Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!

Best Wishes for 2007 friends. Regularly posting again next week. Right now I'm going to get silly drunk and make fun of people I don't know. Be safe.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Top Ten...

Okay friends, here it is. The Bars & Guitars best of 2006. There almost seemed to be a glut of well done music this year which has made the list creation a chore. That should be a pleasure not a pain, but I don't think anything shined particularly brightly this year. Does that imply lots and lots of dim stars?

1) M. Ward - Post War

2) Cat Power - The Greatest

3) The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America

4) The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

5) Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming

6) Centro-Matic - Fort Recovery

7) Enablers - Output Negative Space

8) Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

9) DFA Remixes Chapter 1 - Various Artists

10) Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

Honorable Mentions:

Death Ships - Seeds of Devastation
Owen - At Home With Owen
Portastatic - Be Still Please
Richard Buckner - Meadow
Honeycut - The Day I Turned To Glass
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go

I hope everyone has a great Christmas, a great holiday, stays safe, has fun, wears condoms, buckles their seatbelts, doesn't mix beer and wine, believes it's better to give than receive, hugs their kids, hugs their parents, goes for a bike ride, thinks good thoughts for the service men and women stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, my best to all of you. I'll shout at you next week.


The obligatory Christmas style music:

Sufjan Stevens - Count Thou Font of Every Blessing - this an .mp4 so download only most likely.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Love Comes To Me. Maybe not so Christmas-y but it sure is pretty.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Quiet Have A Voice...

That would be a great name for a band, but instead it's just the post title. And don't get any ideas, if I ever learn to play an instrument with any kind of proficiency I got dibs on the name.

Instead the post title refers to some folky singer/songwriter stuff I've dug up while browsing year end lists and such. I like these songs, they're pretty, gentle, intelligent, good listening.

Just another way to pass the day.

from David Macleod's Strange Biology:

One By One

Books About The Past

from Christian Kiefer's 2007 Undertow release Dogs & Donkeys (this one ain't so quiet):

Building A Rocketship

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I am such a sucker for Owen's heart on the sleeve songs of love and break up. Every since I heard the song "In The Morning Before Work", I've been hooked. Sure it's emo without the bite, but Mike Kinsella (who is in fact %100 Owen) isn't trying to hop a craze or bite someone's style. He just wants to write pretty minor chord songs and emote with his half talk half sing voice that seems to issue quietly from him like air from the end of an antique bellows.

Well, Owen has released a new one on Polyvinyl called At Home With Owen. It's part and parcel with the rest of his catalog, there isn't a lot of daring here but he's gotten so good with his songwriting that's it's hard not to be charmed this record. If you're already a fan you'll be quite happy with this release. If you're just getting a look some of Kinsella's best work is here. Check his cover for VU's "Femme Fatale".

There's an additional MP3 on the polyvinyl page, but I've post my fave track from the album.

From At Home With Owen:

Windows And Doors

Monday, December 18, 2006

new Trainwreck Riders video...

A really well done video for a great song "Christmas Time Blues":

Holy Shit...I laughed 'til I cried...

And about pissed myself as well. Every fine ho on my list is getting dick in a box this year. Yeah.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Remember This?

Such a great song and such a cool video

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Super XX Man...

I've posted about Super XX Man before. In fact, I think it was just a few a months ago. But he released a new record last month on Hush Records called A Better Place and you can tell from its sound that things are a bit different in the super xx life. The big change is that Mr. Man is now a daddy. Believe me, I know how that rearranges the world view, and you can really hear it in these songs. Where as his last record X had a world view that was if not sinister than certainly cynical, odd jabs of discontentment that seemed aimed at his little woman, the new record seems very settled both lyrically and musically. The record is far more "folk" than X, less pop and minor chord storytelling. It definitely feels more of the bedroom lo-fi singer-songwriter variety. This style fits these songs well. When Mr. Man reveals his worries about bringing his child into a world both confused and uncertain, those sentiments are bouyed by a deceptively simple and very pretty melody. And Mr. Man (that's Scott Garred by the by) certainly knows his way around a melody. It's a good record: hopeful, wide eyed and a little wary.

1 song from A Better Place:

Rain Keeps Falling

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

P.G. Six

P.G. Six is Pat Gubler and he's got a record forthcoming on Drag City. I received it in the US Post just a few days ago. In fact a few hours before I left for a weekend in the Sierra Foothills. I brough the CD with me knowing nothing about it, expecting nothing of it. I do, however, have a basic admiration for the Drag City label and faith that they wouldn't sign a band or a person that sucked ass. My faith is well placed.

P.G. Six is often clumped into the "freak folk" scene. I suppose that category includes everyone from Devandra Branhead to Akron/Family and just about everything else that can be squeezed into the ever expanding Hefty bag that "freak folk" now implies. I mean, "Freak Folk"? Fuck. Gotta come up with something better. P.G. Six's forthcoming record Slightly Sorry certainly has a folk bent. But it's a classic-rock folk bent, it sounds dated and I mean that in a good way. It sounds wise, worldly, filled with something important, something deserving of your attention. Gubler is a trained musician but his music doesn't sound obsessive or overly polished, instead it's filled with risk taking and experimentation.

What's it sound like? It sounds like Gordon Lightfoot channeled by Will Oldham. It sounds like early Neil Young being chaffeured around 1960's era Haight Ashbury by Conor Oberst with Steve Earle acting as security. It's willow thin then suddenly fat with organ fills. It's a lonely voice then suddenly a chorus of harmony.

I had spent the better part of a long car ride listening to Slightly Sorry trying to figure it out. Playing detective with its notes, until I finally gave up and just listened. When we arrived in the little town of Dorrington the snow started to fall. The first real snow of winter, a blessing in a town starving for skiers to trail their dollars through the small bars and restaurants like tin cans behind a wedding motorcade. It had been years since last I watched snow falling through the yellow cone of a streetlight, dust in a sunbeam, bugs after the sweet white light, silence in all that motion.

from Slightly Sorry:

Bless These Blues

Lots more of his music here

Friday, December 08, 2006

Trainwreck Riders...

I've been listening to Trainwreck Riders album Lonely Road Revival a lot lately. It's good, if a bit ragged, passionate alt-country-ish rock. Reminds me of common touch stones like Uncle Tupelo but also more classic rock stuff like CCR, Allman Brothers and even Hank Williams. Fun record that I do recommend.

2 videos from Trainwreck Riders:

Slow Motion Cowboy

Ol Timey Feelin

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Death Ships...

These guys just slipped by me. No other explanation. Death Ships 2006 release Seeds Of Destruction came out in August of this year and I missed it. Just recently the record was brought to my attention as worthy of my consideration (picture me surrounded by CDs with my nose in the air acting all snooty). Here's the bio:

Setting sail from the landlocked environs of Iowa City, Iowa, Death Ships are not what you’d expect. Rather than a band full of heshers, overrun with long flowing locks, cranking out screeching metal from Marshall full stacks, the bands sound eschews this notion by mixing up elements of rock, folk, pop, and alt country. Started as a solo project by lead singer and guitarist, Dan Maloney, in 2001, Death Ships now has a full crew, and is presently promoting their upcoming release, “Seeds of Devastation,” to be officially released Sept. 5th, 2006 on Faithful Anchor Music. This new release builds on the momentum the band has established from playing with the likes of The Decemberists, Pinback, Tapes n’ Tapes, Low, Jets to Brazil, and Sound Team, as well as playing frequently at such Chicago ports of call as Schubas and The Empty Bottle. The record also comes on the heels of earlier success with their single, “Thelma Lou,” specifically chosen and released by Deep Elm Records as part of their “This is Indie Rock” compilation series, and which debuted at Number One on University of Iowa’s college radio station, KRUI. Lauded by both press and blogs alike, Death Ships were declared in the May 2006 issue of Alternative Press magazine as “Unsigned Band of the Month.” “Seeds of Devastation” was recorded with crunk hip-hop/rock impresario, and old friend, Matt Malpass (Young Bloodz, Lil Jon, Juvenile), in the summer of 2005 in Atlanta, capturing all the songs in a week. The band is now prepping for smooth sailing on the road for the rest of 2006.

If I had to point fingers at similar bands I guess I'd be forced to indicate some similarities to Wilco, Okkervil River, Minus Story, Matt Pond PA, Frog Holler. But Death Ships most certainly has their own sound. It's a sound that's most easily identified as guitar based pop but the band has a really good way with their dynamics, letting the songs float, sink, rise, go from ebb to crescendo, all with a well crafted grace. It's really good and is deserving of making some Top 10 lists. I wish I'd caught it earlier, I've already cast some votes.

a song from the previously mentioned "This Is Indie Rock" compilation:

Thelma Lou

When you're done listening to the mp3 go to Death Ships site and listen to "The City Never Sleeps" via their media player, great song.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Here's cool stuff...

Obviously I'm currently totally out of ideas for post titles.

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Also check out the sweet indie rock with a pretty voice stylings of San Francisco's Finest Dearest:

Sleep Until The Weekend


These guys have a 2 song EP available on eMusic right now that's well worth the downloads.

For those waiting on mixes from me it won't be long, my laptop died losing addresses and the playlist but now it's cured so they'll be in the mail shortly.