April 22, 2009

…you’re only an echo


Most days Monday through Friday while I sit and type and answer questions and plan important things, my day is pleasantly peppered with my friend Dainon sending songs and other things that bring me joy. Lately, this dayjob of mine has been quite busy and lots of the stuff I’m connecting best with comes from him.

Today a song popped into my inbox that I loved from the get-go.

Salt Lake City artist David Williams is preparing to release a rich live EP called Wyoming, and the last track on it is a live version of his song “Echo.” Joining him on vocals is the lovely Laura Gibson, a folk artist whose voice I adore (see here). That, and some otherworldy vibrating saw (or…theremin?) being played throughout — gives me chills.

please don’t save me
well i feel i’m wandering….

you’re only an echo
only an echo

Echo (featuring Laura Gibson) – David Williams

This song has also been adopted by Band of Annuals (previous post), who I am growing to love more and more by the week. Watch their arresting version:

For my four readers in Utah, David Williams is having a fundraiser show on Sunday at The Loft to pay for mastering his upcoming album (in July). The $20 ticket gets you a the live show, the concert-only Wyoming EP, the album once it comes out this summer … and some pre-show beer! Tickets are limited to 75.

What a deal. I’d go.

March 23, 2009

Monday Music Roundup

[Editor’s note: While I’m somewhere between Luckenbach and Marfa today, I’ve asked my friend Dainon to write today’s Monday Music Roundup. He has superb taste. You are in good hands]


Cotton Jones Blood Red Sentimental Blues
Cotton Jones
Cotton Jones’ EPs have surfaced here and there (mostly whenever Maryland’s Michael Nau was taking breaks from his other outfit, Page France), but he finally got serious and released a full-length of this half-folky, half-psychedelic stuff earlier this year. It works better than all that came before it, too. Page France was one of those love at first listen sorts and he gets it right on this band and number, too, just in an all new way. Here, you see dust particles hanging in the sunlight. You fully expect the organ to kick in when it does. You can even feel its sepia tones.

Also, if whistling makes you happy and you know it, turn up “By Morning Light” and tap-tap-tap along to that ketchy rhythm.

Look In On Me
James Jackson Toth

jamesjacksontothRemember Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice? Maybe? James Jackson Toth spearheaded that movement but, in this music lubber’s opinion, it wasn’t entirely listenable. And his first solo album is kinda wordy and scattered, too, but, when he’s channeling early Mick Jagger, as he is here, it feels warm and right and slightly drunk. There’s a story to attach to this, too, one that involved a ridiculously great night, a morning-after walk of shame and still buzzed smiles as this song up and declared itself the perfect soundtrack of that long moment, but that’s all that needs to be said about that.

Also, try his “Beulah The Good.” It’s a different sort of fantastic, but an absolute thrill ride all the same.

samrobertsbandThem Kids
Sam Roberts

One of those Big Deals up in Canada who still hasn’t managed the same kinda success south of their border, I read someplace that this album has enough heart in it to change alla that noise right quick. Perhaps. Listening to Sam Roberts channel the energy of the Strokes here (without the silly pretense to go along with it), it’s hard not to believe that. If you’re not a giddy headbanger singing “The kids don’t know how to dance to rock ‘n roll!” by the tail end of this one, well, rewind and repeat it already. Only do it louder this time. That’s an order.

Also, the lovely “Words and Fire” deserves to land on movie soundtrack in the near future. Just saying.

Funeral Song
Laura Gibson

lauragibsonI like this description of this lovely Portland-based singer-songwriter, borrowed from Hush Records … “She couldn’t tell you what band put out what particular album in what year, but she could probably describe where she was, how she felt and what you talked about, when she first met you, or what the trees looked like the last time her heart was broken.” Laura’s voice comes from another time. Listen closely to this song and you might hear some Billie Holiday in there. Listen closer and you’ll hear a saw being played.

Her recently-released Beasts of Seasons is a disarmingly good album that seeps into your skin the more you allow it to. Her songs sound like shared secrets. She recently said she is more influenced by her books of poetry than she is other musicians; there appears to be some real truth to that.

Also? “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone?” is likely to knock you flat. Catch her when she plays with Damien Jurado at the Hi-Dive in Denver on 4/4.

mellowowlBottle Rockettes
Peter & The Wolf

You gotta love a guy (Redding Hunter) who records his own CDs, designs each cover with his own artwork (owls wearing bling necklaces are big right now) and makes his way across the US of A, playing ramshackle house parties for gas money. Fresh off 5+ shows at SXSW and currently working on something he’s wont to call his “disco record,” this song is a fast favorite off Mellow Owl, Peter and the Wolf’s latest offering. Is it enough to say this one feels like a summer’s day? Sure, there’s a lazy love story in there, too, but it comes second to the feeling of it. This one really benefits from the vocals of Moss Bailey, too, who pops up all over the album.

Also, “Trainhopper” is classic PATW: an acoustic geet, the story of some kinda gypsy wanderer and lots of those long drawn-out oooh’s to dress it up right nice.

And, just for fun, here’s Peter & The Wolf in action from a couple weeks back. This is an old one called “Silent Movies,” recorded live at KRCL 90.9 in Salt Lake City, UT, where he both managed to play one bar with a transvestite blues house band (yep) and one packed-to-the-rafters house show while he was in town.

[aw heck Dainon. You’re so hired]

February 9, 2009

Monday Music Roundup


Ah, Radiohead, you win.

I did in fact watch most of the Grammys last night in between sorting mail and promo CDs and going through bills. It was that riveting. And just like when I cried last year when Kanye started singing ’bout his mama, I also cried this year when Jennifer Hudson sang (so sad), and just like last year I was also left largely disaffected by the pop music industry in general. Except Radiohead. I actually yelped –out loud– during their performance of 15 Step, watching the faces of the USC kids pound their big drums so ferociously. That is easily the single most electrifying performance I’ve seen on the Grammys. And now I want to travel somewhere, anywhere, and see Radiohead again. Bless their hearts. [watch and listen]

That, and I couldn’t help but noticing in the Memorial montage that a guy named Pervis died this year and I really feel that should be the new hipster baby name because it’s awesome.

La musica nuova:

The Vox Jaguars

These kids play with, well, a swagger and a band name that sums up what it’s like to be 19 and bursting with confidence. I heard The Vox Jaguars over on Some Velvet Blog, all fuzz and scowl and garage rock, replete with fake British accents asking, “wot?”. They’re also from the coastal town of Santa Cruz, just over the hill from where I grew up. Two are in high school still, which I guess means they go to San Lorenzo Valley or Harbor High. Weird. They have an EP out tomorrow on Anodyne Records, home to the Meat Puppets — and they show fun and promising verve.

bon-iverThe Park (Feist cover)
Bon Iver

There’s a sensual and spine-tingling mournfulness in this cover (from a live session on Triple-J radio in Australia) that reminds me so very much of Jeff Buckley taking on the sweet and mournful sorrow of Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine.” It’s unexpected, and uncanny.

illinoisMissing Piece

This unadorned song sounds like someone sitting up at an old piano on your grandparents’ sunporch, the honeyed notes floating through the air and swirling around with the dust motes. Evocative very much of Ben Kweller’s prettiest numbers, our protagonist wonders here if he is someone’s missing piece. I guess you never know until you try. Illinois is still not from Illinois, but they are giving away all kinds of free music leading up to their new album The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe on May 5th. Check out the other goodness.

Laura Gibson

Redolent with a richness in her warble that feels more at home in the 1930s than today, Laura Gibson‘s music feels very grounded and a bit otherworldly all at once. I’d like to see her play with Elvis Perkins in Dearland because they are some sort of soul siblings and might not know it yet but omg. She is actually on tour in the coming months with Juana Molina and also Fuel favorites Blind Pilot (but only for the SLC stop!). Her new album Beasts of Seasons is out February 24th on Hush Records.

tourart1940 (Submarines cover)
The Morning Benders

Berkeley’s Morning Benders bring their pleasing super-sunny pop harmonies to Denver next Saturday, and in a charming little gesture with their tourmates The Submarines, they’ve each covered one another’s work and released it for free to the adoring fans. I like the way this song takes a minute to get its training wheels straight and rolling on the merry way, with the hints of Sixties psychedelica throughout.

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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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