Sunday, July 31, 2011

Local Natives: Some Evil This Way Comes

Local Natives is a band with huge, well deserved hype behind them.  Forming in 2008 in Los Angeles, the band is the darling of music outlets such as NPR and Daytrotter.  Their acceleration to the forefront of the Indie music scene began at the 2009 SWSW festival in Austin, where they played nine shows over the course of the festival.  The reviews came back shimmering with comparisons to bands like Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes.  Their debut album Gorilla Manor was first released in the UK in 2009 and then released in the States in February of 2010.  It debuted at #3 on Billboard's new artist chart.

Check out Local Natives performing "Wide Eyes" off Gorilla Manor.

Visit the Local Natives website and find more news about the band.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rocky Votolato: Love's a Train Wreck, You're a Mistake

Rocky Votolato is a very talented musician and songwriter from Seattle, Washington.  In the mid to late 90's he formed a band with his friends and younger brother name Waxwing.  Waxwing gained popularity locally, selling out clubs in Seattle's pulsing music scene.  Straying away from Waxwings aggressive style, Votolato wrote his own songs.  His 2006 release Makers was a critical success, and a few of his songs landed spots on popular television shows.  Votolato's most recent full length effort, True Devotion, was released in February of 2010.

Rocky Votolato is known for his trademark gravely voice.  He is currently touring Europe, but will be returning to tour the US in September.  On his website, fans pick his setlist for upcoming shows, but voting for up to 12 songs- a very creative and interactive idea.  Here's Rocky Votolato performing "Portland is Leaving" off 2006's Makers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cover Thursdays: Restless Hearts Sleep Alone Tonight

A.V. Club has a running feature called "A.V. Undercover".  Each of the last two years the staff and fans have come up with a list of 25 songs they would like to see covered.  As a band or musician comes in, they pick a song and cross it off the list.  As time goes by, the list grows shorter and the choices narrow.  It's really a great concept, that results in some really interesting takes on popular songs from the past.

"A.V. Undercover" has produced a bunch of great videos, and you'll likely be seeing more featured on our "Cover Thursdays".  However, choosing the first was easy.  I can't pass up a Journey cover.

Here's Clem Snide covering Journey's power ballad, "Faithfully."

As if that wasn't awesome enough, Eef Barzelay, Clem Snide frontman, announced that he'll be making a 6-song EP of Journey covers!  Find more info on their website.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

City and Colour: No Sleep Tonight

City and Colour is the stage name for Dallas Green, a Canadian singer/songwriter.  His solo career began in 2005, with his debut SometimesSometimes featured songs the developed over a long time, some of which Green started when he was 18 years old.  City and Colour has continued turning out albums, and in June of this year City and Colour released album number four, entitled Little Hell.

City and Colour will be touring around the better part of the world throughout the rest of the year.  Chances are he'll be coming to a city near you, so I recommend checking him out.  Here's City and Color performing "Hello, I'm In Delaware" live at the Knitting Factory.

Check out City and Colour's website for a complete list of dates, as well as the latest news regarding City and Colour.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ryan Adams: Steal My Records

Usually, I try to post about relatively new or somewhat under the radar bands.  However, today I felt like posting something different.  Ryan Adams has been around for quite awhile, and has been largely popular at that.  Sometimes there are songs that you just can't get out of your head.  Today, for me, that song is "Come Pick Me Up."  I've always been fond of it, ever since my friend Jenn pointed it out to me in the movie Elizabethtown.  It's the kind of song that hurts in a good way.

If (somehow) you haven't heard of Ryan Adams.  The first band of note he was part of was Whiskeytown, which was an alt-country band.  In 2000, Adams began his solo career with the release of Heartbreaker.  In 2001 Ryan Adam released Gold which featured his first break out hit "New York, New York."  While the song was recorded previous to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, it became a song of comfort in the trying days and months that followed.  Ryan Adams joined up with The Cardinals in 2004.  From 2004 to 2009 Ryan Adams and The Cardinals released four studio albums, which added to the five solo Ryan Adams releases.  In 2009 Ryan Adams took a break from music, only to return the next year.  He tried his hand at hard rock and metal music with Orion.  Later in 2010 he released Cardinals III/IV which was recorded in 2006.  Earlier this year Ryan Adam hinted that a new album Blackhole could be released around Christmas.

For me, however, nothing says Ryan Adams like this song.  Here's Ryan Adams and The Cardinals performing "Come Pick Me Up" live on Letterman.

Ryan Adams is on facebook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Your Left Hand In My Back Pocket

Jessica Lea Mayfield started her music career young... real young.  At the age of eight she was touring with her family's bluegrass band, One Day Rider.  She began playing guitar at the age of 11, under the tutelage of her brother David Mayfield (of David Mayfield Parade).  At 15, Mayfield recorded her first EP, White Lies, printing just 100 copies.  One of those few copies found its way to Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.  Impressed, Auerbach sought out Mayfield and the two began working together.  In 2008 Jessica Lea Mayfield released her debut LP, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt which was produced my Auerbach.  The result was widely praised by music outlets, receiving consistently high ratings.  In February of this year, Jessica Lea Mayfield released her follow-up album, Tell Me.

Mayfield's music is pretty unique.  The influence of her early experience with bluegrass and country can be heard in her voice.  However, her lyrics tend to be dark.  She sites Foo Fighters as one of her influences, and recently contributed to a Nirvana tribute album.

Here's Jessica Lea Mayfield performing "For Today" live in studio and KEXP in Seattle.

More about Jessica Lea Mayfield can be found at her website.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Kooks: By Such a Smiling Sweetheart

The Kooks are a British Indie Pop band, drawing influence from bands like The Police, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles.   Just three months after the band's formation they distributed a demo tape in hopes of getting some gigs.  Instead, the band received offers from record labels, and soon were signed to Virgin Records.  In 2006 The Kooks released their debut album Inside In/ Inside Out, which received high praise, especially in the UK and throughout Europe.

Earlier this year the band announced that it had finished recording their latest album.  Junk of the Heart is currently slated for a September 12th release date.  Here's The Kooks performing "Naive" off of 2006's Inside In/ Inside Out.

The Kooks begin their European Tour in Austria on August 18th.  You can find more about The Kooks on their website, including information on their upcoming release.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Phoenix: I'll Be Anything You Ask and More

Phoenix is a French alternative rock band with a note of electronic in their sound.  Forming in 1995, it wasn't until 2000 that the band released their debut United.  Despite regular releases throughout the decade, it was 2009's released Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, that exploded Phoenix into the forefront of the music world.  Songs like "1901" and "Lisztomania" were featured in a number of shows and movies.  The album was nominated and won 'Best Alternative Music Album" at the Grammy's in January of 2010.  Soon after "1901" soared to #1 on the music charts.

This past spring Phoenix announced they were entering the studio to record the next release.  This time the music world will be anxiously awaiting the byproduct of those sessions.  Here's Phoenix performing "1901"!

For updates on Phoenix you can check out their facebook page.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cover Thursdays: Stuck In Reverse

Back in 2007 you may have seen the previews for or even seen the movie Young @ Heart, a documentary following a chorus by the same name as they rehersed in preperation for a show in their hometown of Northampton, MA.  This, however, is no ordinary chorus.  It's a chorus of senior citizens whose average age dials in at 81 years.  They don't resign themselves to singing standards either.  Their repetoire ranges from Jimi Hendrix, to Bruce Springsteen, to James Brown, and Sonic Youth.

One of the standout performances of the movie comes courtesy of Fred Knittle.  Knittle was forced to leave the chorus five years earlier due to heart problems, but still made appearences from time to time.  The song Knittle was set to perform for the show was "Fix You" by Coldplay, and the performance was supposed to be a duet with his good friend Bob Silvini.  Unfortunately, Silvini passed away just days prior to the concert.  Faced with performing the song without his very good freind was devestating, however, Knittle pulled it off.  Knittle's performance, with his deep Johnny Cash-like voice, is outstanding to begin with.  Adding the circumstances surrounding the performance brings a completely different layer of feeling and emotion to the song.  It's amazing how a song's meaning can change when it's coming from a different perspective.

Here's Young @ Heart led by Fred Knittle performing "Fix You".  The video can't be embedded, but it's such a beautiful performance, everyone should check it out.  So, here the link to the video on youtube.

You can read so much more about the Young @ Heart Chorus by checking out their website.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.: She'll Show You Pictures

It took me a long time to pay attention to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  I had heard about the Indie-Pop duo before, but I figured any consideration they gained was simply from their name, and without listening to them I wrote them off as a passing band.  I was wrong.  Just as your mom told you not to judge a book by its cover, you shouldn't judge a band by its name.  Sure the name is silly, and Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott have been known to wear NASCAR outfits on stage, but the music is legit.  Their music is catchy to say the least, and uses 70's pop as a base.  Their debut full length album It's a Corporate World was released in early June of this year.

Perhaps the best showcase of how Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. draws on 1970's pop for inspiration comes in the form of "Simple Girl".  Recently the duo recorded this song and others in a session with Rolling Stone.  Take a listen to "Simple Girl" by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Find more at their website!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ra Ra Riot: My Bed's Too Big For Just Me

Ra Ra Riot formed at Syracuse University, just a few hours from my hometown, in 2006.  Gaining notoriety throughout campus and throughout upstate New York, the word quickly spread.  Soon the band was receiving positive concert reviews from Spin Magazine.  Ra Ra Riot has become a stalwart in the Indie Music scene.  In January, their latest full length release The Orchard was nominated for best Pop/Rock Album at the Independent Music Awards.

Check out Ra Ra Riot performing "Can You Tell" off 2008's The Rhumb Line.

Ra Ra Riot will be embarking on a US and Canadian tour in August, including a date at Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion with Guster and Jack's Mannequin on August 7th.  Find all your Ra Ra Riot information here!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kopecky Family Band: I'm Afraid I'm Just Like You

Kopecky Family Band is a group to get excited about.  Forming in their home of Nashville, Tennessee in 2007, the Family Band has won over just about anyone who has stumbled across them.  They've already played staple concert events such as Bonorroo and SXSW.  While in Austin for SXSW they won over NPR's Bob Boilen, and were asked to play a Tiny Desk Concert.  They also recently recorded a live set at Paste Studios.

Kopecky Family Band has recorded three EP's thus far, the latest, Of Epic Proportions was released this past May.  According to their website, the band returned to the studio to record yet again in hopes of producing another release.

Here's Kopecky Family band performing "Birds" off their 2010 EP The Disaster.

The Kopecky Family Band is playing the Iota Club in Arlington, VA tonight.  Find more from the band by clicking here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Charles Bradley: All My Life I've Been Searching For Love

It's not often you come across a story as inspirational as Charles Bradley's.  It was at a James Brown concert at the legendary Apollo in 1962, when the 14 year-old Bradley was convinced he was destined for a life of music.  Growing up poor in Brooklyn, Bradley had to work hard to make a life for himself.  He moved to Bar Harbor, Maine where he learned to cook and put together his first band.  Just as things were ramping up, however, his band mates were drafted to fight in the Vietnam war.

After moving back to New York and cooking for nearly a decade, Charles Bradley pursued his dream out west.  Hitchhiking across the US and Canada, Bradley finally settled in California.  Bradley made a living for himself as a chef, picking up gigs on the side when he could.  Just as Bradley was about to settle down, he was laid off his job of 17 years, and he moved back to Brooklyn.

It wasn't until he was 51 when Bradley first got a break in the music field.  Bradley began performing his James Brown routine, under the moniker "Black Velvet".  Just when Charles Bradley had thought he found his niche, his world was to be rocked again.  One morning Bradley woke at his mother's to cops outside.  They came to inform them that Bradley's brother was murdered by his nephew.  That sad morning was the inspiration behind his song "Heartaches and Pain".

Fortunately, there was good news yet to come for struggling soul singer.  One night, while performing as Black Velvet, Gabriel Roth of Daptone records walked into the performance.  Taken aback by Charles Bradley's raw talent, Roth took him to record with Sugarman 3 at Daptone records.  From there Bradley recorded with the funk band, The Bullets, who eventually became The Budos Band.  Bradley began to collaborate with Bullets guitarist Thomas Brenneck, and together they produced a few singles.  Finally, in January 2011, at the age of 62 Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band released their debut album, No Time for Dreaming.  Bradley's perseverance and hard work had paid off.

Since the release of No Time for Dreaming the album has received high praise for Bradley's soulful voice that harkens back to the 1960's and 70's.  Charles Bradley and his band are currently touring throughout Europe, before returning for a North American tour.  It's unbelievable that a dream that started in 1962 has finally been realized.

Here's Charles Bradley performing a song off No Time for Dreaming, "Lovin' You Baby."

Powerful stuff, huh?  Find out more about Charles Bradley, including where you can purchase No Time for Dreaming at his website.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cover Thursday- I Can't Make You Love Me, If You Don't

For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver's 2008 debut was perhaps the most stunningly beautiful and unexpected freshman release the music industry had seen in some time.  Justin Vernon and his haunting falsetto had produced something so unique that listeners had to stop and pay attention.  Even more impressive, he's managed to keep their attention.

On June 21st Bon Iver released their highly anticipated eponymous sophomore effort.  Despite sky high expectations, Bon Iver may have exceeded even the loftiest of requirements.  In my opinion, Bon Iver is the best album of 2011 to this point.  There is noticeably more production on Bon Iver than on For Emma, Forever Ago, giving it a much fuller sound.  However, the album is still distinctly Bon Iver.

I've been dying to feature a song from this record.  While every song is outstanding, I can't stop listening to the opening track, "Perth".  Unfortunately, there's not a great video of "Perth" out there yet.  But,  I couldn't resist writing about Bon Iver, so here's Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) performing "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Nick of Time" by Bonnie Raitt.

Head over to  If you do purchase Bon Iver, and I suggest you do, I think it's best enjoyed with the lights off and a pair of headphones.  It's one of those records.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Lonely Forest: The Worst Comes Out When I am Alone

The Lonely Forest is a young band out of Anacortes, Washintongon.  The band formed while it's members were still teenagers.  Ever since, they've been touring extensively and have released three albums and two EP's.  Their latest album, Arrows, was released just this past March.  Arrows was produced by Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, who also heads The Lonely Forest's current label, Trans.  The collaboration with Walla is fitting, because I think one can fairly compare the two bands.

Here's The Lonely Forest's John Van Deusen performing "Woe Is Me... I Am Ruined" live on KEXP in Seattle.

You can buy Arrows, learn more about the band, and check out their upcoming tour dates, all at their website

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cold War Kids: All Mixed Up In the Wash

Hailing from Long Beach, California, the Cold War Kids released their third and latest studio album Mine Is Yours in January of this year.  Rigorous touring, paired with a constant flow of new material from a number of EP's have produced quite a following.  Cold War Kids don't quite fit neatly in any musical category, besides the rather ambiguous Indie label.  However, there are shades of punk, soul, and gospel intertwined in their music.

Cold War Kids released their first LP in 2006, entitled Robbers & Cowards.  Here's the band performing one of their singles from that record, "Hang Me Up to Dry" on Later With Jools Hooland.

Head over to the Cold War Kids' website, where you can find info on their latest album, as well as some upcoming tour dates as the band returns from Europe.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Leona Naess- It's Such A Drag, Nobody Knows Me Better

Leona Naess is a singer/songwriter out of England, who's been producing music for over a decade.  After a brief hiatus, she released her latest album Thirteens in 2008.  She's been relatively quiet since.  In addition to touring with Ray LaMontagne, she also contributed backing vocals on his 2008 release Gossip In the Grain.  Hopefully, she'll be back making music soon!

Despite her absence, I like Naess' song "Heavy Like Sunday" too much to not feature it.  The chorus gets me every time.  Who doesn't want someone to know them better?  Here she is, in a neat little video, singing it in several different locations.

Head to her website, where you can find links to more Leona Naess information.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sean Rowe: The Fragrance of an Old Dream

This past Thursday's supporting act for Josh Ritter was a man by the name of Sean Rowe.  Rarely, have I seen such a positive response to an opening artist.  He instantly had command of the audience's attention and you could see the sheer admiration for his performance as he walked off the stage.  Just to gauge the impression he made on me in particular, I downloaded his album Magic yesterday evening and have listened to it full through four times already.

What's distinct about Rowe is his voice.  It's so deep and rugged, conjuring up the sounds of Leonard Cohan and Nick Cave.  His voice matches the contents of his lyrics beautifully, as you can almost feel the pain.  Added to Rowe's musical recipe is his rhythmic guitar playing style.  Sean Rowe hails from Troy, a small town in Upstate New York.  Perfecting his craft for over a decade, he caught the ear of music executives in 2009.  He released his first major label album, a re-release of Magic this past February.  One of the most intriguing aspects of Sean Rowe's story is his love of nature.  Often, he'll take breaks from recording to go on 30-day wilderness treks, carrying only a knife.  Something tells me he has a backlog of stories to tell.

Here's Sean Rowe performing "Surprise" off Magic.

You can order Magic from Rowe's website or from any major music outlet.  He'll be at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA later this month!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Concert Review: Josh Ritter @ Asbury Hall (Babeville), Buffalo, NY- 7.7.2011

Last night, in the center of downtown Buffalo, a 135 year-old church seemed to wake from a lengthy slumber to take some of it's most lively breaths in nearly a century.  Providing the life force for such an awakening, were the musical tidings of Josh Ritter and his Royal City Band.

Having seen Josh Ritter perform on several occasions, most recently this past Valentine's Day, I knew well of his abilities to capture and intrigue a crowd.  However, his aptitude for seizing an audience's attention was most effectively on display last night.  From the intimate notes of a solo performance of "Idaho", to the foot stomping, hand clapping, raucous "To The Dogs of Whoever" that closed the show, the crowd of 500 slowly melded into one beating unit.  A performance so captivating, it led my Dad to call it "One of the best concerts I've ever seen."

The setting for such an event was Asbury Hall at Babeville on Deleware Avenue in downtown Buffalo.  Babeville, the affectionate moniker given by owner and Buffalo native Ani DiFranco, is housed at the site of  the Deleware Asbury Methodist Church.  Built in 1876, this historical landmark fell into disrepair in the 1980's and 90's.  Facing demolition, Righteous Babe Records president Scot Fisher and Ani DiFranco proposed renovating the Church as a multipurpose entertainment venue in 1999.  The result is a simply breathtaking concert venue.  From the refurbished hardwood floors and railings, the the pews in the balcony, to the stain glass windows lining the outward walls, Asbury Hall is a magnificent place to see a concert.  The view from virtually any vantage point is unobscured, allowing audience members to spread out throughout the floor.  Downstairs, the Ninth Ward is a beautifully crafted lounge, providing concert goers a place to socialize before the show.  Having returned to Buffalo from the DC area, this is exactly the kind of concert venue that has been noticeably absent from Western New York area for years.  Mere blocks from the city's nightlife hub that is Chippewa Street, I can only hope that Asbury Hall at Babeville continues to grow in popularity.  Asbury Hall has the potential of becoming a consistent destination for all kinds of national music acts.

After taking in the venue's details and personality, the night hit its first strides when opening act Sean Rowe took the stage.  Rowe is an outstanding songwriter, who gets right down to business upon taking the stage.  He too captivated the audience with his rhythmic guitar style and deep voice.  His performance of "Jonathan" off his newest release Magic, and his closing song prompted an enthusiastic response from the crowd.  It's not often that an opening act has the entire audience hanging on every word and note, but that's exactly what Sean Rowe accomplished.

Now to main event of the evening.  Assessing the crowd as we stood in line, it was clear that Josh Ritter already had some loyal fans.  Many held his newly published novel Bright's Passage as they waited for him to take the stage.  Others seemed a little unfamiliar, as this was Ritter's first time in Buffalo.  As the night proceeded, the line between unfamiliar and die hard fans became blurred. Ritter took the stage at approximately 9PM accompanied only by his acoustic guitar.  From their he performed a hushed version of "Idaho" an homage to his home state.

Following "Idaho" Josh Ritter's Royal City Band joined him onstage for crowd favorites such as "Right Moves" and "Wolves".  At the end of "Wolves" Ritter fell to his knees and howled along with the crowd before singing the last verse seemingly to the moon.  Those familiar with Ritter's work know of his incredibly complex and dynamic lyrical style.  Many songs include references to the Bible, and to angels.  As one can imagine, these allusions to religion took on an extra meaning as the concert took place in an old church.  One such song "Harrisburg" was a definite crowd pleaser, though it may not have been for the religious references.  Toward the end of the song, bassist Zach Hickman sang a rousing portion of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game", which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

The highlights from last night are almost too numerous to list.  There's "The Curse", which is waltz-like song about an Egyptian mummy brought back to life by his affection toward a female archaeologist.  My Dad having heard this song for the first time described it perfectly, saying that each and every note was deliberate and placed perfectly.  The midpoint of the show consisted of a brief solo set from Josh Ritter consisting of the beautifully encouraging, glass half-full "Still Beating", the hilarious "Galahad", and perhaps the most brilliant post apocalyptic love song ever written, "The Temptation of Adam."  "Galahad" and "The Temptation of Adam" both are excellent samples of Ritter's lyrical ability to tell a story.  "Galahad" tells the tale of Sir Galahad's quest to drink from the Holy Grail, as an angel questions his decision to leave Earth for Heaven.  Ritter asked for all the lights to be turned off for the song  "The Temptation of Adam", a love song with a missile silo serving as the backdrop.  The protagonist in the song, considers pressing the "great big button" to end to world, if it means he gets to stay with his love for the rest of time.

The regular set drew to an end with the juvenile love song "Kathleen" which included an impromptu wave that swept through the audience, and "Change of Time" which ended with Josh singing the chorus, as the crowd sang "Rough Seas" back.  It was magical hearing the entire crowd singing in unison.  As the set ended, everyone rose to their feet.  Stomps were heard from the balcony as the audience beckoned Ritter to come back with his incredibly talented band.

Their wish granted, Josh Ritter took the stage for the encore.  Much like he began the show, Ritter came only his acoustic guitar for an unplugged cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The River".  Every tuned in ear hung on each note played.  As the song ended, the band rejoined Ritter on stage for "Real Long Distance", and "To the Dogs or Whoever".  At one point I looked to my right, and in this eclectic crowd ranging widely in age, I saw a man no younger than 70 dancing I dare say "wildly" to the last song of the night.  Josh Ritter had done it again.  He had every last one of us.

What an amazing night!  I knew full well that Josh Ritter would put on a good show, but seeing him do so with my Dad made this night special on a personal level.  Music and our love for it is something my Dad and I have in common.  It was a blast to turn him on to something new and spend time with him.  Thanks to Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band as well as everyone at Asbury Hall for putting on such an amazing show!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cover Thursdays- No Wedding Day Smiles, No Walk Down the Aisle

Tonight I'm taking my Dad to see Josh Ritter at Asbury Hall in Buffalo.  I've seen Josh Ritter live at least four times, and every time he's put on an excellent show.  His mastery over his complex lyrics and the enthusiasm he brings to the performance are both incredible.  However, what I'm most excited about, is seeing a concert with my Dad!  We've gone to shows together before, but now that I live in Maryland, it makes seeing a concert together a little more special.  Since moving in 2007, I've made great friends in Maryland and have grown to really enjoy my job.  The biggest drawback is only seeing my family for a few weeks thoughout the year.  So tonight isn't just about the music for me, it's about spending time with my Dad.

Because the concert falls on a Cover Thursday, here's Josh Ritter performing "The River" by Bruce Springsteen!

Check back tomorrow for another concert review!  Also, Josh Ritter just published his first novel, entitled Bright's Passage.  If you're looking for a good summer read, I'm sure the storytelling skills Ritter employs in his songwriting translate beautifully to a novel!  Go to his website and check it out!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Shins- I Find a Fatal Flaw In the Logic of Love

Earlier this week, I read a great article on Paste about artists overdue for a new album.  Some great artists were featured in the list including, Damien Rice, Beck, and The Postal Service.  Coming in at number three on the rundown was The Shins, which left me feeling a bit nostalgic.

Since leaving Sub Pop Records there's been little news from the band.  Last year, James Mercer formed Broken Bells, a side project incoorporating Danger Mouse.  There has been a bit of encouraging news.  Via their website The Shins have announced that they'll be appearing at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, which could be a sign of more to come.

Until we hear more from The Shins, here's something to hold us over.  Here are The Shins performing "Gone for Good" off of 2003's Chutes Too Narrow.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears- I Promise You'll Be Feeling Right

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears is a band out of the music haven of Austin, TX that is playing a brand of music few other bands are playing right now.  Lead singer Joe Lewis' bluesy howls coupled with jazzy horns contribute to a 70's style funk.  Formed in 2007 Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears are using their style from the past as a vessel for a new evolution of music.

The 2009 release of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears' debut album Tell 'Em What Your Name Is! was met with critical praise from a number of outlets.  This past March the band released their second album, Scandalous to similarly positive reviews.  I've heard from many concert goers that they put on a great show as well.

Here's Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears performing their hit "Sugarfoot", off Tell 'Em What Your Name Is! on "Later with Jools Holland".

Visit their website for tour dates and all your Honeybear related news today!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Deep Vibration: You're A Spark, And I'm Just The Third Day of July

It's a holiday weekend for us here in the US as tomorrow is Independence Day.  I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekends!  Back when I was gathering videos to write about, I came across a performance from a band out of Nashville, Tennessee called The Deep Vibration.  Last summer, I downloaded their Veracruz-EP and was instantly taken in by the high pitched vocals and stirring guitar licks.  The video I found was for the song "Third Day of July", and I've been waiting for this very day to fittingly feature it.  Well, I almost forgot!  Thankfully, something jogged my memory.

Beyond just the song title fitting the day, I'm a fan of the song for the lyrics.  Sometimes I hate divulging my interpretation of lyrics, because a) my interpretation could be dead wrong or b) someone has a differing interpretation.  But I really like how narrator of the song compares his love interest to a spark, and compares himself to the "third day of July", a day devoid of fireworks.

The Deep Vibration released their first LP, Strange Love in January of this year.  Here's The Deep Vibration performing "Third Day of July" off Veracruz-EP at Paste Studios!

Find more from The Deep Vibration, including their new release Strange Love here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Centro-matic: Just To Crawl Along Your Beaches

So I made it back home to Buffalo last night, and between the driving and helping out a bit at home I couldn't make it to Mohawk place to see the Sarah Jaffe and Cetro-matic show.  Something tells me, I'll come to regret it.

Originally, the concert interested me because Sarah Jaffe's Suburban Nature has been in steady rotation on my iPod.  However, the more I learn about Centr-matic, the more I want to see them as well.  Centro-matic is led by singer/songwriter Will Johnson.  Like Jaffe, Johnson calls Denton, TX home (I swear they grow musicians there).  Only, Johnson's been at this whole writing music gig for a bit longer than the fresh-faced Sarah Jaffe.  Centro-matic began as a solo side project, but then grew into a band in the mid 90's.  In addition to Centro-matic, and his solo career, Johnson also heads the band South San Gabriel and is a member of supergroup Monsters of Folk.

Centro-matic just released their latest album Candidate Waltz less than two weeks ago.  Already it's made one of Paste Magazine's editor's "Top 20 Albums of 2011 (So Far)" list.  Here's Will Johnson from Centro-matic performing "Just To Know What You've Been Dreaming".  I can't stop listening to this song, and it's incredible lyrics.  The solo performance just makes it more powerful.  Hope you enjoy it just as much as I do!

You can purchase Candidate Waltz, check tour dates, and learn more about the band at Centro-matic's website.