Archive for April, 2006

Last night’s House Concert in Chicago with Tiger Saw, Casey Dienel and Eric Ziegenhagan

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

I went to a house concert last night. The bands that performed were Eric Ziegenhagen, Casey Dienel and Tiger Saw. Eric was up first and played a nice set of electrified folk. The highlight was a song about a very tough-to-kill ground ivy. Also his cover of The Hold Steady’s “Hoodrat Friend” is to die for (even with interruptions due to technical difficulties). Here’s a song from Eric’s most recent cd You’re Talking To The Wrong Guy. Buy it here now from Cd Baby.

Huevos Rancheros [Download]

Up next was the shy, young singer-songwriter Casey Dienel who has just moved to Brooklyn and also just released her debut disc on Hush Records (wrote about Casey here and here). We were treated to some of the songs from Wind Up Canary including a jaunty version of “Doctor Monroe” but the best song may have a been a new one about a stripper named Sugar called “Better in Manhattan”. You’ll have to wait to hear “Better in Manhattan” on Casey’s next record but for now here’s a tale of a couple from Massachusetts complete with references to White Hen Pantry and the Bosox.

Frankie and Annette [Download]

Tiger Saw finished the night with a smober mix of slowcore. I’m not sure if this is always how they sound live or if the venue (a living room) may have hushed their normal sonic onslaught. They did play the song “Sing” from their new record which I wrote about a while back (here) as well as one final singalong about life on the road and missing your family, friends and loved ones. A great way to cap off a nice night. Buy Sing now from Kimchee.

Sing [Download]

Bonus: The original version of The Hold Steady’s

“Hoodrat Friend” [Download]

P.S. Thanks to Rachel Collins for emailing me the photo’s. They’re very artistic, don’t you think?


A Followup on Jan Smith’s "29 Dances" (re-released nationally this month on Landslide Records)

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Another followup (wrote about her here first), this time from Jan Smith. She sent me her new disc 29 Dances after I reviewed her lead off song “James River”. She’s got the perfect mix of bluegrass instrumentation and singer-songwriterly, literate material. Here’s “Your Mama Don’t Care” from one of my favorite acoustic discs of the year.

29 Dances is being re-released this month by

Landslide Records. So look for this everywhere fine music is sold. Or get it now from Amazon.Your Mama Don’t CareHalf The Treasure [Download]

A new song written for a dearly departed friend

Sing One For Me [Download]

Editors note: if anyone was looking for a post this morning and were dismayed and dissapointed (or distraught), don’t woory. A lack of power for the past 8 hours put a serious crimp in my blogging plans. However there may be another post this evening about an excellent time had at a house concert last night. I’m just still rounding up resources.

Lys Guillorn’s "When I Was A Tiger Lily"

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Lys Guillorn (website) has a 3 song ep out now. She’s got a husky, sexy voice and a painfully slow delivery. I’m hanging on every word. It’s available now here and here. I love that picture doesn’t it make Lys even more mysterious.

When I Was A Tiger Lily [Download]


Chatham County Line – Speed Of The Whipoorwill (Yep Roc, May 30)

Friday, April 28th, 2006

I like the description of Chatham County Line that the band provides. They think of themselves as more of a rock band (without a drummer and cables) than a 1940′s traditional bluegrass band. But regardless of what the band thinks some of these songs belong on the Oh Brother soundtrack with their themes of working on the chain gang, railroad workers and the general prevalent theme of 1920′s depression-era social justice for all.

Speed of the Whipoorwill is their new release on Yep Roc, it’s been produced by big name knob twiddler Brian Paulson (Rosebuds, Beck, Wilco). The sound hasn’t been messed with as there’s probably nothing radical you can do to a band that doesn’t even require electricity. Long before The Decemberists arrived folk bands have been singing historical songs and Chatham County line continues that tradion with the song “Confederate Soldier”. But the original song I picked has a theme that’s a staple in bluegrass and that’s a song about Carolina. You can pre-order this release as well as Dave Alvin’s upcoming record here.

Lonesome In Caroline [Download]


Outtake from Salim Nourallah’s "Beautiful Noise" (plus 2 videos of the song "The World Is Full Of People Who Want To Hurt You")

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

I’m like a little kid in a candy store when it comes to Salim Nourallah. He can do no wrong in my book. The proof is in the pudding they say (oops 3 cliches in a row, sorry), so here’s an outtake from last years Beautiful Noise courtesy of his German label Tapate Records (which re-released Beautiful Noise on April 20 with a bonus track). This track was composed on Salim’s son’s 1 foot long toy casio keyboard.

Snowing In My Heart [Download]

Bonus: Acoustic performance video of Salim’s single “The World Is Full Of People Who Want To Hurt You” here.

Bonus 2: There’s also a video of “The World Is Full…” here (the flash player is in the middle of the screen, just scroll down and click on last entry – #51)


Megan Palmer

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Megan Palmer is another of the Columbus, Ohio singer-songwriters I have just discovered. She’s played with a bunch of great bands as a fiddler including last week’s posterboy Tim Easton (also Spikedrivers, Luither Wright And The Wrongs, Sara Harmer, and the Wahoos). On April 22 she released her first solo disc. Her fiddle playing is notably absent from many of the songs which I think is a great idea because it’s hard to make it as a fiddle playing lead singer (exceptions Lisa Germano, Allison Krauss).

Contact Megan here ( for more info on her new record Forget Me Not. Here’s the title track which features a nice duet with an unknown male singer.

Forget Me Not [Download]

Plus one from the Spikedrivers (featuring Megan Palmer)

The Ballad of John Dillenger [Download]


Toronto’s The Bicycles (Fuzzy Logic, April 11) plus something new from Dan Byrk

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Without further ado here’s the band The Bicycles (My Space) who somehow combine indie pop/twee with garage rock/punk. They have just released their debut, Old Soul, on April 11 on the fledgling label Fuzzy Logic Recordings. It’s been five years in the making and was lovingly produced by the infamous Dan Byrk.

The only other band I know to successfully combine these two/four genres are the fabulous Bearsuit. In fact The Bicycles remind me of Bearsuit a little bit with their penchant for matching clothing and the boy/girl ration in the band. I love, love, love, the guitar break about a minute into “Longjohns…” The band will be on tour in the lower 48′s this summer so check their schedule up on their My Space.

Longjohns and ToquesBbbbicycles [Download]

Bonus: Here’s a rough mix of a brilliant little pop song, either about Summer or Heroine or both, by the aforementioned Dan Byrk. It’ll be appearing on an upcoming 2006 release. You’ll be kicking yourself later if you pass this up.

Summer Heroine [Download]


Jesse Henry’s "Roll UpYour Sleeves"

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Jesse Henry comes from a jazz background and you can hear parts of it on the standout track “Roll Up Your Sleeves” from his new debut album. But this is the jazz of Tom Waits, Leon Redbone and maybe even Dr. John. Originally a sax player Jesse Henry moved around the country quite a bit and eventually wound up in New England leading a honky tonk band. His sound on this record is folk, blues and jazz based.

Now based in Columbus, Jesse is part of a vibrant Ohio scene consisting of The Spikedrivers, Megan Palmer (tomorrows post), and Tim Easton. You can buy Jesse’s new record by contacting him through his site (

KansasDaughter of theMoonRoll Up Your Sleeves [Download]

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Jacob Borshard’s "The Last Bronotosaurus"

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Catbird Seat very casually dropped Jacob Borshard (My Space) in our virtual lap last week. Maybe there are hundreds of guys playing this “ukele bedroom pop” but I suspect it’s more like a small handfull. You’d think Jonathan Richman would have said it all and the book would be closed on this genre but as you’ll hear below (and over on Swedesplease) it’s alive and kicking.

Here’s a song in two parts from his new record The Last Brontosaurus as well as one from his first album Songs For A Small Stereo.

First Girlfriend Pt. 1First Girlfriend Pt. 2 [Download]

Your In Love Again [Download]


Exclusive new music from The Donkeys (on tour with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (Antenna Farm, May 28)

Monday, April 24th, 2006

For a ramshackle band with no website, recording for a small label (Antenna Farm, May 28), and a My Space page with next to no info on it, The Donkeys aren’t doing half bad. They’re on tour with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and were championed by the man himself in a Said The Guest feature on StG.

I contacted Antenna Farm for more info and despite being swamped (that’s the reason for the lack of info up on their site) they immmediately got me the first song on the record. It’s a Byrdesque mid tempo rocker called “Come On Virginia”. It’s a song I could listen to all day long (think Ox, Neal Casal, Jayhawks, Wilco).

I have featured so little instrumental music that I really haven’t developed the vocabulary to eloquently describe it. The song “Lower The Heavens” has me stumped. There’s a 60′s vibe to the guitar leads (like the doors?) and a sprinkling of vibraphone giving the song the sound of a classic 50′s Blue Note disc (say by someone like Cal Tjader). From the little I’ve heard this is a record to get, so far it can only be preordered through Amazon here.

Come On VirginiaLower The Heavens [Download]

Bonus :

In The Morning [Download]

P.S. I was also going to write a very involved and breathtakingly great post about the music of Elvis Perkins when after doing a little research I foud out that Yeti Don’t Dance had already done not one but two posts on this Boston band. I implore you to read this and this.


"Don’t call us old timey and we won’t call you emo" – Thunder in the Valley

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Thunder In the Family is a bookend to last months post about Mike Gunther (here). The band mixes emo with old timey music (although their motto is “Don’t call us old-timey and we won’t call you emo”). TITF’s new record, A Long, Long Walk By… is out now on Heart Of A Champion.

Everything I wrote about Mike Gunther I think could be cut and pasted right into this post. I’ll just add that I hear a less manic Gogol Bordello in Thunder In The Valley’s music. I also hear a hint of emo in the title song “Altar”. And again that must have something to do with their motto. The band’s record release party is April 28th at The Turf Club in Shelbyville. Buy it here now ($10).

AltarSo The Story Goes [Download]

The criminally overlooked Moore Brothers’ disc "Murdered By The Moore Brothers" (Plain Recordings, March 28)

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

The Moore Brothers should be so much bigger than they currently are. What’s the holdup? Their new release, Murdered By The Moore Brothers, came out March 28 and so far (aside from 1 post by Bars and Guitars) hasn’t made a dent on the blogosphere. I suspect part of the neglect is the fact that they don’t record for a bigger label. They’re on Plain Recordings which has the rights to some Flaming Lips vinyl and released the first Cat Power and also last years Wingdale Community Singers disc.

Are they too gentle and sensitive for indie rock (Sufjan did it)? Too eclectic for folk? Too esoteric? Intelligent? I don’t know but I do know that if all these baby boomers who grew up with Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills and Nash could hear this they’d abandon their Concert in the Park and reunion discs and put The Moore Brothers on repeat. You can buy it here now directly from the band.

Bury Me Under The Kissing TeensI Let Myself Go [Download]


The Cush – New Apreciation For Sunshine (Undertow Records, May 16) (Plus new music from Magnolia Summer and The Bottle Rockets)

Friday, April 21st, 2006

One of my favorite labels has just awoken from a long winters hibernation with not one but three releases slated for early summer of 2006. I could write about all three such is the quality of music put out by undertow records. But I think I’ll just write about The Cush. Some say they’re the bestband in Burlington, Vt. which seems like no great achievement. Lets up the ante and say they’re the best band in the upper Northeast.

Cush’s foundation is the husband/wife team of Gabrielle and Burette Douglas but as you can see from the photo the band is expanded to 5 or six people to fill out the sound. And on New Appreciation For Sunshine it sounds like that’s just what they’ve done. “Small Town Movie” is filled with a warm analog layer of feedback, reverb and hiss. On top of that the band layers in fuzzy guitar, ethereal vocals and just the right about of psychadelic americana. Pre-order here.

Small Town Movie [Download]

Bonus song from undertow’s other May 16 release by Magnolia Summer (featuring members of The Bottle Rockets, Waterloo and The Linemen) titled from driveways lost view. Pre-order here.

Along for a RideMusic [Download]

Double Bonus: The first song has been released from the upcoming Bloodshot record Zoysia from the Bottle Rockets. I’ve lost touch a bit with this group over the years but “Mountain to Climb” sounds like vintage Bottle Rockets.

Mountain to Climb [Download]

Lil’ Hospital (Total Gaylord Records)

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Out of tune vocals, embarrassingly simple lead guitar, closed fist acoustic strumming and twee like lyrical matter. Sounds like a bad record, right? Well no, quite the opposite. Lil’ Hospital make it all work somehow. Lil’ Hospital’s new record Heavy Metal sounds nothing like heavy metal thankfully. More like perfect pop, a mix of Jonathan Richman and Tullycraft. The swedes would love this stuff.

Early music by Lil’ Hospital was basically Kevin Alvir in his basement with a 4-track and a drum machine but on the new record the sound has grown to include strings, horns, keyboards and real drums. The result can be found on Total Gaylord Records (if their site was up to snuff) so instead click here or here.

I’m A Lil’ Hospital [Download]

Big Sister In HollywoodWhy Why Why [Download]

An amazing song from Dana Falconberry (plus two demos from her other "band" Peter and the Wolf)

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Dana Falconberry has her debut ep coming out later this summer. This Austinite has an incredibly mature sound for such a young woman. Besides her solo project Dana is also a vital part of the more experimental folk group Peter And the Wolf.

I love the sentiment and images in “Paper Sailboat” as the protagonist sends a note off in a paper sailboat with a “wave and a kiss” and waits patiently for some kind of reply. It’s a sad and winsome song. Email her management here ( for more info or just leave a comment on her My Space page.

Paper Sailboat [Download]

Bonus: Two demo’s from Peter and the Wolf.

People of the NightStrange Eyes [Download]


Adults only – The CJ Boyd Sexxxtet (NSFW)

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

At first I only wanted to post this becasue of the publicity photo. But then as I listened more and read more I really started to get into The CJ Boyd Sexxxtet (heard about `em through Italien blog/podcast Indie Eye). There’s a lot more info about his “solo” bass project and three “solo” records at his proper website here.

This is experimental chamber music for a six piece. There’s probably nothing else like it on Earth. CJ Boyd’s solo work could be compared to some of Charles Mingus’s longer compositions as well as Edgar Meyer’s more out-there solo work. The songs below from 2006′s Fleur du Mal are fairly brooding and if this is their take on the sound of physical love than I’m scared to see anymore. You can buy this here (click on “Listen”)

Here’s To BacchusAt The End Of Breath [Download]


Amalea Tshilds – Painted Tiles (Fallen Fan, May 30)

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Well…every day’s a first when you blog. This was the first time I had to search online restaurant reviews for a photo of singer/songwriter Amalea Tshilds. As it happens, not only is she an interesting and eclectic musical artist but she also runs one of the hippest, award winning kitchens in Chicago. Her restaurant Lulu is a popular destination in the artistic enclave of Logan Square. Her debut record, Painted Tiles, is due out May 30 on her own imprint called Fallen Fan.

There are a number of excellent songs to sample on her website here but it’s the first song on the record (isn’t it always!?) that really stikes a chord. Of course what I like about it is the same things I love about recent songs by Rachel Ries, Shelley Short, Birdie Busch and Casey Dienel and that is the sweet, unadorned melodies that seem to have always existed but are only recently being rediscovered and put on to disc by these women. So here’s the first track “Distant Town”. Contact Amalea and her label Fallen Fan to purchase Painted Tiles –

Distant Town [Download]

Bonus song:

Lafayette [Download]


New from Faun Fables and Espers (Drag City, May)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

I’m not going to write these up officially. They’re the two “legal” leaked tracks from Drag City’s May releases. Faun Fables’ The Transit Rider and Espers II. These are both freaky folk and interchangeable in a way. I like this stuff though reminds me of some of the music SST Records was putting out in the late 80′s.

But mainly I just get a kick out of mentally picturing the rawk staff at Drag City trying to bang their heads to this stuff.

Transit Theme – Faun FablesMansfield and Cyclops [Download]
– Espers


Not to proud to crow

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Songs:Illinois was mentioned (favorably, thank goodness) in an article that’s being picked up by many newspapers in Canada through the wonder of syndication. Here’s a link to the article (which also namedrops Said The Gramaphone and PopSheep).

Web offers fans endless opportunites for discovery

P.S. Thanks to Helen Spitzer for the shout out.


Darren Smith "Last Drive" (Crafty Records, April6) (lead singer of Straw Dogs)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Of course there are just some bands I’ve missed out on and I’m just never going to make a connection with. Seattle’s roots rockers Straw Dogs is a perfect example. I’ve heard rumblings but never come across their music. It’s too late for me to catch up with Straw Dogs but it’s not too late for frontman’s Darren Smith’s latest solo release Last Drive (Crafty Records, April 6, 2006)

The sound is pure americana with pedal steel, mandolin, accordian and dobro. Darren’s voice and the way he structures his songs reminds me of recent stuff from Slaid Cleaves. It’s tasteful and every element from the instrumentation to the backing vocals are just perfect. Buy it here now.

Dogtown MinesLast Drive [Download]

Bonus song from Straw Dogs 2005 release Tell The Rising Sun

That One [Download]