August 14, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

This weekend I found myself at a hot rod show which evolved that night into a rockabilly concert at a rough & tumble bar, with a pinup girl contest as the finale. It felt like this bizarre glitch in the matrix, whereby I suddenly stumbled back 50 years and was hangin’ out with the bad crowd from, like, Rydell High. It was awesomely entertaining – fishnets, pompadours, and pincurls. Oh, and lots of tattoos (guys & gals). To hear a pretty authentic live band crank out songs like “Get Rhythm” (Johnny Cash), “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly), and “That’s All Right” (Elvis) made me yearn even more than usual that I had been born in the ’40s.

Yeah, it was like that.
Okay, onto the music for this week — which I just noticed has a largely nostalgic feel to it as well.

Thunder On The Mountain
Bob Dylan
You know how you’ve been itchin to hear the first track from Bob Dylan‘s new album Modern Times? Well in addition to hearing him mumble his way through lyrics like “I want some real good woman to do just what I say” up against a rollicking folksy backing melody here, you can sign up via the old email to attend a listening party in many U.S. cities to hear the rest of the collection (which sounds like a pretty cool fête to me). See the always-informative Stereogum for details.

I Don’t Exist
It’s about gol-dang time that someone wrote a song about IKEA. I just got my 2007 catalog in the mail and it made me ridiculously happy, letting me slip for a few minutes into the well-organized and spacious Swedish lifestyle of my dreams where I hang funky textiles on the walls and everything has a basket to put it in. British punk granddaddies the Buzzcocks are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a new album called Flat-Pack Philosophy (on Cooking Vinyl). Although it does not explicitly mention the Scandinavian slice of domestic bliss, you and I both know that that’s what they are talkin’ about on the title track. Trading some of their more angry & aggressive crunchy sound of days past for an overall more melodic & even poppy feel (oh, but their edge is still there) this disc is an enjoyably fast-paced romp (14 tracks in 36 minutes?). This particular track reminds me, actually, of early R.E.M. if you can believe that.

Let Me Know
Eric Lindell
Northern California-born/New Orleans-adopted Eric Lindell makes some rough & lovely blue-eyed soul that reminds me of all kinds of goodness from Van Morrison (listen: “See Me Through”) to BB King and, very notably on this track, The Black Crowes. His newest release, Change In The Weather (Alligator Records), is diverse and solid. There’s a nice old-school vibe to this song combined with a fresh & almost lighthearted guitar riff. Looks like he is stopping through the scenic hamlet of Manitou Springs in a few weeks (our hippie neighbors to the west) and since I have also heard absolute raves about his live show, I do believe I will stop by and take a listen.

California Rain
Madeleine Peyroux
This song absolutely makes me break into a big smile everytime I hear it and I think it will do the same for you from the opening notes. Mental image for me is waltzing around in my socks on a hardwood floor in an old crumbling San Francisco apartment with the rain falling hard against the windows. Madeleine Peyroux is amazing to me — the fact that she is a modern lady who sounds exactly like Ella Fitzgerald and is clearly steeped in a love for all those great sounds of the past. This is from Half The Perfect World (out 9/12 on Rounder Records), her sophomore effort following 2004′s Careless Love. It is a nostalgic foray into the past, but with some serious nods to the present with songs written by folks like Tom Waits & Leonard Cohen and a guest appearance by k.d. lang on the cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” Perfect for a lazy weekend.

Broken Signals
The Mugs
Brooklyn-based quartet The Mugs have quite a fine little self-produced debut album with Paper Scissors Rock (on SkinnyFat Records), which draws comparisons to the intelligent moodiness of The Smiths or the humble jangle of The Shins. A steady buzz is growing behind these guys, who were just named one of 7 must-see bands of NYC and get some serious love from the respectable KEXP in Seattle (and even a little blog love). Their first EP Daisy Cutter (2004) is available in full on their website, so you have no excuse not to get into the groove yourself (although the EP carries the caveat: “This recording hasn’t been ruthlessly compressed, nor has it been mastered, so it sounds best loud”). They’ve got a ton of shows coming up, and apparently they are best at converting fans in-person, so check them out.


  • Heather – Kudos for giving mad props to Madeleine Peyroux, who is a singular and criminally underappreciated talent. But, this is her third release, not her second. Her amazing debut, Dreamland, was released in 1996, after which she just disappeared from the scene for the better part of a decade. I encourage EVERYONE to pick up that record — it’s brilliant. Also, I think you mean to say that she sounds like a modern day Billie Holiday. She doesn’t sound anything like Ella. Your blog continues to kick butt, and thanks.

    Frank — August 14, 2006 @ 8:13 am

  • Yes, Frank got to it first: Ella? Is there a song or phrase in particular that spurs that association?
    And, yes, I also believe Dreamland is brilliant. I have Dreamland, Careless Love and an interesting album shared between her and William Galison, called: Got You on My Mind. I stumbled onto that sometime last year or the year before when I had decided to buy Careless Love.

    But right now, Dylan tops my list of Must Buys. Thanks for the first listen! His last two albums have been staggering, jaw-droppers. I can’t wait to hear where he goes now.

    DouglasLong — August 14, 2006 @ 9:15 am

  • I too have been digging on Madeleine Peyroux for about a year. I was in the local ‘borders’ where there was what sounded like Billie Holiday singing Elliott Smith. Intrigued, I tracked down and purchased ‘Careless Love’ that very minute. Her version of ‘Between the Bars’ is definitely different, but I love it.

    Stephen K. — August 14, 2006 @ 9:38 am

  • I’m loving that Dylan track.

    It’s actually got me really excited about the new album. Seems to be carrying on where the last one finshed off which can only be a good thing.


    coxon le woof — August 14, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  • thanks for the Dylan track. I checked out the listening parties. Miami SUX! he probably won’t even play So. Florida.

    aikin — August 14, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

  • Of course, technically, there is already a song about IKEA, thanks to Baby Got Back restylist Jonathan Coulton.

    But his song seems to be about IKEA in the literal sense, not the aural sense.

    boyhowdy — August 14, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  • Thanks a lot for the music, in special Dylan one! It’s great to have him back with new stuff!

    Nelson — August 15, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  • yeah IKEA!

    Lux Lisbon — August 15, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

  • If you want to immerse yourself in that rockabilly scene, come visit us in Green Bay, Wisconsin, next spring. Our local casino hosts a 5-day rockabilly/R&B/roots festival with big names and more obscure names. Those pompadoured, tatted, stylishly retro-dressed folks are the norm.

    Jeff — August 18, 2006 @ 10:16 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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