Archive for April, 2005

Bonus Non-LP song from the Zulus (off a cassette no less!)

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

I tell you what, I don’t get a lot of comments on either of my blogs (Songs:Illinois or Swedesplease) but I don’t take it persoanally as that’s the way it is with mp3 blogs. I especially don’t like bloggers who plead for comments threatening to stop posting unless people care enough to comment. So this is not the start of a plea for more comments. It’s just the preamble to my point that the comments I do get are so great! Here’s one I just got last night but on a post I did months ago on the seminal Boston group The Zulus. Click here for the original post and the six songs from their debut EP.
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A reader writes:

“I lived in Boston in the ’80′s. Heard the Zulus a lot on college radio back then (WMBR – MIT’s station, specifically). Caught them live once at The Rat; pretty wild show as I recall.

Anyway, I still have the cassette of “The Zulus”. Did you know that it contains a “Bonus Non-LP Track”? It’s called “Out Out” and is the last song on the tape. Very good stuff – they really ramp up the chaos level on this one.”
Right click and save as song title and .mp3
Out Out

Vic Chesnutt’s Ghetto Bells (plus songs from his niece Liz Durrett’s debut)

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Vic Chesnutt is everyone’s favorite singer-songwriter, long championed by Michael Stipe and Tom Waits and the receipient of a Sweet Relief Compilation. Vic has released 12 discs in the last 15 years. Frankly it’s hard to keep up with him. His latest record was released MArch 25 on New West Records and is titled Ghetto Bells.
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New West is a decent sized label so I hope they can twist the arms of some people at retail to stock this one or for the major publications to review it (they’ve got no hope at radio). With guests Van Dyke Parks and Bill Frissell, as well as his niece Liz Durrett (she also has a new record out) and some excellent new songs this record sounds a little more well formed than some of his prior records. With that said it can be a difficult listen at times and an acquired taste if you’re new to Vic’s unusual vocal delivery, lyrics and musical compostions. Here’s a couple from Ghetto Bells (including “Rambunctious Clouds” with Van Dyke Parks and Bill Frissell).

Ignorant People
Rambunctious Cloud

Two brand new songs uploaded on March 30, 2005 by Vic at his website

Tablet
Data (Recorded on Apple’s Garageband)

Vinyl Mine has already beaten me to the punch on Liz Durrett but for those of you who missed his post here’s a couple songs from Liz Durrett including a duet on the song “Somewhere” which is featured in a TIAA-Cref TV advertisement. Liz’s new record is out now entitled Hush.

Perfect Day Live
November Live
Somewhere

Bosque Brown/Mara Lee Miller

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Ok this is confusing, pay attention. Bosque Brown is Mara Lee Miller. She’s from Texas and was discovered by Damien Jurado when her husband handed him her homemade demo tapes. Those demo tapes have been rerecorded as her debut release on Philadelphia’s Burnt Toast Records- Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller.
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Mara’s identity crisis is our gain though. These songs hit home just like those by some of her heroes (Townes, John Prine and Guy Clark). While simple, songs like “Still Afraid” and “Red Roses” get to the heart of the matter and the choice of lyrics sung by her heartbroken voice is powerfull stuff. The music is scratchy lofi alt-country. The new record came out April 19 and you can order it here now.

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Right click and save as song title and .mp3
Still Afraid
Red Roses(Bandwith exceeded – sorry)

Milton Mapes – The Backlight Trap

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Milton Mapes new record The Blacklight Trap came out March 8, 2005. That’s already old news for all of us looking forward (and possessing) June and July releases. Let’s all take a deep breath and listen, really listen to Milton Mapes.
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Milton Mapes are not the newest band to hit the scene nor do they have some tremendous back story (like MIA, Louis IX) but they are solid man, solid. The Neil Young influences are worn proudly on sleeve. The songs are astute observations on life with a musical soundtrack of big guitars and space to let it all develop. Here’s two from The Blacklight Trap on Undertow Records. Buy here.
Right click and save as song title and .mp3
The Blacklight Trap
Waiting For Love To Fail

New songs by Vega, The Tough Alliance, and Novak at Swedesplease

Michael Shelley – Goodbye cheater

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Michael Shelley comes from NYC but it seems like he’s been spent more time hanging around at Maxwells in Hoboken buring the 90′s. His songs, vocals and music all are reminiscent of the Richard Barone, db’s, feelies, chris stamey, continental drifters and on and on. In a word (or two) – perfect pop.

Goodbye Cheaters is out now on his own label (where he also releases Shonen Knife among others). Not a lot of special guests on here, although the second song I selected to feature is a duet with Laura Cantrell. Click here to buy Goodbye Cheater.

We Invented Love
I’ve Been Trying
Goodbye Cheater

As a bonus and in anticipation of her new release on Matador here’s a couple rare or outake mp3′s from Laura Cantrell (including her cover of Elvis Costello’s “Indoor Fireworks”)

Indoor Fireworks
New Years Resolution

I Can’t Resist A Kimya Dawson Post Any Longer.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Who is Kimya Dawson you ask? I have no idea. Never heard of her before last week. However in the last seven days I’ve stumbled upon her name at least a dozen times. As one of the leaders and founders of antifolk (that’s like being the president of the anarchists btw) Kimya has amassed a veitable underground dollar store of merchandise from cds (3 so far) to books, hats bags and t’s). Her newest record (Hidden Vagenda) is on the always in fasion K Recs and can be purchased from them here.
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I have no songs at the moment from the new record (but if K Recs or Kimya are listening – get `em in the mail) but there are plenty of tasty morsels on her very diy website. The first is co-written by Kimya and a tenth grader named M.J. about the Tsunami and is called “12/26″ (warning heavy but impressive).

12/26 (for more info about Tsunami relief click here or to learn about M.J.’s sister and the Love, Hallie Foundation click here)
I Like Giants
Parade

Jason Steed and Creosote – Blacksmoke from the deserts of Tucson (for fans of Giant Sand or Calexico)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Jason Steed is the brains and spirit behind the music of Creosote. He’s got a couple of records to his name including the currently available Blacksmoke. Although recorded in 2001 Blacksmoke has been remastered and prepped for a wider release. Blacksmoke features Joey Burns from Giant Sand and Calexico on standup bass and Tim Gallagher of Topless Opry on pedal steel and dobro.
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Like Giant Sand’s music this band comes out of the deserts of Tucson and it shows. There’s a dry rough hewn edge to the songs and to Jason’s singing. Creosote has already finished the followup to Blacksmoke titled How Bad Could It Kill Me and is just looking for a label. Contact Jason Steed through his website if you’re interested. Here’s two from that unreleased new disc and two demos from Blacksmoke. Buy Blacksmoke from Miles Of Music here.

It’s Over Now
Wichita Savior

A Favor
House Of Cards

Polly Paulusma (third post in a trinity of ethereal women singers (Emiliana Torrini and Audra Kubat were the other two)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Polly Paulusma records for One Little Indian (home to Bjork and others). Her new record Scissors In My Pocket came out in June of 2004. It’s her debut release and I’m not sure what kind of acclaim or attention it got at the time. Since she’s still not a household name it seems like not enough.
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Polly is British but her singing voice has no descernable accent, on Amazon.com one reviewer mentioned Patty Griffin as a starting point comparison (also Tori Amos). I love the song “One Day” which I’ve linked to below as well as the first track on the album, “Dark Side”. Coincidently Rolling Stone also picks these two songs as standouts. The whole release is as good as these two songs buy it now on One Little Indians secure store here.
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Right click and save as song title and .mp3
Dark Side
One Day

The Great Unknowns – Unknown No More! (For fans of Gina Villalobos, Kathleen Edwards and Lucinda Williams)

Monday, April 25th, 2005

The Great Unknowns are a Boston area band making music unlike what you might expect from that frigid city of champions (Pats, BoSox). A few weeks ago I wrote about Rose Polenzani and how she continued to pop up in my web trawling. Well here she is again this time acting as an A&R rep by playing The Great Unknowns for her record label, Amy Ray’s Daemon Records.

The label was impressed and signed them to a distribution deal within the week in late `04. The record is Presenting…The Great Unknowns and it has been growing ever since. Amy Ray and The Indigo Girls came to the bands aid again by signing them up as an opening act. Now that they’ve got the kick start any band would dream about let’s see if the Great Unknowns will have to change their name to the Incredible Knowns. Here’s three tracks from their debut.

When I Was Your Girl
Abilene
Round Hill

Perfect music for a Sunday morning from Christopher Sullivan

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Sunday I’m not supposed to spend much time on the ol’ blog so here’s a quick post about Christopher Sullivan. He records for Reel To Reel Records and you can pick up his debut Let’s Hear It For The Headphones.
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Here’s two from that debut and a couple of unreleased demos and home recordings.

Non Smoking Religous Song
We Are Your Car

Snow In Michigan
Green Mountain State

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Kasey Rausch

Canada’s next great band – The Wilderness

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Here’s one unmastered song from the great new Canadian supergroup The Wilderness’ forthcoming record courtesy of Umbrella Music. Their song “Uncivilized” from their upcoming debut features beautiful harmonies, a kind of light psychadelia/beach boys musical underpinning and a just about perfect chorus. I can’t find any info about the band online but members come from bands like Soft Canyon, A Hopeful Monster and Auf Der Maer.
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Uncivilized

Pendergast from Lawrence of course (ex Sandoval and ex Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys)

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Pendergast describes themselves as a bare bones rock band from Kansas. They are anything but. Featuring singer/songwriter Tony Ladesich (ex of Sandoval and Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys) this band can rock out but can then pull back the reigns and do classic country like the truckin’ song “These 18 Wheels” in which they name drop Merle Haggard.
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Bare bones rock bands do not usually sing so convincingly of the working class either like on the song “Union Man”. Pendergast has a full length disc available called The Truth About Saturday Night but for the life of me I can’t find a link to buy it. The band is going into the studio soon to record a followup so keep a look out here for an update.

Union Man
These 18 Wheels
Straight Answer

Honkeytonk from Lawrence Kansas – Black Ale Sinners (for fans of Rev. Horton Heat et al)

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Black Ale Sinners is a band whose youth and punkish bad looks belie the tradional music that is coarsing through the band. How can a group of twentysomethin’s play music that is this old school? The new album (and it seems like their first) is available for $5 by emailing the band (blackalesinners@blackalesinners.com).
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I’m no country music scholar so I’m not sure if these are originals or covers, if they are originals than the band just went up one notch on my country music scorecard. Here’s a couple from the brand new record The Devil In My Drink.

Put A Quarter In The Jukebox
Tonight I Drink Your Smile Away
To My Grave

And now back to Lawrence with Ghosty

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

All local scenes are incestuous in one way or another. I came across Lawrence’s Ghosty because their drummer went on to form the alt-countryish OK Jones who I wrote about yesterday. Ghosty is an entirely different creation with overtones of XTC, Big Star and the paisley underground scene in LA during the 80′s. The lead vocalist’s high pitched voice and stop and go delivery are appealing.
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Ghosty have a couple EP’s available and are preparing a full length release. Titled Grow Up Or Sleep In they expect a spring 2005 release date. Keep an eye out it may be one of the surprises of the spring. Here’s a couple from Ghosty.

Big Surrender
Five Short Minutes
Clouds Solve It **Standout Track**

Ally Kerr – We interrupt this Lawrence, Ka. themed week with a Scot by way of Japan (and now the UK)

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Following on the footsteps of Hello Saferide’s stalker song (“High School Stalker” post click here) comes Ally Kerr’s impossibly poppy “Someone’s Got A Crush On Me”. Ally Kerr is a Scottish artist who seems to be gaining traction. Originally his debut release Calling Out To You was released as a Japanese import only, but a year after it’s original release Calling Out To You is going to be released in the UK on May 5th. And I suspect it will get to Europe and the States soon after.
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This music just screams cult artist and blog phoenomena. Hopefully this little bit of press in the blog world will start a small chain reaction. Let’s see. Here’s “Someone’s Got a Crush On Me”.

Someone’s Got A Crush On Me

Split Lip Rayfield (Wichita…Lawrence it’s all the same to me!)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Split Lip Rayfield are a Bloodshot band who claim they have the best looking groupies of any band on that auspicious label. Formed in Witchita, KA from the remains of Scroat Belly, Split Lip have released 4 cds on Bloodshot. All of them inspired by bluegrass but none of them accepted by bluegrass people I’m sure. I suppose the name of the band itself gives a clue to the bands bad attitude.
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I suppose there’s a name for this sub genre of alt-country but I’m not sure what it is perhaps hardcore bluegrass or punkountry. Check out this selection of songs from their records including two song from 2004′s Should Have Seen It Coming.

Hundred Dollar Bill

Tiger In My Tank

Live
In The Ground

Click here for Songs:Illinois mainpage with music from Robbie Fulks, David Poe, Kevn Kinney and more.

OK Jones (Lawrence’s Richard Gintowt’s side project from Ghosty)

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

More from Lawrence, Kansas. There’s next to no info online about OK Jones, which is astounding considering the quality of the tunes from the bands cd Middletown.
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All we know for sure is Richard Gintowt (from Ghosty) is the song writing force behind OK Jones.
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Don’t Call Back
Rose Marie
Trust 59

The band has a side project called OK Jones Expert Logic (are you following all this?) which involves a cheap Casio and a karaoke live show. Here’s one from Expert Logic’s new ep:

Jennifer The Ghost

Fourth of July (the band) — Introspective confessional music (from Lawrence of course)

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Robbie Fulks new single off of his record Georgia Hard interupted the Songs:Illinois Lawrencepollooza but I just had to get it out there into the blogland. Click here if you missed the Robbie Fulks post with an mp3 off his upcoming record Georgia Hard.

Now back to music from Lawrence (or thereabouts): this should be easy; no links to do and not alot of bio to pass along but if you like Bright Eyes check out this project by Brendan Hangauer called Fourth of July. Fourth of July as a band features members of The Vespers, Ghosty and The Anniversary. They fit in “the one man band cranking out introspective music from a basement bedroom” genre.
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I couldn’t find a way to link to a band’s website or a label’s or anywhere to buy the discs available (there are two eps) but here are some songs. You can try emailing the band at fourthofjuly3000@yahoo.com.

A Cloud Of Smoke
Before It Rains **Standout Track**
Preachers Daughter

MP3′s courtesy of Lawrence.com.

PS New song from Pelle Carlberg (whom I love) at Swedesplease. Click here.

Stop The Presses! Hold The Phone! Robbie Fulks Has A New Record Coming Out! Check Out The First Single – Georgia Hard

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Robbie Fulks is the reason a Songs:Illinois got started in the first place. A talent of immense proportions who everyone knows has what it takes to be anything or do anything in music that he wants. Who nonetheless you won’t hear on country or rock radio. Originally signed to Bloodshot; Robbie got what I ‘m sure he thought was his big break when Geffen signed him up to a major label deal. At the time I was worried; very worried. While Robbie Fulks is immensely talented he didn’t necessarily have what it took to be a commercial success at the time. This was before it was proven that acts like Wilco and Ryan Adams could actually make a dent on radio charts and in retail.
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Sadly his Geffen debut was also his last for the label. From what I heard that record (Let’s Kill Saturday Night) was a genre busting release not content to mine the alt-country backwater. Robbie up’d the anti and added pop and rock to the mixture. Robbie Fulks has since been releasing great records on his own label (Boondoggle Records) with distribution from his old friends at Bloodshot. These records were critic and fan successes but didn’t necessarily break the bank. Now given a second (or third chance) at national fame by Yep Roc it appear Robbie has gone back to his roots by crafting a country classic (cover art, album title and all).

There’s a lot more to say about Robbie Fulks (his tussle with Ryan Adams, his work on the Paycheck tribute etc etc) but for now let’s hear the single from Georgia Hard (Yep Roc) – “Georgia Hard”. Preorder now from YepRoc.
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Georgia Hard

As a bonus and mind you nothing to sneeze at here are two classics from his 1996 release Country Love Songs.

Every Kind Of Music But Country
She Took A Lot Of Pills (And Died)

Also two from the critically acclaimed Couples In Trouble (Boondoggle Records) produced by Steve Albini

Dancing On The Ashes
My Tormentor