Sunday, December 20, 2009

Top Albums of 2009

All in all, it was not a good year in music. I am sick of the lo-fi, weird music being popular. Take me back to the days when the Shins, Arcade Fire, and Modest Mouse were hot ticket items.

15. Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels
14. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
13. Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound
12. Son Volt - American Central Dust
11. Passion Pit - Manners
10. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
9. The Thermals - Now We Can See
8. The Felice Brothers - Yonder is the Clock
7. Julian Casablancas - Phrazes of Youth
6. The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy
5. Monsters of Folk - S/T
4. Wilco - The Album
3. Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day
2. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Very very close second)


1. Avett Brothers - I and Love and You - I thought I was going to hate this album, but ended up loving it. So different from their old stuff, but in some strange, weird way, I love it. It's cheesy at times, but at the same time, those times are amazing.




I would love to see your top ten:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Top 60 Albums of the Decade

Copycat or not, might as well take my stab at the top albums of the decade. I figure the listeners like me (who don't buy into the lo-fi, rap, or psych electro music that Pitchfork tries to cram down our throat) need a voice. Here it is. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments or your top album list. I tried to limit the same artists to two albums.


60. The RAA - Hometowns

59. Dan Bern - Breathe

58. The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy

57. Kings of Leon - Youth and Youth Manhood

56. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

55. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

54. Interpol - Antics

53. The Go Team - Thunder Lightning Strike

52. Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards

51. Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

50. Dan Bern - New American Language

49. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

48. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

47. Trampled By Turtles - Trouble

46. The Strokes - Is This It?

45. Air - Talkie Walkie

44. Spoon - Gimme Fiction

43. Ryan Adams - Gold

42. Wilco - The Album

41. The Avett Brothers - Emotionalism

40. Sigur Ros - ( )

39. Richard Buckner - The Hill

38. Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak

37. Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway

36. The Strokes - Room On Fire

35. Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary

34. The Mountain Goats - Sunset Tree

33. Conor Oberst - S/T

32. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

31. John Vanderslice - Cellar Door

30. Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dark Place

29. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

28. Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

27. Modest Mouse - Moon and Antarctica

26. Vampire Weekend - S/T

25. Belle and Sebastian - The Boy with the Arab Strap

24. The Felice Brothers - Tonight at the Arizona

23. Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight

22. Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day

21. My Morning Jacket - Z

20. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine

19. Fleet Foxes - S/T

18. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News

17. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

16. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow

15. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

14. The National - Boxer

13. My Morning Jacket - At Dawn

12. Drive By Truckers - Dirty South

11. The Postal Service - Give Up

10. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

9. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time

8. Bright Eyes - Lifted...

7. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

6. Deer Tick - War Elephant

5. The Felice Brothers - Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. 1

4. Arcade Fire - Funeral

3. Sigur Ros -- Agaetis Byrjun

2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - S/T

1. The National - Alligator

Friday, October 16, 2009

Streaming Ben and Jay

NPR is streaming Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar's new album, One Fast Move Or I'm Gone: Music From Kerouac's Big Sur due out October 20th.

New Felice Brothers Mixtape/newish CD


Check it out. BUY HERE FOR 10 bucks.

1. Forever Green
2. Ahab
3. White Limo
4. Let Me Come Home
5. The Captain’s Wife
6. Indian Massacre
7. Old Song
8. Marie
9. Marlboro Man

Monday, October 05, 2009

New Music Tuesday

The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park

Built to Spill - There is No Enemy

Noah and the Whale - First Day of Spring

The Clientele - Bonfires on the Heath

Air - Love 2

Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Releases

New Avett Brothers and new Langhorne Slim out this week.

Also, new albums from the Swell Season and Zero 7.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Releases and Live Shows Updated

Upcoming Releases and Live Shows Updated on sidebar.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Strange Collaboration: Farrar, Gibbard

Death Volt

From Rolling Stone:

Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Son Volt frontman Jay Farrar have teamed up for a set of original music inspired by Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur. The music will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the cult author entitled One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur. Gibbard and Farrar, who began working on music for the project in 2007, used Kerouac’s own Big Sur prose for the song’s lyrics.

Both the documentary and its soundtrack, featuring 12 new songs from Gibbard and Farrar, will be released on October 20th, the 40th anniversary of Kerouac’s death. The doc will also feature appearances from both Gibbard and Farrar, as well as rock poet laureate and “living god” Tom Waits, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith and playwright Sam Shepard. One Fast Move Or I’m Gone will be released as a stand-alone album, a CD/DVD combo featuring the doc or a special edition with the CD/DVD, a 40-page book and a copy of Kerouac’s Big Sur.

As Rock Daily previously reported, Gibbard is a well-known follower of Kerouac’s works: On 2008’s Narrow Stairs, the track “Bixby Canyon Bridge” is filled with references to the Beat Generation author — Gibbard actually composed songs for the album while staying in the cabin Kerouac wrote about in Big Sur — and both We Have The Facts and We’re Voting Yes’s “Title Track” and “Lowell, MA” feature lyrics penned in the style of Kerouac (Lowell, Massachussets was Kerouac’s hometown.)

Check out the soundtrack’s track list below:

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone
1. “California Zephyr”
2. “Low Life Kingdom”
3. “Willamine”
4. “All In One”
5. “Breathe Our Iodine”
6. “These Roads Don’t Move”
7. “Big Sur”
8. “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone”
9. “Final Horrors”
10. “Sea Engines”
11. “The Void”
12. “San Francisco”

Friday, August 28, 2009

(Not So) Monthly Playlist/Mixtape

1. Wilco - I'll Fight
2. The Cave Singers - Hen of the Woods
3. Sigur Ros - Olsen olsen
4. Mott the Hoople - Henry and the H-Bomb
5. Uncle Tupelo - Effigy
6. The Low Anthem - The Horizon is a Beltway
7. Son Volt - No Turning Back
8. Deer Tick - Smith Hill
9. Kudzu Kings - Amsterdam
10. Modest Mouse - Satellite Skin
11. Yim Yames - Love You To
12. Bob Dylan - Mississippi
13. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DEER TICK and SON VOLT PLAYING AT LYRIC IN OXFORD, MS (not on same date)

One of my favorite acts Deer Tick is playing at the Lyric in Oxford, MS on Wednesday October 14, 2009. I am fired up!!!


Son Volt is playing Son Volt on Saturday November 7, 2009 (Northern Arizona Game) at 8:00 PM

The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy



I recently got The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy off of emusic, and I am truly impressed. They sound a bit like Ryan Adams or David Gray, but a touch more rough around the edges sound like Langhorne Slim or Lucero. Alt-Country fans should enjoy. The instrumentation contains catchy guitar riffs licks, yet it maintains simplicity and a crispy sound.



Hail from: Seattle, WA
Websites: Myspace; Bandsite
Sounds Like: Ryan Adams, David Gray, Langhorne Slim
Shows Coming Up:
Sep 23 2009 8:00P
Hi- Tone cafe Memphis, Tennessee
Sep 24 2009 8:00P
The Bottletree Birmingham, Alabama


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oxford Music Updates

Thank you sir may I have another.

Drive By Truckers at the Lyric Friday, October 23 (Ole Miss v. Arkansas) weekend.

The Felice Brothers at Proud Larry's Saturday, September 19 (Ole Miss v. SE Louisiana weekend)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New Releases and Amazon Deals

New Releases this past week:

Modest Mouse - EP No One's First and You're Next


















Simone Felice's The Duke and The King release Nothing Gold Can Stay (on emusic)















Throw Me the Statue releases Creaturesque. (on emusic) (3.99 on Amazon MP3)



















Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band



















Jim James or his moniker Yim Yames' EP Tribute To (George Harrison)



















Yacht - See Mystery Lights (on emusic)






















Amazon 50 for $5.00 including Phoenix's new one, Sunset Rubdown's new one, Simon and Garfunkle, Radiohead, David Bowie, and Dirty Projectors, etc.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Deer Tick Mp3's (Dead Flowers, et al.)

Deer Tick - Dead Flowers from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.



Great Stuff

Oh, and Download the whole session on mp3 and also watch here.

Deer Tick - Houston, TX
Deer Tick - These Old Shoes
Deer Tick - The Dance Of Love
Deer Tick - Dirty Dishes
Deer Tick - Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones cover)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Amazon MP3 Daily Deal

7/28 Daily Deal: the Dodos' Time to Die, available exclusively @amazonmp3 a week early. Today's price: $2.99. http://bit.ly/AMP3

Monday, July 27, 2009

Avett Brothers on Daytrotter


The Avett Brothers do a session on Daytrotter and play a new song off of the upcoming I and You and Love. Also, an unreleased, one off of Four Thieves, and one off Emotionalism.

Laundry Room
Lover Like You
More of You
Paranoia in B Major

Download the session free and legal at link above.


Also, The Thermals stopped by with:

I Let It Go
I Can't Let Go
You Dissolve

All you have to do is sign up your email and he sends like one email a week. Then, you will have access to a ton of free and legal tunes by great bands like the ones above and Deer Tick, Dent May, Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Felice Brothers, The Hold Steady, etc. Check out this amazing resource.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Latest Listens

There has not been a real plethora of new tunes lately. However, I will impart my opinions on what has been released.

Wilco - The Album
I am a huge fan of Wilco's latest release. I must say I was not expecting much after Sky Blue Sky. However, it exceeded my expectations. "One Wing" and "I'll Fight" have been battling for my top song spot on the album. I do love the "Can't Stand It"-esque "Wilco the Song." I would highly recommend checking it out.

Passion Pit - Manners
Although I am not a huge fan of the electro pop fad, this album is better than the average Pitchfork-approved. "Moth's Wings" and "Little Secrets" are the highlights.

Deer Tick - Born On Flag Day
One of my favorite bands Deer Tick delivers again on their sophomore album. I am still debating on whether it is as good as War Elephant. It is certainly worth a place in your collection. Opener "Easy" is a scruffy ole number that sets the tone for Deer Tick's rough around the edges sound. It will no doubt have you singing "You Don't Know..." "Hell on Earth" is another top track. Great album.

White Rabbits - It's Frightening
I have given these guys another chance, and I am just not that impressed. I mean it is decent, but nothing special. Their music is so monotonous to me. I get bored so quickly. If you are questioning them after hearing the samples, do not buy it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival Streaming

Pitchfork Music Festival is streaming over at Pitchfork. Schedule for today is:

SUNDAY JULY 19
1:00 The Mae Shi
1:45 Frightened Rabbit
2:30 Blitzen Trapper
3:20 Pharoahe Monch
4:15 The Thermals
5:15 The Walkmen
6:15 M83
7:25 Grizzly Bear
8:40 The Flaming Lips

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Jim James Track

Monsters of Folk: Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and Jim James new band has its first track available for stream/download. Go Here.

News Bytes

Stream new Modest Mouse song: "History Sticks to Your Feet"

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Alec Ounsworth is going solo and putting out a record Mo Beauty on October 20 on Anti- Records. The album was recorded in NOLA with a bunch of funky folks like George Porter, etc.

The Strokes' Julian Casablancas also debuts his solo project called The Phrazes for the Young LP.


Stream
the whole Dodo's new album, Thanks to Grit Music for the heads up.


Wilco and Feist on Letterman:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wilco with Feist on Letterman

Tonight, July 14th, Wilco with Feist on Letterman!

Monday, July 13, 2009

MP3 Daily Deal

Explosions in the Sky - How Strange Innocence on Amazon MP3 for $1.99, today only.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New Music Tuesday


Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

This is a re-release on a major label (Saddle Creek). As a lot of you already know, this is a wonderful album.







Son Volt - American Central Dust

The blogs love it, Pitchfork hated it, but then again, who doesn't take what Pitchfork says with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to alt-country.

Son Volt's website proclaims ACD is more in line with Trace.


















Avett Brothers EP - I and Love and You

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Music Tuesday

Wilco - The Album. I dig.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Monsters of Folk - Album out September 22, 2009

Monsters of Folk, a project with Conor Oberst, Jim James (or Yim Yames), M Ward, and Mike Mogis, will be out September 22, 2009.

Also, Yim Yames (Jim James new doppleganger) is releasing a tribute album to George Harrison.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Music Tuesday

Good Tuesday from two of my favorite bands.

Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day. Also, catch Deer Tick on Daytrotter. Available on emusic.



















Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar. Available on emusic.















From Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch. God Help the Girl - S/T. Available on emusic.




















Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer. Available on emusic.



















Regina Spektor - Far

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mixtape

Mostly new tunes on this one, but there are a few oldies.

1. How We Fade - The Thermals
2. Furr - Blitzen Trapper
3. Boy From Lawrence County - The Felice Brothers
4. Summertime Clothes - Animal Collective
5. Manhattan - Kings of Leon
6. Donde Esta La Playa - The Walkmen
7. Colorado Girl - Steve Earle
8. Dream On - Mister Baby
9. Moth's Wings - Passion Pit
10.Tightrope - Yeasayer
11.The Mountain - Heartless Bastards
12.Paper Planes - M.I.A.
13.Tornadoes - Drive By Truckers
14.Love You All - Cloud Cult

Monday, June 08, 2009

Avett Brothers at Lyric

Avett Brothers are playing at the Lyric in Oxford, MS, Tuesday, September 22.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jay Bennet (fomerly of Wilco) Dies

See full story at Stereogum. . Its really strange because I recently read that he was suing Jeff Tweedy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Modest Mouse Tunes

Satellite Skin



Check out "Guilty Cocker Spaniels" at Stereogum

New Music Tuesday


John Vanderslice - Romanian Names i listened to it on stream and was impressed. Reminiscent of Cellar Door. Stream It is also available on emusic.








Iron and Wine- Around the Well a 2-CD collection of rarities and unreleased material.




















Also,
Passion Pit's Manners

White Rabbits' It's Frightening

Streams (of above two)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stream the new Wilco Album and John Vanderslice


Stream the new Wilco Album. Thanks to Grit Music for the heads up!
I haven't really discussed this, but Wilco is naming their album Wilco (the album) first of all, it better be good if you are naming it that. There is also a song called Wilco (the song)...talk about egos, geez.

Also stream the new John Vanderslice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Release Tuesday


Steve Earle's tribute to Townes Van Zandt Townes is available at Amazon Mp3 for a mere $2.99!

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Music Tuesday


Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - Outer South

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Latest Listens

The Thermals - Now We Can See

The Felice Brothers - Yonder is the Clock

Kings of Leon - Only By the Night

Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound

Songs:

The Thermals - How We Fade, Now We Can See, When I Died, At the Bottom of the Sea

The Felice Brothers - The Boy From Lawrence County, Run Chicken Run, Chicken Wire, Penn Station

Kings of Leon - Manhattan, Use Somebody, Sex on Fire

Blind Pilot- One Red Thread, The Story I Heard, Oveida

M.I.A. - Paper Planes (from Slumdog Millionaire)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

News: Conor, KOL, and New Bluegrass

A free documentary is avaiable about Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes HERE.

Also, Rolling Stones lists the new Bluegrass bands to watch. HERE

Rolling Stone lists essential Kings of Leon songs: HERE

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moment of Clarity Songs Mixtape Volume 4


See original post regarding the Moment of Clarity Mix.









1. Raining At Sunset - Chris Thile
2. One Big Holiday - My Morning Jacket
3. The State I Am In - Belle & Sebastian
4. In This Home On Ice - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
5. Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
6. Gold Soundz - Pavement
7. Sleep The Clock Around - Belle & Sebastian
8. The Rat - The Walkmen
9. Shine A Light - Wolf Parade
10. This Year - The Mountain Goats
11. San Antonio Burning - The Felice Brothers
12. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
13. John Allyn Smith Sails - Okkervil River

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wilco Tickets for Thursday in Oxford

One of my friends has four extra tickets for the sold out Wilco on Thursday in Oxford, MS at the Lyric. Let me know if you are interested. He is selling them for what he paid when he ordered them from the Lyric. (I think $35/piece).

Also, FYI: Robert Earl Keen is playing at the Lyric on Friday Night!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Deer Tick due June 23rd


One of my favorite bands Deer Tick releases a new album Born on Flag Day on June 23rd!!! I'm quite excited.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Son Volt coming in July.

I am kind of over Son Volt, but this sounds somewhat promising.

From their website:

SON VOLT RETURNS WITH 'AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST,' OUT JULY 7th ON ROUNDER RECORDS

Son Volt returns with ‘American Central Dust,’ out July 7 on Rounder Records, a plaintive 12-song collection that recalls the melodic succinctness of the band’s debut album ‘Trace.’ After the musical experimentation of 2007’s ‘The Search, ’ ‘American Central Dust,’ the band’s first album on Rounder, refines the band’s robust sound. Fiddle, pedal steel, lap steel and sparkling piano add an atmospheric nuance to Son Volt’s Americana inspired rock, surrounding band leader Jay Farrar’s stream of consciousness lyrical imagery.

Album highlights include; the rootsy shuffle of album opener “Dynamite,” on which Farrar declares “this love is like celebrating the 4th of July with dynamite,” the tremolo soaked rocker “Down To The Wire,’ the gorgeous, piano led “Cocaine And Ashes,” an empathetic tribute to Keith Richards, references a man who’s “the same as everyone, just kind of lucky,” and ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’-esque rocker “No Turning Back.”

When asked about signing to the new label, Farrar said "Rounder has shown a long term commitment to music forms, like folk and blues, that I have a lot of respect for. Going with Rounder has been a kind of a full circle continuum -- the first Rounder person I met with was instrumental in booking Uncle Tupelo gigs years ago"

‘American Central Dust’ features Jay Farrar (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Dave Bryson (drums), Andrew Duplantis (bass guitar, backing vocals), Chris Masterson (lead guitar), Mark Spencer (keyboards, steel guitar). Son Volt’s national tour begins in July.

‘AMERICAN CENTRAL DUST’ tracklist:
1. Dynamite, 2. Down To The Wire, 3. Roll On, 4. Cocaine And Ashes, 5. Dust Of Daylight, 6. When The Wheels Don’t Move, 7. No Turning Back, 8. Pushed Too Far, 9. Exiles, 10. Sultana, 11. Strength And Doubt, 12. Jukebox of Steel

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Moment of Clarity Songs Mixtape Volume 3


See original post regarding the Moment of Clarity Mix.










1. HoppĆ­polla - Sigur Ros
2. Neverending Math Equation - Sun Kil Moon
3. Anything You Want - Spoon
4. Let's Not Shi+ Ourselves - Bright Eyes
5. Black Fur - Fredrik
6. The Shining - Badly Drawn Boy
7. All The Wine - The National
8. Two - Ryan Adams
9. Phantom Lamb - The Shins
10. Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
11. The Geese Of Beverly Road - The National
12. The Funeral - Band Of Horses
13. The Wolves (Act I and II) - Bon Iver

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Amazon Mp3 Deals

Today's special: Dr. Dog's Fate.
Everyday low price: $7.99
Today's price: $1.99

Also,
Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP (which is amazing) is only 99 cents!! HERE

Monday, April 06, 2009

New Music Tuesday

Great week of music. I can strongly recommend:



The Felice Brothers - Yonder Is the Clock STREAM

















The Thermals - Now We Can See (on emusic)
















The Hold Steady - A Positive Rage (Live Album) STREAM (on emusic)





















Arcade Fire - Mirror Noir DVD

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Great Alt-Country Post






With the recent death (last year's) of the great No Depression magazine, I felt it was certainly a ripe time to bring forth "The Great Alt-Country Post," basically to tip my hat to such an influential and amazing genre. I will take you through the birth of my personal alt-country beginning and welcome you to share with the readers your experience as well.

Notwithstanding that I felt the death of the genre was inevitable, I believe it is still alive and kicking today. Maybe not with the prowess it once had, but certainly with a significant amount of dignity to the pioneers of it. I aim to tell you something you don't already know about alt-country and more importantly introduce you to some new tunes.

The only place I know where to start is the birth of the one and only Uncle Tupelo. The band started with the "divine" meeting of Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy in Belleville, Illinois, a quaint little town, I visited around three years ago. The name sprang from a cartoon a buddy drew of a fat Elvis, born in Tupelo, MS, sitting on a chair. As Greg Kot writes in the masterpiece Wilco: Learning How to Die, the name was further confirmed by two nouns, one being Elvis' birthplace, on a page that sounded great together. At the outset, I would highly recommend this book. Go here to buy it for a mere $11.20.

The band released the monumental album No Depression in 1990, which combined the country twang of Johnny Cash juxtaposed with the head-bobbing punk of the Ramones. The back porch favorite "Screen Door," and brutally honest "Whiskey Bottle" would bloom into a sub-culture uncharted previously. The band would go on the release three more official albums.
Still Feel Gone
in 1991 with gems like the beautiful "Still Be Around," the clever "Gun," and class song-esque "Looking For a Way Out."
March 16-20 i
n 1992 with folkies like speak-for-itself "Moonshiner," moving yet puzzling "Black Eye," and gorgeous protest song "Criminals."
The band's last album Anodyne in 1993 contained tightened tracks like legend nodding "Acuff Rose," masterpiece "Fifteen Keys," and violin induced "Slate."

As certain as death and taxes is the inevitable break-up of an epic band, especially one with more than one lead vocalist. Both bands, Son Volt and Wilco, continued with their created genre. With the first release, Son Volt won the true to life underground battle of the bands. Son Volt's Trace was the beginning point for me. I would venture to say probably my most influential album. Banjo, lap steel, and fiddle made up the release. Jeff Tweedy and Wilco's first album, although a great album, certainly did not have the effect Trace did on UT beloved followers. However, with each release, the respective bands shied away from their creation - the alt-country genre. Slowly each twangy instrument disappeared. Son Volt would release Trace (1995) with gems like "Windfall," "Drown," and "Tear-Stained Eye", and Straightaways (1997) with high points "No More Parades," "Back Into Your World," and "Last Minute Shakedown", by the band's third release the country in alt-country was diminished to more of a form of rock. With Wilco, AM brought sounds of banjo, lap steel, and fiddle with banjo kicking (a song I love but apparently Tweedy hates)"I Thought I Held You," almost comical but catchy "Passenger Side," and "I Must be High." With Wilco's sophomore release Being There, the band had begun its ascent out of alt-country. BT did show a few dying calls of the genre with classics like banjo doused "Forget the Flowers," steel guitar whining "Far, Far Away," and "What's the World Got in Store." By the band's next release, any country hints were under the bridge.

On the cusp of Uncle Tupelo's belligerent break-up, North Carolina's Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary formed the band Whiskeytown. WT released Faithless Street in 1995 which included such stout tracks as "Midway Park," "Black Arrow, Bleeding Heart," and "If He Can't Have You." Two years later brought WT's first major label debut Stranger's Almanac which, in my opinion, is their most important and enthralling work. With the first pluck of the guitar on opening track "Inn Town," I was hooked. The song then slowly winds through your whole soul, somehow evoking a familiar relation to you and each perfect-timed instrument and harmony. Of course, number two blasts out the gate with banjo, steel, and fiddle with the catchy "Excuse Me if I Break My Own Heart." Other notes are gut-wrenching "Houses on the Hill," sing-a-long "16-days," and "Dancing with the Women."
Adams and Cary next released their swan song Pnuemonia that some claim is their masterpiece. Although I thoroughly enjoy the album, I still have to side with SA. Notable tracks are "Ballad of Carol Ann," "Bar Lights," and "Sit and Listen to the Rain." All good things must come an end, and, you guessed it, she gone. Ryan Adams would go on to record Heartbreaker and Demolition with classics "Come Pick Me Up," and "Hallejuah," respectively. Although he did release a couple hundred more albums, some with hints of country, personally, my interest was lost.

Also, a band that did not receive much spotlight also help pioneer the genre. That band is Blue Mountain. Starting out as The Hilltops, Cary Hudson and John Stirratt started a rockabilly band in the hills around Oxford, MS, and released one album Big Black River (which is available on emusic!). BBR features a few gems like "Broke Down and Busted" and "Mary Jane." Thereafter, John's sister Laurie formed Blue Mountain with Hudson, and drummer Frank Coutch. Blue Mountain released classic Dog Days in 1995; Homegrown in 1997; Tales of a Traveler in 1999; and Roots in 2001. Again, they broke up, but unlike most relationships that end, Blue Mountain reformed in 2007. Midnight in Mississippi was released in 2008 and proved they are far from done or washed up. Songs like "Blue Canoe," "Soul Sister," "Jimmy Carter," "Wink," and "Lakeside" shaped alt-country in the most prominent ways.

Singer/songwriter Richard Buckner emptied his gut-wrenching unique voice upon me around 1998 when I first heard Since. Buckner's collection is loaded with trophies. I would recommend the albums Since, Devotion & Doubt, The Hill, Bloomed, & his self titled album. Songs I would direct you to are: "Faithful Shooter," "Ten Day Room," "Blue & Wonder," "Lil Wallet Picture," "Roll," "Lucky Buzz," "Goner with a Souvenir."

--If you like Buckner, check out Damien Jurado's On My Way to Absence.


Disclaimer: Old 97's obviously should get a mention. However, I have never listened to much of them.

Also, The Jayhawks are also work a mention. I love tunes like "Save It for a Rainy Day," "Blue," and "Waitin for the Sun." See also: Golden Smog (which is a fusing of Soul Asylum, Wilco, and Jayhawks members).

The Bottle Rockets, under the reigns of Brian Henneman (who played in Uncle Tupelo), also shaped alt-country with their half-serious swayers. See "Wave that Flag," "Early in the Morning," and "Get Down River."

Hepatitis C survivor Alejandro Escovedo also assisted in the sculpting of the genre. In all candor, I am not the biggest fan. However, the man is adored by many. I own Gravity, which is a pretty good album. Real Animal, his latest release, sounds promising. Check out "Sister Lost Soul."

Watch more The DL videos on AOL Video



A lull certainly formed, at least in my collection, between the years, but another alt-country legendary band was raising hell in the dark corners of Northwestern Alabama. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley formed the Drive-By Truckers and immediately stamped their spot in the blue collar, hard-working alt-country scene. Certainly, David Alan Coe must have shown his ten teeth when he popped in Pizza Deliverance for the first time. It all started for your narrator with Southern Rock Opera. "Women without Whiskey," "Zip City," and "Let There Be Rock" perked up my ears. Then, I was privileged enough to see them live and I was hooked when I heard the mecca of all alt-country songs "Outfit." Decoration Day is chock full of southern fried alt-country such as Blue Mountain-esque "My Sweet Annette," Skynard-esque "Marry Me," and Cash-esque "When the Pin Hits the Shell." Such brutally honest songs can't help but make one want to ride backroads with a bowling pin beer between your legs. The Dirty South, in my humble opinion is their finest. I cannot help but obsess over Carl Perkins Cadillac," "Where the Devil Don't Stay," "Danko/Manuel," and "Tornadoes." (CHECK SPELLINGS). The Truckers got high-centered on their next release A Blessing And a Curse which, in my opinion, was sub-par and quite a let-down. "World of Hurt" and "Wednesday" shine through as the only rays of sanity. However, with the departure of their finest vocalist Jason Isbell, the Truckers wenched out of the rut that was Blessing, and bullseyed with Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Ole Stroker Ace is Adam's apple and shoulders above the rest on BTCD. Outlaw country songs like "Three Dimes Down," "Self-Destructive Zones," and "Ghost to Most" prove why Cooley should get more air-play on the albums. Hood brings back the banjo on my personal favorite "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife." Other highlights include "Righteous Path" and "Daddy Needs a Drink." DBT is no doubt headed in the right direction.

Jason Isbell, departed vocalist of DBT, produced his first solo album, Sirens in the Ditch, while he was still with DBT. Rest assured, the next solo album will be a classic. Now that he has time to produce his own material, Isbell will surely produce more classics like "The Magician," and "Dress Blues."

Deer Tick's debut War Elephant has alt-country written all over it. Reared out of Providence, Rhode Island, Deer Tick is mind-blowing good twang. Check out: "Dirty Dishes," "Ashamed," "Art Isn't Real - aka city of sin" and "Long Time."

Cleotis is a hard to find disc. I am not even sure they had a label or not. These hell-raising boys are the definition of rockabilly. Songs like "Looking Thru a Bottle" are classic. Honestly, I wish I would have discovered these cats in college. Also, "Lord, Have Mercy on the Whiskey" speaks for itself. If you see this at an Arkansas record store, let me know. Subsequently, singer Lance Lamberth formed the band Wooden Stares.


Langhorne Slim somehow juxtaposes his white trash sound with a tiny bit of class. Songs like "Rebel Side of Heaven" and "Restless" are instant classics. Jewels in the rough such as "Collette" and "She's Gone" are great finds after the initial impact of the album. This hill country sounding artist is definitely a genre crosser.

Clem Snide is another alt-country staple. See End of Love album.

Sun Kil Moon, Mark Koselek, or Red House Painters. My personal favorite is Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway. People swear by Mark Koselek's solo material, and the Red House Painters, but I find them boring. However, SKM's Ghosts is not a bit boring. "Carry Me Ohio," "Glenn Tipton," and "Salvador Sanchez" are ravers. Great, great album. SKM also released April of which I am not a fan. I do enjoy a few rousers on the Modest Mouse cover album, Tiny Cities. See "Neverending Math Equation."

The Avett Brothers bring the torque of rock to bluegrass. Fans have coined them "slamgrass." However, the Brothers can belt out a beautiful harmonic melody on about one half of their collection. Buy any of their albums. Steer away from EP's at first. Favs like "Left on Laura, Left on Lisa," "Go to Sleep," and "Talk on Indolence" will leave you sweating, while "Weight of Lies," "If Its the Beaches," and "Shame" will leave you teary-eyed.

Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel and the new album, Tennessee Pusher bring the house with some fearless bluegrass.

Trampled by Turtles - harmonies, banjo's, and happiness. Buy Duluth and fall in love.

Dan Bern fuses Bob Dylan with alt-country. I am not a huge fan of Bern's non-serious songs, but his serious songs are unreal. "Breathe," "Sweetness," "Trudy," and "God Said No" will immediately hook. Great singer/songwriter.

The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave. Another strange-voiced dude who can yelp with a banjo. See "The Blizzzard's Never Seen the Desert," "I Won't Be Found," and "Shallow Grave."

The Felice Brothers have been praised enough on this blog. They also fuse Dylan with alt country with a dash of Tom Waits. If you haven't discovered them by now its not my fault. See "Frankie's Gun," "Radio Song," and "Whiskey in my Whiskey."

Backyard Tire Fire recently poked their noses in the alt-country scene. BYTF adds a handful of The Band to their alt country smoothie. BYTF sounds a lot like the beginning days of Wilco. Check out "A Better Day," "I Don't Know What To Do," and "Everybody's Down."

Wrinkled Neck Mules are a bit more country than alt, but good nonetheless. I would begin with "Minor Enough" and "Big Dipper."

The Be Good Tanyas. This is one of the few female bands that I absolutely love. These girls can rock out a harmony and a banjo. Blue Horse is a classic. Check out: "Lakes of Ponchatrain," "Rain and Snow," "Littlest Birds."

American Altitude is another hard-to-find album, but a gem nonetheless. AA is more on the mellow side of the tracks, but has delightful melodies such as "A Mountain and a Missile," and "Hung Like a Woman."

Also on the mellow side, Great Lake Swimmers brings the rocking chair tunes of North Carolina. Concentrate on "Your Rocky Spine," and "I Am Part of a Large Family."

Horse Feathers is another slow -tempoed alt-country ditty. However, the Applachain melodies work. See "Dustbowl."

Eric Bachmann. I recently discovered this singer/songwriter and immediately was floored. Like those aforementioned, Bachmann brings a little Dylan to the card game. See "Man O War."

Giant Bear - Nashville alt-country bumpkins GB opened the eyes of many with "Nashville" and "Jim Barton."

Jason Collett - Broken Social Scenester surprised listeners with laid back Idols of Exile. Check out "We All Lose One Another," "Hangover Days," and "Fire."

Josh Ritter - Last year, I was blown away by this artist. JR is an incredible song writer. I am enamored with The Animal Years and The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. See tunes "Wolves," "Girl in a War," "Good Man," and "Empty Hearts."

These next two came essentially before the genre but nonetheless should appeal to lovers of it.

Robert Earl Keen. I could go on and on. Texas country to be confused with alt-country at its finest. Check out No. 2 Live Dinner, and Walking Distance. Specifically, press repeat on "The Road Goes on Forever," "Gringo Honeymoon," "Coming Home," "Feeling Good Again."

John Prine. Quirky, clever vocals emit from born songwriter John Prine to produce a backroad feel of alt-country. Check out songs, "Illegal Smile," "Please Don't Bury Me," "Souvenirs," "Paradise," the list goes on and on. Prine is a true legend.

Joe Pug - "Hymn 101" should do it for you.

Steve Earle - Check our Transcendental Blues as a start.

Lucero is a Memphis based husky alt-country acts that has been compared to the like of the Boss. If you like DBT, you will enjoy Lucero. Check out "That Much Further West," "Tears Don't Matter Much," and "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight."

Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia. is slower alt-country. See "Lonesome Valley," "Memphis Moon."

Mason Jennings: the older stuff. MJ also brings the Dylan element and along with his harmonica. See album Use Your Voice.

Sam Baker - Vocally unique Singer/songwriter Sam Baker throws a little twang in his folky rootsy tunes like "Truale," "Waves," and "Orphan."

16 Horsepower. I recently discovered this band while scouring emusic. 16 Horsepower is somewhat of a gothic folk alt-country. Not quite as haunting as Grizzly Bear, but much more listenable and twangy. Hallowing vocals and plucky banjos create a nice mix of alt-country. Check out: "Outlaw Song" and "Single Girl" on Folklore.

Don Chambers and Goat. I recently discovery DC+G as they opened for Drive-By Truckers. I must admit their live show surpassed their studio material. However, I have not purchased their newest cd. Reminds me of a rocking Tom Waits. Check out "Cain" "South" and "Only a Fool."

Peter Bruntnell. Obscure alt-country artist from back in the day, Bruntnell recorded Normal For Bridgewater with Bruntnell's band, along with Eric Heywood and Dave Boquist from Son Volt. He has released four more albums since that 1999 jewel which include: Ends of the Earth, Played Out, Ghost in a Spitfire, and his latest, Peter and the Murder of Crows. Check out: "N.F.B." and "By the Time My Head Gets to Phoenix."


Stretches: Below are albums that have somewhat of an alt-country dash.

Fleet Foxes. Although pigeonholed as "indie," Fleet Foxes no doubt have a mountain background which hints at alt-country or old MMJ. See "Myokonos," "Your Protector," "Blue Ridge Mountains."

My Morning Jacket: The early stuff. Such as "At Dawn," "Just Because I Do," "Dancefloors," "Easy Morning Rebel," "Evelyn Is Not Real," and "The Bear."

The Mountain Goats - nasal indie artist John Darnielle, no doubt, draws a few comparisons to the genre. See "This Year," "Up the Wolves," and "First Few Desperate Hours."

Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst - Indie hearthrob has certainly headed in the right direction, towards alt-country that is. See "Four Winds," "I Must Belong Somewhere," "At the Bottom of Everything" better yet: the I'm Wide Awake It's Morning album, "Make War." Under Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, see "Get Well Cards," "Sausalito," "I Don't Want to Die (in the hospital)," etc.

Band of Horses clearly echoes remnants of alt-country. See "General Specific," "Monsters," and "Weed Party."

Kings of Leon: Youth & Youth Manhood. Rockabilly tracks like "Joe's Head," "Talihini Sky," and
"Tranny" most definitely have a little Tennessee backcountry between the lines.

Chatham County Line - have a few of these guy's tunes. I need to purchase more. Slam packed with banjo pickin'. CCL borderline on bluegrass.

Bon Iver is labeled as "indie" but undoubtedly has a woodsy sound. See the whole album of For Emma, Forever Ago. I must note that it is very mellow.

Iron & Wine - Sam Beam most definitely has the aforementioned mountain sound. See albums The Creek Drank the Cradle and Our Endless Number of Days. This one also gets a mellow tag.

Bonnie Prince Billy - Rope him in the the above two. See albums I See a Darkness, Superwolf, and Lie Down in the Light.

Okkervil River is another pigeonholed "indie" act. However, tunes like "Singer Songwriter," "Songs of Our So Called Friends," "Calling and Not Calling My Ex" and "Okkervil River Song" are clearly within the genre.

Bands I don't know much about but are nonetheless roped in the genre:


M. Ward - people love this guy, its just a little slow for me. I hear Post-War is the classic.
Marah - See "Dishwasher's Dream"
The Greenhornes
Jenny Lewis
Rilo Kiley
Neko Case
Ola Podrida
Paul Curreri
Radio Nationals
The Gourds
Kathleen Edwards
Scud Mountain Boys
Lambchop

Well, that about does it. Please feel free to add to this list. I love checking out some new alt-country.

Moment of Clarity Songs Mixtape Volume 2


See previous post. for background.










Moment of Clarity Vol. 2

1. The Twist- Frightened Rabbit
2. Breathe- Dan Bern
3. The Bleeding Heart Show- THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
4. Very Loud- Shout Out Louds
5. All My Friends- LCD Soundsystem
6. Lowdown - My Morning Jacket
7. Girl in the War- Josh Ritter
8. Outfit- Drive-By Truckers
9. Still Be Around- Uncle Tupelo
10. Dry The Rain- The Beta Band
11. Poppy- TV On The Radio
12. When It Hits My Blood- John Vanderslice
13. Fearless- Pink Floyd

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Felice Brothers Track


The Felice Brothers' "Run, Chicken, Run" is available for download at Team Love's site. If you pre-order the new album it will ship on March 30!

Just right click on Mp3 on their website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Amazon MP3 Free Mp3's from Indie Labels

I usually don't get into this stuff, but this is unreal.



Go HERE to get these songs free!!
Love that Blitzen Trapper song. Dang.

01. Flight of the Conchords - Hurt Feelings
02. Vetiver - Everyday
03. Handsome Furs - I'm Confused
04. Obits - Pine On
05. Red Red Meat - Gauze
06. Vaselines - Son of a Gun
07. Blitzen Trapper - Furr
08. Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
09. Iron & Wine - Belated Promise Ring
10. Daniel Martin Moore - Stray Age
11. Chad Vangaalen - Willow Tree

Jagjaguwar Sampler!!
Bon Iver, Okkervil River, and more.


Anti Records Sampler!!
Neko Case and more.

Secretly Canadian Sampler!! including my favorite tune from War on Drugs "Taking the Farm." Also, Damien Jurado, Throw Me the Statue, Bodies of Water, etc, etc.

Dead Oceans label!! including The Donkeys, Evangelicals, and Bowerbirds

SXSW sampler including Deer Tick

Bar None Records.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Latest Listen: Blind Pilot


Check out Portland's Blind Pilot. It reminds me a touch of the Shins, with a little Youth Group thrown in. It is a solid indie folk-ish album with sporadic instruments such as a banjo. They recently played at SXSW and are going on tour with the Decemberists. Check out a full concert at NPR.


Available at: iTunes, eMusic, Amazon
Website: Artist, Myspace
Sounds Like: The Shins, Youth Group, Wild Sweet Orange
Hail from: Portland, OR


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Music Tuesday


Bonnie Prince Billy - Beware
There has been quite a buzz around this album, specifically its Americana feel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dark Was the Night: The Videos: Yeasayer and The National

Off of the Dark Was the Night album - Wow is all I can say about the Yeasayer - Tightrope

The Yeasayer - Tightrope



The National - So Far Around the Bend

Monday, March 09, 2009

Modest Mouse Live in Oxford, MS at the Lyric




Setlist:

Interstate 8
Satin in a Coffin
Dashboard
Whale Song
Wild Pack of Family Dogs
3rd Planet
Doin the Cockroach
The View
Dramamine
Guilty Cockerspaniels
Baby Blue Sedan
Float On
Black Cadillacs
Ohio
Blame it on the Tetons
Dance Hall
Paper
Good Times Are Killing Me
Paper Thin Walls

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Custom Concern
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Alone Down There