Archive for August, 2010

Michael Holland and the Occoneechee String Band

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I start off so many posts this way but it’s hard to avoid. So here goes: I’m a big fan of Michael Holland. In the past his music has been a bit hard to find/purchase but now his new recor dis available through Bandcamp here. The new record is called Rhythm of Love and it has a nice sunny disposition.

“Home With My Darling” is a good example of that feeling sunniness and joy.

Home With My Darling [Download]

New vinyl only limited edition 10″ from Conrad Plymouth

Monday, August 30th, 2010

If there’s anything I should do with this blog is support other music bloggers. There have been a wave of music bloggers going the record label route and by and large these have been small success stories. Now the fine folks at Muzzle of Bees and More Cowbell have come together to form a limited edition vinyl only record label. The first release from Ten Atoms is by Conrad Plymoth and as they say in the description it has a certain hardworking midwestern feel to it. “Fergus Falls” is the song they recommend so that’s the one I went with.

Btw the artwork and presentation of the 10″ vinyl looks wonderful so this is really something you want to get your hands on, literally.

Fergus Falls [Download]

New songs from The Wiyos and Datri Bean

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Two very quick items today. I’ve always liked what The Wiyos were up to but have never written about them before. They are a band out of NYC that should really be out of Virginia. This song is a bit of a throw away but you’ll get the general idea. It’s taken from a new tour only EP.

Airline Baggage Handlers Suck [Download]


I noticed there was a great lineup of female singer-songwriters playing Club Passim in Cambridge on October 13. I was well aware of three of the four. But the fourth was a mystery. Her name is Datri Bean and her music has been described as “Southern-fried vintage jazz – original tunes which draw from pre-war jazz and folksy Americana, for a lazy afternoon on the porch feeling.” This song, “Foolish”, will be on her upcoming record Ruby. With its unusual combination of ukelele and tuba and Datri’s stunning voice this is a great preview of what’s to come.

Foolish [Download]

Real country music from Caleb Coy – “Wild Desert Rose” (Yer Bird, Sept. 7)

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I hope I’m not jumping the gun but I just stumbled upon the new record by Austin based Yer Bird artist Caleb Coy. Caleb’s been around and been in a number of semi-experimental projects. This new record is a more traditional Texas lofi americana thing (think Townes et al). It was recorded in Caleb’s airstream out in desert outside of Marfa. It’s called Wild Desert Rose. Lots more info on this Sept 7 release here on Yer Bird’s site.

I’ll Be Damned [Download]

Charlie Parr – “When The Devil Goes Blind”

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I don’t feel like I can take credit for this post. I was only notified about the new Charlie Parr record 4 hrs ago by Nine Bullets (in a tweet no less). So all accolades about what a great song this is, and how you can’t believe you’ve never heard of him, had your head under a rock, etc. etc. please direct to Nine Bullets.

Obv. I’m a big Charlie Parr fan and for the last few years I thought it was just me and the rest of upper Minnesota who were his fans. But starting in Sept/Oct Charlie is touring the UK and Australia with Frank Fairfield so I think word is going to get out about him. The new album was just released, it’s called When The Devil Goes Blind. Get it from Charlie here. I’m not going to go into great detail about Charlie’s sound – it is what is – great acoustic blues. “I Dreamed I Saw Jesse James Last Night” is recession-escaping-blues if I’ve heard it. The song is about a guy trying to flee his life, wife, and kids. Any and all Charlie Parr records are highly recommended, this one is no different.

I Dreamed I Saw Jesse James Last Night [Download]

Attic Abasement – “Dancing Is Depressing”

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Attic Abasement is super lofi sorta in the Silver Jews/Mountain Goats realm. The new record is called Dancing Is Depressing. Looks like you can get it free here.

A Werewolf [Download]

Andrew Francis – Solo debut plus the “It’s Chicago!” EP

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I live near Chicago. I follow the local scene pretty closely. In the last six years of blogging I have only found a handful of Chicago artists to get excited about. I think I’m about to get excited about Andrew Francis. Andrew is a member of a local jugband (The Barehand Jugband) so that’s automatically a plus in my book. His delivery is a nasal concoction equal parts Bob Dylan and Pokey LaFarge. Musically the songs are simple guitar and voice (with occasional amateurish harmonica – and I mean that in a good way). On the song “I’m Only Trying To Say What Comes To Me” he admits his songwriting naivite but then goes on to speak from the heart and string together an unusual but affecting chorus. Andrew has just released two records. The first is his solo self titled debut and the second is a collection of songs inspired by and about Chicago called It’s Chicago!.

Buy them here and here.

I’m Only Trying To Say What Comes To Me [Download]

From the It’s Chicago! EP

Out In Te Cold, Cold Wind [Download]

Sam Baker – “Mennonite”

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

We owe two people a debt of gratitude. The first is Music Fog for being so incredibly awesome at what they do. The second is for Sam Baker. The guy is a revelation each and every time I hear him. Here’s a video via Music Fog of Sam Baker. I call that a pretty awesome twofer.

El Ray (riyl The Pixies, Dick Dale) – “Chasing Ray”

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I’m on vacation (at the beach) so I thought what better song to share with you than some new surf rock from the Denmark based band El Ray. The band’s new record Chasing Ray is out now.

Stuck in an Elevator [Download]

El Ray: “Better Surf than sorry…” from Alexandre Archimbaud on Vimeo.

Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern – “Nothing You Can Do About It”

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Alright. Good news. The recently fairly prolific ex-leader of Hefner, Darren Hayman, has a new record coming out. It’s the second in a three lp cycle about his home county of Essex. This record is called Essex Arms. The first single is “Nothing You Can Do About It”. The album comes out Oct 4 on Acuarela Records in Spain and FortunaPOP! in England.

Nothing You Can Do About It [Download]

Two Tree Island (b-side) video

Louise Mosrie – “Home” (Riyl Linda Thompson meets Lucinda Williams)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Louise Mosrie is a Southern singer-songwriter with roots in Britain. As a result you can hear a bit of the traditional folk of England mixed with the rural americana of the South. On the song “Battle Of Blair Mountain” Lousie tells the story of what turned out to be “the largest open class war in US History”. This tale recounts the bravery of coal miners fighting mine owners and eventually the Federal government in an early attempt to unionize the coal mines of West Virginia.

Home is the new record. It can be ordered here through Elderly Instruments or here through CD Baby.

Battle Of Blair Mountain [Download]

Gasoline Stove – “Vultures On The Mainframe”

Monday, August 9th, 2010

I found the band Gasoline Stove trolling around MySpace looking for good new music. With the number of promo emails I get and ignore ever increasing it’s always a pleasure to find a band I actually want to write about. Gasoline Stove is a Chapel Hill based folk roots band led by Scott Morgan that features members of Memphis the Band.

The band sounds a bit like The Jayhawks in their prime. The songs “Love & Rockets” features harmonica, stand up bass and guitar as well as beautiful harmonies by Shannon and Scott Morgan. The new CD Vultures on the Mainframe is available here via Cd Baby.

Love & Rockets [Download]

Honky-Tonk Friday – Hans Chew – “Tennessee and Other Stories…” (Three Lobed, Sept 7)

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Hans Chew is an improbable name for a alt-country artist. It should come as no surprise then that Hans is not your typical roots rocker. Hans is a member of the Brooklyn psych-country band D. Charles Speer & the Helix. He’s pretty well known as a ragtime and boogie piano player and is even an accomplished drummer.

The new record is called Tennessee & Other Stories… and arrives in stores on Sept. 7. Pre-order it here now thru Three Lobed Recordings.

Old Monteagle & Muscadine (Tennessee Part 1) [Download]

Songs:Illinois House Concert Announcement and Details (hint…hint…Matt the Electrician and Mike Behrends)

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Quick story. I like Matt The Electrician. I know I’m not the only one. But I really had no idea. At a cafe during last years SXSW conference I picked up an Austin Chronicle to plan my trip. It just so happened it was their annual local music award issue (Best Album, Best New Artist, etc etc). I hoped to see some of my Austin based friends in there like Sam Baker, Danny Schmidt, and Jess Klein, but I was shocked to see Matt The Electrician at the top of nearly every relevant category. He was nominated for Best Austin Musician, Best New Record, Best live Show, etc. etc. I know that shouldn’t change the way I feel about Matt and his music but it did. It made me appreciate him a little more, love his new record Animal Boy a little extra, and admire his beard growing skills that much more :)

Matt’s played the Songs:Illinois house concert before and when I tell anyone that he’s coming back inevitably I hear the same thing – “Great, I loved that guy!”. I feel the same way and am looking forward to Matt and his songs and his stories on Sunday, September 19. Doors will open at 7pm and music should start at 7:30pm. Please RSVP by emailing back yes to and we’ll save you one of the comfy chairs. As always a donation will be accepted to pay the artists.

Here’s some recent press about Matt’s new cd Animal Boy:

“The disc is pure brilliance from the rich horns that open the first song— and you have to have cojones muy grande to open with a cover of Journey’s Faithfully and pull it off the way Matt does—right on through to the end. Matt somehow manages to consistently spin the equivalent of a multi-plot novel in four minutes or less, and he can rhyme and sing while he’s doing it. The imagery in his songwriting is nothing short of cinematic so that you find yourself in each song, interacting with the cast of characters that inhabit his tales: a naked valedictorian at graduation, an arrogant leash-loathing dog owner, giddy girls on bicycles in Osaka in the rain, an underpaid yet terribly kind Walmart employee saving the day, a truck driver peeing into a Gatorade bottle. In Animal Boy (the song) we get a spectacular view of a child looking back at some of the curious rules and choices offered by the grownups at dinnertime.” Austinist

“Matt The Electrician is one of a handful of brainy, somewhat quiet Central Texas singer-songwriters who write with considerable plainfolks wit, down-to-earth blue-collar common sense and smart-folks ideas. What emerges are songs like “Change the Subject” and “One Right Thing,” delivered somewhere between Paul Simon’s New Yorky folk-pop and Waits’s back-alley sandpaper growl. There’s just the right mix of vulnerability and strength, ennui and hope to make women want to take him home and mother him. The Electrician makes it earthy and ethereal, and that’s a hard trick to pull off.” Houston Chronicle

“Animal Boy” sounds like ex-working electrician Matt Sever and co-producer Mark Addison, who each also play about a dozen instruments, couldn’t wait to get into the studio every morning. They’ve made a big little record that gently, warmly takes the listener from a rainy night in Osaka, Japan, to the customer service department of Walmart. The album’s most representative instrument is the breezy “banjolele,” which tells its own story of a hillbilly buying a one-way ticket to a tropical paradise. It’s been a great couple of months for singer-songwriter albums in Austin, with Lee Barber, Bob Schneider, Robert Earl Keen and Sam Baker putting out music that sounds like it will last. Put “Animal Boy” in with that bunch, and give it a gold star if you’ll take Squeeze over Leonard Cohen every day of the week but Sunday.” Austin Music Source

Songs from Animal Boy (video “For Angela”)

College [Download]

For Angela [Download]

We’re lucky to have Mike Behrends making the trip down from Madison as well that night. Mike is fresh out of college. He has just released his debut lp New Feet. I’ve written about his stuff over the last few years and have been excited by his progress. He’s known for his story based songs (like little novels dressed up as songs), his gifted musicianship (he plays nearly any/all stringed instrument) and his lanky appearance (I can relate to that!). I was truly enamored with his early demos and then a little EP he put out (which shipped inside a piece of flannel) and now his debut LP New Feet. There’s some nice press, interviews, and CD reviews here, here, and here.

Song from Mike Behrends’ New Feet:

New Mexico [Download]

Older songs

If I Grew Out My Beard [Download]

Sally Gal [Download]

Alright that’s my whole spiel, but needless to say I’m excited about this show. We should be in for a treat with good songs, great stories, interesting instruments (Matt sometimes plays a banjolele – a combination banjo and ukelele), nice eats, and plenty of beer and wine.

The Bitter and Sick and Die Alones

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Alright I’m taking the easy way out today with a repost of today’s featured band up on Swedesplease (my other site). With a sound somewhere between Elliott Smith and Richard Buckner (yet with a slight Swedish accent) The Bitter and Sick and Die Alones are a perfect fit for Songs:Illinois.

I suppose with a name like that and a song titled “Vultures” you can at least guess at the sound and the lyrical content of this Swedish duo. But it would still be hard to anticipate the emotional outpouring and musical dynamics of this band from Gothenburg. If you are a fan of The Tallest Man On Earth (and who isn’t at this point) or The Swell Season than you should like this as well. Check out The Bitter and Sick and Die Alones on MySpace or live in Stockholm on Nov. 11.

Vultures [Download]

Hurt Is All I Get (Live)