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, March 29, 2007

bright eyes : "susan miller rag"

ordering cds directly from labels is a great way to support the artists you love. but sometimes it's a frustrating proposition, mostly because it often takes an extra week or two to get the cd in the mail, even if you pre-order long before the cd is actually released. not so with saddle creek. bright eyes' cassadaga is set to be released on april 10th, but those who pre-ordered it from saddle creek got it early. or at least i did, along with a handwritten thank you note, several stickers, and the 3" of an unreleased song called "susan miller rag". by the way, the packaging for cassadaga is spectacular, looking mostly nondescript until you whip out your trusty spectral decoder (supplied) to find some hidden treasures.

but of course you're here for the song. and you should be. in addition to conor, it features mike mogis (bass guitar, lap steel, ukulele), jason boesel (drums, percussion), james valentine (guitar), sherri dupree (voice), stacy dupree (voice), z berg (voice), rachael yamagata (voice), and maria taylor (voice). i don't think anything else needs to be said about that...

since it's a special release, no download for you on this one. there's still time to get it with cassadaga through saddle creek, so maybe you should head over there.

bright eyes : "susan miller rag" mp3

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

was i wrong about the world?

it seems impossible to me that, now seven months into this thing, i have yet to post about a man called e and his band, eels. it seems impossible to me because eels have long been another one of my favorite bands, mostly because the songs that e writes invite you into his house for a cold beer and a comfy chair. that is, they are intensely personal, brutally honest, and relatable to varying degrees of unease. he's always had his fair share of personal demons to excoriate (i suppose losing your entire family will do that to you), but 2005's blinking lights and other revelations seemed to reveal a life's turning point. in the darkest hours he found light; through misery came joy; and in death there could be life. the songs reflected this brighter perspective and now here i stand, with some wonderful occurrences in my own life, feeling the same way.

eels : "losing streak" mp3
from the lp blinking lights and other revelations (vagrant, 2005)
meetin' every day with the rising sun
lookin' up, it's looking like
my losing streak is done

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

only you can save the hero of the story

grant-lee phillips has long been one of my very favorite artists, from back in the grant lee buffalo days to his current days as a solo performer. at long last comes a new album from grant-lee, entitled strangelet and released today. from what i have heard so far, i must say that this sounds like the best work of his long and distinguished career. there has always been a warmth to his songs, reflective of what seems to be one of the last authentic personalities in los angeles--the kind of guy who would respond to a myspace add request with a personalized message and a belated happy birthday wish. the music is of course buoyed by one of the most expressive, wide-ranging voices in rock music, but also includes grant-lee on an assortment of instruments (piano, bass, guitar, organ, ukulele, etc.) as well as some help from r.e.m. guitarist peter buck. from grantleephillips.com:
strangelet's twelve tracks smoothly blend tales of heartache, conflict, and loss with stories of love, hope, and redemption. it's a work that is essentially grounded in the concept of confronting reality, relinquishing fear of the unknown, and refusing to be destroyed by things you can't see, things you can't control, and things that may not even exist.
on a few more notes, a lot of thought and effort has gone into the artwork and photographs in the album packaging, so i'd encourage everyone to make the effort to go the old-fashioned route and buy the actual cd. his myspace page has four songs from the album streaming to tide you over in the meantime, as well as videos for three of the songs. he's also got some shows coming up, including a stop at the troubadour that i will definitely be at, and look for a reprisal of his role as the town troubadour on gilmore girls sometime in april.

grant-lee phillips : "soft asylum (no way out)" mp3
from the lp strangelet (zoe/rounder, 2007)

grant-lee...
official site
on myspace
live:
Apr 23 2007 8:00P
Belly Up Tavern San Diego, California
Apr 24 2007 8:00P
Great American Music Hall San Francisco, California
Apr 27 2007 8:00P
The Troubadour Los Angeles, California
May 2 2007 8:00P
Soiled Dove Denver, Colorado
May 3 2007 8:00P
Lakeshore Theater Chicago, Illinois
May 8 2007 8:00P
The Paradise Boston, Massachusetts
May 9 2007 8:00P
Gramercy Theater New York City, New York
Jun 8 2007 2:30P
Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival Lawrence, Kansas

Monday, March 26, 2007

i told you once and you killed me twice

the fratellis' costello music finally got its stateside release a few weeks back and it's become an album that i just cannot put down. what arctic monkeys' whatever people say i am that's what i'm not was for me last year, that's what costello music is to me this year. just fun, like a barrel of monkeys (i wonder what makes a barrel of monkeys so much fun?). anyways, the fratellis made their u.s. television debut on friday on late night with conan o'brien, performing "flathead" and proving they don't need any (arctic) monkeys to kick ass.

the fratellis : "flathead (live on late night with conan o'brien)" mp3
from late night with conan o'brien (march 23, 2007)
from costello music (cherry tree records, 2007)

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Friday, March 16, 2007

the bird is the word

there was some disappointing news in the avian world yesterday. scientists in scotland have deemed inconclusive the 2004 sighting in arkansas of an ivory-billed woodpecker, suggesting that the videotaped bird was a pileated woodpecker instead. the apparent reappearance of the ivory-billed woodpecker, also known as the lord god bird, caused a major stir among conservationists who hailed its return as a triumph of nature. the bird, last seen in 1944, was thought to have been rendered extinct by extensive logging that overran its swampland habitat in the late 1800's. its return triggered a mini-revival of sorts in the small town of brinkley, arkansas, near where the bird was first spotted, whose residents greeted the attention with varying degrees of hope, excitement, and bewilderment. in response to a request or, some say, a challenge by two npr reporters, sufjan stevens even wrote a song about the lord god bird and its effect on this town that once thrived during the industrial days of world war ii, but had since been long forgotten. although the identity of the bird is now up for debate, and some scientists are still adamant that it is indeed an ivory-billed woodpecker, the story is a nice example of the ways in which we affect our environment and the ways that people can respond when they become aware of more than their immediate existence.

this has already made the rounds several times i'm sure, but for those who have missed it before, here's sufjan's song and the npr story about the bird who by legend got its nickname by the reaction of many seeing it for the first time--"lord god, what a bird!"

sufjan stevens : "the lord god bird" mp3
npr : "the lord god bird story" mp3

Thursday, March 15, 2007

the shins on conan

the shins made another stop on the late night circuit last night in promotion of wincing the night away, this time stopping in to see conan o'brien. and finally they played a song other than "phantom limb", playing one of my other favorite songs off the album, "turn on me". and when i say one of my favorite songs, i really mean that--i've had at least four favorite songs off this record already, starting with "sleeping lessons", then "a comet appears", "australia", "girl sailor", etc. definitely my favorite cd thus far this year, though it's only march and the upcoming wilco record is quickly winning me over. but that's another story. for now, here is the shins' performance from last night.

the shins : "turn on me (live on late night with conan o'brien)" mp3
from late night with conan o'brien (march 14, 2007)

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Monday, March 12, 2007

wait

there's still a lot going on in my life these days, some of which i may eventually relate to music on here and some of which is just too boring to share. but good things seem to be happening and with everything that's going on, i keep hearing these lines in my head
feel i'm on the verge of some great truth
where i'm finally in my place
that's all for now. maybe one day i'll get back to regular posts...in the meantime, won't you wait for me?

alexi murdoch : "wait" mp3
from the lp time without consequence (zero summer records, 2006)

(i couldn't post alexi murdoch and not thank rachel for turning me on to him...thanks, rachel)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

priscilla ahn

ya miss me? i didn't think so. well, things have let up just a little bit during the past few days, just long enough for me to take a breath at least. even though i've been so busy, i did take the time last friday to catch alexi murdoch at the el rey. it was an okay show, though too many technical problems put alexi in a self-described bitchy mood. but priscilla ahn, who opened the show, just blew me away. here's an asian girl from rural pennsylvania, plays guitar and the harmonica, and uses a loop pedal to layer her vocals. and her voice is achingly beautiful--subtly powerful and confident but with a measure of vulnerability. i know rachel had posted priscilla on untitled last year, but there was just something special about seeing her perform live. not to mention the company you're with. and did i mention she's hot? definitely the second-cutest girl there that night. hehe

priscilla ahn : "lullaby" mp3

priscilla ahn : "dream" mp3
from the ep priscilla ahn (filter private label, 2006)

Friday, March 02, 2007

still too busy...

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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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