Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Avett Brothers - Carolina Jubilee [2003]

I feel a bit guilty passing along too much by a single artist for copyright reasons, but I want to post more by the Avett Brothers, who I'm listening to constantly in the past couple of weeks. This album is a bit different from The Gleam, which I posted earlier. It's more upbeat and bluegrass/country influenced, but it still has a number of Gleam-esque ballads on it, lovelorn or otherwise. My favorite songs so far are "Love Like the Movies" "Sorry Man" "Pretty Girl from Locust"(!) "My Song to Jenny" (!) "The D Bag Rag" and "Smoke in Our Lights" (!).

Also, I've been listening to their newest album "Emotionalism." I've gotta say I don't think it's as good as some of their previous albums and a lot of people have raved about it, which confuses me. It's still worth a listen though, there are a few great songs on there. Here is Carolina Jubilee

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Seinfeld Writes About George Carlin

Here is a link to an op-ed in the NY Times that Jerry Seinfeld wrote about George Carlin. I liked George Carlin pretty well from what I knew of him. He seemed like a genuine and funny man and it's always sad to see a person like that go. Seinfeld's article is a nice tribute to him --

Ratatat - LP3 [2008]

Considering that their last 2 albums, "Classics" and "Ratatat", are of the utmost quality and are albums I've regularly listened to for a couple of years, I am looking forward to getting into this, Ratatat's newest, unreleased album "LP3".

I've listened through it once and in terms of instrumentation its pretty experimental. Whereas it seemed to me that on both of their last two albums they used almost exclusively guitars and synthezers-- and with rather consistent synthesizer settings-- on this one they seem to use all sorts of new sounds (most still synthesized, but quite different from those used previously). They experiment a bit more with style and rhythm as well. They're definitely branching out a bit but don't seem to be going downhill at all. Get this album here.

Request - Dead Man Soundtrack (Neil Young)

Does anyone have the Dead Man Soundtrack which is all guitar instrumental songs by Neil Young?

Monday, June 16, 2008

1 Week Hiatus

Zak is out of the country for a few weeks and I am leaving home for a week. By the way, I am living in Novosibirsk, Russia-- the so-called capital of Siberia-- for the year. And I'm headed to the nearby Altai Mountains, which are famous here as one of the most beautiful places in all of Russia. Here's a picture. Anyway, there won't be any posts for 1 week until I get back. In the meantime, don't give up on us.

Devon Sproule - Upstate Songs [2003]

Devon Sproule is a great folk singer from Virginia. Her music is influenced by bluegrass and jazz. She has been featured on NPR and other similar programs. She is a brilliant musician and songwriter, and a nice person-- I met her one day and she played with my baby nephew most of the afternoon. This is her best album, I highly recommend it. Download it here

The Avett Brothers - The Gleam (EP) [2006]

This is something I learned of recently from my sister, who always seems to know just what I would like. I am more excited about this music than I have been about any other music in the last year. This 6 song EP is just brilliant, beautiful, rough, simple. Listen to it and let me know what you think. Am I going crazy or is this as amazing as I think it is?

Download the album here (this is not my link, but this is where I downloaded it. If it breaks in the future please leave a comment and I'll upload it myself to ensure it works.).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Farewell for 5 weeks

hello all, this is zak. I am going to Europe with a friend for about 5 weeks and wont be taking the laptop with me, luckily for you Dusty will still be posting stuff, and also expect a huge gift when i get back (i am planning to upload the entire Dylan catalogue), anyways enjoy and thanks for the comments (both positive and negative). Heres a itinerary of where in Europe of where we are gonna be, so if you live in these towns and see two poor looking Americans, feed us and let us use your shower, haha.

scratch nuremburg and milan, were going to Rome, Genoa, and Geneva instead..

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time (Demo's)

I found these 4 tracks on the old Band Of Horses website. Three of the songs are pretty rough but beautiful demo versions of songs that appeared on their first album. The titles are a little different but Bass Song later became "Our Swords", For Wicked Gil became "Wicked Gil" and of course "Funeral" is know. The final song didn't appear on the album or anything they have done since its title "I Lost My Dingle On The Red Line". These are quite unusual to the studio produced songs, but I love these songs a lot. The songs are a lot less rocking, Funeral especially is a lot slower, but equally powerful. Enjoy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sigur Rós - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust

I was so glad this leaked in the past day, I was really looking forward to this album, after listening to the single. I havent heard the entire thing, I am about 5 songs in, but their are some significant changes. First of all is of course the upbeat sound, which apparently is because of a less strict way of making the music (an experiment the band tried for the album). The style shows as the music moves quicker, making the way you listen to Sigur Rós different. As opposed to deep thinking, imagining or creating what the song is about in a trance. The songs hit hard but quickly. I very much like what I have heard so far, and look forward to listening to the rest. Here.

Destroyer - 2 albums, one new one old

Dan Bejar is an off-and-on member of The New Pornographers. The band Destroyer is his solo project, which has been around for upwards of 12 years and 10 albums already and, in fact, has become Dan Bejar's primary work. Destroyer is essentially the unfettered, wild creativity of Bejar, who probably felt a bit restless in his indie supergroup and wanted to have complete control over something. This is evident in the entire catalogue of Destroyer's music, which is chaotic and experimental, but always possesses Bejar's peculiarities -- a nasally, Bob Dylan-esque voice, strange, beautiful and cryptic lyrics, often with very innovative rhyme schemes. To me, Bejar is a poet first and a musician second, in the ranks of other very literary singer-songwriters such as Joanna Newsom, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. Certainly Bejar's voice, which is extremely nasally (but good for it) and singing style are reminiscent of Dylan.

To Destroyer fans, this isn't fresh off the presses or anything, but this is the newest Destroyer album, Trouble in Dreams, released earlier this year. I am still absorbing it myself. I would say it is, like many of the Destroyer albums, very hit or miss-- containing several wonderful songs and a few duds. Overall this album seems like it is going to be a worthwhile one. Get it here.

Listening to this got me back into his older albums. This is my favorite of his albums, which also happens to be fairly rare from what I can tell (no one I know has it for some reason). I found it at a good record store. Anyway, it's his 2001 release, Streethawk: A Seduction. Of the Destroyer albums I've heard, it is the most complete, with almost every song being a memorable one. Download it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

M. Ward - Early Demo's

This was posted by a reader a little while ago, thank you kind person. I really enjoy these songs, as I do all of Ward's work. As I have stated with many artists, its always a joy to hear their early work and see the progression of the music. With most bands the early work seems to be the most sincere and from then on the pool gets more shallow. Its not an inditement on the artists, but its hard to keep breaking new musical ground as well as new subject matter. Ward fits with the few artists who get better and better as time goes on. With that said this is must listen for almost everybody, and especially for lifer Ward fans like myself. Here.

J D Salinger: "Catcher" and "Franny and Zooey"

As I am holed up in my apartment in Siberia with a large amount of free time, I've been re-reading a lot of my favorite books from high school and college. I could not have been happier to revisit "The Catcher in the Rye," which rang as true to me today as it did 6 years ago when I was in my last year of high school. I also read another J D Salinger book--or more accurately, 2 interwoven short stories--"Franny and Zooey" not long ago. So, recently I have been thinking a bit about the author of both of these works. And considering Salinger didn't write much else-- the third and final essential Salinger book is apparently "9 Stories" which I haven't gotten to yet-- I've read the better part of his major works and could say a few words about him.

Firstly, I was struck by the difference in style between "Catcher in the Rye" and "Franny and Zooey." The plain-spoken, 1940s slang-infused narration is what "Catcher in the Rye" is probably most known for. The story is told from the point of view of a young guy, 16 years old, who has just been kicked out of yet another prep school for failing classes and general apathy. While the ideas in this book are deep and sincere, their presentation isn't very elevated or complex. It's more or less about this young guy questioning everything and seeing through the falsity in people and the choices they make in life. This is something all adults can relate to, which is why I think this book is so popular. The story is told as if a nice but half-educated kid were talking to you in the street, telling in stream of consciousness fashion his various thoughts about life and recalling mundane anecdotes from the past. His peculiar way of speaking offsets all of the negativity and makes it fun to read.

"Franny and Zooey" deals with some of the same themes as "Catcher" and so it is not difficult to see, thematically, how Salinger went from one to the other. But the language and level of dialogue in Franny and Zooey is remarkably different. It is strikingly sophisticated. These stories consist primarily of a few long speeches and rants made by their young protagonists, Franny and Zooey, who are both supposed geniuses that are going through some sort of existential crisis. The language is brilliant and manic--it feels like Salinger had been drinking too much coffee. The atmosphere is one of ivy league schools and elite intellectual circles. This book has quite a different flavor than "Catcher in the Rye." Overall, I would say that "Catcher in the Rye" is rightly considered Salinger's greatest masterpiece. "Franny and Zooey" contains several brilliant moments, but as a whole fails to leave you with a feeling of a complete story or much of an overall philosophical impact. But still it is very much worth reading, especially to see a completely different side to Salinger's writing style.

J D Salinger himself is, according to Internet sources, still alive, although already 89 years old. He has led an unusual life. He achieved fame at 32 with "The Catcher in the Rye" in 1951. He published "Franny and Zooey" together as a unit in 1961. The last thing he published was in 1965 before he became reclusive and stopped trying to publish his works. This means he hasn't published anything in a full 43 years. Wow. Allegedly, he still writes to this day but only 'for himself'. Maybe this wealth of literature will be released one day to the public after his death. To me, it is interesting to think of "Catcher in the Rye" and "Franny and Zooey" as largely autobiographical works, which show the development of Salinger himself growing up as a brilliant, disenchanted man in society. One can easily see Holden Caufield or Franny and Zooey Glass giving up on society and moving to a remote log cabin somewhere, composing brilliant novels and never publishing them.

The Smiths - Meat is Murder (1985)

Meat is Murder is one of The Smiths' better and more cohesive albums. It contains the ubiquitous "How Soon is Now" hit, but more notable to me are the more heartfelt and edgy "That Joke Isn't Funny Any More," "Nowhere Fast," and "I Want the One I Can't Have."

The Smiths - Troy Tate Sessions (1983)

First, a few words about The Smiths. I could gush effusively about The Smiths as they are probably my favorite band. But if I did, there would be 50 different angles from which I'd want to approach the topic, and 50 little things I'd want to say about them that most people couldn't care less about. Besides, most of you probably know your fair share about The Smiths already. So in short, they are a British band that existed from 1982 to 1987. The band was the brain child of Stephen Morrissey (aka Morrissey or Moz) and, arguably to a lesser extent, guitarist Johnny Marr. The Smiths have been cited as a major influence for countless bands and are considered one of the biggest cult bands in rock history. Their music often combines upbeat pop melodies with dark, sardonic lyrics. Songs like "Cemetary Gates" and "Girlfriend in a Coma" embody this unusual combination.

The Smiths' music is certainly diverse, especially if one considers Morrissey's solo career. And although I get a lot out of their entire catalog, I would say that my favorite Smiths' moments are usually in those songs where they sing in disgruntled fashion about poverty or everyday life in Manchester--songs like "Nowhere Fast" and "Jeane". Their earlier albums tend to have more of this type of material, while the later songs are more polished songs about love or something political, each with its own loftier theme. Maybe I just like to imagine The Smiths as an unambitious local band, just starting out in Manchester, rather than the icons they became.

The album I'm posting here, "The Troy Tate Sessions," has an interesting history. The Smiths' first album was self-titled and released in 1984. They recorded this album multiple times. The first recording was done with producer Troy Tate, but this version of the album was ultimately scrapped for political reasons or something to that effect. The bootleg of this first attempt at the record is commonly known as "The Troy Tate Sessions." I like this version better than the more polished "The Smiths" which was ultimately chosen to be the release. Troy Tate Sessions is more lo-fi. It has two b-sides on it that didn't make it on "The Smiths". These songs happen to be my favorite songs on the album (not just because they are rare, they are just really good) and a couple of my favorite overall Smiths songs: Wonderful Woman and Jeane. I can't recommend these songs and this album as a whole enough. Get it here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tall Tales And The Silver Lining - Earthling

A couple months ago I uploaded two songs from Tall Tales EP "Earthling". Well now I will offer the entire thing. This is a great little 6 song EP. This is for any fans of contemporary Americana music, fans of Carrissa's Wierd, Iron & Wine, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy will really love this stuff. Notable songs are Winged Spirit, Highway Song, and Sister And Mother. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Furnace Mountain - Fly the River

This group from Virginia is surprisingly unknown outside small groups of ardent lovers of bluegrass and traditional Appalachian music. It's surprising because they have the sort of talent and distinct sound that one would expect to garner national attention, if not by big labels then at least by specialized music programs like NPR's World Cafe and others. Probably the reason this band isn't more famous is that they don't pursue it. (They don't even have a page on Wikipedia, who doesn't have one of those these days?) They mostly stay in Virginia and surrounding states, playing small bluegrass festivals. I saw them at one such festival and was able to immediately like their music, something which I can't normally do. I generally have to let things sink in slowly.

This is the 2nd of their 3 albums and is my favorite. Just listen to the track "Love is Pleasing" to sample the kind of spooky, brilliant vocal harmonies this group creates. The instrumentation consists primarily of fiddle, acoustic bass and guitar. On the instrumental songs, the sound is scratchy and raucous. And on the ballads, it blends well with the vocals and provides drifting interludes and trills. This is a great summertime album for enjoying sunny weekend days. Download it here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu

This is by far my favorite CSNY album. The whole damn album is just basically a classic, every one should already own this album, but for the sorry SOB's that don't this one is for you. Notable songs are (the gorgeous) Our House, Teach Your Children, Almost Cut My Hair, and Woodstock. Here.

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Demo's)

Here are the promised YHF demo's. Im sure we all know about the journey YHF took to become Wilco's best selling album. YHF was also their first album with Jim O'Rourke (a musical genius in his own right). So its interesting to hear what alternative idea's he had for an album that would later change/create a new sound for alternative rock. Here.