You would have also heard the track they just released recently online, "Ambling Alp," a bit of late 80's meets East Asia pop song. It's got the reverb, watery snare drums, TV on the Radio harmonies, and the precise production of a pop song that's been traveling on the road for a few years. As MOKB reports, Memory Tapes are attached to the single release for a remix, coming out Nov. 3rd.

"Stick up for your sister / nevermind what anybody else does"

Download the track below by putting in your email:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Family Band, Dallas TX

In the rainy street outside the Granada theater in Dallas, the Family Band wears high-chested band uniform shirts and thunders on drums. A mostly drunk man is handed a large egg shaker, thrusting his wrist up & down like he's lifting a dumbbell.

Inside the theater, Blind Pilot lead singer Israel Nebeker is talking about how his song "Three Rounds and a Sound," is a breakup song. He stops, whispers nervously into the mic,

"If you can listen to the Dallas Family Band outside, they're really special." (I'm paraphrasing: I was too busy clapping and wondering who the hell the Dallas Family Band was.)

So the show ends and we walk outside - and there's the Family Band, four bearded dudes in tiny band uniform shirts with big brass button snaps, along members of the Low Anthem, playing street folk. According to the Dallas Family Band's Myspace:

"we are convinced that everyone has something good to offer. dallas family band is composed of the city's finest and lowest. in the streets, in ever-growing numbers, crowded into tiny corners, and cropping up in unusual places– we'll see each other soon."

So that's it. They play street music, and hand instruments to whoever's willing to play. Worth stopping and listening to, and definitely picking up an egg shaker. I would post an MP3, but I'm guessing that's not how they want to be heard. Also, how the hell do find an Mp3 of a band that plays on the street?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Throw Your Pennies

Port O'Brien tambourined up The Cavern in Dallas last night, under some golden lamps. Before O'Brien though, was the perfect and bandless Sara Lov (pic from LA Weekly). She was lacking her fellow bandmates, so Sea Wolf stepped up, and it sounded nothing less than beautiful. From fountain:

"Fountain, fountain we are the same / you with the water / me with the pain"

A Christmas-light-lit record player suitcase, like the one the Flight of the Conchords play with, was her backing band for the rest of the evening.

The most striking was her closing cover of "My Body is a Cage" by Arcade Fire. Honestly, I have a hard time listening to Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. Funeral has some knock-back tracks, like "Haiti" and "Rebellion (Lies)" is illuminating live. But Sara Lov's cover of "My Body is a Cage" is better than the Neon Bible version without question. Wonderful, take a listen below.

Sara Lov - My Body is a Cage

Sara Lov - Fountain

Home I'll Never Be

Tonight at the Granada Theater in Dallas with Blind Pilot. Hell yes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thank You Good Records

Not so much music news as it is shameless self promotion, but I'm very excited: Good Records in Dallas, TX is now selling my magazine, John Asparagus. People that don't live in Dallas should know that Good Records is one of the best music stores in the US of A, if there was a poll it should be voted as so: they have absolutely killer in-stores, a brand-spanking-new Vinyl focused second story that will make you drool, and a record label. Also it's owned by Tim Delaughter, creator of the Polyphonic Spree. What's better than that?

Thanks to Neal Pickle and Mark Church at Good Records for the support. Location: Good Records is located at 1808 Lower Greenville Ave. in Dallas, TX.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tallest Man on Earth: I Want You (Daytrotter Session)

My honest admittance is I ignored Bob Dylan for the hype until college. I heard things, like Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 during New Years Eve parties at my parents house (drunken, nostalgic 40 year olds?)

So my freshman year, after listening to Nada Surf's song "Blonde on Blonde" from their album Let Go extensively, seeing the movie High Fidelity, and watching all of Cameron Crowe's music-documentary-movies, I finally bought Blonde on Blonde.

"I Want You" is easily one of the most beautiful & simple love songs ever written. So I couldn't refuse to repost this Daytrotter Session of the Tallest Man on Earth covering Dylan. By the way, if you haven't seen Tallest Man on Earth / Kristian Matsson live, in a small bar, you haven't really seen him. Absolutely silencing. Stunning.

Tallest Man on Earth (Daytrotter) - I Want You

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Roots

The Low Anthem - "This God Damn House" - HearYa Live Session 8/9/09 from on Vimeo.

One of my favorite albums of the year is Oh My God Charlie Darwin by the Low Anthem. Recently, I was reading The Road, and OMGCD became a cathartic release after the dismal tide of Cormac McCarthy. Also, the entire album sounds like gravel, sunshine, and wheat fields. My point is - this Hear Ya live session is wonderful. It's all in the lyrics for "Ticket Taker."

"Now they say the sky's the limit, but the sky's about to fall / down come all them record books cradle and all / they say before he bit it that the boxer felt no pain / somewhere there's a gamblin' man with a ticket in the rain"

I feel like the best way to put the feeling of this album is it reminds you of the roots of America. Thanks to Hear Ya for posting this beautiful session.

Low Anthem - Ticket Taker

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you Shy or What?

Last night at the Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas, I got yelled at by the former singer of Mazzy Starr. Not me personally, but we all did. Notoriously shy lead singer and band leader Hope Sandoval, of Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions, had a problem with the talking. Behind a projection of milky stars and whipping colors - occasionally, an abstract image like lava spewing from fingernails - she whispered,

"Is it unreasonable to ask for you all to be quiet? It's amplified on stage, I can hear everything."

So the rest of the show, every time there was a break, the audience HUSHED and SHUSHED. They clapped her back for an encore. It was deserved. Her blend of ethereal pop and caramelized guitar (like a less surfy Beach House), sounded great at Sons of Hermann. Whenever she broke out her harmonica, I got tall neck hairs. She can make a harmonica sound like it was not meant to be sawed. Her backing band of stocky, long stringy haired, chin-bearded white men, played well to Hope's tinking bells.

As this was my first real experience of Hope's music, all the songs blended together like molasses, and I found myself not paying attention to the lyrics specifically, but to the abstract images projected behind her and the lullabying music. It's a solid show worth seeing, if you can stifle the talking. You don't want to get lambasted by the lead singer of the band you paid to see.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Road

Maybe it's because I'm reading the book now and can't get gray ash out of my head, but this theme Nick Cave & Warren Ellis wrote for The stunning. It's the sound of bleakness. If you close your eyes for a minute, you can actually SEE bombs falling on everything. You can hear "the end." Saw the post on GVB, and haven't been able to stop listening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Neon Indian: Everyone's Loving if They Don't Already and They Should Because It's Got That Kind of Album Quality and It's Got Electric Noise Album

Chances are you've heard a lot of bands like NEON INDIAN's new PYSCHIC CHASMS recently (somewhere in between Ratatat and Animal Collective's Sung Tongs). As Pitchfork put in their pleased review,"Like a low-rent Daft Punk, Palomo takes what 1990s rock fans probably would've considered cheesy-- LinnDrum and Oberheim rhythms, Chromeo-plated electro-funk Korg riffs, processed party-vocal samples-- and not only makes them part of a distinct artistic vision, but also keeps them fun." So, it's hipster album. Yet, the presentation is unpretentious. I think the worst thing to do in this age of music, when there is truly a truckload of talent out there, to dismiss something that's cool or popular, just because it is so. I bring it up because when listening to the album, it's hard to not to imagine it as that album.

"Deadbeat Summer" opens the album like the credits of a teenage John Cusack film (where you see him with big glasses on, drinking at a high school party) and is so charmingly low-fi as it repeats "Deadbeat summer / It's just a deadbeat summer" that it's hard to find anything to dislike. It really feels like summer. "Mind, drips" opens with a rip of electronic noise and beats on like a child of the Terminator Soundtrack and an 8 bit game; "Pyschic Chasms" has those echoey drum-kit beats; "Local Joke" opens with a constellation of noise. It reminds me of fireworks.

The straightforward, if not dismissive, review is that Pyschic Chasms is a great album, with memories of the 80's. You'd have to be deaf not to hear and feel it. But, I do feel this is more than a party album, more than something you put on in the background. It's full of feel-goodedness, a lightning bolt into a world of malaise-filled, cynical rock. In the grandaddy's of electronic, nostalgic noise, I feel sometimes heavy with apocalyptic Radiohead and the blues. It's welcome to hear Neon Indian's break from the world, from the politics, and to just eat a hot-dog in celebration of summer and watch Real Genius.

Neon Indian - 6669

Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

Pyschic Chasms is out now on Lefse records.

BUY - emusic : insound

Friday, October 9, 2009

J. Tillman, Music for the Elves

Remember that scene in Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Sam stumble upon the Elves leaving Middle Earth, moving fluidly in blue light? I imagine them listening to J. Tillman. His woody, dark, Gibson guitar that has Nick Drake's blood in it, his earthy voice and lyrics of heavenly love are unblinkingly pretty. I feel blue light on my face listening to it, like watching elves.

His newest album, Year in the Kingdom, opens with the track of the same name:

"What comfort used to pass my days / before you shook the cold from me"

It's the best song on the album, and proves he is a vastly humble and underappreciated folk artist. Folk artist has a new meaning these days, but J. Tillman's music is natural and deep, almost primordial. His influences often seem less Nick Drake or Neil Young, more the woods, the birds and the moss.

As nerdy as it sounds, there is something in this album that makes you feel like you're leaving [Middle]Earth. Like a slow ascension into heaven:

"Though the spirit and the truth abide / when you stir throughout the wakeless night / stir and sigh"

This from "Earthly Bodies": a song invoking the torrid metaphor of the scape of the Earth being like the human form. It's shockingly old-school and beautiful. All this is to say: don't underestimate the drummer from Fleet Foxes, he's got some serious chops. He's seasoned and dark. In my imagination, I imagine him playing in a park by himself, but hopefully his shows are just as quiet and scintillating.

Year in the Kingdom is out now on Bella Union.

J. Tillman - Though I have Wronged You

J. Tillman - Year in the Kingdom

Review: The Soft Pack, The Cavern Dallas (A Note to Concert Apologizers)

Distractions at a concert are common. Hopefully the band is good enough to reign in your attention away from the drunk people in the back speaking so loud they cut through the cymbals, or the really drunk people who are dancing sloppily in the front. In this case, for me, it was the obnoxious, orange bearded dude next to me who couldn't stop apologizing to the band:

"Sorry Dallas sucks man, Austin is way better," repeated this dude, perhaps so drunk on the hipster notion that the current city he was standing in sucks that he missed some of the show. To keep things kosher and pleasant, this dude bought the entirety of The Soft Pack a round of whiskey shots. The band was so full of mirth and excitement from the prospect of shots, they continued to play their instruments!

So, The Soft Pack played uncaring, having a California blast. Their mix of surfer garage rock and macabre punk sounded good in the Cavern. It was hard and crisp and loud, like biting into a big damn apple: Matt Lamkin tossed his microphone about, a cocktail in one hand, Matty McLoughlin's guitar was sharp. I normally try to get lost in the lyrics, but I was transfixed by the bassist and drummer - David Lantzman and Brian Hill had some serious fun game.

It was a good rock show. At times, I found myself lost in the distractions, as can be a drawback with post-punk that some of The Soft Pack songs drone on in the same dark riff. They really stood out when the mood changed - A high pitched electric guitar riff indicated they were going to play "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," but then blended it with The Doors "Mojo Rising." The mood shifted to songs about love :"Beside Myself" showed their more-fun, Strokes side, and had some killer drums. They got into it, danced, and the bassist unleashed some John-Paul- Jones stuff. The annoying dude who wouldn't shut up, the one who got massive friend approval from buying the band a round of shots, kept apologizing for some reason, and The Soft Pack played on.

After the show, I asked the guitarist, Matt McLoughlin about playing live in Texas: "It's really fun man, we had a great time." Note to that dude & crowd apologizers - if you're going to apologize to the band for the crowd, don't have you, your friends, and your beard in it. It just kills the fun man.

The Soft Pack, previously known as The Muslims, are on to Austin, TX to play with Wavves.

The Soft Pack - Beside Myself

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Stunning Dawn

The first cut of Let It Be was live from a chilly roof top, and for the longest time it was my favorite Beatles album. I think it was that killer, head-rearing guitar Harrison played on Let It Be (the song). Somehow it wasn't as electric as Let It Be "Naked," weirdly titled because - what's more naked than a live show? (Well, Phil Spector was there...)

My point is - it's exciting to hear a band perform their music live-to-tape. That's what Dawes does, and it couldn't sound better. God, I can't stop listening to this song - That Western Skyline - it's so wounded, so full of sun-setting soul that I'm dying of beautiful pain listening to it:

"So I followed her here to Birmingham / Where the soil is so much richer"

Watch this youtube video (be easier if people WEREN'T TALKING), and try to tell the difference between that and the attached track - there is no difference. Because they do it live and raw and hurting. Love it.

North Hills, Dawes newest album, is out now on ATO Records.

That Western Skyline

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rain Songs

If you're living in a city that actually has seasons, then fall is here. There's gloomy skies, good smelling pumpkins, and rain songs. I remember where I was when I heard Houses of the Holy, and the way Rain Song sounded actually like...rain.

Since Texas this week is all gray and static sky, I think it's a good time for some rain songs. Would love to hear what people think on this - Do rain songs have to be sad? Do rain songs MAKE you sad? What came first (in the chicken or the egg sense): the rain give you the blues, or did the song? Does "Buckets of Rain" make you want to patch up the holes in your roof? (It's more of a summer song, really).

I think good blues songs look for environmental reasons to be sad, so rain is perfect. What do you think of my selection?

Jeff Buckley - Lover You Should Have Come Over

Kettering - The Antlers

Yr Rt - No One & the Nobodies

Led Zeppelin - Rain Song

Cotton Jones - Gone the Bells

My Morning Jacket - I Will Sing You Songs

A.A. Bondy - Of the Sea

J. Tillman - Though I Have Wronged You

Low Anthem - OMGCD

Monday, October 5, 2009

Megafaun with Bon Iver, Steel Guitar, Fog

So I guess Megafaun showed up...

"Come on ease your mind / oh come on ease your worried mind."

Now I can.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You're Not at Austin City Limits, Day 3

First of all - did anyone see Bon Iver's disturbingly, hipstery-good set yesterday? It was raining, like when Bush went hardcore and almost died playing Glycerine except Bon Iver laid down soft, whispery & blessed Winsconsin folk, and there were some beautiful steel guitars. Nice work, rain.

Streaming: here.


Grizzly Bear openers HERE WE GO MAGIC - 1:15 PM CT


Yes, the Toadies - 4:oo PM CT

The Dead Weather - 9:00 PM CT

*In case you missed it, here's the ACL digital sampler: link.

Something out of Steinbeck

LA Weekly & Times writer Jeff Weiss posted Fairfield's sizzling banjo-ed video and the story of Tompkins Square's new compilation over at Passion of the Weiss. This video...It was the first time I clicked through to youtube hoping for millions of views. I'm massively looking forward to Jeff's forthcoming piece on Fairfield (read his recent post and take those glorious MP3s: here).

Tompkins Square describes their new 3 disc compilation, Fire in My Bones, as "raw," "distorted," and "might sound a bit strange": "This is gospel - which we must always remember translates as "the good news" - as it has been sung and performed in tiny churches and large programs, from rural Georgia to urban Los Angeles. It is clearly among the most vibrant, playful, beautiful and emotionally charged music in the world."

It's no question Fairfield will live well on this label. Or, you can also find him playing in front of Amoeba Records like it's 1911, at Sausage Grinders in vintage bars, Gospel Churches, tin can at the he's some sort of invention of Steinbeck.

Fairfield's debut is out now via Tompkins, and look for Fire in My Bones and Jeff's article on Fairfield soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You're Not There for Austin City Limits, Day 2

In dedication to "Chicken Shit Bingo," Amy's ice cream, fajitas at Gueros, and all of those brilliant damn vintage record stores - Austin's humid music festival continues to stream live, here.

Morning Schedule - Saturday 10/3!

11:45 AM CT- Los Angeles Rolling Stoners - The Henry Clay People (w/ fellow Los Angeles Spacelander Marvelous Toy)

Henry Clay People - End of an Empire from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

12:30 PM CT - Alberta Cross

1:15 PM CT - Felice Brothers folkin' it, A.A. Bondy style.

Bon Iver tonight!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Forget the Alamo Streaming

Honest-to-goodness streaming of Austin City Limits is going on here, here, and here.

Right now 2:37 PM CST - The Avett Brothers roaring banjos and shame, shame, shame. (here)

Right now 4:00PM CST - Dr. Dog's nostalgic, bright rock.

Andrew Bird tonight!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

3 Insanely Good Live Videos, No Amps (Thanks NPR)

Just Live Videos, No Target

Does anyone else feel weird about Pearl Jam having a Target commercial? Exclusive content at Target? Weirder that the ad ran before The Antlers video on Pitchfork: TV. So I stopped it, and listened to this NPR gem instead. Far better than the studio cut, I think, "Two" is sweeter than the rest of darkness of "Hospice" (listen to "Kettering" below). Plus, their crystalline, opening guitar comes out nice and pretty in this video. Buy "Hospice," and think about your death.

The Antlers - Kettering

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