Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Fifth of July

That's right, I'm not forgetting about America just because its Saturday.

Anyways.....what are we listening to nowadays?

I'm looking for some new shiz and I can't say i've been 100% completely happy with my recent emusic purchases.....but that's just the way that goes. Lend me a helping hand and guide me towards something new down yonder in the comments. I'm growing desperate.

On to other important matters....

Kendall gave a less than glowing review of the new MMJ album down below (i believe the word turd was even used). I'm not going to be so harsh. Yes, parts (read: HIGHHHH-LEEEE SUH-SPISH-OUS!!) are a little difficult to handle.

There are some parts that are very worthwhile to listen to, and the more I've done so, the more I've liked it. I kinda think MMJ is one of those bands (a la Wilco) whose albums need to be taken with a small grain of salt (and that salt is typically served in the form of their live performances). I'm guessing that after we get the opportunity to hear some live cuts of these songs we'll find they grow a bit.

Example #1: Saturday Night Live. I heard both "Evil Urges" and "I'm Amazed" first on SNL. And I'll concede that SNL isn't exactly the place where masterful performances are produced, it was the first chance I had to hear these songs and I really liked them then.

Particularly the breakdown in the middle of Urges and the entire version of Amazed. They both come across a bit more.....hard hitting, i guess. Anyways, here's the mp3 of their performances from SNL which was hosted by everyone's favorite former Disney star turned Indiana Jones sidekick, Shia Lebouf.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges (live at SNL)
My Morning Jacket - I'm Amazed (live at SNL)

As for new things.....I haven't found much recently. I kinda like this Liam Finn fellow (liken him to Elliott Smith-type on anti-depressants). The "new" Stephen Malkmus is pretty good....but I still don't find myself listening to it that often. So, like i said if there's anything out there......send it my way.

Liam Finn - Second Chance
Stephen Malkmus - Baltimore


Friday, June 20, 2008

Conor Oberst gettin' his solo on

Even though I kinda always considered Bright Eyes a solo gig for Oberst, he's putting out an album under his own name. Its just him and some people he calls The Mystic Valley Band......catchy.

The album drops in August but you can stream two songs, "Danny Callahan" and "Souled Out", now from the "band's" official web site here.

Of the two I prefer "Souled Out". Its gotta nice rocky feel to it. "Callahan" has an interesting western, honky tonk piano feel. I get a different vibe from these than I did the last Bright Eyes album....which is a good thing, because never took to the last one.

If you end up giving it a listen, let me know what you think.

For now I'm off on vacation. Florida is callin' my name.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Hold Steady, Centro-matic, My Morning Jacket holy shit!

I am good at generalizing. See, based on looking at this guy, I generalize that he is a hit with the ladies.

Generalizing. Despite the bad rap that moral or nice people want to give it, generalizing people and things based on an initial impression is the best way to proceed through life. Analyzing something or getting to know people is just a waste of time. With that in mind, I am going to generalize three new albums, two of which are some of the summer's most anticipated.

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

As, Rutledge mentioned yesterday, this bad boy is now available for download at Itunes. I've listened to it sporadically over the last month and gave it the full treatment on Tuesday. This album is ok, not even close to Separation Sunday or Boys & my mind. Nothing jumps out to me. Some pretty kick ass guitar rifts throughout, but alot of them don't really go anywhere in my mind. It just kind of stalls with less hooks, making much of the album less accessible than the aforementioned albums. When it's great, it's great (see Sequestered in Memphis, Lord I'm Discouraged, Slapped Actress - the best song on the disc) but the rest hasn't done much for me yet. Hence, it's meh rating (Navy Sheets by itself almost warrants a meh rating). I will say that it has much potential for getting better, unlike our next album...........

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

Look, I get it Jim James. I understand that you like to "evolve" and keep pushing musical boundaries. I understand that many of the greats have done this. That's fantastic, I'm just disappointed with where you took it or how it came out in this instance. There are some good ones: Evil Urges, where James' voice heads to areas his studio albums have rarely gone but works surprisingly well, I'm Amazed with the more classic James sound but with lesser lyrics (an unfortunate theme throughout), and Aluminum Park.

Much of the album falls flat for me unfortunately. Even songs with a killer pedal steel whining in the back ground, such as Sec Walkin, just don't work for me. It lacks punch and seems fluffy - something I would find on my local adult contemporary, soft rock station. I haven't even mentioned Highly Suspicious, there is plenty of discussion about it. I come down on the side that says it's a turd.

Despite the disappointment in the album, I'm not giving up on MMJ. I don't love this direction, but it's not really surprising considering some of the territory covered on Z. Jim James has proven to be a badass in my book and every great artist makes a bad record every now and again, right?

Centro-matic / South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks

While I had fully embraced the other two bands, Centro-matic has always been a mixed bag for me. I've always recognized Will Johnson's prolific talent and I've enjoyed many of his past offerings (hell, I rated Fort Recovery in my Top 10 of 2006) but for some reason it had failed to click, until now. See, some guys write so much music, they need multiple outlets, and that's how Johnson operates. He does solo stuff, but works mainly for Centro-matic with a little South San Gabriel on the side. This time, he released albums from both bands, at the same time. The result: a freaking 90 minute set of incredible songs. The first disc is Centro and brings their trademark rock that Centro-matic is known for. Caution: it isn't for the faint of heart and might take some listens (yeah, I know this goes against what I railed on in the beginning) but do not fear, you will be rewarded in the end. Crunch and hook - I like it!

Here's one of my favorites (among many) from the album:

Centro-matic :: All Your Farewells

The South San Gabriel disc is something different. It's still Johnson writing great songs and much of it is still catchy. But, the songs are much more mellow and composed much differently. It works as a perfect contrast to the grit and forwardness of Disc 1; Disc 2 is a little more haunting and ambient. Take a listen to my favorite on this side, Kept On The Sly. I was looking forward to this entire album less than the two above, but I clearly enjoy it more than the other two.

So yeah, I lied about the generalizing.

Later chumps.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yeah, so i kinda "lost" my laptop three weeks ago. By "lost", I clearly mean I left it at my brother's house 5 damn hours away.....but everyone can relax, i've got it back.

So, that means I've got my music back too (an unfortunate outcome of my "switch" to digital music as opposed to CDs and such is that if my laptops MIA then most of my music is as well).

So, I'd first like to mention that The Hold Steady's new album Stay Positive is available for download over at iTunes. The actual tangible copy of it doesn't come out until July sometime, but you can download it now. Good enough for me.

Kendall so far has given it the raving review of "meh", but if I had to guess I'd say that he probably changes his mind before too long. I like it. I don't love it yet....but i definitely like it. The songs "Sequestered in Memphis" and "Both Crosses" are early highlights for me. One thing that is not down concerning this album is the lyric quality....they're as awesome as ever. My fave so far is "In barlight, she looked alright......In daylight, she looked desperate."

In other pleasantly surprising news, Coldplay has a new album for those that haven't seen the ipod commercial like 4700 times. Its called Viva la Vida and its pretty good....maybe that makes me gay (a la 40 Year Old Virgin) but whatever. I really like this album so far. Check out the opening instrumental track, "Life in Technicolor" and the 7:00 min + "Yes". This album isn't nearly as sappy/ridiculous as their last one. I'd put it on par with the first two in terms of quality....

Both these albums are a little to new for me to post anything from....but you should definitely check them out.

As for something to listen's this:

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma: If you're like me, the non-English major in you googled "Oxford Comma", found out what is was, and then thought to yourself...."Yeah, who does give a fuck about an Oxford comma."

Port O'Brien - I Woke Up Today: Their album
All We Could Do
Was Sing came out back in April and apparently it was their official debut. I guess The Wind and the Swell doesn't count for some reason....i liked it for what its worth. This song lead off both albums (i feel like i've got 35 different versions of this song for some reason....its probably more like 3) but this is my favorite version so far. The drums are a little more prevalent in this one.

You can download both these albums over at emusic. They're quality.

Oh well, take it easy.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Queen of Soul

Aretha's got steps

I'm going to take a stab and guess that you've never really listened to Aretha Franklin. Guys don't want to get caught listening to "Respect" and girls can't stop listening to "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman". Am I wrong? Well, I was the same way, but dammit, she's the Queen of Soul and she deserves better. And, dammit, you like good music, so you deserve better. So, here I am for ya, with sounds to salve the soul by Aretha Franklin. Give em a listen, I know you won't be disappointed.

She can get seriously funky with Rock Steady

You know she's got soul on You'll Lose a Good Thing

And check out some grass roots on her version of The Weight

[buy] some Aretha


(three posts in three days, booyaah)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, maybe "I'm Not There" was a bit academic or maybe abstract for me, but here's a music-related flick that is pretty sweet. You need to check out "Once" this very moment. It's about a street musician in Dublin trying to make his first demo and get a record deal. Of course, there's a love interest and drama ensues. Best part is that Glen Hansard (plays "guy" in the movie) and Marketa Irglova (plays "girl" in the movie) are both real musicians and this movie is really based around their songs. So, the tunes are freakin sweet and it turns out to be a very powerful movie, I'd say. I would very much recommend that you go out and rent this movie. Maybe watch it with your special lady/gentleman friend. Then I'd recommend you check out the sound track because it is also remarkable. In fact, I'm not going to post any songs from the soundtrack because it would ruin your movie experience. So, check it out on your own!


Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm Not There

Cate makes for an attractive man.

Sorry for not posting in a very very long time...

So, I finally saw "I'm Not There" this weekend. I was pretty excited to check this Dylan "biopic" out. It got some props at some festivals and such and Cate Blanchett definitely got some hype over her portrayal of one aspect of Dylan's personality. It was pretty interesting. It wasn't quite what I expected though. I found it very abstract as there was no plot to speak of. I don't think you can look at any particular scene to understand what the movie was saying or what Dylan was all about. I guess you have to screw up your eyes and see all two hours of it in one flash of personality and complexity. It's difficult to describe, as Dylan was. The music was good and it got me back in the mood for some more Dylan. As such, I picked up Highway 61 Revisited, so I'll post some good Dylan stuff soon.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Haha I'm posting about Dave Matthews

Sorry, how can I not? His band, along with Timmy Reynolds [giving this usually punchless band some punch], played a pretty hot show in Pennsylvania last night. In addition to their usual stuff, they also played the Allman's Melissa and encored with Money (Pink Floyd) and the Motown classic Money (That's What I Want) (Barrett Strong).

You can stream the entire show here.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Gordon and I went and done it, thanks to a little help from Gerdon..

That's right fuckers, Gordon and I went and done it. I almost hate to give Gerdon credit but I have to. See, Gerdon got 'hold of me the other day to tell me that Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters fame is playing in Louisville. On a Saturday night. For $15 bucks.

Damn, pure robbery.

We got our tickets and are making the short drive down I-71 to Louisville. I can't remember being so excited for a show. Kozelek is an enigma wrapped in an enigma...a cat I was sure I would never see live.

But here he is...close to home and on the heels of his new album April. A fantastic album from one of the most underrated artists going today. Don't be a chump...if you think it's too mellow or depressing or too long the first time around...listen a few more times. You'll come around.

Check this stuff out...first from April then a "new" version from SKM's classic, Ghosts of the Great Highway.

SKM Tonight in Bilbao
SKM Carry Me Ohio (jam version)!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Wading through the turds of the last 10 years...

Ten years ago I was approaching my high school graduation. Crazy to believe it was ten fucking years ago! Since then, I've experienced a lot of shit and listened to a lot of music, including a lot of turds. Because of this, it's a pretty joyous experience to go back and listen to some of that music and find something you still can dig. I did that very thing tonight when I revisited a band called The Samples. I listened to these cats a lot back in 1998 - it was the soundtrack to my last two years of high school. Like many a thing, we grew apart as I grew older and they grew crappier (sorry it's true - their later stuff is junk). But, some of their stuff was fantastic and that's what I bring you tonight. The two tracks featured below still resonate with me for their countrified, uplifting happiness on one hand and the melancholy, reflective beauty on the other. As always, there is a nice use of the pedal steel guitar, the baddest instrument in all the land.

The Samples -- Take My Heart
The Samples -- Prophet of Doom


Friday, May 16, 2008

NKOTB is Back in the house....

....and not a moment too soon. I hope everybody's still got their lunchboxes handy.

Yeah, so I'm minding my own business this morning, getting ready for work whilst watching the Today show, and who do they have playing???

New Kids on the Block........sigh.

They're back and they're touring.....and probably putting out a new album of predictably killer "hits".

It was at that moment this morning that I realized the true purpose of this blog and the thousand others like it. Somewhere this morning and young child was watching the Today show with his stay at home mom. Subconsciously this child was thinking to him or herself...."is this really all there is? Is this the music I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? This sucks."

Well, young child, yes....that would suck. But fortunately there is more out there than your standard NKOTB, Nsync, Backstreet Boys crap. And that is why we're here. If we can help one child find something good to listen to, then I say we've done our jobs.

So, with that......some non-NKOTB to get everyone's weekend started.

Pavement - Stop Breathin

This one's off the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain album....I love guitars throughout the second half of this song. Its probably my favorite Pavement song.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Coming out of hibernation.....

Man, feels like its been damn near two months since our last pos.........wait.....what's HAS BEEN TWO MONTHS!! Well, how about that?

How terrible. I mean, on one hand you can kinda understand where we're coming from....Kendall's house is buried in snow still, and well....let's just say Gerdon is taking the Bretty Favre thing rrreeaaalllyyy hard. As for me? I don't particularly have a good excuse. Chalk mine up to pure, unadulterated laziness.

Never again, I say!! I make you, the KGB reader (edit: listener) the solemn promise to never let this happen again.* Nothing but good tunes, and up-to-date** music news.

*Promise comes with the caveat that similar breaks will most certainly occur in the future.

**Music news actually not likely to be that up-to-date.

I must mention that I am certainly not speaking for the rest of us involved here at KGB. But I'm climbing back on the horse and am giving it another go-round.

So, to get us kick-started back into gear its gonna take a truly special song.

There's tons of new stuff we could listen to, but I'm saying lets go back to our roots. How about some Dylan.....

Bob Dylan - Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again

See, that helps.

Now, how bout one more for the road. Let's hit up some Dead with this one.....I've been listening to a retarded amount of Dead recently.

Grateful Dead - China Cat Sunflower

Until next time.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowed In EP

Alright, it wasn't this bad but still.....come on.

Damn! The Cincinnati area received a foot of snow over the last two days, relegating me to the abode. Other than a few visits outside with the pup (who would never come in if it were up to her), I've been snowed in. Not all is lost however; I've had lots of time to do very important things including my taxes, preparing for my fantasy baseball draft (booyah), cleaning, and drinking whiskey of course. Thus, in honor of my snowed-in weekend, here's an EP of songs that tell you all about my cold, snowy, sleepful weekend.

Mendoza Line -- Tax Me
Dolorean -- Violence In Snowy Fields
Wrinkle Neck Mules -- Failure of Liver
Ass Ponys -- Last Night It Snowed
Jack Johnson -- Sleep Through The Static
The Band -- Acadian Driftwood
Avett Brothers -- Go To Sleep

It's good stuff, ya'll.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I miss you already Brett

The breaking news of the century is that gunslinger Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, your favorite QB and mine, is going to hang up the cleats for a better life in greener pastures. He's retiring folks. After 18 years in the NFL (17 of which with the Packers) he's amassed numerous outstanding records and accolades, he's excited and entertained the nation, and he's proven himself to be an outstanding person. He sure did some great things for the Packers and as a Packers fan I can say he will be missed. So, here are a few songs to let you know how I'm feeling about this whole mess.

My first notion is to say don't go Favre. You're still at the top of your game. You have a young and exciting team to lead and that second Super Bowl title could be yours. I think The Band said it the best:

The Band - Don't Do It

Next I'd like to remember Favre for what he was and still is - a bad ass on and off the football field. The Drive-by Truckers pay homage well to Steve McQueen for kicking ass and being an all around tough guy. I think we can substitute the name Brett Favre in for Steve McQueen in a couple choruses:

Drive-by Truckers - Steve McQueen

And, to finish out my man-crush on Brett, let's just remember the good times with Norah Jones.

The Little Willies - For the Good Times


[buy The Band, Drive-by Truckers, The Little Willies]

Monday, March 3, 2008

Top 5 Songs of Drink

Dispensers of fine ale at Young's in Hammersmith, UK

It’s finally time for another Top 5 here at KGB and I will gladly raise a glass to that. In fact, many glasses, as was done this fine weekend when music cohort Bryan Kendall and posse rolled into Santa Barbara for a weekend in the sun. We sampled many home, local, and regional brews and didn’t turn one away. So, in honor of that festival of beer, let’s hear about some songs relating to the honest brew, press, and distillation that we love so well. These can be songs about drinking (in moderation or otherwise) or about a specific drink. So, with out further mention, give me your best:

Top 5 Songs of Drink


Monday, February 25, 2008

Another man done gone...

Thank you The Onion for this bad boy. Communism never looked more fun.

A sad turn of events for Communists all over the world. One of the leading comrades has decided to retire (really, can you ever retire from Communism? I think not). Fidel Castro was no member of the KGB, but they were boys, no doubt about that. Sometimes reality has a way of kicking you in the nuts and it appears Castro's hath finally been kicketh. Lucky for him (if you can say that for someone with the health problems he currently has), his reality is not like the reality described by one Nick Lowe in the following. Check it out:

Nick Lowe -- Nutted By Reality from Jesus of Cool (Reissued)
[buy Jesus of Cool here]

In other completely unrelated news, the Hold Steady is currently preparing to release a new album, much to the enjoyment of myself and probably Rutledge too. The band shares some of the details with your friends at Pitchfork, right here.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finding a job sucks

So, one of the reasons I haven't posted much lately, is that I'm finishing up graduate school. Lame excuse, I know....but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) its true.

With that comes the horrendous, unenviable task of finding a job, or in my case.....finding yet another place to go to school for the next two years. It really is never ending. But its something that has to be done.

Now the funny thing is, I'm excited about the opportunity to move somewhere new. I've lived in Kentucky and Nashville (the urban version of Kentucky) for my entire this will be exciting. But over the course of the past few weeks I've all but convinced myself that I'm living in like 10 different places. It changes every two or three days. So, I figured I'd give you a small bit of insight into some of those places that I've told myself, "Yep, that's the place. Can't wait to move there" only to change my mind the next morning.

So, let's get going. Here are a no particular order.

1. Boston
Pros: See Picture. A. W. E. S. O. M. E. city.

Cons: Very cold. Gerdon lives there. HA! Just kidding buddy.

Song: Ben Harper - She's Only Happy In the Sun

2. Denver

Pros: Beautiful. Never been there. Skiing.

Cons: Snow. Lots of snow.

Song: Yonder Mountain String Band - High on a Hilltop

3. Louisville

Pros: Familiarity. Lots of Friends there. Comfortable.

Cons: What's the saying......Everything changes, everything stays the same? Something like that.

Song: Ben Kweller - Different but the Same

4. South Carolina
Pros: I like living in the south. Close to the ocean.

Cons: Hot.

Song: Ryan Adams - Carolina Rain

5. Dayton, OH
Pros: Meh.

Cons: Meh.

Song: Elliott Smith - Whatever

6. San Francisco
Pros: Probably the most different than what I'm used to.

Cons: Mapquest says its 2307.83 miles away from Nashville. Damn.

Song: Coconut Records - West Coast

7. Florida (either Gainesville or Tallahassee)
Pros: Currently the favorite. I've wanted to live there my entire life. Wife wants to live there, too.

Cons: Hurricanes

Song: The Hold Steady - Citrus

So, I suppose we'll see. I still have a couple months before this process rrreeeaaaalllllyyyyy gets underway. I'm excited though.



So, I've been meaning to make a couple posts recently, but haven't exactly gotten around to doing so....

To remedy this, I shall make a couple of posts today. And what better way to get us going than with a couple of banjo songs. Banjo.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Sur

Big Sur at sunset

I spent the weekend up in Big Sur - an area of costal California between San Fransicso and San Luis Obispo known for it's mountainous terrain, great ocean views, giant redwoods, and sweet wild life. It was an awesome trip involving some camping and some hiking. Big Sur was home to Jack Kerouac for a year in the 60's and got me thinking quite a bit about the Grateful Dead. I reckon they made their way through Big Sur in their hay day as well. So, here are a couple songs I was jamming to as I drove that long and winding Highway 1 along the cliffs at the edge of America.

Grateful Dead - Casey Jones

Grateful Dead - New Speedway Boogie


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Billy Bragg

Billy, out promoting his music

I’ve found myself enveloped in some Billy Bragg goodness as of late. I decided to check Billy out due to his collaboration with Wilco. I really enjoyed Mermaid Avenue (1998), though I still haven’t checked out Mermaid Avenue, Vol II (2000). At some point I ran across some music of Billy’s yester-years and decided to give it a go. So, I picked up Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs Spy (1983) and found it sticking with me. I don’t know much about punk, but I like this stuff because it’s short and to the point and stripped down to his loan, harsh guitar and even more harsh voice (similar to JJ Cale in some ways). Sometimes his singing is almost bad – but that seems to add to the aggressiveness of the song (see “To Have and To Have Not). It’s simple, good song writing and I can appreciate that. Unfortunately, I also picked up Talking With the Taxman About Poetry (1986) and found it a bit too 80’s for my taste. I may still pick up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) hoping that’s more like Spy Vs Spy.

If you like what you’re reading, check out these two tracks:

Billy Bragg – A New England

Bill Bragg – The Milkman of Human Kindness

[buy Bill here]


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Whiskey. Need I say more?

That is one big bottle of goodness.

In honor of an old friend coming back into my life (obviously I am talking about smooth Kentucky bourbon whiskey), I thought I'd celebrate with, what else, a couple of choice cuts that address whiskey. So many great songs about the nectar of the gods, but alas, here are a few that get my heart pumping and leave me sprawled out on the floor.

Slobberbone: Whiskey Glass Eye from Crow Pot Pie

[buy Slobberbone here]

Wrinkle Neck Mules: Whiskey Jars from Minor Enough
[buy Wrinkle Neck Mules here]

And finally, Mike Cooley ponders the question that has still yet to be answered: which is better, women or the whiskey - ("whiskey is hard to beat")?

Drive-By Truckers: Women Without Whiskey from 7.29.2004 in Winston Salem, NC
[buy DBT here]


Monday, February 11, 2008 do you work this here blog thing??

Ryan who??? is right......where the hell have I been? I looked today and realized I haven't posted in like 2 weeks +. Man that, and I, sucks.

Thankfully my boys, Kendall and Gerdon, have been holding the place down. And its a good thing, because I've been sucking. But, you know.....trying to get your damn Ph.D. will do that to you. Work's been getting me down. Always seems to find a way, but trying to graduate will really keep you away from your priorities (i.e. posting on music blogs, preparing for fantasy baseball drafts, etc.).

Well, its time for this to stop. And what better to give me a swift kick in the arse than the possibility of attending a music festival.

So, I'm going to the New Orleans Jazz Festival in May and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm officially purchasing tickets tomorrow. I haven't been to a good music festival since Bonnaroo and even then the 'goodness' is heavily balanced by the associated 'disgustingness' of it.

Well, from what I understand, JazzFest will not be this way and I truly hope not. As it stands today I'm most excited about catching Jimmy Buffett and the Raconteurs.....but I have a feeling as the event approaches I'll be equally excited about catching all the local jazz bands that frequent the event. A couple other "names" that'll be there the weekend i'm going include: The Roots, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Santana, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, etc.

Needless to say, I'm excited. I've never been and i L-O-V-E New Orleans. So, has anyone out there in KGB reader-land ever been?? If so, let me know what you thought and what bands or things you recommend I check out.

So, I'll leave you with this Jimmy Buffett cover song to get you (and more importantly, me) in the mood.

Jimmy Buffett - Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover)

I promise it won't be three weeks until my next post.....seriously.....i promise.

Ryan Who? How bouts some Caitlin Cary?

I've been on a big Whiskeytown kick as of late in preparation for the release of the extended Strangers' Almanac that is due out on March 4. There is a pretty good write up with all the extended greatness listed here. Ultimately, whenever I spend some time with Whiskeytown, I inevitably pull out Caitlin Cary's Begonias, one of the finest albums from 2005. I know I didn't appreciate it fully back in the day, but it continues to stand the test of time, unlike some of the other 2005 releases that I once fluffed. With a little help from Thad Cockrell, Caitlin and company put together a great country flavored album with pretty much no weak tracks. And of course, there is the voice, front and center this time around. Check out some of Begonias below and better yet, buy it here.

Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Second Option
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Party Time


Friday, February 8, 2008

Don't book your Uncle Tupelo reunion tour tickets anytime soon.

A man can dream, eh? Interesting Tweedy story about Farrar from his show on January 23, 2008.

However, since this is a music website, how about some of Tweedy's finest work with UT? Here he is performing Gun.

And while we're at it, here's some of Farrar's best stuff from UT in audio version:

Uncle Tupelo -- Outdone from No Depression
[buy UT here]


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday

In case you were wondering, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent season, leading up to Easter, for the Catholics of the world. Incidentally, it's also Chinese New Year. Today being Ash Wednesday does mean that I some how let Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday pass me by this year. How did I miss that fantastic celebration and the good music that goes along with it? We had a nice little discussion on Mardi Gras music last year (see post), but I guess we missed it this time around. Anyway, in honor of Easter anticipation, I've got a tune or two for you.

Harry Connick, Jr. is a champion of New Orleans and put out a few jazz albums (Oh, My NOLA and Chanson du Vieux Carre) in 2007. One track on Chanson du Vieux Carre, appropriately titled "Ash Wednesday", was recently nominated for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Arrangement at the 2008 Grammy Awards, and is one of my favorites off that disc. It's been played here on KGB before, but this is another opportunity to give it another listen.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band are also New Orleans greats. They put together a remake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album and put together a fantastic version of Wholy Holy, which also fits will in this theme.

Finally, we have Jan Garbarek, a Norwegian saxophonist with an extensive discography. On that discography is the album Officium, which is in collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble (a vocal quartet that performs "early compositions"). Now, I know you may not be into chanting (maybe you are, it's pretty sweet), but dig on the saxophone in this work. It is so smooth and blends in really well with the voices. When you're learning to play the saxophone, this is the type of sound you want in your head. This is what you try to match. Good stuff.

Harry Connick Jr - Ash Wednesday [buy]

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Wholy Holy [buy]

Jan Garbarek - O Salutaris Hostia [buy]


Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday morning find...

Here's the family and me on a Lazy Sunday Morning.

Holla. So I love lazy Sunday mornings. It gives me a little time to be lazy (or should I say lazier) and catch up on my listens and my reading. Well, this Sunday, I was minding my own business, catching up on some reading on one of my favorite music discussion boards when I read about this one band called Wrinkle Neck Mules, hailing from Richmond. They sound interesting so I check them out. They play a mean pedal steel, need I say more? Think Old Crow Medicine Show perhaps, or Cast Iron Filter? I started with their 2006 release, The Wicks Have Met. They also have a plethora of stuff available on their website, including live clips. This is Americana music at its finest, so enjoy.

Wrinkle Neck Mules -- Cadillac Limousine from The Wicks Have Met
Wrinkle Neck Mules -- Liza from Pull The Brake
[buy Wrinkle Neck Mules here]


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thanks Gerdon....

With his mention of Lay Lady Lay, I dug out my copy of Nashville Skyline, which contains a few of my favorite Dylan tracks. The one I tend to listen to most, however, is the album's closer, Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You. Everyone deserves to have a moment like the narrator in Dylan's classic: blowing off responsibilities to stick around and spend more time with the person you love. Here is the version off of Nashville Skyline and in addition, a cover of the song from Aussie rockers, You Am I. You Am I is an Australian band with huge success Down Under that is starting to make some noise in the States. Their latest release, Convicts, was one of my favorite discoveries from 2007. More on them on another day, but for now here is their version of Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You.

Bob Dylan -- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
[buy Dylan's Nashville Skyline here]

You Am I -- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
[buy YAI here]


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wake Up Song

Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline album cover

Every morning, so far, I wake up. Most of those mornings I wake up with a sweet tune playing non-stop in my old noggin. If you ask me, this is a pretty sweet way to wake up in the morning. I think it's about time I start sharing some of this songs with you. This morning I woke up with a great one, Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan, kicking around in my brain. Why this song? you stoically ask. Well, I was watching the movie Mr and Mrs Smith last night (the dangerous start to Brad and Angelina's romance) and hear Magnet's rendition of this classic Bob Dylan tune. I didn't mind Magnet's version much, but I prefer to dig on the original and there it was in my mind.

So, here it is for you, off the Nashville Skyline album:

Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay


Monday, January 28, 2008

More Cat Power love

Last week I posted Sea of Love, a song that Cat Power covered on her Covers Record and that recently appeared on the Juno Soundtrack. Well, Chan was back at it again last week, releasing her second record of mostly covers called, Jukebox. Some have criticized this album for being too over produced and a departure from the more raw approach (if you will) of her previous records. Luckily, my bit is much simpler and I rely mostly on my ears and these ears are enjoying the hell out of this record. Her voice is sexy and her backing band, the Dirty Delta Blues Band, has the chops to create some sultriness, a little darkness, and a lot of feel good. Here's a little of the happy and a little of the sultry.

Cat Power -- Aretha, Sing One For Me (George Jackson)
Cat Power -- Ramblin' Woman (Willie Nelson)
[buy Jukebox here]

In other news, the new Truckers album is very good. I'll write on it one day when I can fully get my head around it.


Pandora and the Music Genome Project

Pandora's getting some press

Since 2000, Tim Westergren has been trying to decategorize music. For example, you say Elvis Costello puts out heavy rocking music, but what about that country album he did (The Delivery Man) that turned out pretty well? I'd call John Mayer "pop", but he lays down some pretty sweet blues in "Try!". So, why try to pigeon hole an artist into one little genre? Instead, Tim and his Music Genome Project takes a song by song approach to deciding what kind of music some body likes. They listen to each song (over half a million so far) and decide what it sounds like - emphasizing key, melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangements, lyrics, and vocal harmony. I'd say this approach to music analysis is pretty sweet. It's a bit more quantitative than broad genre's or popular opinion. Don't get me wrong, it's still pretty subjective, but its heading in the right direction. Want to read a bit more? Check out these interviews in the Tennessean and Inc. Magazine.

So, you want to take advantage of this sweet new technology? You're in luck, Westergren has it all set up at Pandora. You can go online and use music that you already like to set up a radio station that will play stuff that's similar. Best of all, it's free. So, I signed in and gave it a try. I tried three radio stations. One defined by Ox (a Canadian band that I've been digging on lately), one defined by Taj Mahal (sweet blues singer), and one defined by the song "Crow Jane" by the Derek Trucks Band. Here's what they spit out:

Ox: songs written by Ox, Eric James and the New Century, Thomas Cunningham, Golden Smog, Ox, Big 10-4, Revival, Landon Pigg, and Ox (in that order). Unfortunately, most of this seemed a bit more "poppy" than I was looking for. I can see how Ox songs can be imagined that way, but I think they have an extra edge that makes them a little different. Maybe Pandora missed that? I did enjoy Revival, whom I had never heard of, so not a complete failure.

Taj Mahal: songs written by Taj Mahal, Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, Etta Baker, Stefan Grossman, Greg Douglass, Taj Mahal, Floyd Dixon, and John Mayall. This worked out pretty well for me. They mixed in some blues greats, some rockin electric guitar (Jimi), and some acoustic guitar instrumentals. I can't complain about this.

Crow Jane by Derek Trucks Band: song by Derek Trucks Band, Moka Only, ALO, Ryan Shaw, Dirty D, John Cleary, Jackson Browne, Little Milton, The Subdudes. I tried a song that I thought was pretty challenging, but was pretty happy how it turned out. They mixed in some standard blues as well as some funky stuff. I did not hear much slide guitar, which is Derek's forte, but I'll forgive that.

Anyway, it seems like a great way to check out some new music, hear full length songs, and break down the genre walls.

Enjoy it!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

For your viewing and listening pleasure.....

I present to you Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins fame.


She can also carry a tune, as evidenced by the following from her 2006 release, Rabbit Fur Coat.

Jenny Lewis -- Handle With Care (with M Ward)
Jenny Lewis -- The Big Guns

[buy Rabbit Fur Coat here]


Wednesday, January 23, 2008 becoming more "the shiz"

So, this is cool.....i think.

Apparently is in the process of offering a full-track playback service. I'm having a difficult time wrapping my head around the specifics....but it sounds like they're offering the ability to listen to whole tracks on their website.

For the time being, a listener will be able to listen to each track completely 3 times. After that a subscription will be required that will allow the listener unlimited access to the tracks.

Not sure about much more of the details after that, but it definitely sounds like this could be a cool thing. If anything it'll offer the opportunity to preview whole songs, rather than 30 second snippets that never seem to do a song justice.

Know anything more about this??? If so, post in the comments, i'd love to find out more info.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Punch Brothers

Finally, some sweet tunes are coming to Santa Barbara. The music scene here on the edge of LA has left me with something to be desired, but every once in a while I'll turn up a nice little nugget of live music. This time, it's the Punch Brothers - a new effort featuring Chris Thile. Chris is fresh off the disbanding of Nickel Creek and has gotten together with some premier pickers from Nashville, including Noam Pikelny, acquaintance of yours truly, and a fellow Blockus player. Punch Brothers play some sweet bluegrass and folk music, but seem to have taken the effort in a new direction, by playing some long form compositions, that are more common to Bach than Bill Monroe. The virtuosity from this group is going to be fantastic and the new take on composition is sure to be interesting. But, don't take my word for it, check out a couple sources:

Punch Brothers on Myspace
Article on
Articles from our friends at the Bluegrass Blog 1, 2

The Punch Brothers have an album coming out February 26th simply titled Punch and will be playing at the Soho Restaurant & Music Club in downtown Santa Barbara, CA on March 1st. I'm sure looking forward to checking it out. In the meantime, here are a couple live clips to you can get an idea of their sound.

Live from the Station Inn!


A Mix

Mixes seem to be a popular thing to do around here. That being said, I haven't posted one yet. I used to post the occasional webcast, but never just a good ol' fashioned mix. Time to correct this....

Here is a mix of some shiz I've been listening to recently. There's no talking by me (a good thing), and thus no shallow analysis or commentary following any of the songs (also a good thing)....just music.

So, download this bad boy.....the whole thing.....throw it on your ipod (or music listening device of your choice) and give it a listen at home, work, on the way to either establishment, or any other opportunity you deem proper. I hope you enjoy. Let me hear opinions on some of the tunes in the comments section....lets get some proper dialogue going....KGB's been lacking that a bit recently. Lets fight through this 2008 hangover.

On to the here.


1. Spoon - I Turn My Camera On: From one of the albums that doesn't have the word Ga in the title (Gimme Fiction).
2. The Avett Brothers - Paranoia in BB Major: Sad bastard in the key of banjo.
3. The Hold Steady - Multitude of Casualties:
4. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Follow the Lights
5. Magnolia Electric Company - Nashville Moon: I'm partial to the title.
6. Grateful Dead - Sugar Magnolia: Just a classic.
7. Bob Dylan - From a Buick 6: See Dead, Grateful
8. Beck - Guess I'm Doing Fine: More sad bastard
9. Okkervil River - A Stone
10. My Chemical Romance - Helena: Sorry, didn't want you to fall asleep. This song is NOT about the capital of Montana.
11. Nirvana - Scentless Apprentice: Remember that scene from last seasons Lost season finale where badass Jack was headed to that funeral home......this is the song playing in the background. I think it was a good choice. Lost debuts in 10 days. Thank God.
12. Coconut Records - West Coast: Heading there in a shade over two months.
13. Ola Podrida - New National Anthem: This guy hasn't written a song I don't like. This is from the soundtrack to the movie "Great Wall of Sound".

So, you couldn't escape shallow analysis....but whatevs. Enjoy.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yesterday for Juno, today for Counting Crows


For you Counting Crows' lovers:

The Counting Crows will release their new album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings on March 25, 2008. They are making two of the songs available for download at their website.

Counting Crows -- 1492
Counting Crows -- When I Dream of Michelangelo

Interestingly, one of the many music listservs/websites I read were discussing the Counting Crows and their best record. I believe I'm in the minority when I say that Recovering The Satellites is my favorite Crows' disc. I've always liked it more because it has a little more thunder and rawness than its predecessor (which is damn good in its own right). Anyway, on first listen, I can say that I like what I hear out of these first two tracks, esp. Michelangelo (probably because of the banjo - I'm a sucker for one in a pop song).


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For the Juno lovers

I saw Juno - I thought it was ok. I heard the soundtrack, I thought it was better. Cat Power is awesome and she has a new CD coming out this year. These tracks are for you, Juno lovers of the world.

Cat Power -- Sea of Love
The Moldy Peaches -- Anyone Else But You


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Infectious Old Crow

If you're like me, at all, then every now and then you stumble upon a song that you think might possibly be one of the best songs ever written. That's generally quite a statement considering the supersaturation of our culture with the amount of music written....but every now and then a song just hits you. And by you, I mean me.

However, whenever this happens, I cannot just let it be. I must listen to the song, repeatedly as often as possible over the near future, thus rendering it normal or to the point at which I don't care to listen to it anymore. Its a bad habit, i suppose. But great songs are my crystal meth. I risk health and happiness, buy everyday products from Wal-Mart to make the stuff in my aparment, risking tooth decay, hair quality, and possibly death, if that were possible just to get more of it.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm in the middle of such an episode with an Old Crow Medicine Show song I recently "discovered". Dammit, Old Crow. Why couldn't you just make a normal, listenable song that I'm completely impartial to? Why must you make a song that gets me at my core causing me to uncontrollably hit the repeat button, thus wearing on the said greatness of the song?

The song I'm talking about is called "Wagon Wheel". Its the last song on their 2004 self-titled album. So, obviously, Old Crow is by no means, and neither is this song in particular. But I just heard it last week. Why I've never bothered to listen to Old Crow Medicine Show in the past, I'll never know.....but I'm hooked now.

They've sold me on their infectious hooks, heart-grabbing violin and banjos, country Southern-loving appeal. I'd like to use this as an opportunity to apologize for not bothering to listen sooner.

And with that:

Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel


"I'm Not There" Get's Some Bling

The new "biopic" about the many faces, attitudes, and musical musings of Bob Dylan has landed itself some gold. The movie features six characters playing different aspects of the legend's work (featured artists include Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger, Kris Kristofferson, and many others), but just one has walked away with a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress - though she was playing a man... Yep, Cate got some props for her portrayal of Dylan. These kudos match some pretty healthy accolades for the movie and definitely encourage me to see it. I haven't had the chance yet, but am definitely going to give it a look see. I can dig on some Dylan and this looks pretty interesting to me.

Check out some info on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

While you're at it, here's the trailer:

And, for good measure, a favorite Dylan tune, Idiot Wind.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Woohoo 2008

We're only 10 days into January, but I am already looking forward to April because of two great releases due out. The first is the newest from Mark Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon entitled, appropriately enough, April. This will be his first release of original material since the magnificent Ghosts of the Great Highway. A week later Centro-matic and Will Johnson side project, South San Gabriel, will be releasing a double disc of 30 songs. Great stuff - the only problem is we have to wait until April to hear this great stuff. Until then, the Drive-By Truckers new disc is almost here! Below you'll find a live cut of Moorestown, which will be featured on April and I Feel Too Young To Die from South San Gabriel's The Charlton Chronicles.

Mark Kozelek -- Moorestown from Little Drummer Boy Live
[buy here]

South San Gabriel -- I Feel Too Young To Die from The Charlton Chronicles
[buy here]


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Putin In The House

So in all the craziness of Christmas and the New Year, I am guessing that very few of you realized that one of our own received a prestigious award. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and former head of the KGB (no relation), was named Time's 2007 Man of the Year. Although I would suggest that three other people (**clearing throat**) were probably more deserving but in a less obvious way (if you don't know, I don't have time to explain why), I would still like to offer my congratulations to President Putin.

Kudos to Mr. Putin -- a worthier candidate does not exist. Seriously, the President has managed to crush all adversaries, freeze the independent media, looked the other way on corruption, and secured his power for years to come. A job well done if I do say so myself. Lucky for us, Putin will remain with us for many more years as he'll assume the Prime Minister position once his term for President expires this year.

In honor of President Putin's magnificent 2007, I present the following song:

Ray Charles with Willie Nelson -- It Was A Very Good Year from Genius Loves Company


Back in Ought-Seven

Santa Cruz Island/Channel Islands National Park -
Ought-Seven was highlighted for me by a move to California

My hiatus from KGB spanned from my Hanover years in 2002 to when Bryan posed the excellent idea of a blog in 2006. During that time, the main avenue that I used to spread good music was the all encompassing mix. I would make about 2 solid mixes a year, covering the songs that I listened to a lot and meant something to me over that time period. I'd then send this disc worth of material out to close family and friends. Since the blog came around I've had a great time putting together webcasts on various subjects, but I haven't really put together a mix of my favorite tunes. I always really enjoyed making these mixes, so I decided the end of the year offered a great opportunity for it. Little did I realize how much good music I've been digging on over the past 12 months. It's not all new (released in 2007), but its new to me and maybe new to you. A lot of this stuff has been previously presented on KGB in one form or another, but here I can put it together in one sweet sweet mix. Damn, there are some great songs. They follow in a basically chronological order, highlighting the crazy year that was my life in ought-seven. If you're interested in more detailed explanations for each of these songs, leave a comment and I'd be happy to send them your way.

1. Derek Trucks Band - Crown Jane/Songlines (2006)
2. Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Mercy Mercy Me/What's Going On (2006)
3. JJ Cale & Eric Clapton - Sporting Life Blues/Road to Escondido (2006)
4. Ox - La City/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
5. Broken Social Scene - Pacific Theme/You Forgot It In People (2002)
6. Ox - Carolinah/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
7. Uncle Tupelo - Acuff Rose/Anodyne (1993)
8. Tony Rice - Church Street Blues/Church Street Blues (1983)
9. Ox - Surrender/American Lo Fi (2006)
10. Old 97's - Question/Satellite Rides (2001)
11. Wilco - On and On and On/Sky Blue Sky (2007)
12. Os Mutantes - Cantor De Mambo/Everything is Possible (1999)
13. Wilco - Walken/Sky Blue Sky (2007)
14. Ox - Blue Morning/Dust Bowl Revival (2004)
15. Madeleine Peyroux - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go/Careless Love (2004)