November 2, 2012

oh brooklyn, brooklyn take me in

Are you aware the shape I’m in?

I am a complete sucker for symphonic accompaniments, and the way they expand the available palette and tease out the colors and nuances of a song, in breathtaking ways. The Avett Brothers have long pierced me with their earnestness, and now with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, even more so. This is terrifically beautiful.

I and Love and You (with the Brooklyn Philharmonic) – The Avett Brothers

November 25, 2010

broken hearts and dirty windows

broken hearts and dirty windows

I started my morning with a hearty sing-in-the-shower rendition of “Angel From Montgomery” (those acoustics!) in the sticky warmth of Florida, and am ending it tonight back in the ten degree weather in clear cold Colorado. My sister asked over coffee what song I had been singing, and a discussion on John Prine followed. John Prine has stuck in my mind today, all his perfect lyrical constructions and simple folk truth, and was the soundtrack to my flight home this evening (while I finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and openly cried fat hot tears on the plane, but hey that’s another story).

If you own an old pickup truck (or can borrow one) to traverse some dusty roads in the countryside, this year’s Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows compilation of John Prine covers sounds especially good. The title of the album comes from the 1972 song “Souvenirs” (“Broken hearts and dirty windows / make life difficult to see”), and I’ve been meaning to mention this comp for months. The whole record is obviously rich because of the fodder to work with and the superb gathering of artists contributing, but I think Conor Oberst and his Mystic Valley Band contribute my favorite cover of the bunch:

My car is stuck in Washington and I cannot find out why
Come sit beside me on the swing and watch the angels cry
It’s anybody’s ballgame, it’s everybody’s fight
And the streetlamp said as he nodded his head
It’s lonesome out tonight

Stylistically this absolutely fits in with the rollicking twang of their own compositions on 2008′s Outer South, and Conor’s caged, restless energy shines through brilliantly.

But there are so many great tracks on this collection, from the Avett Brothers singin’ about blowing up your TV and moving to the country, to Josh Ritter’s “Mexican Home” (which I got to see him perform live in Telluride), to My Morning Jacket’s “All The Best” (reminiscent of the golden buoyancy of the track they contributed to the I’m Not There soundtrack). Add to that a glowing Justin Vernon, the pensive Justin Townes Earle, the heartbreak of Deer Tick, then pin it all together with Prine’s first-rate songwriting and I am sold.

Stream the whole thing and buy it over on Bandcamp for just ten bucks. They’ve got it tagged with classifications of “indie, Nashville.” Sounds about right to me.



My only frown came from the fact that no one covered “Speed of The Sound of Loneliness,” my favorite Prine tune. Luckily Amos Lee did a perfect one in 2003:

Speed Of The Sound of Loneliness (John Prine) – Amos Lee

November 17, 2010

G. Love and the Avett Brothers?!

This is a collaboration that I never thought I would see in a million years, but I have to admit that I am completely intrigued. The old church, the involvement of The Avett Brothers at the production helm, the stripped-down songs (and stomping! and clapping!)? I’ve actually had this semi-secret fondness for G. Love ever since I heard “Cold Beverage” on a SPIN Magazine cassette sampler in ’93 or ’94 (the same one that I first heard Jeff Buckley on, as well). I also remember several epic G. Love shows I’ve had the pleasure to be at over the years – Garrett has serious blues chops, and knows his way around a harmonica. This album feels like it might be the one we’ve always been waiting for from him.

Fixin To Die is out February 22 on Brushfire Records.

January 2, 2010

Timothy Seth Avett as Darling

timothy seth avett as darling

Ramseur Records sent out a late Christmas present to Avett Brothers fans last weekend, announcing that their label would re-release all of the extremely rare solo material that Avett brother Seth released under the name Darling nearly a decade ago.

Some Bad Dream – Darling



Seth tells of the earnest backstory behind these recordings:

“In the year 2001, at twenty-one years of age, I recorded an album entitled To Make the World Quiet. The inspiration for the piece was urgent and impatient. There was no managerial or label involvement. There was no funding. Without any consideration towards who (if anyone) would hear the result of this outing, I happily executed each aspect of the process, including all writing, performance of each instrument, engineering and modest production.

The following year, I again, by the same process was obliged to record an album. Killing the Headlamps was the realization of this second venture as ‘Darling’. Both albums were made on a 4-track cassette recorder. I initially mixed them both on a low-fidelity home stereo in my kitchen (to yet another cassette). I spent a perhaps unhealthy amount of time with a ruler, an Xacto knife, and a real-time dual-deck cd duplicator, hand-assembling these two albums (along with the first couple thousand units of the first official Avett Brothers recording Country Was).

Until New Years Eve 2010, the only physical copies of these records laid in the hands of maybe a few hundred people that I sold them to personally. I have been honored by the continued interest in these early works as expressed by those who have inquired about them at Avett performances. It is this kind inquiry that has inspired me again; this time to make them readily available through a proper duplication and ordering process. My sincere thanks go out to all who have made these current developments possible, not least of all to the Avett Brothers fans, who have graciously provided the fire to keep the interest in these solo works alive.
- Seth Avett

To celebrate the re-release of these rare recordings, the folks at Crackerfarm have made some simple (and stunning) new videos of performances of songs off these albums. Here is one, with another now available –and three more coming– at the the Darling website.

September 5, 2009

Outside Lands returns triumphant

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I can think of much worse ways to spend an August weekend than in the heart of one of my favorite cities (San Francisco), seeing an eclectic lineup of bands both headliner-huge and quirky-small. Last year’s inaugural edition of the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival boasted a solid roster of national and local musicians, but was plagued by a few logistical snafus that ranged from the mildly annoying (no, you can’t go that way anymore, you have to walk all the way around) to the borderline panic-attack inducing (15′-wide gauntlets of death to walk through to get to Beck, crammed like a sausage with your neighbor who is pushing the other way). It made it hard, at times, to lose yourself in the music, as Eminem advises.

This year’s festival returned with with a shimmering bang last weekend, featuring an arguably stronger lineup than last year and straightened out details, continuing to play on the gorgeous natural setting with stages spread out amidst the cypress trees. The fest also showcased local wines and restaurants with some abnormally tasty selections for a festival, far better than your standard funnel cake (not that I have ANY PROBLEM with funnel cake).

Of course, as with any festival, when you take into account the human error fudge factor, heat and/or cold, interpersonal weavings, and the occasional Heineken, it can be awfully difficult to catch all the bands you wanted. But the happy flip-side of that is that you often end up stumbling into something even better.



My three days of musical happiness began with a band that is quickly becoming one of my very favorites – Blind Pilot. This Portland, Oregon band drew a huge crowd with their rich and bittersweet tunes layered with gorgeous instrumentation, and those rootsy leanings. Frontman Israel Nebeker’s evocative voice just keeps drawing me back, no matter how many times I see them live (this was #3 this year).

How I want that mystery / let me dive ’til I believe.”

Two Towns From Me – Blind Pilot

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The only other time I’ve seen The National perform was at Coachella last spring, and it is a testament to this band and their potency that even in a festival setting, in broad daylight, they’ve managed to completely knock me flat in the best way possible. I can’t imagine what they’d do to me in a dark club. As I wrote about the Indio desert, “The National carved something out of me and put something back in, is the best way I can put it.” Their set was riveting, laden with songs that I could hardly have hand-picked better (except maybe, “Lucky You.” I’d add that one).

Matt Berninger looks every bit the refined GQ businessman in a large faceless city; gold wedding band on his hand, dark collared shirt, hair nicely trimmed. But with his baritone velvet voice, dark stories spill from his mouth of all the emptiest fears and the most acute longings that wake us in the night. The bright horns and the swells of melody twinkle and shine like a candle in a colander, putting a streak of beauty through the center.

Start a War, Mistaken for Strangers, the new Blood Buzz Ohio, Slow Show — and my favorite Secret Meeting… it was over far too soon.

Lucky You (live on Daytrotter) – The National

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Next up in a magical bit of booking was Tom Jones, the Welsh crooner who can peel panties off people using only his cognac-smooth brogue. You would not believe the universal love that flowed from all sectors of the (hip-shaking) audience for his snappy set. All you need to know about the performance can be gleaned from these two pictures, and if you have more time to amuse yourself, my montage of Tom Jones facial expressions over on Facebook. As a friend texted me during his set, as I reported on the undies flying off 19-year-olds with dreadlocks and ironic t-shirts, “It’s like he went from cool to ironic back to cool.”

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Arctic Monkeys cover) – Tom Jones

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Friday night ended as not the best of times for me, although I did try to rally and catch Washington D.C.’s Thievery Corporation, with their Brazilian-dub-lounge groove (it looked like this, and sounded numbingly good floating through the night and turning off my brain).

ALL FRIDAY PICTURES



Saturday started off with a double-shot of global awesomeness from different corners of the world; it was bands like these that illuminated the fest for me. First up was Extra Golden, a combo of half Kenyan-benga music and half American-study-abroad-student rock. You might remember when I wrote about these guys a few months ago, I mentioned “the sound that cut through the din,”and also mused how good they might sound live. I am pleased to report that they both stopped traffic of folks walking by (with their tribal beats and African-laced rock), and also put on a superb set. I would absolutely go see them again; I kept laughing out loud from joy.

Anyango – Extra Golden

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Immediately following Extra Golden, we dashed over to the Sutro stage to catch Nortec Collective’s Bostich + Fussible, on the recommendation of my friend Julio, who is much-more-savvy than this white girl when it comes to all things south of the border. I’d never heard any nortec business, but it blew my mind — the crashing together of the traditional Tijuana sounds with effortlessly cool dudes twisting knobs to make ridiculously danceable beats. My friend nailed it when he said they could occupy the stage in the back of any Quentin Tarantino movie scene — they were just that badass. Another band I would see again live in an absolute heartbeat. I mean listen to this:

Aka 47 – Bostich + Fussible

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Next was Bat For Lashes (rad British chanteuse Natasha Khan), with a set that created more buzz than any other band I saw at the festival. Everyone was talking about her afterwards, and it was my favorite set of the weekend. I was only casually acquainted with her music before seeing her live, but her rich satiny alto voice flowed like a warm golden river through the middle of the sexy, synthy danceable creations. Where she was competent and confident in her stage presence, her band was amazingly kickass too, and I fell in love with both the drummer and the rainbow zig-zagged guitarist.

And: random celebrity sighting, Josh Groban totally digs Bat For Lashes; he was right by me for the set. YES, Mom, Josh Groban. Omg.

Pearl’s Dream – Bat For Lashes

Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover, live on BBC) – Bat for Lashes

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And: random fashion note, the girls in the band totally share clothes.

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After wasting away some hours of the evening with folks like The Ice Cream Man and the Free Heineken Man, the only other set I participated in on Saturday (sadly! festival fail!) was the scorching set from Dave Matthews Band. I forget how much I do love Dave, and a sailor I met recently on my ocean sailing voyage has reminded me how many steps I may have also missed in Dave’s development through the years.

Musical hipsters like to look down our noses at plebian jam-rock like DMB, but dancing my ass off alongside fellow not-afraid-to-love-Dave-ite Nathaniel from I Guess I’m Floating to “Lie In Our Graves,” “Two Step” and a particularly passionate rendition of “All Along The Watchtower,” I was reminded how good it can feel.

Lie In Our Graves – Dave Matthews Band

(“and I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves wondering if we had spent our living days well/ I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves dreaming of things that we might have been….”)

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ALL SATURDAY PICTURES


After two sunny warm days, when Sunday arrived grey and misty like SF likes to be in the summer (or any dang time), the layers I had fastidiously packed came in handy. Worn out from the two days already, a third day felt simultaneously like a gift (yay! more live music!) and also an uphill climb. But arriving to the festival to the pleasingly dulcet sounds of local San Franciscan John Vanderslice on the Presidio stage, I forgot my still-tired feet and smiled a wide smile.

Vanderslice is someone I have been delving more deeply into since he wowed me in Chicago at that show with John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. Again on Sunday I was struck by how he could join a musical club with Nada Surf and Death Cab and they’d all nestle in perfectly side by side. It was pretty well-attended too for an early afternoon show on a second stage, perhaps due to the strength of his latest (great) album, Romanian Names.

Too Much Time – John Vanderslice

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Whatever I needed to get my mojo back, I found it (of course, in droves) at The Avett Brothers fervent 3pm set at the other end of the meadow.

I had just seen the Avetts in both Boulder and Denver the weekend before (see pics and a video) and loved every raucous, earnest, sweaty second of it, but the recent satiation didn’t even matter when they took the stage before a very enthusiastic crowd. I had urged all the friends and acquaintances and other photographers I met at other shows for the first part of the weekend to make their way over to the Sutro stage at 3pm Sunday, and as I looked around, I saw an awful lot of smiles and the occasional yell-along. Their set was crisp and carried out beautifully over the meadow. They started with “Paranoia in Bb Major,” and then went right into the new “Laundry Room” and then “Die, Die, Die.” When they finished that triple-whammy, they moved into “Murder In The City,” and nearly killed me. Such a wonderful set from these brothers, in a near-perfect setting for their bluegrass punk.

Laundry Room (live on MOKB) – The Avett Brothers

PS – Get the full MOKB Laundromatinee session with Los Avetts.

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Switching gears quickly from furiously-strummed banjos to yowling waves of rock, we headed clear over to the Twin Peaks stage to get in position to witness the detonation that is Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Alison Mossheart’s (The Kills) new band, The Dead Weather. This is the same second-stage I saw Wilco play on last year, and it was just as crowded – another act that could have/should have played the main.

Jack White coolly walked out behind dark shades and sat behind the drumkit at the far back of the stage and stayed there for the duration of the first three songs that we photogs get to have at it. Alison handily seized the mantle of being the face of the Dead Weather (fittingly), and paced and flailed and thrashed, leaning down in our faces and threatening to grab us by our hair, and hang us up from those heavens. For a small woman, she packs an intense punch — she was feral in an awesome, invasive way. All the members of this supergroup are mightily accomplished in their own rights, and together they are pretty amazing to watch, even on a bright Sunday afternoon.

Hang You From The Heavens – The Dead Weather

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It’s not every day that a girl gets to see both Jack White and Jack Black in the same day, but before I did the Tenacious D rotation (and failed to get pics because I had the wrong lens), I danced as hard as I could muster to the third world democracy sounds of Sri Lankan supernova M.I.A., who puts on a marvelously enjoyable set. I saw her at Coachella last year — well, kind of saw her, whilst I was being crushed from the massive audience that poured into the smallish tent to see her. Her reputation preceded her.

This time around, after I shot the pics, I went to a vantage point where I could see the whole huge main-stage crowd dance and pump their fists in time to the three gunshot sounds in the chorus, and smile that she was finally on the larger stage she deserves.

Paper Planes – M.I.A.

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ALL SUNDAY PICTURES




So… in sum, a marvelous weekend.

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And:
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June 24, 2009

Stop your parents’ car, I just saw a shooting star

I am riveted every time I see the Avett Brothers perform their gloriously pure-hearted, bold music in any setting — whether it’s a gondola, a tour bus, a garage in Concord, backstage before a show, or at the desk of a lucky NPR editor. I still do not know any live band like them, and I’ve done quite a bit of research on the matter. They play three songs here, and I am particularly drawn to the first (new) one, “Laundry Room”:

Close the laundry door, tiptoe across the floor
Keep your clothes on . . . I’ve got all that I can take
.”

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Watch the whole desk concert at NPR

The Avetts come through Colorado for four shows the week in August of my thirtieth birthday. I spent my 29th birthday with them last year, and I think this will be a pretty damn fine way to welcome a new decade.

Their big Rick-Rubin-produced major label debut album I And Love and You is out September 29th and you can hear four new songs (plus four old ones) from the Non-Comm Convention in Philly a few weeks ago as well.

UPDATE: The title track from the new album was just posted today over on Spinner (!!):

I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers (via Spinner)





AVETT BROTHERS TOUR DATES
(there are many)
6.25.09 – The Pageant, St. Louis, MO
6.26.09 – Hoyt Sherman Theatre, Des Moines, IA
6.27.09 – Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater, Minneapolis, MN
6.28.09 – House of Blues, Chicago, IL
7.02.09 – Comerica Cityfest
(FREE!) Detroit, MI
7.09.09 – Harrison Opera House, Norfolk, VA
7.10.09 – The National, Richmond, VA
7.11.09 – Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre, Roanoke, VA
7.12.09 – Forecastle Festival, Louisville, KY
7.16.09 – St. Augustine Amphitheater, St. Augustine, FL
7.17.09 – House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL
7.18.09 – The Cuban Club, Tampa, FL
7.19.09 – The Parker Playhouse, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
7.24.09 – House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC
7.25.09 – House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC
7.30.09 – Thursday At The Square
(FREE!) Buffalo, NY
7.31.09 – Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY
8.01.09 – Folk Festival 50, Newport, RI
8.02.09 – Calvin Theater, Northampton, MA
8.04.09 – Bottle & Cork, Dewey Beach, DE
8.08.09 – Bojangles Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
8.14.09 – Mulberry Mountain Harvest Music, Ozark, AR
8.15.09 – Crossroads, Kansas City, MO
8.16.09 – Sokol Auditorium, Omaha, NE
8.19.09 – Sunset Concert Series, Telluride, CO

(FREE FOR HEATHER’S BIRTHDAY)
8.20.09 – Steamboat Springs Free Summer, Steamboat Spgs, CO
8.21.09 – Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
8.22.09 – Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
8.25.09 – Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City, UT
8.26.09 – Knitting Factory Concert House, Boise, ID
8.28.09 – Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
8.29.09 – Britt Festival, Jacksonville, OR
8.30.09 – Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco, CA
9.01.09 – HSU Van Duzer Theater, Arcata, CA
9.03.09 – Grand Sierra Theatre, Reno, NV
9.04.09 – Strawberry Music Festival, Camp Mather, CA
9.05.09 – Orpheum Theatre Los Angeles, CA
9.17.09 – North Charleston P.A.C,, North Charleston, SC
9.18.09 – Westobou Festival, Augusta, GA
9.19.09 – The Moon, Tallahassee, FL
9.20.09 – Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa, AL
9.22.09 – The Lyric Oxford, Oxford, MS
9.24.09 – Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN
9.25.09 – Robinson Center Music Hall, Little Rock, AR
9.26.09 – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, OK
9.27.09 – Granada Theater, Dallas, TX
9.29.09 – Baton Rouge River Center Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA
10.01.09 – House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
10.02.09 – Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, TX
10.03.09 – Rose State PAC, Midwest City, OK
10.05.09 – Lovett Auditorium Murray, KY
10.15.09 – Rams Head Live,, Baltimore, MD
10.16.09 – Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
10.17.09 – Terminal 5, New York, NY
10.18.09 – House of Blues, Boston, MA
10.20.09 – Englert Theatre, Iowa City, IA
10.21.09 – The Barrymore Theatre, Madison, WI
10.23.09 – Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
10.24.09 – The Canopy Club, Urbana, IL
10.26.09 – Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI

May 31, 2009

Riffing on Sasquatch

Fuel/Friends’ good friend Dainon from Utah went to Sasquatch Festival in Washington with my neighbor from across the street in Colorado. Go figure. I stayed home — but he reflects on his weekend well-spent in a special guest post.

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Riffing on Sasquatch
by Dainon Moody

There’s a difference between the casual concertgoer and someone who attends a music festival. Well, several, in fact. Here’s a start. One’s looking for something to bump and grind to on a Friday night. The other has to plan for cheap airline tickets, a steady diet of free Beef Jerky samples and dried cherries for three days, carpooling in the back seat of a cramped Jetta for five hours in a row, overzealous country cops, 82 degree sunshine without the shade and, on top of that big pile o’ goo, which bands to see and which to leave far behind because, let’s face it, you just can’t see them all, no matter how hard you try to manage it.

I’ll go ahead and allow you to decide which is which.

See, the festivalgoer is not unlike a bird watcher in his or her dedication. I mean no offense to those who watch birds. I know little of the sport. I can chalk up my entire bird watching experience to seeing Blue Jays run smack into my grandma’s big Missouri sliding glass door time after time after mostly hilarious time. But, stay with me on this. There’s a real commitment involved in festivals. This is the hobby we have chosen. And there are parallels to consider. We may not be able to manage very believable whippoorwill birdcalls, but we’ll scream our lungs raw in appreciation when the guitar solo hits our ears right. We may not use binoculars to seek out whether or not, say, there are black speckles on a robin’s breast, but we’ll bone up on reviews and listen to your band’s songs weeks ahead of time in hopes of identifying one in your band’s onslaught of the hopefully familiar.

There’s more. We’ll take a barrage of photos of you as you perform, no matter how far away we are, no matter how dark it is; we never give up hope for the one blessed unblurred shot. And, if we’re really lucky, we’ll try to take them with us included and we’ll act as casual as we can manage standing next to you (with varying results, sure). We’ll even go about attempting to grab video of the songs in your catalog that we really, really like, avoiding the sing-a-longers standing nearby and pretending as much as we can that we don’t have shaky hands in the process. It all adds up to dedication. Let’s face it—in another line of work, we’d make for excellent peeping toms. As it stands, we’re simply superfans. We might even take a bullet for you if you catch us on the right day.

The ironic part of this is that, while we do have to commit to a lot and plan like crazy, we never have to commit to a band for very long once we get there. This definitely speaks to the single kids, as well as those adults who can’t make a decision to save our lives. If you’re not as good live as you are on CD (I’m looking at you, Passion Pit), we’ll know in a song or two. We don’t need to stick with you an hour. We can wander off to a new discovery or to a more tested-and-true kinda musicality. TV On The Radio and Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver win our devotion, easy. Santigold in the sunshine? The Gaslight Anthem doing a Pearl Jam cover, from the Singles soundtrack no less? We’ll stick around for gems like that. Nine Inch Nails? Eh, not so much. Hey, it is what it is.

Sadly, not everyone goes for the music at a festival. About half of the guesstimated 75,000 attendees at Sasquatch were using the music as a soundtrack to their $9 beer dranking and hours-long naps and apple bonging (it’s exactly what you think it is). Sometimes they were ingenious enough to sneak alcohol into the festival inside a flask shaped like binoculars or a hollowed-out loaf of bread even. Some just wanted to draw magic marker tats on one another. And still others were just around to see exactly how many sloppy, slobbery kisses and such they could get away with in the midst of wide-eyed onlookers (and it was a whole, whole lot, it really was). The rest of us? We were the bird watchers. We were the grizzled prospectors. We were sifting through the gravel, picking diamonds out of the rough stuff. We sought and found.

I can only speak for these eyes and these ears. For the curious, here’s a smattering of my findings.

_________________________

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele out of Mississippi? Both a surprise and a revelation. He was like Jens Lekman with an even better sense of humor. Maybe Elvis Costello with more of the boogie woogie infused into his tunes? The glasses and slicked hair cast him as a total geek of a guy, but he found my smiles. I mean, he had background singers manipulating the female doowop sound! He had a ukulele and he knew how to use it! One song was so good, you just wanted to hear what would come next. And then the next after that. It was easy to buy that album. It was one of the easiest sells I can recall.

The Decemberists? Need to buy the new album, pronto. Passion Pit? Need to listen to the album instead of the concert.

M. Ward was solid as a rock, he was. He’s a real pro at what it is he does. He knew he only had an hour to give us a show, so he took just seconds between songs, barreling from one to another so quickly, his set was just a cough away from being one long, beautiful melody. It pains me to write it, but Zooey wasn’t much needed.

It was good to fight for the spot that allowed us to see Bon Iver from just 20 feet away. It’s just unreal how good Justin Vernon sounds live, but he does. He just does. Whether he’s doing songs from his first album, the new EP or even throwing in a Kathleen Edwards cover to appease the pot smokers, he’s on top of his game. I think he knows it. There were sound snafus and it didn’t much matter in the end. He saw past them and showed his stripes. Hearing and watching his little crew do “Creature Fear” with enough ferocity to break his strings at the end of it all? That sealed the deal for me. That set opened me wide and made me a bigger fan than I already was.

VIDEO: Bon Iver at Sasquatch, w/ Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond – “Flume”

Heartless Bastards? I just love you. The Dutchess & The Duke? Thank you so, so much. Grizzly Bear? You done did what I thought you’d do. That band needs a bigger hug from the public, sure, and maybe it’ll happen with the new album. But you can get lost inside their harmonies pretty easily. It’s exactly what the band wants, too, so just let it happen.

There were more, but that ought to do, right? I’m running a bit long as it stands.

Biggest regret? Missing the Builders & The Butchers out of Portland. Scamper away and take them in because you’ll hear something just fantastic in them. Believe it. And The School of Seven Bells! Why’d you have to play while The Avett Brothers were? You intrigue me, but the Avetts stole my heart out from under me. I hope they make and sing their solid brand of country songs for the rest of the years I am alive. Then—and only then—will it be enough.

VIDEO: Avett Brothers @ Sasquatch – “Murder In The City”

You can only take so much festival. Sometimes two-and-a-half days’ worth is your breaking point. And you know it means missing Girl Talk and Explosions in the Sky and Erykah Badu but, you know what? You put your arm around Annie from St. Vincent. You left with an autographed copy of Grizzly Bear’s latest. You saw the lead singer of Monotonix perform so hard, he earned a flesh wound for his art … and, despite the blood coming out of his head, kept on going. You heard enough songs and saw enough good, solid bands to last you, what, a good month or two? Perhaps.

VIDEO: Monotonix drumming in the Sasquatch crowd

The mind wants more, maybe, and the miser in you wants to get the most out of what was a gifted ticket anyway (it’s the principle of the thing!), but there’s a time to retreat to your own bed, stop loving on the perfect 80 degree sunshine and give Sasquatch a kiss on the mouth goodbye. It was good, so crazy good, but goodbyes are inevitable. You can only take so much.

Still. Thanks, Sasquatch. I’ll remember you well.

March 26, 2009

SXSW 2009: Scott Avett has rambling fever

A fair rogue Avett covers Merle Haggard on the tour bus at SXSW.

Also — listen to their set at Stubbs here.

[via Crackerfarm]

February 25, 2009

The glory days of the Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers contributed recently to the marvelous series Hangin’ On E Street, where young rockers discuss Bruce’s influence on them and their music, and cover one of his songs. Wherever they piled all four of them to do this harmonica-laced cover (looks like backstage, or a warehouse), I want to be sitting right in the middle.

Glory Days (Springsteen cover) – The Avett Brothers



In addition to the current panorama of artists whose contributions are already live on the site (Gaslight Anthem, Ted Leo, Juliana Hatfield, etc), we can look forward to clips coming from Josh Ritter (maybe this one?), Pete Yorn (maybe this one?), and Birdmonster.

You know, I always thought this was a really sad song, and wondered how that gets overlooked.

January 29, 2009

Avett Brothers singing on a gondola

This made me yelp out loud with delight when the singing started:

Scott Avett has such a strong, gorgeous, spine-tingling voice by himself, and it gets even better when Seth joins in on the jubilant harmonies here on “St. Joseph’s,” from their Second Gleam EP. I’m in awe of the feist and kick injected into this version of a normally sedate and restrained song. Via Paste Magazine — what a moment. I’d give a nickel or ten thousand to be on that gondola.

More live Avett Brothers videos here (super quality, from November in North Carolina), and catch them on tour in the coming months:

4/22 Raleigh, NC – Time Warner Pavilion
4/24 Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
4/26 New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
4/28 & 29 Alpharetta, GA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
5/01 The Woodlands, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
5/02 Dallas, TX – Superpages Center
5/05 Albuquerque, NM – Journal Pavilion
5/06 Phoenix, AZ – Cricket Wireless Pavilion
5/22 & 23 Portland, OR – McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom

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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. If you represent an artist or a label and would prefer that I remove a link to an mp3, please email me at browneheather@gmail.com

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