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.