April 16, 2011

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Wake up kids: today is the Christmas, birthday, and Valentine’s Day of the indie music world all rolled into one. Record Store Day is in its fourth year today, and you would be smart to head down to your local independent record store to celebrate the vibrant role they all play in keeping good music alive. There are also a slew of Record Store Day exclusives being offered today, so maybe break that piggy bank to take with you as well.

In the spirit of celebrating everything that’s right about Record Store Day today, Fuel/Friends has a special giveaway pack for one lucky reader.

To note all the excellent new releases that will be available today for the first time, the first item in the pack is the debut record from The Head and The Heart on vinyl. Sub Pop is releasing their album today, now remastered and with “Rivers and Roads” on it, with expanded liner notes / sweet art. You know by now why I like them; or you can read what I wrote for Sub Pop. Can’t wait to hear the record on warm, crackly vinyl.

The second item in the gift pack is to note all the re-releases coming out on vinyl today. For the first time, Matt Costa‘s 2006 debut record Songs We Sing is coming out on vinyl through the good folks at Brushfire Records. This is a sunny acoustic gem of an album that will serve you well all summer long, also one that will sound great on vinyl.

And finally, Fingerprints Records in Long Beach –a terrific independent record store– is contributing a signed poster from the in-store they are doing today with Brett Dennen. I bet your local record store is having musicians play amidst the stacks today as well.

Fingerprints is doing their part to keep music vibrant with excellent in-store performances (that sometimes spill out onto the street) and a top-notch selection of music.

To enter to win the Fuel/Friends RSD 2011 prize pack, leave me a comment telling me what you are doing today and why. I’ll pick one winner at the end of the weekend. I am in Chicago, so a whole new city beckons. I have my Reckless Records tshirt to guide me.

September 16, 2010

this is the season when everybody’s leavin / so go on and break my heart


California troubadour Matt Costa has always had an anachronistic, classic streak to his music, from the sunny-sunshine beach vibe of his first album Songs We Sing, to 2008′s Unfamiliar Faces with quirky piano tunes like “Mr. Pitiful” (with that one-man-band video filmed on one of my favorite beach boardwalks of all time).

Matt’s third studio album Mobile Chateau (9/21, Brushfire/Universal) is the first time Matt has helmed the production, and the golden ’60s psych-pop result evokes The Zombies and the 13th Floor Elevators in a way you don’t hear much these days.

I admittedly grew up on a straight-awesome diet of KFRC (San Franciscooo) and their “oldies,” so you’d better believe I keep listening to this album over and over again. Here’s the first track — just listen to that.

The Season – Matt Costa

Stream the entire album below, in advance of its release next week.

Mobile Chateau
by Matt Costa Music

Sept 18 – Manasquan, NJ – Algonquin Arts Theatre
Oct 2 – Chico, CA – Bell Memorial Auditorium
Oct 7 – San Diego, CA – Casbah %
Oct 8 – Tempe, AZ – The Club House Music %
Oct 9 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress %
Oct 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour %
Oct 14 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Downtown Brewing Co. %
Oct 15 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s %
Oct 17 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge %
Oct 18 – Victoria, BC – Sugar %
Oct 19 – Vancouver, BC – Venue %
Oct 20 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon %
Oct 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex %
Oct 23 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater %
Oct 25 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater #
Oct 26 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
Oct 27 – Chicago, IL – Double Door #
Oct 28 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick #
Oct 29 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom #
Oct 31 – Toronto, ONT – Mod Club Theatre #
Nov 1 – Montreal, QC – Le National #
Nov 2 – York Beach, ME – Inn on the Blues #
Nov 3 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club #
Nov 4 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom #
Nov 5 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Nov 7 – Washington, DC – Black Cat #
Nov 8 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
Nov 10 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre #
Nov 11 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Nov 12 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft @ Center Stage #
Nov 13 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In #
Nov 14 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird #
Nov 15 – Lawrence, KS – The Bottleneck
Nov 17 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues / Cambridge Room #
Nov 18 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s #
Nov 19 – Houston, TX – House of Blues / Bronze Peacock #

% with Threes & Nines
# with Everest (!), a truly superb pairing.

[polaroid photo by Raymond Molinar]

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January 4, 2008

The unfamiliar faces of Matt Costa

As soon as I was about ten seconds into this new video from Matt Costa, I already knew that yeah, I was gonna have to post it. When he steps in front of the panorama of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, where I have spent many a 25¢ Ride Night during the long hot summers of my teenage youth, I fell. This brand new video is for the playful lead-off track from Matt’s upcoming second full-length album, Unfamiliar Faces (January 22, Brushfire Records).

“Mr. Pitiful” is the earcatching opener to a bright and largely effervescent album, but a collection that also finds Matt journeying into territory that is a bit deeper and richer. I heard more variation between the songs than in albums past, but he still maintains that enjoyable California vibe.

This video is directed by the Malloy Brothers, and casts Matt as a marionette-like one man band, travelling the well-known beaches, bridges, and thoroughfares of Santa Cruz and San Francisco. I can testify that walking across that train bridge at about the 1:30 mark is a bit unnerving (if it’s the one I am thinking of) because it’s just an open trestle. It made me smile to see it again.

And it’s also a testimony to both of those wacky cities that I love that no one hardly bats an eye at the dude jivin’ down the street wearing a big drum and a bowtie.

MR. PITIFUL – new video from Matt Costa
(click the yellow play circle)

And here’s a bonus Friday goodie for you: a new slowburn song from Costa that feels like an orange sunset to me. It’s one of my favorites off Unfamiliar Faces so far.

Never Looking Back – Matt Costa

Matt is on tour all over the place in the coming months with Johnathan Rice and Delta Spirit supporting.

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November 28, 2007

One last gasp at warmer days

So, did I tell you I am going to Hawaii in January? Yaay. A relative is getting married on Kauai so I’ll be boarding a plane for eleven million hours and then living the island lifestyle for a good six days or so. Meanwhile in Colorado . . . little flurries of snow tentatively started falling last night (winter seems to be delayed this year which is okay with me) so I am bracing myself for colder days from now until then. Before we launch into December and Christmas music and all that, here’s one last track for sunnier days.

Island Style (with Jack Johnson) – John Cruz

John Cruz is a legendary Hawaiian slack-key guitarist/musician, and this duet is the closing track on the new Brushfire Records compilation album of laid back live cuts from their roster of, well, really laid back artists.

Thank You, Goodnight: Live Tracks from Bonnaroo and Vegoose
is available directly from Brushfire Records store, as well as from your local indie brick & mortar record store (find your nearest at Think Indie).

1. Take You There – G. Love and Special Sauce
2. Wasting Time – ALO
3. Staple It Together – Jack Johnson
4. Songs We Sing – Matt Costa
5. Color Of Your Blue – Money Mark
6. Constellations – Jack Johnson
7. Hot Cookin’ – G. Love and Special Sauce
8. BBQ – ALO
9. These Arms – Matt Costa
10. Island Style – John Cruz (Featuring Jack Johnson)

August 9, 2007

Exclusive first listen to new Matt Costa

Like a sno-cone on a hot afternoon, I’ve got a sweet treat for you today kids – Fuel/Friends is pleased to host an exclusive first listen of the brand new Matt Costa.

I’ve written before about this earnest 25-year-old singer/songwriter from California, and this autumn will bring us Unfamiliar Faces, his dang catchy follow-up album to 2005′s Songs We Sing. If you thought you had his sound pegged . . . think again. This new stuff blows the old out of the water (and I like the old stuff).

This is just a short clip, but I think you’ll like the taste:

Unfamiliar Faces is out October 2nd on Brushfire Records and it is absolutely delightful, showing both a depth and a playfulness from Costa. Although he’s always been an amiable listen, this album brings both a greater musical inventiveness and maturity to his sound.

I’ve been listening to it all day and have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.

TRACKLISTING: Unfamiliar Faces
Mr. Pitiful (that’s the toe-tapping song in the video)
Never Looking Back
Emergency Call
Unfamiliar Faces
Cigarette Eyes
Trying To Lose My Mind
Heart Of Stone
Miss Magnolia

June 24, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure, summer edition

It finally cooled off enough today for me to go out for a run just as it was getting dark tonight (almost 9pm, I love the long summer days). There was a humidity in the air, and as I ran facing west, towards the mountains and Pikes Peak, the sky was flaming orange and lightning was crackling electric all around me. Kinda scary, but also very cool.

I had my iPod on shuffle and three great songs came up in a row that struck me as being perfect for my now-completed summer mix. So now, if there were one or two (or three) songs in there that you didn’t care for (be it your Steve Miller Band, your Weezer, etc), you can do some customized drag and drop substitutions. All three of these would fit just fine for your summer listening pleasure.

Sunshine (live) – Matt Costa (alternate link)
The Best I Ever Had – Chris Isaak (alternate link)
(forgot how much I love that Isaak b-side)
Time Of The Season – Snowden (alternate link)

A note on that last one: if you can get past their repeated flub of the chorus lyrics (it’s “time OF the season FOR loviiiiing…”), the beat is insanely good. And the original song is a cultural watershed in my book for being the first time in popular culture that someone posed the all-important question, “Who’s your daddy?” Go Zombies.

May 25, 2007

Spiderman winner and a sweeeet new giveaway from Brushfire Records

I didn’t forget about that Spiderman 3 soundtrack contest — you guys thought of some freaky superpowers. I think Ali’s was closest to my own heart, although if I had this superpower I would be ridiculously sleep-deprived from going to a concert every single night, somewhere in the world:

At May 14, 2007 12:12 PM, Ali said…
The superpower I wish I had would have to be the ability to Apparate (referencing the magical Harry Potter-isms), to appear somewhere else (like a pete yorn concert, for instance) *snap* just like that. anytime, anywhere, whenever. no plane tickets, rental cars or luggage necessary.

Ali, please email me your address and I’ll get your soundtrack prize pack sent. Thanks for playing!

NEW CONTEST — and this one may be my favorite yet.

I am a hearty fan of the laid-back quality tunes on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label (formerly The Moonshine Conspiracy Records), which was started in 2002 as an offshoot to the surf film collaborative Woodshed Films. Jack birthed this idea in 1998 with Emmett and Chris Malloy during the creation of the surf film Thicker Than Water, and since then they’ve released soundtracks to several like-minded films, and built up a roster of artists whom I unfailingly enjoy.

So, I recently came across a new bright green Matt Costa t-shirt that I picked up in a schwag bag at a conference last year and it gave me the idea for this new contest. Thanks to the good folks at Brushfire, one random winner will get a fine smattering of the entire artist catalog:

1 Matt Costa CD [previously on Fuel]
1 Money Mark CD [previously on Fuel]
1 ALO CD [previously on Fuel]
1 G. Love CD [previously on Fuel]
1 Jack Johnson CD (your choice)
1 XL Matt Costa t-shirt
1 signed Matt Costa poster

Leave your name and email address (and some pleasant words or a joke or something if you want to make me smile too) in the comments and I will pick one lucky person next Friday.

Let It Be Sung – Jack Johnson w/ Matt Costa & Zach Gill of ALO

Rainbow – Jack Johnson and G. Love

February 2, 2007

Vedder to appear solo at Hawaii’s Kokua Festival with Jack Johnson and Matt Costa

Just announced: Eddie Vedder is confirmed to play solo as part of this year’s Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu.

Joining organizer Jack Johnson, Matt Costa, and local Island favorites Ernie Cruz Jr. and The Girlas, the Fourth Annual Kokua Festival will be on Earth Day weekend — April 21 & 22.

Eddie is playing with the amazing Booooom Gaspar (a native Hawaiian and mostly full-time PJ band member lately) on keys. All proceeds go to the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Jack and Kim Johnson to support environmental education programs in Hawaii.

Tickets will be available exclusively to Kokua Hawaii Foundation members starting February 6 (become a member to buy). Tickets to the general public will be available via Jack Johnson’s web site on February 10, via their Myspace on February 15, or via Ticket(bastard) starting Feb 17.

Oh, Hawaii, why do you taunt me so?!

Here’s a sample of the goodness we might be able to expect from Vedder; all of these live songs are just wonderful, some of my favorites.

Ed Vedder (solo), 2/26/2002
Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles
You’re True (first performance, beautiful ukulele ditty)
Can’t Keep
Broken Hearted (unreleased)
Thumbing My Way

Ed Vedder (solo), 3/15/2002
Royce Hall, UCLA
Goodbye (first performance, also on ukulele)

December 11, 2006

Two things that made me laugh today

1. Stereogum (guilty pleasure) has opened the polls for their annual Gummy Awards. You can vote for the standard album of the year business, as well as fun things like indie male rock hottie (I had a hard time with that because most of those indie boy rockers are pale and bespectacled and introspective or 12 and that’s not really my thing. I remembered Trent after I submitted my ballot – can I vote again?) and indie female rock hottie (I went with the one who taught them all how to do it – Kim Gordon).

However, the very best question is the drop down menu where you get to vote for how many albums Ryan Adams should release this year. Stereogum and Ryan should just get a room and end this silly flirting.

2. Matt Costa shows up at the Spinner studios to play some tunes, and takes a little pre-show nap on the floor of their conference room (after a long night with “Jack D. and Jim B.”). The staff sneaks several pictures, which makes me laugh.

Lullaby – Jack Johnson & Matt Costa
(I wonder if he hears that sweet harmony in his head as he drifts off)

He appears to be a pretty sound sleeper, judging by the variety of pictures posted on their site. Now if only the AOL Music staff had chiefed him, that would have been perfect.

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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

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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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