The May Mixtape

MP3 :: And The Hazy Sea - Cymbals Eat Guitars (original post)
MP3 :: Northern Lights - Bowerbirds (original post)
MP3 :: The Fade - Megafaun (original post)
MP3 :: Symptoms - New Ruins (original post)
MP3 :: Young Hearts Spark Fire - Japandroids (original post)
MP3 :: Reflection Of The Television - The Twilight Sad (original post)
MP3 :: I Want You To Know - Dinosaur Jr. (original post)
Link :: Blood - The Middle East
Link :: Lisztomania - Phoenix
MP3 :: I Knew - Lightning Dust (original post)
MP3 :: Nothing Broke - Meursault (original post)
MP3 :: January - Trashed On Fiction
MP3 :: It Ain’t Gonna Save Me - Jay Reatard
MP3 :: Josephine - Magnolia Electric Co. (original post)
MP3 :: Genevera - Jay Bennett (original post)

Like I’ve been doing the past few months, here is a collection of the best new music I’ve heard this month. I’ve posted most of these songs before (follow “original post“ links if you‘re interested in more detail), but there are a few others here that I haven’t gotten to yet. May brought at least 3 very noteworthy new albums our way - the primal, exhilarating rush of JapandroidsPost-Nothing, Pink Mountaintops’ psyche-folk opus Outside Love, and the expansive indie-pop of Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest. My favorite of these songs though is probably that new one from Bowerbirds - “Northern Lights” is a very straightforward folk ballad that proves you don’t need anything overly fancy to make a deeply affecting song. The “title” of this mix is a line from that song.

The mix closes with a track from Jay Bennett’s The Beloved Enemy. Bennett’s untimely passing last week was obviously very unexpected. I’ve always thought it was a shame that he became one of indie-rock’s favorite whipping boys when he really deserved much better. Bennett was a truly gifted songwriter, musician, and producer who played a huge role in making Wilco America’s best band for about 5 or 6 years. “Genevera” is a creaky acoustic ballad and my favorite of his post-Wilco solo tracks.

Previous Monthly Mixes:


[video] Grizzly Bear - "Ready, Able"

Spinner shared a recent live session with indie rock’s reigning champions, Grizzly Bear. The band sounds great playing 4 highlights from Veckatimest - “Two Weeks”, “While You Wait For The Others”, “Cheerleader”, and one of my personal favorites “Ready, Able”. Who am I kidding….they’re all personal faves, but “Ready, Able” needs some love too. Click here to view the others, here for the audio podcast, and right over here for the video podcast.
(from Veckatimest. Buy here)
***UPDATE*** I don't know why the hell the video is "unavailable" - it worked just fine yesterday when I posted it. Sorry though, be sure to go to the Spinner site to check it out.

[mp3] Magnolia Electric Co. - "Josephine"

Jason Molina has long been considered one of Americana’s most prolific songwriters, but it’s been 3 years since their last proper studio release, Fading Trails. Granted there was the 4-disc boxed set Sojourner since then, but that’s another story. Magnolia Electric Co. are gearing up to release Josephine, which is being described as a sort of concept record on loss and loneliness that mines the tragic 2007 death of M.E.C. bassist Evan Farrell for inspiration. The title track is a stripped down, soulful ballad and a welcome return for a band that’s been out of the loop for a little too long. Josephine comes out 7/21 through Secretly Canadian. Pitchfork had an interview with Molina today that shed a lot of light on the making of the new record.

MP3 :: Josephine
(from Josephine. Info here)

Josephine tracklist:

O! Grace
The Rock Of Ages
Song For Willie
Hope Dies Last
The Handing Down
Map Of The Falling Sky
Little Sad Eyes
Heartbreak At Ten Paces
Knoxville Girl
An Arrow In The Gale

I’m excited to hear a studio version of “Whip-poor-will”, which first surfaced on a bonus CD that came with the vinyl version of the self-titled career highlight Magnolia Electric Co. from 2002. Check that out here:

MP3 :: Whip-poor-will

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

To say that the overwhelming critical praise for Grizzly Bear’s 2006 sophomore effort Yellow House was lost on me would be a gross understatement. I dislike nearly everything about the album - from the muffled singing to the punchless arrangements and beyond. I’ve had the same negative reaction to other “big” indie albums before - Joanna Newsom’s Ys and the entire Sufjan Stevens catalog spring to mind. But with those albums I could at least understand what others were attracted to even if they didn’t move me. On the other hand, I’ve tried listening to Yellow House roughly a dozen times, each with the hope that whatever it was that people adored about it would at some point just click. It still never has. I simply find it to be painstakingly boring, and I have no idea what others are hearing that make them act as if it’s some sort of modern classic.

And yes, I do realize that my feelings for Yellow House are irrelevant in the whole grand scheme of things. My point is to set up a significant contrast - I think Veckatimest is a fucking spectacular achievement. The new Grizzly Bear album is a baroque, elegant set of songs that improves on Yellow House, to these ears, on every conceivable level - from the improved vocals of Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen to the inventive rhythms and harmonies of Chris Taylor and Chris Bear to the inviting songs themselves. It will surely (if it hasn’t already) thrust Grizzly Bear from “band on the verge” to “band at the top”. Like most of you I’ve been listening to the 128 kbps leaked version for a few months now (did you pre-order your vinyl yet?) and cannot wait to hear it in the type of high audio quality an album this endlessly nuanced deserves. Songs like “Two Weeks” and “While You Wait For The Others” find a perfect balance between sweeping indie-pop and ornate art-folk; “Fine For Now”, “Ready, Able”, and “I Live With You” are ambitious, cathartic anthems; and both “Cheerleader” and “Foreground” are hauntingly beautiful ballads. In fact, it’s a nearly unblemished album, with only “Dory” failing to make a strong impression. If you’re one of the 4 or 5 people out there who read music blogs such as this one who has still not listened to Veckatimest do so as soon as you get the chance - it’s a great album from a band that has truly come into their own.

MP3 :: Cheerleader
(from Veckatimest. Buy here)

Stream :: Two Weeks


And the freakin’ creepy video for “Two Weeks”:


Jay Bennett :: 1963 - 2009

Just got the sad news via email from a friend of a friend about the passing of Jay Bennett yesterday morning. You can read more at the Chicago Sun Times. Though his controversial departure from Wilco is unfortunately what gave Bennett his lasting notoriety, he was unquestionably a driving creative force in the band during their late 90's-early 00's peak and an incredibly talented songwriter, musician, arranger, and producer.

Thank you, Jay, for Being There, Mermaid Avenue, Summerteeth, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, four of my favorite albums of all time. Here's a bonus video from the I Am Trying To Break Your Heart dvd of Jeff Tweedy and Bennett playing "Cars Can't Escape". Bennett's final solo album, Whatever Happened I Apologize is available as a free download - right click here and "save as".


[mp3] New Ruins - "Symptoms"

“Symptoms” is from We Make Our Own Bad Luck, the recently released sophomore album from New Ruins. It’s a fine example of the band’s well-honed, folk-infused indie rock, and is available as a free download through emusic.

MP3 :: Symptoms
MP3 :: Lake
(from We Make Our Own Bad Luck. Buy here)

Help Me Choose A New Record Player..

Hey everyone. I'm in the market for a new turntable and was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions. With 2 new little girls in my house I can't afford to break the bank, but I'm looking for a quality product nonetheless. I was going to order an Audio-Technica AT-PL120 Professional Direct-Drive Turntable from Amazon, but should I rethink that? Any tips and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Peace.

[video] Iron & Wine - "Love Vigilantes"

I’ve always thought Iron & Wine’s transformation of New Order’s longing wartime ballad “Love Vigilantes” from a reflective piece of synth-pop into a typically beautiful folk song was one of Sam Beam’s most effective reinterpretations. It was performed by the band last night on The Jimmy Fallon Show (along with the brand new song “Godless Brother In Love”, featured below). “Love Vigilantes” is also included on Around the Well, the odds and sods compilation that Sub Pop is releasing this week that collects a wide assortment of outtakes, b-sides, soundtrack songs, and covers. Overall, Around the Well is a very satisfying, if not exactly comprehensive, look back at the underappreciated and unknown songs of the band’s first 8 years of existence - many of Iron & Wine’s finest rarities are included on the 2-disc set, but hardcore fans of the band are well aware of the myriad of worthy tracks the album foregoes. Two such songs are his cover of The Four Tops’ Motown classic “The Same Old Song” and The Marshall Tucker Band's beautiful “Ab’s Song” (thanks Erik!).

MP3 :: The Same Old Song
MP3 :: Ab’s Song

MP3 :: Belated Promise Ring
(from Around the Well. Buy here)

“Godless Brother In Love”


[mp3] Megafaun - "The Fade"

Here’s an excellent new song from Durham, N.C. band Megafaun. “The Fade” will appear on the band”s upcoming sophomore record called Gather, Form, & Fly, due from Hometapes on July 21. If you’re unfamiliar with the band’s backstory, they used to be known as DeYarmond Edison and featured Justin Vernon before he split for the Wisconsin woods, became Bon Iver, and recorded the modern classic For Emma, Forever Ago. “The Fade” is more polished and less isolated-sounding than anything off For Emma, but it’s a disarmingly beautiful folk song in its own right. Listen.

MP3 :: The Fade
(from Gather. Form, & Fly. Info here)

Okkervil River to tour with Wilco

After finishing up a successful Australian tour, Okkervil River are gearing up for a busy summer. First off is the band's first ever taping for the legendary Austin City Limits concert program on June 18. The band is also still touring behind last year's The Stand Ins, the companion to 2007's The Stage Names. Besides a bunch of dates supporting Wilco, Will Sheff and crew will be at Bonnaro on June 14, the Ottawa Bluesfest July 10, and the Winnepeg Folk Festival July 11. They have been on the road for a while now, and by all accounts (and despite the loss of Jonathon Meiburg to full time Shearwater duty) the band has really come into their own as live performers. Check the dates:

June 14 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo- The Other Tent
June 25 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern Theatre w/ Wilco
June 26 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery w/ Wilco
June 27 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre w/ Wilco
June 28 Stateline, NV Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena w/Wilco
June 30 Jacksonville, OR Britt Pavilion w/ Wilco
July 03 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre w/ Wilco
July 10 Ottawa, ON Ottawa Bluesfest
July 11 Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg Folk Festival

MP3 :: Pop Lie
MP3 :: Lost Coastlines
(from The Stand Ins. Buy here)

Cross-Pollination: The Mixtape, Vol. 2

Every week for the past 5 years the Cross-Pollination concert series at Pianos has brought together artists in the spirit of collaboration. If you’ve never seen one of these shows you’re really missing out. The shows feature 2 artists/bands every week performing sets of their own material before ending the evening with a one-time collaboration. You may remember Cross-Pollination: The Mixtape Vol. 1 from a few years ago; it featured exclusive content from several of the event’s participating artists, including some of my favorite NY-based singer-songwriters (including Matt Singer and Wakey!Wakey!) as well as a few more nationally recognizable names (My Brightest Diamond, Kevin Devine).

The good folks behind these weekly shows, as well as the Family Records/Liberated Matter partnership, have now graciously released a second free mixtape. Vol. 2 has been issued to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of Cross-Pollination and once again features an assortment of artists who have helped make the shows so memorable. Take this opportunity to discover some emerging NYC songwriting talent. Here’s the tracklist, the player, & the ZIP:

01. The Warbles - The Optometrist Song
02. Takka Takka - Silence (Son Lux Remix)
03. Alias Pail - Yo Sis!
04. Dinosaur Feathers - Know Your Own Strength
05. Dawn Landes ft. Project - I Hear Sounds
06. Jukebox The Ghost - Hold It In (Andrew Maury Remix)
07. Casey Shea - Oh Me, Oh My
08. Jaymay -
09. Lacrymosa - Weltschmerz (Smitten Song)
10. Pearl and the Beard - Oh, Death!
11. Julianna Barwick - Three Sisters
12. Twi the Humble Feather - Flight, Flight, Flight
13. Jay Mankind - Good Man

Click here for the ZIP

J. Tillman visits Daytrotter

Daytotter posted a session with J. Tillman last week, and as always there are a handful of quality sounding live songs available for free download. Check it out here and make sure you pick up Vacilando Territory Blues, which remains one of my favorite albums released so far this year.

MP3 :: James Blues
MP3 :: Steel On Steel
Video :: Firstborn
(from Vacilando Territory Blues. Buy here)

[mp3] The Twilight Sad - "Reflections of the Television"

Between the Wilco leak/stream on Tuesday and the LOST finale last night, I haven’t exactly focused much energy into PHW for a few days, but I do want to share this song with you. Scottish rockers The Twilight Sad released a heckuva debut in 2007 called Fourteens Autumns and Fifteen Winters, and now Pitchfork is reporting that the follow up, Forget the Night Ahead, will be released stateside through Fat Cat Records on September 22. They also have the first single, “Reflection of the Television”, for your listening pleasure. If you can tear yourself away from “Bull Black Nova”, that is.

MP3 :: Reflections of the Television
(from Forget the Night Ahead. Info here)

[mp3] Bowerbirds - "Northern Lights"

Here’s a really excellent new song from Bowerbirds’ forthcoming sophomore record, Upper Air, which drops July 7th from Dead Oceans.

MP3 :: Northern Lights
(from Upper Air. Info here)

Bowerbirds Summer Tour Dates:

07/06/09 Washington, DC - Black Cat
07/07/09 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
07/10/09 Providence, RI - Club Hell
07/11/09 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
07/12/09 Cambridge, MA - TT The Bear's Place
07/13/09 Montreal QC, Canada - La Sala Rossa
07/14/09 Toronto ON, Canada - Sneaky Dees
07/15/09 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
07/16/09 Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room at The Crofoot
07/17/09 Indianapolis, IN - Vollrath Tavern
07/20/09 Iowa City, IA - The Mill
07/21/09 Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry
07/22/09 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
07/26/09 Denver, CO - Hi Dive
07/27/09 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
07/29/09 Vancouver BC, Canada - The Biltmore Cabaret
07/30/09 Seattle, WA - Triple Door
07/31/09 Anacortes, WA - Department of Safety
08/01/09 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
08/03/09 San Francisco, CA - Cafe du Nord
08/04/09 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
08/05/09 San Diego, CA - Casbah
08/06/09 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
08/10/09 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
08/12/09 Denton, TX - Hailey's
08/13/09 Austin, TX - The Mohawk
08/14/09 Houston, TX - Walter's On Washington
08/15/09 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
08/16/09 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
08/17/09 Atlanta, GA - The Earl

All dates with Megafaun

[bootleg] Wilco - Chicago, Illinois 9/19/03

I’ve been on a big time Wilco kick as of late - I guess that’s what the anticipation of a brand spanking new album (with kick ass artwork) from one of your favorite bands will do to you. Odds on when the album leaks, anyone? Anyway, over the weekend I dug out this bootleg I hadn’t heard in years and thought it would be of interest to share. On September 19, 2003 Wilco were at the very tail end of the long, arduous tour in support of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that had lasted the better part of the previous 2 years. On this night, I believe the second to last of that tour, Wilco returned home to Chicago and played like a band that was ready for a bit of a breather. And I mean that in the best possible way - the band pulled out a diverse setlist, gathering plenty of older gems and lesser played songs from their entire catalog and delivered them with spirit to share. Wilco have always treated their home Chicago crowds to special shows, and this was certainly one of them. Also of note is one of the first, if not the first, appearance of Nels Cline on guitar during “Handshake Drugs”. He must have passed the audition! Cline joined the band the following spring, along with Pat Sansone, as a full time member after the recording and release of A Ghost Is Born. Thanks to the Via Chicago message board where I found this gem a few years back.

Wilco - Live @ The Chicago Auditorium, 9/19/03:
Disc 1

Disc 2

MP3 :: Audience
MP3 :: Jesus Etc.
MP3 :: Handshake Drugs
MP3 :: Cars Can’t Escape
MP3 :: Hoodoo Voodoo
MP3 :: Encore Break
MP3 :: Christ For President
MP3 :: Casino Queen
MP3 :: Passenger Side
MP3 :: I Must Be High
MP3 :: Outtasite (Outtamind)

Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love

Before hearing the drop dead amazing “Vampire” last month, my familiarity with either of Stephen McBean’s recording projects (Black Mountain, Pink Mountaintops) was limited, to say the least. I think I heard a Black Mountain song or 2 somewhere along the way, but who knows really. All that changed pretty quick once “Vampire” was released by Jagjaguwar and began circulating around the internets. Let’s just say I’ve been somewhat addicted to this song for the past month and hardly a drive home from work has passed without it blaring out of my windows over that time. It is easily one of my favorite songs of the year. So, to little surprise I was anxious to hear the rest of Pink Mountaintops’ Outside Love, and this week I’ve had the chance. And I am happy to report it did not disappoint.

Outside Love is a really solid collection of love songs - and when I say “love songs” I mean songs that approach the subject from every imaginable angle. At times Outside Love sounds inspired by Phil Spector’s infamous wall of sound in the same way The Jesus & Mary Chain’s Psychocandy was - some “Be My Baby”-like drums surrounded by strong melodies and layers upon layers of fuzzed out guitars - as on “Axis: Throne of Love”, “Execution” and the awkwardly titled but still pretty awesome “The Gayest of Sunbeams”. A sort of warped-country influence can be found in the sun-streaked sing-along “Holiday” as well as the gorgeous “And I Thank You”, while “Come Down” and “Closer To Heaven” are hazy psyche-folk at its best. McBean allows Ashley Webber to take lead vocals on the album’s most straightforward song, “While We Were Dreaming”, and she turns in a beautiful performance reminiscent of Jenny Lewis. But among all these highlights, the true standout remains “Vampire”, with its disarming vocals (with or without the backing choir), the acoustic guitar and string section arrangement, and those killer lyrics. It’s an absolute must hear. Outside Love is available now.

MP3 :: Vampire
MP3 :: While We Were Dreaming
(from Outside Love. Buy here)

And here’s a video of McBean performing “While We Were Dreaming”:


Wilco (the Album Art)

So that's the image that will grace the upcoming semi-self titled new Wilco album due June 30 from Nonesuch. And let me be the 601st person to's bloody brilliant. After a string of evocative yet somewhat sterile cover pics dating back to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, it's nice to see the band embrace a bit of absurdity on this, their 7th proper release. Let the 'my humps' jokes begin.

I'm really getting excited for this album - I have a feeling the band is going to deliver something special. Billboard got a preview recently and posted some thoughts, further upping my eagerness.

In other Wilco related news... Jay Bennett recently sued Jeff Tweedy for unpaid royalties - Paste has the scoop and Tweedy's reply. Also the band has released a Woody Guthrie song called "The Jolly Banker" via their website. You can download the song for free, or pay 2 bucks for it to help support the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives (I'm assuming that means Nora Guthrie), a very worthy cause. And oh yeah, did I mention you should also check out the excellent new live DVD Ashes of American Flags?

MP3 :: The Jolly Banker
(released via Wilcoworld)

[video] The National - "So Far Around the Bend"

Here’s The National performing “So Far Around the Bend”, a highlight from the excellent Dark Was The Night compilation, on The Jimmy Fallon Show the other night. Just like pretty much everyone with ears and taste I’m a huge fan of Alligator and Boxer, so it’s nice to see the band getting back out there. They’ve also debuted 2 new songs from a forthcoming 2010 release earlier this week at a DWTN charity performance at Radio City Music Hall - I‘m sure you can find those tunes somewhere if you know where to look.

Mp3 :: So Far Around the Bend
(from Dark Was The Night. Buy here)

Centro-matic Set Up Pretty Awesome Contest

One of the voices in my head is telling me to sit on this post. Why should I share information with you about a contest that I’d love to win myself? I don’t know. I don’t know either. But it’s been quiet on the Centro-matic front since last year’s Dual Hawks, underrated working class bands such as Will Johnson’s outfit could use some attention during these tough economic times, and I’m a very generous person. Here’s how the contest works: If you’re going to one of the upcoming Centro-matic shows you can enter to win one of the following prizes:

Will Johnson House Show: He'll come to your house and play a show for you and up to 20 friends. We'll figure out a mutually agreeable date sometime in 2009 for this to happen.

"Centro-matic" for life: Every Centro-matic, South San Gabriel and Will Johnson album past and future and two free tickets to any show anytime for life! (does not apply for festivals where we don't control the ticketing).

Wow, right!?! I’d take either in a second, but a private concert in your own home? That’s pretty damn special. And with the hundred or so Centro-matic/Will Johnson/South San Gabriel releases to date (and, undoubtedly, many to come), prize 2 might require you to add onto your home. The dates:

May 7 @ 9:00P Granada Theater w/ Centro-matic
Dallas, Texas

May 8 @ 9:00P Randy Bacon Studio w/ Centro-matic
Springfield, Missouri

May 9 @ 9:00P Off Broadway w/ Centro-matic
St. Louis, Missouri

May 11 @ 9:00P Schubas w/ Centro-matic
Chicago, Illinois

May 12 @ 9:00P 400 Bar w/ Centro-matic
Minneapolis, Minnesota

May 13 @ 9:00P The House Cafe w/ Centro-matic
DeKalb, Illinois

May 15 @ 9:00P The Parish w/ Centro-matic
Austin, Texas

Centro-matic will be joined by The Monahans on all dates. Check out some mp3s of both bands if you aren’t familiar:


MP3 :: I, The Kite
(from Dual Hawks. Buy here)

MP3 :: Triggers and Trash Heaps
MP3 :: Calling Thermetico
(from Fort Recovery. Buy here)

MP3 :: Flashes and Cables
MP3 :: Argonne Limit Co.
(from Love You Just The Same. Buy here)

The Monahans:

MP3 :: It’s Enough To Leave You
(from Dim the Aurora. Buy here)

[mp3] Meursault - "Nothing Broke"

One of my very late finds in 2008 was Meursault’s Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues - a sparkling, passionate blend of acoustic strumming, electronic wizardry, and howling, Scottish-accented vocals. I fell for it right away, and had I discovered it prior to mid-December and actually lived with the record for a while it would have likely ended up in my Top 20 of the year.

2009 finds the band keeping busy, with the impending release of a brand new EP. Nothing Broke will once again be birthed to the world via the Song, By Toad blog/label, and, until July, is only available there or at Meursault shows. Matthew over at the label describes the EP as ‘morose, barring the pop gem “William Henry Miller Pt.1”, but I love sad music, so there you go’. He's underselling a bit. Check out he warm, lo-fi sounds of the banjo/piano led title track below.

MP3 :: Nothing Broke
(from Nothing Broke EP. Buy here)
(from Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues. Buy here)

Cymbals Eat Guitars Release 2 Free Tracks

Earlier this year Staten Island’s Cymbals Eat Guitars self-released their debut, Why There Are Mountains, to widespread internet acclaim. And by “widespread” I mean some nice reviews on a few good blogs (including this one) and a coveted “Best New Music” tag from Pitchfork. To keep the momentum going the guys have teamed up with RCRD LBL and made 2 of the album’s many highlights available as free downloads. So if you haven’t yet checked into one of year’s best albums (whose 90s indie rock influences run all the way down from Washington State to Northern California - Pavement, Modest Mouse, Built To Spill) now’s your chance.

MP3 :: And The Hazy Sea
MP3 :: Some Trees (Merritt Moon)
(from Why There Are Mountains. Buy here)

Japandroids :: Post-Nothing

Over the past week I’ve been listening to the debut full length from Vancouver’s Japandroids more than anything else. Post-Nothing is a primitive sounding gut punch of a record - it’s rock n’ roll at its most raw, direct, and exhilarating. Like the album’s minimalist nature, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Check out “Young Hearts Spark Fire” and feel it for yourself.

MP3 :: Young Hearts Spark Fire
(from Post-Nothing. Buy here)
Japandroids are about to embark on a North American tour:

05/20/2009 Victoria, BC Lucky Bar
05/22/2009 Vancouver, BC The Biltmore Cabaret
05/24/2009 George, WA Sasquatch! Music Festival
05/27/2009 Portland, OR Holocene
05/28/2009 San Francisco, CA Hemlock Tavern
05/29/2009 Los Angeles, CA Silver Lake Lounge
05/31/2009 San Diego, CA Soda Bar
06/02/2009 Dallas, TX The Cavern
06/03/2009 Austin, TX Emo's
06/04/2009 Lawrence, KS Replay Lounge
06/05/2009 Minneapolis, MN TBA
06/06/2009 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
06/07/2009 Winnipeg, MB The Lo Pub
06/09/2009 Edmonton, AB Brixx Bar
06/25/2009 Calgary, AB Sled Island Festival
06/30/2009 Omaha, NE The Slowdown
07/01/2009 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
07/02/2009 Nashville, TN The End
07/04/2009 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
07/06/2009 Chapel Hill, BC TBA
07/07/2009 Philadelphia, PA TBA
07/08/2009 Washington, DC TBA
07/10/2009 Brooklyn, NY Cameo Gallery
07/11/2009 New York, NY Pianos
07/12/2009 Boston, MA Great Scott
07/14/2009 Montreal, QC Club Lambi
07/15/2009 Ottawa, ON Ottawa Bluesfest
07/16/2009 Toronto, ON El Mocambo
07/17/2009 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Festival
07/20/2009 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
07/21/2009 Denver, CO Hi Dive
07/23/2009 Boise, ID Neurolux
07/24/2009 Seattle, WA Capitol Hill Block Party

[mp3] Dinosaur Jr. - "I Want You To Know"

One of the more heartwarming indie-rock stories of the past few years is the creative resurgence of the original line up of Dinosaur Jr. 2007’s Beyond was way better than it had any right being, and the live shows DJr. have been putting on lately are some of the most inspired/insanely loud of their careers. Riding high on critical goodwill, J. Mascis, Murph, and Lou Barlow decided to put together another new record. Farm comes out June 23 through Jagjaguwar and has some pretty awesome Two Towers-meets-a-stoners-wet dream artwork, as seen above. “I Want You To Know” suggests that, musically speaking, round 2 still has some steam.

MP3 :: I Want You To Know
(from Farm. Info here)

The Felice Brothers - Yonder Is The Clock

On last year’s self-titled Team Love debut The Felice Brothers displayed the ability to play both raucous, beer-soaked folk rock and tender, heartfelt folk ballads. Soulful sing-alongs like “The Greatest Show On Earth“, “Take This Bread“, “Love Me Tenderly” and “Radio Song” were some of the catchiest Americana songs of the past few years. The true highlight of the album though was “Frankie’s Gun”, a song whose lyrics split the difference between straightforward outlaw tale and stream of conscious yarn and sounded musically like The Band playing Mott the Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes”. It was also one of my favorite songs of the year, and is, by far, the best thing the band has yet released. My only complaint with that album was the running time - at 15 songs long The Felice Brothers overstayed its welcome by about 15 minutes.

Their new album, Yonder Is The Clock, comes just a year later, and sonically doesn’t mess with the formula that worked so well before. “Run Chicken Run” plays the role of “Frankie” here, with Ian Felice once again spitting out lines full of vivid imagery and dizzying internal rhymes. It’s an accordion-fueled rocker and a fine introduction to the band, even if the chorus doesn’t quite equal the verses. Better are “Penn Station”, an inspired mess of a song that careens wildly like it could fall apart at any moment, and “Chicken Wire”. “Memphis Flu” is a traditional song that sounds like a drunken home recording. Its loose spirit suits the band perfectly and reminds me of “Treatment Bound” - the underappreciated gem that closed The Replacements’ Hootenanny way back in 1983. All 3 of these songs capture the freewheeling nature of the band at their very best, and “Penn Station” in particular seems to be the track from this album that will turn up again come Year End List Season.

Where The Felice Brothers are more hit or miss is on the quieter songs, and Yonder Is The Clock is full of them. Some work beautifully - the album opens with “The Big Surprise”, a song whose slooow building arrangement is effectively under-produced and comes off as a weird-folk ballad full of creaky vocals and random drum bursts. “Katie Dear” sounds like it could be an outtake from Music From Big Pink or The Band, and “Cooperstown” is a Dylan-esque folk song with vintage baseball imagery that conjures and romanticizes a time long gone. A few of the other slower songs fail to leave a mark though, especially the ones not sung by Ian - I know the band prides itself on its ragged, communal nature but none of the other singers in the band can match Ian’s cracked country vocals or deft wordplay. The album drags a bit when he’s not on the mic.

Overall though, Yonder Is The Clock is another solid effort from a band that works better for their individual songs than cohesive full length albums. When The Felice Brothers strike the right chords they are as memorable as any of their peers working in modern Americana (A.A. Bondy, The Roadside Graves, etc.) or the classic artists whose sounds they clearly echo.

MP3 :: Run Chicken Run
Stream :: Penn Station
(from Yonder Is The Clock. Buy here)