May 14, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

I know that I should try to be less of a punctuation stickler because, well, it annoys most everyone who is NOT as obsessed (same goes with my proper pronunciation of bruschetta, but don’t get me started). However, sometimes you just can’t turn a blind eye. I happened to have a camera in my bag this weekend while waiting at a red light, and wanted to comment on this sign I noticed a few weeks ago – one that taunts me every time I sit at this intersection:

If there’s one thing worse than incorrectly used apostrophes, it’s gotta be inconsistent application of your made-up rule for where they go. If you’re gonna be wrong, can you please have the gusto to do it consistently all the way through your sign? Thank you.

[end rant]

Onto this week’s batch of tunes to cheer up your ear’s (ouch).

Do The 45
Ryan Shaw
I’ve been meaning to get my hands on 26-year-old Ryan Shaw‘s debut album ever since I heard this former church-choirboy from Georgia tear it up at the Boulder AAA radio conference last August. Everyone was buzzing about him and his formidable voice that recalls the confident ’70s funk of Stevie Wonder and some of the fantastic retro doo-wop of guys like Sam Cooke from years past. This is the opening track off a fine, fun disc (This Is Ryan Shaw) that I am finally getting a chance to appreciate. No one makes ‘em like this anymore.

Dynomite Explosion
Mont de Sundua
You may have seen the little mention over on Pitchfork this past week about the unearthed sounds of Jim James‘ pre-My Morning Jacket racket in a band called Mont de Sundua. I am enjoying the off-kilter spacey thump of this track from their album that was recorded back in 1998 and never released. It’s going to be out this year and it sounds as if they were having a lot of fun when they made it. Even if they do look like they are livin’ the thug life in that picture from their MySpace.

To Sing For You (Donovan cover) –> Brand New Colony
Ben Gibbard
alternate link
NPR streamed the whole acoustic set from Death Cab For Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard at DC’s 930 Club on Thursday night and this was the nice little cover he opened with, sort of laying out the foundation for how he’s gonna be your folky troubadour for the evening. Seriously though, Donovan is an underrated songwriter, and this cover is suited to Gibbard’s voice and truly lovely. It seamlessly runs into the Postal Service song ‘Brand New Colony,’ so you get that as a bonus. My imaginary office boyfriend John Krasinski (Jim Halpert) showed up at some point in the night to play a Wilco cover (?!). First the Shins, now this. Right on John.

From (unreleased, live on Daytrotter)
Dr. Dog
I have been resisting the lazy, hazy sounds from Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog, mostly because I’ve read this book out loud a few too many times and it just struck me as a silly name. Which it is. However, I came across this unreleased track from their excellent Daytrotter set and decided to give them a chance, finally. Man, I am so stubborn. Dr. Dog just finished a tour with Cold War Kids and Elvis Perkins, and their new album We All Belong has been called “one of 2007′s strongest releases, combining tight arrangements with picturesque vocals and a lazy fall afternoon BBQ vibe.”
[bonus: great interview here]

From The Floorboards Up
Paul Weller
This last one is not a blazing hot new release, but this week I was listening to Paul Weller‘s 2005 solo album As Is Now and just marveling at how it sounds better than about 80 percent of the music I “screen” nowadays. Even after thirty years of making music (The Jam, Style Council, then solo), this is a fresh, tight, fantastic release that is “uncluttered and impassioned.” Listen to the ferocity with which Weller growls the lyric on ‘Come On/Let’s Go’: “Sing you little f*ckers, sing like you ain’t got no choice,” or enjoy how this song starts out with that unrelenting riff and ends with an abrupt yank that feels premature. Dude’s a master, and this whole album is worth some of your time.

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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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