Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stuff this week

I'm so busy procrastinating I haven't had time to post much of anything useless lately.

However, I am finding Ben Kweller's new song "Fight" to be eerily reminiscent of Gram Parsons.  Maybe it's the pedal steel, but more likely I think it's the voice.  Can't believe this is the same guy whose Radish record I bought roughly 10 years ago.

And get this, his video for the song has been dominating on's Pure 12 Pack countdown.  He was number 1 last week, probably because Ben Kweller fans are much more net savvy than, say Trace Adkin fans.  Just a guess.

You can vote for him this week here.  You get 12 votes, and I've just noticed a disturbing item - Kevin Costner has a song on the countdown.  (Not a typo.)  If you're going to vote, here's my recommendations - Ben Kweller, Bob Dylan, Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs (not a typo).  After that, it gets tough.  Pick your poison, or just don't use all 12 votes.

I'm trying to figure out how "country" Ben is really becoming.  Usually when punk artists go country, they play the same stuff, but with a train beat on EVERYTHING.  I don't think that is the case though here.  Kweller started in Texas, moved away, did his thing, and then moved back to Austin to get back to basics or roots or something like that.  Seems like someone else did that...oh yeah, it was Willie. 

Man, is this too much like Gram?  I can't decide.  But I can follow him on Twitter to find out when he's eating breakfast each day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Last snow pictures, I promise (I think)

Franny found our patio. It was underneath all of the snow.

This is a meter stick up next to the snow. Or maybe it's a ruler.
I think we got about 15" or 16".

I've got a truckload of snow if anyone needs me to deliver some.

Halfway done.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I hadn't paid a lot of attention before, but this is good.

I have heard various clips from Justin Townes Earle, and have generally liked him, but I think I'm sold after hearing this one. This might renew my faith in Bloodshot Records too, as I haven't really gotten into their new stuff lately. Hopefully it keeps them afloat for a good bit longer too, especially with small labels folding all over the place. Also, it's amazing to me that this video already has 86,000 plays after only about 5 days. Hope you like it.

If you need to hear more, there's a number of places to find more of his music: session (5 songs)

Daytrotter (6 songs)

Bloodshot Records (3 songs)

Look around the interwebs and I'm sure you'll find more, but seriously, just buy his records. This guy is good.

And for those of you who hadn't figured it out, yes, that is Amanda Shires on the cover of Justin's The Good Life LP.

Denver, this should be amazing

Just announced in the past week, Wovenhand will be playing an ACOUSTIC concert in the Swallow Hill concert series in Denver.

It's hard to say exactly what this means, at least for those of you who haven't had the Wovenhand live experience lately. The show involves a substantial amount of face melting rock, most specifically ear melting. I've no problem with the rock and roll, but when I can't hear for 24 hours afterwards, then it's a bit excessive, at least in my book. Thus, this acoustic show should be the perfect antithesis to that -- face melting without the ear melting.

Plus, then Lucero plays the Fox Theatre in Boulder the next night.

P.S., this is Austin

Dear Kanye:

Thanks for trying to ruin SXSW by showing up. Sorry, but the festival is not for sundowning major label artists struggling to stay relevant.


should check out Port O'brien. I heard about them from a friend who, heard about them from a friend who...

If you're not reading What's So Funny? yet, here's two more recent gems:

(NOTE: These should be plenty safe for work, as long as you don't read them out loud in an offensive accent.)

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
Sprawl quiet on the Western Front

The one thing that surprised me about the second linked article above:

was that the copy editors didn't catch the unfortunate confusion of "lose" with the word "loose." Pet peeve of mine.

Saw a person with a square patch of leopard print tattoo:

I guess she just got a swatch of it to see how she liked it?

Can't believe:

I found a 16 Horsepower cassette on Amazon for cheap, but I guess we'll see how the quality is when it gets here.

Did you know there is a rapper/MC with the name LMFAO?

Kind of ruins my plans, since I was planning a breakout album next year under the name   =)
(I was going to go by "equal sign close parentheses" aka "cowboy hat," but I guess those plans are ruined now.)

Found the first 2 seasons of Deadwood for cheap:

but I fell asleep during the first one. Hope that's not a bad sign.

Fantastic new article on the Avett Brothers:

in the new American Songwriter magazine.

The only thing I didn't like:

about the aforementioned article, is that it's written from the perspective of, "well, I'm a songwriter, so I understand their lyrics very deeply and am going to write about how we songwriters really 'get' the Avett Brothers better than most."


it's a great article, but the magazine itself I found a little annoying, because it seems to be written to the specific audience of people who have written 3 songs that are so good they are sure that every one of them would be perfect for Kenny Chesney, if they could just find a way to get him to hear it.


I'm done now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Avett Brothers by Southwest

Two things related to the Avett Brothers at SXSW:

You would think that an NPR official showcase wouldn't run into problems with sound, but given that there were approximately 200 other shows happening at the exact same time, I guess it's understandable. However, for any Avett Brothers die hards, the NPR showcase podcast is a great listen. You can listen here, or you can download it through Itunes on the NPR Live Concerts from All Songs Considered Podcast. Unfortunately, it takes about 10 minutes into the recording before the music starts, so there's not 40 minutes of Avetts like I initially hoped. You will get to hear a new song at the end of the recording though. For anyone scared of how Rick Rubin might change their sound, this song should allay your fears.

Here's a video from the Avetts other SXSW performance, where they play another song from their upcoming album I and Love and You. This one is a bit different from some of their earlier work, but it is still 100% an Avett Brothers song. Hope it stays up for a while, as this is a great song and should be even better on the album.

Two things unrelated to the Avett Brothers:

There's not a podcast to download, and there probably won't be, but KUT has a pretty interesting performance/interview with Howe Gelb of Giant Sand from the SXSW week. He talks about the history of Giant Sand and his relationship with associated acts.

The new J. Tillman album Vacilando Territory Blues, currently out on Western Vinyl, is amazing. Check it out some time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The hot tub is too hot!

Relating to a post many moons ago, apparently the dark comedy Visioneers featuring Zach Galifianakis has secured distribution and will hopefully be released for our consumption soon.

In completely unrelated news, here's a great blog by Richard Buckner regarding the backstory behind his three albums being reissued on Merge this month.

What do you think folks, is Bloomed the best album ever recorded in Lubbock? It's up there no matter what.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I guess this is a good thing?

Every now and then, I waste time by doing random searches to try and find mentions of bands in blogs, etc. that I haven't run across before. Today I tried "Thrift Store Cowboys" and "SXSW" as search terms, and oddly enough, it seems they were recently mentioned in a Paste Magazine blog about SXSW.

Kind of cool I suppose, although it's only the context of a list of the themes of band names at SXSW this year. Apparently TSC falls into the category that is most common this year - "Dude-y Names." So not really anything about their music, but just the fact that the band name includes a "dude" reference, I suppose.

Anyway, file this under not that important or very mildly interesting.

Some Denver stuff and some other stuff

Thank you Denver:

for Slim Cessna. But my ears are still a bit numb.

Got an LP in the mail a few days ago and they included two catalogs with the order.:

Seriously people? You think I want overpriced new vinyl, overpriced reissue vinyl, or $700 headphones (not overpriced of course)? From a catalog? Is this still an effective marketing tool? Is it still the 90s? Am I 65 years old?

Did you know 3.2% beer:

was legal for 18 year olds in Colorado until 1987? I guess it was kind of like practice beer.

Thank you Slim Cessna:

for Denver.

Speaking of Denver:

I hate when they waste time and space talking about the band Meese, because they just want to be the next "big" pop-rock band (i.e. the next Fray) and well, that's just not that interesting or good for the local scene.

Tons of good concerts coming up this spring:

Damien Jurado, Richard Buckner, Cory Branan, Elvis Perkins, The Flatlanders, Horse Feathers, Lucero - in that order. But probably won't make it to that many of them (also known as can't afford them all).

"Lord I Hope This Day is Good" - Don Williams:

K.C. and Brad just don't do anything on this level, and never will, but you already knew that. And you also know this is why you don't listen to country radio.

Saw one of the best buzzer beater shots I've ever seen in the Colorado state semifinal game:

but I don't guess there's any reason you should care about that.


"so like my sister got me this new fake ID, and the woman is like 5'4" and has long blonde hair and is super tanned, so it's pretty much perfect."

I'm increasingly becoming a fan:

of Denver comic Adam Cayton-Holland's work. I just watched his DVD Dick Jokes for Artists, and it was pretty darn funny. Maybe I'll send you a copy, friend, or at least let you borrow mine. Not the most PC material in the world, but sometimes I think that's not such a bad thing. Plus, there's some poop humor, so you really can't go wrong with this DVD.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Probably not of any interest to you, but...

I know most of my friends basically just tolerate my interest in performance poetry (also know as slam poetry, except that poetry slams have become increasingly boring for the most part). However, over the past few months, I've become more aware of Derrick Brown, who I had the opportunity to see with Buddy Wakefield. You can hardly classify him as simply a poet, although I feel like the more descriptive I am of his performance, the less you are going to be interested in him. Nonetheless, he's kind of a mix of poetry, comedy, music, and a good bit of ridiculousness, to the point that I still can't really tell when he's being serious and when he's not.

What is the best way to make people interested in him? Probably not posting two 10-minute videos, but alas, that's what I'm doing. You don't have to watch. We'll just operate on a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, so you won't have to feel awkward and I won't have to feel like you are lying about the fact that you care about any of my interests in poetry. I should say that I really can't blame you though, because I haven't been that impressed with poetry slams I've been to, and thus am pretty selective of the poets that I consistently follow.

So, long story even longer, Derrick Brown toured Europe with Cold War Kids some time back, and someone took the opportunity to document that trip. So far, two parts of the video have been posted, and I don't know how much more to expect. (Also, I need to take a minute here to publicly apologize to D____., because we are still sorry about missing the Cold War Kids show you put on back before they got big, which was before people forgot about them again.) There's not really much point to the videos, but they are a fairly decent watch if you can trade in 20 minutes of your facebook time to watch them.

Turns out I wanted him to be in Austin during SXSW so bad that I mistook Austin for Amarillo and posted some jibberish information. And a keen eyed reader gently helped me notice such without calling me an idiot.


Here's Ryan Bingham playing "a Guy Clark song," except for the fact that it's a Townes Van Zandt song.

A couple of life lessons you learn eventually is don't play stuff you don't know that well and don't play covers when you don't know who wrote them.

Also, I've posted a youtube video of myself playing Willie Nelson's song "Pancho and Lefty."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Denver's best columnist about nothing returns

After Westword received orders from the higher ups at the Village Voice Media that they were going to have to cut back on staff, they made the ridiculous decision to get rid of their best column - What's So Funny?.  After many letters to the paper, they decided to bring Adam Cayton-Holland back, but this time only as a freelance writer, and for some reason, in a different section (Music, as opposed to the front section of the paper).  So we had a few weeks of What's So Funny in Backbeat, and all seemed normal, until WSF? just stopped showing up yet again.

Without much of a formal announcement, it seems that the Onion has picked up WSF? in all it's offensive glory, and will also put the column in print once a month as well.  The title is probably not safe for work, (i.e. NSFW ROTFLOLMFAO) but here's the newest column for those of you who are unfamiliar with the consistently funny (or at least consistently distasteful) What's So Funny?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rhett of the Old 97

Looks like Rhett Miller's releasing a new solo album, and it should hopefully be cheaper than his first album, which runs for $200+ on ebay these days. Doesn't make me so excited that I will lose sleep over it, but always glad to see output from anyone on the 97s payroll.

If you can prove me wrong on this, then fantastic, but I believe that Blame It On Gravity was the first Old 97s full length studio album that was released on vinyl. Kind of odd that no one has ever issued or reissued any of their previous albums. I would buy Too Far to Care on vinyl in a heartbeat.

Also, this isn't really a "music news" site, so I have no idea why I just posted this. Thanks for nothing Twitter.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Can I go mom? Please?

Slim Cessna's Auto Club at 3 Kings Tavern. this Friday (3/13) and Saturday (3/14).

Picture from here.

Haven't seen the band since before Cipher came out, so hoping to catch one of these shows. If you've not seen them live yet, and you live in the greater Denver metropolitan area, you should consider moving to Kansas (pictured below).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Stuff.

If you appreciate a good redemption story:

Gran Torino and The Wrestler are both well worth the time.

While it doesn't help you any:

I got our taxes done today.

I still need to watch:

True Stories - David Byrne's movie about west Texas, even though I've owned the DVD for about 5 years.

I'd like to find:

A copy of Sounds from True Stories, the sort-of soundtrack to the above movie, on vinyl, in a record store (i.e. not on ebay).

If you don't get cable:

You're not missing anything, because the best three shows on TV are Friday Night Lights, 24, and Brothers and Sisters.

What do you call it:

If you get the feeling you've had deja vu before?

I've begun to wonder:

How Saturday Night Live has so many funny people and typically can't muster more than two or three really funny sketches per season. I had almost given up on the show before "Lazy Sunday."

The last day:

Of a Circuit City going out of business sale is a sad sad thing. Mobile phone accessories and photo printers are all that's left.

Is Twitter:

Ever going to be good for anything other than checking out the pics Lance Armstrong posted from the Ben Harper concert?

"Atlanta Blue," by the Statler Brothers:


I'd been saying how great it would be all night:

And it was really worth it when Ray LaMontagne played "Trouble" for his second song on SNL tonight. Almost makes up entirely for the past 2 albums that I haven't been able to get into.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This might make you cry

In the my world of music, where the original songwriter's version is almost always best (e.g. Pancho and Lefty, among many many others), there is a rare occasion when a cover version takes on a meaning even greater than the original. Let me acknowledge one frequent exception, Dylan, which barely counts because his hundreds of songs have been covered hundreds, if not thousands, of times, and it turns out there are quite a few Dylan covers that are better, in my opinion, than the original.

Beyond Bobby Zimmerman though, I think the "good cover" category becomes very very limited. One widely recognized exception is "Hurt" an amazing and intensely personal song by Trent Reznor, which Johnny Cash did more than just make his own. In fact, Cash did all but use manifest destiny to take the songwriting rights away from Reznor altogether. But we're all aware of this.

This next example I'm sure plenty of you are aware of too, but probably not enough of you. The video for "Fix You" by Coldplay, has received over 16 million views, while this version has just over 8 thousand.

Now, if you're cooler than me, you haven't listened to Coldplay since early copies of Parachutes leaked on the internet, and now you refuse to listen to them, considering them a pop ripoff of Radiohead. If you're less "cool" than me, which probably isn't possible, Coldplay is probably your favorite band in the whole world. I fall somewhere in between the two perspectives, in that I don't listen to Coldplay much, but I admittedly like a good Coldplay song as much as any 18 year-old when it's at the right time.

So, if you're totally unfamiliar with this version, Young @Heart is a documentary about a senior citizen chorus group, and while I haven't seen the movie, the general idea is it follows the characters and a performance they give (horrible summary, sorry).

While this video can't be embedded in the blog, due to various copyright issues I guess, you should follow this link to watch the video, because after all, you've gotten this far in the post, so you might as well finish it. Here's the link again if you just missed it.

Disagree if you like, but this version of the song takes on a meaning and power that the original version doesn't have. I often try to avoid what I feel are unnecessary references to the emotion of music (dude, that Dave Matthews show got me on such a spiritual level), but I honestly think this performance reaches a level that gets harder and harder to find in the current music business, where emotion is commercialized 3 times before breakfast every day. Record execs just can't manufacture the emotion that this performance conveys. Unfortunately, I read that Fred Knittle, the performer in the video, passed away earlier this year. A sad reality that maybe was somewhat inevitable with this documentary, but for what it's worth, he made quite a lasting mark on many people with this performance. I hope you like it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Doug Burr - "Should've Known" video

Doug Burr's "Should've Known" from Jon Todd Collins on Vimeo.

Apparently I've been living in a cave for the past few months, because I totally missed the release of this Doug Burr video. Absolutely amazing. Try here if the embedded version doesn't work for you.

And if you missed it, here's the piece Paste Magazine did on him a little over a year ago.

And finally, a very recent interview, that you've already heard if you follow his Web site regularly. You can also find it by subscribing to KERA's Track by Track on itunes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Whatever happened to the Texas Country movement?

Seriously, besides the "Nashville Sucks" crowd that signed with major Nashville labels and the others that moved to Nashville to make it as songwriters, what happened to the movement that was Texas Country music?


I started to write a blog of the good that came out of the movement, but I didn't come up with much.  Please let me know if you think of any.

This does remind me of a story though, if you've got a second.

Back in 2003, when I lived in Fort Worth, I went to a festival on the river that featured Jack Ingram.  I knew the name, but didn't know much other than the fact that he claimed to be the progenitor of Texas Country, even though he wasn't that popular and even though that's not something you should ever really try and claim.  Nonetheless, I wanted to see what he had going on.  So as I was hanging out waiting for him to set up, I see a van and trailer drive up behind the stage, and it was being driven by none other than Jack Ingram.  Not only was he driving his van and trailer, but he also turned it around and backed the whole rig up to the stage like a pro.  Instant respect.  Reminds me of the time I put on a trailer backing clinic behind Klusoz in that narrow alley with ridiculous obstacles like dumpsters and random light poles, all while Randy Rogers Band looked on from the back door of the Blue Light.  But I digress.

So taking this newfound respect for Jack Ingram forward, I was actually fairly impressed by his set.  Specifically, I remember liking "Ghost of a Man" and "Hey You" pretty well.  Nothing super special, but worth a few listens.

Fast forward a number of years and, of all things, I hear that he covered a Hinder song.  That's old news I know, but it's still unfortunate.  Reminds me of the time Mark Wills covered Brian McKnight.  Kind of like the time Mark Chesnutt covered Aerosmith.  Just didn't impress me.  That's the end of my Jack Ingram story -- from Glory to Disappointment.  Incidentally that's also the name of his upcoming album.

Where was I going with this?

Monday, March 2, 2009


Please. Go. See. Wovenhand.

This Friday. Bash's 2. with One Wolf and 90% Death Sex.

Please. If you don't support Lubbock music again for a month, go to this one.

You just got paid. Go to this show.