Archive for April, 2009

{MP3} Exclusive – New record from Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers)

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The last mention of Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers) on was Nov. 14, 2008 by you know who (me!?). And that’s a shame. Jimbo has gone from making a likeness of string band, delta blues and jug music with SNZ to straight up southern fried country rock with his new solo record Jimmy the Kid. This new sound is being called “inner-planetary honky tonk music.”

If the music doesn’t go viral maybe the album art will create a controversial puritanical storm instead. Buy the new record here or here.

Tell It To The Judge [Download]

Ninebullets (that Katy Perry lovin’ poseur) beat me to the punch by covering the new record from Devil Makes Three. Read his review here.

The Bobby Mcgee’s new single “L.O.V.E.” (Twee As Fuck Record, May 9)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I have a huge space in my heart for indie pop and twee. I don’t post about it much since Skatterbrain and Indie MP3 have the genre pretty well covered. But I must share with you a new song from one of my favorite British twee pop bands – The Bobby Mcgee’s.

I first heard of the band when I stumbled upon their Star Wars song here and it’s been love at first sight ever since. The band’s new song “L.O.V.E. is available as a 7″ single from Twee As Fuck Records. Despite it’s title the song is an anti-love tirade equating love to losing your dignity, your freedom, and your pornography collection. You’re gonna wanna get the vinyl 7″ since it’ll no doubt be a limited edition collectors item (the artwork in and of itself is stellar).

L.O.V.E. [Download]

Georgia’s Horse – “The Mammoth Sessions” (Fire Records, June 9)

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I can’t describe the mysterious and eerie music of Texas’ Georgia’s Horse any better than the flowing language of their bio:

Texas is a graveyard and The Lone Star State is full of ghosts. Once the home of many thousands of military personnel, old bases now stand empty. The only tenants are lizards and snakes. Even the rusted and rotted hulks of planes have been carted off by junk men and souvenir hunters. The roar of the war effort has been replaced by the whisper of the wind. A gentle absence of action. The haunted Americana of Georgia’s Horse sounds like it could have come from any of these ghostly deserts.

The band’s debut record The Mammoth Sessions is out June 9. “Bloom” has all the trappings of a somewhat typical americana song but Teresa Maldonado’s ghostly voice and the reverb soaked music set it apart from more standard fare. More info via their European label Fire Records here.

Bloom [Download]


I heard about this at the time and thought it sounded hectic/impossible. Joe Pug did 6 shows in 6 hours in homes throughout Chicago. Turns out a film crew followed him around and produced a short film. It’s a great way to sample his music (including some new songs/sounds) and get excited about his two upcoming shows at Schubas on May 1 and 2.

The iPhone App for Music Blogs – iHeartNewMusic!

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Ignoring for the moment the slightly cheesy graphics. How would you like to have these music blog categories on your iPhone? Imagine being able to scroll through potentially hundreds of music blogs and then being able to play all the music on a particular site through your iPhone. I think that’s pretty cool. Especially since I like to hook my iPhone up to my overpriced stereo for best results.

IHeartNewusic! is the app that can do all this and it was just released in its latest version this weekend. The app only works on wifi at the moment but I suspect 3g capabilities will follow soon. It comes preloaded with about 50 music blogs (Largehearted boy, GVB, MOKB and yes Songs:Illinois!). You can also add your own favorite music blogs by surfing the web with the built in browser and simply bookmarking the sites you love. What’s nice is that you can read the blog as you listen in real time.

The fact that there is a built in web browser avoids that annoying iPhone app problem where you can only do one thing at a time. For instance the radio apps that are now available are fine for just listening but you can’t surf the web at the same time. Being able to do both with this app is incredible.

You can download the app here for $2.99.

Or check out a video on all its features here.

The Moore Brothers – “Aptos” (w/Joanna Newsom and Kelly Stoltz) (American Dust Records, March 3)

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The Moore Brothers’ new record Aptos has been out since the beginning of March. That’s a very short time, except for music bloggers that are now covering releases that are coming out in June and July. Clearly The Moore Brothers didn’t hire any of the seemingly hundreds of pr companies cropping up to promote to music blogs or they would have been all over and Hype by now whether they deserved it or not.

Deserve it they do. The new record has received great reviews from a few high profile online outlets that tend to delve deeper into these sorts of things than your generic pr driven indie rock music blog. This is the band’s fifth record (wrote about them here, here) and to my ears it’s their most accomplished yet. On the surface the songs seem simple but they are not. Some songs pulsate with a stop and go rhythm that propels the songs forward almost dangerously (those are the odd numbered songs) and some are quieter but no less forceful (those are the even numbered songs). The band has hooked up with friend Joanna Newsom who sings and play harp on a song or two and producer/artist Kelley Stoltz for production duties. Each brother (there are two) takes turns by composing/writing alternating songs; one doing the even numbers and one doing the odds.

Aptos is a modern day classic, that had it been released by the Beach Boys or CSNY or even The Beatles would have fit within their catalog of songs. Here’s an odd numbered song written by Thom Moore. “Variety” features upper register vocals that reminds me of prime Game Theory with vocal harmonies that recall the best of the Beach Boys. It’s a short little pop song of the highest order.

But Aptos here.

Variety [Download]

Sam Lowry – “With/Without” (Higher Step, May 19)

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Wow a press release I can actually use. I’m flabbergasted. None of the CD release lists I peruse had a new Sam Lowry listed (I wrote about Sam here first three years ago) . So this is a complete surprise. Sam pals around with Murder by Death, Langhorne Slim, William Elliott Whitmore, Lucero and O’death and probably listened to a little too much Leonard Cohen growing up. His songs are not jaunty sing-a-longs. More often than not the chorus is absent and rhymes are few and far between.

His new record With/Without is out May 19 on Higher Step Records. He’ll be on tour with Langhorne Slim soon and will release a split 7″ with W.E.W on May 19 as well.

“Manhattan Took Us First” is a reference to Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan”. It begins with somber cello and then in comes Sam’s world weary baritone. It’s a modern tale of city life and the pain of anonymity, loneliness and despair.

Manhattan Took Us First [Download]


The new Swedesplease shirts are now for sale here. I’m really happy with ow they came out (I’m wearing one right now!).

Ronnie Fauss – “New Songs For The Old Frontier”

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I think Ronnie Fauss may have hit up a couple of us sympathetic alt-country/americana type music blogs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more reviews in the coming days.

Ronnie has a knack for writing songs that have both a catchy hook and good story. This new record has a bunch of Dallas’ finest musicians on it as well as production by Brent Best (of Slobberbone fame).

“The Night Before The War” is a sad tale of what happens to a man sent off to war. It’s pretty great but is not the best song on the album. That honor goes to song “The Saddest Love That’s Ever Been Made”. Lots more info on the record here and purchase links here.

The Night Before The War [Download]

{Exclusive MP3} Luego

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

(UPDATE: Peter Holsapple emailed and corrected a myriad mistakes I made in this fast and loose post on the band Luego. The corrections are scattered throughout the post but the main point he wanted me to share with S:I readers is that Luego is not his band. He’s a member of the band of late, but full credit should go to songwriter/singer Patrick Phelan.)

Luego. The song “Leave On” is from the band’s forthcoming debut lp Taped Together Stories (October `09) but is also available on the brand new EP Mean Time (like “we’ve got to get something out in the market in the meantime”).

Download the new ep for free or pay your own price for high bit mp3′s here through Band Camp.

Leave On [Download]

Wussy (not so much) (Shake It Records, April 9)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Besides simply loving the name of this Cincinnati based band I love their loose scattershot indie rock. It’d probably be a cliche to say that Wussy sound anything but (more Wussy here, here). But that’s true. The band’s made up of half women but they are not wimpy or staid. They rawk with a capital W.

Btw have you heard the Pixies rumors? A new Albini produced album and possible tour. I lived through the Pixies era and was a huge fan, but I could give a shit that they have a new record coming out when there is music so vital being produced right now by bands like Wussy. They haven’t had a lot of blog love. In fact Each Note Secure (their hometown blog) is the only one who’s covered the new s/t record out now on Shake It Records.

I asked the band to send me any song from their new record since I was so confident I’d like anything on there. I was not let down by the B-52′s meets Chrissie Hynde rocker “Maglite” (I’ve got my crossbow, you’ve got your Maglite”).

The band comes to Chicago for a rare show at The Charleston in Bucktown on May 30. Check `em out.

Maglite [Download]

Gone Missing (via Each Note Secure [Download]

{MP3} Mickey Clark – “Don’t Piss On My Boots And Tell Me It’s Raining” (ear X-Tacy Records, Feb 19)

Monday, April 20th, 2009

If this guy was Joe Ely or John Prine I wouldn’t have hesitated to write about these songs. If these were new songs by either of those two I would have made a big stink and gotten to them asap. But Mickey Clark is a bit of a mystery to me so this post sat for a bit. I’m sorry it did.

Mickey’s story is a familiar one of a singer songwriter who almost made it, struggled around the edges of fame, and then left music for a long while to raise a family. In his heyday though Mickey Clark was playing with Kinky Friedamn, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Steve Goodman and many more. He was headlining festivals when Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams were opening up for folks at the same festivals. Here’s a nice interview/piece from the Houston Press.

Winding Highway is Mickey’s entre back into the world of music and a great one it is at that. Besides his great songs and voice the record features guests John Prine, Kinky Friedman, Jerry Jeff Walker and Sam Bush. It came out in February on ear X-tacy Records and is available here on Amazon.

“Don’t Piss On My Boots” features a duet with John Prine.

Don’t Piss On My Boots And Tell Me It’s Raining [Download]
(w/John Prine)
Tijuana Tequila [Download]

{Exclusive MP3} Simon Felice (The Felice Brothers) new project The Duke & The King

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I suppose a drummer announcing he’s leaving a band is a common and rather mundane thing. But if at the same time that drummer announces his new project and it’s as promising as The Duke & The King it’s cause to celebrate. Simon Felice of the Felice Bothers just released this news:

Dear Friends and Family, this is just a little note to show my deepest gratitude for all the letters and concern I’ve received over my absence from The Felice Brothers stage over the past few months, and for the boundless love and belief you’ve shown for our music over the years.

This winter has been a time of tragedy, sadness, and regeneration in my life. I’d been working on a new book and recording some songs with my dear old friend Robert close to home in the Catskill Mountains and my long time love and I were expecting our first child. Then in late January out of the blue we lost our baby girl and it really broke my heart and turned my world inside out. In the process of mourning it helped a lot to turn some of the sorrow and revelation into songs and after a while I came back to Robert and I’s cabin/studio to put them down and to finish the other recordings we started…

(full letter here)

So the result of his work with long time friend Robert ‘Chicken’ Burke (George Clinton, Sweet Honey and the Rock) will come out in the summer in the UK as the lp Nothing Gold Can Stay. There’s also a 4 track 7″ being released May 9. You’ll find out all you need to know at the band’s Loose Records page here. I’m proud to present you with the song “If You Ever Get Famous” that eloquently describes the ups and mostly downs of fame. The band has three upcoming shows:

May 26 2009 8:00P THE BUSH HALL – LONDON
May 27 2009 10:00P MADRID – TBA

If You Ever Get Famous [Download]

P.S. Comments are now closed on Songs:Illinois. You can get in touch with me at or twitter.

New stop motion video by/from Jon Jackson

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

There is a small group of people in Chicago who saw Jon Jackson perform one night at our house concert that are now lifelong fans. I know for a fact his CD, Green Apples, is the most played disc in any number of suburban minivans. Even our kids have the bug. In fact when my 4 year old heard the song in the video playing from another room today he asked: “Which one is this? The one where the guy loves the girl and isn’t loved back?” Sadly, yes I said.

So that’s out of the way. But I’m still floored that he produced this video. Mostly by himself, Jon Jackson has been laboring over this stop motion video since December. It’s a labor of love for his song “Untitled”.

Untitled from Jon Jackson on Vimeo.

{Exclusive mp3} Indie Pop via Dreamdate (Skywriting Records, May 9)

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

This is the type of record I would have found down by St. Marks back in college that I would have fallen in love with on first listen (“you had me at the cover art”). I guess not much has changed since then. The bubblegum pop songs on Patience are thrown into a garage rock tumbler and come out as something entirely different. Think Ramones, think Smithereens and yes think The Beatles (with a little Yoko meddling away in the background).

Dreamdate = band. Patience = new record.

Buy it here through Skywriting Records.

Have I Told You [Download]

Sleeves [Download]

Charlie Parr – “Roustabout” (A Rant)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The last post I did about Charlie Parr started like this:

Shit…no one told me someone re-released Charlie Parr’s 2002 record entitled 1922 last year. Isn’t that why we have all these mp3 blogs? Come on guys, I can’t do it all by myself.

The new post I’m writing about Charlie Parr starts like this:

Shit…no one told me there’s a new (ish) Charlie Parr record out called Roustabout. Seriously why the hell do we have thousands of mp3 blogs and not one post about a new Charlie Parr record. It’s not like the guy isn’t cooler and more outback than Bon Iver. It’s not like he’s not hairier than Band Of Horses. And for God’s sake he’s better looking than Devandra and Bonnie Prince Billy.

The new post about the new (ish) Charlie Parr record that you’ve never heard about because bloggers are worthless PR hoes ends like this: buy the goddamn record and quit being such a little bitch.

(Comments are turned off from now on – I got too annoyed with the amount of spam slipping through – email or follow me at

Don’t Send Your Child To War [Download]

God Moves On The Water [Download]

America’s Favorite Pastime – Baseball or LSD!?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

(drawing by Jenny Soep)

If you lived here, you’d be home by now.

No that’s not what I want to say. If you followed me on Twitter you’d be listening to “America’s Favorite Pastime” – the new baseball/LSD song by Todd Snider.

Follow me on Twitter here for the mp3.

{MP3} David Wilcox – “Open Hand” (What Are Records?, April 7)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I’m committed to supporting and writing about the music of David Wilcox. At times I find his music a little too sensitive and refined. But then again his voice is a wonderful instrument, his guitar playing as good as any other singer songwriter, and his songs often a marvel of simplicity and honesty.

So when something new comes up I usually get to it asap. David’s new record on What Are Records? is called Open Hand. David and his band recorded it mostly live in the studio and put it on analog tape (no pro tools or studio witchcraft). The results are organic and warm. If you have room in your heart for James Taylor or even Jack Johnson I’d encourage you to check out the songs of David Wilcox. Buy it here. Two songs from the new record:

Red Eye [Download]

Open Hand [Download]

Bonus back catalog:

If It Wasn’t For The Night [Download]

We Have A Dream Again [Download]

Music Fest 2006 documentary

David Wilcox documentary (work in progress trailer)

{MP3} Zera Marvel (Riyl Neko Case – Mazzy Star) – “Birds And Bullets Flew” (Self, April 8)

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Namedropping Opal and Mazzy Star probably won’t get me very far with the younger generation but you can’t listen to Zera Marvel’s songs and not reference those bands. Another generation might point to Velvet Underground or before that Billie Holiday but for me it was and is all about Mazzy Star (and before that Opal).

What aural images do these band names conjure up? Mostly an ethereal, hazzy sound of distorted synths and feedback drenched wall of guitar accompanied by mysterious and slurred female vocals. It’s a pretty specific feeling and one that Zera Marvel nails on her debut solo record Birds And Bullets Flew.

Pick up a copy now here.

Honeymoon [Download]

Sirens [Download]

Newgrass Friday – Belleville Outfit “Time To Stand” (May 12)

Friday, April 10th, 2009

One of Austin’s youngest and best kept secrets (wrote about `em here) is the new grass string band known as the Belleville Outfit. They have a new record called Time To Stand coming out May 12.

“Sunday Morning” captures what the band does best by mixing genres like blues, swing, bluegrass and even gypsy into a sound that’s all their own.

Sunday Morning [Download]

{MP3} Red Heart The Ticker – “Oh My! Mountains Below” (Auger Down Records, May 26)

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Red Heart The Ticker are a duo living on a farm in a hand made cabin in Vermont. This environment clearly influences their neo folk sound. I wrote about them first here when their debut record was beginning to gain them some attention nationally. Their followup is titled Oh My! Mountains Below and will be released on May 26 on Auger Down Records.

The songs on this record were created at a time of dark and light. A grandmother had passed and a new baby was born. So the record, while somber at times, is said to have moments of hope.

Yellowbird [Download]

When We Were Young [Download]

{Mp3} Honky-Tonk Twofer with new records from Dale Watson and Wayne “The Train” Hancock

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

What are the chances that two great honky-tonk records are released within weeks of each other? How high do the odds go if both artists are from Austin, Tx? It’s got to be pretty slim. Here’s the two high priests of honky-tonk in their prime with relevant new records. One is a followup to an early classic in his career and the other is a continuation of stellar release after stellar release.

Dale Watson’s new record is The Truckin Session Vol 2. It’s out now on Hyenea (order here). Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s new record is Viper Of Melody and comes out April 21 on Bloodshot. Pre-order here (an LP version is available that is a limited edition of 1000 and includes a digital download).

The songs below show that even within a very specific sub genre artists can take a different routes and arrive at just about the same place. Dale’s sound is more electric and hard edged. His vocals are deep and authoritative. On the other hand Wayne has an earthier, more organic sound, it’s a sound that hasn’t changed much since the original twentieth century depression. His themes of hard work, despair and depression are pretty timeless as well.

Truckin Man [Download]
– Dale Watson

Throwin Away My Money [Download]
– Wayne Hancock
Workin at Workin [Download]
– Wayne Hancock