Archive for August, 2004

The Holy Trinity of Songs

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

I suppose everyone has their favorite songs but what sets those people apart from someone that is insenced about music (and perhaps has a music blog) is the belief that these are not just favorite songs but perfect songs. Songs that should be talked about, played on the radio (what a great world it would be…) and added to the american music cannon. Unfortunatley that’s never going to happen and we should all know better. However these blogs are a great way to at least try to spread the good word. Here then are three perfect songs. Song #1 is by Greg Brown arguably the penultimate singer-songwriter of his generation. The song is “Poet Game” which addresses the struggles of a writer with his craft and how hard it is to dedicate yourself to your art ignoring all other intrusions (ie life). The second song is a little more upbeat and it is by Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ and Cryin’ fame. The song is “Broken Hearts and Auto Parts”. The third and final perfect song for the day is “Cold Missouri Waters” by the folk supergroup Cry, Cry, Cry made up of Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky and Dar Williams. “Cold Missouri Waters” tells the tale of firefighters who come to their death battling a forest fire.

Greg Brown

Link to Poet Game

Kevn Kinney

Link To Broken Hearts…

Cry, Cry, Cry

Link To Cold Missouri Waters

The reason Steve Earle shouldn’t…

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Have done a song with revolution in the title is because Gil Scott Heron already did it – perfectly. “The Revolution Will Not Televised” was groundbreaking at the time and even more so now. The way Heron strung words together was really the precursor to rap and hip hop. And as a result he has been sampled and remixed by the new breed of politically conscious performers. Gil Scott Heron’s body of work is nearly unprecedented in music. The number of styles he was able to play in, topics he was able to address and level of musicianship is really unheard of in today’s marketplace. So here’s “The Revolution…” and a song called “No Knock” (just for good measure) :

The Revolution…

Link to The Revolution…

No Knock

Link to No Knock

Rock The Vote!?

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

I heard Steve Earle’s new song (something like “The Revolution Starts Now”) the other day and it was bad, I mean really just bad. The lyrics are simple and trite with none of the subtlties of his earlier work (like “Christmas in Washington), on vocals it sounds like he’s trying to channel Tom Waits as his voice is overly processed. Luckily I did find a great political tune that mixes hip-hop samples, with left wing political anger and mariachi (go figure!). The samples are in English but the song is sung in Spanish, I don’t know what they’re saying but I think they’re mad as hell. The band is Los Mocosos and the download is from Six Degrees Records (the great eclectic label home to Bebel Gilberto). The song is called “Senor Presidente”.

Senor Presidente [Download]

Slaid Cleaves songs and a video for "Cold and Lonely"

Friday, August 27th, 2004

An actual video for an artist that I like, how rare. It’s got very little in the way of production values but it does help tell the story of the song. Slaid had the record of the year in the Americana music scene in 2002 with Broke Down. Slaid’s got a lot of biographical info at his site. But one of the things that is most interesting is the time he spent testing drugs as a medical guinea pig to make ends meet. Broke Down was produced by Gurf Morlix who won some fame as Lucinda Williams producer and sidekick, he now has several of his own solo records available. Here’s the title track and “One Good Year”.

One Good Year

Broke Down

Video for Cold And Lonely

More info and to purchase check out Slaid’s website:

Free and legal downloads

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

I surfed the web to bring you some legal downloads but what’s illegal nowadays. I read that the “underground network” was raided by the FBI. Seems strange to picture the FBI barging into my house to put a stop to sharing music. Anyway I’m safe today as these come from the artists or labels websites.

I wanted to post some songs from my Brooks Williams cd’s but now I don’t have to as two songs are available from his website. I don’t know much about Brooks Williams except that I have nearly every cd he’s produced (5-6). He is hugely respected in the acoustic guitar player world. But I appreciate his songs and vocals even more. His newest record Nectar is his best so far. From Nectar the song “May You Never”: [Download]

Here’s an acoustic number called “Belfast Blues” from Little Lion: [Download]

Also available online today are some considerably older songs from Big Star and Galaxie 500. Everyone from the Posies to the REM have cited Big Star as a seminal influence but sadly few have actually heard Big Star. They only put out like two and half records in their day and for a long time those were hard to come by. Now Ryko has put together a compilation and others have rereleased the albums on disc. “September Girls” was never their best song but it was a s close as they came to a hit. Alex Chilton founded Big Star and went on to produce some sketchy solo records and gain fame as a title to a Replacements song. Anyway here’s September Girls (it’s in Real Audio is that a problem for anyone?)

A little more recent but still a reminiscing for me are these two songs from Galaxie 500. These guys were the original lo-fi band. Playing around New Jersey around the time I was in college (1987) Galaxie 500 was the leader of the pack of bands playing at the time (including you La Tengo, The Feelies, Tiny Lights). Formed in Boston at MIT or Harvard they immediately were a hit in the UK and on collge radio. Their moody strumming sound is definitely similar to the Velvet Underground but their ambiguous stream of consciousness lyrics are not. The best song I remember from them was Tugboat (I think it was about a Tugboat?!)

Here’s Blue Thunder

And Maracas Song

For more on Galaxie 500 and to buy title from their catalog click below:

Michael Hall And The Woodpeckers

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

It turns out I’ve loved Michael Hall’s music since college (and that’s 16 years ago). Michael Hall was the driving force in the Wild Seeds and in 1987 they released Mud Lies and Shame. This was my introduction to the band and to Michael Hall. Michael has since released seven solo records mostly on what seems to be his own label. 2002′s Lucky Too lives up to all of the previous records and adds a little more panache as well. The two songs below are representative of the garage alt-country stonsy rock of the whole record. I particularly like the lyrics of “Sometimes I Wish I’d Never Heard The Rolling Sones”, he seems to be saying that he could play better guitar and write better songs if the Stones hadn’t perfected the art first. I think Michael Hall And The Woodpeckers songs will stand the test of time and I hope they get the attention they deserve.

Check out two songs from Lucky Two:


Link To Lucky Too

Sometimes I Wish I’d Never Heard The Rolling Stones Link To Sometimes I Wish…

Michael Hall’s Homepage and to buy music:

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Nate and tucker on July 30 at the hospital. Tucker was 8lbs and 14oz and 22 inches long. Posted by Hello

The Damnwells

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Have you heard of the Damnwells? I love em, don’t know why. Do you remember when you first heard The Jayhawks’ Hollywood Town Hall or Mathew Sweets’ Girlfriend. They were perfect albums, weren’t they? The Damnwells debut is that good. One of the guys is from Whiskeytown, the rest from Brooklyn. I saw them at Double Door in Chicago last week opening up for Jesse Malin. It was a great show but short. They’ll be back at Double Door in September for their own show.

For now I’ve got two MP3′s stored at the links below, just right click and save as:

Link to Sleepsinging

Link to Bad Things