June 4, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Happy Monday folks. I forgot to announce the Brushfire Records contest winner on Friday because I was up in Boulder, but in a random drawing (seriously; I made up 46 little pieces of paper and numbered them in the name of fairness) reader Kevin Cornwell wins the sampler packs of albums from the Brushfire lineup and a t-shirt. Yay Kevin! Please email me with your address.

I was kinda hoping that the winner would be the one dude with the joke about the muffins. SO ridiculous that it made me laugh out loud.

Here are the tunes I am listening to this week:

If You Wear That Velvet Dress
Jools Holland and Bono
The friend who sent me this song admits to skipping “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” when he listens to Pop, but for me the original is a smoldering hymn to clandestine longing that rarely gets passed over. This 2002 big-band swing version from (Squeeze founder) Jools Holland’s More Friends: Small World Big Band, Vol. 2 album takes a slightly different tack. The whispered aching and subtlety of the original turns into something almost brash — more breathy jazz singers lounging on pianos than smoky velvet dresses. Still, totally worth having – the album also features duets with folks like Stereophonics, Badly Drawn Boy, Tom Jones, and Huey of Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

Today (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Ben Kweller

When I first read about this compilation album of Smashing Pumpkins covers from the good folks at SPIN (speaking of which, I’m almost finished reading my first Klosterman book) and MySpace, I wanted to stab my eye out with a black eyeliner pencil. This Ben Kweller contribution was the only one that sounded mildly interesting to me out of the lineup (if a bit unnecessary?). I love Ben, and here Ben sounds a bit bored, even though he does pretty up the singing (85% less angst) and do a real nice intro. HOWEVER. The appreciated facet of this song is that now for the first time I can understand many of these lyrics, and can sing them without mumbling through those parts (“I want to tmmmhmm you mmmmmm….I want to mmm dmmmmm hmmmmm….”). The CD is packaged with the July issue of SPIN.

Lose Myself
Lauryn Hill

Where oh where is Lauryn and why does she just tease us with an astounding album like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and then vanish for coming up on 10 years (okay, except for the Unplugged thing)? I love that album and I have missed her talent. This track is a contribution to an upcoming kids movie (Surf’s Up) and, sure, sounds a little soundtracky, but I have to admit I find the skittery stop-start beat in particular to be irresistible. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack also features Pearl Jam. No – for real.

In The Words Of The Governor
Sufjan Stevens

Wait, so we’re sure this is the same Sufjan who plucks the banjo gently, sings in a breathy lovely voice, and makes me cry with finely wrought songs like Casimir Pulaski Day? In this new track from the Believer Magazine 2007 compilation album he wails and chants and channels the Beatles at their most psychedelic. Wha? Way to show us another side, Soof. [via]

Will You Return?
The Avett Brothers

Speaking of the Beatles, what would it sound like if they’d been raised deep in the heart of Appalachia? Maybe a little bit like the plucky fusion of North Carolina’s Avett Brothers. I am hearing these raves for their newest release Emotionalism, and this song makes me smile from the opening count-off. You can hear the smile in his voice. The album is raw and joyful if you can acclimate to the twang that smacks you in the face. But kinda in a good way.


  • Hi, Heather
    I love your blog
    cheers from a braziliean reader

    Grazielle — June 4, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  • Hey Heather. I have a Music Monday post every week as well, and I also blogged on Emotionalism today. Here’s a live video from an Emotionalism song on Conan.


    Steve — June 4, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  • Wow, I’ve been hearing their name everywhere, but this was the first time I checked out The Avett Bros. – it does sound like the Beatles meets Appalachia. Well done….

    James — June 4, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  • Which Klosterman book are you reading? As a one-time metal fan, I loved Fargo Rock City, and Killing Yourself To Die had some great moments too (as long as you’re willing to read along with his non-music relationship stories, which I was).

    Steve — June 4, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  • have you heard Lauryn Hill’s MTV unplugged album? It is full of spoken word, her poetry is great. I’d love to see her put out another album. . .

    M. Inman — June 4, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  • I’m so glad you mentioned oft overlooked Avett Brothers!

    You rule, as usual.

    James — June 4, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  • I really thought I was going to beat everyone to that Kweller cover, but you got there first…nice work, it’s why you are the best and only blog mistress.

    Dodge — June 4, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  • So close to winning! At least I got honorable mention.

    Seriously that muffin joke is my all-time favorite, even though it’s horrible.

    Andy — June 4, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  • Heather – great blog

    Tanya Donelly has put more mp3s on her site, the outtakes from the Windham session where she recorded This Hungry Life. Its here at


    ANother Steve — June 4, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

  • Avett brother are damn good…

    parisian cowboy — June 4, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  • Casimir Pulaski Day makes me cry, too.


    Anonymous — June 5, 2007 @ 12:52 am

  • I’ve always considered the Avett Brothers to be a madly musical, festival ciruit, jam band. “Emotionalism” captures the raw, infectious energy of their live performances with really tight songs that highlight their vocals and lyrics as in the “upbeat” “Die, Die, Die”. They are chock full of contradictions musically and lyrically and I’m delighted by the much deserved buzzz.

    I hope more bands will release their music more frequently even in EP format so that we can enjoy their evolvement in real time.

    debs — June 5, 2007 @ 9:31 am

  • that lauryn song is so good, i posted it on BV a little bit ago and I think it’s everything Amy Winehouse would like to be one day. so good :)

    Undisputed Wes — June 5, 2007 @ 9:46 am

  • They haven’t even released their reunion album yet, and I’m already tired of the Smashing Pumpkins…

    Greg — June 5, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  • nth the priase for the Avetts. I saw them about a month ago and I felt like i was at a punk show, so much damn energy. I have been listening to them for about a year now and so happy that they are getting the recognition they deserve.

    shawnstring — June 5, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  • Definite ear worm…”Lose Myself”

    Came back twice today to hear this song ago. Welcome back Lauryn.

    debs — June 5, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  • ETA: again not ago (listening while typing)

    debs — June 5, 2007 @ 3:50 pm

  • Debs – me too! Several times today I’ve been at a computer not my own and had this compulsion to stream it as well.

    And then I randomly belt out, “And that’s just the way it is….”


    heather — June 5, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  • Matt Nathanson’s streaming a new song off his upcoming album on his MySpace site, if you didn’t already hear…

    jeffro — June 5, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  • I just finished Klosterman’s “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs”. It’s a great read – rants about Saved By The Bell, a Guns & Roses tribute band and John Cusack are hysterical.

    Megan — June 5, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  • great post, i just added your rss to my reader… will be reading more of your posts in the future. sufjan is amazingly amazing.

    the constant skeptic — June 5, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  • Hi!
    I really like your bolg, and I’m so thankful all of teh Pearl jam mp3s and this Bono song!

    Anonymous — June 9, 2007 @ 5:47 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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