December 9, 2009

love is a dirty word

jason collett

Jason Collett has a clattery sound to his music that I love, with a free-keeling howl in his voice that he plays fast and loose. He is mightily impressive live, friends with Feist from their mutual Broken Social Scene days, and has just announced an aptly-named new album Rat A Tat Tat coming out in March on the impeccable Arts & Crafts label from Canada.

The first listen from the new record is seriously addictive.

Love Is A Dirty Word – Jason Collett


…And if you’re lucky enough to live in Toronto, Jason is doing his annual Basement Revue Shows every Tuesday in December at the Dakota Tavern.

March 4, 2009

Jason Collett & Feist’s hangover days

After the internet broke today from the sheer fabulousness of the news of a forthcoming Wilco/Feist collaboration, I was reminded of one of my favorite other Feist duets. An oldie but such a very-goodie:

Hangover Days (feat. Feist) – Jason Collett

Jason Collett
has an extremely winning twang and howl to his voice, with those great storytelling lyrics. Feist couldn’t be lovelier, as usual.

Idols of Exile came out in 2005 on Arts & Crafts.

January 11, 2009

the bed is unmade, like everything is


I listened to (and sang along with) the music of Stars this weekend after too many months of not getting around to enjoying their fabulousness. I listened a lot to Stars in 2006 and 2007, but feel like I neglected them last year and have spent all day today apologizing to them, as we caught up.

Their new EP is called Sad Robots, but today at sunset I took a long walk through the neighborhood and rested on their ’07 album of covers and remixes. Do You Trust Your Friends? finds Stars turning their songs from their seminal Set Yourself On Fire album (2004) over to the creative powers of their Canadian friends on the Arts & Crafts label. These versions distill new angles and meanings from already amazing songs.

Apostle of Hustle takes on a song that traces an unnervingly creepy tale of possessive love. The original soars with strings and a terse drumbeat, but Apostle of Hustle infuses it with a clattery energy and their cinematic, Latin-tinged gyspy folk. Now it feels appropriately off-kilter. Towards the end of their cover, they weave in loops of old movie dialogue that you can almost feel flashing in black and white like a dated reel. The song explodes under their touch.

One More Night (Stars cover) – Apostle of Hustle

Jason Collett brings his marvelous alt-country, slightly squawky croon to the electric sheen of the original, like Dwight Yoakam & Tom Petty strolling the streets of Montreal. That same funky bassline weaves through both the original and this cover, but I love how his voice cracks here when he pleads, “All I want is one more chance to be young and wild and free . . . All I want is one more chance to show you you were right for me.”

Reunion (Stars cover) – Jason Collett


Do You Trust Your Friends? (2007)

Set Yourself On Fire (2004)

March 27, 2008

Jason Collett on the creation of “Papercut Hearts”

Jason Collett is a Canadian musician who’s been part of Broken Social Scene and is currently pursuing his own fantastic solo avenues. After seeing him open for Josh Rouse last September, I was impressed by his detailed lyrical imagery, and his lovely voice that had an unexpectedly sharp, raw, piercing crackle to it.

Collett’s 2008 album Here’s To Being Here is out now on Arts & Crafts (Feist, Stars, Apostle of Hustle). I hear hints of Dylan’s drawl in his own unique combination of rootsy warmth and modern sparkle. This video was recently posted on his site; listen to the story behind the evolution of his song “Papercut Hearts.”

Papercut Hearts – Jason Collett

Tagged with .
November 12, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

I watched the new Oasis tour documentary Lord Don’t Slow Me Down on Saturday night, and I was thoroughly entertained beyond what I had anticipated. It’s a look at a band that seemed unstoppable in the cocky cocaine madness of ’95-’96 (years which Noel admits he doesn’t remember. At all.) now doing the unthinkable and growing up a bit. Stable girlfriends, kids, and years of living the rock n roll lifestyle seem to have muted the Gallagher brothers just a tad (even though they are still devastatingly funny to watch, and pull off an epically rocking show with the best of ‘em).

LDSMD provides an all-access look at the band on their 10-month world tour for Don’t Believe The Truth in 2005. As a document of those months, the footage underscores both the high of the huge crowds that sing at the top of their lungs to every word — regardless of their native language (pretty tingly-cool when everyone breaks with “Sooooo, Sally can wait….”) but also the monotony of the *same* blessed pickin’ questions from every single interviewer, a thousand times over, and the jet-lag and disorientation and inner workings of living together with the same folks for that long in a bus. I liked the small, quiet insights best: Liam ape-dancing alone in a dressing room when he apparently didn’t know the cameras were taping, the guys playing a rollicking board game of Frustration backstage (and man, I miss the sound of that dice popper from being a kid), the tinkering around on the instruments in a music store somewhere in urban Tokyo on a day off.

The film is mostly shot in iconic-feeling grainy black and white, except for a few notable scenes in hyperbright ’70s-style Technicolor, like a performance of Champagne Supernova, and a shot of Liam leaning back into the sunshine on the back of a skittering speedboat in the Sydney harbor. It’s a visual treat in the arthouse film style. The elusive angles used in filming lend it a weight that made me feel like I was watching an epic lost Beatles doc or something. Which I suppose may be a point. Combined with the second disc of the complete epic Manchester homecoming concert, this is a vastly entertaining look at a seminal rock band still doin what they do so well.

As for the music this week, I finally attacked some of the emails I’ve been meaning to get around to, and found a few ace new tunes to grab our ears:

Speaking of guys from Manchester . . . Polytechnic is a feisty Britpop quintet that have been called “one of the most uplifting sounds to have emerged from Manchester in recent years — fashionably angular but also joyously buoyant.” (Rock Sound Magazine). I can catch the comparisons to Supergrass, The Shins, and even CYHSY – they’ve got a fun and unique jangly blend of shimmering vocals lit to a danceable perfection. They have two shows on American soil this week, Wednesday at LA’s Spaceland, and Friday at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. These guys are unsigned but sound to me as if they might not stay that way for long. Down Til Dawn is out now.

Sad Songs
The Pendletons
Not a sad song at all, unless sad songs make you want to scream and yell and dance around a sticky-floored backroads bar to this toe-tapping bit of catharsis. The Pendletons are from Athens, GA and their brand of urgent, catchy tunes share a rawness and a jangle with someone we’ve heard before out of Athens (Peter Buck has been seen at their shows, raising a beer to the lads). Rolling Stone recently said that their new album Oh! Me sounds “like Vampire Weekend on a semester abroad with Arctic Monkeys.” I am all in for that kind of action.

Out of Time
Jason Collett

I saw Broken Social Scenester Jason Collett a few months back at the Bluebird (and he’s back in Denver this week with Feist) and his unique brand of earthy twang and clean beats stole my heart. His newest album is called Here’s To Being Here, and this song sounds to me like a hypothetical moment where the droningly lyrical poet in Bob Dylan joins Apostle of Hustle, with a bit of late-night sexy bluesy swagger to it. The new album is out February 5 on Canadian label Arts & Crafts.

Girls And Boys In Love
The Rumble Strips
So is it just me or does the name of this British band sound exactly like it could be the hip new bikini wax to ask for? That’s awesome. But oh, then I remembered that rumble strips are those divots along the outside of the lane lines designed to jolt awake drivers who doze, so nevermind. These Rumble Strips are from London, and this selection is a lighthearted song that sounds best while driving, reminding me of a super peppy, clap-happy Robert Smith. None of the band’s trademark horns here, but it’s a soundtrack for youthful tomfoolery. They are finishing up some Irish dates, and then hitting the US on tour with the Cold War Kids in just a few cities: DC, Philly, NY, LA, and SF’s Popscene in December. Girls and Weather (two fluctuating topics) is out now.

Stuck Between Stations (acoustic)
The Hold Steady

In honor of me seeing the Hold Steady again tonight (with Art Brut) in Denver, we’ll end our roundup with this fantastic tune from last year’s Boys and Girls In America album (ps – now being re-released in the UK with the elusive “Live from Fingerprints” tracks included).

I am not sure where this acoustic version was recorded, but for me it highlights the lyrics even more; I still find them crushing and hopeful all at once:

these twin city kisses.
sound like clicks and hisses.
and we all come down and drown in the mississippi river.

we drink
we dry up.
we crumble into dust.

we get wet we corrode
we get covered in rust.

I can’t wait for the show.

[photo from Chicago Metro Halloween show, credit]

September 19, 2007

Josh Rouse: “Love Vibration” (live in Denver last night) and bonus EP tunes; new Jason Collett

Josh Rouse kicked off his current tour last night in Denver in support of his excellent new album Country Mouse, City House. I’ve been trying to catch Rouse live for over two years, but this was my first success – I very thoroughly enjoyed his unique fusion of soulful songwriter rock with elements of jazz, blues and funk, along with his velvety smooth voice. It was excellent and I highly recommend catching him when you can.

The Bluebird was very full for a Tuesday night, with lots of enthusiastic fans — and Josh’s family who came in from Nebraska for the show. I randomly found myself talking to his mom after the concert, who was charming and just pleased as punch at both the show and the support. It was sweet. Here was the setlist, and it’s always dim in the Bluebird but I tried with a few still shots also:

I’ve been really digging the little bonus EP of nine songs that comes with the new album. It’s called Country Mouse Companion, and it digs up demo versions, lost tunes, old recordings and different versions of songs that made it to the album. Here’s a sample, it’s for sale at the shows too:

It Looks Like Love (live in studio demo)
Clear Coast (again with band at Eric Fritch’s house)
Hollywood Bass Player (demo in Valencia at home)

Support was provided by the wonderful Jason Collett from Broken Social Scene, whose lyrical imagery is amazing, and has a lovely voice with an unexpectedly sharp, raw crackle to it that pierces me. Here’s a short clip of him performing Hangover Days last night, which he’s also duetted with Feist on. He has a new album due in January on Arts & Crafts, and he told us the title last night for the first time and I am a failure to you all and I forgot it.

Sorry Lori – Jason Collett (new song from forthcoming album)
Hangover Days (with Feist) – Jason Collett

(first eleven dates with Jason Collett)
Sep 19 – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 21 – North Shore PAC, Seattle, WA
Sep 22 – Night Light, Bellingham, WA
Sep 24 – Plaza Nightclub, Vancouver, BC
Sep 25 – Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR
Sep 27 – Independent, San Francisco, CA
Sep 28 – El Rey, Los Angeles, CA
Sep 29 – Hotel Congress, Tucson, AZ
Sep 30 – Golden West Saloon, Albuquerque, NM
Oct 3 – Workplay, Birmingham, AL
Oct 4 – Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
Oct 5 – Exit/In, Nashville, TN
Oct 6 – Exit/In, Nashville, TN
Oct 23 – Southgate House, Cincinnati, OH
Oct 25 – Park West, Chicago, IL
Oct 26 – Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI
Oct 27 – Fineline Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MI
Oct 28 – The Annex, Madison, WI
Nov 1 – Somerville Theater, Boston, MA
Nov 2 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY
Nov 3 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY
Nov 21 – Theatre, Murcia, Spain
Nov 22 – Joy Eslava, Madrid, Spain
Nov 23 – Cormoran, Valencia, Spain
Nov 24 – Bikini, Barcelona, Spain
Nov 26 – Aula Magna, Lisbon, Portugal
Nov 27 – Theatro Circo, Braga, Portugal
Nov 29 – The Plug, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Nov 30 – Academy 2, Manchester, United Kingdom
Dec 1 – QMU, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Dec 3 – The Sage 2, Gateshead, United Kingdom
Dec 4 – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Dec 5 – Academy, Bristol, United Kingdom
Dec 7 – Academy, Oxford, United Kingdom
Dec 8 – Concorde 2, Brighton, United Kingdom
Dec 9 – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom
Dec 11 – The Village, Dublin, Ireland
Dec 12 – Dolan’s, Limerick, Ireland
Dec 13 – Cyprus Avenue, Cork, Ireland
Feb 4 – Cayamo Music Cruise, Caribbean

May 28, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

So what, exactly, do you get the dog that has everything? I almost spit my coffee in laughter/disbelief the other morning when I came across this site (a link from dooce) — Neuticles. Apparently these little silicone delights “allow your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with neutering.” If that doesn’t just beat it all. Good thing I don’t have to worry about decisions like that; although I am definitely a dog person, pets are just too much work for me right now. I consistently and methodically kill plants. I sometimes leave groceries in the car (meat. mmmmm.). I horrifically shrink wool sweaters by putting them in the washing machine. I don’t think I have time to worry about testicular implants. Anyways. I don’t really have a point other than . . . wtf?

Changing gears completely (thankfully), here are some new tunes to please your ears.

The Alternate Routes
I am completely in love with this new album from The Alternate Routes: Good and Reckless and True (Vanguard Records). I’ve been listening to it all weekend and from the first notes I smiled, and kept at it all the way through. They’ve got a warm, expansive, alt-pop-americana sound with hints that remind me of The Damnwells or Whiskeytown — and speaking of Ryan Adams, current Cardinals drummer Brad Pemberton pitches in on the skins here as well. Solid songwriting and incisive lyricism, a highly recommended new album. I’ll be talking more about them, I’m sure.

Either Way (featuring Mike Skinner of The Streets)
The Twang
Stereogum calls bollocks on this group, but I find myself rather liking this ditty in a summer-fun way. The video starts out promising, all froliciking on a rocky British beach, but ends up a bit like the goofy-looking kids from high school who got a hold of dad’s camcorder while drinking. Either way, I can always do a little bit of Mike Skinner‘s rhymes, notwithstanding his odd penchant for wearing rainbow striped sweaters.

All The Way Down
Glen Hansard
This is from the rootsy-melancholy soundtrack to the new movie Once which is in select theaters now after wowing everyone at Sundance. Glen Hansard (of Ireland’s The Frames) stars in the film as an art-imitating-life busker on the streets of Dublin, and wrote the evocative soundtrack. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but readers tell me I must. This hushed song is in a similar vein to countrymate/tour companion/duetter Damien Rice, or maybe Josh Ritter. Good stuff.

Jason Collett covering Stars
This tune is labelled as being by lush-indie-popsters Stars (whom I adore), but it’s from their new remix album Do You Trust Your Friends, and is completely reinvented by friend and Broken Social Scenester Jason Collett. He delightfully turns it into something rollicking and loose, with a funky beat and fatty bass line that would be marvelous live. The Stars remix album is out now on Canada’s Arts & Crafts label, and I also still recommend the impetus behind the remix album, 2005′s Set Yourself On Fire.

Ghost of An Afternoon
Dave Fischoff
Independent musician Dave Fischoff labors from his small Chicago apartment/closet studio, weaving together sound samples that he has created himself and culled from the vast Chicago Public Library collection of sounds. You can hear his concentration in listening to the world around him, absorbing sounds and ideas, incorporating his own. They become melded together here on his album The Crawl — one touch Postal Service with threads of ’60s pop and orchestral strings. You can stream his whole album here and buy it from label Secretly Canadian.

PS – Comments turned on. That was an accident.

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

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.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →