April 17, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

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 Cañon 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:


Crazy
Ray Lamontagne
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
Jeffrey Foucault
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.

Weekend Soldier
Gus Black
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.

Miss You
The Concretes
Pouty Swedish pop meets Rolling Stones swagger with fantastic results. This was featured on their b-side compilation Layyourbattleaxedown in 2005. Easy, loping, hazy.

Bill
Remate
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.

BONUSES:

Hungry Heart
Mike Love
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.

10 Comments »

  • oh lord royal gorge is one of my favorite places on earth. my uncle kept freaking out as we walked over it because i kept walking right over to the edge. and i am waiting on some new ray stuff too. the man is amazing. did you get the whole livebonnaroo release?

    Don't Need Anything — April 17, 2006 @ 8:46 am

  • whoa, thanks so much for pointing at the Springsteen / Pete Seeger track, and the video – what a hoot!

    inkymitts — April 17, 2006 @ 10:03 am

  • Minnie Driver did a very interesting interpretation of “Hungry Heart” on her CD Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket. I say “interpretation” rather than cover, because unless you knew that’s what the song was, you’d hardly recognize it at first.

    You should check it out if you get the chance.

    Cleggy — April 17, 2006 @ 10:19 am

  • As of right now, I’m unable to get any of the songs, but you’re right – you do live in a beautiful state. I lived in Colorado for a few years as a kid and can say with authority that Colorado is rivaled only by Arizona in beauty. :-)Can’t wait to hear “crazy”. thanks for another great post.

    aaron — April 17, 2006 @ 11:54 am

  • I’ll have to tell that guy you posted another photo (just kidding).

    Jennings — April 17, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  • I agree, Ray can do NO wrong. The guy is outstanding. Thanks for sharing.

    word verification tells me “you won junior’s “X”. (uwonjrzx)Interesting…

    Duke of Straw — April 17, 2006 @ 5:15 pm

  • wowza – that gnarls cover is amazing!! :D

    Gurgie

    supergurg — April 17, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  • oh sweet jesus heather.

    i am coming to colorado and stealing the ray that i [apparently] am lacking. color me outdone.

    i’m expecting massive ray via AIM, asap.

    chop! chop!

    Nathaniel — April 18, 2006 @ 12:38 am

  • colorado sucks.

    Heather, nice posts. Loving the Ray cover, i was off ray for a while… thanks for the revival. Its odd how so many of your posts are resonating with me. I’ve had that concretes cover on my pod for 6 months now.. love it. thanks for all your effort and forethought. unfortunately when i blog, im a man of few words. As Aerosmith said, “let the music do the talking!”

    New Hampshire rules!!!

    jethro — April 18, 2006 @ 10:50 am

  • You live in Colorado. Dang. Lucky. Love the pic adn the tunes as always.

    Eric — April 18, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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