Friday, October 29, 2004

One political note and one song...

Hey!! Stop what you're doing! You're not going to find that Arcade Fire live bootleg today, nor will you be stumbling across the b-side to "Hand In Glove", and there's no way you'll be finding that unreleased Pixies album. What you need to do is get ready to vote in the most important election of our lives. Figure out where your nearest polling place is and make sure you are registered. Tell your friends to vote, tell your enemies for that matter. But just vote.

Worried that you're not informed enough to vote? You're on the internet - the information is out there waiting for you. Not a U.S. citizen? Then please call or email all your American friends and make sure they plan on voting. Many artists/organizations are stepping up and helping with the Get Out the Vote campaign, and now so are many of us in the music blogging community.

Get out and vote peeps!! The campaign is almost over now it's time for us, as citizens, to do our part. VOTE!! VOTE!!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled tunes. I'm not on the political tip with todays post, it's just another sweet pop song from Dios, those southern california rascals. Buy the album it's full of Beach Boy like harmonies, sad quiet songs and upbeat sing-a-longs. The band gets a bit experimental at times with found noises and field recordings but even on those songs they return to a melodic anchor. This song is absolutely catchy, though not the best song on the album.

Starting Five

Remember, if you're undecided about the election there are plenty of resources on line to help you. See yesterdays post. Be an informed voter, not a sucker punk for the media. Think and vote!!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The following is taken from Songs:Illinois (see the sidebar for link). A lot of music bloggers are pushing to get people to go out and vote, and frankly I couldn't agree more. Get out there and do it. This election is going to be close and, I suspect, very divisive (Like this country could be any more divided) even after all the ballots are counted. Don't throw your vote away, use it, cast it.

Hey!! Stop what you're doing! You're not going to find that Arcade Fire live bootleg today, nor will you be stumbling across the b-side to "Hand In Glove", and there's no way you'll be finding that unreleased Pixies album. What you need to do is get ready to vote in the most important election of our lives. Figure out where your nearest polling place is and make sure you are registered. Tell your friends to vote, tell your enemies for that matter. But just vote.

Worried that you're not informed enough to vote? You're on the internet - the information is out there waiting for you. Not a U.S. citizen? Then please call or email all your American friends and make sure they plan on voting. Many artists/organizations are stepping up and helping with the Get Out the Vote campaign, and now so are many of us in the music blogging community. Below are some links but please continue to add your own.

And since this is an mp3blog we've added a song or two as well.
Vote by Chris Stamey w/Yo La Tengo

From me I've added The Creekdippers' (w/Victoria Williams and Mark Olson from the Jayhawks) "Poor GW"

Eminem's powerful new video for Mosh

Get Out And Vote On November 2nd. Regular Blogging Will Commence On November 3rd.


Music Bloggers For Democracy
and everyone that has agreed to post
the big ticket :
songs:illinois :
last sound of summer

Greetings in Braille

It's really quite impressive that Subpop has developed into an excellent label. I'm sure there are legions of indie rock writers who would site other cooler labels before Sub Pop, but really Sub Pop is a model. Many wrote the boys and girls in Seattle off after the bottom began to fall out of the flannel movement. But to their credit they have kept releasing impressive records by a variety of bands that produce music as diverse as Iron & Wine and Wolfeyes (and that's quite a frickin' difference).

Earlier this year Sub Pop released a very good record by a band called The Elected. It largely went unnoticed despite some excellent critical reviews (including an 8.0 from those over-intellectualizers of pop at Pitchfork). It really should be heard by more people. The Elected is a side project by Blake Sennet guitarist for Rilo Kiley. He's assisted by some of the folks from Rilo as well as the singer from Azure Ray. The whole mess is produced by Mike Mogis who's done great work with Broken Spindles, Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes. Sennet uses very Elliott Smith like breathy vocals over a mixture of real drums, stuttering drum machines, ringing guitars and everything from harmonica to timpani. It's a very good record that has gotten lost in the shuffle most likely because it's merely a "side" project and there has been in the interim lots of buzz about Rilo Kiley. Check it out. Buy

Greetings In Braille

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Kill Your sons...

I know, I know "Kill Your Sons" is originally a Lou Reed tune, but I had a Tommy Keene EP called Run Now way back in the day that contained a live cover of this song. It was brilliant. As was/is Tommy Keene. Keene is one of those criminally overlooked songwriters who's been toiling away at the edge of a small amount of fame for years. Thinking about Tommy takes me back to my days growing up in DC. Tommy Keene got his start playing the DC club scene, in fact he may still live in the DC area. When I was a little new wave nerd in DC you could always count on Tommy to be at every cool show playing 9:30 Club. He was a visible part of the scene and he played great music. He has accumulated quite a discography over the years as he's swung from REM style jangle to baroque pop with tinges of Americana and back to jangly power pop. The last record of his I bought was 1998's Isolation Party which was very good. He's currently pushing a collection of rarities and b-sides called Drowning which is released by Not Lame Records. It's worth mentioning that Not Lame has been fighting the good fight for a lot of years now. They bill themselves as setting the standards for power pop which alone should be reason enough to at least check out the website.

These two songs are taken from his album "The Merry Go-round Broke Down":


Hanging Over My Head

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tuesday Bonus...

2 great articles that I've been mulling over for the last few weeks. If you ever catch yourself wondering about the state of the music industry or why the RIAA is sueing people over file sharing or why Shaina Twain is popular or why traditional radio matters less and less or whether bloggers make any difference at all then read these two articles. Really, really fascinating.

Cynics vs. True Believers

The Long Tail

The Trouble With Sweeney

I love the jangly guitar pop. And The Trouble With Sweeney certainly fits that bill. As I understand it the boys are based in Philadelphia TTWS is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Joey Sweeney. They play sweet songs filled with smart guitar parts, piano, melody. Good Stuff. The newest member of TTWS is keyboardist Charlie Hall who was formerly rounding out the sound of Our Lady of the Highway who have been featured here before and are purveyors of absolutely great alt-pop-country shenanigans. It seems that TTWS is taking a short hiatus while Mr. Sweeney works on a solo records and generally recovers from what has been a hectic round of touring and promotion for their EP Fishtown Briefcase. The word "hiatus" is always so tricky. I mean how many bands have there been that have never returned from a brief "hiatus". If Sweeney has any luck with his solo record I think we'll see the dissolution of an excellent band. I'm sure he's hoping for a result (both critically and sales wise) opposite from, say, Rhett Miller who's dissappointing solo record The Instigator forced (?) him to reconsider his shot at the big time and return to the comfort of The Old 97s. Of course this is all idle speculation on my part.

By the way this song is taken from their first record Dear Life which is very good. "$500 A Day" was my first introduction to these guys. Enjoy.

$500 a Day

Monday, October 25, 2004

I don't want to fight 'cause I know what's right...

What happened to Track Star? After releasing the brilliant Lion Destroyed the Whole World in 2002 they kinda dissappeared. It's sad that I have no idea what's become of them since they are a bay area band. None the less they leave in their wake a great album. Lion is full of catchy pop tunes, thin breathy vocals and a text book lesson in dynamics. Todays song starts off so unassumingly quiet, just a lightly strummed guitar before accelerating at the chorus into a small explosion of guitar and a really fun sing-a-long chorus. Play it loud in your car on the way home from work and I double dog dare you not to sing the chorus at the top of your lungs, while still trying to maintain the hushed "I'm a cool indie rock guy" tone.

In a quick toot of my own horn (but really isn't a blog just one long toot) the main page of Junk Media today has an interview with the current boys of the moment The Faint conducted by yours truly. I spoke with the keyboardist Jacob Thiele about 2 weeks ago from a tour stop in Philadelphia. I haven't done a lot of interviews yet, but I found Jacob to be bright and well grounded with some insightful things to say about being an "it" band.

Enjoy the song by "Feet First" by Track Star and if anyone knows what happened to these guys let me know.

Feet First

Friday, October 22, 2004

Mates of State looms before me...

Nearly 2 years ago I went with some friends to see the Pernice Brothers at the Bottom of the Hill here in San Francisco. Opening for them was a band that I had heard of but hadn't heard, they were called Mates of State. The band consisted of a guy on drums and vocals and a chick on keyboards and vocals. That was it. I expected them to be either brother and sister or married, since that was the "thing" at the time. Hey guess what, they're married. Well, the Pernice Brothers were absolutely great that night and Joe Pernice was very cool hanging out in the crowd drinking beers while Mates of State played. I thought that Mates of State kinda sucked. I was truly unimpressed, but blown away by this overwhelming adulation that the band got from the crowd. After the show as I tried to make my way towards the merchandise stand to get a Pernice Brothers T-shirt I overheard a conversation by 2 young ladies who said in very breathy tones, "aren't they just the greatest?" "Yeah, they are so amazing. I worship them." They weren't talking about the Pernice Brothers. My friend John, who is a big fan of Mates, thought that the nights show was pretty average. They just seemed like a band with an interesting gimmick that really needed to fleshed out with a another member or two. Somebody burned their allbum for me, I listened to it once or twice and continued to be unimpressed. I'll be the first to admit that I should have given the album more of a chance. But I didn't. And while I was aware that there was a good Mates of State following, loyal and passionate, they just fell off my radar. Until now. During one of my usual rounds of compulsive internet browsing I was checking out the Polyvinyl Records site (the new record by Aloha looks pretty good) and came across a tune off the forthcoming Mates of State record All Day, which is set for an Oct. 28 release. It kind of sucker punched me. The song is really good. I mean really good. It starts with a little keyboard run before exploding into this field of upbeat pop harmonies. I may have to rethink this whole Mates of State thing. You can preorder the record on the Polyvinyle Records website.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Music, music, there's too much music...

Thinking/listening about a lot of things today. I recently heard about a a very good band called The Legends. I believe they're Swedish. They combine alot of really interesting elements into a brilliant stew of rock/pop excellence. If I were to play the "influence/they sound like" game I would say this: Psychocandy era Jesus And Mary Chain tempered with some Smiths fronted by Bernard Sumner with a bit more voice. Is it derivative? Sure. But isn't everything, the challenge is to take those influences and make them your own. It's the old eye to the future with a nod to the past. On the website check out their video for "There and Back Again".

In other news Craig at Songs:illinois introduced me to a very good band called Ox. Todays song is called "Trans Am" and any song that reminds me of Smokey and the Bandit is OK by me. It's a mellow folk rock run that reminds me of Neil Young and has a bizarrely placed riff from the James Bond theme about 3/4 of the way through.

Trans Am

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I slither through the streets...

So far here at Bars & Guitars I've mostly covered singer songwriter types and bands that play what is usually called "indie rock". I like this music very much. I think there's huge amounts of untapped bands and songwriters that people need to hear about. But never let it be said that Bars & Guitars doesn't like to rock (or more specifically, like to "rauck!!").

A long time ago in a land far, far away I went to high school in Bethesda, Maryland. It was a good place to grow up and made many good friends. I also got into punk rock, new wave, and ska. In high school my musical svengali was a guy named Jason. He introduced me to the Specials, Madness, The Jam, and a host of other bands that became my musical foundation. I suppose it was inevitable that Jason would eventually start a band, be a lead singer, and start his own label. From afar I watched as Jason took his band Adam West from a loud indie rock via The Cult sound to a full blown we're-gonna-rock-you-loud-and-hard noise machine. As you can see from the website, Adam West won the Washington Bay Area Best Hard Rock Band for many years in a row. I don't really find Jason's transformation into a rock god surprising, I mean we're talking about the same guy who stuck his dick in the dip at a post high school party. All the tools were at his disposal. They are currently touring europe where, Jason tells me, they do very well with the rock and roll kids. I think he said it was their 5th tour of the old country, so they must be doing something right. When you're on the Adam West website check out the hate mail section. It's very funny. So bang your head until your neck hurts.

Paint It Brown

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

As I Move Along the Roadway...

Today, Mr. Tim Easton. Yet another in a long line of under appreciated singer songwriters. Tim was in a band with some other Ohians (is that right for those from Ohio?) called the Haynes Boys who had some modest indie success with a record called Guardian Angel, but like so many bands the road took its toll and eventually they went their separate ways. While it's always crappy to see a good band go bust, it did provide us with 3 fine solo records by Tim Easton. I own all three and have liked each one more than the last. Easton varies his songs between rollicking barroom roots rock and mellow strummed semi-country. If I had to draw a comparison I 'd call Tim Easton the link that connects todays roots rock to Harvest era Neil Young and Gram Parsons circa GP. Todays song is taken from his most recent album 2003's Break Your Mothers Heart. It's an acoustic demo of the song "I Would Have Married You" so it sounds very different than how it does on the album, but it seems just right for yet another rainy morning.

I Would Have Married You (acoustic demo)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Monday on my mind...

Sometimes it's best to start the week with a bang, a jolt of electricity to get things going, a mad barrage of loud guitars and attack force beats that scream get going you fucking dolt. This, however, is not one of those Mondays. Its damp from the first rain of the season and fall seems to have decided that summer needs to step off. Its mellow and damp. Something reminiscent of my new wave days would be better here. And what better than to feature another release from the boys and girls of Parasol Records. The band is Third Dimension. Evidently they hail from the land of fjords as they are one of the many Scandinavian bands that Parasol seems so enamored with. But really these guys are all britpop goodness. They remind me of everyone from Echo and the Bunnymen to early Simple Minds. They jump around from Faces style garage rock to mellow electro Duran Duranesque balladry. It's all quite good and I've been enjoying the album very much. This track is appropriate to the feel of the day here in northern California.

Monday Machine

Friday, October 15, 2004

You could use some good tires, before the storm

I feel like the rabbit in Alice In Wonderland, "I'm late, I'm late". I was on the road all day (a rarity) and never had a chance to post todays song. This is good and bad. Bad because I don't want my many fans to fret after their daily pop confection. Good because it gave me a chance to really think about why I like Unbunny so much. The newest album from Unbunny is called Snow Tires and it just makes me grin from ear to ear. This is odd because the songs are poignant break up ditties for the most part. But there is just something about the way that Jarid Del Deo turns a phrase. He is essentially Unbunny, but he gets by very well with the help of his friends. As I understand it this is his fifth album but the first on the excellent Parasol Records, whose artists I'm sure will pop up here again. It's been a long day and I'd rather rest me weary legs on the couch than concern myself with the particulars of Unbunny. Just understand that Snow Tires is a rare record. It will certainly make my year end top 10 list. But it will go unheard by so many people simply because it's on a small label releasing great but idiosyncratic records. This should be changed. This record should be heard by as many as possible. It's touching, melodic, a little sad, but so authentic and heartfelt. Todays song should be enjoyed after you've had your second beer. Replay with the third and call me in the morning.

I Leave Stones Unturned

Thursday, October 14, 2004

He's Sad All The Time...

There's really something kinda cool about the simplicity of a guy and his guitar. If you're able to capture an audience, hold it in your grasp with that simple combination, then you're doing something right. It's like the ultimate test for a song: does it work in this setting? I've always been blown away by those who can pull this off. The list impressive: Bob Dylan, John Fahey, Nick Drake, Peter Case, Richard Buckner, Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska), there are too many to number and I'm sure I'd piss someone off by missing their favorite. I expect you get the idea. The ability to twist the voice and guitar standard into something a little more odd is even cooler. This is where M. Ward comes in. An idiosyncratic songwriter who's a wiz on the acoustic guitar but not content to simply play within the confines of traditional song structures. He got a break by getting a demo to Howe Gelb of Giant Sand who loved what he heard. His work has been covered with greater success than his originals have found, most likely because M. Ward likes to throw in all sorts of otherworldly noises that his melodies seem to float on the surface of. He employs the ticking hiss of old vinyl, electronic moans, unidentifiable cracking. Don't think that these things overwhelm the songs, they're more subtle than intrusive. Todays song is taken from his most recent album the wonderful Transfiguration of Vincent. Enjoy and Buy.

Sad Sad Song

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Do you ever...

think about why you like certain bands or types of music? I do. I often wonder what effect my brother playing Bruce Springteen and the E Street Band's Tenth Avenue Freeze Out to me when I was 8 did to my perception of music as sound. Or for that matter what my older sister playing Men At Work's Business As Usual meant to me. When I say "music as sound", I mean that I have a certain affiinity for songs composed in certain keys (usually minor), singers who don't have perfect voices (I think Bruce and Colin Hay fall into that category), songs constructed with soaring choruses of an anthemic nature ("Sixty Eight Guns" by the Alarm still makes me smile). I think I'm kind of circling my point. Because I do, in fact, have a point. My point is Bill Janovitz. Bill was originally a member of the late greatBuffalo Tom, a band that always seemed to play the right notes at the right time. I just loved those guys and, I think, here in lies my point. Buffalo Tom wasn't super original, they played good solid indie rock, good songwriting and they plugged away at it for years. I loved Big Red Letter Day and still crank up "I'm Allowed" in the car and sing at the top of my lungs. There's just something about the way Bill Janovitz constructs songs, about the imperfection of his voice and his turn of phrase. There are plenty of people who will just shrug their shoulders at the mention of Buffalo Tom, who greet them with indifference. Perhaps the worst thing you can say about the band is that for some people they produce no strong emotion at all, one way or the other. But for some, me included, they just did so much right. They sounded right. They played live shows right. They put energy and enjoyment into what they did. They were (and this has become a dirty word for some reason) influential.

After Buffalo Tom broke up, Janovitz released a couple of fine solo albums. Both Lonesome Billy and Up Here lean more towards a folk/country sound away from Buffalo Tom's more rocking moments. This brings me even closer to my point and todays musical offering.

Last I checked Bill Janovitz had stopped playing music with any consistency. His website said that he had gotten a real estate license and was selling houses in the Boston area. Evidently that has changed. Janovtiz just released Fireworks on TV under the name Bill Janovitz and Crown Victoria. It's good. It's good in the way that Buffalo Tom was good. In fact it sounds alot like Buffalto Tom at its best, though I think that Janovitz might resent that remark. None the less it's chock full of power pop morsels. Please enjoy and support Janovitz as he's one of those indie rock originals:

One, Two, Three

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mr. Pernice, Please Step to the Microphone...

The list of under appreciated song writers is long and vast. But some stick out more than others in my head. Joe Pernice has been putting out consistently excellent music for over a decade now under the guise of various bands, most recently and most successfully as The Pernice Brothers. But Joe's output stretches back to the majestic Scud Mountain Boys, who released Massachusetts in 1996, an album that still stands as one of the best of the 90's. With a name like Scud Mountain Boys and a sound vaguely reminiscent of early country rock, Pernice and company were quickly lumped into the alt-country movement. I can't say for sure but I think they chafed at the label. The Scud Mountain Boys released some early material after Massachusetts called The Early Years which contained Pine Box and Dance The Night Away but never put another record out. While the Scud Mountain Boys ceased to exist, Joe Pernice kept releasing fine records under a number of different names: Chappaquidick Skyline (I'm sure I misspelled that), Big Tobacco and, finally, The Pernice Brothers. I highly recommend that you buy Big Tobacco. It's a little uneven but the first 4 songs on the album are worth the price of admission X 10.

Pernice never really returned to the mellow slide of "alt-country" but instead experimented with the baroque pop of Chappaquiddick Skyline before settling into a straight pop groove with the Pernice Brothers. All the three albums by the Pernice Brothers are excellent and each is an arguement against the dreck that gets played on the radio and passed off as "quality" music by MTV, VH1 and just about every other member of the recording industry with a financial investment in producing "hits" at any cost. In a perfect world the name Joe Pernice would be falling out of everyone's mouth every time he released new material. But then I'm prone to both hyperbole and fantasy. Today I give you the Video to "Baby in Two" off the album "Yours, Mine & Ours". Buy this album it's too good not to.

Baby in Two Video in quicktime

Monday, October 11, 2004

Buck is Back

First off don't ask me what happened with Impasse. I don't know. But after a slew of records that ran from great (Since) to amazing (Devotion & Doubt and Bloomed) Richard Buckner put out the sub par Impasse. It's not that Impasse was a bad record, it was simply a let down by Buckner standards. Like so many fine singer/songwriters Buckner is criminally under appreciated. It seemed like that dam was finally going to break with Devotion & Doubt, one of the all time great break up/divorce records of all time. Spin Magazine put it as one of their years best in 1997. For some reason or another Buckner abandoned his strengths on Impasse. His deep, flexible baritone that wrapped so effortlessly around his tales of heartbreak and open roads seemed flat and uncomposed. Worse his sense of melody that he so effortlessly threw around got buried in a production that pushed his partners drums to the fore at the expense of the songs. But this isn't a rag on Impasse session. It's to declare that Richard Buckner is very much back on track with his new album Dents & Shells. It's classic Buckner, filled with melody, beauty and desperation. If you're new to Buckner pick up Bloomed and go from there. If you are one who fell off the back with Impasse get back on the train. You won't regret it. From the new album:


Saturday, October 09, 2004

Weekend Special Edition

I wasn't going to burden myself with trying to post on weekends. But there's so much good music out there that I'm tossing up a Saturday special. The band today are the Enablers. I had a hard time with that sentence because it's important to note that they are not a "the" band. They are Enablers. Not to be confused with the Socal punk rock band The Enablers. These guys are way bay area. The members have played with any number of kick ass San Francisco bands from Shotwell to Timco. I should note here that if you can track down a copy of Timco's Gentleman Jim you should buy it, it's great. The lead vocalist for Enablers is Pete Simonelli who, in addition to being a pretty great guy, is a fine writer. Enablers do a very interesting spoken word/music thing. It's something that I've never really heard work very well. The whole concept makes me think of beret wearing beatnicks snapping their fingers in time to a bongo drum. However, Enablers may well be the first band to actuallly make this concept work. The music is kick ass and Pete's voice is deep and affecting, while his stories are absolutely spell binding. The problem with the whole music and spoken word deal is that there never seems to be a balance between the two. They're always competing with each other in a duel that can only end with audience losing. Enablers manage to find an excellent balance between music and word. In the hands of Enablers, the music and the vocal presentation (I'm trying to studiously avoid the word singing) push each other forward, yielding to each other as necessary before returning together to become a single wall of blistering media. It's good stuff. I highly recommend that this CD is bought at the label website. Check it out:

Pauly's Days in Cinema

Friday, October 08, 2004

Well, it's Friday. Last post of the week. The Finn Brothers are a little more "mainstream" than what I'd like to be posting here, but their current record Everyone Is Here is so much pop goodness that I decided to give the New Zealanders a shout out. As many of you probably know, the brothers Finn (Tim and Neil) had written a whole career worth of fine pop tunes long before Conor Oberst considered picking up a guitar (and I'm a big fan of Bright Eyes). As the primary songwriters for Split Enz and Crowded House the Finns have been churning out quality work since like 1975. As a new waver in my rapidly retreating youth I remember dancing to the Split Enz "I Got You", but it was during my second summer spent drinking beer and smoking pot in Ocean City, Maryland that I couldn't stop listening to the first Crowded House album. That, of course, was the one containing their inescapable hit "Don't Dream It's Over". As I was just exiting my punk rock/rude boy phase (it's all about phases, isn't it) my love for Crowded House was a bit of a closely guarded secret to all but my house mates who were most likely on the verge of kicking my ass if they heard "Something So Strong" one more time.

Everyone Is Here is as full of good songwriting as anything the Finns have done. But there is a certain world weariness on this record. Really, it's the sound of middle age setting in. I certainly don't begrude the boys their slide into soft bellys and reading spectacles, we will all be there eventually, and I must say that if this album is any indication they're doing a hell of a lot better job of it than Sting. Our featured song "Won't Give In" is pretty, melodic, and blessed with a great hook. During some stage banter on a live version of this song they give away that lyrically the song is supposed to be a best mans speech at a wedding. As always if you like this song go buy the album. It's so much better than anything that Yellowcard is doing.

Won't Give In

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Another day, another song. I'm particularly fond of todays tune because the artiste, J Xaverre, is on Memphis Industries the label that also puts out stuff by the amazing Go! Team (who will inevitably get some time here at some point). J Xaverre is the current nom de plum (did I use that right?) of Pete Grofton. Pete gained a bit of noteriety with the band Kenickie as a drummer, guitarist, producer, song writer type. The story on the website says that after the break up of Kenickie, Pete retreated to his home digs in the north east and set about writing boat loads of songs. He released a couple of eps for the very excellent Moshi Moshi before releasing These Acid Stars for Memphis Industries. This "Great All Great" is the 2nd track off of These Acid Stars and I have to admit isn't completely indicative of the rest of the album. In a pinch I'd describe J Xaverre as a combination of Sparklehorse and Lindsey Buckingham during his best moments in Fleetwood Mac. It's kinda weird but very catchy and melodic. J Xaverre is simply a very good songwriter. Don't come to this record expecting to hear shades of Kenickie. These Acid Stars is (as might have guessed from the title) kinda trippy and full of odd noises organic and electronic. J Xaverre's perfect pop melodies often lie on a distorted bed of gently droning white noise, old answering machine messages or recommisioned beats. You can purchase the record at the Memphis-Industries site or iTunes it. Enjoy.

Great All Great

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Today we listen to and talk about the fabulous Our Lady of the Highway. I'm more than a little biased here because these guys are friends of mine and I've done some press writing for them. But they're just so darn good. The primary songwriter and singer is Dominc East. Dominic plys a very heartbroken lyrical terrain. He's an emotional guy and he can drink alot of Budweiser. I admire both these traits greatly. Their last album was called About Leaving, you can find it on iTunes and download it or, if you live in the bay area, the record is carried at Rasputin Records and Amoeba. About Leaving is a great record. It's mellow, maudlin, lyrical, far reaching, catchy, challenging, melodic. There are many wonderful moments on the record both musically and lyrically. When Dominic sings about a house party where "we'll hide in the kitchen" on the song "Friday Night", you understand what he's talking about even if you're not the kind that takes their 12 pack into the kitchen, sits on the counter, and caps on everyone that comes in. The music/his voice can really transport you.

This track comes from the not yet but hopefully soon to be released album Beauty Won't Save Us This Year. I imagine the name of the album may change over the coming months (it shouldn't that one's damn good). This record is clearly going to be more upbeat and poppier than the last. It sounds more like Our Lady sounds live. The track is indicative of the pop direction the band has taken on the new record. Now you've gotta understand that when I say "pop" it's a good thing. I mean "pop" in the sense that Elvis Costello has written some great "pop" songs, The Police have written great "pop" songs, The Connells have written great "pop" songs. You get the idea. If you don't have About Leaving, find it or iTune it. It's worth it.

These Roads

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A post a day, 5 days a week that's the goal here. Not overly ambitious I know, but ya gotta start somewhere. Todays little nugget of goodness is from Calexico. The band is primarily Joey Burns and John Convertino surrounded by a revolving assortment of musicians. As a back up band Joey and John have done great stuff with Giant Sand and, for a little awhile, Richard Buckner. I saw them both play as Calexico and back up Buckner (circa Devotion and Doubt) about 8 years ago at San Francisco's Bottom Of The Hill. Great show. This track is taken from their recent EP Convict Pool. The song here is a cover originally written and performed by Brian Maclean of Love. Although the original version begs a band like Calexico to cover it, what with the originals spanish guitars and horns, it's still amazing to me how Calexico is able to make the song uniquely their own. It's not just the overriding tex/mex tone crossed with indie rock vocals that the boys employ so well. It's the fact that you could here this song blaring out of La Rondalle in the Mission as easily as at Zeitgeist. It's done that well. As always if you dig it, you should buy it. I mean, it's an EP it's not that expensive. Buy It

Alone Again Or

Monday, October 04, 2004

This is a pop gem from Matt Pond PA. They're the kind of band that's criminally underappreciated. This particular track is an iTunes only download, a special 4 song EP deal that they did for the rapidly consuming mega super legal download (but you've gotta have an iPod, but really who in their right mind doesn't) music store. It reminds me alot of XTC and even the Go-Betweens. The rest of the songs are quite good as well. As I understand it this song isn't entirely representative of the Matt Pond PA catalog, which is bit mellower. Evidently, until recently he only did shows seated with an acoustic guitar and his band. He recently discarded the chair. I'm sure that it was traumatic for any number of fans who quickly shook their hands and mumbled under their breath, "Man, you've changed." I'm not a die hard fan enough to really care. I just like this song a whole lot.

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