You always seemed so sure That one day we’d fight in In a suburban world
your part of town gets minor So you’re standin’ on the opposite shore
But by the time the first bombs fell We were already bored
We were already, already bored
– Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs”
Only Spike Jonze could bring the tale of lost innocence that is Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” to life like this. Easily one of the most powerful and haunting music videos I’ve seen in years. Feel like being unsettled? Then watch it below.
More importantly, you get the new G Love album, “Fixin’ to Die”, due out February 22, 2011 on Brushfire Records.
Before I get to the trailer, some background on my love for Garrett Dutton. First, you have to understand that this is a love affair going back about 12 years now. G Love has given me one of the best concerts of my life, and has always been one of my musical idols. I’ll let that post from two years ago do most of the talking, but I will pull out one particular part of it:
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.
Honestly, my feelings on the dude haven’t changed. I’d really suggest you read that past post, or perhaps look at my G Love Live Music Friday post for more information on the guy.
For now though, let’s look forward to the future… and the album that has me all worked up, with scarcely a tune released…
I seriously, 100 percent cannot wait for February to roll around. Sing on G, sing on.
So, it’s been, by my reckoning, about 10 years since I first stumbled across Syd‘s stuff. I know that definitely it’s definitely been at least 8 years since his “Week Days, Weak Knees” EP came out, but I’m pretty sure I’d heard his stuff prior, with a killer live cover of Blink-182’s “Dammit”.
“Picking Up the Pieces”, from Syd’s “Week Days, Weak Knees”
Regardless, what I’m getting at is: it’s been a while. And sure, like any relationship lasting that long we’ve wandered. Our musical tastes seemed to change as we grew, and grew apart in a lot of ways. While “Upswing” (Syd’s last album, from 2009) was definitely a slick album in its own right, it just wasn’t really for me. To be honest, I think the last album I could get behind 100% was his 2004 album, “Fault Lines”.
“The Bottom”, from Syd’s “Fault Lines”
But such was the power of those first few years together that I’ve still kept a keen eye on what Syd’s up to. So it was with much interest that I saw that Syd, along with Patrick Thomas and Lisa Piccirillo (all members of the Co-Op, which in itself is a beautiful concept) had formed a band called Hotels and Highways; and not only had they formed the band, but they’d already recorded their first album.
This fall, we decided to spurn the real world and disappear into a cabin in upstate New York with our music machines and recording gear – no hourly rates, no deadlines and no preconceptions.
The result, an album we are calling “Lost River,” is a perfect representation of creation in its rawest form. Words were grabbed from the air as fast as the changes were decided and everything was recorded as it was written. In addition to the inherent energy of this in-the-moment recording style, we feel there is as much soul in these simple songs as anything we have released before.
So here’s the thing… the band are looking for some help in getting the thing released, and as such they’re using Kickstarter to raise funds so that they can mix, master, produce and promote the album themselves.
Now, I know that I say Syd and I have parted ways in our musical lives over the last couple of years. But the tune that plays in their Kickstarter video (apparently called “Night Song”, according to Syd) is possibly a homecoming of sorts for us. And I’m so friggin’ excited about that, I could spit. (Actually, I’ve never really understood that saying, but it’s true nonetheless). Watch the vid below…
How beautiful does that track sound? Man, I am absolutely swooning (and more than a little frustrated that I can’t hear more…)
And above all, it’s no longer music for the teenage me (as you’ve probably guessed the above two tracks were)… rather, this is music that I’ve grown up to hear.
So here’s what I have to say: Syd – and the rest of the guys in the Co-Op – embody the very spirit of camaraderie in music. Seriously. The amount of times I’ve seen the guy help someone out on twitter or online is ridiculous. Heck, he even gave me some design tips back when I was helping Alex Dezen launch the Damnwells site. And I’d say it’s about time the dude got some awesome karma back.
So, if you want to support music and real musicians, then why not consider contributing towards the band’s Kickstarter fund? You’ll not only be helping out a bunch of super-nice people, but you just might reunite me with a musical love. Oh… and you can get the album for your donation above $10 too.
Over the last few months, two “Marionette Music Videos” were released that really caught my eye. The first was Josh Ritter‘s “The Curse”, and the second, Chris Garneau‘s “Dirty Night Clowns”.
Josh Ritter – The Curse
Josh Ritter‘s drummer, Liam Hurley, is a skilled marionette puppeteer… so of course, when it came to telling the bizarre love story that is Josh Ritter’s, “The Curse”, who better to take on the task than a puppeteer?
“The Curse” tells the tale of the love between an archeologist and her mummy. Seriously. And it’s absolutely heart-breaking.
Long ago on the ship, she asked “Why pyramids?”
He said “Think of them as an immense invitation”
She asks “Are you cursed?” He says “I think that I’m cured”
Then he kissed her and hoped that she’d forget that question – Josh Ritter, “The Curse”
Chris Garneau – Dirty Night Clowns
I’ve been a Chris Garneau fan ever since I saw his cover of Eliott Smith’s, “Between the Bars”. But this release of his might be my favourite yet. An absolutely terrifying video, “Dirty Night Clowns” will leave you feeling unsettled at the very least. On a lighter note, I absolutely love the use of the skeletons as percussion in this tune.
I will never be dirt-free
Up the stairs, come find me
Come sneak up behind me
I’ll be sleeping soundly
– Chris Garneau, “Dirty Night Clowns”
On Wednesday night I finally managed to catch Joe Pug live, on his first Australian Tour. My love for Joe is no secret… after all, I’ve written aboutthedudeaboutsixtimes (yes, every one of those words is a link to a different post), the first time being over two years ago. So, suffice to say, I’ve been hanging to see him live for quite a while. So when I heard he was going to be playing the Troubadour in Brisbane, well… there was just no question, really.
Joe is one of the few artists I’ve compared to Dylan on this blog. And I don’t make that comparison lightly. But take a bit of Dylan, add in a dash of Woody Guthrie and Prine, maybe some Josh Ritter, and package it in this kid that just effortlessly exudes cool swagger.. and you have Joe Pug. The guy is everything I ever wanted to be, back when I was playing myself.
So Joe had a lot to live up to. And he didn’t have a whole lot to work with; the numbers in the Troubadour weren’t huge, and the atmosphere was pretty subdued. (On that note, major props need to go to Chris Altmann, who opened for Joe. He pulled off one crazy energetic set, despite playing to about 10 people. At one point, he pulled out a Vandas song, that absolutely killed it. You can watch it on youtube here) So yeah… it was a tough crowd.
But you know, I really shouldn’t have been concerned. Because Joe came out blazing, opening with Nation of Heat. And man, did he turn it on.
Joe Pug, “Nation of Heat”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane
From that moment, more people started drifting in off the street. And you just knew that Joe was going to turn it on for the – admittedly still smaller than it should have been – crowd.
The beginning of the set was a bit of a whirlwind… Joe just took it right to The Troubadour, that voice of his – you know the one, the one that sounds like it shouldn’t be coming from someone so young… I mean, surely this is the voice of someone coated in warm whiskey and wistful years – just washing over his audience. I think things really turned in the crowd when Joe performed “I Do My Father’s Drugs”. People who had been talking amongst themselves over a beer put down their drinks and turned towards the stage. You can actually hear the chatter die down in the below clip. And it was just awesome to see.
Joe Pug, “I Do My Father’s Drugs”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane.
By far though, my highlight of the night was when Joe played “Unsophisticated Heart”. It’s probably my favourite tune of his, and this particular rendition was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. And really, while Joe was playing this, you could have heard a pin drop.
Now i see things like a soldier
yet i’m jealous of the dark
if my eyes have only gotten older
I still have an unsophisticated heart
Joe Pug, “Unsophisticated Heart”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane
After a really touching performance of “Disguised as Someone Else”, Joe really settled into it. His interaction with the crowd was really good, and the one thing that you might not pick up from Joe’s tunes is that he is one seriously funny dude. There was a nice little chat leading up to “How Good You Are” that had the crowd cracking up… and then the harp on the tune – as always – just tore me up inside.
Joe Pug, “How Good You Are”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane
“Speak plainly, Diana”, was another highlight of the night for me. The amount of times I’ve listened to live versions of this tune is ridiculous, and each time I have, I’ve been super, super jealous of the crowd that get to sing along with the lines “I don’t mind riding around…“.
This time, I could add my own voice to the chorus…
Joe Pug, “Speak plainly, Diana”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane
Of course, what would a Joe Pug set be without “Hymn #101”? When Joe sang the lines, “I’ve come to test the timber of my heart. Oh I’ve come to test the timber of my heart“, I literally could not hide the smile on my face. The lines were some of the first lyrics I heard of his, and a large part of the reason I actively looked for more of his stuff, two years back. It was… well, for lack of a better word… perfect.
Joe Pug, “Hymn #101”, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane
Following the gig, I spent my last $20 on Joe’s “Messenger” release. It didn’t matter that I had the tunes electronically. I wanted to show my appreciation for the show he put on that night. And as Joe shook my hand and said, “Hey, I’m Joe”… I was glad I did.
In all the past times I’ve written about Joe, I’ve had one consistent message: help us spread the word. If there is one artist I’ve wanted to help with this blog, it’s Joe. The guy is everything I feel that music could and should be.
So I’m going to ask again: if you like what you’ve heard, then spread the word about Joe. You can visit his website here, and even ask for free CDs if you like. Joe just wants his music heard. And I really believe it should be.
I’ve embedded both of his releases below. Listen. Love. Support.
If you’ve read this blog before, chances are you already know of my love for Ryan Adams. The dude is arguably my most important musical influence of all time, and has soundtracked… well, a lot of my life. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise just how freakin’ excited I am about the latest post on his PAX•AM Records site.
“In 2007 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals entered Electric LandLady studios on 8th street in NYC and went in for a session intended to last two weeks. Six months and over 60 tracks later, they emerged with the album Easy Tiger. But it was only glimpse into the depth of the work the band had undertaken and the vast amount of material that was recorded.
As the sessions wound around into the deep winter months a double album emerged, a rock record that felt more like a hybrid of all the records that the band had mutually consumed as kids… from influences as wide as KISS and The Cars.
Originally hidden away in the vault while the band hit the road to support Easy Tiger, and now for the first time here in its entirety is the Cardinals second double-album concept rock opera about the 80′s, ninjas, cigarettes, sex, and pizza.
Enjoy Volume III/IV. by Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, from the turning point in the classic line up of the band featuring…. Catherine Popper on bass (her last with the band), Neal Casal on guitar and vocals ( his first with the band) Brad Pemberton on the drums, Jon Graboff on the Steel Guitar ( as well as a few other things ) and Jamie “The candyman” Candiloro on piano and synths, here producing again as well.
First off, Easy Tiger is, I think, my favourite Ryan Adams album (it made #3 in my “Albums of the Decade” list). So the fact that these tracks come from that same session absolutely makes me giddy. Secondly… Catherine freakin’ Popper?! Hell yeah.
Finally, this (long) excerpt from Jamie Candiloro sums up everything that I’m excited about. This release could be everything we all know Ryan can be…
“In the summer of 2006 I was watching some of my favorite PBS afternoon programming when I got a call on my cell phone from electric lady studios. “We’re down here and I think we might need your help.” It was Ryan calling after a somewhat fiery end to a session we had completed a couple months ago and left us with zero tracks accepted by lost highway again. The great moments of these sessions always out numbered the hard times, which kept me interested in making music with him. This session was different from the start though. He had just gotten sober for the first time since he was 15 years old.
We would spend the next six months in the studio. It was almost like this floodgate had opened. New songs were coming quickly and the quality and diversity was pretty amazing. We were doing demos, cutting live versions, finishing overdubs. There was a level of completion that was not possible with the “fucked up ryan”. All this talent was there and able to shine thru in a way I had always imagined.
Probably the thing I remember most about these session was a chart system that we used on the back wall of electric lady to keep track of things. It had album titles and song names with the song’s progress. I think at one point we had four albums and even a b-sides list! We were constantly moving songs around to find the perfect sequence. One album that started to form seemed like a bit of a folk record to me. It was around thanksgiving that I presented a cd that was essentially the cuts that would become “easy tiger”. My version had sixteen songs though! Another record that was at the front of our attention was something Ryan called vol. 3 & 4. The idea being that “cold roses” was vol 1 & 2 and this was a logical step that the cardinals had taken forward as a band effort. The tracks shared the democratic process of a band, which always gives a record more depth to me. The personalities really shine thru.
There was always the idea that these recordings would come out at some point. When this became a reality in 2010, my first instinct was to use the mixes from the sessions. They were flawed but the were done in the heat of the moment. The mixes were a “performance” to get the band excited at that moment. But Ryan felt they could really be “mixed”. Seeing as we had the originals to compare, I figured we were safe to give a couple a try and see how they were coming out. I was really happy when we did listen back to new mixes we were shocked how timeless they sounded. For me it had a lot to do with the performances. Everything was so raw but captured pretty well so a tight mix just sounded out of this world. There were no click tracks and the material was arranged meticulously. The final result was something that fans will really enjoy. Vol 3 & 4 is like a huge billboard rising above the château marmont. Bigger than life and glossy, with a spotlight cutting thru the haze. I never got sick of working on these tracks and I know the fans will not get tired of hearing them…”
This is me, just freakin’ excited out of my mind. Listen to some teasers of the tracks here, and if you’re looking to read a few more of my thoughts on Ryan, I’d suggest you start by clicking on a few of those “Related Posts” down below.
You know, I’m probably not the biggest fan of the Kings of Leon “Radioactive” single. But this cover from Cee-Lo Green has me rethinking all that. Add some understated piano and muted riffing to Cee-Lo’s unmistakable croon, as I’m seriously in love.
Cee-Lo recently performed the tune – along with others – on a BBC Live Lounge Session, which you can watch here (if you can get around the country restrictions).
For now though, you can listen to the track below. My only complaint? It ends too soon.
Like a house made from spider webs and the clouds rolling in
I bet this mighty river’s both my savior and my sin
Oh, my savior and my sin
– The Tallest Man On Earth, “Love Is All”
It’s been quite some time since I originally wrote about Kristian Matsson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth on this blog. In fact, it was over two years ago. In the intervening time, I’ve probably only written about the guy a handful of times… but something about this video inspired me to post again.
Below is the official music video for “Love Is All”, a track found on Kristian’s “The Wild Hunt” LP that was released earlier this year.
Quite frankly, I’m just posting this because the video and tune are beautiful, and I wanted to share that with you.