Friday, August 31, 2007

Wilco, in concert

This is what Nels looks like on stage - a shiny blur of polyester and guitar. Tweedy looks on.

Nels Cline wore a bright red shirt, black pants, and bright red socks. Better yet, he lived up to his wardrobe by jumping wildly around the stage hammering on the guitar, making a lot of "noise", and working the special effects. That was one of my impressions of Wilco, live in concert last Sunday at the Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, CA. It was a little hard to get into their jams, due to the abstractness of it all, but I don't suppose that's why you go to a Wilco concert. Jeff Tweedy, in relatively low-key garb, worked the microphone like a grand master. He's got great stage presence (especially in making fun of the Santa Barbarians...), a great voice, and so many well-crafted songs. At first I thought they were just playing their hits (you never want them to sell out by playing all their smash hits), but then I realized they just have a ton of really good songs. I found myself liking the new stuff off Sky Blue Sky a lot more as well. It seems much more believable and convincing after hearing it live. The studio work just doesn't do it justice. You Are My Face, Either Way, Hate It Here, and On And On And On were all excellent live. I'm certainly more of a Wilco fan now after seeing them live and would certainly recommend them to any concert-goer!

A quick look back tells me that lots and lots of Wilco songs have been posted on this blog in the past. I'd hate to finish off their catalog, so I'll just post one old one off a ghost is born. I enjoyed this one live as well.

Wilco - Hummingbird


Thursday, August 30, 2007

I hate to say it...

But I've developed my first man crush. Josh Ritter, the singer-songwriter from Idaho via Boston, just released his newest record, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Just like a few other bands this year (see The National), I was aware of Ritter and liked The Animal Years ok, but I had not really listened to anything else he's done. Well, I took a chance with Conquests and I came away stoked, which led me to his other stuff and hence the man crush. Ritter writes for my mood as of late: A bit somber, sometimes very somber, but also optimistic. For all of our sakes, I've picked some of his more upbeat stuff from his studio discography.

Josh Ritter -- Right Moves from The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter -- Wolves from The Animal Years
Josh Ritter -- Me & Jiggs from The Golden Age of Radio
For California from Hello Starling, go here.

You can buy Ritter's stuff over here.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've Got a Question

Turk and Carla got hitched: my inspiration!

I had a question and the answer was yes. Dear KGB fans, I'm engaged! I thought this occasion called for the quintessential "let's get married" song, straight from the Scrubs Soundtrack, Vol 2:

Olds 97s - Question


Birthday Trivia

So, i mentioned in my last post that my birthday also zoomed by us a week or so here's my trivia question: How old am I?

I'll leave these four songs as a clue (you can buy all these albums here):

Nirvana - Scentless Apprentice

Jimi Hendrix - Castles Made of Sand

Janis Joplin - Ball and Chain (live)

The Doors - Riders on the Storm

Should be an easy one.....


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ever have one of those days?

Yeah, me too....and today is one of them. No words to say, just a chance to bask in some blues and enjoy the music.

Derek and the Dominoes -- Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

[Buy Layla here]

Teenage Fanclub -- I Need Direction from Howdy!
[Buy Howdy! here]


Sunday, August 26, 2007

European Vacation mix

Instead of a weekend Six Pack of songs, I thought I'd try to navigate you on our recent trip through Europe. Two of us bloggers just returned from a 10 day trip where we saw the sites, smelled the smells (as ripe as they were) and explored some of Europe's great places. In 10 days, we took in a lot of great stuff and, with this blog, I hope to tell you about our trip with photos and a little help from some of my favorite artists. The Kooks will kick off this mix with their song, See The World.

Our group fluctuated throughout the week, but it was at its largest while we were in the UK. All told, we had people from Ohio, Indiana, California, and Australia. Thus, as a nod to all of our respective areas, here are 4 songs named after the places I just mentioned.

Our first stop on the trip was London. We spent approximately two days taking in the sites, including St. Paul's, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, Parliament, and Big Ben. Interestingly, Big Ben was not chiming because of maintenance. We actually saw the maintenance guys repelling to the clock, although this picture does not reflect it.

Any trip to England would not be complete without a trip to a pub. We spent many an hour at our hotel pub, closing it down on both nights. On Saturday night, we enjoyed great dinner and beers with a large group. Ironically, not one of us were English, and throughout our London time, we met very few Britons (we did meet Aussies, Scots, and South Africans). The two songs I will remember from this section of the trip include the following:

Following London, we headed for Italy. Our home base was Torino, located in the northern part of the country, but we criss-crossed much of the boot by train. We took it easy on our first Monday in Torino, exploring the city and of course, sampling the wine.

One thing about Italy in August is that in some cities, it's dead, which was the case in Torino. Italians take the entire month of August off of work, many leaving town for the beach. Restaurants are open and public transportation continues, but forget about going to the doctor.

Following a day of walking in 90 degree heat, I was dehydrated as hell. Luckily, I remedied that by drinking lots of wine at dinner. This first dinner was great: our waitress was cute and it was my first (of many) pizzas during the week. We were all jovial as hell!

The Ass Ponys -- Dried Up

We spent the next two days in Venice and Milan. Venice is like no other town I've seen. As I meandered through the alleys they call streets and traversed bridges crossing canals, I couldn't stop wondering how this city had survived for so long. One of the highlights of the trip was our dinner along The Grand Canal. Here is another group photo.

A sidenote at this point. The girl in the right corner of the photo is Cori, who we did not know before we started the trip. She and Rose (the other girl) lived in Torino for the past 3 months and were nice enough to let us all stay at their place. We hope that Cori didn't end up hating us after this trip. Anyway, she is from Barstow, California, which happens to be the title of the following Jay Farrar song.

Jay Farrar -- Barstow

Of course, while we were in Venice, we saw a ton of gondolas. Unfortunately, a gondola ride costs 80 Euro, which is well over $100 American dollars. If I were with a special lady friend, I would've done it but not in any ordinary case. Check out this gondola and the gondola man.

Elliott Smith -- Happiness-The Gondola Man

After staying the night in Venice, we headed for the fashion capital of the world, Milan. I was on the lookout the entire time, but I never spotted a supermodel. I did, however, see something just as impressive, The Duomo. This was the coolest building of the trip. It is overwhelmingly goth, in fact the second largest gothic cathedral in the world. We were fortunate enough to go inside and see the beginnings of mass. You couldn't help but feel a little spiritual. The following song by Jump, Little Children, does a great job of setting an appropriate mood for such an occasion.

Jump, Little Children -- Cathedrals

For the last two days of our time in Italy, we headed out of the city. Our first stop was Cinque Terre, a group of 5 villages along the northwestern coast of Italy. This place is awesome -- the 5 villages are connected by a hiking trail that winds along the Mediterranean coast. As you'll see in the pictures, the coast consists of jagged cliffs, making beachcombing a drag but a cool little climb to do some sunbathing and swimming.

Sun Kil Moon -- Ocean Breathes Salty

Dolorean -- Beachcomber Blues

For our last trip, we headed north for Lake Lugano, located just across the border in Switzerland. Lake Lugano is located very close to Lake Como, made famous by the celebrities that live in lavish homes along its banks and featured in Ocean's 13. Lake Lugano is just as beautiful, as the pictures will show.

Guided By Voices -- Back To The Lake

We capped our Switzerland trip by taking a trolley to the top of a mountain, giving us a panoramic view of the surrounding lake and mountains.

TV On The Radio -- Staring At The Sun

We flew out of Torino on Saturday night, so we mostly hung around the city that day, enjoying our final few hours of vacation. I decided that it would be a good idea to drink the remaining wine sitting in the apartment. Brilliant! Although the following is from Venice, just imagine me drinking multiple glasses of wine while sitting in the Chinese Pizzaria a block from Rose's place. Also brilliant, although it made the travel to London a bit interesting.

We flew out of London on Sunday morning. It was the end of our vacation, but it was a great time. On a side note, I will admit that I read a lot of Harry Potter on this trip. Thus, it was only appropriate that we ended up taking the train from King's Cross station. It was our first step home. Here is a groggy shot I took on Sunday morning.

Gillian Welch -- I'm On My Way Back To The Old Home

Welp, that's the quick and dirty synopsis of our trip. It was the trip of a lifetime and I think this soundtrack will help me keep the memories fresh in my mind for a long time. Hope you can enjoy the tunes because they are badass!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back from Hiatus

And by hiatus....i actually mean Boston. I was lucky enough to make my first trip to Boston this past week, which was also lucky enough to include my first trip to Fenway Park. It was magnificant....the most beautiful baseball park I have ever seen, plus we got to see a Red Sox win and a Big Papi grand slam. But unfortunately, the trip was work related, so there was actually quite a bit of "working" going on and internet access was at a premium.

Beautiful, huh?

So, I apologize for the brief stint of inactivity around here at Radio KGB. But, sometimes work does find a way to get in the way of life.

But I did manage to listen to some tuneage whilst on my trip. See, my birthday also passed by us last week, and my wife surprised me with Wilco's latest CD, Sky Blue Sky (which i have no excuse for not having previously purchased, other than sheer laziness). But it was a pleasant surprise, and I spent the majority of my trip taking it in. You can purchase Wilco here.

I also used the trip to catch up on a few other albums that you've been reading a lot about around here, but I, myself, had never taken the time to purchase. I downloaded both Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (buy here) and The National's Boxer (buy here) and gave them listens. I'm extremely happy to say that none of the three were let downs. They were what I thought they were.

So, with all that being said, I apologize for my lengthy absence here and promise to back into regular posts (some of which may even be worthwhile and inciteful) and maybe even a damn Webcast which i've put off since about April. I'll leave you with a few songs I enjoyed on my trip, which by now you all probably have......

Wilco - Either Way

Spoon - Don't Make Me a Target

The National - Fake Empire

I actually just realized that all three of these are the first songs on their respective albums. Hmm, I promised I listened to the whole albums....I promise i did!!


The Shins, live?

Hello fellow music fans. I need a little favor, a question answered, and ya'll seem like just the folks to consult. Turns out The Shins are going to be playing at the Santa Barbara Bowl in October and tickets are on sale. Now, I'm a Shins fan as much as the next bloke, but I'm not sure if they seem like a good live act or not. Has anybody seen them live? Any thoughts on the merits of this show? Should I pay the premium to check it out (actually, tickets are relatively reasonable for this part of the country anyway)?

While we mull this question over, here's one off their new disc, Wincing the Night Away: The Shins - Red Rabbit
And one off of Chutes Too Narrow: The Shins - Young Pilgrims

Buy The Shins here!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Move On Up

We are back! As Gerdon said, Europe welcomed us with open arms and it was great. Sadly, as Gerdon also mentioned, music did not play a big part in our trip. I listened to lots of music on the train rides across the boot, but I didn't really delve into anything new, just old classics. Luckily, America has also welcomed us back with open arms as the new Josh Ritter has hit the airs and is fantastic (more on this later). Before we left, My Morning Jacket played Lollapolooza and covered Curtis Mayfield's great Move On Up. MMJ is a great band, as you should know, and they pick some great covers. So, without further adeiu, check out MMJ's version of Move On Up, with a little help from the Chicago Youth Orchestra.

My Morning Jacket -- Move On Up

Note: The quality is not exceptional, as this is an MP3 converted from FLAC. If you want better quality, I would suggest downloading the FLAC file from the Live Archive. You can get that here.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Across the Pond

Europa welcomed KGB with open arms

Well, 2/3 of KGB are back from a fantastic holiday across the pond. Yes, Bryan and I, as well as some other comrades, did some traveling through the UK, Italy, and Switzerland. I usually come back from these trips with a particular song or two that stuck with me and remind me of the trip, for whatever reason. I'm disappointed that I didn't really come away with much this trip. I'm not sure why that is - maybe because we were on the run so much. But, to make up for lost time, here are a couple tracks for your enjoyment anyway.

Wilco - That's Not the Issue: This is a song that reminds me of my previous travel to Switzerland. "I've been thinking of something new" (that being Switzerland). I'm also heading to a Wilco concert in less than a week and what is that Uilco shirt Bryan has on?

Josh Turner - When I Paint My Masterpeice: A song by The Band, which was mentioned by a KGB fan in a previous post comment. The single line about "in a dirty gondola" kept going through my head in Venice.


Thursday, August 9, 2007



Rick Ankiel just homered in his first game as a hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals.

If you don't know who Rick Ankiel is....wikipedia the shit.

Happy Rick Ankiel Day, bitches!!!!



Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog.......

Monday, August 6, 2007

AG Webcast: Episode 7


Ricky Skaggs, belting it out

For your listening pleasure, here's my seventh webcast and my second guest on KGB. I've always enjoyed bluegrass and the virtuosity of its musicians, but never had a good enough familiarity with its rich history or its contemporary directions to really hold my own. So, this time I tapped into the bluegrass knowledge of Doug Gerdon to afford myself and all my faithful fans a good look and a fair listen to bluegrass and all the variations therein. Doug has been playing mandolin for a few years, but only a few years, so I think its still fresh in his mind what it's like to listen to some of these songs for the first time. So, settle back, listen up, and let those beautiful harmonies and that high lonesome sound wash over you.

1. Ricky Skaggs - Get Up John, Bluegrass Rules (1997) - written by Bill Monroe

2. Blue Highway - In the Gravel Yard, Lonesome Pine (2006) - written by Malcolm Pulley

3. Uncle Earl - Warfare, She Waits for Night (2005) - Traditional

4. Tony Rice - Church Street Blues, Church Street Blues (1983) - written by Norman Blake

5. Lonesome River Band - My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin, Carrying the Tradition (1994) - written by Bill Monroe

6. Rabbit In a Log - Nine Pound Hammer, Late Night Feast (2006) - Traditional

7. The Dreadful Snakes - Lonesome Whistle Blues, Snakes Alive (1983) - written by Hank Williams

8. Tim O'Brien - A Few More Years, Fiddler's Green (2005)

9. Leftover Salmon - Ain't Gonna Work, Euphoria (1997)

10. John Prine - Paradise, John Prine (1971)

11. Old Crow Medicine Show - Caroline, (*Can't figure out where this song came from, any help?)

12. Townes Van Zandt - No Deal, High Low and In Between (1972)

13. Grateful Dead - Dark Hollow, live - written by Bill Browning

14. Lonesome River Band - Little Birdie, Head On Into Heartache (2005)

*Like what you hear? Doug suggests Ricky Skagg's album, Bluegrass Rules [buy it here or here]


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Oakley Hall

Neutral colors suits them well, i think.

Hey everyone. Just discovered a new band and was really curious what everyone else thought about them, so I figured I'd post a couple songs seeing if I could get an opinion or two out there. The band's name is Oakley Hall, and the album I have is called Gypsum Strings (buy your copy here). Honestly, the entire album is all over the map. You've got punked out, distortion laced rockers on the same album and bluegrass-inspired banjo jaunts. Its a very eclectic album. Rumor has it the first album, Second Guessing, (both albums are available at eMusic) is more country-folk inspired, but you can still here the folk on this one. Anyways, I'm pretty sure I like what I've heard so far, but wanted some other opinions. lemme here what you got.

Oakley Hall - Confidence Man (this sounds like a song I might post)

Oakley Hall - If I Was in El Dorado (this one actually clocks in at just under 8 min. and sounds like something Gerdon or Kendall might post, maybe its the violin that makes me think that)

Oh well.


Sunday Six Pack

This picture has nothing to do with anything, other than I'll be there next week!

I took a mini-roadtrip this weekend to my old Kentucky home to prepare for the long trip we're taking next week. Some of these songs were on a killer playlist I created, so I decided to see what other great covers I had in the ol' catalogue (gotta get used to speaking English I reckon). For your enjoyment, 6 of my favorite covers.

1. Mark Kozelek -- Rock 'N' Roll Singer from Little Drummer Boy :: A live cut of the AC/DC song. If you haven't, check this guy out. He covers songs, but rearranges them putting his own spin on the song. He also does Modest Mouse, quite well. His original stuff is brilliant as well (Check out Ghosts of the Great Highway).
[Buy Little Drummer Boy here]

2. Gillian Welch -- Hickory Wind from Return of the Grievous Angel :: This is a Gram Parsons' classic and, as always, Gillian does it right.
[Buy Return of the Grievous Angel here]

3. Whiskeytown -- Dreams from The World Cafe :: This is apparently a live cut from a World Cafe performance. Don't care much for this song really, but I figure some of ya'll can always deal with a little Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary.
[Buy Whiskeytown here]

4. Porter Hall Tennessee -- Whiskey Bottle from All Sinners Welcome Here! :: This is an Uncle Tupelo song and if you know anything about this blog, you know I talk about these guys all the time. I am at it again, deal with it! The great thing about covers is that it's often a very simple thing, such as a female voice rather than a male voice, that makes it unique and interesting from the original. That is the case here; I love the duet we get for the great chorus.
[Buy All Sinners Welcome Here! here]

5. M Ward and Beth Orton -- Buckets of Rain from 2/11/2004 :: Another live cut that I pulled from another blog earlier in the year (sorry, I can't remember who it was but thank ya). See above -- love these two fine singers and their voices in contrast to Dylan's voice.
[Buy Beth Orton here and M Ward here]

6. The Indigo Girls -- Midnight Train to Georgia from 1200 Curfews :: How can you not like this soul classic by Gladys Knight and the Pips? Great song and great version!
[Buy 1200 Curfews here]



Friday, August 3, 2007

Its's Indie Time Again

I realize that my past couple of posts have included songs that are very discernibly "not indie rock". Well, just to prove I haven't lost my way and still remember my roots, here's a post totally dedicated to a couple indie rock gems I've been enjoying recently. No more talk, let's get to the music.

You know.....maybe the hot dog's right :(

1. Pela - Lost to the Lonesome: This is from their newest album, Anytown Graffiti. Very quick sound, nice melody. They have a very unique sound, to my untrained ears. I enjoy this album a lot. You can get it here.

2. Sufjan Stevens - Vito's Ordination Song: Have I mentioned that I like Sufjan Stevens yet? Probably only in like the past 10 posts or so. Oh well, here's another. This is off the Greeting from Michigan album. Get it here.

3. The Twilight Sad - Cold Days from the Birdhouse: From their Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters album. You aren't likely to hear anything else like this all year. Get the album here.

4. Band of Horses - The Great Salt Lake: Their album Everything All the Time just might have been one of the best albums out last year. Get it here.

5. Spoon - The Way We Get By: All this Spoon talk, let's go back a couple of years for this one. This is the first Spoon song I ever heard and liked. It's off 2002's Kill the Moonlight. You can buy it here.

Until next time.


100 Best Living Songwriters

Did Neil make the list?

I ran across this while reading about Lyle Lovett's new album It's Not Big, It's Large (which is probably worth looking in to!). Apparently, I'm behind the times as Paste Magazine came up with this list back in 2006, but it's interesting anyway (coincidentally, doesn't the title imply that these people are living their lives well?). I really like that it's a list of living songwriters. It gets rid of all the non-sense involved with of all time crap. You have to still be kicking it to make it on this list. I'm not going to comment on how I agree or disagree with the list, but it is fun to read about each artist and why Paste likes their lyrics. Unfortunately, I believe you can only read about #100 -81 on the website, so I've gone so far as to order the back issue paper copy. I'll let you know how it reads. Otherwise, check out the list and let me know what you think!

Paste Magazine's 100 Best Living Songwriters


Thursday, August 2, 2007

London town...

Ladies and gentlemen, the world's most boring sport! (Sorry any international readers)

In approximately a week's time, two of your bloggers are heading across the pond to make the rounds in London and Italia. This being my first time to Europe, I have the trip squarely on my mind and I'm beginning to make correlations with the music I've been listening to. How else could I tie the following two songs with London, England? Other than the obvious, they really have nothing to do with London, but whatever, it's good stuff. Check it out.

You Am I -- Explaining Cricket from Convicts [buy here]

The Silver Jews -- Buckingham Rabbit from American Water [buy here]