Archive for October, 2005

A wickedly "Dirty Song" by Cars Can Be Blue (NSFW)

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Thanks to Stereogum for adding me to his “cool kids” blogroll, now I only need to get cool and shave a decade or two off my age. In honor of being added to his site here’s the coolest song I’ve yet to post.

I couldn’t decide whether to write about Cars Can Be Blueor not on Songs:Illinois. It’s a type of writers block mp3 bloggers get I think. It happens when you think something’s great but then you start to question your own taste in music and whether or not people will actually like what you’re about to write about. What put me over the edge was the subtle encouragement of Tullycraft naming CCBB as one of their new favorites.

While some of their songs are typical of what you might expect from a twee-like band, others are radically different. I suppose the most shocking song is called “Dirty Song” and it is so NSFW that you could be fired for even thinking about listening to it (so get your headphones on first). Some, if not all of these songs, are on Cars Can Be Blue’s debut 2005 release on Happy Happy Records called All The Stuff We Do.

Dirty Song [Download]

Bonus tracks

She Needs ItI LikeDo You Remember [Download]

David Dondero’s great new record on Conor Oberst’s Team Love imprint (Team Love, Oct 25)

Monday, October 31st, 2005

David Dondero is one of my favorite artists. I like that no matter which song of his your listening to you know it’ll be political in some way. Either the politics of war, the politicas of love or even the politics of sex. He’s like an updated modern Woody Gutherie, a Bob Dylan without the lecherous stare or a Todd Snider without the overbearing wit (which I actually kinda like).

Some Velevet Blog alerted me to his new record which I missed because he switched labels from Future Farmer to Team Love. And while I’m all about revolutionary new technology and the power of the mp3 movement, I still almost feel a little guilty pointing out that his new record, South Of The South, is available for download in it’s entirity on the Team Love site here.

Here’s his song that describes the ups and downs of one night at a casino in Nevada. Reminds me of Richmond Fontaine’s song that describes the real horror of gambling addiction. Buy it here from Saddle Creek here.

Laying Low In Eli, NevadaPornographic Love Song [Download]


Pinky Finger Wedding Band [Download]

Romeo Goes To Hell

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Man, it takes some serious surfing to find the quality stuff. Romeo Goes To Hell released their new record, Two Car Garage Rock, in August on Socyermom Records. This would be an excellent album to lead off the new garage rock blog someone should be doing (tentatively titled Two Car Garage – mentioned first in my Muggs post back in August).

This is loose, rough garage rock, isn’t it all like that you ask? Not really, while much of it is sluggish and dark, some garage rock has a crunchier more defined sound. Again this does not.

Between My TeethWerewolves In their YouthBlack Hole [Download]

Stereogum, Gorilla Vs. Bear and Brooklyn Vegan make some noise

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

I’ve raged against Stereogum in the past but I think I was just jealous. For awhile his constant celebrity half-nude shots went against my mp3 blogging crede. But things have turned around there lately, in fact Steogum recently linked to your friend and mine Songs:Illinois. SO I’ve added Sterogum to my sidebar.

In other “exciting” linking news, popular blogs Gorilla Vs. Bear and Brooklyn Vegan (here) recently either mentioned Songs:Illinois/Swedespease or have linked to one of the sites. So I have returned the favor and added them to the links sidebar to the right, check `em both out.

Stephen Clair – Under The Bed (Valley Entertainment, Oct 26)

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Stephen Clair is a folk singer living, writing (short stories) and singing out of NYC. His debut record was voted as one of the top 50 records of 2003 by WFUV and if you know NYC radio this is quite an accomplishment in the folk/roots music realm. Stephen’s sophomore record, Under The Bed, was released last week by Valley Entertainment.

Stephen’s putting up a new mp3 each week (theoretically) so visit his webpage occassionally for more. I like Todd Snider despite what a lot of the music cognoscenti (sp?) say, Stephen sounds a bit like Todd Snider and this wry song reminds me of Todd’s sharp wit. Buy it here now from Amazon.

A Woman Like You [Download]

Casey Shea and The Undisputed Heavyweights

Friday, October 28th, 2005

There’s a band in NYC that is mixing the late period Elvis lounge act with the earnest folk rock strivings of Bob Dylan. The band is the appropriately named The Undisputed Heavyweights and their month long residency comes to an end tonight at Pianos in NYC at 9pm.

Like the singer-songwriter scene I wrote about the other day in LA, NYC has it’s own vibrant music community of which Casey Shea (solo) and his band The Undisputed Heavyweights are at the forefront (others in this scene include the talented Jaymay, The Bowmans, and Kristin Diable).

So here’s a couple of demos. This last show will be a blast so check `em out if you are in the vicinity of Ludlow and Stanton at around 9pm.

MoneyRoll Your Windows Down [Download]

Plus here’s a couple of songs from Casey’s impending solo release Take The Bite. Including the musical equivalent of the comic Dilbert personified in song with “Life In A Cube”.

We’re All The SameLife in a Cube [Download]

A beautiful new song from Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, The Softies)

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Rose Melberg had a “hit” record in 1998. Now she’s readying her followup. As a member of Tiger Trap and The Softies, Rose was a leading figure in the 90′s indie pop scene. Her 1998 solo record Portola was given stunning reviews by all who heard it, if you are a fan of the softer sounds of Aztec Camera or Cowboy Junkies than this will be right up your alley.

“The Time Has Come” is apparently from a forthcoming record while “Golden Gate Bridge” is taken from Portola. Visit her page on Double Agent to purchase Portola.

The Time Has Come [Download]

Golden Gate Bridge [Download]

Epic Wilcoesque rock from Lawrence’s OK Jones

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

OK Jones has a new cd, it’s came out on October 23 and can be purchased now through their website. I wrote very little about them here when I was in a bit of a Lawrence, Kansas phase. The band has been compared to Wilco (I also here Josh Rouse) and on the song “Portable Heart” you can really hear that with it’s epic song structure, lush string section and the chorus of “send a letter to my Portable Heart”.

OK Jones has an inverse ratio of talent to visibility on the web so again the only place you can buy their new record Push/Pull is here at their very minimalist website. Reward this talented band with your support.

Portable HeartBesides Fall In Love [Download]

Miguel Mendez’ My Girlfriend is Melting (I & Ear Records, Oct 11)

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

My Girlfriend is Melting is the new mindmeld of a record from Miguel Mendez out now on I and Ear Records. Whether he’s alternating between the poppy, yet mildly, depressing song “Drinking Beers” or the dreamy, piano-fuzz of “Catchin A Wave” Miguel Mendez sounds musically confident well beyond his years. This could come from his work with Farmer Dave and Dios Malos or the fact that’s he’s smart enough to drop out of a Physics program at UC Berkely or reportedly “write a very long book”.

Whatever it is is that sets him, he’s got it. Purchase his new record here through Amazon (there’s only three left so don’t delay).

Drinking BeersMay 9th, 2002 [Download]

New songs from Fernando Viciconte and tourdate news from Cole Guerra

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Fernando Viciconte is a bilingual singer/songwriter from Portland whose new record is due out in March of 2006 on Portland’s own In Music We Trust Records. It’s a long time to wait for what sounds like a record that will have the critics salivating and the blog world abuzz.

From the songs I’ve heard this is a smokily produced record, kind of what you might expect from Joe Henry or Daniel Lanois. Lyrically these songs remind me of the poetic words of a Leonard Cohen or Elliott Smith.

Here’s a couple from that forthcoming record.

MariannaThe Jackal [Download]

Songs:Illinois fave Cole Guerra (written about here) is playing Schubas tonight in Chicago at 9pm. Check it out if you can. Here’s a taste of what you might hear tonight.

Off Off Broadway [Download]

Gunshy – Souls (Dec. 6, 2005)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

I swear I was going to write about Gunshy about 8 months ago. I forgot what got in the way `cause I liked his updated Tom Waits meets Nick Cave meets Belle and Sebastian sound and the songs were there as well.

His forthcoming record is due out December 6th on Latest Flame Records. It’ll be called Souls and a song has already been released online from this release called “Last Song”. It’s got a little of all the bands listed above (ie gruff vocals, lyrics dealing with otherworldly events and in the case of Belle and Sebastian it’s got trumpets!).

Last Song [Download]

Bonus song from the EP What Will They Speak Of You When You’re Gone

What Will They Speak Of You When You’re Gone [Download]

Gunshy’s on the road with Andrew Bryant, here’s one from Andrew as well

Road To Take Home [Download]

LA based singer songwriters Jay Nash and Patrik Park

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

There’s a whole other world of music in LA. Polished bands and singer-songwriters working together on each others projects while jockeying to become the next Michael Penn, Aimee Mann or Sheryl Crow.

In fact much like Sheryl Crow’s 1994 record Tuesday Night Music Club, Jay Nash’s new record Some Kind Of Comfort was recorded over one very busy weekend with a small tight-knit group of friends and musical cohorts. Hopefully the animosity that grew out of Sheryl Crow’s successful record will also not happen to this bunch. Buy Jay Nash’s new Kufala release Some Kind Of Comfort here.

Not Much Left [Download]

Another LA based artist that has made the grade is Patrik Park. On his last record he worked with producer Dave Trumflo (Wilco) and guest musicians like Sun Volt member Eric Heyward and Tim Easton. The record was the well received Lonliness Knows My Name. Well, long story short, Patrik Park has released one song from his forthcoming record on his website. Here it is in all it’s splendor!

Life Is A Song [Download]

So if you thought there was no quality music scene in LA you’d be wrong. However what many of the artists do have is a slightly too polished musical outlook from being surrounded by all the hollywood glitz and Major label A&R types.

Liz Janes & Create (!) – Blues/Gospel from a former member of the Sufjan Stevens camp

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Liz Janes new record with Create (!) is a challenge that on repeated listens will surely pay off. It’s an old spiritual/gospel tune that is the most accessible and for fans of Songs:illinois will be the most appropriate. “Run old Jeremiah/keep your hands on the plow” uses the skills of free jazz collective Create(!) to the best effect. The hand claps, acoustic bass and percussion keep this song going and make it unique. Liz Jane’s vocals add just the right bit of urgency and frantic longing.

This song comes from Liz Jane’s new record for Asthamtic Kitty that was just released this month. Liz Janes & Create (!) recorded this album of public domain songs in a shack with no electricity. The band is all acoustic. You get the sense that the band and Liz got every last sound that was possible out of themselves. This is a great introduction to the world of Liz Janes and if you like what you hear it’d be worth it to explore her work further. Buy here.

Run, Old Jeremiah/Keep Your Hand On The PlowLonesome Valley [Download]

PS Both the song and the video from Pelle Carlberg up at Swedesplease are essential viewing/downloading. It’s the song of the week!!

Exclusive songs from The Night Blooms by Pinetop Seven (Empyrean, Oct. 25)

Monday, October 24th, 2005

If you buy the debut, self-titled, self-released record of a band I think chances are you are going to stick with them through thick and thin and maybe be a fan for life. There’s just something about being with a band since the beginning. And I guess that’s why, except for classic jazz from the 50′s and 60′s, I don’t bother going back to rediscover bands that have come and gone (The Byrds, Graham Parsons and Townes Van Zandt are examples of artists that I like/love but cannot invest too much of my time in an all out onslaught of purchasing and listening). All of the ab0ve is a complicated way of saying that I’m excited to be able to share with you songs from the forthcoming Pinetop Seven record on Empyrean.

Pinetop Seven has been lumped in with the alt-country universe since their beginnings in 1996 but they don’t really belong there. Like Wilco or Ryan Adams they are exploring other avenues for their songwriting and never seem to be content for long with their sound. Often compared to Angelo Badalamente and the more epic orchestral work of film composers, Pinetop Seven continue to mix and blend sound on their new record. Buy The Night Blooms here.

FringeA Page From The DesertWitness [Download]

Charlemagne’s Detour Allure (SideCho, Oct 18)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Charlemagne is Carl Johns. His second record Detour Allure came out Oct 18 on Side Cho Records (Neva Devona, Tokyo Rose). Like his debut, this one is also a type of soft, beach boys inspired psychedelic experience. The song “Your Scars” is the most folky track but even still it has a sheen on it it that makes it more like The Shins then Bob Dylan.

The band also will have a song on the Loose Music compilation Start Your Own Country (Loose Music, Oct 17) that I have been blathering about of late. Here’s four tracks from Detour Allure. Buy it here.

your scarsnematodepink and silver(we are) making light [Download]

Benji Cossa

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

Saturday (and Sunday) on Songs:Illinois is reserved for compelling artists who, for whatever reason, are not given the full treatment. Benji Cossa on Magic Marker is a perfect excample of an artist who deserves a full explanation. Instead I give you the links to his website, his label and a couple tracks. The music speaks for itself.

KnockoutGood Times [Download]
(4-track from Benji’s blog)

Thanks to these fine sites for linking to Songs:Illinois in the last week or so:

Today I Am Awake For The First Time
The Old Blue Bus
Everybody Cares
The Rawking Refuses To Stop

Mendoza Lines’ new release Full of Light and Full of Fire (Misra Records, Nov. 21)

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Alright, it’s official, until you hear otherwise I will be writing about each and every release by Texas label Misra Records. The label has amazing taste, excellent production value and a blogger friendly outlook on life. Their upcoming release by The Mendoza Line is another in a long line of great releases. This new record, Full Of Light And Full of Fire, is being compared to early Pretenders, Harry Nilson and the Mekons. These comparisons are accurate, depending on who takes the lead vocals for each song. On the song “Catch a Collapsing Star” it’s in the lyrics, especially “it’s our limitations that make us what we are”, that I hear Bob Dylan as much as I do the Mekons.

Full of Light doesn’t hit the street until Nov. 21 but as always with Misra you can preorder this one early here for $12 (which is a whole hell of a lot less than you’ll pay at Borders/Best Buy/Tower/Amazon).

Catch a Collapsing StarMysterious In Black [Download]

Bonus track from 2004′s Fortune

Let’s Not Talk About it [Download]

Exclusive track from Bearsuits new record Team Ping Pong (Fantastic Plastic, Oct 31)

Friday, October 21st, 2005

I’ve got the new track from UK based Bearsuit (and now you do too). It’s from their upcoming cd on Fantastic Plastic called Team Ping Pong.

I’ve liked them since last years debut. I like their mix of naive lyrics, bizarre bear costumes, punk energy and general all around upbeat twee sound.

You can preorder the new record through the Fantastic Plastic Records site here. Here’s the single “Going Steady”.

Going Steady [Download]

Bonus track

Itsuko Got Married [Download]

English country from The Barker Band

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

The Barker Band are that rare act in traditional music that has managed to update the music without loosing any of the original feeling. The Barker bothers are twins who inherited their love of country and bluegrass from their father. They have two discs out in England and a song on an upcoming Loose Records country compilation.

The band, going against their own best wishes, have allowed me to post two songs from their new record Lonesome Waltz. Now prove me right by visiting their site and purchasing their music here.

Heart Like MineWhy Me [Download]

At last a theme song for Songs:Illinois – "Dancing Hobo" by Walker and Jay

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Well, here it is. At long last the theme song for Songs:Illinois. “Dancing Hobo” from the band (people?) Walker and Jay. Sounds like a duo. Email is
If you must have words to describe the music; how about lofi bluegrass (with a little indie noise thrown in).

Their site counter’s stuck at 724 so let’s see about changing that.

Dancing Hobo [Download]
(4 track demo)

Song from forthcoming debut cd (also stellar)

Moonshiner [Download]