I’m back from my aforementioned 20-hour dash through Wyoming, Nebraska, and back into Colorado. It was a spur of the moment thing, leaving me at the ranch/hostel place on the remote Wyoming border with nary a toothbrush at 10pm on a Sunday night. It was exhilarating to get out and see a part of the country I’ve never seen, simply because I wanted to see where the freeway took me on a full tank of gas. While on the jaunt, I listened mostly to my two Fuel For The Open Road mixes, and the twangy overtones fit perfectly on the county highways and prairies.
Here’s what else I might have listened to if I hadn’t left my iPod on the charger at home.
I’d seen a flurry of short posts about The Muslims in the blog world a few weeks ago, but they truly won me over when I read this great quote from the band that Bruce cited over on Some Velvet Blog: “We don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. And that’s why it sounds like The Velvet Underground. Because it has chords and my guitar is trebly. We like the E chord. It’s simple. None of us listen to math-rock. We tried it, but it didn’t work out that well. We’re not bad, we’re just not really good.” And AMEN, ain’t that humbling. This song is young and dirty and fast — what more could you want? The Muslims play Denver’s Larimer Lounge on May 2, with lots of other shows coming up as well.
This song is in no way new music, but it has risen to the tip-top of my playlists in recent weeks. I somehow glossed unfairly over Rilo Kiley‘s 2007 release Under The Blacklight after reading a few lukewarm reviews, and never realized the genius of this track until recently. Lame! I know. Well, it finally hit me, all handclaps and disco beats, and I was instantly won over by the stark confessionals from Jenny Lewis and sentiments I can appreciate. If perchance you also missed it like I did, for the love of Pete, take a listen and try not to love it, all the way down to those mellifluous closing gospel chorus notes. My song of the month (a perfect video too).
As I crested hill after hill of winter-bleached prairie grassland early this morning as the rising sun splintered across it, I listened to a bit of My Morning Jacket. One of the things I enjoy the most about their music is the way it feels golden and expansive, all sundrenched reverb and eerie harmonies. It’s easy to see why that same vibe would draw me effortlessly into this opening album track from Seattle’s Fleet Foxes. As you delve into the rest of their songs you do hear a bit more of the classic rock influences, but gorgeous vocal tracks like this sound like a perfectly-crafted hymn (“Our Prayer” by the Beach Boys, anyone?). Their Sun Giant EP is out now on Sub Pop/Bella.
Tick of Time
I’m liking where the Kooks are going on their second album Konk, out tomorrow on Astralwerks. They’ve tuned down a bit of the herky-jerky swagger of their first album an lapsed a bit more into the acoustic harmony vibe, and they sound terrific. Konk was recorded at Ray Davies’ studio of the same name, and was produced by Tony Hoffer who has worked with The Thrills, Beck and Supergrass. This is the last track on the album and they sound like they’re having fun.
Glad It’s Over
I’m confused about this “musical companion album” to the excellent TV series Heroes, which is a show that messed with my brain. When watched in large doses, Heroes gave me the kind of vivid dreams I haven’t had since Alias when I dreamt that Rambaldi was trying to send me encrypted messages through run-of-the-mill neighborhood night noises. In any case, I don’t remember hearing Wilco on Heroes. Nor Bob Dylan, MMJ, or even Nada Surf. But look! Here’s a brand new Wilco track from that collection, catchy as all get out. The selections on this soundtrack are “inspired by the characters” in the show, and are pretty bulletproof in terms of the quality tunes & artists here.