Archive for December, 2004

Ester Drang

Friday, December 31st, 2004

I keep reading here and there about Ester Drang. They’re a band from Oklahoma making music in a style that pays homage to both The Flaming Lips and The Beach Boys. It’s melodic and noisy at the same time – just what I like in my indie rock. They’ve got some rarities and a few album cuts up on their website that I’ve linked to some of them below.

Repeating The Procedure [Download]

Words That Cure Pt 1 and 2 [Download]

Infinite Keys [Download]

Oh yeah Happy New Years!! Be Safe! See You in 2005…

Criminally Underappreciated – Kate Jacobs

Friday, December 31st, 2004

Kate Jacobs is one of America’s great songwriters. Her themes have been fairly consistent through the years but they are powerfull ones. The loss of the rural american lifestyle and family farms and the importance of family have been her two great causes. While simple this territory gives her a lot of room to grow and dig deep into the material. She has recorded three records for Hoboken label Bar/None

Her new 2004 disc is called You Call That Dark and features these same themes and a few new ones. It was produced by Dave Schramm, who also played guitars, organ, gut-string dobro, harmonium and other instruments.

Here’s 3 from You Call That Dark (rename each song and add .mp3)

Your Big Sister

Pete’s Gonna Sell

Life Can Be Sweet

Dave Schramm is part of the excellent roots band The Schramms. Here’s some album cuts from some of their releases.

Sister Rose [Download]

Wild season [Download]

Nine Years [Download]

Yesterday’s Chris Price link didn’t work – here is the correct one:

Housekeeping And A Few Good Links

Thursday, December 30th, 2004

I’ve been contacted by a number of artists about putting their music up on my blog. I’ve been too busy to write something about each artist but all of them have something significant to say musically (even the instrumental recordings of Luke Janela). So without futher ado here are some very independent minded artists who are struggling to get their music heard.

Luke Janela

Combustibles [Download]

Make Me Stay [Download]

Old3C Records checked in and said hello. They’ve got streaming mp3′s available on their site and feature artists like Great Plains (the seminal rock group from the 80’3 to be featured here soon) and Log.

Another reader wrote in and suggested I check out C. Duck Anderson and Nate Richert. They’ve got a website where you can preview tracks off their new album Tone Control.

Also Chris Price wrote in with a pointer to a free mp3 from his soon to be released EP. check it out here.

Someone else wrote in suggesting I check out Our Lady Of The Highway, I did and now you should too.

Canyon Song [Download]

Elegant [Download]

Brown Dress [Download]

These guys have an album waiting to be released so all you label types check them out. Here’s a song from the forthcoming album Beauty Won’t Save Us called Duet that sounds very promising…

Duet [Download]

I could Be Wrong But Has Florida Produced Any Great Music

Thursday, December 30th, 2004

While the state is bereft of quality rock, the band called Florida has created some beautiful melodic power pop and as readers of Songs:Illinois you should know by now that I can’t resist power pop. Florida records for Free Election Records and features members of other Free Election bands specifically Mike Brady. In the Free Election Records world that makes these guys a supergroup of sorts. Decide for yourself by checking out these two songs:

Lonely Magnet [Download]

Little Sunrise [Download]

Here’s Mike Brady’s melancoly solo stuff (which I like as much as or more than the group stuff)

From 2001′s Cold Night

We’re Done [Download]

I’m Getting What I Want [Download]

Party Balloon [Download]

Fashion Free [Download]

From 2002′s As Long As The Day Is Long

Made Up Weeds [Download]

Invisible Friend [Download]

More From Chairkickers Union – This Time Kid Dakota

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

Kid Dakota is another band discovered by the record label created by Low. As far as I can tell I would like everything this label, Chairkickers Union, would put out. Today I’m on the Kid Dakota website. Kid Dakota is basically South Dakoata native Darrin Jackson. The plains of Dakota have influenced this music and while it’s more indie rock than Americana elements of the old west filter and weave through it. They’ve got four songs online (one from each of their releases and one that is unreleased). Enjoy them here at Songs:Illinois.

10,000 Lakes [Download]

So Pretty [Download]

Get Her Out Of My Heart [Download]

Unreleased song [Download]

Subsequent searches have turned up these songs as well:

Two Fronts [Download]

Smokestack [Download]

The Overcoat [Download]

Bluegrass Mandolin From Tom Corbett

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

As a sideman Tom Corbett has played with everyone of note in the bluegrass/acoustic music genre. He’s played with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Acousticats and String Wizards, and for all you 80′s indie rock fans out there he played on a solo record by Mike Ness of Social Distortion fame. So he’s got the chops and he’s even got indie cred, open your minds and ears and check him out .


Since 2001 he’s released two of his own albums on his own label Round Hole Records. Here’s two songs one from 2001′s Upstairs At Charlies and one from 2004′s Cloudless Blue Sky. Click here to buy either of his two releases.

Mighty Pine [Download]

Let My Pony Run [Download]

New Release From Amee Chapman

Monday, December 27th, 2004

Discovered Amee Chapman on the web today, she’s got a new release (her third) out on her own label and it’s called Still Life. I haven’t heard the new album yet but she’s got four acoustic versions of her songs from this album on her website. As far as I can tell the songs are choice and her voice is quite nice. Decide for yourself and listen to these four songs, her album can be picked up at Miles Of Music.

Softest Spots [Download]

Paperback War [Download]

Smoke Screen [Download]

Tattoo Cowboy [Download]
(Jolie Holland sings on this one on the album)

Followup on Heather Waters

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

Heather Waters was kind enough to send me her full-length, shadow of you, and as expected it is radiant. Her lush voice is a perfect compliment to these tales of lose and love. I can link to one more song and then you’re just going to have to buy it as an after holiday treat. Here’s her song “Comin’ Home”.


Comin Home

(Right click and save as whatever you’d like .mp3)

Duplomacy’s Unreleased EP Available Here (Full Length Due Out Soon)

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

Part of the fun of writing a blog is discovering new music, especially music that has not been released yet. Only a few years ago you’d have to literally be in the band to have access to this music. Duplomacy is a band formed by Andy Flynn after a batch of songs sent to TW Walsh of Pedro The Lion was greeted with enthusiasm by him and select critics. This EP will surface soon as will a full length album on 2024 Records. But it seems like all 5 songs are available for download from the Duplomacy website, here’s the links to those songs.

Coppertone [Download]

Photography [Download]

Untitled [Download]

About a Lie [Download]

Remember This [Download]

PS I’m out of bandwidth for posting graphics this month so unless anyone knows simple html and wants to volunteer to help there’ll be no photo’s until the new year.

Old 97′s and a Christmas Compilation with specially recorded songs by Jens Lekman and The Boy Bathing

Saturday, December 25th, 2004

Part One of Post – Merry Christmas from the Old 97′s

Old 97′s are one of the grandfatherly bands on the alt-country circuit. They have been making records for years and have brought a lot of new people into the fold with their hook laden pop country and their charismatic singer by the name of Rhett Miller. They also are leaders and innovators in the online space with as many cool downloads as any major band that I’m aware of. Here are links to album tracks, b-sides and rarities. Enjoy

Outtakes and Rarities

Beer Cans [Download]

Valium Waltz [Download]

The Bug Song [Download]
– Kid’s Songs

Album Cuts

Adelaide [Download]

Friends Forever [Download]
– Both from 2004′s Drag It Up

Can’t Get A Line [Download]

Rollerskate Skinny [Download]
From Satellite Rides

There are lots more downloads from many of their great albums but here are the last two I’ll link to. These are from a cassette only release in 1993 – cool!!

St Ignatious [Download]

Stoned [Download]

Part Two – Merry Christmas From The French

The fine frenchmen at La Blogoteque have released a zipped Christmas compilation with what looks like a lot of great stuff. Of particular interest are two songs recorded exclusively for the comp by Jens Lekman and The Boy Bathing. Click on the link above to get to this truly outstanding blog and the zip file they created.

Merry Christmas From Me

Craig at Songs:Illinois

The Mike And Amy Finders Band

Friday, December 24th, 2004

The Mike And Amy Finders Band at first glance appear to be one of the many vanity projects you’ll find on the web. They are very DIY and sometimes that can be a sign of a lesser musical talent. That is not the case here and as you read on in their bio and listen to their wonderfull music it quickly becomes apparent that they could join many of the national folk acts at the top of the heap.


In fact they name drop several of those acts and several of my favorites in their bio. Most noticibly Greg Brown and Dave Moore who are both from Iowa City. Currently living in Iowa City, they have absorbed the sound of this vibrant music city. There are two songs available from their 2004 release Where You Are.

Chuck Brown [Download]

Adeline [Download]

CC Adcock (sounds perverse but it’s a band- get your minds out of the gutter!)

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

I like me some swamp rock and CC Adcock does it as good and dirty and grimy as anyone. CC Adcock should be proud to have joined the many great artists to be signed and dumped by a major label, the list is long and prestigeous. Luckily there are labels like Yep Roc, Future Farmer, Matador and others that can see what the big guys are missing.


Again as with much music on songs:illinois Lafayette Marquis seems hard to pin down to just one category (like blues, zydeco, heavy metal or swamp-rock). Instead it’s some sort of amalgamation of all four; add electronica and folk music to that list and you’re almost there.

Here’s two from Lafayette Moon

Runaway Life

I Love You

I was about as a big a 10,000 Maniacs fan as you could find

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

However I haven’t religouselly followed the various members careers and of course haven’t kept up with the band once Natalie Merchant split. I still like what I’d heard from Natalie Merchant but was never overwhelmed. The Housecarpenter’s Daughter changed all that. This 2003 release came as a complete surprise as Natalie returned to her folksinger roots. She covered various traditional tunes and hymns. These are true folk songs that deal with worker strife, spiritual issues and of course death and dying.


The first three songs deal with all of these issues and others. Here they are:

To download right click and change the file name to whatever you want .mp3 (any problems please leave a comment)

Sally ann

Which Side Are you On?

Crazy Man Michael

I don’t go way back in time to discover music but with JJ Cale I may have to break that rule

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004

There’s so much great music coming out that I rarely go back in time to the classics, I figure if I missed them than that’s it and I can’t get that music back. On the strength of his 2004 release To Tulsa And Back I may have to go back and listen more closely to the work of JJ Cale. On this release JJ Cale sounds a lot like the music Mark Knopfler has been making recently. It’s irrepressible and subdued at the same time. With JJ’s vocals and guitar I suppose that will always be the case but once again he’s got the songs. It may take someone like Eric Clapton to re-record one of his songs (like he did with “After Midnight”) for JJ Cale to re-enter the spotlight but for now he seems content to continue his reign as “the apostle of laid back rock”.


I like:

My Gal

The Problem

These Blues

Exclusive first listen to The Duhks

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004

If it wasn’t for Canadian bands/labels/blogs this year would have been a total bummer. Bands like Nathan, Ox, and now The Duhks have kept my spirits high. Labels like Secretly Canadian, Nettwerk and others have been releasing great music and bloggers like 10:51 AM Toronto and Sixeyes continually deliver the goods. Now The Duhks have enterred my world and much like Ollabelle before them they have taken traditional sounds and styles and made them fresh. Check out the picture and you’ll see what I mean, this band from Winnipeg, Ontario, mixes ethnicities as easily as they combine styles like celtic, appalachian and French-Canadian folk music.


This release, their second, comes out on Sugar Hill Records Febuary on Feb 8, 2005 and once again I’m sure I have the blogging exclusive (that’s not saying much I know, it isn’t U2 or anything but that’s ok). Two songs from The Duhks their self-titled debut on Sugar hill produced by Bela Fleck.

To download right click and change the file name to whatever you want .mp3 (any problems please leave a comment)

Death Came A Knockin’

True Religion

And here’s three songs from their website from their debut record available now on CD Baby called Your Daughters And Your Sons.

The Green Fields Of Glentown [Download]

Giullano’s Tune [Download]

The Leather Winged Bat [Download]

My top ten list (for now…this minute)

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

Well the peer pressure and gentle coaxing from PWI have forced me to come up with a top ten. After much thought and years of hard work here it is.

To download right click and change the file name to whatever you want .mp3 (any problems please leave a comment)

1. Nathan Jimson weed “Big Galoot”

2. The Damnwells
Bastards Of The Beat I Will Keep The Bad Things From You

3. Built Like Alaska’s 2005 release Autumnland Does Your Mother Make You Sick?

4. Slaid Cleaves Wishbone Wishbone

5. Nora O’Connor Till The Dawn My Career

Iris Dement Lifeline He Reached Down

Chris Stamey Travels In The South “In Spanish Harlem

8. American Music Club
Love Songs For Patriots Myopic Books

American Music Club Documentary

9. Rilo Kiley More Adventurous It’s A Hit

10. Wilco A Ghost is Born Theologians

Honorable mentions Mason Jennings, Chuck Prophet.

There shouldn’t be any big surprises maybe you’ll discover a band or two. I went with the masses on number 9 and 10 but for once the hype lived up to the music in both cases. I’ll be previewing the Built Like Alaska release soon so stay tuned.

Finally finishing up my one and only request

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

My one and only request so far was from John in Milwaukee who asked for The Coalmen and Bob Delevante. I managed to find The Coalmen and actually had all of the records from Bob’s previous band (The Delevante Brothers) but not his solo record that was requested. Well after much fanfare and patient waiting by the many songs:illinois readers here are two tracks from Bob Delevante’s Solo 1999 debut Porchlight. Bob sent it to me just today with a nice handwritten note, this release has lived up to my expectation and the fair amount of work it took to track it down.


1000 Miles To Go


On an unrelated note I’m still getting over the fact that grapejuiceplus beat me to the punch with The Balancing Act. He selected two great songs so check him out. And check out the other links in my sidebar.

Jon Dee Graham – The Tom Waits of Alt-Country

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Whether its his weathered face, gruff and raspy delivery or his edgy songs for some reason Jon dee Graham reminds me of Tom Waits (perhaps it’s just the hat). Graham has been around the block as part of the punk band The Skunks and then in the 80′s as part of the True Believers. He was lured out of semi-musical retirement by none other than Kelly Willis and has since recorded four solo albums for New West.


Here’s 3 songs from 2004′s The Great Battle

To download right click and change the file name to whatever you want .mp3 (any problems please leave a comment)


E. 11th Street

World So Full

Guy Clark

Monday, December 20th, 2004

It’s fitting to follow up Townes with a post by his good friend Guy Clark. Along with Jerry Jeff Walker these three came up together in the Houston scene in the the ’60′s. Guy Clark is much like many songwriters in that his songs have had more success than he has. While his versions of his songs are worderfull often it takes the star power of another artist to bring his songs to the masses. “Desperados Waiting for a Train” has been recorded by Kris Kistofferson, Nancy Griffith, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Here’s two of those classic cuts; “Old Friends” a duet with Emmylou Harris and “Randall Knife” a very touching song about his father:

Old Friends

Randall Knife


Considering Guy Clark’s been at it so long you might think his talents would have dwindled but his last two records on Sugarhill are as great as his early work. Here’s three from his most recent cd, 2002′s The Dark.

Arizona Star

Soldier’s Joy, 1964

And his late friends song - Rex’s Blues (Townes Van Zandt)

Mando Saenz – A preview of his 2005 release Watertown

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

You probably haven’t heard of Mando Saenz yet but perhaps you will hear more about him soon. He reminds me of Radney Foster or Robert Earl Keen. He’s a Texan so that probably explains the sound and the influences. His record Watertown is due out in early 2005 so keep you eyes and ears open for Mando Saenz. Here’s a preview of Watertown


Julia [Download]

Watertown [Download]

When I Come Around [Download]