Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cover Thursdays- The Blue Behind Your Eyelids

Ray LaMontagne can sing just about anything and it would sound beautiful.  He does a masterful job with this Lucinda Williams song, "Fruits Of My Labor"

This is the last update for a few days.  I'll be without internet for a stretch as I just moved into a new house!

Be on the lookout for a future updates on Ray LaMontagne.  I just have to settle on which song is my favorite!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matt Nathanson: I Can Almost Believe That I'm Almost Enough

Matt Nathanson is absolutely one of my favorite artists to see live!  Not only is he incredibley talented, but he's also hilarious.  It's a concert and a comedy act all rolled into one.  While Matt Nathanson's humor is an added bonus, the real star is the music.  His songs are geniune with powerful lyrics, that are some of my favorite to quote.  He also plays off the wall covers.  Songs like Prince's "Starfish and Coffee", Boston's "More Than A Feeling", throw in some Bon Jovi, Springsteen, Ozzy Osborne, the man can find a way to play anything.

One of my favorite things about Matt Nathanson is how in touch he is with his fans.  More than any other artist I know, he is constantly in contact with fan through facebook, twitter, mailing lists, and blogs.  He's a pioneer and lover of music as well.  While music companies are struggling to figure out how to utilize the internet, Matt Nathanson has been a strong supporter of using the internet to help mid and lower level bands get their music heard.  He's a champion of struggling musicians, and I think, and excellent role model to follow for anyone starting out in music.

So, Matt Nathanson hasn't released a new album in almost four years.  However, just a few weeks ago we received the great news that a new album, entitled Modern Love will be coming in June!  It's been far too long.  Here's Matt Nathanson performing "Suspended" from 2003's Beneath These Fireworks.I

You need to see Matt Nathanson live!  You won't regret it.  I'm sure tour dates will accompany the June release of Modern Love, so be sure to check in with Matt Nathanson's website for updates!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Avett Brothers: Every Chorus Was Your Name

I never thought I'd enjoy a band like The Avett Brothers.  Before I was given their CD, anything that was somewhat similar to bluegrass just wasn't appealing to me.  Well this band changed that.  Three songs in, and I was sold.  Not only on them, but on bluegrass too.  Since that time I've discovered bands like Frontier Ruckus and Trampled By Turtles.

The Avett Brothers rise to fame is refreshing.  Sometimes it seems like being a "successful" artist is more about looks than it is about talent.  However, for a band from the hills of North Carolina playing bluegrass, to make it on to the Grammy's it can't possibly be about looks... trust me!  The Avett Brother's 2009 release, I and Love and You catapulted the band into stardom, but their entire catalog is outstanding.

The Avett Brothers are an amazing band to see live!  Here they are playing "Laundry Room" from I and Love and You.

The Avett Brothers' website always has something new, so check it out!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals: If I Was A Judge I'd Break The Law

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals formed in 2002, and have been steadily growing in popularity ever since.  Their musical style is a bit refreshing in a day where few female musicians venture into the world of rock, choosing to remain in the confines of the pop world.  Ten minutes into a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals concert and it's clear that this band goes far beyond pop.

Here's Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, using some pretty inventive instruments to perform their latest single, "Paris (Ohh La La)".

For more info, take a look at the band's website.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Concert Review: The Damnwells @ Iota, Arlington, VA- 3.26.2011

Last night was my first trip to The Iota, a small club and cafe in Arlington, Virginia, with a capacity just under 200 people. A few weeks ago, my friend Teresa mentioned The Damnwells and the concert.  Never one to turn down a suggestion from Teresa, I was happy to tag along for the show.

I only started listening The Damnwells this week when I downloaded their new release, No One Listens To The Band Anymore, but they've been around for the better part of a decade now.  They remind me of a 90's band, but in the best way possible.  They have pretty catchy lyrics, but none that are prepackaged or cliched.  They remind me a bit of a band like Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, or to go back to high school, a band like Tonic or The Wallfowers would be suitable comparisons.

We arrived at the show right before the second opening band, Harper Blynn, took the stage.  I think every inch of space was accounted for, as tiny club must have been sold out.  Harper Blynn performed a very good set, and I'm looking forward to listening them a bit more.  I was quite impressed.  The Damnwells took the stage just a shade past 11.  They played a very energetic set, featuring a good split between songs from the new album and songs from albums past. The highlight for me was their new song "Werewolves".  Not being terribly familiar with their material, they really kept me engaged throughout the entire show.  It was a great way to end a tremendous day!

Here's a performance of "Werewolves" from a previous show.  I'd highly recommend getting to know The Damnwells.  I know their album will be playing on my speakers for quite some time.

To see if The Damnwells are coming to a town near you, or to purchase some Damnwells music head here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cover Thursdays- Where You Goin' With That Gun In Your Hand?

Martin Sexton is a treasure of modern music.  This video is like watching some average Joe who just enjoys playing music for people.... except Martin Sexton is extraordinarily talented.  He adds so much soul to the song, without extra bells and whistles.

Here's Martin Sexton covering Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Heavy: And I'm In Deep

The Heavy's hit song "How You Like Me Now?" has been featured on just about every TV show imaginable.  Well, not every TV show, but according to Wikipedia it's been on at least five seperate shows... oh, it was also prominently used in the 2010 Academy Award Nominated film "The Fighter."  Not bad, I suppose.  This band from the UK seemed to find their niche with their blend of rock, funk, and soul.  The energy they bring to a live performance would even make me dance!

I couldn't pick just one video of The Heavy performing "How You Like Me Now".  Both videos are just too good.  So here they are performing their hit at KEXP in Seattle, and on the David Letterman Show.  Letterman liked it so much, he asked them to perform it again!  Enjoy, and try not to dance too hard!

Here's the website!  Check 'em out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Iron & Wine: I Heard From Someone You're Still Pretty

You've most likely at least heard of Iron & Wine.  In the early to mid 2000's it was almost a requirment for feature films to include at least one Iron & Wine song in the soundtrack.  Iron & Wine is really the stage name for film professor turned singer/songwriter Sam Beam.  His early work featured stripped down melodies, Beam's soft voice, and vivid lyrics.  Each are prominent in perhaps Beams most well known single, a cover of Postal Service's "Such Great Heights".  However, Beam's more recent work has been more experimental while still keeping the vivid lyrics.  In January of this year Iron & Wine's fourth full-length album, Kiss Each Other Clean was released.

Here's a song that is definitely my favorite Iron & Wine track, and perhaps in my top five overall.  Top to bottom, the lyrics are amazing.  Enjoy Iron & Wine performing "The Trapeze Swinger."

Iron & Wine is heading out on tour in April!  To check tour dates, news on Iron & Wine's new album, and a video of Iron & Wine's Daytrotter session go here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rachael Yamagata: Up For The Little White Lies

Running trend... I fall in love with female musicians pretty easily.  An amazing voice, and an affection for good lyrics is all I need and I'm yours.  Rachael Yamagata has them both.  Her voice is absolutely gorgeous and mesmerizing.  What's more, there's no fluff with Rachael Yamagata.  Yes, she has sweet love songs, but she also has biting breakup songs.  Either way, her lyrics flow like poetry.

Her latest release, Elephants... Teeth Sinking In (2008) is a fitting display of her versatility as a song writer.  She's been recording material for a new album.  In fact, I've been anxiously awaiting news of it's release to post this video.  I couldn't hold out any longer, though.

Prepare to hear, what I can only assume is the voice of an angel.  Here's Rachael Yamagata performing "Reason Why" from her debut release Happenstance (2004).  Fun fact, she's from Arlington, VA.

You want to hear more don't you?  For more Rachael Yamagata go to her website.  Or come to my house, where she'll be singing me a lullyby.  God, I wish that last part was true.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Head and the Heart: These Are The Places I Will Always Go

I love finding new music!  The Head and the Heart is a band out of Seattle, Washington.  I just recently started listening, but it's clear this band is on its way to big things.  Their self titled debut album was just released this past January! I'm excited for what they have in store for music lovers.

Here's The Head and the Heart performing "Down In The Valley" live in studio at KEXP.

Check out their myspace page.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ireland Week- Goodnight And Joy Be With You All

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  There's no better way to cap off a week of Irish music, than with some Irish Covers.

The first is only partly a cover.  It's The Swell Season performing "Red Chord" (which technically is a Frames song, but that doesn't count as the cover) which segues into a brief bit of "Heyday" by Mic Christopher and then into the star of the performance "The Parting Glass" a traditional Irish song made famous by the Clancy Brothers.  I saw this live and everyone left the show singing "Goodnight, and joy be with you all."  What a way to end a concert.

You can't have a week of music from Ireland without something from Van Morrison!  So for extra measure here's The Swell Season again, this time performing Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic".

Hope you enjoyed Ireland Week!  Have great St. Patrick's Day!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ireland Week- Damien Rice/Lisa Hannigan: I Remember December

Will Damien Rice please release a new album soon???  It's been nearly 5 years since his last release, entitled 9.  His two studio releases, O and the previously mentioned 9 are absolutely amazing.  Most people would recognize Damien Rice from his mellower songs like "Blower's Daugter" and "Cannonball", which are fantastic in their own right.  However, if you've seen Damien Rice live, you know there is a completely seperate element to his music.  The man can rock, and rock hard.  After the tremendously successful release of O, it was reported the Damien Rice was actually displeased with the album because he felt it was too one sided.

This song is a great depiction of both sides of Damien Rice's music.  I love every second of it.  From the beautiful simplicity of Lisa Hannigan's voice in the whimsical first half, to the sudden explosion of sharp-tongued lyrics in the second, to the layers of loops and distortion to end it.  Here's Damien Rice featuring Lisa Hannigan performing "I Remember".

News from Damien Rice has been sparse for the better part of four years.  There have been recording sessions in Iceland, and a few releases of stray tracks on benefit albums.  I for one will anxiously be awaiting a new album.  To keep up with anything that may come our way from Damien Rice visit his website.

I couldn't possibly end this post without further extending my love of Lisa Hannigan.  While browsing my way through Lisa Hannigan videos last night, I determined she's the girl of my dreams.  Hope you're ok with that Lisa!

Here's a little bonus track... Lisa Hannigan performing the not yet released, "Passenger".

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ireland Week- James Vincent McMorrow: Such A Foolish Thing, Such An Honest Girl

I'm really excited about this post!  I first heard James Vincent McMorrow open for Bell X1 back in October.  He had never registered on my radar screne, but his performance was stunning!  His debut album Early In The Morning came out only a couple months ago, in January.  His songs have already been featured in popular TV shows, including NBC's Parenthood.  Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne first come to mind when comparing James Vincent McMorrow.  I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from him as the year goes on.

Here's James Vincent McMorrow performing "If I Had A Boat"!  I love how the song starts slow, and picks up toward the end.

I highly recommend listening the Early In The Morning.  You can purchase it wherever you buy music or learn more at James Vincent McMorrow's website

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ireland Week- Bell X1 The Perfect Height For Kicking

Ireland produces some great music.  Unfortunately, sometimes it takes awhile for a group to gain recognition in the States.  This is the case with Bell X1.  In Ireland, Bell X1 is one of the most loved bands currently producing music.  Bell X1 originally started in the 1990's under the name Juniper.  One Damien Rice was Juniper's frontman, before setting off on his own solo career.  The remaining members reformed as Bell X1.  Their music has a bit of an electronic touch.  However, this October I saw Bell X1 live for the second time... this time in an acoustic show.  The show was great, and their stripped down songs were simply beautiful.

Here's one such acoustic performance!  Take a listen to Bell X1 performing "Rocky Took A Lover" for Paste Studios from their 2005 release Flock.

If you enjoyed this video, check out their other releases.  And if you like those you're in luck!  A new Bell X1 album is on the way.  Bloodless Coup is set to be released in April.  For more info, go here

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ireland Week- Mark Geary: Let's Try Harder, Let Me In

Mark Geary moved to New York City from Ireland in the early 90's.  His dedication to music finally paid off in the early 2000's.  His sophmore release Ghosts was named best album on 2005 by Irish Voice.  Mark Geary has written scores for three films, and you've probably heard some of his songs featured on TV shows.  His latest release Live, Love, Lost It, NY, was released in 2009.

Check out Mark Geary singing "Angel" off his 2008 release Opium.

Here's Mark Geary's website!  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ireland Week- Mic Christopher: We Can Make Our Heyday Last Forever

Mic Christopher was a singer/songwriter out of Dublin.  Sadly, after a November 2001 show, he slipped and hit his head on some steps behind stage.  Mic Christopher entered into a coma and died on November 29th, 2001.  His debut album Skylarkin' was released posthumously the following year, with help from his friends.  Skylarkin' won the Best Album award at the 2003 Meteor Irish Music Awards.

The song "Heyday" off Skylarkin' is about making every day your best.  It's a wonderful song, and I hope you enjoy!  The video below includes some banter and the story behind the song.  The music starts at about the 1:30 mark.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ireland Week- The Frames/The Swell Season: It's A Long Way To Fitzcarraldo

St. Patrick's Day is officially less than a week away!  With visions of shamrocks, and leprechauns, and green beer dancing in my head I can't help but think of all the great Irish bands to provide the soundtrack.  As a countdown to the big day, each post for the next seven days will be feature a band or musician from Ireland!

To start off Ireland week, we have music from two bands (technically)!  The Frames began touring all the way back in 1990, and I wish I had known that when I was six!  The Frames may just be my favorite band, and I finally got to see them live this past year on their 20th anniversary tour.  Their live shows are legendary in Ireland.  In fact, they are consistently named the best live act in Ireland... yes, that includes U2.

Here's The Frames performing "Fitzcarraldo" and "Monument" live!

The Swell Season, is a bit of an offshoot of The Frames.  The Swell Season is Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, along with the rest of The Frames as the backing band.  The Swell Season was born out of the motion picture Once starring Hansard and Irglova (if you haven't seen it, you should).  In addition to starring in the film, Hansard and Irglova also provided the soundtrack.  Their song "Falling Slowly" won a 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song.  Their latest record Strict Joy was released in 2009.

Enjoy The Swell Season performing "When Your Mind's Made Up", for NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts.

Hope you enjoyed the first installment in Ireland Week!  Check out the websites for The Frames and The Swell Season

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cover Thursdays- You and Me, Babe, How About It?

It's time for another cover!  Here's The Killers at Abbey Road covering "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits.  Such a great song!

You can find The Killers' version of "Romeo and Juliet" on their 2007 release, Sawdust.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blind Pilot: One Red Thread Through The Middle of a Song

Ever heard of a band touring by bicycle?  Well after you've read this, you can cross it off your list.  Blind Pilot is a band out of Portland, Oregon.  They started out traveling to gigs up and down the Pacific Northwest on their bikes using special bike trailers for their few pieces of equipment.

Since forming in 2008 and releasing their debut album 3 Rounds and a Sound Blind Pilot has opened for Langhorne Slim, and toured Europe with Counting Crows.  3 Rounds and a Sound made it all the way to #13 on Billboard's top digital albums in 2008.  Not bad, right?

Check out Blind Pilot performing "One Red Thread" for HearYa Live Sessions.

Blind Pilot is currently touring Europe.  Word is out, that they're working on a new record.  Keep up with Blind Pilot by browsing their website.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nervous But Excited: Your Dark Side Shined Twice As Boldly

Nervous But Excited (Kate Peterson and Sarah Clever) is a female duo out of Michigan.  I first heard their song "Said and Done" while on one of my new music binges last year, and listened to it on repeat for about a week.  What strikes me most about their music is their ability to harmonize so well together, and their organic and honest lyrics.

In 2009 they released their most ambitious album to date, Achors.  Nervous But Excited has opened for the likes of Ani Difranco and Iron & Wine, and I can only imagine that they'll continue to grow in popularity.

This song is entitled "Crying" and can be found on their 2008 live release (Home) Spun.

Nervous But Excited have some tour dates coming up.  Check out their website and download some of their music!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Phosphorescent: Watching Those Women Waltz By, In The Mermaid Parade

Today is one of my favorite days of the year!  It's parade day in Old Town Alexandria!  A St. Patrick's Parade, festive outfits, green beer, and great friends.  It really can't be beat.  So, in honor of Parade Day, here's my favorite song about parades.  Please enjoy Phosphorescent performing "The Mermaid Parade" off their 2010 record Here's To Taking It Easy!

Here's To Taking It Easy placed at #8 on both MOJO Magazine's 100 Albums of 2010 and Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2010.  Phosphorescent is hitting the road for a US tour beginning in April.  Check out their site for details by clicking here!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cover Thursdays- In the Wink of a Young Girl's Eye

This week's cover:  The Avett Brother's playing Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" for the  "Hangin' Out on E Street Series"!

For more videos from the series go here

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bon Iver: Film It, It's Historical

Bon Iver's haunting falsetto has been on loop on a regular basis since first finding his music.  While it takes a little bit of getting used to, his voice fits his music so perfectly.  Bon Iver's (aka. Justin Vernon's) debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago was released in 2008.  He recorded it while escaping life for awhile in his father's Wisconsin cabin.  From it's humble beginning, For Emma, Forever Ago has come a long way, making it on nearly every 2008 top album list.  It's the perfect cd to listen to with the lights off, and it's just you and your thoughts.

Here's Bon Iver performing "Lump Sum".

Bon Iver currently is not touring.  However, in the meantime I recommend checking out the website.  Also, while For Emma, Forever Ago is outstanding from start to finish, it is lacking my favorite Bon Iver song.  "Blood Bank" from the 2009 EP carrying the same name, is an unbelievable song and worth the download!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

John Mayer Trio: Got a Brand New Blues That I Can't Explain

Judge John Mayer if you must.  I know I certainly wouldn't have treated Jennifer Anniston the way he did.  That being said, John Mayer is one fine guitar player.  In 2005, John Mayer joined bassist Pino Pallidino and drummer Steve Jordan to form the John Mayer Trio.  Their live album Try! was released in November of that year.  In my honest opinion, I think this is the perfect format for John Mayer's music, and it produced his best work to date.  It's wide open and allows for more musicianship.  The John Mayer Trio needs to reunite!!!

Here's the John Mayer Trio performing "Who Did You Think I Was".