February 15, 2007

New Damnwells documentary: Golden Days

They’ve toured the country, opened for rock legends, and you can’t find their album anywhere.”

And thus begins the journey in the new movie about Brooklyn band The Damnwells, their rise to Epic fame and fall from major label grace, and current creative successes as independent artists. Golden Days just got its first screening lined up — it’s one of 10 films picked for the Feature Film Competition at the 2007 Phoenix Film Festival (April 12-19 at the Harkins Theatre in Scottsdale).

Now I just recently found out about The Damnwells and have been listening to their Air Stereo record from 2006 (Zoe/Rounder Records) on heavy rotation. It is a damn fine record, one that you definitely should pick up if you liked the warm pop-alternative harmony and chiming guitars of Gin Blossoms or (my beloved) Toad The Wet Sprocket. There’s also a distinct alt-country vibe, perhaping emanating from the sticks of drummer Steven Terry, who was in Whiskeytown.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

Here are a few more Damnwells songs for your enjoyment and sampling. Get all their stuff — seriously. Plus, doesn’t lead singer Alex Dezen look (and sound nothing) like Jeff Buckley?

Golden Days
You’ll hear this in the trailer (for obvious reasons) — a warm tune off Air Stereo, full of “oooooh” backing vocals and wonderful lyrics of musical allusions: “I can’t hear much but the melody coming from you / Baby please don’t rush, keep the tempo slow and blue, let me hear the words you say / Let’s go and get tangled in chains of golden days.” This is a great song.

You Don’t Have To Like Me (To Love Me Tonight)
This one rolls right out of your speakers like that cocky guy walking into a bar and kicking the jukebox. And this comes out. “Nobody at school can tease me like you. Should we never be ours, leave it all to skies and the scars. Please don’t love me alone tonight.” [Air Stereo]

Untitled Demo (from Dec 2005)
Thanks to the Damnwells’ MySpace page over a year ago, and the Songs:Illinois blog way back then for snagging it.

I Will Keep The Bad Things From You
A sentimental song rife with little inside communications between guy and girl, promises like “You can keep your last name if you want to,” and “You keep the band names coming, I’ll make the jokes real funny.” From their 2004 album Bastards of the Beat.

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January 1, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often pondered the existential question that all of us, if we’re honest, must someday answer: If you attended Bayside High, which Saved By The Bell character would you be? Finally there is a quiz to help you make that all-important determination with great questions like:

Everybody’s got a dark side. What’s yours?
a) I’ve moved a lot because my dad’s in the military, so it’s difficult for me to make friends.
b) I was addicted to caffeine pills.
c) I’m a complete nerd…how much more dark can you get?!
d) I went on a date with Screech. Eww!
e) My family isn’t very wealthy, despite what people might think.
f) I’ve been struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, depression and mild anxiety… Syke! Ha ha, I had you fooled there, didn’t I? You really believed I was that messed up! Ha ha! What a moron!

Bonus points if you can match each option with the appropriate character. It’s somewhat comforting to have such clear-cut roles in life. By the way, it tells me that I am Kelly Kapowski. I’m not really seein’ it; I think I’m more of a Screech (nerd), or maybe Slater? I’ve always so admired his fashion sense.

Happy new year and happy new music!

Sunday Morning
This one’s just fun and fresh and feels like something you should dance around to (if you, unlike me, have any feisty left in you after last night and especially -ugh- this morning). A slaptastic backbeat and repetitive lyrics that sound like they are droning at you from very far away, this is infectiously catchy. It’s got the class of an old soul deal remixed with modern hip hop beats, from Trinidad-Canadian k-os (stands for knowledge of self, pronounced like “chaos”) to help you start your year off right. From the upcoming release Atlantis: Hymns For Disco (EMI International).

Rob Crow
I was prompted to finally listen to this new song that I downloaded a few weeks ago by seeing and (magnabbit!) liking the freaking Clorox Wipes commercial that Rob Crow (of San Diego band Pinback, not to be confused with Nickelback) penned and is, sadly, only available to tug at your heartstrings and make you feel all oozy as a snippet in the ad, as you watch a dad dance around with his daughter standing on his feet (as he stops, inexplicably, to wipe the table with a Clorox wipe, which is the logical move at that time in fuzzy technicolor-memory moments with your kids). Sorry. Back to this song, it’s from Crow’s forthcoming (Jan 23) album Living Well (Temporary Residence Ltd) and it reminds me a little of early Beck in its lo-fi acoustic/electronica-hybrid goodness.

Everybody’s Talking
(written by Fred Neil, popularized by Harry Nilsson)
Dreamy (now defunct) indie ’90s band Luna put out a covers-only album this summer on Rhino Records (called Lunafied) that I just adore. You all know that I love the creative energies present in the best reinterpretations, and this album presents an always-interesting journey through songs by artists from the New York new-wave of Blondie and the Talking Heads to the Sixties goodness of Serge Gainsbourg and Donovan.

I Am A Leaver
The Damnwells
The second studio album from Brooklyn’s The Damnwells, Air Stereo (Zoe Records) made it onto the best-of 2006 lists of several friends I respect, so I decided to take it for a spin. Their sounds is warm and full, a golden pop-alt-country vibe that for me draws up memories of Gin Blossoms and the handful of Goo Goo Dolls songs that I like. It’s robust and thoroughly enjoyable, damn good.

War No More (link below)
Tommy Guerrero
San Francisco musician/ex-skateboarding legend Tommy Guerrero has a laid back, earthy sound that would be right at home on the front porch of one of the city’s lovely old houses, or perhaps a beach somewhere in the Pacific. This instrumental track has a global vibe to it with African-feeling drums and a shimmery Latin melody. Guerrero contributed to some of my favorite tracks on the Sprout surf movie soundtrack, and the aptly-named From The Soil To The Soul is an album that I could definitely see myself playing on repeat.

Trying something new, this is a free download of the song through an independent music promotor, IODA. They do all the linky work for me:

Download “War No More” (mp3)
from “From the Soil To the Soul” by Tommy Guerrero
Quannum Projects

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Buy at eMusic

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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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