On Sunday afternoon, my folks snagged some sweet birthday tickets for us to see the Rockies and the Giants play in Denver — fabulous seats, about six rows back on the third base line. Despite the 90+ degree scorcher of a day (and some family rivalry), the seats were filled, and some of my favorite fans were the eight and nine year-old boys waiting by the Giants dugout for autographs from players before the game. I think so often as adults we feel bereft of heroes, and it was amazingly refreshing to stand next to these kids in their team jerseys and hear their shouted, squeaky-voiced enthusiasm when, say, Tim Lincecum walks out from the dugout to warm up. This sign that the kid next to me made reaffirmed my faith in believing in things — even though the Giants lost (“Go both teams“).
Ahh, a Sunday well-spent.
I haven’t done a Monday Music Roundup in a while, but today there seems to be a glut of good new songs that I’d love to share with you and your eardrums. Shall we?
Just tapped by the lovely, quirky Regina Spektor to open her upcoming North America tour, NYC’s Jupiter One is a duo with folksy roots and Seventies AM radio leanings. This song is all lemondrops and summer street strolls, over lyrics about burning buildings. What an odd, totally successful juxtaposition. I can’t get enough of this song lately. Sunshower is out September 15th on Ryko.
In My Dreams
Since we last talked about these things, Mark Oliver Everett, aka EELS, has released a new album called Hombre Lobo – “Wolf Man” for those who remember things from Sra Navarro’s Spanish class junior year, or the equivalent. He’s one of the purest, cleverest songwriters we got around, whether he is being sardonically prescient or heartbreakingly earnest. He did one of them MySpace Transmissions sessions (the same place that produced this moment of stunning awesomeness), where E played three new songs (like this one above, with such purdy piano), an older tune, and a cover Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country.” For the price of free, this is a nice little download. Send me a note if you’ve never gotten into Eels and I’ll suggest a few places to start, because really — you should.
My Will Is Good
When I was sailing on a boat, I listened to the nautical sounds of Port O’Brien often in my head (not on my iPod for reals because they were not allowed on board). I used the Port O’Brien song “Stuck On A Boat” for my seafaring mix, complete with the lapping sounds of the waves against a hull, and have been drawn for a long time to the mariner’s world they sketch out for us (frontman Van Pierszalowski was a commerical salmon fisherman). From Oakland, CA, Port O’Brien has a new album coming out called Threadbare (due October 6, TBD Records), which flirts with melancholy and weightier themes, and shows a new maturity to their sound due to some sad life circumstances the past year. See what you think of it; I like the seasick jitter of this song, with the humming voices in the background — kinda like a sea shanty. Yeah.
Gee, I Really Love You
I first stumbled across this side project of Jon Spencer (he of the Blues Explosion), and its effortless bad-ass-ness two years ago, appreciating that retro garage rock, notable yowl, and filthy reverb. As I wrote then, Heavy Trash have a “rough and tumble rockabilly punk sound that makes me want to drink, smoke, and fight. And I don’t even do two of those three things.” I found this new stuff over on Bruce Warren’s blog, and he described them as “Blues/rock/soul/punkrock/garage/R&B colliding all together in one big New York City kind of rock mess of hotness.” I can dig that. Midnight Soul Serenade is out in October on Big Legal Mess Records.
Run With Me Run
The Black Hollies
With songs to their credit like “Gloomy Monday Morning” and “Paisley Patterned Ground,” it should come as no surprise that Jersey boys The Black Hollies are still championing a spacey, mood-ring vibe on their newest efforts. These whippersnappers are a band Rolling Stone once said “would bring a smile to Brian Jones’ face,” and the first single explodes in a shimmering kaleidoscope of organ melodies and shiny happy harmonies. Softly Towards The Light is out October 6th on the Ernest Jennings Record Co label (Takka Takka and O’Death are labelmates), and you can catch The Black Hollies on tour with Benjy Ferree in the coming weeks.
Oh and: you’re welcome.