January 8, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

A crystalline and lovely dream last night involving me slow-waltzing with Ryan Adams in a high school gym with paper streamers all about (yeah, have no idea where that one came from but I ain’t complainin’) reminded me of an interesting effort I read about called The Dream Project.

It involves people calling in and leaving scratchy, half-coherent messages on a dedicated voicemail line (often right after waking), and then a cadre of artists works to visually represent those dreams as part of a larger project. The only catch is that they ask for dreams with “a strong narrative flow and clear landmarks so that others may follow the trail.” So that summarily eliminates me, unfortunately. My midnight brain is too random to make most of my sojourns followable by anyone else except me.

And actually, this project also reminds me of one of my favorite Dilbert comic strips.

. . . Here are five songs on my playlists this week that you may enjoy.

Deep Water
Ryan Auffenberg
This new demo song from San Francisco’s Ryan Auffenberg (“One To Watch“) is first in the lineup this week because it reminds me of a soundtrack to a dream, from the opening lyrics about some moments staying with you, to the soporific feel of the chorus, “deep water grows cold the further down you swim.” Perfect. Ryan’s put this new song up on his MySpace page, he’s got a few tour dates this month on the West coast and was recently picked up for a little featurette on San Francisco’s KFOG. I still recommend checking out all of his work, and think we’ll be hearing good things from him in the future.

Is That The Thanks I Get
(live on Conan)
Ahhh, Wilco. You Tweedy fans are a passionate bunch, and trying so hard to convert me. I am only not a hardcore fan yet because of benign neglect. Reader Chuck recently sent me a 10-song “Wilco Starter Kit” to try, once again, to transform me into a rabid fan, and so far he has been fairly successful. I recently came across this new song, a fantastic soulful Memphis piano romp performed several months ago on Conan. This (and other new songs) are potential inclusions on the upcoming Wilco album (May 2007, Nonesuch Records), and I like what I hear so far.

I Will Wander
The Features
Tennessee’s The Features are guys that I love to root for; you may recall a mention a few months back on this blog about how they were dropped from their label for refusing to cover a Beatles song for a credit card commercial? Well, the same sound that drew me to madly adore their 2004 track “Blow It Out” is still alive and kicking on their recent Contrast EP. I am digging the marching cadence of this song — the feel reminds me of a sort of Modest-Mouse-meets-Devo.

Children of December
Been listening to The SLIP‘s Eisenhower CD (on Bar/None Records) for a few months now and always meant to write something but somehow it kept getting passed over — but no longer. This is simply a fantastic song from the opening vibrating notes. I think the first thing I read about Boston’s The SLIP came from a quote I read from Jim James of My Morning Jacket who raved about them, saying, “‘Children of December’ is the song that hit me hardest – the way the guitar and the melody interlace, it’s incredible…It could even appeal to some kid who really likes punk rock. It’s really challenging.” Their Eisenhower album sounds fresh to these ears, and was co-produced by the band and Matthew Ellard (Elliott Smith, Billy Bragg & Wilco, Morphine).

After The War
Sleep Station
Here’s a random tune that popped into my inbox after my recent Cotton Mather post. Reader Barry from NYC writes, “I suspect you’re a big power pop fan who loves those pronounced Beatles influences with jangly guitars, close harmonies, all the good stuff. Seeing that’s the case, I thought I would attach a song by a band you may not know called Sleep Station. I love this song, and the album it comes from, After the War (their strongest record), generally sounds like a cross between the Beatles and Pink Floyd. Good stuff.” I agree and think I am going to get this CD for further listening (an $8 bargain!). I find this particular tune to be a pleasant modern-day update on “Golden Slumbers.” Thanks, Barry!

Oh, and if perchance you are looking for some good books for 2007, Scatter O’ Light is doing a great series on music-related reading, and yours truly just scribbled together a few suggestions off the top of my head for her part 3 (part 1 on U2-related tomes is here and part 2 on best rock bios is here). Happy reading!


  • Great round-up today, Heather. Love that Wilco song…we’ll make you a full-time convert yet. :) And that track from The SLIP is most excellent… it was their “free”/preview track on the sxsw site last year and it became one of my faves of ’06.

    Marc C. — January 8, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  • Wilco and Jeff Tweedy always seem to be changing their sound. I am not sure if they/he are/is an innovator or just keeps tweaking and messing to find the right sound or what. I will always be a fan of their second album, a double disk, being there. Just so no one forgets about the other half of the Belleville, Illinois cult favorite Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt will be releasing a new album “the Search” on March 6, 2007. Look for it. I’ve been hearing good reviews of it already

    Kev in Stl

    kevinstl — January 8, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  • If anyone is on the fence about Wilco I suggest watching his solo DVD “Sunken Treasure”. It’s already one of my favorite music DVDs. Not only is he a brilliant writer, he’s a great front man, and highly entertaining.

    Also, on the topic of Sleep Station, they have a free EP titled “Von Cosel”. It’s not as poppy as “After The War”, but it’s a very impressive CD focused more on a laid back, dark sound. If you want a perfectly constructed song, try to get a hold of their song “Broke Your Trust” off of “Hang In There Charlie”. You’ll be hooked upon first listen.

    lukin36 — January 9, 2007 @ 12:40 am

  • I’d be out for that dreamline as well – I ended up on a boat full of talking vegetables the other night… hmm.

    Thanks for these tracks, will give them a listen when I finish this mix cd somebody sent me! :]

    leavingfootprintsinthesand — January 9, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  • Hmm maybe dreams like those aren’t the best for publication on the internet… oh well!

    P.S Have you heard much Neal Casal? I’ve only got Wish to Reminisce and two live sets (which are awesome!) but don’t know where to start with the next album so need advice!

    leavingfootprintsinthesand — January 9, 2007 @ 7:40 am

  • I always enjoy your musical books selection, I will check out . By far ‘Songbook’ by Nick Hornby is my favorite music related work and his ‘High Fidelity’ is like a guys “chick flick” both book and movie. I will have to check out the ‘timetraveller’s wife’ and the joe strummer bio. Recently I’ve read the new Beatles bio (loved it greatly) and the Anthony Kiedis and Andy Summers bios as well, both worthwhile in their own ways. I’m most glad of your recommendation of ‘Dream Brother’ now one of my favorites in this realm of rocker bios. Thanks for the great nods about books.

    Stephen K. — January 9, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

  • have you read ‘how soon is never?’ by marc spitz

    he used to write for spin. i think this was his first shot at fiction. basically one guys life is spiraling out of control and he believes it will all be fine if he can just reunite the smiths and return to the carefree days of his youth. i liked it a whole lot.

    in my best ryan dream there were some truly bizarre, abstract details but the main bit was him on a small square wooden stage (playing in front of an audience) performing ‘now that you’re gone’ on his acoustic guitar and singing it while kinda gently dancing in circles round the stage. i think i’d been subconsciously trying to figure out how the music video for that song should be. and i think i figured it out in my sleep.

    last thought – i wish you’d re-upload last year’s new year’s mix. looked amazing.

    a — January 9, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  • Heather, the Wilco song you posted is on Jeff Tweedy’s Sunken Treasure live DVD that was released in late 2006. If you buy the DVD (which I did) you can also download 24 live audio tracks from the Wilco website. It’s a great DVD.

    RideTrek — January 9, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  • thanks – the slip track is gorgeous … – chrism

    Anonymous — January 15, 2007 @ 7:56 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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