Yes… Archives Vol.1 finally seems tangible. If it’s at all possible, I’m now even more excited for the Neil Young gig I’m going to next month. Enjoy.
Yes… Archives Vol.1 finally seems tangible. If it’s at all possible, I’m now even more excited for the Neil Young gig I’m going to next month. Enjoy.
So today I was surfing the ‘Tube, and I decided to relive the joy that is “The Damnwells” by surfing some of their videos. First, I watched this video, uploaded way back in 2006, promoting the album “Air Stereo”.
… and I was filled with this sense of wonder. I mean, no matter how many times I hear these songs, it hits me like the first time. Watching that EPK, you can just tell… these guys were special. These guys could change the world.
Ok, now remember… that clip was uploaded over two years ago. And the brilliant “Bastards of the Beat” was released 3 years before that, even.
Next, I watched the “Golden Days” trailer, which was uploaded to the ‘Tube at the beginning of 2007. I originally wrote about the Golden Days DVD back here, but for those of you who haven’t kept up with it, the documentary basically details the Damnwells’ struggles; particularly following the period of their parting ways with Epic Records. Watch it below… and again, remember this is a 2007 release.
Killer, yeah? But then, finally, I came across this video… which is an in-store performance from the Damnwells at the Virgin record store in Tempe, AZ for promotion of the “Golden Days” documentary (which was playing at the Phoenix film festival that weekend).
Now, I realise that this took place in 2007, even though it was uploaded to Youtube only this year.
But, the dismal attendance in that video struck something within me. It simply killed me that, here was without a doubt my FAVOURITE band… and they are still struggling to get the recognition they deserve.
In some ways, it’s too late now. As I detailed in a past post, the Damnwells has changed from its original incarnation. But, even though the faces may have changed, that dream is still alive. And it needs some help.
So… why have I just rambled on for a page? Simply this… watching that last clip today spurred me into action. I can’t sit here and wonder, “Why are more people not killing themselves to see these guys? Why aren’t they one of the biggest bands in the world?“.
Asking these questions isn’t doing enough. And, as much as I’d like to think this blog is helping spread the word, it can’t dedicate every post to the Damnwells. This blog is far too eclectic for that, and I don’t want to change that.
So, I decided to go out and do something about it. I’ve owned the domain “Thedamnwellsmusic.com” for quite some time now, but haven’t got anything up and running. That last clip was enough to change that. Today, I finally started uploading the skeleton to what I hope will become a definitive “Damnwells Music Site“. While there’s pretty much nothing there yet (ok, plain old nothing… except for some pretty pictures), I’m linking there now to spread the word. If anyone wants to get involved in contributing to the site, drop a comment, send me an email… get in touch.
Honestly, this is an open call to any of the Damnwells’ fans. If you want to push this site, let me know (and Gilly, I’m looking at you here!). Whether it’s photos, news, facts and figures… heck, even if you want to lend a hand with the design – as you can see, I’ve tried my best, but I’m no design guru – then get in touch. Do it.
Anyway. That’s enough out of this out of me. Hope to hear from you all soon. Because I know you’re out there.
You dig music. You must do, if you’re here. And I like to think that most of my regular readers here on Burgo’s Music Blog are a humanitarian bunch. So if you’re into helping change the world, and using music to do so… well, then you might find that the Playing For Change website is one you might want to check out.
Playing For Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music.
Yeah. That’s one lofty ideal. And they’re going to need all our help. So go ahead and visit.
Playing for Change are using music to connect the world, and are releasing numerous videos of musicians around the world, performing for PFC. You can see most of them on their site, or follow PlayingForChange on Youtube.
They recently released this video of musicians from around the world performing the classic tune, “Stand By Me”. It’s possibly one of the most hopeful videos I’ve watched this year. And when the various South African segments appear? Man… there’s a grin on my face that won’t die down right now.
Watch the video below… and if you can, help these guys out. As they say on the site:
Why join the movement? By joining our multimedia movement, you will be empowered to inspire and improve communities in need around the world through music.
- Help us build and connect music schools around the world.
- Empower students to create/share their music (student performances will be recorded, filmed and shared with members).
- Enable collaboration between students of our new schools and students from established schools in the U.S. and abroad.
- See and hear exclusive content from the global music film we have been building since 2001 only available to movement members.
- Enjoy live performances by numerous established musicians who are contributing to this music movement (Manu Chao, Keb Mo, Vusi Mahlasela…).
- Interact online with those you are positively impacting and others who are making a difference through music (community activity tools coming soon).
Your donations and/or purchases of music, film, and merchandise on PlayingforChange.com and our retail partners (CD/DVD available through Hear Music Spring 2009) will directly help build, equip, staff and improve new and existing music schools around the world.
Thank you for joining (it takes literally under 30 seconds.
We will be in touch soon.
‘Coz you know, we could all use a little hope right now.
Watch and support…
So over the last four days, Ryan Adams has been busy on Youtube (see the Cards’ ‘Tube profile here), uploading “home jams” of some of his past songs. Given that he uploaded yet another one, “Cobwebs”, only 8 hours ago, I started thinking… well, how many more of these does he plan to do? So, I thought it might be interesting to put all the new videos in one post, and update it as more become available. So here, for your viewing pleasure, are the videos that Ryan has uploaded to his “Holiday Home Jams” playlist thus far. I’ll update the post as more become available, or you can just follow his playlist here.
As of Tuesday, 9 December, 2008:
Released: 4 Days Ago
Released: 3 Days Ago
Released: 2 Days Ago
Born Into A Light
Released: 1 Day Ago
Released: 8 hours Ago
Updated December 11
A Natural Ghost
Released: 1 Day Ago
Updated December 15
Released: 4 Days Ago
Included here for no other reason than:
And, perhaps most importantly…
Anyway, watch it below. Taken from the BBC’s “Later… with Jools Holland” show.
You can see more posts where I’ve talked about the “Later…” shows here.
Late December Update:
Unfortunately, after months of fighting with the RIAA amongst others, Mixwit, the site that I used to embed the below playlist, has had to close down. This means that the below playlist is no longer operating, but you can still read about the bands and follow the links to their individual posts below that. Sorry about that, but hopefully Mixwit will be back up and running someday. When I have a chance, I’ll look into using another program to embed the playlist again…
Yes, it’s that time of the year… the dreaded “lists month”. And, even though I’m sure you’ve had roughly a gajillion of them to read through, here at Burgo’s Blog I’ll be adding to the clutter with one of my own.
A few asides, first:
Anyway, enough justification… I’ve embedded the playlist below. Click on the tape to begin playing. Below the tape, I’ve listed the tracks, with a word or two about each. I’ve linked through the artists names to the relevant posts, where applicable.
Listen. Love. Support.
1. Alex Dezen and Angela Dezen – Like it Is
It’s no secret: Alex Dezen and The Damnwells are probably my favourite band of the last two years, so an inclusion from them was a no-brainer. In the end though, I ended up plumping for this track… a youtube release, featuring Alex and his wife Angela performing a song with, quite frankly, heart-breaking beauty. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve replayed this video (which I’ve also included below)
2. Death Cab For Cutie – Cath…
2008 saw Death Cab For Cutie release “Narrow Stairs”, which I discussed in more depth here. This song, “Cath…” is one of my favourite off the album, and one which I was lucky enough to see live.
3. Flobots – We Are Winning
The Flobots release, “Fight With Tools”, was one of those albums that seemed to stick with me throughout the year. Even though they excited me when I first heard them, I have to admit, I didn’t expect this album to have the staying power it did for me. This track, “We Are Winning” captures that excitement.
4. Frightened Rabbit – Heads Roll Off
Unquestionably one of my favourite albums of the year, Frightened Rabbit’s “The Midnight Organ Fight” spawned many killer tracks. This is just one of them.
5. The Gaslight Anthem – Great Expectations
Undeniably fun, The Gaslight Anthem kicked ass in 2008. The ’59 Sound was one of those albums that you could pop on and instantly get jiving. This track was the opening track from that album; one of my most played of the year.
6. Joe Pug – Hymn #101
It’s no secret… if there’s one artist that I wanted to help crack it in 2008, that artist was Joe Pug. The guy simply deserves to be heard. His “Nation of Heat” EP was my top EP of the year, and this track, Hymn #101 one of my favourite tunes. A bit of Dylan, a bit of Prine, and a dash of Whitmore = a whole lot of awesome.
7. The Sand Band – The Secret Chord
As I said back in my original post, “A wistful, world-weary tone permeates David McDonnell’s lyrics in this EP, which is washed over by spacey echoes, pedal steel guitar and an acceptance that comes to us all.” If that wasn’t clear enough… listen to this track.
8. Motel Motel – Coffee
Heh. Looking back at my past post about these guys, I described their tune, “Mexico” as
“… dirt-covered folk at its best. It’s a shot of Jack Daniels and well worn denim.“. I like that, looking back.
This song, Coffee, highlights their effortless bar-room swagger; surprising to hear from a band that only formed in 2006.
9. Joseph Arthur – Temporary People
The song that restored my faith in Joseph Arthur. Thank god it came along.
10. Matt Bauer – Don’t Let Me Out
An ominous, weary beauty that unfolds its dark shadows into your soul, this track from Bauer’s release, “The Island Moved in the Storm“, deals with an unsolved murder. “I killed you and thought that was that…” starts off Bauer, and then leads you on a tale loosely based on his childhood area. Chilling.
11. Let It Be Me – Ray Lamontagne
From the moment that you hear that breath at the beginning of the song, you know that “Let It Be Me” is going to be something special from the always impressive Ray Lamontagne.
And it is. Smoke-filled, seductive, and soulful… it’s Ray.
12. Yeasayer – 2080
I have to admit, it was really seeing this “Yeasayer Takeaway Show” that finally sold me on Yeasayer.This song largely makes it into this list based on that live performance.
13. Langhorne Slim – Restless
Langhorne Slim’s sophomore self-titled disc came out at a time when I was feeling really.. .well down, about the music output of 2008. Thank god it did, as the entire album was filled with such raw, unbridled passion that it kicked my ass into gear again. This song was a large part of that.
14. Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos – Childrens’ Crusade on Acid (live)
This is a live performance of a track from Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos “Animal” album… and it’s a stonker.
15. The New York Fund – Going To New York
Although most of the New York Fund’s songs throw dirty, vintage-soaked guitars and bar-room swagger at you (and, don’t get me wrong, they do that oh-so-well), this track has the London town band sounding reminiscent of The Damnwells. Wistful, and with one of the catchiest choruses this side of… well, this side of anything, those handclaps tipped this one onto the list for me.
16. The Old Romantic Killer Band – Lovers Pass
Catchy, and hooky as all hell, this song, “Lovers Pass“ finds The Old Romantic Killer Band at their dirty blues/folk/punk best.
17. Destroyer – Foam Hands
Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer, puts out one of his more accessible tracks… and knocks it out of the park.
18. The Republic Tigers – Buildings and Mountains
This track, “Buildings and Mountains” is taken from the Republic Tigers’ debut album, “Keep Colour”. It still completely blows my mind that such an accomplished sound could come from a band’s debut album. One of my top singles of the year.
19. Tin Bangs – Your Sky Is Falling
When I first wrote about Tin Bangs and their track, “Your Sky Is Falling”, I wrote the following:
“There’s something about this track, “Your Sky Is Falling“. The sense of urgency that Tin Bangs convey is certainly undeniable. In fact, I’ve heard it described as a sense of “god damn urgency”. That said, there’s something else hiding behind that urgency, to me. It’s not only urgent; it’s a sense of desperation. A sense of clutching at straws. A sense that this is our last chance. And the ultimate question… what have we done with it?“
Phil from the band was nice enough to stop by with a comment that confirmed this for me:
“You nailed it – feeling chased, trapped, desperate, frantic… foreboding, and ultimately floating by belly up for all to see, bloated and cold from the long soak.”
Damned if that isn’t powerful.
20. David Vandervelde – Nothin’ No
I think this might be one of the ones that slipped through the “2008” criteria here, as I suspect this track actually came out in 2007… but it’s a damn rollicking tune, so I’m including it anyway. My top played track of January 2008.
21. War on Drugs – Arms Like Boulders
Just scraping in to the 2008 category, Secretly Canadian released the “War On Drugs” EP “Barrel of Batteries” in January of 2008. This track from the EP, “Arms Like Boulders” sold me on the band. There’s a raw abandon to their tunes, and that makes me love them all the more.
22. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Modern Mystery
“Finely crafted vocal harmonies, and tunes that seem somewhat reminiscent of a lighter Rogue Wave = great times…This tune from that album [Pershing], “Modern Mystery“, has them at their jangly-guitar best.“
23. Mystery Jets – Flakes
You know, Mystery Jets are in Australia at the moment (I think), but they left Brisbane off their list of stops. Next time, come to Brisbane, ‘eh lads? This track, “Flakes”, is the track that initially interested me in the band.
As I said back then, “The below song, “Flakes“, is a great introduction to them for those who haven’t heard them before. There’s something about lead singer Blaine Harrison’s vocals here… they seem to recall early shades of Mark Mulcahy (and come on; when isn’t that a great thing? Miracle Legion and Polaris… we miss you!). And then when that choral chorus of “oohs” kicks in? Man… killer.“
24. The Heavenly States – The Race
One of those tunes that just gets into your head, “The Race” from The Heavenly States really excited me. The hummable, angst-laden, and extremely catchy hooks of singer/guitarist Ted Nesseth’s lyrics, and violinist Genevieve Gargon’s complementary, darting chords. In short, it’s pop-rock perfection.
25. Matt Pond PA – Amazing Life
This is one of those tracks that I haven’t managed to find time to post about in December, but consider this a micro-post. Matt Pond PA recently released a free EP, entitled “The Freeep” (get it?) which you can download for free on their site. 9 tracks in all (6 full songs and 3 instrumentals), it’s all dreamy, wishful tunes that are perfect for an end of year reflection time, and I’m loving it more with each listen. In other words, go get it. Ok?
This track, “Amazing life”, is just a taste of the wonder that Freeep is.
26. Cost of Comfort – Golden Bones
I didn’t really post about this track so much as point you towards another post, but Cost of Comfort’s “Golden Bones” was a track that steadily grew on me over time. The repeat button was well-worn on this one.
27. The Enright House – Scattering the Sun Like Gunshot (acoustic)
Another song that I haven’t managed to post about, this acoustic rendition of The Enright House’s “Scattering the Sun Like Gunshot” is simply beautiful. Largely an instrumental piece, it’s that kind of heart-breaking beauty that makes a song stay with you for days after you’ve heard it. From what I gather, The Enright House don’t normally put out much acoustic work, but based on the strength of this track, I really wish they would. You can download the rest of their EP, “6 Acoustic Renditions” on their site.
28. Questpoetics – Tonight
A bit of a guilty pleasure here, this track from Questpoetics “A Sound Campaign” shows the versatility of Questpoetics’ music. There’s actually a bit of a roundabout story to my discovery of this album. I was on the Youtube, surfing Ryan Adams videos, when I came across some Ryan Adams guitar lessons. I was so impressed with the quality of those lessons, that I ended up surfing around to see what other guitar lessons were on the tube. Long story short, I eventually came across some guitar lessons videos posted by Randy from Questpoetics, and from there found their tunes. And it turns out good things do come when you least expect it. A mixture of hip-hop/acoustic/reggae, I’m surprised I haven’t heard more of a buzz about these guys. They deserve more exposure.
29. Ben Nichols – The Kid
Stripped-down, dusty guitars and a plaintive, world-weary, yearning voice? Yeah, I’m sold. Listen to this. ‘Nuff said.
30. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Fix It (live on Letterman)
So Cardinology was released this year, and there were some mixed reactions. Despite what you think of the album, however, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a Ryan Adams fan who didn’t love “Fix It”, the lead single from that album. And, for my money, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better version of that song then this one, taken from The Cardinals performance live on Letterman. Filled with passion, I think it’s everything Ryan Adams fans were hoping we’d one day see from Ryan again. I’ve included the video below. If you don’t get excited by the emotion you see at the 1:35 mark… well, I salute you as our robot overlords.
31. William Fitzsimmons – You Still Hurt Me
As I wrote recently, “William Fitzsimmon’s music has that heart-string-tugging, ever so fragile quality to it that makes for the best of tunes. When you hear his voice, there’s almost a caution there; as if you exhale too loudly, you might frighten this wonder away.” If you listen to this track from Fitzsimmon’s “The Sparrow & The Crow” album, entitled “You Still Hurt Me”, you’ll be able to see what I mean.
32. a King – Safe as Houses
A song that so excited me about South African music, I instantly proclaimed them “South Africa’s Next Big Thing”. Do I regret making such a hyperbolic claim? Not on your life, buddy.
33. Peasant – Impeccable Manners
Man, another one I haven’t managed to post about in the past month. Shows how busy things have been around here. But Peasant‘s release, “On The Ground” is nonetheless a striking release. Recalling hints of Elliott Smith and Iron and Wine, the guy simply is a master story-teller. I’ve had a few emails from Peasant’s publicity team, but somehow let a post slip through the cracks (sorry Bryan!).
Anyway, in the meantime, I see that Daytrotter have put up a post, so I don’t see much point in putting my own rehash out there. I’ll just point you there, and quote their lines of “What becomes so beautifully clear in listening to Derose sing – in that clear mountain stream, weepy-voiced way of his – is that none of his characters and none of us are ever rid of any of the people that we’ve shared the dark or a kiss with.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. “Impeccable Manners”, the song I’ve included in this mix, is just one of the great tracks off of Peasant’s release.
34. The Tallest Man On Earth – It Will Follow The Rain
I think this one might have slipped through the cracks from the 2007 releases, but I think I’ve done fairly well containing this list to 2008 releases, so a slip-up here and there can be overlooked. As I said about The Tallest Man On Earth (aka Swede Kristian Matsson) when I first posted about him:
“… 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.“
35. Elvis Perkins – Weeping Pilgrim
Quoting myself, talking about the track “Weeping Pilgrim” from Elvis Perkins, “What do you need to know about it? Not much… save for the fact that it’s a cracking tune of longing and struggle, that is everything music should be. Seriously. There’s an indomitable spirit to this song that simply cannot be beaten down. Listen to this and love it.“
36. Samamidon – Saro
And so we come to the end of this mix. And what to say about this final song, “Saro” by Samamidon? Well…
“Saro, like the majority of the songs on Samamidon’s upcoming new album, “All Is Well”, is actually a retelling of a traditional folk song, “Pretty Saro”. There are countless covers of this song, performed by such great names and Judy Collins, Bert Jansch, and Doc Watson, among others; Samamidon’s version is the most haunting and beautiful I have heard… There truly is nothing else to say, except that Samamidon is on the cusp of greatness. Without question, his will be the definitive version of this song“.
So if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, I’d like to thank you for sitting through another “Best of 2008” round up. On a related note:
I really want to thank all the readers of this blog. Honestly, at times it’s not easy to keep running this thing (what with other commitments, running costs etc)… but every time one of you leaves a comment, or drops me an email, it reminds me why I do this thing. So, my very best thing of 2008? Why… it’s you, of course. Yes you. No need to look around.
Be lucky all. Here’s to a great 2009.
… and Burgo’s Blog is no different. Yes, I’m putting together a “Best of 2008” post, which is why things are a bit quiet around here. I promise, an update is coming soon.
(Oh yes, and as an aside… remember how in this post about William Fitzsimmons I said that I was sure I had posted about him before, but for some reason I couldn’t find it? Turns out that the reason I had his name in my head is that someone actually told me about him ages ago, but I didn’t get around to posting about it. So, credit where credit is due: Thanks Mom for turning me on to his tunes. Sorry I didn’t credit you earlier. Now stop with that smug smile every time I see you on Skype.)