February 23, 2014

i can’t leave it behind if i’ve never really known

COME ON. Noah Gundersen (here with his sister/kindred spirit Abby) just continues to blow me away no matter how many times I see this song. This rendition comes via La Blogotheque folks; Colorado, Noah plays Denver on Tuesday night at the Soiled Dove. You should probably definitely be there.

As I wrote with this song on my Autumn 2013 Mix: One of the finest, truest duos together, this brother and sister detonate the emotional heavy artillery, but make it so smooth that you almost don’t notice until you look down and a chunk is missing.

Ledges came out earlier this month and it is exquisite. Get it.


Feb 23 – The Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ
Feb 25 – Soiled Dove, Denver, CO
Feb 26 – Slowdown, Omaha, NE
Feb 27 – The Maintenance Shop, Ames, IA
Feb 28 – 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Mar 01 – The Frequency, Madison, WI
Mar 02 – Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI
Mar 04 – The Demo, St Louis, MO
Mar 05 – SPACE, Evanston, IL
Mar 06 – Musica, Akron, OH
Mar 07 – Rumba Cafe, Columbus, OH
Mar 08 – Do317 Lounge, Indianapolis, IN
Mar 09 – High Watt, Nashville, TN
Mar 18 – Bottletree, Birmingham, AL
Mar 19 – Eddie’s Attic, Decatur, GA
Mar 20 – The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC
Mar 21 – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Mar 22 – Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
Mar 23 – World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
Mar 25 – Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY
Mar 26 – The Red Room at Cafe 939, Boston, MA
Mar 27 – PETIT CAMPUS, Montreal, Canada
Mar 28 – The Drake Hotel, Toronto, Canada
Apr 12 – Starz Center: TECO Theater, Tampa, FL
Apr 13 – Club Downunder, Tallahassee, FL
Apr 15 – Mud & Water, Baton Rouge, LA
Apr 16 – Gasa Gasa, New Orleans, LA
Apr 17 – Grand Stafford Theater, Bryan, TX
Apr 18 – Three Links, Dallas, TX
Apr 19 – Cactus Cafe, Austin, TX
Apr 22 – Bricktown Music Hall, Oklahoma City, OK
Apr 26 – Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY

December 2, 2011

i am in love with something invisible

Bottom Of The River (Blogotheque version) – Adam Arcuragi

This is an older video, but so joyful, there in the middle of a flea market off 25th Street in NYC. The little Chinese lady clapping along looks pretty much how I feel when I listen to this.

Adam Arcuragi comes to us by way of Philly (where he used to be a teacher), now makes his “death gospel” music in New York, and this is the closing song on his 2009 sophomore album, I Am Become Joy.

Joy indeed.

ADAM ARCURAGI TOUR DATES (i’m in for Denver)
Jan 18 – The Bootleg Bar, Los Angeles, CA
Jan 19 – Hotel Utah, San Francisco, CA
Jan 22 – Hi Fidelity Lounge, Bremerton, WA
Jan 23 – Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA
Jan 24 – BellTower, Pullman, WA
Jan 25 – Flying M, Boise, ID
Jan 27 – Hi Dive, Denver, CO
Jan 30 – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
Jan 31 – Cafe Bourbon Street, Columbus, OH
Feb 01 – Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PA
Feb 02 – Union Pool – RECORD RELEASE SHOW!! NYC
Feb 06 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA

June 21, 2010

Réveille mon âme

The excoriating Mumford and Sons shot straight to the top of my “best shows ever” list on Friday night in a 300-person Telluride opera house, and I feel like I’m still radiating from the energy of it all. Like standing too close to a supernova, or an atomic bomb.

Their Blogotheque session (posted today) is characteristically gorgeous, allowing the purity of their music to shine through. I’ll have much more to say about Telluride soon, but for now, watch them sing “Awake My Soul” half in French, along with their rare “Banjolin Song.”

The way this group of young guys tilt their heads back and sing their ancient-feeling (but powerfully rocking) music with such urgency and grace is precisely what I love about them. Incredible.

The Banjolin Song (Blogotheque version) – Mumford & Sons

Awake My Soul / Réveille mon âme (Blogotheque version) – Mumford & Sons

March 29, 2010

melt on the blue breath of the auctioneers

Released today from the fine folks at La Blogotheque; just exactly what my Monday needed.

Country Disappeared (La Blogotheque) – Wilco

Wilco – Country Disappeared – A Take Away Show

December 7, 2009

From a mess, to the masses

It turns out that the new Phoenix album barely missed my top ten this year, but I know I’ve listened to it a whole heck of a lot. In fact, it’s in my car right now and it hasn’t left the player in another one of those weeks-long stints.

It’s catchy and sleek, but there’s weight and depth behind the songs, and you cannot understate the lure of that ephemeral exotic attraction — it’s the same reason American girls like going out dancing with foreign exchange students.

The formidably marvelous filmmaker Vincent Moon recently followed them about in Paris, and as always, the results on La Blogotheque are stunning.

[watch the whole set/3 videos here]

Lisztomania – Phoenix

200px-PhoenixWolfgangPhoenix are from a suburb of Versailles, and their humbly-named fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out now on V2/Glassnote Records.

May 21, 2009

“Patrick Watson crazy AMAZING!”

…thus read the subject line of an email I got from a longtime-reader, first-time-writer named Jordan. I try to pay attention to the rabid recommendations of folks who have been following enough to know what will grab my ears, and MAN ALIVE did this one. I yelped out loud in elation last night when I watched this:

Man Under The Sea – Patrick Watson
(from 2006′s Close To Paradise)

Patrick Watson is a Canadian artist who I wrote about once before but had recently fallen off my radar. Well, that video is enough to put him smack-dab right on it again — with his goosebump-inducing voice, resonating with longing and swooping with desire.

Watson and his bandmates use bicycle parts and wine bottles for percussion and are “inspired by the foley effects of ’40s cartoons and the Twilight Zone.” Their newest album Wooden Arms came out just a few weeks ago, and was recorded during wintertime in Montreal and Iceland. What I’ve heard is redolent with an unsettling icy beauty.

My full-length copy is on its way to my very eager ears, but SixEyes wrote a wonderful review of it: “Patrick Watson’s 3rd full length is so intoxicating, so magical, that it has pushed every thing I’ve heard since, down a notch, or two. And it’s not just Watson’s voice, one that lives somewhere between the rooted grainy echo of M Ward and the soaring mercurial grace of Jeff Buckley, it’s the music which carries, and is carried by, that voice.”

SOLD. Listen to this off the new album — haunting:

Tracy’s Waters – Patrick Watson

Sixeyes also has Patrick’s 2007 Black Session, for a closer listen to his last record. Man oh man.

January 23, 2009

icy friday nights in january, a glowing Moon, and The National

Kinda like a warm liqueur seeping through the messes of this week, tonight I came across these two National videos and they help ameliorate things. As I wrote after I saw them at Coachella: “The National carved something out of me and put something back in, is the best way I can put it.”

These videos are both shot by Vincent Moon, the amazingly artistic and evocative videographer behind many of the Blogotheque videos (who I got to meet once and totally dorked out over). I love how both of these never quite relent, never quite let you see all the way through the darkness, into something clear.

First, “Abel,” and the chaos of a mind not right:

Side note: I just saw Everything Absent Or Distorted end their set with this last week [read my Denver Post review], and it’s been etched on my brain since then. I’m no Vincent Moon but I wish I’d brought my little digital video camera because it was a phenomenal rendition of a cathartic song.

And then “Baby, We’ll Be Fine,” a song whose lyrics always scrape at me. There’s so much uncertainty in the words, but then these perfect reassurances are offered — even while I sense that the protagonist here needs the reassurance the most.

The good news is I survived this kicker of a week. Baby, we’ll be fine.

January 14, 2009

New music from Elvis Perkins :: “Shampoo”


I’ve been drawn steadily to Elvis Perkins‘ 2007 folk chronicle of excoriating grief and loss in recent months, and find myself turned on anew to its perfection. Ash Wednesday is a brilliant, brilliant album that defies easy classifications as it traces the dark rivers in Perkins’ life through losing his mother on one of the 9/11 planes, and his father (Anthony Perkins) to AIDS. Songs like the title track and “While You Were Sleeping” contain some of the most beautifully sad lyrics about those gray days that I’ve ever known:

“while you were sleeping
the babies grew
the stars shined and the shadows moved
time flew, the phone rang
there was a silence when the kitchen sang”

(read them all, listen here)

This week saw the release of three new streaming songs to his website, from the forthcoming Elvis Perkins In Dearland album (XL Recordings, March 10th). I spent several hours at work clicking and re-clicking, listening dozens of times to three very different songs. I’m excited where the collaboration with his touring Dearland band is taking their authentic, penetrating music. Perkins blends an appreciation of the old, old traditions in his modern folk music. I hear a loose thread of Nina Simone’s traditional classic when he sings, “Yellow is the color of my true love’s crossbones, yellow is the color of the sun; black is the color of a strangled rainbow…”

Shampoo – Elvis Perkins In Dearland
(related note: still curious about this Shampoo….)

March 09 – Seattle WA, Tractor Tavern
March 11 – San Francisco CA, Cafe Du Nord
March 12 – Los Angeles CA, Troubadour
March 25 – New York NY, Bowery Ballroom

Oh, and this is still one of my favorite Blogotheque videos:

August 13, 2008

Elvis Perkins in Dearland sings sacred songs

Elvis Perkins in Dearland melds old folk flourishes with a very relevant modern soul. Perkins’ gutting debut album last year was Ash Wednesday (XL Recordings), a chronicle of themes of love and loss in the most visceral and honest way. Many songs on the album deal with grief and stuggle, as his mom died on one of the 9/11 planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, and parts of this album were written after that occured. “While You Were Sleeping” seems to draw direct parallels to those events, that morning — watch his solo street performance of it on La Blogotheque then stay on that page for the spirited “All The Night Without Love” in a gorgeous French mall.

Weeping Pilgrim – Elvis Perkins in Dearland

From MySpace: We are excited to announce that our recording of “Weeping Pilgrim” by JP Reese will be featured on Teach Me To Sing, a compilation of contemporary artists performing songs from the shape note hymn book, The Sacred Harp, due out in September through Awake My Soul Productions.

“Weeping Pilgrim” became somewhat of a live standard for us over the last year or so. And after meeting Matt Hinton, director of “Awake my Soul”, the wonderful documentary on The Sacred Harp and curator of this project, at the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention we entered the clubhouse to put our rendition of the song down on tape. We hope you enjoy it…

This song is a traditional dirge of longing, of moving towards something down a dusty road of oppression. For a tune that totally could have been sung by Moses, it sounds pretty dang good.

June 26, 2008

cut out all the ropes and let me fall

#93.6 BON IVER – Skinny Love
Uploaded by lablogotheque

Absolutely jawdropping. This made the back of my scalp feel hot and tingly when I watched it, and the breakdown at the end always stabs me full in the gut.

The whole Blogotheque/Take Away Shows session with Bon Iver is definitely worth some of your time today. Bon Iver plays Outside Lands in August.

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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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