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

October 23, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

Sleepless greetings from somewhere in limbo between California leaving and Colorado arriving. True story: I am supposed to be catching a few slim hours of shut-eye before my superbly early flight in the wee hours of Monday morning, but the couple in the hotel/motel room next to me are going at it so loudly that I (and surely several neighbors in either direction up and down the hall) can’t sleep. Gotta love priceline.com motel finds for the best buck. On the bright side, I now have the gift of knowing that my neighbor is a “bad girl” as I keep hearing over and over, and that’s something special that I can cherish. Room 526 at the Pacific Inn, I’m talkin’ to you.

I’m up late and fairly glowing following a rich and fantastic afternoon spent at the Bridge School Benefit concert today, which had some fine, fine moments (and some not so fine, but that’s to be expected with a grand festival bacchanalia). Scintillating reflections on that shortly. But first, here’s a handful of new tunes that I’ve found noteworthy this week. I really wanted to post something from the new Shins album, but apparently SubPop would then be all over me like white on rice (every blogger that posted it seems to have been contacted now to take it down. Fair enough, but it is quite a fine sounding disc I will say.)

The Rat Within The Grain
Damien Rice
I cannot remember where I found this (maybe here) but it is one of my favorite Damien Rice songs to come down the pike in a long time. From his upcoming release 9 (Heffa Records, Nov 14), there is almost a nostalgic folksy sound to this tune that makes me think of riding along on a train, looking out the window. I would deem this a definite travelling song, and highly recommend it. Update: Not on the new album, but I think a b-side on the single for “9 Crimes”.

Here Comes Ruby
Daniel Hutchens
My friend Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard is currently living the blogger’s dream (well, my blogger dream, anyways) by creating his own music label, Autumn Tone, and releasing his first album from Athens, Georgia alt-roots-rocker Daniel Hutchens. I have yet to give the entire album (Lovesongs for Losers) a thorough and proper listening, but I liked this song the first time I heard it. Hutchens is well-respected in the American South, yet largely unknown outside those circles — but maybe not for much longer. This song is simultaneously playful and rootsy, a warm blend of Americana and Southern rock. Justin says, “This guy is a national treasure, and I’ll stand on Steve Earle’s coffeetable in my Jack Purcells and say just that.” I’d like to see that. Check out his site for lots more from Hutchens.

Bad Girl
Ben Taylor
This find was courtesy of Scatter O Light, which recently pointed out some free downloads of demos and unreleased Ben Taylor songs (including some interesting covers). This song’s newly penned, about how Ben needs a bad girl to help him stop dreaming of someone else. Although I picked this song out days ago, I have to chuckle a bit now. Ben, I have a suggestion for a special someone for you. Check out the new Ben Taylor EP available on iTunes called Deeper Than Gravity (October 3, Iris Records) which includes a lovely acoustic version of one of my favorite songs of his ever, “Nothing I Can Do.”

Josh Rouse & Kurt Wagner
And speaking of EPs, I have been spending some quality time lately with the forgotten 1999 Chester EP from Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner (of Nashville rock/country/soul band Lambchop). A joint effort from two fine musicians on 5 little songs which follows-up nicely to Rouse’s debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska, but with a slightly darker edge to them. I think it is an essential collection for the Josh Rouse fan, showing an interesting facet of his musical development.

The Only Place I Can Look Is Down
The Bishops
Twin brothers from London (paired with a Scottish drummer — collectively they average about 21 years), The Bishops are yet another buzz band from the UK (NME darlings) with a straight-up Kinks/Clash influenced sound. Their debut EP is becoming available in the States this week from California-based indie label I Am Sound Records. It’s more fun retro-goodness circa 1966. Listen to a few more from them here.

(Funny – United Airlines just called my cell, flight is rescheduled for noon. Neighbors have fallen into a seemingly exhausted slumber. So, goodnight!)

September 21, 2006

Album news from Damien Rice: “9″ due out in November

Several of my fantastic eagle-eye readers wrote me in the middle of the night to let me know that Damien Rice has announced his new, long-awaited follow-up album to 2003′s O.

In keeping with the pattern of succinct album titles, the new one will be called “9,” and will come out in November in Ireland on Rice’s own Heffa label. I hear that Rice produced & recorded the album himself, as well as designed all the artwork. So he multitasks.

You can listen to a stream of the first single from the album, “9 Crimes” on the 14th Floor Records site.

Also, here’s a live version of that same song from my beloved KFOG studios on 2/10/2003:

9 Crimes” – Damien Rice [mp3]

1. 9 Crimes
2. The Animals Were Gone
3. Elephant
4. Rootless Tree
5. Dogs
6. Coconut Skins
7. Me, My Yoke And I
8. Grey Room
9. Accidental Babies
10. Sleep Don’t Weep

Rice recently played a two-song set in New York City (and he didn’t invite c) for the ONE (Make Poverty History) campaign, which means, of course, that Bono was there. The U2 frontman introduced Damien, and had some pretty serious words of praise for the Irish songwriter.

Bono said, “What you’re about to hear and see is like being at a Bob Dylan gig in the early Sixties or a Cat Stevens gig in the early Seventies or James Taylor, or something extraordinary. Damien Rice is able to still and distill the storms into quiet reflection. He’s really a remarkable talent, I can’t quite believe that he’s here. I’m very humbled and very honoured and I would ask New York to give him the kind of welcome only New York, only Manhattan can, and then give him the silence he deserves because this is something very special.”

Then the best part is that Bono repeatedly demanded silence from the audience; among the stars who watched his performance were models Helena Christensen and Christy Turlington and actors Heather Graham and Ed Burns. An exact quote of Bono’s words were: “Take your f*cking finger food and f*ck off!”

That entertains me to no end.
I want to take Bono around to concerts with me.

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July 22, 2006

O! New & unreleased songs from Damien Rice

I absolutely love Ireland’s unofficial Ambassador of Melancholy Damien Rice and his 2003 release O. There is so much beauty, longing, and sadness wrapped up into those songs. Rice has a way of constructing these haunting & languid melodies, incorporating evocative strings to have as potent of a voice as his own. And, for the record, “The Blower’s Daughter” is the best 3am song ever ever written. (Oh, Wayne Rooney likes it too)

So, recently when a friend shared five new/unreleased songs from Damien Rice, I was excited to hear some new material which might be on his sophomore album (very tentatively rumored to be called “Childish” and out in December, according to Rice at a recent concert). Details on the new album are super sketch at this point, but Q Magazine did report that the song “Cross-eyed Bear” (which Rice contributed to the Help: A Day In The Life compilation) is a taste of new material and the direction he is going for the second album. These other five tracks will also give you a sense of what’s he’s been up to.

Accidental Babies – Damien Rice
A popular and notable addition to many of his recent live shows (this version is from a June 2005 Paris show @ Le Trianon); a gut-wrenching piece about love & loss that I can’t stop listening to. This is the age-old breakup song wherein the singer wonders about everything his lover is doing with her new guy (“Do you brush your teeth before you kiss? Do you miss my smell? Do you really feel alive without me? If so, be free. If not, leave him for me – before one of us has accidental babies.”)

Toffee Pop (live) – Damien Rice
A mid-tempo number, beginning with furious acoustic guitar and a tapping foot as the sole percussion. A more playful song which I take to be about falling in love (or lust or something in between): “Lollipop licking with Lola sticking like toffee to my teeth / Wait, watch, gravitate.” This was first heard with Juniper, Damien’s earlier band with guys who are now in Bell X1.

Then Go (live) – Lisa Hannigan & Damien Rice
This is another Juniper song, this version featuring Lisa Hannigan handling the lead vocals with Rice coming in with harmonies. Haunting and somber, as her voice always is. The lyric “Did your mother have you easily?” reminds me of the Ryan Adams lyric (which I find sweet, though others would argue it is creepy): “I would have held your mother’s hand on the day that you were born.”

Sand (radio broadcast version) – Damien Rice
A simple song of happy love, of a growing conviction that you are with the right person. “My love, my life, my work, my time / I give them all to you / Your hand in mine we walk, we talk in rhyme / We go the whole night through.”

Baby Sister (radio broadcast version) – Damien Rice
Another older unreleased song, Rice addresses grittier subject matter with this ode to escaping domestic violence. “Baby sister, keep drinking / Or he’ll hit you / He’ll bleach your eyes / So be a good girl / Just for the night / And run, run…”

As a bonus, I’ve long found this hidden track from “O” to be quietly devastating, but it doesn’t fit on a Christmas mix because, well, it only shares the melody of the Christmas carol and none of the calmness, brightness or peace. The a cappella vocals are all by the lovely 24-year-old Lisa Hannigan, who accompanies Rice on many of his songs.

Silent Night – Lisa Hannigan & Damien Rice

If the above links quit working, as they have been wont to do lately, here is a temporary YouSendIt link of all the songs in a zip file here.

January 3, 2006

Warchild Music, for a good cause

So. Your resolutions for 2006 are varied. You want to cuss less when driving. You vow to eat more whole grains, be less (embarassingly) talkative when you are intoxicated, and STOP singing along to Kelly Clarkson when she “happens” to come on the radio. Right?

How about helping children affected by war? Now there’s a resolution I can help you keep. Warchild Music’s mission is simple:

“One child dies every three minutes because of armed conflict. War Child believes children should never be affected by war. Full stop. Our campaigning seeks to address this gross injustice. Sanction action with us now.”

Back in September, I came across their compilation/benefit album Help: A Day In The Life, which is stuffed to the gills with great tracks to raise money for their organization. Includes brand new songs by Coldplay, Razorlight, Keane & Faultline, Emmanuel Jal, Gorillaz, Manic Street Preachers, The Kaiser Chiefs, Damien Rice, The Magic Numbers, Tinariwen, The Coral, Mylo, Maximo Park, Elbow, Bloc Party, Hard-FI, The Go! Team, Babyshambles, Belle & Sebastian, and George & Antony, plus these two sample tracks below:

I Want None Of This – Radiohead
From the Warchild Music website: A circular piano riff with Thom accompanied by what could well be a choir of angels, ‘I Want None Of It’ is a thing of awe and wonder. In short, it’s quite, quite lovely. The lyrics deal with a parting of the ways that hasn’t gone too well: ‘You can keep what you want, I want none of it/They’re just bad memories I don’t want’. Very beautiful, very wonderful, very Radiohead.

Hello Conscience – The Zutons
From the Warchild Music website: We are looking here at a brand-new, never-before-heard Zutons track in which singer Dave McCabe wrestles with his conscience over the rights and wrongs of going out drinking until you don’t know who you are or which way up you should be. By the sound of the rollicking chorus, his conscience doesn’t get a look in. With fuzzy guitars, rasping sax and a sly wink to The Smiths, you’ll be dancing to this right through the Indian summer.

You can buy it from Warchild Music online, or download it from iTunes. You can also get it on Amazon. Twenty-two varied and excellent tracks for about $12, depending on your method of purchase. Help do something good in the world to kick off the new year!

And since you asked, I made two resolutions: Take my vitamins every day, and diligently continue on my path to becoming a kick-ass drummer.

December 12, 2005

Monday Music Roundup

Well a new week brings new music for y’all. Here are five tracks that I found listen-worthy this week. Let me know what you think! Here’s a secret about all bloggers: we crave your comments, so leave a little note if you feel the urge.

Proclaim Your Joy – Mark Eitzel
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Jangly music and feel-good lyrics in this little ditty (who doesn’t need a little uplifting on Mondays?). Also tongue-in-cheek funny. Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) has a voice which reminds me of Evan Dando’s, so I like it by default. I thought this song had interesting musical footprints to it – it mixes what sounds like banjo with some little electronic touches. Different.

White Daisy Passing – Rocky Votolato
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Here is a new artist I just kinda found on the internet and I really like. Texas-born/Pacific-Northwest-resident Votolato has a new album coming out in 2006 called “Makers,” and this is the first cut off that album. This track has a dreamy feel to it, and if you like it you can download more music from his website. His last two releases, Suicide Medicine and Light and Sound EP, were produced by Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie, who also plays various instruments on the albums.

Creep – Damien Rice
My first instinct is to like this cover because I like both Damien Rice and Radiohead, but I am kind of mixed on it as a cover effort because it hasn’t changed much from the original. This song, no matter who is singing it, reminds me of being angst-ridden my freshman year of high school. Oh the drama and alienation inherent in being 14.

Consequence – The Notwist (link expired)
I haven’t heard much other music from these guys, but I very much dig the hazy, lo-fi, laid-back vibe to this track. From their album Neon Golden, which made it onto several reviewers’ lists of best indie albums of 2003/04. I would link you to their site to learn more about them, but lord almighty it is the most confusing thing I’ve seen since I got out of calculus. But don’t hold it against their music.

Blue Suede Shoes (live) – Carl Perkins
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This is so awesome. A fabulous song by an American icon, done live. Can’t sit still. “Goodness gracious alive.” I think I like this original better than Elvis’ better-known rendition. According to Perkins, he wrote this song after a show in Arkansas when he was touring with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash (um, would have loved to see a show on *that* tour!). “Blue Suede Shoes” was recorded December, 1955, and released January 1, 1956 on the Sun label. It is still Perkins best-known contribution to the world of rockabilly music.

ALSO: I have added a new song to my Jeff Buckley Tribute Songs post, thanks to ‘Splean,’ who was very kind to send me the mp3 of the PJ Harvey song “Memphis” about Jeff. Thank you very much and please check it out!

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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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