Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
If you're a friend of mine, then you know I only wish belated birthday wishes. So in that vein, consider this my happy-belated to The Boss (who turned 60 on Wednesday).
And for a pretty amazing post with 60 facts for 60 years of rock & roll, go HERE. Enjoy.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sorry about the long silence. Sadly I don't have any good news to report, and school's actually been crazy enough to keep me from really trying to figure out how to get us back up and running. I can't say when we'll be back on a good schedule. Hopefully soon.
You might already know that Joshua James is one of our favorite artists around here, and his second album, Build Me This, is touching down in a matter of days. It's been a long time coming for us (who've been hearing these songs for more than 2 years), but it's close on the heels of his first record for any who've only heard it since it's national release last year. Either way, this record will probably impress any of Joshua's fans, and hopefully win him a few more.
I love James's first record, The Sun is Always Brighter, and if this blog had existed in 2007 it would have been high on our Best Albums list - but as beautiful as it is, I've always had an issue with it. You see, that record doesn't really sound like Joshua James. I mean, that's his voice and those are his songs, and that music is very very good, but live, there's an edginess and a soulfulness to James's music that somehow didn't make it onto that record. Essentially, Joshua James can rock, but the only evidence of it on Sun is the relative low-point "Our Brother's Blood" tucked back near the end of the record.
It isn't long into Build Me This that it becomes clear that this won't be an issue on this record. The first track, "Coal War", opens with foot stomps and hand claps as the only accompaniment to James singing "Ain't cuttin' my hair 'til the good Lord comes", building tension right up to the two minute mark, when the amps light up and a distorted guitar snarls through the gospel-rooted harmonies, pushing past all of the reservations James might have had on LP1. Needless to say, James shows a lot more muscle this time around.
The momentum stays high through the second track, "Magazine", then takes a breather on "Weeds" before barreling into more full-throttle rockers "Mother Mary" and "Black July". Throughout Joshua explores themes of hatred, faith, war and death; and even the record's lightest moments (i.e. "In The Middle" - a love song from a lover who's passed away) are anything but light-hearted. There isn't a bad song in the mix, though little matches the urgency of "Coal War" until a trifecta of near-perfect songs toward the end - "Daniel", a heart-wrenching tale of boys in wartime, "Pitchfork", a dreamlike ballad with a breathtakingly beautiful coda, and the live staple "Wilted Daisies", a frustrated plea from capitalism's defeated. These three songs alone would be reason enough to buy the album.
All in all, this is a fantastic sophomore achievement from an extremely talented songwriter. It's out digitally and on vinyl Tuesday, Sept. 8th, and on CD on Sept. 22nd (buy it all HERE). I don't have a song for you because, once again, we have no server - but here's a video of Joshua doing his thing, as well as a link to his myspace to take a listen. Enjoy!
Listen at Joshua James's myspace.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I'm never sure if I'm supposed to keep the period in there or not (is it "fun" or "fun."?). Either way, it's Nate Ruess's new act, and their debut record, called Aim and Ignite, is streaming on their myspace page. You can take a listen HERE.
After my first time through it sounds like Aim and Ignite has picked up where Dog Problems left off - with plenty of brass, gospel choirs, 60's pop harmonies, Graceland-era chants, and Freddie Mercury flourishes. In short, they seem to be living up to their name. Some favorites so far are the fleshed-out version of "Benson Hedges", "Light A Roman Candle With Me" and "Barlights".
Go check it out. And in case you missed the link above... fun's myspace page.
Monday, August 10, 2009
So our server is still down and out, and we're really sorry about that. It couldn't have happened at a worse time for Logan and I, with both of us moving/starting grad school/etc. - and we regret that we haven't been able to figure out a solution yet. There's so many great things I've wanted to post recently but haven't because of our server-limitations. Just know that we are going to figure it out. And we really will try to do it soon.
Saturday my wife took me to see The Decemberists at The Murat Theatre here in Indy (it was a late birthday present - one of the many reasons I'm in love with this woman), and I wish I had the time and/or words to describe it. I'd been excited to see them, but after the show I felt like my anticipation wasn't even near what it should have been. I knew they were performing their recent rock-opera-opus-magnum-whatever The Hazards of Love in its entirety, and I knew they had Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond on the tour to complete the albums amazing vocal trio. But I didn't really understand just what that meant until the night was over. I'll try to explain it - but if I fail, just know this: if you can, see them on this tour!
The actual Hazards of Love part of the show was fun, full of animal-morphing mischief, slashing guitar riffs, Colin Meloy sticking rigidly in character and Shara Worden conjuring up something unimaginable. This is why we'd come, and it certainly didn't disappoint. But the second half of the night is what completely won me over. After a brief intermission they re-took the stage, bantering and laughing and leading audience-sing-alongs as they tackled selections from every one of their previous albums, plus a new song called "Down By The Water" (which was, by the way, fantastic). Shara came back out to sing the female lead in "Yankee Bayonet" before the band played the worst song Colin's ever written (apparently), about Dracula's offspring. Honestly, who knew that Colin Meloy was so endearing? I sure didn't. And neither did my wife, who now has a crush on him and his quill-written word-playing.
But the best wasn't until the end of the night. Both of the Diamond girls came out to finish the set with a show-stealing cover of Heart's "Crazy On You". (I've included a video below, which is required listening.) Finally, to close out the night they wrapped up with "Sons and Daughters", complete with Chris Funk on hurdy gurdy and the entire theatre chanting "Hear all the bombs, they fade away" into the night. I think that may have been one of the best show-closing numbers I've ever seen. At least right now I can't think of any that can top it. It was that good.
So like I said. If you can, see them on this tour. And if you can't, just see them sometime. Deal? Deal.
Anyway, here's the setlist:
Set 1: The Hazards of Love (straight through)
Set 2: July July! / Billy Liar / The Sporting Life - This Charming Life (The Smiths cover) / Down By The Water (new) / The Crane Wife 3 / Yankee Bayonet (I'll Be Home Then) / Dracula's Daughter / O Valencia / Crazy On You (Heart cover)
Encore: Raincoat Song / Sons & Daughters
And the video:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
So it's looking like our server problem might not get resolved. Subsequently, we're looking for an online server so we can keep sharing the music we love... which brings me to a question: do any of you out there in blog-land have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments or by email and we'll be getting this thing back up and in full-swing again soon!
In other news, here's something I'm pretty excited about - M. Ward, Conor Oberst, and Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket) are rearing to release their first record together as 'Monsters of Folk', and so far the first single is everything I'd hope it would be. You can get the track for FREE at monstersoffolk.com, and then go see them bring the folk when they roll through your town this fall.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I love the anticipation of a new album.
Driving to the record store while listening to the single that floored you so many months before, refusing to download the leaked version (even though you really really want to), the excitement that you'll be listening to something new from a band you love, and then silently praying that they don't let you down.
Portugal. The Man's newest album The Satanic Satanist never let me down. From beginning to end it flows seamlessly, each song melding into its predecessor and successor. All this while each song still retains the power to stand under its own power. Portugal. The Man further cements their place as being the masters of crafting not just songs, but entire albums that ebb and flow with precision and without fault.
mp3: Portugal. The Man - People Say (NOTE: link goes to a free download.)
from the album The Satanic Satanist (Amazon/iTunes)
Monday, July 20, 2009
Back in March we posted the good news that Mason Jennings was working on a new record that was, in his words, "on the rock side of things". Recently, in a post on the Brushfire Records website, we got some more details on the record: it's called Blood of Man and it's due out September 15th on Brushfire Records. Mason also elaborated on his move to a more plugged-in sound, which involves The Who, Christmas ornaments, and dancing children (read it here).
Mason also posted a tour announcement on his website last Tuesday (my birthday!) that went like this:
"I can't wait to get out on the road and play the new songs from Blood of Man. This batch of songs is so intensely personal, so dark, and so rocking that I am a little afraid of what will happen. That's why I am bringing out my good friends Brian McLeod on drums and Chris Morrissey on bass. I will be playing a lot of electric guitar and I can honestly say that I have no idea what will be conjured up. I only know that it will be really open, really loud and really real."
Wow. So dark? So rocking? Conjured up?! There's a bunch of good news in there - but mostly that Mason's hooking back up with his Use Your Voice-era lineup: Brian McLeod and Chris Morrissey. Honestly, I can't tell you how excited I am about that. These three probably make up my favorite live-incarnation of Mason's music - bringing the heart and soul of his music like no other backing band has been able to. Here's a clip of them bringin' it in Charlottesville, VA to demonstrate:
Also, through August 1st iTunes is offering an exclusive Mason track, benifitting the Surfrider Foundation. Go grab it.
(Thanks to Ty for the tip!)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Whoa whoa whoa. Remember when there used to be a blog here? Yeah, me too. Sorry about that. I know I said I was back at the end of June, and I was. But since being back, I packed up everything I own, drove it across the country, unpacked most of it, and started dental school in Indianapolis. We just now got our internet situation figured out. In the meantime, Logan's been back and forth to CA, figuring out his near future there, and our server has been (of course) down for the count.
So. We're trying to figure the server thing out ASAP. Until then, we'll try to post as regularly as we can - throwing up videos or something. We're not done here. Not even close.
On Wednesday night I got my first taste of Indy's music scene when my wife and I headed down to The Vollrath to see The Antlers (thanks, MOKB). Though the crowd was pretty light, the music was anything but - in fact, the amount of sheer sound this three-piece of a band made up there was pretty impressive. They covered just about all of Hospice, their recent record that's been making some waves (read our take on it HERE). Peter Silberman (who was the sole Antler until recently) was nothing but gracious all night, and had a pretty endearing stage-presence. Be sure to check them out if they're coming through your town.
Anyway, here's a video from their myspace page, because we don't have our server back yet. We'll get that figured out soon. Promise.