Archive for April, 2008

Adam Puddington’s “Back In Town” (ex – Gutheries)(Haysale Records, June)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Canadian singer-songwriter Adam Puddington, formerly of the alt-country group the Gutheries, has his new solo CD Back In Town (HaySale Records) scheduled for release in June. If you like atmospheric alt-country where the pedal steel murmurs instead of screams, and where the honky-tonk vocals and lyrics are replaced with something more thoughtful and sincere, than the new record will be for you.

The song “Deer In The Headlights” hits all these notes and more. The electric guitar shimmers, the pedal steel is a subtle accent, and Adam’s soothing voice a perfect instrument for his haunting lyrics.

Deer In the Headlights

Bonus track

The Doors [Download]

Joshua Marcus – “Reverse The Charges” (High Two/Contraphonic, May 13)

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I’ve been a big fan of Joshua Marcus since I first heard his yearning, plaintive vocals, his resonating banjo and his updated Appalachian mountain music. His new record, Reverse The Charges, is out in May on Contraphonic and High Two Records. He’s collaborated with a bunch of other artists to make this record and that shows on the one teaser track.

On “So Low So Love So Long” there are beautiful and ethereal backing vocals, an eerie electric saw/Theremin sound, and his trusty banjo and voice. It’s a great introduction to this artist and the upcoming record.

So Low So Love So Long [Download]

“Breathe Easy” video

New record from Cars Can Be Blue (HHBTM, June 10)(plus a Simon Joyner reissue on Team Love)

Monday, April 28th, 2008

It’s been a while since any twee pop has found it’s way onto Songs:Illinois so it’s fitting that the band that brings it back is the band that also gave us one of the most popular posts ever. I guess it didn’t hurt that the song from that post was devilishly dirty. Cars Can Be Blue is the band that got us thinking about Twee again this morning as they are about to release their new record Doubly Unbeatable.

The new record comes out on Happy Happy Birthday To Me on June 10 but can be pre-ordered now here. From the two songs below it seems like the band’s material may be a bit more mature as it deals with relationships and how to make them work. But they still can’t write a straightforward song. On “Sun Blows Up” Becky sings/screams that she’ll love her boyfriend `til the sun blows up and on “Coattails” she name drops Sebadoh, Pitchfork, and press releases in a song about an annoying band member she meets in her town.

Sun Blows Up [Download]

CoatTails [Download]


Dirty Song [Download]

I Used To Think [Download]


It should come as no surprise to the fans of Bright Eyes that the Connor Oberst label Team Love is re-issueing Simon Joyner’s classic lp-only release The Cowardly Traveller Pays His Toll. Simon was clearly a big influence on Oberst and vice versa. John Peel famously played this release in its entirety, that was the second and last time John Peel played a record all the way through.

Here’s the song “Javelin” (dig the analog hiss in the background).

Javelin [Download]

What Everyone Else Was Saying – Weekly Blog Roundup (Tindersticks, Will Johnson, Christa Couture, Jason McNiff, Sera Cahoone, Old Believers and Robin Grey)

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

The Scottish blog 17 Seconds goes on a tear in support of Jason McNiff’s new album, even going as far as to say jason’s music should be picked up by the British public. From my past experiences with Jason McNiff’s music I’d say that view might even be too parochial.

The always fabulous Fabulist has the more traditional London folk of Robin Grey.

Despite the recent Sup Pop release of her new record, I haven’t heard enough about or by Sera Cahoone. False 45th rectifies that with this nice post on the record and tour.

The Daily Growl has two slightly less morose than usual songs from the new Tindersticks record.

Obscure Sound
has a nice writeup on the current twofer from Will Johnson.

The Late Greats has the whimsical (and wordy) pop of Christa Couture.

A Limerick Ox has something different from a band called Old Believers.

YouTube Saturday – Dwight Yoakam

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Last week I admitted that The Lounge Lizards introduced me to jazz. Now I have another startling admission to make. Dwight Yoakam was my first real introduction to country. Not George Jones or Hank Williams or even Johnny Cash. Still it was a pretty good introduction since Dwight’s songs were often stunning works of songwriting and musically he emulated that classic Bakersfield Sound. I still get goosebumps listening to these songs.

“Long White Cadillac”

“Guitars, Cadillacs Etc”

“Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose”

“It Only Hurts Me When I Cry”

“Suspicious Minds”

“Back Of Your Hand”

“Close up the Honky Tonks”
and “Blame The Vain” have had embedding disabled

Honky-Tonk Friday – Adam Carroll’s new record “Old Town Rock N Roll” (release date May 27)(plus Sarah Borges visits Sun Studio’s)

Friday, April 25th, 2008

“Oklahoma Gypsy Shuffler”, off the new record by Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll, has plenty of honky but not a lot of tonk. Adam doesn’t play the hard country that we usually feature on honky-tonk Friday. But this song embodies the spirit of honky-tonk as well as any we’ve ever posted.

The song is about a loner who roams the land getting into and out of trouble, both mortal and of the soul. With lines like “drivin’ down the west coast highway”, “songs out the window was all he had to lose” (can’t you just picture the songs floating out the window?), “cuttin’ heads on the chitlin’ circuit”, and “snorting cocaine off a buck knife” Oklahoma Gypsy Shuffler is as timeless as the Oklahoma dust bowl and the howling winds of West Texas.

Buy the new record, Old Town Rock N Roll, here or here at Lone Star Music.

Oklahoma Gypsy Shuffler [Download]

Bonus song – “Alright” from 2005′s Far Away Blues

Alright [Download]

I wrote about Sarah Borges here, and now she and her band have turned up on the excellent new video series by Sun Studios.

“Daniel Lee”

The Starlings – “Marveling The While”

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I don’t know how The Starlings do it. They’re about to head out in their van for a 6 month tour of the country. That may sound like a good idea when you have major label backing and a swanky tour bus, but for The Starlings they’ll be traveling more lofi. Lofi like their blend of acoustic country and folk.

The band’s brand new record is called Marveling The While and features the harmonizing vocals of Joy Mills and Tom Parker. It’s the follow up to the 2006 debut Songbook which KEXP touted as one of the best records coming out of the pacific Northwest. The new song “Geraldine” can be added to that long list of songs in the music canon with titles based on a woman’s name. The story is of a wandering, lost soul of a woman for whom the journey was as important as the places she wound up. Buy Marveling The While here. Check out their extensive tour dates here to see if you can catch them live at your local watering hole or coffeehouse.

Geraldine [Download]

Dana Falconberry debuts new single/video

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

One of the objects of our affection, Austin singer-songwiter Dana Falconberry, has a new single out. The song’s available at all the likely places. But the video is available here now.

Two interesting things to note about the song/video. One is that the song’s theme is paranoia about love; it seems to equate love to something more dangerous like stalking or fear. I imagine that from a woman’s perspective it often does feel a bit like that. And two, in the video many of Dana’s actions (like when she shakes the telephone or later picks up a hammer) are synced up to the percussion in the song.

“Love Will Never Leave You Alone”

Stehen Clair is as “Lucky As Can Be”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I liked what I heard from Stephen Clair’s last record. I wrote about it here and still find his songs a pleasure to hear when they pop up on shuffle. The Stephen Clair I’m familiar with was stripped down NYC folk but there’s a new(ish) Stephen Clair in Town . A Stephen Clair who has absorbed the sounds and styles of Austin where he recorded his new record. The songs are now accented with pedal steel and violin but the lyrics remain insightful and adult (adult in a good way, not “adult” like in Adult Alternative).

The new record is called What Luck and to be on the safe side I’m writing about what I figure is the title track “Lucky As Can Be”. It the type of song I’m drawn to as it takes a look at life through the eyes of a struggling performer who hasn’t reached the top but is happy with his life. Someone who realizes his music is important but also someone who realizes that there’s more to life than trying to achieve some unattainable (and undesirable) amount of fame.

The NYC record release party is on May 22 at Banjo Jim’s but all you out-of-towners can celebrate on your own after you buy What Luck at CDBABY here.

Lucky As Can Be [Download]

New EP “Nation of Heat” from Joe Pug (plus video of Gary Louris doing “True Blue”)

Monday, April 21st, 2008

It would almost be impossible for me not to post the music of Joe Pug. He fits the Songs:Illinois demographic so well it’s like some computer program spat him out. He’s young, he’s just releasing his debut, he writes poetic songs, he lives in Chicago (for goodness sake), is clearly influenced by Dylan/
Young/Springsteen and has a record release show coming up at Schubas.

His debut EP is called Nation Of Heat and is being released on May 13. I’m sure you can pick one up at the Schubas show on the 3rd however.

On both the songs below Joe eschews verse/chorus/verse and instead lets loose a barrage of stream of consciousness that somehow is devoid of pretension and cliche.

Nation Of Heat [Download]

Hymn 101 [Download]


I’m going to follow up MOKB’s exclusive Gary Louris video with one of my own. Here’s Gary performing the title track from his solo lp True Blue at Southern Theater in Minneapolis. The sound, video, performance and song are all superb.

“True Blue”

What Everyone Else Was Saying – Weekly Music Blog Roundup

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

(Presence Crossing by Pat Rocha)

Usually these mp3 blog weekend wrapups are devoted to posts with mp3′s. But I love an anti corporate mp3 blog spiel as much as the next guy. Here’s The Post-Rockist trying to work his way through feelings of bitterness, jealousy, boredom and hostility towards the music blogging scene.

Nine Bullets has something new from the Appalachian new grassy group Medford’s Black Record Collection.

Things I’d Rather Being Doing has a great interview with Big Dipper.

IckMusic has the AAA pop stylings of Jon Regen.

I don’t fully understand the hoopla around of the Karen Dalton’s of the world. Why explore lost acts from the 60′s when we have so many undiscovered treasures from the present? Anyone’s Guess shares with us the music of NYC based singer songwriter Sharen Van Etten and her homemade music/packaging. The song “Picking Up Rocks” is worth the trip over there all my itself.

Lines Through Lines has two songs and a middling review of the new record from The Weepies.

YouTube Saturday – The Lounge Lizards (w/John Lurie, Tom Waits, Marvin Pontiac, Roy Nathanson)

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

It’s a little embarrassing to say but The Lounge Lizards was the group that introduced me to jazz. I’d love to lie and say it was Monk, Miles, or Haden. But it was these guys with their spiky hair and skinny ties that first got me interested. Before the film career, before Fishing With John and before the antics of Marvin Pontiac (listen to one song by Marvin Pontiac below) John Lurie was the leader of this band of downtown jazz provocateurs.

John Lurie was the leader of this NYC based band. They mixed world music, rock and funk with their free jazz to create one of the most popular groups to come out of NYC in the 80′s. The band was solid with contributors from the jazz scene and the avant rock crowd in Curtis Fowkles on Trombone, Arto Lindsay on guitar and Roy Nathanson on Saxophone (both Nathanson and Fowlkes went on to form The Jazz Passengers), John’s brother Evan played piano. Calvin Weston played drums and then went on to perform solo and in the 90′s with Vernon Reid. The band didn’t create a ton of video’s but the ones they did showcase both the killer horn section and the fact that the band could both swing or play noise in equal measure.

“Dutch Schultz” Live In Berlin

“Big Heart” (Directed by John Lurie)

“Uncle Jerry”

“Snakes Can’t Sleep (The Hanging)”

Fishing with Jazz episode with Tom Waits

Down By Law with John Lurie, Tom Waits

Bonus track from John Lurie’s one-off side project Marvin Pontiac – “Small Car”

Bonus track from Roy Nathanson (w/Anthony Coleman)

Bonus track from Calvin Weston

Big Tree [Download]

Honkey Tonk Friday with Eleven Hundred Springs (plus a new song from Jon Jackson and Backyard Tire Fire visits Sun Studios)

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Eleven hundred Springs are a Texas based country band. They’ve been around in one form or another for a decade or so. The songs I’ve heard don’t stray too far what the band knows best and that’s Texas, trucks, Hank Williams, drinkin’ and broken hearts. The song “Texas Afternoon” has most of those bases covered and is the first song off their upcoming Lloyd Maines produced record Country Jam.

Pre-order the new record here (ships 05/06)

Texas Afternoon [Download]


P.S. It seems Jon Jackson tried to slip a new song past us. The song is called “Great Big” and is not on the new record Green Apples. If you haven’t picked up Green Apples what are you waiting for; order it here through CdBaby. Jon’s going to be coming up to do a Songs:Illinois house concert with Michael Fracasso from Austin on June 6. So save the date!

Great Big [Download]


The Bloomington, IL based band Backyard Tire Fire was invited into Sun Studios to record a session for their new video series. It came out pretty great. Here’s the video for the song “Honey To A Bee”. The band opens up for Nashville Pussy and Reverend Horton Heat at the Metro tonight.

Hayes Carll Animated Video

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

It’s amazing how much music/videos/live shows/b-sides/remixes etc., etc., you can miss out on. I just found this little animated Hayes Carll video with him talking about his past, dealing with Freebird requests, and what’s it like playing your music in a honky-tonk. Also features songs from Hayes’ new record Trouble In Mind out now on Lost Highway. Pretty cool. Freebird!!

Audrey Auld Mezera takes on the powers that be with “Nashville #1″

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I love songs about Nashville. Especially those that poke a little fun at the underbelly of this music city. Audrey Auld Mezera has a new EP called Music With The Dirt Left On that’s barely available and it features a song called “Nashville #1″. The lines like “the label got his girlfriend, she looks like a skunk” and “trans-fat corn-fed country song” make it essential listening for those of us toiling away on the outskirts of country fame.

Lots more info on Australian Audrey Auld Mezera at her website here or at her label here. If you’d like a copy of the new hard-to-get EP email Audrey at audrey (at)

Nashville #1 [Download]

rupa and the april fishes (riyl the Decemberists, French pop, Bollywood, gypsys)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I’m generally not a big fan or re-issueing albums that were originally self-released or saw a limited local release. I figure it’s been out in the marketplace, had it’s shot and didn’t make it. Why give it another chance? Then again something as unusual and original as Rupa and the April Fishes debut Extraordinary Rendition should definitely get a second crack.

Rupa is a Californian woman of Indian and French descent. She’s a Doctor in real life in San Fransisco, but in her rich fantasy world of gypsys, carnivals and gay Paris she’s a band leader of a group of traveling peasants known as the april fishes. The band is top notch – just listen to the bass in the intro to “Une Americaine” or the violin solo in the middle of “C’est Moi”. Rupa’s voice contains all the mystery and passion of the Caucuses and all the romance of a French chanteuse. Like I said, this deserves a wider audience than the 2007 self-release it originally got. So this April the record is available through World Music label and distributor Cumbancha. Check out these two songs from Extraordinary Rendition.

Une Americaine A Paris [Download]

C’est Moi [Download]

The really cool video for “Une Americaine A Paris”

What Everyone Else Was Saying – Music Blog Roundup (Christopher Denny, Delta Spirit, Russian Red, Hank Williams, The Oaks, Teitur and more)

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

(Bird With Snake by Stefanie Augustine)

Homo Eclectic has more from The Chapin Sisters.

The Yellow Stereo has two songs from The Oaks.

Instrumental Analysis
has a new song from Teitur.

Who the Bloody Hell Are They?
discover the “sweet folk” of Sarah Humphries.

Nine Bullets is in the running for blog post of the year with his look at the traditional song “Moonshiner”.

Demo’s from Hank Williams over at For The Sake Of The Song, Hell ya!

We Like It Indie (and others) liked Spanish singer songwriter Russian Red this week.

I somehow missed out on Delta Spirit, if you did too check out this post by Anyone’s Guess.

P.S. and an aside: I have liked what I heard from Christopher Denny but never posted about his music. I was put off by the production which to me mangled and jumbled his Buddy Holly meets Roy Orbison delivery. Thanks to a recent Daytrotter session you can hear what Christopher sounds like stripped down and raw.

Joe Crookston – Falcon Ridge Folk Festival approved

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Usually you can trust that these daily recommendations are coming directly from me. Whether you like them or not the referral is coming straight from this horses mouth with little influence from the wider marketplace, pr machines or record labels. But today’s post on Joe Crookston comes courtesy of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and their emerging artist showcase. The festival handpicks a couple of artists to be both their representatives and goodwill ambassadors. They tour together in advance of the fest and then play that weekend.

Joe Crookston combines startlingly nimble guitar playing with original but old school type folk songs. The song “Mostly” highlights his playing, singing and lyrical mastery. It’s taken from his new 2008 release Able Baker Charlie and Dog. Buy it here.

Mostly [Download]

Bonus song

Little Pink [Download]

Muxtape, Fuxtape! I Ain’t Doing A Muxtape

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

It’s probably too late for this. The hype has peaked, crested and started to diminish. In fact it’s probably borderline jumping the shark. Some sad old guy trying to keep up with the kids. The kids are probably already off to something new. Kind of depressing. Like when your parents ask you if you’d seen that OK Go YouTube video with the treadmills. And I don’t quite get the appeal of Muxtape. Especially since there’s no way to interact with…but here goes. A Spring Muxtape from Songs:Illinois.

Drakkar Sauna Covers The Louvin Brothers

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

The ratio of discs received to discs actually written about here at Songs:Illinois is about 100 to 1. That is, if we receive 100 discs we actually getting around to writing about only one. The latest that made the grade is the new record of Louvin Brothers covers by the Lawrence based duo known as Drakkar Sauna.

These guys are known for their avant-traditional country sounds. But on this disc they play these Louvin Brother’s classics straight up. Why do a faithful cover of these songs? I’m going to guess it’s because of the timelessness of the material. A song like “The Family Who Prays” sounds like it’s ripped from the talk show circuit seeing that it describes the decline of the American family and also addresses the pain of war; a topic that is increasingly a mainstay for American families. The Pitch’s blog, Wayward Blog, is all over this as well here with another song from the new record, tour dates and some insight into the band.

The new record is called Wars and Tornadoes and is available through Marriage Records here.

The Family Who Prays [Download]

Bonus songs:

The Debut Of The Tambourine Shoe [Download]
Very Much Alone Pt 2: The Coke Binge [Download]