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Live Music Friday – G Love & Special Sauce, live at the Belly-Up Tavern, 2006

Welcome back to another Live Music Friday here at For today’s post, I thought we would get a little motown. A little funky. A little bluesy. A little… well… everything, with a show from G Love & Special Sauce.

Live Music Friday - G Love & Special Sauce

One of my favourite live shows of 2008 so far has been a night spent with G Love & Special Sauce at the Tivoli. My first time seeing G Love, he was everything I had hoped for. Magnetic, playful, soulful and plain ol’ fun, it was a great night. After hoping to see him for over a decade, you might have thought the event itself could easily have been an anti-climax… in reality, however, it was anything but.

G Love Live at the Tivoli
G Love performing live at The Tivoli

G Love really is, to me, an old-school musician. As I said in my last entry:

G Love is, to me, one of the most complete musicians of my era. While his brand of blues and funk sometimes seems interminable to those who need their songs packaged into 3:30 min format, to me G Love hearkens back to a time when a blues man knew what he was talking about. When a blues man paid his respects to those who came before him, but produced more than homage; an innovator. And someone slightly out of step with time. All this may not seem obvious when seeing G Love from the outside; after all, he’s an easy-going guy, who’s songs often deal with frivolous topics. But I think underneath that there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience. In short, a hip, hip cat. And that’s G Love to a tee.

And really, that “completeness” is shown off in the set I’ve decided to post today, which showcases G Love & Special Sauce performing live at the Belly-Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California, in 2006. As Garrett says in the set, when introducing the tune “Walk On”:

“Sometimes I feel like a little city, and sometimes I feel a little country… And right now, I’m feeling a little country”.

And ultimately, that statement exemplifies this show; there’s some rock, a whole lot of blues and soul, a pinch of reggae, some hip hop, and some folk thrown in for good measure with the Bob Dylan cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin'”.

In short: It’s music. So enjoy.

Listen. Love. Support.

G Love & Special Sauce, live at the Belly-Up Tavern, 1/18/2006 (Set 1)

1.) Rapping Beats
2.) Don’t Drop It
3.) Ain’t No Turning Back
4.) Let’s Make Love Tonight
5.) Can’t Go Back To Jersey
6.) Baby’s Got Sauce
7.) This Ain’t Livin’
8.) Steppin’ Stone
9.) I-76

G Love & Special Sauce, live at the Belly-Up Tavern, 1/18/2006 (Set 2)

10.) Times They Are A-Changing
11.) Willow Tree
12.) Rainbow
13.) Walk On
14.) Chuck Dub
15.) Give It To You (Chuck Dub)
16.) Booty Call
17.) Cold Beverages (Gold Digger)
18.) Drums (Cold Beverages)

2007 Releases 2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 digital downloads guitar music

May 2008 – The month that music forgot. (Or, “Tidings of The Old Romantic Killer Band and The Tallest Man On Earth”)

What that extremely long and convoluted title alludes to is the fact that, for me, May 2008 has proven to contain an absolute dearth of good new music. Aside from the new Death Cab album and Frightened Rabbit release, not much sparked interest from me this month, and that might have been noticed in the slowing of regular posting here.

In a way, the month of May forced me to confront an issue that I suppose all music-bloggers eventually face: whether to post regularly – sometimes for the sake of posting – simply to provide your regular readers with something to tide them over; or to hold back, and stick firm to the policy of “only posting music that excites you“. I noticed this trend throughout the month in some of the other blogs I read. Some were subscribing to the “post for the sake of posting” philosophy, which I can understand. It’s a valid way of thinking, and probably the smartest if you’re hoping to build up a community on your blog – as I’m hoping to do – by engaging your readers regularly.
In the end though, I felt that I simply could not do that. Perhaps it’s the wrong decision to make, and feel free to leave me a comment if you’d prefer that I post more regularly. But really, I find it really hard to write at all, unless there’s some passion behind it.

Anyway, I suppose in some ways that’s an apology of sorts for the lack of regular posting around these parts lately. Or perhaps a justification.
I can’t decide quite which.

I will add two songs here, however, that have been on my “Possible Blog” list for quite some time now… but were waiting for more companions to join them, in order to make a “music round-up” post. However, nothing more came in May. So here they are, standing lonesome…

The Old Romantic Killer Band – Lovers Pass

The Old Romantic Killer Band
The Old Romantic Killer Band

The Old Romantic Killer Band
are everything that’s right with the blues/folk/punk fusion movement. Catchy, and hooky as all hell, this song, “Lovers Pass“, is an instant classic… and, in my opinion, finds The Old Romantic Killer Band at their dirty blues best.

The band, a two-piece from Leeds, is easily one of my bands to watch in 2008. Singer Harry’s voice has that vintage quality that just pulls you in with it’s warmth, and the stunningly tight yet emotive rhythm section driven by Greg behind the drums is sure to please the blues purists. Amazingly, The Old Romantic Killer Band has still not been picked up by a record label… I doubt they will stay that way for much longer.

Earmark these guys right now. They’re the real thing.

Listen: The Old Romantic Killer Band – Lovers Pass

The Tallest Man On Earth – It Will Follow The Rain

The Tallest Man On Earth
The Tallest Man On Earth

Ok. I’m going to throw around the “Dylanesque” word here. And yes, I know it’s overused. And yes, I know it’s rarely warranted. And yes, I know it’s almost lazy for a music blogger to use that word.
But listen to The Tallest Man On Earth (aka Swede Kristian Matsson), and try not to hear early Bob Dylan there… it’s almost impossible, isn’t it? There’s an abandon there, and an inherent ease that simply recalls Dylan for me. Point blank.

This song, “It Will Follow The Rain“, is taken from The Tallest Man On Earth’s 2007 EP, although he has just released his full-length debut, “Shallow Graves”, earlier this year. The production on “Shallow Graves” is exactly that sound that I love… scratchy and warm. It honestly feels as if Matsson is performing these songs live in your kitchen, with every breath and every crack is his warm rich voice present.

There’s nothing forced here.
It’s natural, and tumbles from The Tallest Man On Earth in a way that’s impossible to resist.

Listen: The Tallest Man On Earth – It Will Follow The Rain

2008 releases artists digital downloads guitar Live Music Friday live songs music rock gods

Live Music Friday – Counting Crows Live on WXPN/World Cafe Friday

Possibly the post that I receive the most emails about on this blog was my past post about the Counting Crows performance on WXPN’s World Cafe Friday.
I don’t think that a a single week has gone by, since that post was published, where I don’t get an email asking me for the rest of the tracks to that performance.

Now that “Live Music Friday” has been instituted on this blog, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take care of all those emails in one go… so today, I’ll be posting the entire set of Counting Crows, live on WXPN/World Cafe.

Counting Crows - Live Music Friday

As much as I get elitist music snob feedback whenever I feature Counting Crows on this blog, I stand by my statement that, for many of us, Counting Crows pretty much played the soundtrack of our lives. Seriously. Recovering the Satellites, and August and Everything After contained songs that – I think, at that stage of my life, for the very first first time – seemed to me as though they were written specifically with you in mind.So when the news came out that the band were set to release their fifth-studio album, “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings“, earlier this year, I was desperately hoping for it to bring back those feelings of years gone past. However, as my two past posts indicated, I was hesitant to hold out too much hope for fear of disappointment.

(Side note: Once I finally received my full copy of the double-album, I was… ambivalent. Which is a terrible thing to say about a band like Counting Crows. But, really, it was an album that was good, but not great.)

This set, however, is the set that got me excited about the album.
It’s a set that exemplifies why Counting Crows are one of the greatest live acts around – their ability to make each show a truly personal experience for each person in the audience.
In this set, Counting Crows walked the crowd through the album, with eight songs performed from “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings”. And, before each tune, Adam Duritz introduces the track with an in-depth commentary about the story behind the song. You really have to listen to the entire set to get that magic of hearing Adam explain the birth and life of each song… but here’s a sample taste of his introduction to “Washington Square”:

“And I moved “Washington Square” to this place right here, because following that would be this song “Le Ballet d’Or”, which is about looking back on your life and realising, “If I’d just done things a little differently, this could all have been a lot different”. As the song starts out, uh… “Wasted time running scared, when all the love needs is to be believed in“… which is an obvious thing to say, but not a simple thing to do.
Or the second verse is, “Wasted time running scared, all that I need is something like a summer, and I know you need somebody just like I do“.
And he goes through the seasons in that song, it’s kind of a companion song to “Omaha” in a way, that he’s looking at his life in these different ways and seeing all these places where… God, it didn’t have to go as wrong as it did, it’s just that… if I’d just been able to see it a little differently, I could have done things a little differently. And he kind of comes to the conclusion that, it’s time to stop being the way I’ve been, and to do something totally different.

And the song after that is called, “On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago”, which I wrote in Amsterdam the week after “Accidentally in Love”. At the time, written about, “What if this wonderful thing that’s going on in my life were to.. fall apart and drift away?”.
Uh, and years later, after it actually did… uh, it becomes this really… it was a sad song about the possibilities of something so beautiful, and how fragile it is to hold something that beautiful in your hand, but in the years later of course, it becomes a truly, truly sad thing to have lost something that meant that much to you. And it’s funny, a friend of mine commented to me the other night, she said, “You know, this album… the healthier you get, the sadder it gets”, and I was like, “Oh…”.

And I think that’s because madness is like numbness. And you retreat from the world. And the healthier you get, the better you are, the more you can feel… and feeling is just, you know… it can go either way. You can feel good, you can feel bad.”

And really… who doesn’t an intro like that speak to? Seriously. Listen. Love. Support.

Counting Crows, Live on WXPN/World Cafe Friday, 8 February 2008

1.) 1492
2.) Hanging Tree
3.) Insignificant
4.) Cowboys
5.) When I Dream of Michelangelo
6.) You Can’t Count On Me
7.) Washington Square
8.) Come Around

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Later with Jools Holland does it again… The Raconteurs & Bon Iver

Later… with Jools Holland” constantly impresses, and most who have read this blog for any period of time would know my love for the show.

Their most recent show was no surprise. Not only were we treated to The Raconteurs performing “Salute Your Solution” and “Consoler of the Lonely” on the show itself, but in addition, the band performed a wonderful acoustic version of “Many Shades of Black”. While Jack White looks at times like he was slightly out of it, Brendan Benson gives it his all…

And then, if that wasn’t enough, The Racounteurs loan Burgoblog-favourite and fellow “Later…” guest, Bon Iver a guitar, to perform a haunting version of “Flume”

Check out more videos at the BBC site.


Side note: I just wanted to drop out a quick line to the guys at, for helping me out with my iPod problems that I mentioned here. After hearing of my woes, they were great and really helpful, so if you’re looking for a replacement ipod battery, I can honestly recommend heading their way.

artists covers digital downloads guitar Live Music Friday live songs music music videos

Live Music Friday – Howie Day live at The House of Blues. (Or, I’m in mourning. I missed the Howie Day gig.)

I’m in serious mourning here. Somehow, the fact that Howie Day was in Brisbane – or even Australia, for that matter – opening for Whitley completely flew under my radar, and I only found out after it was too late. To put this into perspective, Howie Day is one of my ultimate “hope and pray to see live” musos… and to this date I haven’t managed to accomplish that feat.

My pain is only intensified by the fact that some work colleagues went to see Whitley, and then – get this – DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO GO WATCH THE OPENING ACTS. Sigh. Can you say, “Philistines”? I can.

Howie Day Live
Howie Day performing live. Sigh… for now I’ll need to content myself with a Live Music Friday.
Pic: Javier Izquerdo

Anyway… I found it highly coincidental that I only found this out yesterday, while I was putting together a Live Music Friday post. And considering that Howie’s known for his live performances, I found it only fitting that I commiserate my misery by posting a Howie show.

Live Music Friday - Howie Day

I have many live Howie Day shows. In fact, I can unequivocally say that Howie Day is the reason I got into tracking down rare live shows. Anyone who has seen the 30-minute DVD that was attached to his “Madrigals EP” release can attest to what a force he is live. Looping guitar lines and vocals through his trusty POD6, performing percussion on the body of his guitar and laying down some fat bass lines, Howie Day manages to string all the elements together in loops and build up to a full sound – all while performing solo – that far eclipses even that of a full band.

It’s something that has to be seen to be believed, so I highly recommend that you get the Madrigals (Bonus DVD) set. It truly is the quintessential Howie. Here’s actually a taster, that I see someone has uploaded to Youtube. Best watch this fast, as I doubt they had permission to upload this from that DVD.

Howie Day performing “Bunnies” live.

In the last few years, Howie’s moved away from this solo looping and more towards performing with a full band. While it’s an understandable development, I know that many fans hope that one day he returns to his roots full-time.

This performance is from 2001, at a Howie/John Mayer performance at the House of Blues. At times Howie sounds like a younger Mitch Hedberg; considering this was before his trip to rehab, however, this isn’t too surprising. The sound quality on this recording isn’t great; the lows bottom out, and it needs more treble. In addition to that, it includes perhaps the clumsiest outro on “Ghost” to “Beams of Light” that I’ve ever heard Howie perform.

So after all this derision, why am I posting this show, of the many that I have of Howie?

Because it finds Howie at his most passionate. It finds Howie at his most personal. It finds Howie at his most cathartic. Listen to “She Says”, and you’ll know what I mean. But the main reason?

Because it has that song. That moment. The moment when Howie and John get up on stage together. Fans will know which one I’m talking about.
Howie Day and John Mayer performing a killer version of “Sorry, So Sorry”. And while that track seemed to make it’s way around the internet a few years ago, the show in it’s entirety is a bit of a rarity. So I post it here for the true fans, who want to add it to their collection.

I’ve also posted a remastered version of “Sorry, So Sorry” as a separate download, for those who need better sound quality (albeit only slightly).

Oh. And if Howie, or his publicists come across this post, please know that I’m sorry for missing the gig. Now come back to Brisbane soon, ok? I’d pretty much resigned myself to never seeing him play live when I lived in South Africa, and now that I’m in a country that he actually visited and simply didn’t know about the gig… well, it’s killing me. So come back. Seriously.

Listen. Love. Support.

Howie Day, Live at the House of Blues, 22/6/2001

1.) After You
2.) Morning After
3.) Ghost
4.) Buzzing (Africa)
5.) Madrigals
6.) Sorry, So Sorry (with John Mayer)
7.) She Says (One)

Extra:Sorry, So Sorry (with John Mayer) (remastered version)

2008 releases artists digital downloads guitar music

Death Cab releases the much-anticipated “Narrow Stairs”. In related news, I was wrong.

Death Cab For Cutie
Death Cab For Cutie have just released their new album, “Narrow Stairs”

So Death Cab for Cutie has finally released the much anticipated, “Narrow Stairs”, which I originally wrote about in my post, “Some Death Cab-related goodness“, and the first thing that I noticed was that I was obviously wrong: the track “Casino Blues” that I mentioned in that post does not appear anywhere on the release, which is disappointing. Damn you, unreliable sources!

Apart from that, however, the album rocks.

Quite aside from the much-touted and much-talked-about 9-minute-mammoth, “I Will Possess Your Heart”, this album is perhaps on of the most complete albums I’ve heard from Death Cab for Cutie.
In most previous releases, when you get right down to it, the musicality of the band was overshadowed by Ben Gibbard’s lyrics. Not so with “Narrow Stairs“. With this release, the band as a whole comes across as a far more powerful unit… more muscular, and more a part of the final whole. And that’s a great thing.
While previous Death Cab releases have been filled with Gibbard’s existentialist pessimism, “Narrow Stairs” seems – to me, at least – to be their darkest release, in terms of actual physical and tangible doom. And after re-reading that sentence, I realise I should clarify that that is actually a good thing.

Clocking in at only 44 minutes, the only problem with the album is that it ends far too soon. I found it difficult to know which tracks to post here as a sampler, as – for the most part, apart from a few awkward tracks – the album is full of great tunes. “Your New Twin Sized Bed” and the style “Cath…” were strong contenders. In the end, however, it was the stunning album opener, “Bixby Canyon Bridge” and the doomed-relationship closing track, “The Ice is Getting Thinner” that won out.

Seriously. Get this album.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Death Cab For Cutie – Bixby Canyon Bridge
Listen: Death Cab For Cutie – The Ice Is Getting Thinner

2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 digital downloads guitar music music videos

Langhorne Slim – In The Midnight, Restless & Diamonds and Gold

Langhorne Slim is an artist who has me excited; the quintessential “everyman” performer, he is a singer who seems to truly embrace his flaws… and then run with them.

Langhorne Slim
Langhorne Slim (photo credit: Crackerfarm)

The 27-year-old Slim, aka Sean Scolnick, is a proponent of that frenetic folk-rock of which I’m such a fan; but he manages to do it with an authenticity that sets him apart from the crowd. The sound in his records is… well, raw, in the best sense of the word, and sometimes so crazed that the imperfections in his voice come cracking through… but you love him all the more for it.

Langhorne Slim mixes folk, blues, and rock in a way that few others can. And while his sophomore self-titled disc – which came out last week – isn’t as raw as his past release, “When the Sun’s Gone Down”, and his “Engine” EP, there’s still enough soul, fire, and warmth in his recordings to pull you in; particularly in the cracked-voice chorus of “Diamonds and Gold”.

“A tough day at the office,
And a worse night at home
Don’t wanna talk about it
Just wanna be left alone”

– Langhorne Slim, “Diamonds and Gold”

Langhorne Slim has also released the gorgeous video to his first single from the album, “Rebel Side of Heaven”, which contains perhaps one of my favourite refrains ever, with the words:

“Although we’ve sinned all our lives, we’re not going to hell.
We’re going to the rebel side of heaven.”

– Langhorne Slim, “The Rebel Side of Heaven”

The video itself is one of the most beautifully-shot music videos I’ve ever seen, with rich vibrant colours and stark shadows.
I’ve included it below for you visual pleasure.

Ultimately, I suppose what truly draws me in to Langhorne’s music is his unbridled passion. I hope it does the same for you.

I really couldn’t decide on which tracks to include below, so I thought I would include one from each of his last three releases. The first is the stunning track, “In the Midnight“, from the aforementioned release, “When The Sun’s Gone Down“, which displays his bluegrass influences and contains an awesome banjo accompaniment. The second is his track, “Restless“, which originally appeared on his “Engine” EP, but has gained a new life as a re-release on the new self-titled release; and finally, “Diamonds and Gold“, from that self-titled release.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Langhorne Slim – In The Midnight
Listen: Langhorne Slim – Restless
Listen: Langhorne Slim – Diamonds and Gold

2007 Releases artists digital downloads guitar Live Music Friday live songs music rock gods

Live Music Friday – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, live on NPR’s World Cafe

Just so that everyone knows, my iPod has officially given up the ghost, completely and utterly without warning. With most of my music on there, this is severely going to impact posting, and – quite frankly, more importantly – completely bums me out. Anyone want to start a “donate to help Matthew buy another iPod as he’s already in mountains of debt” fund? Oh wait, I already did… a shameless cry for help, yes, I know, but a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do…

Help a brother out, and keep the tunes flowing, would you? Click the donate button to help sponsor through Paypal. Every cent helps…

Anyway. Welcome back to another Live Music Friday. For today’s post, I thought I’d fall back on the always sublime Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Live

Last year, in 2007, I was finally lucky enough to see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals perform live at The Tivoli, in Brisbane… and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The band are unbelievably tight, and despite Ryan’s well-known cantakerous exterior, he really does have this magical ability to pull you right into the song, taking you along to ride the melody and lyrics beside him.

This set is also from 2007, from a performance on the always wonderful NPR’s World Cafe (which also gave us the wonderful Counting Crows performance featured here).

The show finds Ryan at his sardonic best, with sarcastic observations peppered between the songs.
If nothing else, make sure that you listen to the tracks “I Taught Myself To Grow Old”, with Ryan’s voice soaring at it’s heart-breaking best, and a lovely slower version of the normally manic “Let It Ride”. While it’s a short set-list, and lacks for the regular “Magnolia Mountain” and “Wildflowers”, it’s a powerful set nonetheless. And don’t worry… I have a much longer Ryan Adams show that I’m sure I’ll post in the future, with a 10 minute version of “Magnolia Mountain”, so no fear there.
Something about this show, however, just connects with me. It’s a Ryan Adams quality – and a very distinctive one at that – that when I hear him live, it hits me like a shovel to the chest. It’s a very personal connection, and one that no other artist has managed to come close to, for me at least (save for Alex Dezen of The Damnwells, who is nipping at Ryan’s heels for my adulation).

I suppose that that was really a long-winded way of saying: “Ryan’s music makes my world a better place. It describes that bit that is simply out of the reach of words“. And while that’s a terribly trite comment to read on a music blog, it’s true nonetheless.

I hope it does the same for you.

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Live on World Cafe, 15 June 2007

1.) Introduction
2.) Two
3.) I Taught Myself To Grow Old
4.) Winding Wheel
5.) I See Monsters
6.) Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard
7.) Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
8.) Nightbirds
9.) Let It Ride
10.) Blue Hotel