August 10, 2007

New contest: Win the Hottest State soundtrack, and read the book you lazy summer slacker

I am generally a really upbeat person but I can’t help myself — I truly despise heat coupled with humidity. This is why it is good that I don’t live in, say, Georgia or West Virginia because I would be the most grumpy person you know all through the month of August. Plus my hair would be very frizzy.

I am rambling about hot weather as a seamless tie-in to my newest contest: two lucky winners will win a soundtrack+book prize pack for the upcoming Ethan Hawke film The Hottest State. My first listens have been very enjoyable – it’s a fairly mellow and eclectic collection, and features the superb songwriting of new Fuel-favorite Jesse Harris. When forming the concept for the film adaptation, Hawke and Harris delved into the collection of 80+ songs that Harris had penned over the years, and then enlisted a dream team of folks like M. Ward, Feist, Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Black Keys, Willie Nelson, and Emmylou Harris to record them. You can stream the entire record here and then pop over to see the full tracklisting on their MySpace.

The movie is based on Hawke’s book (I didn’t know he wrote), so the two winners will each get a CD soundtrack plus the book for good end-of-summer reading as you lay by the pool and perfect that tan that will have to sustain you as the last vestiges of summer slip away.

So depressing, I know, stop it.

I’ll pick TWO random winners from all entrants by next Friday August 17th. If you’d like to win, please leave me a way to contact you (or promise to check here to see if you won, and then email me if you do) and answer this question:
What is one of your favorite hot weather/summertime memories? Random, funny, serious, whatever – it just has to effectively include that “hot” business. Godspeed.

From the soundtrack:
If You Ever Slip – The Black Keys
It Will Stay With Us – Jesse Harris

July 1, 2007

Feel something with Jesse Harris

I first decided to take a listen to Jesse Harris when my little brother recommended him to me recently. After several years of my brother being heavily into Japanese pop and questionable Final Fantasy music (the game, not the band), I’m finding lately that our tastes are becoming more in-line. Plus I love him, so I try and move his suggestions to the top of the long “to listen” list. On this one, Brian — definitely a good call.

Jesse Harris is from New York City, and is probably most famous these days for being the guy who wrote much of the ubiquitous, breathy Norah Jones album Come Away With Me, and won a whole boatload of Grammy Awards (the year I was there, actually). Feel is his newest album in a string of seven, coming out July 10th on Velour Recordings.

And what an album it is – luminous, fresh, and full of interesting percussion (which is the first thing I noticed). I hear tones of everything from clean Beatles pop, to Graceland-era Paul Simon, tones of the gentle banjo-plucking of Sufjan, to even hints of my beloved David Gray. I think this is a great songwriter album, catchy and nuanced, and it’s getting repeated spins in my car this summer. I highly recommend this one, and I love how the album art looks the way the music feels.

Feel – Jesse Harris

After All – Jesse Harris

In equally excellent news, Jesse Harris is also the man behind the entire soundtrack for Ethan Hawke’s new film The Hottest State. Jesse wrote all the songs in a continuous suite, which are then sung both by him and also artists such as The Black Keys, Bright Eyes, Willie Nelson, Cat Power, M. Ward, Emmylou Harris, and Feist. That anticipated soundtrack will be out August 7th on Hickory Records.

Somewhere Down The Road – Feist

Crooked Lines – M. Ward

Jesse Harris: tour dates & more tunes here

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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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