While Beano’s away in Colorado for a few days, the husband’s hijackin’ this here blog! Looks like SOMEBODY forgot to sign out of her account before leaving town. Heh heh heh. Baseball it is!
Nah, we coordinated this entry, and we’ve been talking about doing a music post for some time now. This is David, in case you haven’t gathered yet, and if you read on Monday, you just might get to read some more music thoughts from another guest blogger.
First off, thanks to all of you that read and follow this blog, and for your commenting and contributing. Bean loves keeping up with this blog and sharing her thoughts, and I gotta say that I’ve been more and more impressed with how she’s run it, her writing, and the design of it. Nice job, babe — keep it up! (And I promise that I’ll try not to mess things up too much today.)
Onto the music. Beano’s getting to see some GREAT live music this weekend in Colorado in Kristina Murray and Two Hearted Jones (whose promised Columbia concert we’re still waiting on AHEM), and Atlanta is having what definitely seems to be a great lineup this weekend — The Black Keys and Flaming Lips tonight, Shaky Knees Music Festival this weekend…and since I get to see none of that, I’ll just write about music.
This is stuff that I’ve been listening to over the last few weeks/months, and while I don’t quite have the energy to put into music that I used to, I’d like to share what I’ve enjoyed. Some of it is new stuff, some from recent years, and some that I’m looking forward to later this year. My best tip for listening to this stuff is to download Spotify, which is pretty great (even with the ads). Youtube is also decent for finding individual tracks. So, without further ado:
Favorites From This Year
Kurt Vile, “Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze” — Kurt Vile’s CD from 2011 (Smoke Ring For My Halo) was my favorite CD of the year, and this one is an excellent follow-up. It’s a bit trippy, and a lot of the songs are 6+ minutes long, but that just makes it more enjoyable. I’m hoping to see him in concert this summer, and for those of you in Atlanta going to the Shaky Knees music festival this weekend, be sure to catch his set on Sunday afternoon.
Futurebirds, “Baby Yaga” — Aside from Lee Bains and the Glory Fires, The Futurebirds seem to be a lot of my friends’ favorite band, and with good reason. This is their second full-length disc and while I haven’t gotten to know it as well as their first one (“Hampton’s Lullaby”), I can already tell that this one is a terrific follow-up. Love the pedal steel and the different members taking turns on lead vocals, but I haven’t found the lyrical nod to R.E.M. on this album yet. Maybe that’s what the press photos (with some kudzu/trees in the background) are for?
My Bloody Valentine, “m b v” — No, not the horror movie. This one came out in February when they released it on their website, and it’s got some great music. It’s also been 22 years since their last CD, “Loveless,” came out, and this one sounds like it was recorded right around the same time.
Pork, Rev, and Map, “Norman’s Rangers” — hey, what’s a music post without a little self-promotion? This is just a little EP that Mike Ochs (Pork), Matt Wagner (Map), and I (Rev) recorded when we got together last month in Mooresville, NC. Many thanks to Sally Johnston for letting us use the house! We’re still in an epic label war for rights to this one, so Spotify won’t help you…yet. In the meantime, you’ll have to check out the EP on our facebook page. Search for “Pork, Rev, and Map,” and you oughta find it. Here’s one of the songs we did, “Casey.” (You can also find all four of the songs on Youtube, but you can’t “like” our Facebook page that way.)
Blasts from the Past:
Magnolia Electric Company, “Sojourner” — fronted by the late Jason Molina, who passed in March after a long struggle with alcohol. This one is apparently a compilation of several albums and not just one album, but hey, it still counts because it was an official release. Mighty fine stuff on here.
Lydia Loveless, “Indestructible Machine” — female punk-country singer that doesn’t mince words. This album is a couple of years old and I’d listened to some of the songs before finally buying it back in March and listening to it nonstop for about a week. Couldn’t find a link to the album version, so here’s her singing one of the songs by herself:
The Menzingers, “On the Impossible Past” — thanks to Joe Thomas for recommending this one in his Best of 2012 list back in January. I’d never heard of these guys, but this CD has grown on me a bunch. In general, my music tastes have changed over the years to more folksy, or mellow, or folk singer-songwriter stuff, but it’s good to keep harder stuff in there.
The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound” and “American Slang” — thanks to Paul Keen for sharing these with me. Along the lines of the The Menzingers, this band is harder and seems to be heavily influenced by Springsteen (which I think is a good thing).
Sharon Van Etten, “Tramps” — from last year. I have no idea where she’s from, but this album makes me think of Ireland, or at least somewhere in the British Isles. I’ve never been there but this album has that feel for me.
PJ Harvey, “Let England Shake” — this is from 2011, and I mention it here because “Tramps” reminds me of this one. I’d never listened to her before, but this album is tremendous.
Looking Forward To (Later this Year):
The National, “Trouble Will Find Me” — I thought that “Boxer” (2007) was a great record, and then they came out with “High Violet” in 2010, which was also terrific. Really looking forward to this one, which comes out in May.
Queens of the Stone Age, “…Like Clockwork” — Along with “Smoke Ring For My Halo,” QOTSA’s “Era Vulgaris” (2007) is one of my favorite albums of the 2000s. These guys seem pretty crazy, and their music is heavier than most stuff I listen to, but I gotta say, they’re extremely talented musicians and make some pretty cool music.
Other new ones from: Beck, Arcade Fire
So, what have I missed? I know that there are plenty of good CDs out there that I’ve missed (how’s Nick Cave’s new one? David Bowie?), so if you’ve got a rec, post it in the comments! Or, if you’ve got a blog of your own, tell us what you’ve been listening to.