June 13, 2007

The one where Heather sings

The new Contrast Podcast is up with my contribution to their very cool and intricate Song Chain feature. I also, somewhat lamentably to my ears this morning, sing.

My thinking was such:
Song chain = Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools (a characterization my fellow contributors may eschew) = me having an urge to bust out “chain chain chaaaain . . .” while I was recording my intro. So that’s what happened. For posterity:

Contrast Podcast #63: Song Chain 3

Make sure you listen through the Rodeo Clowns tune by G. Love to hear this really funny cast-off line by contributor Tim from The Daily Growl, as he tried to pick a follow-up song: “I know nothing about G. Love and . . . I really don’t like clowns.” I always enjoy hearing the variety of contributors, their song choices and reasons — and their accents. This creative topic is especially fun, resulting in a podcast that’s stuffed with songs I dig.

Since I’ve previously posted the song that I contributed, I want to share this unreleased Weezer song that I had to connect in to.
Love it, lov-er:

Lover In The Snow – Weezer

And the intro+song following mine is pretty funny too — although if we’re gonna talk about females being deadlier than the male (don’t believe it!) then I am going to hear this tune echoing in my head:

Female of the Species – Space

June 6, 2007

News of the day

Ûž San Francisco musician/funny guy Matt Nathanson has a new song streaming over at his MySpace. Check out “Gone” in all its Goo-Goo-glory, a wrenching new song with a strong melody.

Matt writes some background on the song: “this song was tracked all at once, live… and this was the 3rd or 4th pass through. i vividly remember looking out into the tracking room while i was singing this, and seeing everyone completely in it. hunched over their instruments, eyes closed…entrenched in the words and the motion of the song. riding it like a wave. just absolutely KILLING it!… i hadn’t really experienced that kind of connection, that kind of communication, in the studio before… 6 people working like one. and the yearning and the desperation of the lyric totally came through them. through us…”

The deeply good new album Some Mad Hope will be out August 14th on Vanguard Records.

Ûž I am featured again on the newest Contrast Podcast #62: Seas, Oceans, and All Things Marine. My contribution was that fantastic song by Colorado artist Gregory Alan Isakov, “The Salt and The Sea.” It’s his love song to the Pacific Ocean, and mine.

Ûž The Format, who are one of the best bands I’ve seen live, have just announced a new headlining tour. It concludes in Colorado Sept 7th. Dates are on their MySpace, and you should absolutely go.

Ûž Finally, just one album a year for Ryan Adams is never enough (even though that’s A-OK with me). Lost Highway announced yesterday that there is a chance they will put out a Ryan Adams box set, with unreleased materials from the 48 Hours and Suicide Handbook “albums,” live songs from the Bedheads, and cuts from the Easy Tiger sessions.

If you preorder the (very strong) Easy Tiger album now, you get a bonus CD containing a live version of the song “These Girls,” which I got to hear on the album the other day. The most exciting news for me is that the song These Girls is actually a re-working of forgotten cast-off tune “Hey There Mrs. Lovely” from the ’99/2000 era, a song that I have long adored. The lyrics are different, and I am not sure if I like them as much as the original, but it is still a great-sounding song. The first 100 preorders also get a signed 7″:

April 20, 2007

Just a little more of me

I am busy all over the place lately. Two other places I’ve contributed to recently, for those who are following along at home:

Ûž The newest Contrast Podcast radio show, regal subject matter Kings & Queens. Someone needed to represent the choice I picked.

Ûž And I finally got my act together and posted a little something to the blog all about those songs on TV that catch your ear: The Commercial Music Blog. I watch so little TV (and even fewer commercials: thanks TiVo!) that it’s almost comical that I’m even on the contributor board for that blog, but I finally saw something I wanted to post about. Check it out. And don’t even try to say that it doesn’t make you laugh too.

November 29, 2006

Odds & ends

I love you, Colorado. But I’ve decided you are a wuss.

There is (a beautiful and powdery) 3 inches of snow on the ground this morning, tops. And it’s a snow day. I say everyone should get some snowshoes and 4-wheel-drive, and life should continue as normal. Thank you.

In the shutdown interim, here are a few odds & ends that are entertaining me this morning:

Ûž A reader pointed me in the direction of mp3s from the KEXP session with The Rosewood Thieves (my previous post here, definitely check them out). They performed 5 songs, including a Dylan cover. I am strongly digging their bluesy rocker sound.

Ûž My new friend Adam wrote about his new supercool fancy tracker thing for runners that goes in your shoe, wirelessly connects with your iPod, and tracks your running stats, even TALKING TO YOU while you run. I need that (it should say pugilistic things like, “Frickin wuss! DO NOT WALK UP THIS HILL!” Maybe yell obscenities at me to keep me moving). It appears to be reasonably priced at $29, but then you also need the special Nike shoes with a pocket to hold the sensor (can I do it myself with an x-acto knife?) and an iPod Nano (mine’s a 60). Drat. (wait, or not).

Ûž A couple of interesting “from the studio” news bits:

-Shirley Manson (Garbage) goes solo, Jack White and Billy Corgan are involved

-Norah Jones finishes third album, M. Ward guests

-Mike Watt plays bass on Kelly Clarkson’s new album (for real)

-!!! Sign to Warp Records (same label as my new love Jamie Lidell), new LP Myth Takes coming in 2007. If you haven’t heard their unique disco-funk sound (and I think you say their UnGooglable name Chk Chk Chk), here’s an mp3 of their song Take Ecstasy With Me from 2004′s Louden Up Now. You wanna dance around, don’t you?!

Ûž There’s a new Contrast Podcast you should listen to, this one on the fun ornithological theme of Chickens and Other Birds. I was going to contribute either Cake’s wonderful song that I can hear playing in my head just typing it: “Comfort Eagle” (but someone else submitted it, yay!) or the fantastic boogie “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.”

But coulda woulda shoulda I’m lazy.

Ûž There’s a new documentary out called American Hardcore; maybe I want to punch someone after just watching the preview. It’s open now in selected theatres, and it features folks like Henry Rollins, Jesse Malin, Ian MacKaye, Flea, Mike Watt, Moby, and Tommy Stinson. Like a microcosm of the Punk: Attitude documentary from last year, this one focuses on the specific aspects of the American punk-rock scene within a 6 year period from 1980-1986. Looks interesting.

Ûž Here’s the perfect Christmas gift for that world-renowned air guitarist on your list. Now they just need to make the corresponding sensor pants for us air drummers and I will be one happy camper.

Ûž I am liking this new song from distinctive Liverpool band Clinic, off their upcoming 4th album Visitations (January ’07, or on iTunes now).
Listen to Harvest.

Ûž Finally, one more reason to love the (gratuitious and borderline creepy) internet: A MySpace group for those who love it when everyone’s favorite prolific alt-country rocker turns around: Who Wants To Look At Ryan Adams’ Ass?

October 26, 2006

A Glass And A Half In Every Heather

I tell ya people, this having an actual life that takes time away from my blogging is really a pain. That being said, I’ve been busy and it’s been a while since I’ve done a sort of Odds & Ends post, but there’s several good things rattling around in my brain today that I thought I’d share.

Plus it’s Blizzard 2006 here in Colorado so no work, no schools, no nothing except being a homebody all day. I was going to post a few great sets of music, but EZArchive seems to be migrating to a new system and may be unavailable for 24 hours. Bah.

Ûž The first diversion of the day is the Advertising Slogan Generator where you plug in your name and it makes you your very own slogan. Mine is above in the subject line, and it’s awesome. What’s yours? I keep hitting refresh and laughing out loud.

Ûž The charming Mr. Tim Young has assembled a fantastic Contrast Podcast #30: “A Song I Like By A Band I Don’t.” I had several discussions about my possible submissions last week when I was on vacation, but ultimately didn’t get my stuff together in time to submit anything. I had some good ideas, though (sure, sure).

Ûž I posted about the Brokedown Melody soundtrack last week, and got the news today that there are 2 song streams available (thanks “Craig”!) — one for the Eddie Vedder track (without the annoying AOL voiceovers every time he stops to take a breath) and the other for one of the 2 unreleased Jack Johnson tracks:

“Let It Be Sung” – Jack Johnson with Matt Costa & Zach Gill
STREAMS: [.asx] [.ram]

“Goodbye” – Eddie Vedder
STREAMS: [.asx] [.ram]

Ûž Fuel friend and fellow blogger Bruce makes XPN Radio in Philly one of the coolest stations on the air. They’ve got a few great live performances this week for your streaming pleasure:

-TODAY: (Oct. 26) at 2PM EST, Lindsay Buckingham interview and performance on World Cafe at www.xpn.org
-FRIDAY: (Oct. 27) at 12pm EST, it’s Sean Lennon live in concert on www.xpn.org and www.npr.org.

Ûž Speaking of streaming, the new Damien Rice album 9 is streaming in full at A-O-Hell (AOL). I have a little window open here and intend to listen to it very soon. I want to give it the full attention it deserves.

Ûž Chad over at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands is a huge Elliott Smith fan, as anyone who has ever spent even a little bit of time with him likely knows. In observance of the Oct 21 anniversary of Elliott’s death, he has posted a lovely and heartfelt tribute piece. Recommended reading with soundtrack.

Ûž Howie Payne was that guy from The Stands (who put out a pair of kicking albums), and since they’ve broken up I have been keeping an eye on his solo MySpace page. Finally there are some new streaming songs from him, and they sound great — bluesy & rolling.

Ûž Everybody’s doing it: Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo) is set to release a children’s album, according to You Ain’t No Picasso. Kids these days are going to grow up never having to listen to bad music, and that’s clearly the first step towards world peace.

Ûž A few of you astute and kind readers have sent me a recent Chris Cornell set from Sweden, with a fantastic blend of solo, Audioslave, and cover songs. J over at Sweet Oblivion has now saved me the time uploading it, he’s got it for ya. Nice set, how ’bout that Michael Jackson cover?

Ûž Aquarium Drunkard has ripped some vinyl audio for us from his much-beloved Bill Withers at Carnegie Hall LP, and it makes me love Withers (and A.D.) even more. Check out the warm snap, crackle and pop of these tracks.

Ûž Finally, Lore Sjöberg over at Wired.com has penned the funniest article I’ve read all week: MySpace, Now With Random Crap. He muses, “I don’t really know what to do with my 319 new online chums, compatriots and cronies . . . I think you just collect them, as they collect you. It is the 21st century, and we are all each other’s Hummel figurines. I think MySpace should take a hint from collectible figure games like HeroClix, and find a way to let you make your friends fight.”
Read the entire thing here

September 20, 2006

It’s Contrast Podcast time again: Some handclapping tunes

It’s Wednesday. It’s the middle of the week, hump day, booooring. You’re stranded on a little island right in the center of the workweek, equidistant from either weekend, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

How about improving your blah mood with a podcast dedicated entirely to songs which use that feel-good manual form of percussion, the handclap? I am a complete sucker for songs which effectively utilize this, the oldest form of percussion (other than, like, woolly mammoth foot thuds or something), and I have contributed a track and a scintillating spoken intro in the middle of the hour, right after the ‘Mats song. I had so many great songs to choose from, but I went with the one that was the most infectiously catchy, a favorite of mine.

To stream the dealio, head over to the Contrast Podcast site and click the neat little button. Seamless and my preferred method.

If you must have something to download and savor, you can get the mp3 of the podcast here:

Contrast Podcast #25: Handclapping (mp3)

The Ventures – Let’s Go
Tim from the face of today

(02:55) They Might Be Giants – Clap Your Hands
Clea and Tuesday from ((sm))all ages

(04:35) Imperial Teen – Baby
Matt from Earfarm

(08:15) The Residents – Smack Your Lips (Clap Your Teeth)
ZB from So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away

(12:33) The Meters – The Handclapping Song
Andy from Circles of Concrete

(15:48) Super XX Man – Coulee City
Murf from False45th

(20:45) Tilly and the Wall – Fell Down The Stairs
SAS Radio

(23:34) Mary Timony – I Fire Myself
Victoria from Muruch

(26:45) The Afghan Whigs – Debonair
Bethanne from CTASLS

(31:28) Hood – The Negatives
Chip from Donewaiting.com

(35:20) The Replacements – Alex Chilton
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(38:54) OK Go – You’re So Damn Hot

(42:03) The Auteurs – Bailed Out
Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(46:20) Eskiimo – Patience
Jamie from Squirrelfood.net

(50:20) Boat – Holding All The Globes
Rachel from Untitled

(52:17) Ndidi Onukwulu – May Be The Last Time, I Don’t Know
FiL from Pogoagogo

It is practically so much fun that I feel it should somehow be illegal. There are some great & varied selections this week (and that Meters song was the one used in the closing credits dance scene from Hitch — come on, it was funny!).

Take some time and spin this podcast, you will be happy that you did.

(image shamelessly swiped from the fab Girlpants.org music blog)

August 22, 2006

The lovely intersection of literature and listening

This week’s Contrast Podcast is such a lovely topic, combining two of my favorite things in this life: music and books. The topic for the podcast this time around was to pick a favorite book and a song to soundtrack that book. I know, cool, right?

Once you start thinking about this topic, you realize that there are endless options if you love to read as much as I do (you know, growing up, if you ever read The Babysitters’ Club? I was Mary Ann – total bookworm. Yet somehow also effortlessly cool — or so my mom told me as she trimmed my hair into a modified feathered mullet).

Anyways, the book & song I finally ended up with is Nick Hornby’s Songbook (also called 31 Songs in the UK edition), which you eagle-eyes will recognize from the quote over there —> on stage right. The song is The Beach Boys’ “Add Some Music To Your Day” from their Sunflower album — an absolutely wonderful gem of a song celebrating all the music in the world and how once you start listening, you hear it everywhere.

There’s no way that I could call Songbook my favorite book, but it is one that I greatly enjoy and it lent itself so well to the song choice. If I were to sit myself down by my tall shelves there in the living room and go through all my books, I would surely find about 20 more favorites and with enough thought would greatly enjoy soundtracking them as well.

LISTEN: The easiest way to listen to it is to head over to Tim’s Contrast Podcast page and click the little play button to stream it in a seamless burst of loveliness.

You can also download the podcast as one big ole mp3 here, so you can listen to it later on your iPod or whatever.

And if you are in a commenting mood today, I’d love to talk more about what songs complement your favorite book. Comment link at the very bottom of this post.


(00:00) The Smiths – William It Was Really Nothing
Book: Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

Tim from The Face of Today

(02:37) The Buff Medways – Troubled Mind
Book: Notebooks of a Naked Youth by Billy Childish

FiL from Pogoagogo

(06:09) The Beach Boys – Add Some Music To Your Day
Book: 31 Songs/Songbook by Nick Hornby


(10:38) Van Halen – I Am The One
Book: Crazy from the Heat by David Lee Roth

Chris from Culturebully

(14:52) d_rradio – Never Slept Better
Book: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Mike from Nothing But Green Lights

(19:27) LN – It Don’t Matter If You Bleed
Book: Vârt behov av tröst by Stig Dagerman

ZB from So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away

(24:40) Spaceman 3 – Revolution
Book: Karl Marx: Selected Writings edited by David McLellan

Colin from Let’s Kiss and Make Up

(31:29) Serge Gainsbourg – Sorry Angel
Book: Les liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos

Marianne Dissard

(35:35) The Cure – Killing an Arab
Book: L’Etranger by Albert Camus

Simon from You Can Call Me Betty

(38:36) Golden Smog – Fear of Falling
Book: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Natalie from Mini-Obs

(42:44) The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours
Book: The Replacements “Let It Be” (33 1/3 Series) by Colin Meloy

Bethanne from CTASLS

(47:53) Susan Cagle – Shakespere
Book: Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde

Jamie from Squirrelfood.net

(52:35) Manic Street Preachers – The Intense Humming of Evil
Book: The work of Primo Levi

Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(58:24) Mr Bungle – Squeeze Me Macaroni
Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Brian from The Rant

(01:04:15) Leonard Cohen – Came So Far For Beauty
Book: The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen

Charlie from Nerdlitter

Don’t it make you wanna head to the library?

July 31, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

It’s already a new week? One thing that flew past me in the craziness of last week was a mention of the new Contrast Podcast that I contributed to, where a bunch of us bloggers get together to virtually DJ a radio show. The theme last week was Who? and I finally contributed a most excellent Pearl Jam track (“Who You Are”). I held out on the PJ for a while but hey, what do you expect?

This upcoming week Tim will be putting together Contrast Podcast #18 wherein all of us were supposed to submit an instrumental track and then SING OUR INTRO. I confess, I recorded one and then buckled. I listened to it, buckled, and didn’t send it. I can sing, but geez that felt too vulnerable. I’ll be interested to see who had the cajones to submit for this week’s podcast. In the meantime, listen to last week’s for some mind-expanding variety & good tunes.

Danielia Cotton
Swanky, bluesy, delicious. Danielia Cotton hit the music scene with a bang last year with her Small White Town debut album (HipShake Music). This is a raw, soulful, dust-on-the-front-porch album from Danielia, who alternately shares some of the growl of Joss Stone, the blues-rock of the Black Crowes, and the vocal chops of Janis Joplin. She combines her skills on the guitar with an appreciation of all the musical greats that came before her, and the result is fresh and highly recommended.

So Good To Me
Sam Champion
Now despite the name, Sam Champion is a quartet from New York, not just one guy named Sam (they apparently named their band after a weatherman from a 1974 TV show). Thanks to my pal Chad for enthusiastically recommending this Ryan Adams-fronting-Pavement sound. He said I would be humming the main riff (from this track off their 2005 album Slow Rewind, Razor & Tie) and I have been all morning. A spirited alt-country shout-out chorus with handclaps & some fierce electric guitars; I like it.

Reconstruction Site
The Weakerthans
I am just rediscovering The Weakerthans; an old friend slipped me their Left and Leaving disc back in 2000, and I promptly lost it in a box of stuff when I was moving. I just found it this weekend and have been listening ever since, and catching up on what they’ve done since then. This track is off their 2003 follow-up to Left and Leaving, the weathered sounds of the Reconstruction Site album. If you’ve never heard these guys, give all their work a spin. They have a quirky blend of several influences, from country to punk to indie folksy — all wrapped with bitingly intelligent lyrics. It’s those lyrics that make me want to listen again and again. On this track, there’s a simple line that nonetheless conveys perfectly a sense of unease: “I’m your dress near the back of your knees and your slip is showing.”

Bucket Full Of Nails

I swore I wrote something about Centro-Matic a few months ago when I discovered the loose & beautiful sound of these Texas indie-alt-rock-country guys. But I guess not, so now I get to recommend that you take a listen to their newest disc Fort Recovery (Misra Records) which has a melancholy sweet air permeating the whole thing. One reviewer wrote that it captures “that time just before the sun goes down when everything looks burnished and beautiful, but also a little sad” and I completely agree. This piano track also has a lazy touch of Jagger or Wayne Coyne on the vocals.

Into The Groove
Sonic Youth. Covering Madonna. Seriously.
You all know that I love covers, and I will argue that the very best of the covers are the ones that take the original and turn it into something completely new — Exhibit A: Cat Power, “Satisfaction.” Exhibit B: This damn song. The torchbearers of mid-90s-fuzzy-rock, Sonic Youth, slog their way through Madonna’s slumber party favorite and, well, there’s something special about Thurston Moore’s voice cracking on the high notes. Whose idea was this? (thx Matt)

BONUS RECOMMENDED READING: I found that I could relate to about 20 things in this article by the Heather from Dooce, detailing her college years of loving ’90s music and BritPop, studying abroad in London and going on an Oasis history hunt, and reflections on how (to her Mormon ears), “the heartbreak in Kurt Cobain’s voice was to me what it would sound like to violate all the ten commandments at the same time.”


July 11, 2006

All you need is . . . a bunch of fantastic Beatles covers

I have obsessively been clicking over at the Contrast Podcast site for the last 24 hours or so, waiting for the unveiling of this week’s podcast (to which I contributed a track & a spoken intro piece). Our theme this time is really superb, so carve out an hour of your day to spend with your favorite bloggers as we all pick our Favorite Beatles Covers.

Since everyone and their grandma feels the need to record a Beatles cover at some point in their career, we had a lot of fodder to choose from. Beatles = great. Covers = great. An hour of this shizzle? Even better.

Contrast Podcast 15: Beatles Covers (the podcast as one big mp3)

If you prefer to stream it, Tim’s got a magic way to do that.

(00:00) Salad – It’s For You

Tim from the face of today

(04:11) Low – Nowhere Man

Scleem from Spleendid

(07:16) Sparks – I Want To Hold Your Hand

Paul from They Tell Us That We Lost Our Tails …

(10:59) Elliott Smith – Yer Blues (live)

Chad from Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

(16:24) Nina Simone – Here Comes The Sun

Michael from The Yank Sizzler

(20:09) Laibach – Get Back

FiL from Pogoagogo

(25:12) U2 – Happiness As A Warm Gun

Taylor from Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good

(30:11) Chris Eckman – Yellow Submarine

Merz from Mars Needs Guitars

(36:07) Mich̬le Arnaud РJe Croyais

ZB from So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away

(39:03) Abra Moore – Blackbird (live)

Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

(43:55) Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand

Chris from Culture Bully

(46:17) LaSalle – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (live)

Bethanne from Clever Titles Are So Last Summer

(51:42) Marilyn Manson – Come Together (live)

Marcos from Mind Booster Noori

(57:27) The Chameleons – Tomorrow Never Knows

Colin from Let’s Kiss And Make Up

(01:04:17) Nada Surf – All You Need Is Love


(01:08:22) Cornershop – Norwegian Wood

Tom from Other People’s Toys

(01:11:37) The Fall – A Day In The Life

Jamie from The Run Out Groove

My thanks go out to Bruce at Some Velvet Blog for unearthing the little gem that I contributed to this bacchanalia.

May 9, 2006

Heather joins the podcasting revolution

Thanks to the lovely Tim Young, and the Contrast Podcast (try saying that title ten times fast!), I have now made my podcast debut as a contributor to his regular hour-long podcast from folks across the blogging community.

The theme of this week’s podcast is “The Best of 2006 So Far,” and my contributions include:
a) a fabulous track from The M’s
b) some possibly lame commentary that somehow mentions the Peach Pit. It kind of worked its way into the intro, and I decided to leave it there, even though I said to myself, “Self, this could be construed as lame. A 90210 joke? Really?” But my love for Brandon Walsh won out over all you scoffers.

Download the mp3 here of the hour-long show, and check out the description/tracklist on the Contrast Podcast page. I am listening to the podcast now and am thoroughly enjoying many of these new songs, new artists, and charming accents from ’round the world.

My sinister conversion into uber-techno-nerd is complete; blogging, podcasting, what have you. It’s finished.

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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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