sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

my morning jacket on conan

my morning jacket were on late night with conan o'brien last night. couple things i noticed: jim james was wearing...moon boots? and conan sometimes has trouble saying the word "tonight"...sort of "t'nit". (i just realized i cut this video after he introduced them so you don't know what i'm talking about...d'oh!)

anyway, the song was "what a wonderful man", off last year's very excellent album z and, more recently, this year's live album okonokos. seemed like jim james was having a little trouble hitting some of those notes, but as conan so aptly put it, "that was killer".

my morning jacket : "what a wonderful man"

from late night with conan o'brien (november 29, 2006)

and just because i like you, here's jim james joining conor oberst (and m. ward!) on bright eyes' appearance on austin city limits from last year.

bright eyes with jim james and m. ward: "golden"
from austin city limits (january 8, 2005)


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

oooooh, jambalaya-aaaaa!

what you need, my travelin' friend
is a place to wash your jeans

and i wouldn't be the least surprised
if you were hungry for a plate of greens

just downloaded tanya donelly's latest, this hungry life, and i'm sure in the next few days i'll find reason to post about that. but in the meantime, thinking about tanya and belly flashed me back to the late 90's and perhaps my favorite band from that era, grant lee buffalo. my first experience with glb came in the form of the video for mockingbirds, shown on 120 minutes back in the days when mtv actually played music videos (what wha?!?). i could do a month's worth of posts on the greatness that is mighty joe moon, as to this day it still remains among my very favorite albums. but soon after i picked up that album, i discovered one of the joys of being in college--all the new friends you meet who actually listen to good music (remember kids, this is before mp3's and music blogs (what wha?!?)). one of my new friends ended up being a grant lee buffalo fan as well, and he had this disc called blue plate special, which had this song on it called "dixie drug store". i can still remember listening to this song for the first time and being enchanted by the wild-eyed, mystical tale that grant-lee wove to a flighty tune that was unlike anything on mighty joe moon.

it was always a shame to me that grant lee buffalo never got more recognition than they did, culminating in a last ditch effort to achieve radio-friendliness with 1998's jubilee and their subsequent disbanding soon thereafter. but from the ashes, grant-lee phillips has managed a respectable solo career, including several appearances on gilmore girls as grant, the town troubadour. he has one of the greatest voices i've heard in rock music, a hauntingly rich baritone with an impossible falsettic (word?) range, matched only by the depth of his songwriting skills. his ability to tell stories in song are in full effect on "dixie drug store", so take off your hat, kick off your boots, leave your pride behind and allow grant-lee to tell you the story of the voodooine--the queen of new orleans.

grant lee buffalo : "dixie drug store (juju mix)"
from the single fuzzy (slash records, 1993)

while the version of "dixie drug store" that appeared on blue plate special was the original version which appeared on the fuzzy lp, this is an extended version, with extra verses, which appeared on the fuzzy single.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

promonet - juicebox

and now for something different.

took my first serious stroll through the promonet the other there are so many artists, none of which i had ever heard of, which was simultaneously very exciting and extremely daunting. with so many bands/albums to look at, it really came down to catchy names and interesting album covers grabbing my attention. and could there be a more interesting album cover than this?

this is a band called juicebox, and from what i can tell, they are from holland. well, at least their label, hippo records (how great is that?), is dutch and the album, popcorn 69, was recorded in amsterdarm. i didn't have much luck finding much out about these guys, so i'll just copy and paste their bio from their label website:

"Born out of love for soul, boogaloo and R&B, Juicebox does more than keep alive the traditions that inspire it. These are the sounds of the late sixties but rendered by musicians with the impulse of another generation. Juicebox is an authentic soul band with a respect for roots but blessed with the invention that defined them..
Juicebox, in other words, has not stood still. Neither have their audiences who have been kicking the rug off the dance floor. “When the deaf hear and the lame dance we know we are getting something right” says founder, tenor sax and flute player Rob Berends.

"Juicebox’s debut album, Popcorn 69, offers 14 contemporary covers of classic tracks from the original popcorn era."

now, i won't pretend to know what i'm talking about here. i don't normally listen to much soul/funk/r&b (though i really don't know why not), and i had no clue what the "popcorn era" was. and actually, having now tried to find out, i still don't have a very good idea of what it is. the best that i can tell is that it's another name for boogaloo, which...i couldn't tell you what it is either, so i'll let wikipedia:

"Boogaloo (shing-a-ling, popcorn music) is a genre of Latin music and dance that was very popular in the United States in the late 1960s. Boogaloo originated in New York City among teenage Cubans and Puerto Ricans. The style was a fusion of popular African American R&B, rock and roll and soul with mambo and son montuno. Boogaloo entered the mainstream through the American Bandstand television program."

if i'm not going to try and pretend that i know about the popcorn era, i certainly won't try to fake an intelligent review. so suffice it to say, these two tracks are pretty sweet.

juicebox : "popcorn '69" (mp3)
from the lp popcorn 69 (hippo records, 2006)

juicebox : "juicebox" (mp3)
from the lp popcorn 69 (hippo records, 2006)

the strokes : "juicebox"
from the lp first impressions of earth (rca records, 2006)
(not the same juicebox, obviously, but just to get some traffic here to check these guys out)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


i drove home yesterday to spend the thanksgiving holiday with my family... it's about a 6 hour drive from orange county to santa cruz, so of course when i make that trip i always prepare a playlist, one for the drive up and one for the drive down. my drive up included camera obscura, jeff tweedy, the lemonheads, the concretes, damien rice, the elected, iron & wine, cat power, and everclear. ...everclear? hadn't thought of them in a while, huh? everclear has been a guilty pleasure of mine since back in the days of so much for the afterglow. the two-disc set songs from an american movie was halfway decent (volume so much), but i had lost interest in the band by the time slow motion daydream came out in 2003, and honestly thought they had broken up since. well, they did...sort of. mainstays craig montoya and greg eklund (whose new project, the oohlas, is getting some good buzz) left prior to this year's welcome to the drama club, replaced by some guys who i'm not going to bother looking up. because this band has always been about art alexakis.

let's just say it--many of art's songs sound exactly the same, and many refrains are repeated in songs from album to album, sometimes thinly veiled, other times seemingly verbatim. his lyrics are simple and the subjects of his songs usually involve either the highest-highs or the lowest-lows of "love" and relationships. (i say "love" because the frequency at which he seems to be "livin' the dream" and then in the very next song wants to kill somebody makes me think he has a different understanding of the word than i do.) but the thing that i have always liked about art's songs are the emotional honesty that he lays bare for the world to see. so even if he keeps singing the same damn words to the same damn tune, he makes me feel it every time. sometimes it just passes through without much notice, but there are other times, in certain circumstances of my own life, when i'm just in a certain place and those lyrics strike a nerve and i really hear what he is telling me for the thousandth time. the memories and feelings they evoke are not always the happiest, but then again life never is. i guess it's those moments that keep me coming back (although, to be honest, i got this latest one for free).

everclear : "glorious"
from the lp welcome to the drama club (eleven seven music, 2006)

on another note, happy thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

back to the life

spoon : "back to the life"
from the lp kill the moonlight (merge records, 2002)

finally... the past three weeks have been as busy as i can recall in recent memory, but finally i have finished every little thing that was hanging over my head and now have at least a few days or a week to relax and try to get back into posting. it's been a long while since i last did, during which i was away from blogging about music, but surely not away from music. in fact, it was of course a lot of music that helped to sustain my sanity. so let's see, what have i missed...

i had been meaning for a while now to set up an account, mostly to take advantage of the 25 free downloads but also to see if it was a service worth keeping for me before their download limits changed next week. i finally got around to doing that and found a lot of stuff that i wanted to check out. my first downloads were a camera obscura b-side ("san francisco song"), a sufjan stevens cover of a tim buckley song ("she is"), and the 2001 dntel release, life is full of possibilities. if you want any of those songs...well you'll just have to start up an emusic account for yourself--hurry!

last week or so, i registered my 5000th song on that was 5000 songs in a little over two months. my top artists during this time reflected recent concerts i went to (sufjan stevens, andrew bird), recent releases (m. ward, jeff tweedy), and recent acquisitions of previous releases (joanna newsom, leonard cohen).

speaking of sufjan stevens, he was on austin city limits last week, a performance i would not allow myself to miss despite my busy-ness. the sufjan concert i went to last month was the best one i'd seen all year, and the acl performance brought that experience back to life. i was disappointed they only gave him their usual half hour slot though, which only amounted to four songs.

speaking of jeff tweedy, his live dvd sunken treasure: live in the pacific northwest came out several weeks back. it took me a while to find time to get out and buy it, and i still haven't actually watched it, but i listened a lot to the matching mp3s that nonesuch provided as well as two other concert recordings i have accrued. as much as i like m. ward solo, i have to say that i think jeff tweedy is the ultimate solo artist. his wilco/uncle tupelo/loose fur/woody guthrie songs are even better in their stripped down, live, solo formats, and his guitar playing is solid as ever. but what really gets me is his interaction with the audience. if for some reason the music thing doesn't pan out, i think tweedy could make a career on the stand-up comic circuit. he is just that funny and likeable. i need to find some time to watch that dvd.

speaking of joanna newsom, how i still love me some milk-eyed mender. joanna's new release, ys, came out last week. i have not had a chance to listen to it the whole way through, and i don't want to until i have a full hour to sit down with it, the liner notes, and listen to it completely and undisturbed. the metacritic reviews on it have been impeccable, save for rolling stone (??), so i really want to give it my undivided attention.

along with ys, i also picked up the new damien rice album, 9. on first listen this album sounds quite different than his 2003 release, O, with many songs exhibiting a sustained undercurrent of anger. it sounded very good on him though, and makes the contrast with lisa hannigan's delicate voice is all the more stark. aside from the first single, 9 crimes, i haven't listened to it enough to drop a song here, so instead i'll give you a remixed version of his song "cannonball", which appeared on the 2004 kroq new music cd. i actually like the faster tempo of this version better than the original.

damien rice : "cannonball (spike mix)"
from the compilation kroq new music cd (2004)

the music blog fantasy basketball league is well under way, and though i currently sit in fourth place, i feel pretty good about my chances seeing as how the other bloggers seem to be max'ing out their games played early on. the nba season goes until april, and indeed it is a "marathon not a sprint"

camera obscura : "marathon not a sprint"
from the ep i love my jean (merge records, 2005)

and speaking of april, i received an email the other week from a girl named april, inviting me to join this thing called promonet, which is a promotional distribution tool for independent artists and labels. seems like a really cool thing, though i haven't yet taken the time to really check it out. so many things to do...still. anyway, thanks again, april.

so i guess that's it for now. not much there in the way of substance, but hopefully that will come as i get back into the swing of things.


all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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