Sleepless greetings from somewhere in limbo between California leaving and Colorado arriving. True story: I am supposed to be catching a few slim hours of shut-eye before my superbly early flight in the wee hours of Monday morning, but the couple in the hotel/motel room next to me are going at it so loudly that I (and surely several neighbors in either direction up and down the hall) can’t sleep. Gotta love priceline.com motel finds for the best buck. On the bright side, I now have the gift of knowing that my neighbor is a “bad girl” as I keep hearing over and over, and that’s something special that I can cherish. Room 526 at the Pacific Inn, I’m talkin’ to you.
I’m up late and fairly glowing following a rich and fantastic afternoon spent at the Bridge School Benefit concert today, which had some fine, fine moments (and some not so fine, but that’s to be expected with a grand festival bacchanalia). Scintillating reflections on that shortly. But first, here’s a handful of new tunes that I’ve found noteworthy this week. I really wanted to post something from the new Shins album, but apparently SubPop would then be all over me like white on rice (every blogger that posted it seems to have been contacted now to take it down. Fair enough, but it is quite a fine sounding disc I will say.)
“The Rat Within The Grain“
I cannot remember where I found this (maybe here) but it is one of my favorite Damien Rice songs to come down the pike in a long time. From his upcoming release 9 (Heffa Records, Nov 14), there is almost a nostalgic folksy sound to this tune that makes me think of riding along on a train, looking out the window. I would deem this a definite travelling song, and highly recommend it. Update: Not on the new album, but I think a b-side on the single for “9 Crimes”.
“Here Comes Ruby“
My friend Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard is currently living the blogger’s dream (well, my blogger dream, anyways) by creating his own music label, Autumn Tone, and releasing his first album from Athens, Georgia alt-roots-rocker Daniel Hutchens. I have yet to give the entire album (Lovesongs for Losers) a thorough and proper listening, but I liked this song the first time I heard it. Hutchens is well-respected in the American South, yet largely unknown outside those circles — but maybe not for much longer. This song is simultaneously playful and rootsy, a warm blend of Americana and Southern rock. Justin says, “This guy is a national treasure, and I’ll stand on Steve Earle’s coffeetable in my Jack Purcells and say just that.” I’d like to see that. Check out his site for lots more from Hutchens.
This find was courtesy of Scatter O Light, which recently pointed out some free downloads of demos and unreleased Ben Taylor songs (including some interesting covers). This song’s newly penned, about how Ben needs a bad girl to help him stop dreaming of someone else. Although I picked this song out days ago, I have to chuckle a bit now. Ben, I have a suggestion for a special someone for you. Check out the new Ben Taylor EP available on iTunes called Deeper Than Gravity (October 3, Iris Records) which includes a lovely acoustic version of one of my favorite songs of his ever, “Nothing I Can Do.”
Josh Rouse & Kurt Wagner
And speaking of EPs, I have been spending some quality time lately with the forgotten 1999 Chester EP from Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner (of Nashville rock/country/soul band Lambchop). A joint effort from two fine musicians on 5 little songs which follows-up nicely to Rouse’s debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska, but with a slightly darker edge to them. I think it is an essential collection for the Josh Rouse fan, showing an interesting facet of his musical development.
“The Only Place I Can Look Is Down“
Twin brothers from London (paired with a Scottish drummer — collectively they average about 21 years), The Bishops are yet another buzz band from the UK (NME darlings) with a straight-up Kinks/Clash influenced sound. Their debut EP is becoming available in the States this week from California-based indie label I Am Sound Records. It’s more fun retro-goodness circa 1966. Listen to a few more from them here.
(Funny – United Airlines just called my cell, flight is rescheduled for noon. Neighbors have fallen into a seemingly exhausted slumber. So, goodnight!)