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

Friday Music Round-up – The Dodos, Patrick Park and Jason Schwartzman

I’m off down the coast for the weekend, with a lot of things to be sorted out before leaving; so this Friday’s post will be a round-up post. Lazy? Perhaps. Awesome tunes? Definitely.

Here’s a round-up of what’s been heating up our speakers this week:

Patrick Park – Here We Are

Rapidly becoming a firm favourite of ours, Patrick Park has once again been treating our ears this week. With this song, “Here We Are“, Patrick Park opens a new door in his songwriting talents; there’s something about this tune that seems more… sophisticated than his past releases.
It recalls something akin to the Cary Brothers view of pop aesthetics, and combines that with the warmth of a Matt Costa tune. And something about that opening riff just makes me thing about dusty, country roads. And when that coral chorus comes in? Man…

It’s a cracking tune, and is securing Patrick Park’s position as one of the premier songwriters in contemporary music.

Listen: Patrick Park – Here We Are
(From the 2007 release, Everyone’s in Everyone)

Coconut Records (Jason Schwartzman) – West Coast

Jason Schwartzman is a constant as one of my favourite artists, and whenever he releases some solo material it’s cause for excitement. Better known as indie actor (Rushmore, Spin et al), and one-time drummer for “Phantom Planet”, Jason seems to be this never-ending fountain of creativity.

His most recent project is “Coconut Music“; the moniker under which he has released a solo-album, entitled “Nighttiming”. As always with Schwartzman, Coconut Music certainly won’t be for everyone. I hope you give this offering, “West Coast“, a try however, and check out his other tunes on the Coconut Music myspace page.

Listen: Coconut Music – West Coast
(Orders available from http://www.youngbabyrecords.com/)

The Dodos – Fools

Again, I’m not sure this song will be to everyone’s tastes; The Dodos occupy that uncomfortable ground between acoustic troubadours and freak-folk – much like Animal Collective. That said, this tune, “Fools“, has me interested. The frantic strumming of guitarist and lead singer Meric Long’s guitar, coupled with the steady clicking of drummer Logan Kroeber’s beat makes for a steamroller of a song, unrelenting right up to the very last 30 seconds or so.
Take a listen, and let me know what you think.

Oh; and I happen to think the video is pretty sweet as well, so here it is:

And, in mp3 format…

Listen: The Dodos – Fools
(From the “Visiter” album, due out 18 Mar, 2008)

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

Hey Ya (Cover) – Obadiah Parker

Obadiah Parker - Hey Ya

This may spawn a week of quasi-hip-hop cover posts; I’m not too sure yet. But ever since I heard this cover by Obadiah Parker of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” last month, it’s been playing on a pretty much non-stop repeat.

The cover has become something of a Youtube phenomenon, with lead singer Matt Weddle’s free voice opening the song up to interpretations that may have been overshadowed by Andre 3000’s bombastic performance. It was through this song that I stumbled upon their myspace page; most of the tunes on their page are live recordings, but the soul they play with is clearly audible. With hints of DMB, Counting Crows and even Bill Withers, it’s clear to me that Obadiah Parker are a band that are sure to hit things big soon.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Obadiah Parker – Hey Ya (cover)

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2007 Releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 digital downloads guitar music post a day week

Post-A-Day Week: Need to Breathe – More Time (With a side helping of Washed by the Water)

Post-A-Day Week: It’s not often over a weekend that I’ll be sent enough songs to make up a week of posts. So, this week, I’ve decided to put up a post a day, as opposed to lumping them all into one confusing mess, as I am wont to do.

If you prefer the big mass posts, then let me know; but I think this might be easier to digest. Today’s aural treat is:

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Need To Breathe – More Time (With a side helping of Washed by the Water)

Need to Breathe first appeared on my radar with their 2006 release, “Daylight”. While it was certainly an enjoyable album, portions of it seemed too… well, predictable. After all, these boys played mainstream rock, and they were happy to fit the mould. With their latest release, “The Heat”, however, they seem to be stepping back from the preconceived notion of “mainstream rock” and following their own tune.


Don’t get me wrong; Need to Breathe still unabashedly fits into the mainstream rock genre. But that needn’t be an automatic death knell. It seems that songwriter-brothers, Bo and Bear Rinehart have learnt to appreciate the art of restraint more here, and their music is all the better for it.

Nowhere is this shown better than in the breakdown section of the first track below, “More Time”. It’s a great song, and undeniably catchy.

The second track, “Washed by the Water”, shows the band’s Christian roots. Unashamedly a worship song, don’t let that deter you; it’s a rollicking tune that anyone can groove to.

Listen: Need To Breathe – More Time
Listen: Need To Breathe – Washed by the Water

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2007 Releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 digital downloads guitar music post a day week

Post-A-Day Week: Faker – This Heart Attack

Post-A-Day Week: It’s not often over a weekend that I’ll be sent enough songs to make up a week of posts. So, this week, I’ve decided to put up a post a day, as opposed to lumping them all into one confusing mess, as I am wont to do.

If you prefer the big mass posts, then let me know; but I think this might be easier to digest. Today’s aural treat is:

***

Faker – This Heart Attack

Showing some love for the Aussie bands, “This Heart Attack by Faker is a ridiculously catchy single from their latest album, “Be The Twilight” (2007). Similar to the Liverpool boys, “The Wombats”, Faker are bringing back that New Order sound and mashing it with a pop-sensibility that should ensure it’s accessibility to the masses.
And the fact that’s catchy as all hell certainly won’t hurt with that.

There’s something intense in lead singer Nathan Hudson’s delivery here, yet at the same time apathetic. It’s an intriguing combination, and if you haven’t heard this track yet, click the damn play button below already!

Listen: Faker – This Heart Attack

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

Time for a Tuesday Trio.

Sorry things have been a bit quiet lately; real life takes it’s toll, and lease renewals and rental inspections take up a bit of time. That said, let’s jump right into a Tuesday Trio.


Gomez – Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol

While Gomez – in my eyes, at least – will always struggle to live up to their debut release, “Bring It On”, this track, from their 2006 release, “How We Operate”, is unquestionably one of my favourites.

While How We Operate seemed, at times, a fairly episodic album, Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol is by far a standout from the album; all bluesy chords accompanied by a killer slide guitar, and vocals that build to a major crescendo. Melancholic, and perfect for a rainy Tuesday, listen to it and reflect on your life. See what you find.

Listen: Gomez – Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol

David Vandervelde – Nothin’ No

This track, “Nothin’ No”, from David Vandervelde’s 2007 debut release, “The Moonstation House Band” proves that the LP was one of the year’s most criminally-underappreciated releases.

A slow burn of a song, there’s something about it that demands you bop your head along with it. The song itself seems a symbol of youth, abandon and hope. And the fact that Vandervelde was only 19 when this track was written and recorded absolutely blows me away. Easily an artist to watch for in 2008.

Listen: David Vandervelde – Nothin’ No

Toothpick – Scars for Entertainment (remix)

I first came across Toothpick with his 2004 debut release, “Time Travelin’ Couch”, and was immediately pulled in by the album’s second track, “Scars for Entertainment”. A melting-pot of different genres, it seems to blend old-school hip-hop, acoustic folk, blues and funk in an extremely exciting way. His talent for carrying a story throughout the entire song was nothing short of impressive as well.

However, even though it’s been a good few years now since the original “Scars for Entertainment” reached my ears, it’s only recently that I learnt about this remix version.

As with any remix of an original song that you love, it doesn’t quite stack up to the original with me; Toothpick’s re-recorded vocals seem less hurt, in some way, here. However… with the addition of some killer harmonica (something I thought was always lacking, in the original), this song certainly deserves a spin, particularly if you haven’t heard Toothpick before.

Listen: Toothpick – Scars For Entertainment (remix)

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

Things I probably should have told you in 2007.

In the course of writing this blog, I come across a lot – and I mean, a lot of music. Some of which I’ll blog about, some of which never seems to get its own post.

I was organising my files recently, and came across plenty of songs that I probably should have told you all about in 2007, but which – for whatever reason – never quite spurred me to write a full post. So, in clearing out these files into the “2007 Releases” folder, I thought I would do a bit of a roundup post, and combine them all here.

In other words, please note that this is NOT a “best of 2007” compilation; it is simply a post of good songs from 2007, that you should hear.

With that out of the way, let’s get onto the music!

(Once again… to all new visitors, simply click the “play” icon next to the song name to listen)

All The Way Down by Glen Hansard

 

One of the most talked-about soundtracks of 2007 – and deservedly so – was the Once OST. Comprised of songs by the films two stars (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova), the soundtrack was hauntingly beautiful.

This song, “All the way down”, along with “Leave”, was perhaps my favourite of the album. The aching line “You have broken me, all the way down” easily wins my award for most breaking lyric of the year.

You can still listen to the entire soundtrack at the Once movie site.

I managed to catch Hansard with his band, The Frames, when they were opening for Bob Dylan on his recent tour out here. They were amazing, and confirmed to me that the man is easily one of the most important voices in modern music.

Listen: Glen Hansard – All The Way Down

 


I Was A Daughter by Basia Bulat

 

 

I’m still surprised that this didn’t make an entry. At 24, Basia Bulat is another artist that I should add to my “Artists to watch for in 2008” category.

Her youth belies an intensely creative soul, and an artist who is totally unafraid. Obvious influences include Joni Mitchell (to whom she has been compared more than once), but Basia displays a voice and style that is all her own; sometimes fragile and whispy, and at other times strong, passionate and sultry, Bulat is the master of changing her vocal delivery to suit the content of the song.

This song, “I was a Daughter”, is taken from her “Oh My Darling” debut album, and was easily my debut album of the year.

Oh. And did I mention she’s my musical crush for 2007?
She is.

Listen: Basia Bulat – I Was A Daughter


No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

 

 

A little Morning Jacket, some Shins, and a hint of Built to Spill, and you’ll end up with something like Band of Horses. This song, taken from their “Cease to Begin” album, is more emotionally direct than anything from their 2006 debut, “Everything All the Time”, but despite the desperately cheese-laden title line, the song is a gorgeous slow-jam, with the cracking “If things start splitting at the seams and now / It’s tumbling down hard” showcasing Bridwell’s expressive voice.

Listen: Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You


Heretics by Andrew Bird

 

 

Well! Didn’t Andrew Bird grow up in 2007? The rueful reflection of Bird’s 2007 release, “Armchair Apocrypha”, and in particular, this song, “Heretics”, had me more excited about Bird than his past releases.

The off-kilter pop songs are still there, but there’s something more about his reflection of the world as something beautiful, yet unsettling, in this album than his previous.
Here’s to more of this.

Listen: Andrew Bird – Heretics


Listened On by Lightning Dust

 

 

Black Mountaineers Amber Webber and Joshua Wells side project, Lightning Dust, came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass. While Black Mountain displays it’s 60s psychedelic love, Lightning Dust is far more sparse, and far more reflective.

This track, “Listened On”, from their debut album (fittingly titled “Lightning Dust“), is ghostly, quivering, and beautiful.

Listen: Lightning Dust – Listened On


Nothing’s Lost by Patrick Park

 

 

I came across Patrick Park relatively late, with his second album, “Loneliness Knows My Name”, but at that time was undecided as to whether he lived up to the hype or not.
With his 2007 release, “Everyone’s in Everyone”, however, this doubt is solidly put to rest. Patrick Park is one of those artists who can reflect your emotions is a single line.

This track, “Nothing’s Lost”, takes your head against it’s shoulder and consoles you with it’s lulling rhythm.

Listen: Patrick Park – Nothing’s Lost

 


Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers

 

 

With it’s Nickle Creek-like tones, this was one of the singles of the year for me. A mixture of indie-folk, roots melodies and alt-country, the music of Great Lake Swimmers is at once graceful, comforting, full of loss and isolation, and ridiculously beautiful.

An ethereal whisper of an album that is hauntingly beautiful, “Ongiara” (from which this song, “Your Rocky Spine” is taken) is a must-listen from 2007.

Listen: Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine


Skinny Love by Bon Iver

 

 

Skinny Love by Bon Iver is a song that grows in power the more you listen to it; as if, with each individual listen, it breaks a little more of you off. I’ve heard it described as a “quiet, gentle punch to the heart”, and I couldn’t put it better myself.

A song of desperation, loneliness, and loss such as this one resonates deep in your heart; listen to his plaintive “I told you” lines, and you’ll know what I mean.

The album from which this is taken, “For Emma, Forever Ago” is one for the weepy folk-lover in all of us.

Listen: Bon Iver – Skinny Love

 


Lake Michigan by Rogue Wave

 

 

2007 saw Rogue Wave release their third-studio album, and the first for Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Fairytales label, “Asleep at Heaven’s Gate”; hopefully, this will be the one that catapaults them to the masses.

This album has a shimmer and jangle that wasn’t as prevalent in their previous releases; and there is something ridiculously catchy about this handclapping single, Lake Michigan.

Listen: Rogue Wave – Lake Michigan

 


No Cars Go by Arcade Fire

 

 

I know, I know; Arcade Fire? How much more mainstream can this blog get?

Seriously though, Arcade Fire’s 2007 release, “Neon Bible”, was a ridiculously good album. Coming off their scorcher debut, “Funeral”, most critics weren’t expecting them to follow up with something as worthy as this.

While Neon Bible certainly sees the band taking on some big issues (particularly the religion questioning “Antichrist Television Blues”), it never lets you forget that, ultimately, Arcade Fire are about celebration.

Never more evident is this than on the single, “No Cars Go”. Spine-tingling, wailing vocals, combined with drumming that punches the song along, and instrumentals that build into an almost film-worthy epic ending show that Arcade Fire are here to stay.

Listen: Arcade Fire – No Cars Go

 


Sun In An Empty Room by The Weakerthans

 

 

Well, honestly… when you get down to it, when have The Weakerthans ever disappointed us? 2007 saw them release the excellent “Reunion Tour” album, which I cannot recommend more. In fact, I’ll rather let Paste Magazine’s review speak for me:

“These are songs of brutal beauty, little rock n roll vignettes that perfectly capture the malaise of the peculiar, disorienting times in which we live.”

This track, “Sun in an empty room”, highlights John K Samson’s incredible command of narrative lyrics; indeed, as much as he protests against the label, Samson really is an indie poet laureate. His weary, wry observations possess an underdog nobility that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

 

Listen: The Weakerthans – Sun In An Empty Room

 


Tonight by Hard-Fi

 

 

I’ll be honest: Hard-Fi’s 2007 release, “Once Upon a Time In the West” didn’t quite live up to their debut album “Stars of CCTV” for me. There’s something about the anger in their songs that seems to have lost its authenticity for me.

However, that’s not to say that the album was totally without merit; this single, “Tonight”, was one of the better products from the album, and with it’s ghostly strings and chant-along chorus hints that there may be life in the boys yet.

Listen: Hard-Fi – Tonight

 


Impossible Germany by Wilco

 

 

While Wilco’s 2007 release, “Sky Blue Sky” was widely criticised by fans as being a back-slide by Jeff Tweedy into the classic-rock gospel, it produced perhaps one of my favourite Wilco tracks of all-time, “Impossible Germany”.

It’s a warm and inviting listen, one with jazzy chords filtered through the ever-present alt.country guitar licks. There’s no noise here, no strange distortions that have peppered Wilco’s latest releases… and I for one think the song is perhaps one of the most powerful Wilco songs for it.

Peaceful on the surface, demented under the water; this is Wilco at it’s best.

Listen: Wilco – Impossible Germany

 


Murderer by Low

 

 

Low is not, and never has been, for everyone. Pretty much defining the genre of “slowcore” with their appearance in 1993, they have, however, certainly displayed their longevity.

In 2005, Low attempted to break away from their slowcore label with the harder, bigger sound of their “The Great Destroyer” album. Considering the mixed reception to that album, most thought the band would return to their signature sound. Most thought wrong.
However, just as the album is not a return to their signature sound, neither is it a continuation of The Great Destroyer. Rather, this album strips the songs to the bones and sinews; it’s something else entirely. Violent, scary and beautiful, with this album, “Drums and Guns”, Low show that they’re still kicking.

Listen: Low – Murderer

 


Boy With A Coin by Iron & Wine

 

 

Undoubtedly one of the albums of the year for me, Iron and Wine’s
The Shepherd’s Dog
displayed Sam Beam’s steady evolution from lo-fi folkster to refined popsmith.

This stonking single, “Boy With A Coin” showcases a far more lush and full sound that is employed on this album (surely a product of Sam’s collaboration with Calexico in 2005), and is easily one of my favourite Iron and Wine songs.

Listen: Iron & Wine – Boy With A Coin

 


Thrash Unreal by Against Me!

 

 

Included more in this list due to the fact that Thrash Unreal could prove to be one of the most important songs of Against Me!’s career.

2007 saw Against Me! release their first major label debut, “New Wave”, which is in stark contrast to their previously strong DIY ethos.

Lead single “Thrash Unreal” unveils a new penchant for pop sensibility, and the song shows the band’s strength for anthemic, infectious choruses. And – thankfully – Tom Gabel’s harsh growl of a voice remains intact here, and there still seems enough of the Against Me! punk left in the guys.
That said, have Against Me! sold out by their move away from Fat Wreck Chords, and recording with this far, FAR more polished sound?

Time will tell (I’m hoping not), but there’s no denial that the 2007 release, “New Wave”, and it’s lead single Thrash Unreal could make or break the band amongst it’s fans.

Let’s hope there’s still a “I Still Love You Julie” song left in the lads.

Listen: Against Me! – Thrash Unreal

 


My Mind by Portugal. The Man

 

 

I’ve heard many people describe “Portugal. The Man” as a more accessible Mars Volta, and I think it’s a fair description; elements of The Mars Volta, and even The White Stripes pop up in their 2007 release, “Church Mouth

With its psychedelic, bluesy prog rock tones, the album is one that you’ll either love or hate; but like the below single, “My Mind”, I encourage you to give it a few spins before making up your mind.

Listen: Portugal. The Man – My Mind

 


Baltimore by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

 

 

Yes, you read that right. Stephen Malkmus, former frontman for all-time greats “The Pavements” was back in 2007, and making delicious noise with his new band, The Jicks.

Still all crunch and fuzz – but with elegant melodies and flourishes throughout – and laced with Malkmus’ literate lyrics and tender, crackling tone, the song “Baltimore” is a godsend to Malkmus fans.

Listen: Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Baltimore

 


Nikole by George Stanford

 

Another artist who will undoubtedly become huge in 2008, 2007 saw the debut of George Stanford. Endearingly simply titled “The EP” George Stanford’s 5-song 2007 release must simply be a taster for a 2008 full album release; and what a tasty taster it is.

This single, “Nikole”, showcases a piano balladry that fans of Ben Folds are sure to fall in love with.

If there’s one artist who debuted in 2007 who I would place a wager on becoming a household name in 2008, I would wager on it being George Stanford. If it’s not, it would simply be a crime.

Listen: George Stanford – Nikole


Ordinary by The Alternate Routes

 

From the opening lines of “I’ve been wasting my days good and reckless and true, I have danced in the dark at the edge of the water, swingin my hips at the black and the blue…” you know that The Alternate Routes are something special.

Sounding alternately like Ryan Adams during the verses (and, interestingly, current Cardinals drummer Brad Pemberton features on the skins here), and then David Gray in the chorus, Tim Warren is one of the more exciting voices I heard this year.


While this single, Ordinary, may give you a mainstream image of the band, I encourage you to listen to the entire album, “Good and Reckless and True”; it is a grand, rootsy, absolutely golden album that warrants your attention.

Listen: The Alternate Routes – Ordinary



Fake Empire by The National

 

The National came in in 2007 and absolutely blew us all away. Far more understated than their 2005 album, “Alligator”, their 2007 release, “Boxer”, is perhaps the most fully realised release of the year by any artist.

A slow burn of an album, Fake Empire was the single from Boxer that grabbed my attention and held it; an absolutely crushing single, if you didn’t hear it in 2007, grab this now.

Listen: The National – Fake Empire


200 More Miles by the Cowboy Junkies (featuring Ryan Adams)

 


 

2007 saw the 20th anniversary of the massively important Trinity Session album from the Cowboy Junkies, and to commemorate the occasion, the Junkies released a CD/DVD combo of performances in the same Toronto church where the original album was recorded.

As if Golden Tiger wasn’t enough for us (but then again, when it comes to Ryan Adams, can we EVER get enough?), the “Trinity Revisited” recordings saw Ryan partner up with Cowboy Junkies to release this beautiful rendition of 200 More Miles.

Ryan was born to perform with the Cowboy Junkies, and I couldn’t haven’t been more happy.

Listen: Cowboy Junkies – 200 More Miles (feat Ryan Adams)


To The Dogs Or Whoever by Josh Ritter

 


 

Josh Ritter’s 2007 release, “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (with Bonus EP)” was leagues from his 2006 album, “Animal Years”, and that’s saying something as I was a big fan of that album.

To me, Josh Ritter is one of the most underappreciated writers in the current rock/folk scene; witty, wry, rueful and intelligent, it’s time that Josh Ritter got his dues from the general public and not just music blog writers.

That said, I’m not sure that this “To the Dogs Or Whoever” will be the single, to do it. But damn it’s fun.

Listen: Josh Ritter – To The Dogs Or Whoever


Four Winds by Bright Eyes

Who would have thought it? Despite the fairly lacklustre album released by Bright Eyes in 2007, “Cassadaga”, Conor Oberst somehow managed to get me interested in his material once again, thanks to the one redeeming single from that album, “Four Winds”.

You’ve brought me back from the brink of abandoning you Conor; and I hope that I stick around for a while.

Listen: Bright Eyes – Four Winds

 


And there you have it; a choice selection of mp3’s that somehow never made it to a full post here.
Consigned to the “Released in 2007 folder”, it’s now onto 2008.Here’s to a great year everybody!

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