Monday, April 28, 2008

We have found Providence

With all the gushing over the Old 97s I've really neglected my "Denver sound" folks, namely the new releases by DeVotchKa and Slim Cessna's Auto Club.  

Slim's new album Cipher was released last month, and while they played a few SXSW shows and one hometowner, they've been relatively quiet since.  I guess that is the reality of having a band where a number of folks live in different cities. 

Nonetheless, the new album has a great progression, although their slower songs seem to have grown darker on this album.  Overall, however, this album definitely delivers with some great new songs.  Given that this is the band that brought us "He, Roger Williams," they could get away with just about anything in my book, but they don't rely on any formulas on this record.

For any of you who have seen recent live shows, you'll already know "Children of the Lord," quite the quintessential tent revival rocker with a redux of a familiar Vacation Bible School song.  "Scac 101" brings some great contrast, with what one might deem a bit reminiscent of older Slim.  The thematic tune of "An Introduction to the Power of Braces" appears throughout the album, the significance of which must be interpreted by the listener I suppose.

On top of the well arranged songs, the album artwork, especially the photos by Gary Isaacs, really give the album a great visual presentation.  Isaacs has become somewhat of an icon in the photography of a number of Denver musicians, and the inside photo is a great example.

Next up we have the new album by DeVotchKa, A Mad and Faithful Telling, released on the Anti- label, their first LP released on a label.  Honestly I hate to try and describe the sound because I know I've been heavily biased by reading various reviews of DeVotchKa over the recent years, and thus, I don't know that I have much different to say.  Needless to say they still have a pretty good corner on the market of gypsy indie mariachi cabaret music.  However, speaking of Gary Isaacs, here's a great new press photo he did for DeVotchKa:

An important recommendation I would make is to purchase the ITUNES bonus track of "Undone," featuring the Tom Hagerman Quartet.  While the regular cut of "Undone" is a great listen, I prefer this extra track.  We had the opportunity to see Tom play an instrumental show in Boulder a few months back, and while a completely different experience from DeVotchKa, it was an amazing night of instrumentation with his extremely talented colleagues.  If that's your thing, don't forget to pick up a copy of Tom's The Breakfast Playground.   Other good listens off the new record are "Along the Way" and "A New World."  Still haven't really warmed up to "Transliterator," but maybe with time.

While I'm on the subject of Denver music, a couple of other items of note.  Around this time last year, Smooch Records announced that there was a documentary in the works about the Denver sound.  I've not heard any updates on this, but hope to see something out soon.  One can argue there is no specific "sound," but there is an interesting element to the fact that the city has produced such distinct and notable acts as 16 Horsepower, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Munly Munly, DeVotchKa, Woven Hand, and the Denver Gentlemen to name a few (in no particular order).  

Speaking of Munly, the only news I've been able to find on him is that he is working on a double album on the fictional town of Lupercalia, although the most that has been heard of him lately has been his appearance on New Years Eve with his new band Munly & the Lupercalians.  However, word is that the Lee Lewis Harlots are no longer playing, for reasons that I have only heard in rumor form.  And I don't want to be one to go spreading rumors...

And finally, one more Denver-related release on the horizon is the new Woven Hand record Ten Stones, slated for an August release.  Hopefully that means they'll play a hometown show by that time, although they seem to have a more adoring fan base in Europe than here in the U.S.  

i can't get a word in

Saturday, April 26, 2008

He does the theme from Endless Summer

Anti- Records has a free sampler up for Download on their blog.  It includes DeVotchKa, the Weakerthans, Billy Bragg, Man Man, and many more.  

Minor notes of interest (to me):

Old 97s played on Leno Thursday night.  No clip on youtube yet surprisingly, but the performance was a good one, at least in the sense that it was really good to hear Old 97s back at it playing new music.  Here's Rhett and Murry playing a song from the new album:

In other news, the Avett Brothers have just (finally) announced the release of a new EP, entitled The Gleam II.  It has been rumored on the message board for some time now, but they have just made it officially official.  Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you Gentlemen.  I can't wait.

And finally, for those of you with a twinge of indie hip hop blood, the new Atmosphere album When Life Gives You Lemons... has been impressive thus far.  Current favorite track is "You."  

Say what you'd like about it, or just repeat what the critics say if you prefer, but we saw Baby Mama last night, and I was pretty impressed, given that people were talking about its bad reviews while we were in line to get tickets.  As I was noted saying after the movie, "I don't even laugh that much in movies, but this one was pretty funny."  

The ending was a little ridiculous, but overall a funny movie with a great job by Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Greg Kinnear, Steve Martin, some guy that looks like Zach Braff, and various SNL cast members.  Will Forte has a great 1 minute appearance, or I guess, "cameo" as they say in the biz.  But then again I'm not in the biz so I wouldn't know.

You know the people that love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No more No Depression

I received my last issue ever of No Depression in the mail yesterday.  Brought out a bit of nostalgia when I thought about how ND was once my only lifeline to actual alt country while growing up in the 2nd least populated county in Texas.

While the magazine has fallen out of my interest in recent years, I don't hold it against them that they tried to connect to a little more widespread audience.  After all, most of the super alt country roots rock weirdos black rim glasses wearing folks are too cool to consistently do anything, especially when it involves $20 a year.  

But there is a bright spot or two.  The final issue has an interview with Old 97s, which brings things to closure for me personally.  I remember poring over the Old 97s articles with a fine tooth comb in my mid to late teenage years and wishing so badly I could see them.  (I did finally get to see them in my first year of college, by the way, at what was once the Gypsy Tea Room.  I showed up to the venue at 7 p.m. because I didn't know how shows worked and I was deathly afraid that it would sell out, so I waited for about 2 hours with a couple of other die-hards.)

But back to reality, the article also talks about Murry's new solo album, which is apparently still flying under the radar, although it was officially released earlier this month.  I did find a couple of free downloads here.  The album is entitled I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm on My Way.  The tracks sound pretty good I would say.  Hoping to hear it soon.  Murry doesn't even mention it on his myspace, which you would barely know was him without the pictures section.

And if that wasn't enough, the Old 97s have a new album coming in May.  And they are touring again.  And I might turn back into an 18 year old boy when they come through town.  And, sorry this is increasingly disjointed, but also, did you know Rhett recorded a Spanish version of "Question"?

until you come around.

Need to get caught up on some things

Lots of free download links I want to pass along to get caught up on various things that might be of interest to some of you:

The New Frontiers - Daytrotter live performance (4 songs)

Cory Branan - 2 live shows 
This one has some great songs, one set with Thrift Store Cowboys as the backing band.
I recommend "Summertime" and "Prettiest Waitress in Memphis" from the Earl show, and "Tall Green Grass" from the Uncommon Ground show.

Thrift Store Cowboys - Nothing (new song live from Taos)

Doug Burr - In The Garden

Boxharp - old side project of The Court & Spark.  Click on "Store" to find the free album download.

That's a few pretty good ones.  Send along others if you've got them.

Now can we be friends?

Great new material from the New Frontiers

The New Frontiers just put out a great new album entitled Mending through the Militia Group, but now there is even more great music from them. has just posted a free download sampler featuring 2 songs by TNF and Alive in Wild Paint, who they are currently touring with. Awesome cover of "Look at Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch.

Click Here to link to the download page for this nice little 4 song sampler. It's free silly, go download it now.

While you're at it, go Here to download "Mirrors" off the aforementioned album Mending.

How amazing is this?

First blog not really anything important

This is our first blog. We'll probably post here and on our myspace, but obviously this gives us so much more credibility.

Actually this blog may be more for rambling purposes, and also for letting you know about great videos and free downloads that we hear about. Feel free to pass on suggestions and we'll try and post them.

Thanks everyone,
It ain't easy being green.