January 25, 2007

Bargain bin: Trampoline Records Greatest Hits, Volume 1

Next time you are poking around in the bargain bin at your local record store, search hard for this little gem of an anthology: Trampoline Records Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (2002).

Trampoline Records is an acoustic, rootsy power-pop label put together by Pete Yorn, The Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee, and songwriter Marc Dauer. I’ll admit I first investigated the album because of the Pete Yorn connection, but it goes far beyond that with an impressive, quality flow to the songs here. Nary a bad tune on it.

In addition to the unreleased song “Hunter Green” by Yorn, there are also contributions from Peter Himmelman, Pete Droge, Gary Jules, Minibar, Minus 5, Jakob Dylan (in the group Rusty Trucks), and Yorn’s keyboard man (“Joey! Take me there!“) Joe Kennedy in the group Happily Ever After. It is eminently listenable, front to back, and highly recommended.

Only In My Dreams – Mavis
(keyboard player for Semisonic, Soul Asylum, Sheryl Crow and Wallflowers takes a pleasing catchy solo turn)

Trading Mistakes – Ethan Johns
(Producer of albums by Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Counting Crows, Ben Kweller and Leona Naess -among others- here he shows he can hold his own on the other side of the mic. This track was recorded at home by himself.)


December 23, 2006

Pete Yorn feels good again

So good, in fact, that his minions put together this enjoyable little recap of the recent “You & Me Acoustic” tour with footage from his in-store stops and shows around the country and abroad (San Diego, Alexandria, Australia, Berkeley, Seattle, etc. but no Colorado – boo). Set to the musical accompaniment of Yorn’s cover of the Junior Kimbrough tune “I Feel Good Again”:

Pete’s a touring maniac, and he’s off again this Spring ’07:

Feb 6 – Big Easy, Boise, ID
Feb 8 – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
Feb 9 – Roseland, Portland, OR
Feb 10 – Showbox, Seattle, WA
Feb 12 – Empire, Sacramento, CA
Feb 15 – House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
Feb 16 – The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17 – House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
Feb 19 – House of Blues, San Diego, CA
Feb 20 – Marquee Theater, Tempe, AZ
Feb 22 – Suede, Park City, UT
Feb 23 – Ogden Theater, Denver, CO
Feb 26 – Granada, Lawrence, KS
Feb 27 – Pageant Theatre, St. Louis, MO
Feb 28 – Music Mill, Indianapolis, IN
Mar 2 – First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Mar 7 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
Mar 9 – House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
Mar 16 – Roseland Ballroom, New York
Mar 19 – Avalon, Boston, MA
Mar 20 – 9:30 Club, Washington DC
Mar 25 – Amos’ Southend, Charlotte, NC
Mar 31 – House of Blues, New Orleans, LA

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September 26, 2006

Update: Stream all the new songs from Westerberg/Open Season

Lost Highway has put up clips from all of the songs on the new Open Season soundtrack — those sung by Paul Westerberg as well as Pete Yorn & Sacramento indie rockers Deathray.

You can take a listen here. The CD comes out today on Lost Highway.

They’re also sponsoring a contest to win the CD and a trip to New York. I usually have really good luck with these things, so perhaps I’ll win. But maybe I’ve milked my NYC luck already by winning that trip to the 2003 Grammys (seriously, it was cool, except I couldn’t stop saying over and over again, “Holy crap! That’s Tony Bennett!” (x5) when I realized he was standing right behind me, like touching elbows).

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September 14, 2006

Pete Yorn Nightcrawler: Bonus tracks

Pete Yorn put out a slew of bonus tracks with various retailer versions of his new disc Nightcrawler (which is growing on me quite nicely, thank you). According to a recent interview on Brooklyn Vegan with the Yornster, here is the logic behind such a move:

“These days, in order to boost get good placement in stores, you usually throw in a bonus track exclusive, which at first I was hesitant to do because I thought it was just going to piss off my fans—you know, making them buy the record again to get a track. But we did the exclusives and then I just started encouraging the fans to download the extra tracks for free on my website. For people who’ve never heard of me before, then the better store placement means they’ll see my record and maybe get turned on to my stuff. “ –Pete

Eh, well, because most of you are not going to scurry about town to your your various retailers (or scour the web other than stopping here at your friendly PY source) to find these extra tracks, Bryce and I are conspiring to make it easy on you and bring you all the goods.

He gave me first dibs on which tracks of the seven I wanted to post, and these two are my favorites:

Old Boy” – Pete Yorn
(from the Circuit City version of Nightcrawler)
I love the bass line in this one, just all over the place in a great way.

Baby, I’m Gone” – Pete Yorn
(from the Best Buy version of Nightcrawler)
I had heard earlier live versions of this song and hoped that it would be a real rocker. The studio version ended up being much more restrained, with a classy synth-percussion throughout. It’s still a great song.

To get the other 5 bonus tracks [“Shallow (Friends)”, “Go With It”, “The Party”, “Top Of The World”, and “Can’t Hear Anyone”], visit Bryce’s blog. He’s also got some Keane, Coldplay, and Red Hot Chili Peppers b-sides, if that’s your groove.

I’ve also added links to an older post with the other two podcasts that are now available regarding the making of Nightcrawler. I find it very interesting to hear Pete talk about the creative process behind his music.

Finally, here is one more bonus track that I really liked off Yorn’s last album Day I Forgot (the Japanese import version) – Thanks to Kraig’s blog:

Drive Away” – Pete Yorn
Just over two-minutes, a fast and furious driving song. Head out on the highway.

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August 29, 2006

Pete Yorn’s Nightcrawler & podcasts

Since Pete and I are, like, BFF now, I just wanted to remind you that his new joint Nightcrawler hits stores today. Even though it has been emailed to me about 5 times in the last 2 weeks (thank you), I have withstood the peer pressure to partake and I will be picking up my own copy of the CD and spinning it the old fashioned way.

If you are interested in hearing more about the songs on the album (and a preview of the tunes), check out Pete’s podcast series. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

Nightcrawler Podcast #1 – Pete Yorn

Nightcrawler Podcast #2 – Pete Yorn

Nightcrawler Podcast #3 – Pete Yorn

And he’s got a few more tour dates recently announced:
09/08/06 – CHICAGO, IL – SCHUBA’S
09/09/06 – CHICAGO, IL – MARTYRS
09/12/06 – NEW YORK, NY – JOE’S PUB
09/14/06 – NEW YORK, NY – CBGB’S

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July 27, 2006

All the Pete Yorn you can handle

Ah, where to begin? I have just spent a fantabulous two days saturated with all the Pete Yorn I can handle (although yes, I’d go for more). Two in-store appearances packed with acoustic rarities, two fantastic concerts with the full repertoire of songs, and a one fine interview for y’all – an insight into the mind of the man behind the music.

Pete Yorn is an authentic, quality singer-songwriter (slash drummer, slash guitarist, slash multi-instrumentalist) with heartfelt passion for his music. This 32-year-old from Jersey combines raw urgency with melodic beauty, and I think that he is currently making and performing some of the best music of his career. If you can catch some of the remaining tour dates or in-stores, I urge you to do so. Many of the shows are sold out, but beg borrow and steal, baby.

If you have not yet read my massive post on Pete Yorn from a few months ago (or are unfamiliar with him), you must do so immediately. Full stop. The coolest thing to happen to me in recent memory is discovering on Monday night that Pete Yorn himself has previously read that very post on my very own little blog (and apparently the version of “Knew Enough To Know Nothing At All” that I have on there is a remix with Velvet Underground loops, not the original). Huh. Sweet beard of Zeus.

After some shuffling of schedules Monday night out on the open-air patio of the Walnut Room in Denver with Pete, we finally found some time to sit down together on Tuesday afternoon up in Boulder on a couch backstage at the Fox Theatre and chat a bit about what he has been up to. What I saw revealed was a rather pensive (but funny) musician with a lot of interesting things to say while he rubbed his guitar-string calloused fingertips.
Pete Yorn Interview, July 25, 2006
Fox Theatre, Boulder, Colorado

So, tell me about your new album Nightcrawler. What is the musical progression or evolution from your two previous records, Musicforthemorningafter and Day I Forgot, to the new Nightcrawler?

It’s a completely different record than either of the other two records. The natural progression for me is just being older, living more, experiencing more. Right from the first song on Nightcrawler (“Vampyre”), it’s definitely a darker tone than what I’ve set with other records, but there’s a lot of bright spots on there too. But I mean, with any record if you just listen to the first song and think that’s what the whole record is going to sound like, you’d be missing a lot, it’s a pretty diverse. And I work on the order of the songs to make a flow that I like, so yeah, that’s something that’s important to me.

The vibe during the recording was everything from free-and-easy to real pain in the ass. We recorded something like fifty songs for Nightcrawler, so it was hard for me to pick. I have that problem with every record, its always hard for me to pick what’s gonna make it and what’s not gonna make it. I try to put together a group of songs that’s gonna fit well together, ones that kind of enhance each other. I started recording songs for Nightcrawler at the end of 2003, beginning of 2004, so it’s been a few years in the making, lots of songs recorded.

Were the Westerns EP songs recorded during the Nightcrawler sessions? Or do you look at that as a separate project?

A bunch of those songs were done & recorded in Jersey. Some of that stuff was like the first stuff I did when I got inspired to record again, and it always just stayed with me. Then I kinda went and started doin’ the other stuff, but then when it was time to put the record together I was like, “Man, I really want that [Westerns] stuff to get out there.” It just has an innocence to it, to my ear anyway, that I like. Westerns just feels a little more rootsy to me than Nightcrawler.

And the Dixie Chicks got involved because I was writing songs with them for their record, and we were friends through that. Then, they came out to L.A. to do their record with Rick Rubin, and that’s where I was recording at the time, so I asked them to come . . . I thought they would just be perfect for those songs.

Do you think there is more freedom in doing an EP than a full-length album because perhaps there aren’t the same commerical pressures with an EP?

Hmmmm. No. That’s never why I do it anyway, so I mean – maybe other people are pressured to market it. But I just want to put forward music that I am into, music that I want to play, that captures a good vibe. So whether its Westerns or Nightcrawler, it’s the same approach.

You opened for Bon Jovi in 2003 . . .

Yeah (laughs)…

And you’ve played hundreds of shows, both large and small. Is there one that stands out in your mind as being particularly memorable?

Yeah, uh . . . last night in Denver? I always remember my last show the most vividly. But they’re all different in their own way. It’s weird with me, like sometimes I’ll be havin’ a bad time during the show, and then I get offstage and everyone thinks it’s like the greatest show we’ve ever played. Then there’ll be times when we’ll be having the best time on stage and everyone’s like, “Eh, it was just alright …” So my perception of a good time might be different than what’s going on in front, but I try to make every show stand out in its own way.

What excites you about music today?

I listen to mostly older stuff. I haven’t really been listening to much new stuff at all. It’s like I do so much music that it’s all I do, so I haven’t been listening to music that much. I kind of like to take a break from it on my downtime. So like, driving around I listen to talk radio.

Can you list any of your top desert island discs?

Oh man, it changes a lot.
London Calling I love, always have, still do. Sounds great.
The Stones — Sticky Fingers, Let it Bleed, Exile On Main Street. I like the Stones a lot.
Uh, Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

What was the first song you remember learning? Either on drums or guitar, since I know you do both.

On drums I remember learning “Dance The Night Away” by Van Halen when I was like nine. On guitar, like at 12 or 13, I learned maybe like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” or something. Those first chords. And I remember learning bass lines, like I could play “Smoke On The Water” or Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun” (sings tune). But then I learned chords and I remember that Poison song was two chords, it was like G and C, so it was easy. And I told my mom that I wrote it (laughs).

You’ve performed a variety of interesting covers, from Mark James’ “Suspicious Minds” to Beach Boys to The Smiths. How do you pick covers? Are there just songs that you can see through to the core of it and know it conveys something for you?

Hmmm, well sometimes lyrically something will really hit home, like “Oh, I wish I said that” and then you’ll want to sing it. Like with [The Smiths'] “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” I’ve always loved that song so much. It’s kind of dark imagery in it, but the other night somewhere I did [Warren Zevon's] “Splendid Isolation” into “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and lyrically they are such strong statements, they’re like polar opposites. Like one’s this too-super-cynical guy who just wants to be alone and be a hermit, and then on the other side of someone who is so lonesome they just want to go out and don’t even care if they crash and die next to the person — they are so desperate for contact. And I never realized that until I sang them both back to back, I was like “holy shit.” Then I see the parallels in a lot of my own songs, when I’ll go into a song and then the next song for some reason will pop into my head as a polar opposites.

Are there any songs that you think would be cool to cover that you haven’t done yet?

“Unsatisfied” by Paul Westerberg – The Replacements. Definitely.

I always appreciate the interesting layers of percussion that you use in all of your songs, and I know that your roots are as a drummer. When it comes to songwriting, what comes first in your mind? Do you ever think of the drum portion first and then go into the melody or the lyric?

Yeah, “Strange Condition” was a drumbeat, it was just like (“slap, pat, tap tap, pat” on his knees) and I was like, “I like that beat, I’m gonna write a song to that.” Um, “Committed” was a drumbeat. Committed was actually the drumbeat to “Surrender” by Cheap Trick, exactly. I mean, literally, it was The Drums from Surrender — we got the tracks of Bun E. Carlos playing it, just the drum track, and Surrender is a great song, great rhythm, great tempo, and I just threw it down and wrote Committed – just played into it. Someone emailed me saying that they heard Bun E. Carlos on XM Radio or something the other day — or maybe it was Sirius or something – and he was saying, “Oh yeah, I played drums on ‘Committed’ with Pete Yorn,” even though it was just his drum disc. Well, it IS him, but it wasn’t like he was there. I was surprised he even knew about it. In the credits I did put Bun E. Carlos on it. But it is as it is.

So you do work from those different perspectives when you’re writing songs . . .

Yeah, like, “Black” I wrote on the bass, it’s just a bass line — you know, like (imitates bass line) — and immediately that drumbeat just came right in (slaps his knees in time). But yeah, a lot of stuff starts from that bass and rhythm.

You played a gorgeous version of Bandstand In The Sky last night, and I know that you’ve said that was written the day Jeff Buckley died.

Yeah, I wrote that when I heard the news. I didn’t know him, but it just popped out. I’m a fan of Grace. I remember the first time I heard it, I was in school still, college. I ‘member this friend of mine was a film major and asked me to be in his student film and I was like, “Alright, sure.” And I remember we were filming at a gas station and I had to just sit in the car and throw a tennis ball at the dashboard and catch it, for like, hours. It took them forever to set up the shot, they were just learning how to use all the stuff and nothing would work. So I’m just sitting in the car for hours and I remember just playing “Last Goodbye” on repeat. Just over and over and over and over again, loving that song, and loving the whole record.

[Pauses] . . . But just having a night with that. It would end and I’d start it again.

The last song on Nightcrawler is a studio version of “Bandstand.” It’s kind of slow, mid-tempo. It’s a cool version.

You’ve had a lot of songs on movie soundtracks in the past few years. Do you have anything new coming up?

Yeah, I just did a, uh, Paul Westerberg song. He scored this new animated movie that’s coming out called Open Season, and they called me and asked me to sing one of the songs, so I recorded it and sang it. In the movie there’s an orchestrated version, then I recorded one for the soundtrack, like my own version. The song is called “I Belong,” and I think it comes out September 29th.

One last thing – speaking of movies; How in the world did you end up playing bongo drums on the Anchorman video for “Afternoon Delight”?

(Laughs) Yeah, how did that come about?
Um, my friend recorded the song for them, for “Afternoon Delight,” my buddy Doc. And he called me one day and he was like, “Dude, they need people to be in this video they’re shooting!” and I was like, “What is it?’ and he’s like “It’s fuckin’ Will Ferrell in Anchorman!” and I was like “No shit, really? Hell yeah, let’s do it!” I had nothing to do, so I headed down and they slapped some big old moustache on me and a turtleneck. Actually if you notice, I’m not playing with my hands, I’m playing with mallets! I’m playing mallets on the bongo, it’s really . . . silly.

[Commence laughing, general thanking, and farewells as we realize the time and Pete heads off to his in-store; you know, poor form to be late to those]

Additional photos from Dave Ventimiglia, taken at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, 7/1/06.

Now I’ve amassed such a collection of songs & video from the last two days that it is hard to filter (hence the exercise in complete excess which follows shortly). The live shows were absolutely amazing; Pete is backed by an excellent band that knows their shiz — they are cohesive and tight, but they also are having a good time (the proof is right here).

I have picked out some of my favorites from the two shows here (caveat — I taped it again myself so don’t expect excellent audio, just a document of the occasion that is listenable, except maybe for the warbling girls next to me):

Crystal Village
This song is absolutely anthemic in concert, an elevating experience. Listen to the crowd sing along. “Take my hand, come with me, I see the lights so brightly. And we fall as if we never really mattered.”

Good Advice
A rocker off the Westerns EP, full of lyrics about showin’ the world you can dance. Even if you can’t. Bassist Sid Jordan manages to thrum out the hip-shakin’ bass line, sing harmonies throughout the show, and all without taking the cigarette out of his mouth. It’s a gift, really.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths cover)
I had never really listened to these lyrics before Pete played it because I was not a goth kid in high school (you know the two camps, goth or rock?) but now I am glad to have it in my musical knowledge because it is so evocative & urgent.

Bandstand In The Sky
I can’t express how breathless I was when he announced this song, since it was written about Jeff Buckley and I had just been thinking as I drove up to the concert how much I would love to hear this live. Stunning.

A Girl Like You

One of the things I had said to Pete the night before was that I had missed the inclusion of “Girl Like You” (after which he asked if I had green eyes, but I didn’t get the lyrical reference until about an hour later when I was driving home and I had a smack-the-forehead moment). This is such a perfect little song.

For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)
This song rocks hard live, and watching drummer Mal Cross furiously cut loose at the end just exhausted me in one of the best ways possible.

Lose You
The opening piano notes of this song just hang in the air with such a sense of anticipation, it almost knocked the wind out of me. Another absolute gem. Joe Kennedy rocks on the piano.

Then I will post the complete sets for both in-store performances, since the audio quality is better on these and the songs are generally pretty rare.

Denver, Twist ‘N’ Shout
July 24, 2006
1. Knew Enough To Know Nothing At All
2. James in Liverpool
(very rare, not played in years)
3. Hunter Green
4. Golden Road
(off the new Westerns EP, great video coming)
5. Search Your Heart (another new one, possible b-side)

Boulder, Bart’s Records
July 25, 2006
1. Splendid Isolation
(Warren Zevon cover)
2. Baby I’m Gone (yeah!)
3. I Feel Good Again (Junior Kimbrough cover)
4. June (Pete refers to this as one of his favorite songs)
5. Alive (from the new album Nightcrawler)

Finally, I also uploaded and zipped the full shows:

7/25/06 at the Walnut Room, Denver (setlist here)
7/26/06 at the Fox Theatre, Boulder (setlist here)

And if by some absolute anomaly you are still not sated, videos will come once I can beat YouTube into some sort of submission.

And happy birthday today, Pete. Keep on rockin’ that goood music.

July 24, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

I have been finding a lot of interesting reading on the always-packed-with-goodness Largehearted Boy blog/music news conglomerate. I recommend you browse it yourself, but the link that I thought was the most amusing recently was this description of a new game, iPod War. It’s like the old card game you played when you were seven because it was the only game you could understand (“War! My eight beats your two!”), but with iPods set to shuffle. Sounds lame a little, yes, but the way she explains it made me laugh.

You and a friend each set your iPod on shuffle, then listen to and compare what pops up. Whoever has ‘The Better Song’ gets one point. The author illustrates several vagaries to consider in judging:

-Older doesn’t always mean better. (“Yes, music was exceptionally rad from 1964-1982. Doesn’t mean a song from 1995 can’t be better.”)
-Don’t demand a win on principle. (You say: “But the Rolling Stones kick Prince’s ass!”) Each song should be evaluated on its own merit. (I say: “While The Stones are an important part of music history, there are lots of Stones songs that are mediocre/sucky and some Prince songs that fucking rule.”).
-Counting Crows never wins.
-If neither person will concede the win, “Vietnam” is declared (both sides claim a win, but nobody really won).

Even though, clearly, sometimes the Counting Crows DO win, I applaud her creativity. A simple little game for the music nerds out there, to entertain yourself for a trip on the tube or a really boring homeroom class.

Onto my random musical selection for this week, for your enjoyment.

Michael Stipe & Rain Phoenix
I’ve been on a bit of an R.E.M. kick lately after making a mix up for a friend who was severely lacking in the Athens, Georgia college band department. Amidst my sifting, I rediscovered this poppy little song from the soundtrack of the 1998 film of the same name by Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz. The song is written by Eytan Mirsky, and it plays over the ending credits. Who knew Rain Phoenix could sing? Those multi-talented Phoenixes.

Bounce That
Girl Talk
This looks horrifying, but I cannot defy the inexorable and unexpected party power of this fantastic song. If you are able to listen to this guilty pleasure without moving some piece of yourself (be it a tapped toe, a bouncing chin, a shakin’ rear end) then I will personally salute you in disbelief. The inexplicably awful-named Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis) has made “the ADD-afflicted’s album of the year” with Night Ripper, which throws together literally hundreds of recognizable hooks from popular songs of the past 40 years in an extremely pleasurable blend. It has been burning up the blogs (especially after Pitchfork gave it an 8.4). I hear everything from the Breeders to Elastica to Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Temptations — come on. It looks like a really bad idea, but I swear it’s not. Download it immediately.

Mine Ain’t Yours
Lions In The Street
Magnet Magazine said of these guys, “What the Stones were, what the Dandy Warhols should’ve been” — and they are spot-on. Lions In The Street (who borrow their name from a Doors lyric) have released a sloppy & bluesy free EP on their website, I recommend snagging these five songs and adding them to your collection. They’ re embarking on their first US tour this summer/fall – in the past they’ve opened for Kings of Leon, JET, Ambulance LTD, and The Zutons. Swaggering & rollicking stuff.

Tell Me
This new one from L.A.-based retro-rock outfit Rooney was posted on their website last week as a little sample of their sophomore album, due out Fall 2006. We’ve got some serious ’70s arena rock goin’ on here – sounds like the kid from The Redwalls fronting Queen. Anthemic and fun, and I do like it, but I’m still trying to assimilate the fact that they’re touring with Kelly Clarkson this summer. What?

Atlantic City/Murray
Pete Yorn
This one is a nod to the fact that mere hours from now I will be heading to see Mr. Yorn himself — first to the in-store at the Twist ‘N’ Shout, then off to the sold-out show at the Walnut Room.I am uber looking forward to it, it will be the first time I’ve seen him live. This track is a standout from his excellent double-disc Live From New Jersey (2004), blending together some Springsteen with a Yorn original. The subject matter fits, the transition is seamless. If you don’t have any other Yorn stuff and want a good introduction, I recommend the live CD, and remember his new disc Nightcrawler comes out August 29.

June 29, 2006

New Pete Yorn with Natalie Maines: “The Man” (suuuperb!!)

Easily one of the best songs so far this year for me, ranking up there with my favorite Pete Yorn songs ever, “The Man” is the title track off Pete’s appropriately titled “twang-rock” Westerns EP. The six-song limited edition EP is available only at shows on his current acoustic tour, and I highly recommend getting your hands on it however possible.

From an earlier post, here is what Yorn says about the songs on the Westerns EP (crappy picture, I know, but it is the ONLY one I could find of the cover art):

1. “The Man” (featuring dixie chix)
2. “Never My Love” (studio version of association classic featuring FARMER DAVE scher of beachwood sparks fame on pedal steel)
3. “Don’t Mean Nothing” (written for nancy sinatra, and recorded by her for her own record…had to do it myself..love the song too much….also featuring natalie from dixiechicks.)
4. “The Good Advice” (a ripper featuring leon russell on piano)
5. “Lions” (yesss)
6. “The Golden Road” (recorded in [the wallflowers'] rami jaffee’s trailer in malibu…a vibe so strong i cant even explain)

“The Man” has some lovely lyrics (“Walk me out by the water’s edge, oh my brother I’m comin’ down. We are young, we are almost there . . .”) which combine flawlessly with Natalie’s bittersweet & evocative harmonies. How many times in a row can I listen to it? That remains to be seen. It has the sweet nostalgic feel of summers to me, with a nicely syncopated beat that Pete slips into his songs like a gift.

The Man” – Pete Yorn with Natalie Maines

Yorn says, “I’ve been in this lonesome cowboy phase for a while. I’ve been really inspired by guys like Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. ['Westerns'] has a twang to it and is a real departure for me [but] ‘Nightcrawler’ is most definitely the rock record.”

The release date for his new album Nightcrawler has been amended to August 29th instead of the 15th. If you’d like to hear a preview track from the new album ripped from his MySpace page, “Go With It,” check out A Spacious Hole In The Ground. And thanks again to Phil Marino for the header photo.

As for me, I’m seein’ him in Denver (at the Walnut Room, no less!) in just a few short weeks and looking forward to it.

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April 27, 2006

So what has Pete Yorn been up to lately?

I am so excited about this post. There are some 24 great songs in this post. You can jump to them, but let’s chat a bit first. A while back I posted a set that Pete Yorn did in 2001 at the Roxy in L.A. In the comments, fellow blogger Jesus posed the question “is this yorn fella going to release something new soon?” That stuck in my mind as a quest, and I love quests, so off I went and here’s what I found. (“We’re on a mission from God.”)

You may remember Pete Yorn from when he burst onto the scene in 2001 as a 26-year-old drummer-turned-singer/songwriter whose album Musicforthemorningafter was a gold seller, based in part on the strength of singles like “Life on a Chain” and “Strange Condition.” I personally love the completely creative and refreshing percussive layer behind the entire album. When I listen to it, that’s one of the things that stands out for me, and now I know why (because he was a drummer first).

In fact, he is such a stellar drummer that the Channel 4 News Team from the movie Anchorman tapped him (in a fabulously large moustache) to play bongos in their music video for “Afternoon Delight.” Excellent.

Following Musicforthemorningafter, Yorn released Day I Forgot in 2003 and the excellent Live From New Jersey double disc in 2004. Since then, he’s been busy working on a new album with an unspecified release date, although some say this summer is a possibility. Yorn has been touring with the guys from Minibar as his backing band, and recently did a fantastically small benefit show for tsunami relief for a $5 cover (plus tips!) at O’Brien’s bar in Santa Monica which raised $13,000. And while exact dates are still unconfirmed, Minibar’s website says they expect to be touring with Pete starting in July. Yorn’s also been keeping busy working with the Dixie Chicks (really?) on songwriting for their upcoming new album Taking The Long Way, which will be released next month.

Check out some of his unreleased/new/cover stuff you may not have heard that he’s been crankin out:

These three songs were posted over the last couple months on Pete’s MySpace (streaming), but are taken down now. These are likely candidates for release on the new album, whenever that may be.

If you visit his MySpace page, appreciate how his music genre is listed as “crunk”:

Old Boy (new song, MySpace)

For Us (new song, MySpace)

When She’s Mine (new song, MySpace)

(Thanks a million to Kraig for the first two tracks – I was posting all over God’s green earth looking for someone who had them, and he found me with just the two I was looking for. He’s just started a new blog, title also based on a Pearl Jam lyric, and so far his track record of featured music is stellar. Check him out: A Spacious Hole In The Ground)

Pete offered Nancy Sinatra three of his songs to choose from to record for her 2004 eponymous album. She chose “Don’t Mean Nothin’” – here is her version (which is so clearly Yorn-ey):

Don’t Mean Nothin’” – Nancy Sinatra

Then hear how it sounds with Pete performing his song, this version from a live set on WOXY last summer, along with two other new ones he played:

Don’t Mean Nothin’” – Pete Yorn live on WOXY

Broken Bottle (new song, live on WOXY)

“Lions” (new song, live on WOXY) – coming soon!

Thanks on these ones to Kevin from So Much Silence who helped me immensely with the audio ripping. He is a music master of live radio shows, check out who he’s had on his blog lately. It’s all good.

OTHER YORN SONGS, new or unreleased or rare:

Baby, I’m Gone (unreleased, live) – sound quality is not the best on this one, but I really like the melody & drive of this song. I hope a nice clean studio version is on his new album because this rocks.

Knew Enough To Know Nothing At All (musicforthemorningafter vinyl)

Seventeen (Day I Forgot import)

Hunter Green (released on Trampoline Records Greatest Hits Volume I, 2005)

Rooftop (unreleased) – recommended!

Model American (unreleased)

Farmer vs. River (unreleased)

You Never Knew (unreleased)

And then, ahhh, the covers. You all know how much I love the covers and Pete apparently does too. Let’s browse:

China Girl (Iggy Pop then Bowie cover, musicforthemorningafter bonus disc)

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) (from the Just Like Heaven OST, 2005)

New York City Serenade (Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen) – check the stirring harmonica

Chimes of Freedom (live at the Axis Of Justice benefit concert with Serj Tankian & Tom Morello)

Splendid Isolation (Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon)

“Suspicious Minds” (two versions, the Dawn Version (love this) and the Dusk Version.” Total side note, but the dusk/dawn dichotomy reminds me of some of my favorite Michelangelo sculptures that I once did a huge presentation on in situ and is one of the things I am most proud of.)

Other Soundtrack Contributions:

Ever Fallen in Love (from the Shrek 2 OST, 2004)

Undercover (from the Spiderman OST, 2002)

Red Right Hand (from the Hellboy OST)

Now have at it:


Oh, and I knew there was another reason I loved him: He was a Communication major like me. Oh yeah, go Comm majors! There’s one that made something of himself.

Keep me posted if you hear any new album/tour news, kids. And enjoy the unique new sounds of Mr. Yorn’s recent musings.

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February 15, 2006

Pete Yorn (mini) Live Set, Roxy 2001

Hey, a million thanks to Kevin for posting this up. Here are a few songs from a superb live set with Pete Yorn from the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles on June 14, 2001.

Just four little tunes, with two great covers thrown in the mix. Cheers & enjoy!

Dancing in the Dark (Springsteen)/Murray – Pete Yorn

For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is) – Pete Yorn

Strange Condition – Pete Yorn

Panic (Smiths)/Life On A Chain – Pete Yorn

World music coming a bit later….

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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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