Friday, August 31, 2007

Band of Horses Mounting Up for Another Ride

Seems the first track from the new Band of Horses' album "Cease to Begin" has leaked via the band's MySpace page. (Thanks guys!) and if you are a fan of the first record, there's no reason not to be excited about October 9th given this little teaser. I'll save you the trouble of having to click over to MySpace. You can thank me later.

Is There a Ghost

Here is the complete track list:

  1. Is There a Ghost
  2. Ode To LRC
  3. No One's Gonna Love You
  4. Detlef Schrempf
  5. The General Specific
  6. Lamb On The Lam (in the city)
  7. Islands On The Coast
  8. Marry Song
  9. Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
  10. Window Blues
You can pre-order the record (literally, they have the CD and LP version available) through Sub-Pop

Or pick up debut album "Everything All The Time"

Band of Horses
| Band of Horses| Sub-Pop

Featuring The Funeral (video below)

A Fine Frenzy and a Fine Album

I was browsing my local independent music store, the much revered Grimey's (in case you find yourself in Nashville with a need for some new or used music), the other day and taking note of their top sellers. I saw one I didn't immediately recognize, A Fine Frenzy (MySpace), and decided to take a leap of faith. As it turns out, the record is pretty good. The music is the fine work of a 22 year old self taught pianist, Alison Sodul. There is an atmosphere to the songs despite a minimalist approach. Her debut, "One Cell in the Sea," was released in July and so far, she has received some pretty good pub as well as tour experience, including an opening slot for Rufus Wainwright and a spot on VH1's You Oughta Know Tour. The Tori Amos comparisons are inevitable and all you Feist fans might want to give her a listen as well. One cool thing about the new record, is you are granted access to download five demo versions, all of which sound damn fine, and five videos unavailable anywhere else. Here's a little sample.

Almost Lover
Near to You (demo)

And the Director's Cut of the video for Rangers.

Buy the album or songs

A Fine Frenzy
| A Fine Frenzy

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

August 29th is the two year anniversary of one of the saddest and worst catastrophes the modern United States has ever faced. Days later, a city was left in ruin and essentially dead. One of the most vibrant and eclectic cities in this country was destroyed, and for former residents and others who had adopted this great city, New Orleans will never be the same. One thing is for sure, the music is slowly returning and will continue to return. Here's a little taste.

Professor Longhair - Tipitina
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
The Meters - Talkin' 'Bout New Orleans
Dr. John - Basin Street Blues
Buckwheat Zydeco - Cryin' in the Streets
Allen Toussaint - Yes We Can
Randy Newman & the Louisiana Philharmonic - Louisiana 1927

The music above is either from traditional New Orleans musicians or from the benefit disc "Our New Orleans." All net proceeds from sales are going to Habitat for Humanity International to give aid to victims of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. Also, a portion of the proceeds have been earmarked to help house displaced musicians. If you like the songs above, PLEASE buy the album. This isn't something that is going to fatten somebody's wallet, but instead to help people get back on their feet and make sure that the music of New Orleans never stops.

Also, please check out the New Orleans Musician's Relief Fund (MySpace). It is a grassroots organization for displaced musicians and other charitable works. They offer individual downloads for a mere 0.99 cents from artists such as The Kaiser Chiefs (previously unreleased), The Subdudes, and Dr. John. R.E.M. has even graciously donated an exclusive live performance of South Central Rain recorded in Dublin on July 3, 2001. You can also download all 20 tracks for a discounted price. You can also shop for NOMRF Merch.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Seaweed Reunion Slated For Seattle & Florida

Seaweed (MySpace), one of the seminal bands from the heyday of Sub Pop Records is reuniting to play 2 shows in September in Seattle and one more in October in Gainesville, Fl. The band released three full length albums and a final EP on Sub Pop. "Despised" was released in 1991, followed by "Weak" in 1992 and finally "Four" and the EP "Go Your Own Way" in 1993. According to Sub Pop, both "Weak" and "Four" are currently out-of-print, but can be found on Seaweed. The band left for what they thought were greener pastures and released the album "Spanaway" in 1995 on Hollywood Records and then "Actions and Indications" on Merge Records in 1999 before disbanding. Though they never reached the heights of many of their brethren, Seaweed put out consistent hard-edged, yet melodic songs in the vein of Samiam and others and toured extensively including a stint on the Warped Tour.

Stale (Despised)
Stagger (Weak)
Squint (Weak)
Kid Candy (Four)

Seaweed | Seaweed | Seaweed

The full tour is as follows:

  • Sept. 1 High Dive - Seattle, Washington (8:30 P.M.)
  • Sept. 2 EMP Sky Church - Seattle, Washington (9:00 P.M.)
  • Oct. 28 The Fest 6 - Gainesville, Florida (8:00 P.M.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, & Love as Laughter - August 22, 2007 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

Love as LaughterThree bands playing a sold out show at the historic Ryman Auditorium. It just doesn't get much better than that.

It was a fairly late arriving crowd, I'm guilty as well, with the house perhaps 3/4 full for Love as Laughter's (MySpace) set. I had not heard any of their stuff prior to last night, but they were a good opening band on a triple bill. Had I wandered into a club and saw them, I would have been impressed, but had they been the sole opening band for the show, I would have been disappointed, if that makes any sense at all. Overall I enjoyed the short set they played.

Love As Laughter
| Amazon

Band of Horses (MySpace) were up next and I was pretty excited to see what they would bring to the stage. They did not disappoint. They made a solid debut record in "Everything All The Time," and they have built a pretty good reputation as a good live band. It is certainly well earned. They played a couple of new tracks of their forthcoming record, "Cease to Begin," as well as a number of songs from their debut including The Funeral (Tour EP), which is one of those songs that really translated incredibly well on a live stage. They are definitely a band whose music is more remarkable live. I enjoyed the new songs, and I'll definitely pick up the new record on October 9th, but I'll reserve judgment on the new stuff until I can listen to it fully. Regardless of the new record, I'll definitely catch them next time they come around, when they will likely be headlining.

Great Salt Lake (Everything All The Time)
The Funeral (Everything All The Time)

Band of Horses
| Amazon | Sub Pop

Like many, I didn't take notice of Modest Mouse until their ultra-catchy Float On from 2005's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." Naturally, I downloaded (and later purchased) the entire album expecting to find more hook heavy pop-rock. What I found was quite a shock. Instead of more of the same, I found a true rock record with driving beats, smart sarcastic and caustic lyrics just as contradictory as the title of the record. This was no pop band. Honestly though, it wasn't until the release of "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank," earlier this year, that I really began to delve into their back catalog, one that was far more extensive than I expected. What I found was more of the same. While perhaps not quite as radio friendly as their last two releases, the crux of the music is virtually unchanged and that is a very good thing. Their albums aren't just a collection of songs, but instead a communion of songs strong enough to stand on their own as well. This isn't a review of the band and their releases though, its a review of, without question, one of the best rock band I have ever seen live.

Though the wait seemed like an eternity, it well worth it in the end. As the band launched into the new album's opener Invisible, you could literally feel the intensity of the entire room escalate and continued to do so throughout the night. I began the night in complete disbelief that I was going to see Johnny Marr live. Johnny freakin' Marr, co-founder of The Smiths, one-time member of The The, played on several Billy Bragg (MySpace) releases, and now full time member of Modest Mouse. However, I found myself watching singer Isaac Brock most of the night as he dove headfirst into every song throughout their blistering set. The sheer emotion and unrestrained vigor with which he approached each song was nothing short of amazing and energizing. This despite the fact that he spoke infrequently, and frankly, I couldn't understand what he was saying when he did. They played quite a few songs off the new album as well as a number of songs from their older records. Black Cadillacs and Bukowski off of "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" were especially good, as were the opener, Invisible and Little Motel, from the new record. Highlights of their older material were Doin' the Cockroach from 1997's "Lonesome Crowded West" and Paper Thin Walls from 2000's "The Moon & Antarctica," a song in which Brock launched into after telling Marr to choose a fan to request a song, and then not waiting for a response. They closed their set with a torrid version of one of my personal favorites, The View, also off "Good News..."

The encore consisted of a song from each full length release starting with Custom Concern, from their 1996 debut, "This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About." Next came Cowboy Dan, a live rarity, from "Lonesome Crowded West," followed by their hit Float On. They closed the evening with a scathing performance of Spitting Venom from their new record that was extended considerably, including lyrics from I Came as a Rat from "The Moon & Antarctica." The finale lasted well over 10 minutes and I was enthralled for every minute, and sad to see it end. Sad, but completely satisfied. I know, without reservation, that the band put every ounce of energy into this show and it was greatly appreciated by this fan. Below is the full setlist, with a few of the songs linked to their studio releases. Also linked below is a torrent of the show. It was a stealth recording, and it is missing a couple of songs, but given the circumstances (no recording devices of any type allowed, it sounds pretty damn good. I'll keep seeding for a while.

Modestmouse2007-08-22.mk4.wilker.flac16.torrent (click to download)
Thanks to mwilker over at

Invisible (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
Black Cadillacs (Good News for People Who Love Bad News)
Fire it Up
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (extended w/ Isaac rant)
Out of Gas
Missed the Boat
Fly Trapped in a Jar
Little Motel (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
Doin' the Cockroach (The Lonesome Crowded West)
Paper Thin Walls (The Moon & Antarctica)
Satin in a Coffin
The View (Good News for People Who Love Bad News)

Custom Concern (This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About)
Cowboy Dan (The Lonesome Crowded West)
Float On
Spitting Venom (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
I Came as a Rat (The Moon & Antarctica)

Modest Mouse
| Amazon| Modest Mouse

"When we've got ourselves, who needs hell?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Music Festivals Part 1 - Camp Reggae

My fair state of Tennessee will host two music festivals the month of September.

The first, Camp Reggae, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Labor Day weekend, August 31 - September 2. This years festivities will be held on Sassafras Ridge in Turtle Town, TN. Click here for directions. The aim of the festival is to bring people together "under the common banner of reggae music and the love for the outdoors." Enjoy international vendors, Caribbean food, camping & hiking while easy skanking to an eclectic range of musical talent. The festival was conceived by the husband and wife duo Anthony "Jatti" Allen and Sonia "Marla" Allen, better known as the roots rock reggae band, Natti Love Joys, and has grown with each year. Below are three tracks from Natti Love Joys. If you like what you hear, support them and buy the records or songs.

Natti Love Joys | Amazon |

The Valley (ThingZ)
We Gotta Get Along (ThingZ)
Missing You (ThingZ)
At Last (Millenium Bug)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Explosions in the Sky - A Band You Need To Know

If like me your desire to see the Re-Smashing Pumpkins, that is 1/2 of the Smashing Pumpkins, playing live has dwindled since the release of Billy Corgan's latest solo album Zeitgeist, you should do yourself a favor starting in October and go anyway just to see the opening band, Explosions in the Sky. Seriously, the Pumpkins in their prime could blow away most bands on stage, but the quality of the songs have declined, and again, we're only talking about 1/2 of the original lineup. Do yourself a favor and go see Silversun Pickups (Kissing Families")if you want the classic Pumpkins sound.

Enough of that shit though, let's talk Explosions in the Sky (MySpace). What are they? Who are they. Simply, they are a Texas quartet whose setup includes a drum set and three guitars (sometimes two guitars and a bass). Together they are able to create a complex, layered sprawling ring of music that completely envelopes you. I've put together a mix below that I use at work to completely block everything out. And as a note attached to their demo by fellow Texans, the American Analog, said, "This totally f*cking destroys." I can't think of a better way to put it.

A Song For Our Fathers (How Strange, Innocence)

Catastrophe and the Cure (All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone)

First Breath After Coma (The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place)

Have You Passed Through This Night? (Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever)

It's Natural To Be Afraid (All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone)

The Birth and Death of the Day (All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone)

The Moon is Down (Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever)

The Only Moment We Were Alone (The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place)

Welcome, Ghosts (All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone)

Your Hand in Mine (The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place)

A Poor Man's Memory (Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever)
Explosions In The Sky | Explosions in the Sky | Explosions In The Sky

Here are the remaining tour dates:
Aug 5 @ Virgin Festival, Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, MD
Sep 8 @ Oshega Festival, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, QC
Sep 9 @ Virgin Festival, Toronto Island Park, Toronto, ON
Sep 22 @ Wall of Sound Festival, Fort Worth, TX
Oct 11 @ LC Pavillion, Columbus, OH w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 13 @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 15 @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 16 @ Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 19 @ Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 21 @ Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 22 @ Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 25 @ Mud Island Amphitheatre, Memphis, TN w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 30 @ Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Oct 31 @ Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA w/ The Smashing Pumpkins
Nov 5 @ Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN w/ The Smashing Pumpkins