Archive for November, 2005

Teddy Thompson (plus Rufus and Martha Wainwright) – Seperate Ways (Feb. 14, Verve)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

I got a nice surprise in my inbox today. The announcement of a new disc from a member of the always creative and artistic Thompson family (Richard and Linda). It’s actually a new record from their offspring Teddy Thompson. This is his second proper record and has a release date in the US of Feb 14.

On this record, like his 2000 solo debut, Teddy has called in some special friends as guests, notably Richard and Linda (i.e. mum and dad) and Martha and Rufus Wainwright. Teddy’s succeded in making a grand pop record in the tradition of Elvis Costello and Robyn Hitchcock. Here’s the title track and “Everybody Move It” from the 2006 Verve release Seperate Ways. It comes out earlier in the UK and as a result has already been reviewed by Uncut and Mojo each giving it 4 stars.

Seperate WaysEverybody Move It [Download]

Another song (plus a demo) from Edith Frost’s It’s A Game (Drag City, Nov.)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Edith Frost and Drag Cuty were kind enough to let me do a followup on her excellent new release It’s A Game. The song “Emergency” struck a chord for many with it’s tale of cheaters and broken hearts. Now the song “Playmate” looks at finding love and broken hearts from a slightly different angle as Edith sings “I want a playmate to run with, to press against in the night”.

Reminds me of the song “You Only” by fellow Chicagoan Rachel Ries’ in which she exorts her lover to “come to me, come tonight with both hands, you can be quiet but don’t be shy. I’ll leave the kitchen light on…”

Playmate [Download]

Rachel Ries’

You Only [Download]

Anyway Edith was a doll and gave me access to her archives including demos from the new record and country covers that were recorded for a project that never materialized. Here’s the demo of “Loving You Goodbye” from It’s A Game and a cover of the Coon Creek Girls’ “Lula Lee”. Now there’s 11 more songs you really need to hear from It’s A Game so head on over and see the cool kids at the Drag City store.

Loving You Goodbye (Demo)Lula Lee [Download]

A couple from Faris Nourallah from his new "best of" disc on Green Ufo

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I am so impressed with the Nourallah Brothers, both Faris And Salim. I’ve tried to write about eveything they’ve ever done (and no I’m not related) (here, here, and here). Faris has a “best of” of sorts out on the spanish label Green Ufo’s called Near The Sun: The Best songs Of Faris Nourallah.

Unknown Song [Download]
Sorry don’t know the name of this song)

Bonus track

Bently the doggy dog [Download]

Giant Sand, Green On Red and Naked Prey circa 1986

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I have no idea what this is. It’s obviously a compilation of some sorts. The name of it is Relicatessen Volume 2 on San Jacinto Records. What threw me off right off was the sound of the needle dropping onto the record on the mp3 of “Valley of Rain” by Giant Sand (one of his seminal songs btw) Perhaps this is unauthorized in some way but knowing Howe Gelb he probably signed off on it as a favor. Also on the comp is Green On Red’s (Chuck Prophet, Dan Stuart and Chis Cacavas) “Hair” and Naked Prey’s “Rawhead”.

If you were musically conscious in `86 you’ll get a kick out of these. Check out the label’s site for more info including releases from Country Joe and the Fish.

Valley Of Rain – Giant SandHairRawhead [Download]

Like a Fox (exclusive songs…riyl Floatation Toy Warning, Mercury Rev, Radar Bros)

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Like A Fox was recomended on the Twin Atlas website. The band is working on a new cd and has no other info up on their site. But if you like Flotation Toy Warning, Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev then you’ve got to listen to their new song “Almost There” as it’s got just the right amount of spaciness, fuzzed out keys and reverb drenched, yet somehow soothing, vocals.

Contact the band ( to get in on the bidding on the new record or to just say hi and visit their site to download one more great song (“A Little”).

Almost There [Download]

Bonus track

Heavy Soothing [Download]

Blackwood Hymnal

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Blackwood Hymnal play the music I love but slow it down to a crawl. They’ve set out to take just the essential elements of music (like vocal melody, acoustic guitar and chord progression a la pedal steel and telecaster) and see where that will take them. While these songs are just demos they hold a lot of promise for their 2006 release on Tarnished Records.

Visit their MySpace page for more info and a couple more songs to download.

Run With MeHotel Song [Download]

PS I added this neat little bit of javascript to both my sites that allow you to stream the songs right from the homepage. Just click on the play icon and away you go.

I Can Break Your Heart

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

AA Wallace is in the midst of recording his debut record for the Canadian label Sleepless. He’s finished one song and posted it on his recording blog. Here is achingly bitter take on love.

I Can Break Your Heart [Download]

Bonus song about the family dog Spike

Spike [Download]

AA is also in the band Sleepless Nights. Of course you can hear more from them on My Space here.

You win some, you lose some (new link plus music from Eux Autres)

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

I’m trying to keep my blogroll at some kind of status quo, only adding new blogs when another blog gives up the ghost. Sadly the excellent blog Last Night An MP3 Saved My Wife had it’s one year anniversary and subsequently called it quits. The site is still up and many of the links may work, so get over there soon and check `em out.

In it’s place I am adding a blog written by someone in my childhood hometown of Boston: Hello Gina. At the moment she’s obsessing over the Portland band Eux Autres who I had never heard of before. Here’s one song from the band (RIYL Belle and Sebastian, Rilo Kiley), buy their stuff here. It’s great stuff…more songs at Hello Gina.

Other Girls [Download]

P.S. I’m slightly biased but I’m loving the songs by The Budgies up on Swedesplease.

The Maughns’ Golden Hits (plus the song "Jay Ferguson" by Mary Cobham)

Friday, November 25th, 2005

The Maughns have had a busy year what with a solo release by Mary Cobham and a full band release. The band is hard to describe but if I was cornered and had to say I’d describe them as playful 60′s pop (maybe send Jonathan Richman back in time).

Mary’s stalker song “Jay Ferguson” (of Sloan) is classic indie pop from her record all about Jay Freguson called Songs In The Key Of Jay. Sure it’s a little obsessive but I’m sure a goodly sized chunk of you can relate.

Jay Ferguson [Download]

From the bands full length Golden Hits. More info on both from the Just Friends label.

Darling IStronger Heart [Download]

Thanksgiving Music (sort of) from Marty Stuart’s new record "Badlands"

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Not much great Thanksgiving music is there? Why is that? Is it because we are giving thanks for our own success and another people’s demise? Perhaps that doesn’t translate well into song. What does a Thanksgiving prayer sound like in a Native American household on a reservation beset by poverty?

I think it might sound a bit like Marty Stuart’s brave new record called Badlands, a portrait of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota.

I’ve written about Marty before (here) and there’s not that much more to say. He is our Johnny Cash of the next 20 years. Here’s two from Badlands.

I stongly suggest you go out and buy this one, make it your Thanksgiving duty.

Wounded KneeBig Foot [Download]
(obscure Johnny Cash track)

New demos from Nik Freitas (Future Farmer?, 2006?)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Nik Freitas (Future Farmer Records?) has added a couple demo’s to his website. These are in addition to tracks available from his 2005 self released ep Missing Bones. The demo’s are more stripped down and acoustic than his full band sound (under the moniker Nik Freitas and The Head Gates) but I like them as much/more.

Nik Freitas succeeds with a mix of Beatles inpired rock, Dylanesque vocals/harmonica and even the occasional Jeff Buckley-like vocal workouts.

GoodbyeComes To Me [Download]

Austin’s roots-rockers – Honeybrowne (Compadre Records, Nov)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

I suppose everybody’s got their own story about which band introduced them to which sound, for me and americana it may have been a tie between The Jayhawks, the Morells and The Gear Daddies all around 1986/7. The Jayhawks were the one band to have made it and unfortunately we have Victoria Williams to blame or thank for their untimely demise. Ever since, I weigh bands up against the Jayhawk’s sound/legacy. Bands like the Damnwells, The Bottle Rockets, and Blue Mountain have made the grade while others have not. Compadre Records has a nice band in the making with Austin’s Honeybrowne.

So while this has a little bit of a slick sound, I’m still happy with the results. You can order this release, Something To Believe In, now through the band’s website.

Something To Belive InMarch Of Life [Download]

A wonderfull discovery in Sera Cahoone (Unsigned, 2006?) (plus two demos from Band Of Horses)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

If you work at a label quickly open your email app and send a note to Sera Cahoone ( telling her that you’d like an opportunity to put her new record out. It’s finished, sounds beautiful and is low risk to you. Can’t sell it you say? No way to market it? No talking points? You’d be wrong on all three counts. Firstly, Sera plays drums on the impending 2006 Sub Pop release by Band of Horses that is going to be huge. Secondly, the music is great and speaks for itself as it did recently when she lit up the phones at KEXP. Thirdly, you’ve already got radio at KEXP in Seattle locked up. Finally she’s cute, hate to say it but that helps.

Here’s one from this upcoming record, again email Sera ( Tell her I told you to!

Couch Song [Download]

Band of Horses bonus

Wicked Gil (Demo)I Lost My Dingle On The Red Line [Download]

Back on track with Austin’s Weary Boys

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

What is it about certain sounds that connect with different people. Why does a guitar picked just right appeal to me and not others, why does a certain vocal style sound just right to some but repulsive to others? When you hear something you like there doesn’t need to be any discussion or rational thought does there?

The Weary Boys are that band for me. They’re from Austin and have played with the best of them. Their 2004 release is called Holy Ghost Power, here’s two from it; the original “Only Jesus” and the trad cover “When Will The Circle Be Unbroken”. There’s also a treasure trove of live tracks, bootlegs and radio recordings (KUT) on the site in the Bootlegs section. Buy Holy Ghost Power here.

Only JesusWill The Circle Be Unbroken [Download]

Bonus tracks

Still To BlameRed Neck Woman [Download]

Sophie Barker (ex-Zero 7)

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Needless to say I download a lot of music from various blogs. I’ve developed quite a diverse taste in music as a result. I even go for something as light and frothy as Zero 7. But it may be that the bands individual parts are more to my liking. For example Sophie Barker is a singer who was introduced to the world through Zero 7 but it’s on her import- only solo record that she really shines.

While Kate Bush will be getting all the press this year for angelic sounding fairie music just a little should be diverted to Sophie Barker and her 2005 release Earthbound. Sample the two tracks below and see if you reminds you of the best of Emiliani Torrini or even a more accessible Bjork.

You can buy it here.

SecretWintertime [Download]

A little change of pace for Songs:Illinois…

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Sometimes in the course of my rabid web searching for Swedish music for Swedesplease I come across something that is “almost” Swedish but can’t post it. What’s “almost Swedish” you ask? The Boys of Scandinavia (If Society) from Norway. This is perfect for all you young hipsters and also for the aging, balding, bespeckeled fans of the Cure, New Order and Depeche Mode.

Beautiful As a Person [Download]

On the same front I was pleasently surprised by the first track available from Paul Avion. It certainly goes great with the song above. Man, if I didn’t know any better I think I could fall for this type of dance music. I may have to put a little dance mix together for this site soon. Here’s “Pop Music United” from the debut ep release from Paul Avion due out in December/January of 2006.

Pop Music United [Download]

Acoustic guitar from David Goodrich this fine Sunday morning

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

David Goodrich’s guitar playing has been praised by none other than Chris Smither and Peter Mulvey so I feel a little underqualified to make much of a judgement call on the songs below. What I can say is that these acoustic guitar compositions and the playing on them are perfect for a Sunday morning. If you like this try explore the work of Chris Proctor or Bill Frissell.

Here’s a couple from David’s latest titled Accidentals of the West available for purchase at Young Hunter here.

New/Old JoeAberdeen [Download]

Andy Lantz – The Brokedown EP

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

Andy Lantz (yeah I know I’ve never heard of him either) released his debut ep recently on Aurura 7 Records. The label shares office space with ECA records who put out the amazing and brilliant Ramona Cordova record. So I’m going to give Andy the benefit of the doubt. Here’s a couple from his new ep, you can get the rest of the songs here.

That County In TNOsceola Flats [Download]

Something new from Capstan Shaft (Abandoned Love Records, Nov. 2005)

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Abandoned Love Records has released the new cdr ep, The Sleeved and Grandaughters of the Blacklist, by the Vermont based one man band Capstan Shafts. It’s limited edition and hand numbered cdr. Capstan Shafts has a reputation for creating lofi masterpieces. The label describes this as jangle pop and mystical folk music. I’m loving the one song up from the ep, “Chandelier of Bad Ideas”.

Buy the ep here.

Chandelier of Bad Ideas [Download]

The entire 2005 Halaluah Moancoaxers ep is available through Beat The Idie Drum here. Here’s two songs from that ep.

Giddy Tramps Marching OrdersPersonals Surfer [Download]

You can also email the band here –

Magic Car’s "Family Matters" (Tiny Dog Records)

Friday, November 18th, 2005

I requested a couple of mp3′s from a small English label, fortunately they didn’t know what I meant or weren’t able to deliver, so they sent the cd across the Atlantic instead. The label is Tiny Dog and the band is Magic Car. The new record is called Family Matters. Magic Car is a bright shining light in the burgeoning UK Americana scene.

Employing just the right amount of pedal steel, hammond organ, harmonica and mandolin, Magic car have blended Fairport Convention with Cowboy Junkies and British folk with American pop. The results are sweet.

So here’s a couple from Magic Car’s 2005 release Family Matters. You can buy it here through the label’s order page. So here’s two standout tracks plus a hidden track.

Gold Wing QueenSmall Town Saturday NightHidden Track [Download]