I was so happy to finally seize summer by the . . . horns (I started a metaphor I can’t finish) this weekend and go camping out in the Colorado wild. Well, as wild as you can get being twenty minutes from downtown Denver, but still — camping is something I’ve been meaning to do the last few summers and it just never seemed to happen until now. There were actual tents and campfires involved, and I couldn’t be happier. And really who knew that s’mores and beer went so well together?
So much awesomeness in less than 24 hours (ah yes, the short, wimpy kind of camping): I inadvertently melted the soles of my black flipflops by resting my feet on the firepit all night, got to see a gorgeously unobstructed sunset, and I’m not even kidding our tent got loosely surrounded by a yipping pack of passing coyotes around 3am — a bit eerie, but rad.
We didn’t try to bring any tunes camping, but if we had we would have first and foremost listened to Creedence (my favorite camping music) and secondly perhaps to some of these fine selections for the week:
This was another must-see recommendation to me from several different folks who caught blistering Brooklyn trio Earl Greyhound at the XPoNential Music Fest in Philly this past summer. Their influences range from the immediate swagger of Led Zeppelin (you can certainly hear the “Black Dog” echoes here) to The Beatles (on gentler songs like “Good”) and all kinds of Seventies jams in between. Guitarist Matt Whyte yowls and howls, sharing vocal duties with foxy lady bassist Kamara Thomas, while Ricc Sheridan kills it on the drums. They are coming to Monolith this weekend at Red Rocks — sign me up for a good seat Saturday night. Their album Soft Targets is available now.
The Girl (Beck remix)
Speaking of Philly, Dr. Dog is currently one of the absolute finest exports of the city of brotherly love. Their MySpace says they are “interested in three-part harmonies, the out-of-doors, soya rotis, baking bread and diminished chords.” Sounds good to me, as does their 2007 album We All Belong. This is a remix from the upcoming single of “The Girl” — Some Velvet Blog loves Dr. Dog and has the original tune here, if you are interested in hearing what it sounded like before Tiny Beck got his wildly creative hands on it. The Girl 7″ will be released in limited quantities in October and will be free at independent record stores when you buy Easy Beat or We All Belong. The flip side will feature their ace remix of “Heart it Races” by Architecture in Helsinki (go listen on their MySpace). Dr. Dog are currently on tour with and without Wilco.
I first posted this machine-gun dancehall punk delight waaaay back when I had 12 readers, after seeing The Dead 60s open for Social Distortion at the Gothic Theatre in November 2005. They put on a great, energetic show and I can definitely hear that someone has been listening to a lot of The Clash and The Specials, which aren’t bad influences to have. This bright-eyed foursome from Liverpool is back with some new stuff this week (check it out on their MySpace), and they just announced that they’ll be supporting Ash (is this the end of the world?) on their upcoming Fall tour.
You Don’t Wanna Leave
This warm and rootsy song from Chicago+Milwaukee singer/songwriter Mike Mangione could be the perfect tune for the impending autumn weather. Its honey richness sticks in your head, and made me smile from the moment I first heard the opening melody. The acoustic playfulness reminds me a bit of Van Morrison, and is recommended for fans of the literate alt-county of Rocky Votolato, or even the catchy pop hooks of Rob Thomas, believe it or not. Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness, and it’s also the title of his newest release, which can be streamed in full over on his website.
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip
This is the song I am most giddy about today, because it’s so much fun. I’ve written about this Essex, England duo with the odd name before – remember that fantastic video for “Thou Shalt Always Kill”? Yeah, I watched that about a dozen times in one day; I find the contrast of the literate words, the hip-propelling beats, surreal video art direction, and the appearance that the guy could possibly be a traditional old-school Hasidic Jewish man (he’s not, he’s just rockin the beard as far as I know) to be irresistibly interesting. This new song starts out like something Ben Harper would conjure up, and sounds even better while watching the video:
THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED,
DAN LE SAC vs SCROOBIUS PIP [UK download]