Blizten Trapper, "Heaven and Earth"

Posted by Greg , Monday, May 24, 2010 11:40 PM

Blitzen Trapper have provided the first taste of their upcoming fifth album, Destroyer of the Void, on June 8 via Sub Pop Records.  "Heaven and Earth" is a departure from the bayou-tinged freakouts we've come to expect from the band.  It begins with just piano and Eric Earley's vocals, before layering strings and other instruments.  Of course, since this is Blitzen Trapper, expect the rest of the album to go in entirely different directions.

Blitzen Trapper - Heaven and Earth

Eels to release new album

Posted by Greg , Friday, May 21, 2010 8:26 PM

In somewhat surprising news, eels will be releasing their third album in a year and a half, nearly rivaling Ryan Adams' colossal 2005 output (which saw the alt country rocker release Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, and 29 all in one year).  The album will be called Tomorrow Morning, and will be available for purchase on August 24, 2010.

From the website:
EELS leader Mark Oliver Everett, aka E calls the 14 track album the final installment of a trilogy that began with HOMBRE LOBO (June 2009) and END TIMES (January 2010). Following a four year absence, TOMORROW MORNING will be the third new EELS album in a little over a year and a half and will be released on the EELS' E Works Records label. The world tour starts in Santa Ana, California, hitting Japan, Australia, Europe, United States and Canada. It will be the first time EELS have performed live since the release of HOMBRE LOBO, END TIMES and the new album.

Unless I'm late to the party, this is the first I've heard that Hombre Lobo and End Times were part of a trilogy.  This changes everything!

Snark aside, more Mark Oliver Everett music is always a good thing.  2010 is shaping up to be a big year for music.

Good Old War release two new tracks

Posted by Greg , Wednesday, May 19, 2010 5:59 PM

Philadelphia-based Good Old War make summery indie folk, buoyed by upbeat acoustic guitars and pretty vocal harmonies.  The band is set to release its self-titled second album on June 1 via Sargent House, and the first two songs "My Own Sinking Ship" and "That's Some Dream" are available for free on their website.

<a href="">My Own Sinking Ship by Good Old War</a>

<a href="">That's Some Dream by Good Old War</a>

Maybe it's a sign

Posted by Greg , Monday, May 17, 2010 10:08 PM

Soon after creating this blog, I awoke to every computer-owner's nightmare:

Sigh.  When you spend a few years with the same computer, it becomes like a second home: An e-home.  So having a hard drive crash is the electronic equivalent of coming home from the movies and finding that your house has burned down.  (Ok, maybe it's nowhere near as severe as that.)  It actually made me think of Ryan Adams' "This House is Not for Sale," in which a couple who died (but don't quite realize it) are wondering why other people are in their home and moving the furniture out.  (All right, maybe it's not quite like that, either, but it's still a disruptive event.  I'm really not trying to oversell this thing...)

Now begins the slow process by which I decide whether to continue giving Dell my business.  Will tech support expeditiously and relatively painlessly help me get back onto my computer?  Or will they make me start looking up the cost of somewhat high-end (or, shall we say, high end for low budgets...) machine from HP or some online "boutique"/"hardcore" PC site?  We'll see.  For now, my computer is toast, and I'm stuck checking email on my fiancee's laptop and rediscovering the outside world.  (Yesterday I went running!  Today my body is paying for it, so that's not likely to happen again.)

Of course, I understand that no one cares about this.  "Just give me the tunes!"  In honor of my PC abruptly falling apart, I bring you a flashback to the halcyon days of the 1990s:

This video may make a return in a future post, where I argue that Dog's Eye View was criminally underrated, this song notwithstanding.  (Seriously, songs like "Vows" were brilliant.  I named a whole series of sad bastard mixes after it.  That stuff got me through high school.)

Robbers on High Street, "Electric Eye"

Posted by Greg , Tuesday, May 11, 2010 10:32 PM

I'll admit, I have a soft spot for Robbers on High Street's debut EP, Fine Lines [2004]. Around 2004/2005, I kept hearing about some song called "A Night at Star Castle", so I downloaded it from one of those mp3 download clients that nobody uses anymore. I listened to it for a while and liked what I heard, although I thought it was a little slower than those reviews had led me to believe. Still, it was an interesting enough tune that I went out and bought Fine Lines.

So, imagine my surprise when track 2, "A Night at Star Castle," sounded nothing like the mp3 I had.

Turns out, the song was mislabeled. I think the track I downloaded was "Mega Money" (not even sure if that's the right title - it wasn't until 2006 that I found out about the band's demo CD from a Google-translated German website).

Anyway, Fine Lines rocks, and you owe it to yourself to track down a copy if you can still find it. On it you'll find five tracks of straight-up rock & roll, and one hauntingly beautiful ode to a departed love. The Robbers have since released two full-length albums, Tree City and Grand Animals, and The Fatalist and Friends EP. The band continues to expand its sound; at times you can almost smell the smokey blues, while other songs evoke a breezy chamber-pop.  Each release lends further evidence that this is quickly becoming the most versatile indie rock band around.

"Electric Eye," now streaming from the band's website, is the first taste of Robbers on High Street's as yet unnamed new album.  If the rest of the album is anything like this, I think it's time to get really excited.

Here's some more information from Matt Shane, the guy who mixed the upcoming album:

The latest Robbers on High Street album is mixed and in the can. We did 2 songs for Engine Room Recordings. They are putting out a digital single and limited edition 7" of "Face in the Fog" and "Electric Eye." Look for this to be available early June as the band has a release party/concert scheduled at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. The single and the rest of the album were mixed over 6 days at Dunham Studios in Brooklyn. Really cool place with a classic vibe. We mixed from 1" 16 track through a 16 channel MCI desk from the 70s with the help of some chandler eqs and compression as well as analog reverbs and delays down to 1/4" 2 track.

Probably the coolest aspect of this whole album was that if you purchase the vinyl version of either the album or Engine Room single, there is not a single digital part of any of it. Completely analog from first take straight through to final master tape.The lacquers are being cut straight from the 1/4" mix masters. We haven't looked at a single waveform this entire project, and I could not be more excited or proud of what the band and I produced. Can not wait for everyone to hear it.

Yes, definitely time to get excited.

Getting started

Posted by Greg 2:09 PM

Welcome!  For a while, I've been thinking about starting a music blog, but there's been one seemingly insurmountable obstacle: I could not think of a title!

My first idea was to simulate a record label, something like Rewind Records.  I'd been listening to some of the albums I loved as a teenager, so I had an idea to start a blog featuring exclusively older releases.  However, I spend far too much of my time looking for new music, so I knew that the "rewind" idea would never last.  I tried coming up with other [Something] Records titles, but nothing else resonated like the original.  My fiancee suggested I abandon anything having to do with "Records," since, after all, I'm not creating anything.  (Ouch, right?)

Instead, she started pitching song lyrics as blog titles.  Her favorite artist is Iron & Wine, so of course every suggestion was from one of their songs.  Finally, she suggested one that sounded as good to me as it did to her: "Given and taken in ink," a line from "History of Lovers," a collaboration between Iron & Wine and Calexico on their In the Reins EP [2005].

The problem here is obvious: If we ever get divorced, I have to change the blog title.  If I'm willing to take that risk, it should suggest how serious I am about this thing. (Hmm.  I think I just wrote my half of the vows...)

What you can expect from this blog:
I love music, I like to write, and I like to share the music I find with other people.  I'll do my best to post links to actual song files when I can, but I don't really know how other music blogs coordinate this.  I assume they have FTP servers and permission from artists (or at least a posted agreement to honor any requests of copyright-owners to take anything down).  It'd be great if I could get artists/labels to send me CDs/mp3s for promotional purposes, and from my time as a radio DJ I have some sense of how this is accomplished.  However, I currently do not have any such relationships.  As a result, for now my posting of mp3s will probably be somewhat limited.  In the meantime, I'll try to link to other blogs also featuring these artists, YouTube videos, or online distributors.  Sometimes, you'll just have to take my word for it that these songs are awesome.