So, I have pleasantly spent my weekend playing the tourist in Colorado because my Grampy is here to visit. I am doing the all the things I haven’t done yet, including ascending to the top of the world (aka Pikes Peak, to the right) by cog railroad (and let me categorically say now that there is no way in Hades that I am ever doing the real “Ascent” – the half-marathon to the top on foot!!) and visiting the breathtaking Royal Gorge in CaÃ±on City. What a gorgeous state I live in!
I had some time with the iPod during the drives to whittle down a fine little set for all y’all this week, and I think the end result is somewhat evocative of the landscape that was rolling out before me, although unintentionally:
In my mind, this man can nary do a wrong. Here Ray Lamontagne shows us all why I love him: reinventing the catchy Gnarls Barkley tune that is all over the cool British kids’ iPods into something wrenching and folksy-acoustic and great in its own right. When is he going to release a new album? I will go camp out for that (um, on iTunes? I don’t know). Son, there was a day when we camped outside record store for new CD releases and good concert tickets. Back before this newfangled internet jazz.
“Street Light Halos”
I had never heard of this Wisconsin heartland artist until I randomly came across his superb “Buckets of Rain“ Dylan cover. That being one of my favorite Dylan songs, perfect in its simplicity, I downloaded the cover and listened to it about 5 times in a row as I slid silently through a gorgeous red rock canyon by train this weekend, and was pleased to discover the rest of his work when I got home. Miles From The Lightning (available on eMusic) is somber and atmospheric with sparse acoustic & slide guitars and a very quiet organic feel to most of the songs. Reminiscent of Springsteen (Devils & Dust or Nebraska) and Townes Van Zandt, I think it is going to become one of my favorite chill CDs. Foucault’s new disc Ghost Repeater is coming out next month.
From last month’s release Autumn Days, Gus Black is a Los Angeles singer-songwriter with a nice feel to this, his fourth studio album. I have read descriptions that liken him to Jeff Buckley, Pete Yorn, Eels, and David Gray; comparisons are helpful in narrowing it down, but Black has a shiny sound that is all his own and thoroughly enjoyable. Allmusic said that Autumn Days “often sounds like the perfect soundtrack to be listening to on your headphones while you go sight-seeing in the great outdoors.” The album ranges from lo-fi fuzziness to driving guitar ballads, to this track, which instantly made my ears perk up. With his vulnerable and dramatic vocals, lovely strings and keyboard backing, I really like what I hear from this guy.
Songs:illinois had a nice little post up introducing me to this Spanish indie folk artist Remate. Born in Madrid, but educated in Wales, his English is pretty good but sounds just different enough to make me smile and remember my time abroad fondly. Lonely harmonica and banjo evoke wide open plains like the rural Colorado I saw this weekend. Slow, but with an interesting layered rhythm.
While you were sleeping, the Beach Boys hooked it on up with Bruce Springsteen and this is the lovely result. I know I promised no more Springsteen covers for a while, but I lied.
The fabulous Mr. Kevin from So Much Silence has the nice ‘lil KEXP set from Band of Horses last Thursday. I have restrained myself from posting anything on them thus far, but I will say that I am rather digging their fresh, jangly, Shins-y sound.
Also, INDIEBLOGHEAVEN has one of the new Springsteen tracks from the Pete Seeger tribute album, if you’ve been curious to hear how those came out. Springsteen sure turns the whole congregation out on this one.