November 4, 2009

black marks on the concrete now but they were beautiful last night


Bottle rockets and smoke bombs lying dead on the sidewalk
black marks on the concrete now but they were beautiful last night
the picture of our life
can we make this what it was?
everything is right, everything’s wrong
sparklers only burn for so long

…watch the light dance in the dark ’til it’s gone
sparklers only burn for so long…

Seattle’s Rocky Votolato specializes in the kind of hushed, pensive songs that sound especially extra-good in the gray chill of November, so it’s fitting that Barsuk Records (Death Cab, Nada Surf) just announced his forthcoming third album True Devotion (Feb 23) with a live version of this melancholy song.

This version of “Sparklers” was recorded at a house concert this summer in East Palo Alto, up the peninsula from where I grew up, onetime Murder Capital of the US, now with an IKEA. I think the domestic ambiance of the house concert idea is especially well-suited to a gorgeous little song like this one.

Sparklers (Live in East Palo Alto) – Rocky Votolato

This song reminds me quite a bit of something that Ryan Adams could have written, and thematically the bits about sparklers and explosions feel like the remnants of what started in the that fabulous Fourth of July song from Jason Anderson. The domestic intimacy continues with a series of living room shows in the East these next few weeks:

(buy tickets here – and agony, he just came through my town and was looking for a house. Fail!)
Nov 6 – New York, New York
Nov 8 – Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 9 – Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 10 – Providence, Rhode Island
Nov 11 – Burlington, Connecticut
Nov 13 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nov 14 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nov 15 – Washington DC

White Daisy Passing – Rocky Votolato
(my favorite track from his 2006 album Makers)

[img via]

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  • His last outing was actually The Brag and Cuss from 2007…..Thank you for posting this!


    JP — November 4, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  • noted! you’re of course right. thanks :)

    browneheather — November 4, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  • An old friend from way back when sent me “white daisy passing” and it has become one of my favorite songs. I love where it takes me. Thanks for the posting. Really enjoy your blog!

    corinna — November 4, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  • i love the lines about, “all those evenings on the back deck of our first apartment, they meant everything but the wind just carried ‘em off….”

    browneheather — November 4, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  • I remember when “White Daisy Passing” first came out and thus began my Rocky Votolato phase. I think A.A. Bondy’s “I Can See The Pines Are Dancing” is my new “White Daisy Passing”.

    Around that same time in 2006 a band called Pablo had a few songs out that I really enjoyed. You can listen to a live version of the song “Half The Time” here:

    And watch a video of “Loser Crew” here:


    meredith — November 4, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  • I missed Rocky’s living room tour when it came through Albuquerque, too. I’m also a big fan of “white daisy passing” Definitely one of my favorite songs to come out the last few years.

    dianne — November 5, 2009 @ 8:06 am

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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

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