December 10, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Hot on the heels of the date we lost Lennon, and after a long weekend in a hospital waiting room, I am not going to commemorate another morose anniversary today.

Instead let’s celebrate the life of Otis Redding. I’ve re-upped all the great songs on this post from his birthday last year in honor of this fantastic musician, one of my favorites. Today I’d also like to add one addition to the Otis playlist:

Hard To Handle
Otis Redding

So I could save face and be all, “Yeah, I knew that Black Crowes song was totally a cover of Otis.” But that would be a big fat lie. Somehow (?!) I missed this original until a guy recently enthusiastically cited it to me as Otis’ best. Song. Ever. That title is up for some discussion with me (I like Tramp. Or maybe Dreams To Remember). This tune was originally released posthumously in 1968 as a b-side, and soundly trumps the Black Crowes cover I’ve been listening to all these years. You can find it on this recent anthology. Go Otis. We miss ya.

Skinny Love
Bon Iver
While I work on finalizing my year-end favorites list (meaning painfully hacking perfectly good albums left and right in order to narrow it down into something meaningful) I’ve been taking the opportunity to listen to some artists that never actually got the chance to vibrate my eardrums in 2007. Dodge put this album as his #1 for the year, and since Dodge is right about a lot of things (he loves me, for instance) I thought I should spin it. Wow. As you listen to Bon Iver, it starts to scrape something loose inside of you. This is one that you might find yourself listening to over and over again as I have been, even if you are unsure when it first kicks in. Something intangible and gorgeous and raw thrums under the thin skin of this song.

Phantom Planet

While the themesters of the O.C. (sorry but they are never, ever going to slip out of that recognizable tinny piano melody rising to the top of my mind whenever I say their name) work on recording a new album for Spring 2008 with Fueled By Ramen, Phantom Planet is making a limited-edition tour EP available with some new tunes. Aptly titled Geronimo, this song sounds pretty ferocious and relentless, like a fashionably new-wave native jumping off a sandstone bluff onto the waiting trusty steed? Not like I would know firsthand, but I have been re-reading some Cormac McCarthy. So.

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Dylan cover)
The Hold Steady
This came on the local SF radio station KFOG this weekend when I was out in California, one of the few bright spots of my hellish weekend. Starting slowly from the restrained opening, it cracks open like a carnival into something exuberant and near life-affirming. Something about the way The Hold Steady treat this, it perfectly preserves the just-barely-hanging-together feel of the original, with a huge rush of their own unique spirit. Probably the best song on that (dang good) I’m Not There soundtrack.

Weird me out. I was adding this song into the post, the final paragraph of which has already been written with that Singles nod in the last sentence, which really is the only way to say it. I visited one-man-band Sean Jackson‘s MySpace and I see that his profile quote is, “Other than that, he was ably backed by Stone and Jeff.” And I love him. So I’m just gonna leave it at that; you may be familiar with how much I love that movie and quote it at inopportune times. This guy definitely has tones of the Foo Fighters (although not as good as their new album, more from me on that later perhaps) and he namechecks influences like Westerberg and Malkmus. So okay, we’ll listen. Album is called For You.

* * * * *
And PS – I got a kick out of this; I somehow made the Business section of the Tulsa World newspaper.

The final sentences read, “As for me, a few days later — before the technician could arrive — the light on my modem mysteriously came on again. With all apologies to my wife, I went straight to Heather. Honey, it had been too long.” I am loved in Belgium, and apparently Tulsa! Thanks John.


  • Great post, as usual, love the Redding, it was played at my wedding, and thank you for finally making me hear what everyone else was hearing in Bon Iver during CMJ, I wan’t getting it, but that song did it, and also really dig Singles. Thanks again!


    Jon — December 11, 2007 @ 12:51 am

  • Thank you also for that Hold Steady track! I really want to buy the I’m not There soundtrack, but everybody knows I want it and I’ve been ordered not to buy myself anything until Christmas. I’m hard to buy for, apparently…

    (Hope everything’s okay, I’m thinking of you lots.)

    lism. — December 11, 2007 @ 4:49 am

  • That article in the Tulsa paper is awesome! ha! Congrats on the publicity!

    lindsayjean11 — December 11, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  • precocious and whip-smart!

    indeed. very cool.

    c — December 11, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  • AH! I hate to say it, but I really am not a big Black Crowes fan. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps it’s Chris Robinson, I dunno. Regardless, “Hard to Handle” is certainly their one song I could always enjoy.

    That said, I’ve always loved Otis Redding. In fact, when you posted his Monterey set is when I became a daily visitor to your blog! I must say, I never knew the link either. All I can say now, though, is WOW. Fantastic. Thank you, Heather!

    All my best,

    Steve — December 11, 2007 @ 11:06 am

  • well I had no idea it was an Ottis original… anyways.. I still think the best version is by The Commitments!! great stuff!

    Uma Pessoa — December 11, 2007 @ 3:35 pm

  • Love the Otis. I saw Bon Iver last week open for Elvis Perkins. I don’t have his record yet (I thought it didn’t come out until February), and admittedly I’m not yet buying the BI blogger buzz on this. Maybe in time I will….

    Bruce — December 11, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  • I feel so ignorant now. I had no clue “Hard to Handle” was a cover. I agree with Steve, I never really liked Black Crowes, but always loved that song, I guess I know why now, it’s wasn’t theirs… that makes me feel better about myself. Thanks for posting the Otis Redding song, I really liked it!

    The entire I’m Not There soundtrack is really good. I’m not a Bob Dylan fanatic, so when I got this album, I figured I’d at least learn to appreciate his songs a little more, which I did. Listening to all those songs made me extremely curious to hear the originals. :)

    And lastly, I have to agree with that guy from the article, personally, I’m not big on computers or the internet, but your blog is the one I read on a daily basis, religiously. I don’t know if it’s our mutual love for (or should I say.. obsession with) Pearl Jam, or the fact that I got introduced to one of my new favorite bands through your blog (BRMC “one more for the soulmate dreamers”).

    Thanks! :)

    Sally Jo Who — December 11, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  • I grew up in Macon, GA and went to high school with Otis III and his sister Zelda.

    Thanks for giving Otis his due!

    Lex Ham Rand — December 11, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  • Thank you for the Otis Redding (my first time at your blog – I enjoyed your birthday post from last year too so thank you for linking to it). Love Otis :)
    Steve – I don’t know how you can’t be a Black Crowes fan! Have you not listened to The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion? Surely one of the best albums of all time (though, I admit, CR is annoying).

    georgia — December 11, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  • Georgia- I’m confident that it’s primarily the Chris Robinson aspect. But additionally, whenever I hear their music I see them performing in my head as this overzealous and for some reason, pretentious group of fellas. I’m truly not sure why. Anywho, you’ve sold me, I’m a pushover, yadda yadda. I’ll toss some Black Crowes per your suggestion into my finals studying rotation. You win this round…

    All my best to errbody,


    Steve — December 12, 2007 @ 9:05 am

  • The I’m Not There soundtrack seems good. Willie Nelson & Calexico’s version of Señor is totally awesome,too!

    Pete P. — December 12, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

  • Tulsa calls Adams a country-rock maverick. That should be the new alt country name. country-rock maverick.

    fairest — December 12, 2007 @ 8:57 pm

  • Tulsa piece = awesome. Congrats on all the well deserved love and attention. Southern Cal sends their kudos girl!

    So Calirific — December 18, 2007 @ 7:11 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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