Thursday, July 27, 2006

pitchfork music festival.

^ Chin Up Chin Up ^

^ Man Man ^

^ Band of Horses ^

^ Mountain Goats ^

^ Art Brut ^

^ Ted Leo & The Pharmacists ^

^ The Walkmen ^

^ The Futureheads ^

^ Silver Jews ^

^ Tapes 'n Tapes ^

^ Danielson ^

^ Jens Lekman ^

^ The National ^

^ Liars ^

^ Aesop Rock & Mr. Lif ^

^ Mission of Burma ^

^ Devendra Banhart ^

^ Yo La Tengo ^

^ Spoon ^

^ Os Mutantes ^

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the earth skin cracking.

I've mentioned Anathallo no less than five times since March, though that number should be the least common denominator of the number of times I've gone on about the simply amazing collective of no less than seven miraculously talented musicians.
I'm aware that I'm occasionally (read: frequently) extremely complimentative and bombastic with praise, but I feel no remorse when it comes to this Michigan band. I found nothing but adoration in my bloodstream when introduced to Anathallo's Sparrows a couple of summers ago. The clean guitar, dueling horn section, breathtaking breathy vocals and the overall confluence of their work was unlike anything I was listening to at the time. Cut to February of 2006, when Anathallo finally releases a proper full-length album with twice as many tracks as any prior release. Floating World, which had an official release date of 06/06/06, is based mostly on Japanese folklore, with a large chunk retelling the story of Hanasakajijii, "The Old Man Who Made the Dead Trees Blossom." Utilizing any noise-making device they could get their hands on; from traditional piano, guitar, bells, bass drum, trombone, and trumpet to velcro strips, decks of cards and ratchet wrenches.
Anathallo's live show has everything to do with the amount of attention and praise they've gained from bloggers. They are completely overwhelming as they are absolutely engrossed in their own music, from the quiet intricacies to the poignant eruption of collective yelling and bass drum blasts.
If you miss Anathallo's tour with The Format this summer, then... Well... Don't. Find the show closest to you at Anathallo's website or MySpace. Get a copy of Floating World so you have some idea of what you're in for and enjoy it's lush packaging.
If for some reason you stumbled upon the Pitchfork review before having heard Anathallo, please make up your own mind. I remind you that we bloggers and they professional reviewers simply give our own opinions, and ours are never substitutable for yours. We may wish to bias or influence you if, in fact, we are introducing you to something new, but you should never let any review prevent you from making up your own mind. (And you never know, Pitchfork may change their tune, as they did with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.)

Anathallo's "Hoodwink"
"Dakkoise House (with face covered)"
& "Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)"
from Floating World

Anathallo's "Don't Kid Yourself, You Need a Physician"
from A Holiday At The Sea

Anathallo's "To Gary and Marcus: The Sovereignty of God is Omnipresent"
from Sparrows

BONUS: Indieblockedappella's "Hanasakajijii" (link)

i want to eat your artichoke heart.

Hold it right there. Is any part of me supposed to dislike this in any way?
I sure hope not.

Arty Fufkin's "Atoms for Idols"
A mash-up of Thom Yorke's "Atoms for Peace" and Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

music running through the woods.

I've done a decent job at avoiding over-posting about Pitchfork Festival bands, because those bands' presence will be inevitable after this weekend. My alternate way of showing my excitement is through somehow related areas. Yesterday was Les Savy Fav, who played last year's Intonation Fest, and today is a band from Chicago who are playing after the headliners at Pitchfork on Saturday.
I first mentioned Them, Roaringtwenties back in April and have honestly longed to remind you every day of their jazzy instrumental experimental guitar greatness. The electrical guitars know no distortion, but rather dance wildly around new chords over the frenetic beat of the heavily jazz-influenced drumwork. Throw in work on wurlitzer, piano and an array of sounds and you've got the opening band for and younger version of Pele, longing only to impress their older brother. And impressive, they are.
With the spunk of Minus The Bear, the energy and ideals of Chicago Underground and the abilities of Pele, Them, Roaringtwenties have all the right moves, but they need your help. Without you they are Barney Rubble alone in a car, running as fast as they can in place. The guys have been working on booking a two week tour of the top right corner of America, and need help. Below is a list of their tour dates, with the shows that still need to be booked in bold. If you are nearby one of their scheduled shows, get out and see them and if you know of a place they can play one of their to-be-booked dates, let them know through MySpace.
Them, Roaringtwenties' first CD is called Vagina Monologues and you should send them a little bit of money for a copy. They also have snazzy new shirts available and are recording material for another CD. The tour to spread the word and drum up a few bucks for the new CD will begin a few days after Pitchfork Music Fest, and to kick things off, the guys are having a party where you can come in, listen and drink for $3 (plus any possible donation). Again, contact them through
MySpace for more information.
And lastly but certainly not leastly, enjoy four songs from Vagina Monologues. Well, simply listen to them, the enjoyment will come naturally.

Them, Roaringtwenties' "Tonight Your Wife Is My Wife"
"Cody Hides Microphones at Practice"
"Riding Bikes to Work"
& "Duck Scout"
from Vagina Monologues

Them, Roaringtwenties Two Week Funfest Tour Dates:
(Again, they need help booking the bold dates)

August 4th: Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing - MI
August 5th: Noruh Grotto - Fort Gratiot, MI
August 6th: Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus - OH
August 7th: Studio 315 - Mishawaka, IN
August 8th: Anywhere
August 9th: Anywhere
August 10th: Asbury Lanes - Asbury, NJ
August 11th: Danger! Danger! House - Philadelphia, PA
August 12th: Philly, NYC, Brooklyn, NJ
August 13th: Connecticut
August 14th: TBA - Rochester, NY
August 15th: Cape Code, MA
August 16th: Goodbye Blue Monday - Brooklyn, NY
August 17th: Detroit, MI
August 18th: Chicago or Suburbs
August 19th: Chicago or Suburbs

half shell.

I may as well dub this YouTube week.
In unrelated to Vanilla Ice news...

Monday, July 24, 2006

let me sleep if we go to hell.

Pitchfork Music Festival is this week. I started counting down to this several months ago. A vacation of any sort with my best gal and best pal is something to look forward to, place it in Chicago, and add the Hilton Chicago and you've got me sold. Multiply by forty-one bands and I'm downright giddy.
Aside from the dozens of personal memories of last year's Intonation Festival, one of my favorites is the performance by Les Savy Fav, with frontman Tim Harrington blowing away everyone in sight. Highlights of their set alone included a bubble machine, tiny red shorts, a slip-n-slide, the audience taking a knee, near nudity, and a climactic sing-along version of "The Sweat Descends" to name a few.
I recognize that LSF is not playing Pitchfork, and their aforementioned performance was a year ago, but it simply excites me for this weekend and that's that.
I just spent a healthy amount of money on a good digital camera so that I can attempt to recap this weekends events in detail when I return. Furthermore, I'll be trying not to skimp this week on posts, since you'll be without me for the weekend.
Without further ado and/or chit chat, here are some Les Savy Fav songs. Nod your head forcefully, go a little crazy, and thank these guys for everything they've done (including inspiring and nursing Thunderbirds Are Now!).

Les Savy Fav's "Dishonest Don Part 2"
from The Cat and the Cobra

Les Savy Fav's "Crawling Can Be Beautiful"
from Go Forth

Les Savy Fav's "I. C. Timer"
from EMOR (rome written upside down)

Les Savy Fav's "The Sweat Descends"
& "Knowing How The World Works"
from Inches

Sunday, July 23, 2006

i wish i had a lawnmower.

Two easily agreeable truths: Lady In The Water is better than The Village and Clerks II is better than Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
The inspiration to today's brief post is the first few minutes of Kevin Smith's Clerks II, which I very much enjoyed. It had enough of the intellectual juvenile-sounding monologue exchanging that Smith has all but trademarked and was quite a touching buddy movie. The bottom line is that Randal and Dante are two characters whom I've loved and will continue to love whether or not we see them in another 12 years.
It shouldn't be a spoiler that the Quik Stop burns down (within the first thirty seconds of the film), immediately following this, under the opening credits, is the exquisitely appropriate "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Talking Heads. Talk about wasting no time to win me over.
I just wanted to share with you just a few of my favorite Talking Heads songs. I know that their albums have just been reissued as dual discs and a box set was released as well, but I'm happy with my old one-sided discs.

Talking Heads' "(Nothing But) Flowers"
"Psycho Killer"
"Once In A Lifetime"
"Burning Down The House"

I recognize that these are some of the most Talking Heads songs and it may be hipper to tell you that my favorites are the more obscure tracks. Oh well. Maybe you can point me towards your favorite Heads songs or even (and I prefer) covers. And let me add that if you haven't seen (or don't own) Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads concert film by Jonathan Demme, then you have not experienced Talking Heads, and if that's the case then you have a big chunk of life missing from your existence.

And what is life like during wartime? I can tell you that it involves a lot of running men.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

it's fair you should stare at the back of my head.

Some musicians can breathe new life into songs from other artists. This can be done in innovative and jaw-dropping ways. If you've missed out on every other blog and other sources talking about the Girl Talk album, Night Ripper, then I'm surprised. But consider me the janitor that swept up after the parade on Rocky & Bullwinkle. Everyone has said that the entire album is a great listen and worth picking up, and I'll simply reiterate that. Girl Talk's Night Ripper is a great listen and worth picking up. Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis has made an astonishing party album that keeps the beats going and includes well-utilized samples from all genres of music. Identifying the dozens of samples in each song is as endlessly entertaining as simply pumping the jams for your soap bubble party full of scantily clad women. Whether this is your first or fortieth time hearing these songs, feel free to comment with your sample identification results. Could be fun.

Girl Talk's "Too Deep"
"Smash Your Head"
& "Minute By Minute"
from Night Ripper

Additionally, every time I've been in the trendy girl's clothing store Forever21, I've heard one song and been content with it. I was only able to identify it as something I believed was in The Blues Brothers. It turns out the song is an old song utilized as the theme for the TV show "Peter Gunn." Sarah Vaughan has sung the modern jazz classic and it was remixed by Max Sedgley for Verve//Remixed3 a collection of such jazz classics remixed by today's pros. Also on remixing duty for the third album in the Verve series are The Album Leaf, Danger Mouse, and The Postal Service.
I apologize for the low bitrate on this song. It's not unlistenable, but it is low and the best I could find.

Sarah Vaughan's "Peter Gunn" (Max Sedgley remix)
from Verve//Remixed3

M. Night Shyamalan & Kevin Smith double feature day! Neither seems to be a sure thing and that's half the exciltement!

Friday, July 21, 2006

we can leave them on their feet for the night.

I've mentioned before my affinity for Headlights. I believe they're the next quintessential Polyvinyl band to say the least. After branching out from Absinthe Blind and Maserati, Erin, Brett and Tristan made their voices heard with four songs on a mail-order exclusive EP through Polyvinyl Records. The band found their niche mixing rock instrumentation with keyboards, pedal steel, violin, glockenspiel, electronics and boy/girl harmonies. The result sold out quickly and Polyvinyl reissued the EP as a full-fledged release with proper distribution in November.
Earlier this year, Headlights released a split 7" with Arts & Crafts' Most Serene Republic, and have their debut full-length scheduled for release in just one month. Kill Them With Kindness is available for pre-order now and will ship almost two full weeks early. The LP is fourteen tracks in length and allows the trio to flex their muscles musically as well as with naming songs. The titles "Songy Darko," "Hi-Ya!," "Words Make You Tired," and "I Love, You Laugh" alone are evidence that these folks love what they do, but the songs on the album themselves are what really put Headlights ahead of the crowd.
Headlights are offering a remarkable four free downloadable songs on their website, and what better way to get stoked about spending ten dollars? Visit their website for the downloads, and visit
Polyvinyl to pre-order the album.
And see my last short Headlights post here.

Headlights' "Put Us Back Together Right"
& "Lullabies"
from Kill Them With Kindness

Thursday, July 20, 2006

clipping your nails like a metronome.

My only mention of Maps & Atlases was in my M post and that's a shame. I find it fitting to mention them more immediately following a Make Believe post, because the guitar-work is both insane yet bound very strongly to the realism of the music. I even find quite charming the vocals that sound as though they are being emitted from a throat as it's stepped on by someone demanding guitar tablature.
It's frustrating when such spot-on blurbs about a band have already been written. They cannot be paraphrased.
Maps and Atlases offer songs that wrestle themselves from flailing, algebraic fits of spazzy guitar notes and drum ruptures to lulling, voice-driven melodies that speak stories using lyrical images strung together like soup cans chasing a Cadillac. Mostly influenced by experimental and technically adept musicians such as Hella, Don Caballero, and Psych-Folkies Devendra Banhart and Six Organs of Admittance, Maps and Atlases create a distinctive blend of the intricate and organic.
I'm offering you a second chance to ignore your musical boundaries, and listen to a band that may be outside your usual radar, but may find a perfect spot on your next mix. They found a spot between Rapper Big Pooh and The Format on my recent Summer mix.
Also, listen to two more phenomenal songs ("The Ongoing Horrible," and "Songs For Ghosts To Haunt To") on Maps & Atlases MySpace, and convince yourself to buy their self-released EP, Tree, Swallows, Houses.

Maps & Atlases' "Every Place Is A House"
from Tree, Swallows, Houses

they only got god and sports.

There are just under eleven weeks until the release of Make Believe's second full-length album. October third is the date that the hard working gentlemen from Chicago have scheduled to release their sophomore effort as Make Believe, the sweatier, rockinger branch of the Joan of Arc tree. Speaking of whom, Joan of Arc (which shares Make Believe's members with several rotating additions) have two releases hitting shelves this coming Tuesday. I wrote a great deal about the band and the albums in early June.
The point is that Tim, Bobby, Nate and Sam work themselves to the bone. Their debut LP was released 364 days prior to their second's release date, which was just under five months after their debut EP was released. As Make Believe toured with Cursive, they gave out two song sampler CD's to get us excited for Of Course's October release. (Stop saying release.) These two new songs hit me the way the EP songs did. They are exciting and fresh, wildly original, and hint heavily that the future holds great things.
I realize that I missed Tuesday as a Spotlight day, so please refer back to my comprehensive Joan of Arc Spotlight, and brush up with these Make Believe tunes. I couldn't recommend "Pat Tillman, Emmitt Till" any more highly. You'll move around as if you are Thom Yorke or Tim Kinsella himself "dancing" to the many rhythms, melodies and ideas in your head.

Make Believe's
"Britt's Favorite"
& "Temping As A Shaman"
from Make Believe EP

Make Believe's "Say What You Mean"
& "One Zero"
from Shock of Being

Make Believe's "Pat Tillman, Emmitt Till"
& "A Song About Camping"
from Of Course

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

i hear you want some.

Not thirty seconds into the unfortunately short "Overseas," it's clear why reviews of Citified's self-titled debut had suggested a similarity to R.E.M., but what's unclear is why I still am taken with them. Other points of reference include Red House Painters for their fresh and jangly, warm and atmospheric and all-too-brief album. Citified hail from Greensboro, North Carolina and formed from the ashes of frontman Chris Jackson's Lookwell.

Just in case you stopped reading after "R.E.M." I should advise that you may enjoy "Secret Knock" enough that you briefly consider your logic for disliking R.E.M. and may remind you how excited you are for the next Now It's Overhead album. I can also hear similarities to Longwave. Anyway...

Citified's "Secret Knock"
& "Overseas"
from Citified

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

there's something happening somewhere.

I've got to be honest. I'd rather be watching The Pee-Wee Herman Show or Invite Them Up.
I'll briefly just share two Californian acts. The Jeebus endorsed Ill Lit and the folky laptop-driven Novi Split. Ill Lit has a new album called Tom Cruise and should appeal to fans of The Format. David Jerkovitch (Novi Split) has played with Kind of Like Spitting and should impress your Bright Eyes/Elliot Smith/Postal Service-loving ears. You don't have to admit to any of those, if you'd prefer. I will, though.
Listen to more of each band on their respective MySpace pages: Ill Lit & Novi Split.
I should say that both are fine representations of folk music's presence in more and more these days. That may sound like criticism, but it's meant complimentarily. What would life be like if I were a metal-head?

Ill Lit's "Across Country"
& "Los Angeles"
from Tom Cruise

Novi Split's "Blues Run the Game"
& "Dancing in the Dark" (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Daytrotter had a session with French Kicks, whose Two Thousand hit stores today.

Monday, July 17, 2006

where the green grass grays.

Music Saves is not only a truthful and valid statement, it's a record store in Cleveland that has had open doors for two years today. While about an hour of driving time and gas prices what they are prevent me from being the kind of customer of theirs that I'd like to be, I am still in awe of Kevin, Melanie, their cat Vinyl and how far the three of them have brought their incredible store. Some days I just wish I were sitting on one of their orange lounge chairs for hours, dipping into my savings account to purchase their perfect recommendations.
In celebration Music Saves, along with Beachland, is having a free show and BBQ next Saturday around 2PM. The bands that are playing are some very notable Cleveland locals (not including the Insound recommended Bears) including Machine Go Boom, This Moment In Black History, The Very Knees and The Celebrity Pilots.
Above all, I recommend The Celebrity Pilots and their melodic pop-rock influenced by The Zombies and masterminded by NASA engineer Chris Sheehan. Listen to two tracks from their ten month old album, Beneath the Pavement, A Beach!, below, stream the entire thing right here, hear their five song performance for WOXY here, and listen to two new songs from their next album, I Wish I Was Automatic, on MySpace.

The Celebrity Pilots' "We've Lost Kasparov"
& "Lemons from Lemonade"
from Beneath the Pavement, A Beach!

And consider Music Saves a veritable resource for your intelligent music-loving ears.
Gotta go. That FAT Pageant is on.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

california & new york: get me off this cursed land.

Really, who can keep up with this vast world of music? If you were able to, you wouldn't be here (or at any other blog) right now. So, I don't feel as bad. I hadn't gotten around to listening to Akron/Family until this weekend and was pleasantly surprised by their sound; electro-acoustic indie folk under the same musical roof as Devendra Banhart, but off in the kitchen clanking spoons together with the windows wide open. Just as capable of generating a captivating warm sound as concocting difficult noises to create songs around, these New Yorkers released a self-titled album last year that just might hit you the right way. Uniquely, each of the four band members plays "various instruments" as well as sings on their albums, which are available to sample and purchase through Young God Records.

Akron/Family's "Suchness"
& "Shoes"
from Akron/Family

On the other edge of the country is an absurdly accessible pop group called Kite Flying Society that are about two weeks away from releasing their debut album, Where is the Glow?. Their songs will please you just as immediately as their Rushmore inspired name should. Think The Shins' Oh, Inverted World, Rogue Wave's Out of the Shadow
You need to listen to these KFS songs. I can't say enough good about them that would get you to listen any more than this shallow plea. For your own sake, listen. Then pre-order their CD through their adorable website. Then tell them how great you think they are while listening to two additional songs on their MySpace.

Kite Flying Society's "Love & Seagulls"
"6000 Shipwrecks"
& "If I Could Split"
from Where is the Glow?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

you're all alone and so peaceful until...

Wow. I was completely in the dark about this Bjork tribute album released by Hush Records a couple years back. While I'm sure you're all savvy enough to be able to not consider this news let alone new, indulge me. It was actually through my introduction to Noise for Pretend that I heard about Read: Interpreting Bjork, which also includes translations of Bjork songs by Ben Gibbard, Kind of Like Spitting, The Decemberists and more.
In brief, Esperanza Spalding is a young upright bass player who croons with a voice twice her age. She was signed by Chad Crouch to his Hush Records when she was just sixteen, and she and her Noise for Pretend released a split with he and his Blanket Music. Laid back jazz, bossa-nova and bass lines that actually define the music in a tremendous way come together with both groups, each fronted by absolutely talented individuals. Crouch also creates Notwist-ish music on his own as Toothfairy.
I can't figure out what, of these new discoveries, to lean towards more. I'm so glad that there is a Hush Records in the world and that I am now one of it's very sincere fans. I don't care how long it took me to find them. Or vice versa, if you wish. Enjoy Esperanza and Noise for Pretend crafting my favorite Bjork song, the song that inspired Crouch to sign them, a song from both Blanket Music and Toothfairy, and (why the hell not?) the Decemberists' Bjork cover.
Enjoy the scorching weekend.

Noise for Pretend's "Pants With His Halfway Down"
from Happy You Near

Blanket Music's "You Shouldn't Have Said That"
from Cultural Norms

Toothfairy's "Kicked Outta The Band"
from Formative

Noise for Pretend's "It's Oh So Quiet"
& The Decemberists "Human Behavior"
from Read: Interpreting Bjork

Launch "Hush Radio" or find every Hush artist on MySpace through their website's "Media" section.
And because there will never be a better time than now...

Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" (Directed by Spike Jonze)

Friday, July 14, 2006

i know how much you like to play rough.

Commercialism got to me. I keep having to jerk my head toward the TV screen like a puppy tilting his head as if to ask, "I beg your pardon?" The culprit is the new Chili's commercial for their Build-A-Burger-or-whatever. The background music is a brief instrumental section of a song by the not-quite-unknown Bleu. His breakthrough album, Redhead, was released in 2002 by Aware Records and re-released (with a slightly different track list) by Columbia in 2003 after having a song ("Somebody Else") included on the Spider-Man soundtrack. The power-pop singer/songwriter with a voice as powerful as his muttonchops has made his live shows large-scale events by inviting interested fans to a practice session prior to a concert in order to properly invite them on stage to sing as a choir for a number of songs.
Redhead walks a dangerous line concerning his fan-base and possible new fans. It's independent music picked up on by the mainstream before selling two million records, potentially turning off the lot of you who shun major label artists or commercially successful radio-players. Bleu, however, is not yet either of those. Hell, maybe that Chili's spot was the first you'd heard of him (without even knowing it). Tell you what, you can listen to, fall for, and belt out these accessible pop songs, and if they end up on the adult contemporary radio that you have to listen to at work, you can roll your eyes and sing along in your head (See: Howie Day).
His overdue follow-up to Redhead, A Watched Pot, is set to be released this year. You can listen to plenty of cuts from it on MySpace or PureVolume.
For now, you can enjoy a couple of my favorite tracks from Redhead, including "Get Up" from the Chili's ad. Also, I can't resist sharing a couple songs from the CHRISTMAS album Bleu released in 1999. Frankly, how could I? It should be noted, however, that these will not be at the top of any of my Christmas playlists.

"Get Up" (Chili's)
"Could Be Worse"
& "You Know I Know You Know"
from Redhead

Bleu's "Jingle Bells"
& "Snow Day"
from Bing Bang Holidang

Wait, he only recorded one album over the span of four years? Not quite accurate.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

i still believe that nothing here is changed.

If you like nice neat labels for your music, then buy Our Lady of Bells' Forgetting the Way Home and place the CD safely in the indie-folk chamber pop section of your library under the sub-category of "Current Favorites." This five-piece from Massachusetts quickly grew from songwriter Jules Gimbrone's work and their music would take on a life and personality of it's own. One that, according to Christopher Wilkey of the Northeast Performer Magazine, "...would lay stone paths to the garden in its yard on the weekends. It hang the laundry out to dry barefoot in the front yard. It would roll down grassy hills."
There's simply something about the mandolin that I find happy and charming, which is somehow fitting for this band that finds comfort in the "hauntingly spare quality for which they've become known."
Listen to two songs from their full-length right here and two more on their MySpace. Go. I'm pretty sure you'll like "Oh My Oh My."

Our Lady of Bells' "Adeline"
& "Here They All Pretend"
from Forgetting the Way Home

Hey. Did you know you can stream the entire new Long Winters' album at Mammoth Press? You do now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

i am bored because i feel much older.

Perhaps The Format needs no introduction to you. Perhaps they do. I don't like to take chances. The Format has always been Nate Ruess and Sam Means. Other friends and musicians have helped them tour and flesh out two EPs and two LPs, but The Format is Sam and Nate's baby (NOTE: Not Matt and Nate's baby). They've guided their child as it's grown from a small but strong independent infant to a suburban teen adopted by a well-to-do family. Later the growing Format would marry off to another well-off family only to be abandoned by both guilds. But Nate and Sam would never give up on their own lovable child, would they?
To strip their history of metaphors and add actual background, it's important to know that The Format released an independent EP before being drooled over and picked up by major label Elektra (An AOL Time Warner Company), which released their debut full-length, Interventions + Lullabies, in late 2003. Elektra would then drop the band and Atlantic (A Warner Music Group) would sign them and help release their mail-order EP. Snails, with two new songs including the title track and The Format's greatest song as of 2005, "Janet." Then Atlantic dropped them. But now Sam, Nate and a slew of additional musicians have released Dog Problems independently, with great distribution through Nettwerk.
The only person that could explain the recent history and heartbreaks of The Format is Nate Ruess, and he did so elegantly in an e-mail sent to members of "The Living Room," The Format's fan base. I'm including the entire unedited letter below. It's length should not discourage you from reading. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I'm sure you will as well.
Dog Problems includes full orchestrations for songs, audible brass, catchy-as-hell lyrics and catheir-than-hell melodies. Nate's voice is a masculine tenor when he sings softly and even when he forces his words loudly, adding a precious relatable quality to his songs of (occasionally over-the-top) pop.
To make this a suitable Tuesday Spotlight, I'll have to refer you to my post from March, and throw in two incredible pop songs from the new album, released about two months ago in MP3 format, and today in extremely well-packaged CD format with artwork by Sam Means himself. Best CD packaging of the year nominees include Thom Yorke, Anathallo, and now The Format. Any others? Give me your votes.

The Format's "She Doesn't Get It"
& "Dog Problems"
from Dog Problems

"im floating with the birds
im talking to the weeds
look what youve done to me"


sitting on my couch...watching espn...damn its good to be home...things have been pretty crazy the last 6 a lot of you know, we were
dropped by our label...we went and recorded a new record...labels became interested...we decided to release it ourselves...we went on tour...and now im home for the next first week off in six months...what do i do?...well, my roomate and i got memberships to the ymca down the street from our house, its an amazing place...downtown phoenix is pretty much an amazing place...its not like the rest of the state...speaking of declaring war on scottsdale...its the opposite of downtown phoenix.

anways, so i wake up at 9am every morning...i dont know what it is really...ive been a "pro" musician for about 3 years now...we are supposed to wake up at 11 or 12...i know some dudes that wake up at 1...but no...since ive been home the last few days ive been going to bed at 1 and waking up at roomate has a job...i think it has to do with that...see, there are 3 showers total in our house...i have the big bedroom so i have the big shower...since ive been off on tour and recording he has gotten used to the nice shower in my room (which is fine...anyone thats gotten close to me knows im not too fond of its not like i use it that much) every morning around 845 i wake up to my door opening and my roomate going through my room to use the know what its like when youre half asleep but you want to act like youre awake so as not to freak someone out with all the crazy babble, but you just end up saying all the same crazy babble...i do that every morning..i turn and look at him and try to act like i wasnt just dreaming about tootsie rolls and parrots that shatter like glass..."hey nate, that was some game last nite"...thats usually what comes out of my mouth...something to that extent..and i think he feels sorry for me...but continues to walk right into my bathroom, and use the this point im awake...i usually have to pee...and i have to then use his restroom...its a terrible swap...and it always ends with me wide awake on my front porch (har har)...smoking a cigarette and wondering how the hell im gonna fall back asleep when the air conditioning is broke...ah what a wonderful life at home...thats the weird thing..i love we wake up and we go to the y...we run, we play basketball, we jump in the pool...we play pool basketball...we get yelled at for dunking the ball...we dont use soap before we go into the sauna...and the nite usually ends with a poker tournament...this is the life i love to live when im away from the too is the opposite of scottsdale...its who i am...its pretty much who ive become.

see..for the last 23 years its been about the highs and the lows for the me...ive got an addictive personality...i stay away from a lot of things because of this...however, when i find things i get generally excited...i go crazy...its all i think about and all i do for the next howeverlong...for the first 23 years it was either talking non stop...or locking myself in my room...its either great or terrible...not good or problems changed that...initially dog problems was supposed to be that...the original concept of dog problems was to be 2 sides of music...the first half taking over where interventions had left off..."we'll be together in the morning"...

we fact...we were over before interventions was even released...we were over two weeks after it was recorded...i spent the next 2 years feeling terrible...we got back together...we broke up...we got dogs...we broke up...we got back together and got dogs...i was still miserable...but i wanted dog problems to get me through everything...i wanted it to help me...not anyone else...just me...the first side was supposed to be me down in the dumps...everything that went the two of us were dealing with it differently...the second half was supposed to be a realization...

the first inkling of realization was a day we were on tour... we were all laughing about something im sure marko or adam i was supposed to be depressed...but the fact that i can spend all of my days in different states with my best friends...all of us doing what we love...that was major!...then my mom called...ive got my parents! friends...what else could i possibly need? that point i felt as if a relationship in a michael bolton sort of way didnt mean was the people you surrounded yourself with...those were the people that made the difference...and that was going to be side two...i was convinced that when i just closed my eyes and thought about the wonderful people around me...i was going to be great...not good...great...

i didnt get that got back into the relationship...i was sure it was going to that point life would be perfect...and we all want perfection right?....things went right back to far from perfect...things went to terrible...i couldnt stop feeling sorry for myself...but i had a that point i figured that even by singing and recording these positive songs i was going to feel sam showed me what was then just a short acoustic guitar version of snails...this was it...this was my first chance to prove to myself that life can be beautiful...the things is...i had never been more miserable...i remember writing the lyrics to roomate was at work...i was on the bed...on my night stand was a giant bottle of booze...and somewhere off in california she wasnt calling me back on a friday i went to work...listened over and over...i wanted to get it right...i wanted to be positive...i passed out...then i woke up the next morning...big headache (p.s. drinking is not really that cool...its cool when you condemn it for the first 22 years of your life...then it becomes not cool...then it becomes ok when you moderate yourself)...and i started writing...everything positive i could think of...i started writing it...snails was, in sams mind, supposed to be a 2 minute kids song...i wrote so much that there was no going back...i thought that was it...snails solved all of my problems.

it didnt get that far either...nothing could shake the depression...i really started to worry about i want to feel great...but i only feel terrible...a few months later it got really really bad...i had to go to my parents house that nite...i didnt want to be at my house...i wanted to feel like a kid...its funny how we always want to be adults when we're younger...we want to drive cars...we want to have girlfriends...i still didnt consider myself an adult...all i wanted was to come tucked in...know that everything was going to be alright...i woke up the next day...she met someone new...ive got to figure myself out...

in the meantime we've got 4 songs we are recording over at our friend aarons house...(he is an amazing producer..and an amazing musician...and his house and his roomates have gotten me through a lot of tough times...theyre some of the only people i know who would rather spend their saturdays getting dinner and watching a movie instead of going to a party..i like that)...all of this turmoil in my relationship was going on at the time...and i was trying to write side two...i couldnt...there was more fuel to side one....these songs have to be i wrote about what i knew...and at that point i knew how to feel much for side problems is going to be one giant mess of depression and "look what youve done to me".

atlantic got those four well as a few others...they were not say the least...but some people at the label actually cared about it enough to say "go record" we were able to pick our producer....we met with a few people...talked to a few more...things were looking problems was going to happen...i remember meeting steve mcdonald at his house...sam and i were excited to be at his house because we knew his wife anna would prolly be there...anna was the lead singer/songwriter for a band we used to obsess about called "that dog"...her brother was one of the ten drummers in the world that i actually steve couldnt be so bad...and he wanted to produce our he had to be pretty cool....he was just that...and more...sam and i were eating every word that came out of his mouth...he had stories...he was young, hip, energetic...and yet very all knowing...we saw someone that was going to let us do whatever we wanted to do...and in the meantime he was going to make us laugh...and make sure we didnt lose our minds...from that point on i knew there was someone i could always trust...i made a friend pretty quick.

things were moving forward...steve mcdonald was to be the producer...i hated los angeles so there was no way in hell i was going to record there...we decided palm springs would be perfect...weird...but perfect...i had a phone conversation with steve that night and we were finalizing everything...i was going to call atlantic in the morning and let them know just how everything was going to work....i didnt get that far...i was sleeping in a blowup bed at the house when my phone rang...i didnt wake up and answer like it was my roomate and he was coming into my room to use my shower...this call felt different...right away i was was our manager: "youve been dropped"...when i heard that, the first thought going through my mind wasnt "oh are we going to be famous now and make boat loads of money?" was more like "fuck...but dog problems..we were supposed to go make dog problems"...the thing is...atlantic wasnt into dog problems...they were into whatever it was they thought we were...never had "the first single" made more sense...what was supposed to be a song about getting the band started and doing something with it, had actually turned into a song about how stuck we were in the labels eyes because of the song...i was past that...we're proud of something we wrote when we were 19 and 20...but when i think of music i think of progression...i think of all of the wonderful records i had been introduced to when i had nothing to do riding in a van....i think of all of the new influences...all the instruments...all of the "how did they do that?"...and i think of how much it gets me through has been the consecutive great thing in my life...its been that one thing...and with dog problems it wasnt about "i want everyone to sing along because i can write a catchy song" it was about was paying tribute to all of the bands that we obsessively listened was for harry nilsson and van dyke parks, it was for jellyfish and xtc, it was our way of saying thanks for making our lives better...whether it be lyrically or was never about being something...being told something...and sticking to was an adventure...for the artist and for the listener....they didnt get that...they wanted the old record...the old songs...just with different words...and few different chords here and there...they didnt care about "snails" or "dog problems"...what it meant to write those songs...they knew it wasnt going to be huge...the guitars werent big enough (if big guitars are your thing thats fine...its just not really our thing right now) wasnt going to be competitive...and so they dropped us...and rightfully so...we werent going to change...and obviously the major label business is never going to it comes down to who goes down first...and we werent ready to go down....sam and i had conversations about it...whether the business end of things have been fucking with us so much that we'll never be sane enough to just enjoy it...we thought about getting wasnt cause we hated each other...or the was because we hated the business...

steve called to let us know that he was still onboard...label or not...we let him know we were still on board...we were going to make this record...i was going to feel great!....but the record was going to cost could we afford it?...we were lucky that we had a management company like nettwerk...not only are they the most forward thinking music business people around...theyre also (for the most part) canadian...oh and they care a shit load about the music we make...they could have waited for the ship to sink...but they told us they would pay for the record if need be...fortunately we were able to get money for getting dropped...atlantic actually paid us to we could afford the recording ourselves...the only stipulation was that it had to be done quicker..and when you want something have to go to the "right here, right now" capitol of the world...los angeles...i was a little irked at the thought at first...then steve said it was his personal goal to make la a wonderful city for i said...i would jump off a cliff if steve said it was the best way to get coffee...but i wasnt jumping off of cliffs...i was too excited to make dog it was...

sam and i moved to the "silver palace" in silverlake california in the middle of december...we found an amazing studio in burbank california and an amazing engineer in ken sluiter...and our goal was to just do everything free from a record label...and someone constantly messing up the recording process by saying things like "thats not high octane enough"...the only pressure we had at all was from our manager saying "you have a tour you accepted in march...get it done by then"...other then that it was me, sam, steve, and ken working 13 hours a day for 6 days a became our lives...we were putting so much of ourselves into...everyone that worked and played on the record was the same way when they were there contributing...i would leave the studio at 2 in the morning and wake up at 10 to be at the studio by 11...there was no free time...the four of us were so invested into this...we all bought into the the meantime things outside of the studio were getting interesting...we had a lot of labels calling and constantly asking about it...during one week of recording i remember at least 3 different label people coming down to the studio...our minds werent made up as to what we were doing with the record once it was recorded...all we wanted to do was finish it...but we kept our options open and let people sit in the big chair and listen to what we had been working on...the response was overwhelmingly positive...but we didnt really think about it too much beyond the compliments we were receiving...sam and i got used to la...i was 10 minutes away from where i had been the previous summer when i was back" on" in my" on and off" relationship...i was ten minutes from her...she was calling every day...i was singing about it...but how was it not getting to me? why did i not care?

my phone was off...i woke up in silverlake one morning and started wondering why for the last month i had a smile on my face...sure i was down at times...but the thing that had been brining me down for 3 years was now the last thing on my mind...apparently it had been that way for awhile...something that took 3 years to get over...i was finally just ok with big realization...just the fact that things happen...people make mistakes...and i came out of it alright...i was good...not great...i was good...and that felt good...i wasnt looking for great anymore...i was ok...the last song on dog problems is all about this record was supposed to be the downs...and the ups...and it ended with the middle...the realization that i dont need to be talking...i dont need to be locked in my room...i need to enjoy whats going on around me...and if things go wrong...they go wrong...theres always problems means so much to me in so many different ways...ive never been more proud of anything in my life...i cried so many times during the making of the record...all the money i had spent on therapy....and all i had to do was go make a record...realize that im alright...and realize that i made something that ill forever be proud of...

shit...the record was supposed to be about how california can change you for the played a huge part in doing the opposite!

so as we were putting the finishing touches on the record (all our friends came in and recorded, a ton of people we admired came and worked on the record...all of their responses were so positive that its hard not to get an ego about it...these are the people i worship...theyre the ones i wanted to pay tribute to...and they think we've made something unique and special...its like michael jordan telling you that you have a nice jump shot (no more sports references...i swear im done)) and we started to think about what we were going to do with we were going to release it...labels were getting pretty into it...and we knew we would have to make a decision soon....after much debate and discussion we decided that the record was something we had made completely on our why not release it completely on our own...nettwerk was going to take care of the it would have major label would be inside all of the best buys....what more did we want? we didnt want a big fat check...we did that last made us miserable...and nothing came out of it...barely anyone at the labels helped us....we werent making music videos...our songs werent on the why would we take their criticism...after all...everything that weve done...any success weve had is from being real people who make music....from showing up to play....from 3 years on the road...on interventions there might have been an elektra logo on the back of the record...but it ended right there...we were the ones SHOWING people who we were...i wouldnt have it any other one knows us better then why not release it me its not only a testament to the hard work we put into the band (mike, don, marko, toco, everyone else involved in putting these songs to guys are the best thing we have...its pretty special when your best friends are some of the most talented musicians)...but i really feel like the people who come to our shows are such good people that they dont give a fuck what label its on...they are there because we are doing something positive...and because we care about them as much as they care about for the time being we've said "fuck the middleman"...we're the only people we can blame at this so tired of even talking about major labels and the split and everything like this...the music is the only thing i care problems is the only thing i care why let someone else ruin it?

the vanity label was born.

the record got finished...we had no time to rehearse...and we had to go right back out to tour...our first show before the motion city soundtrack tour was in nashville...i remember the last time we were in nashville there were about ten kids....reubens accomplice kept asking them why they hate we figured why not go there and get some of the rust out of the way...after all....we havent toured in a year so there should be like 3 kids there...we can mess up if need be...

unfortunately we were not allowed to mess up...on a sunday nite in nashville...with ted leo playing across the street (i heart ted)...our first headlining show outside of arizona in almost a year was over sold out....what the fuck happened? we thought we were going to have to play for another 3 years just to get back to where we were when we left...and yet its sold out on a sunday nite? didnt end there either...the whole tour went like that...nite after nite ("nite after nite?")...i couldnt believe if having dog problems wasnt we have people showing their support in the most positive way...coming to the shows...being there from the only thing they knew before...those two months were such good was the last thing i expected...thanks so much to all the bands that played with us...and thanks so much for everyone that came to the shows and sang along...we'll be back in july.

in the meantime things were going great on the vanity label actually felt natural...we are shooting a video with the directors we had always dreamed of doing a video with (it wont be pouty face)...there were magazines like ap and online magazines like ap taking notice...supporting the whole idea and concept....we actually took press photos....ive never been through any of this before...its exciting...i dont think its going to change who we are...not one bit...but its still exciting to see people who can help out actually help out.

so where does that leave me now?...sitting on my bed...ive rambled for hours...the air still doesnt work...and ive been told that dog problems...(something that isnt supposed to come out till july)... has been leaked..not the best news when you just got out of the pool...but it happens...i freaked out at first...i thought i was going to lock myself in my room...after all...this is something that we spent over two years making....its something that you have to take the time...listen to in loud....listen to in order of the tracks...the artwork....sam did the best artwork he has ever done...the packaging is something we paid extra for because sams concept was so brilliant...and now....its leaked on the internet?....i was locking my door...then our manager called....

"we're releasing it on the website today"
"wow" goes...youve read enough...i shouldnt have to go on about it anymore...but i will say...if you wanna wait for the full hard copy release then do so...its july 11...we are gonna be touring right after that...but if you want to get it now....please do it by purchasing it right here...we released it...its our money...its our little should take the time to listen to it all the way of should turn the songs into your own...its an adventure...and its something that we put everything we have into...and if anyone deserves it first...its you guys who have been here with us all along.

without further ado...

"dog problems"


Monday, July 10, 2006

are you only being nice because you want something?

Honesty is the best policy and I had honestly had enough of the endless hype surrounding Thom Yorke's The Eraser. It's not that I had any doubt that the frontman for the always changing Radiohead was capable of making an incredible album on his own. I just didn't want to run the thing into the ground. This is an instant gratification age. The moment we know about something, we want it. We don't want to wait until we can pre-order a CD. We'll just find it for free somewhere and no matter how good it is or how much we like it, by the time it's readily available to us, we've grown tired of it.
More honesty: When a friend and loyal reader offered to send me The Eraser a month and a half ago, I did not refuse. But what's both shameful and noteworthy is that I failed to listen to the tracks even once. I even paid full price (when deal-finders will find it for $10) when the opportunity arose on Saturday.
The honest bottom line: It was worth it (for me). I am engrossed in enjoying this CD and am grateful for that chance. It wasn't until Kid A that I considered myself a Radiohead fan (let alone an owner of one of their albums). But it also came at a time when I hadn't grown into my musical preferences yet. I had made an MD mix with Staind and David Bowie on it. Then Thom Yorke and the guys followed it up with Amnesiac, which was not created disparately from Kid A but was more dispersed, and I was hooked. Five years later, Yorke seems to be following this pair of albums up with his own work, and I couldn't be more delighted. His laptop approach to creating glitchy, brooding, beautiful tunes is enough to hold this album up. It damn well better be, as that's pretty much all it is.
What stands out to me is that this album is everything it should be. I know that sound bombastic and trite, but consider the following. Thom Yorke, as the singer and main songwriter for Radiohead, is bound to create something that sounds something like his band. He is also one man, so his songs should be more direct with less additional noise. Time has removed Yorke from both Kid A and Amnesiac to alleviate the possibility of a b-side sound. Combine these facts with Yorke's abilities with piano melodies, computer glitches and his own hauntingly pretty tenor voice and you've got the simple formula for The Eraser.
To be honest, you can read hundreds of reviews (on blogs alone) from people just like me on this world wide web, but none of them will gratify you, let alone instantaneously. If you have any sort of desire (based on this quasi-review or any other fodder you may have read), pick up the record and listen. That's what the music is created for. And for it, there is no substitute.

Thom Yorke's "The Eraser"
& "Harrowdown Hill"
from The Eraser

And on the same topic of holding out for an album's actual release; tomorrow is the official release date for The Format's Dog Problems, and if you haven't bought the band-approved MP3's you're looking forward to Tuesday as much as I am.

Now go watch Pee-Wee's Playhouse on [adult swim].

Sunday, July 09, 2006

ain't nobody's troubles like mine.

My introduction to Flameshovel was when a good friend told me about this new EP from the Joan of Arc family tree (namely including Tim Kinsella). He got us both copies of Make Believe's debut EP and I was subsequently baffled, and somehow even more turned on to the off-beat world of Tim Kinsella. More started trickling out of this new (to me) label that got my attention. Chin Up Chin Up's debut full-length got more attention than just mine. When they announced their intent to release Maritime's second album, all heads should have realistically been facing them. While there are still a few artists on the roster that I haven't found much use for, I still believe that a couple bands deserve far more attention than I have seen them receive. And this sentence will be the only mention Russian Circles gets as they simply fall into the not-for-me category.
Find out more about both the strangely accessible calm/frantic Bound Stems and country-tinged atmospheric rockers Low Skies, including why I sound ignorant in implying that they receive very little attention, on Flameshovel's website. Hey, one band includes a former member of Harvey Danger (Just try not to sing "Flagpole Sitta" right now) and one has welcomed guest vocalist Kelly Hogan (NOT Hulk's daughter, Brooke Hogan).
Be advised: Bound Stems will be releasing a full-length through Flameshovel in September. Look out.

Bound Stems' "Wake Up, Ma and Pa are Gone"
from The Logic of Building the Body Plan EP

Low Skies' "You Can't Help Those People"
from All The Love I Could Find

NOTE: If you did not click the link attributed to Brooke Hogan, here is your second chance.

Friday, July 07, 2006

i want to be famous for falling in love.

There are a few albums that I've been sitting on, waiting until I'm able to spend a proportionate amount of time reviewing them as I have spent listening to them. I am also a sucker for the element of surprise, or "burying the hook," so I've tried to not even mention them. But that is a bad habit to have in this realm of blogdom, and in this abbreviated (due to time constraints) post, I'd just like to share a couple of my favorite songs from artists I intend on posting more thoroughly about just as soon as I can. These, for the most part are from records I've had a difficult time getting away from, and those (while they make listening to new material more difficult) are my favorite kind.
Thanks to Jasen for two wondrous suggestions.
Have a magical Jamboree weekend.

Canada's "Beige Stationwagon"
Flying's "Falling Leaves"
Cass McCombs' "I Went To The Hospital"
More Dogs' "Teenage Bunker"
Tunng's "Mother's Daughter"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

i will burn through it all unharmed.

Bishop Allen's June EP is available now. My busy weekend starts tonight so I'll have to refer you to my recent Bishop Allen posts and You Ain't No Picasso's June coverage.

no one is awake: 06/29/06.
no one is awake: 06/24/06.
no one is awake: 04/02/06.
no one is awake: 03/03/06 (FIRST POST).

Bishop Allen's "The Same Fire"
from June

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

does it matter, on days like these, if we forget the ones between?

If I were to begin by explaining where you might know today's subject from, you may not continue reading, given the style of this blog. This artist's music is overshadowed by the pop giant band of which he is a member, which is disheartening when his solo material goes right along with everything the current indie-pop kids love. What I will tell you is that this gentleman has a powerfully frail voice, is an extraordinary multi-instrumentalist, is a talented child-like artist and is about to release his fourth album (third with his backing band Thin Buckle). Kevin Hearn's latest sounds to be following more closely in the poppy folk-tinged uplifting direction that his last, Night Light, did. Prior to Night Light was H-Wing, named for the section of The Princess Margaret Hospital in which it was mostly written, a testament to the drive of the human spirit and healing power of music. The album, Hearn's second solo effort, was humorous yet bleak, sad with an overwhelming positive momentum; a man knowing full well that he's lying in his death bed, reassuring those around him that he'll be fine soon. Fortunately, he would be. His complete recovery from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (a form of blood cancer) drove him to write the non-cohesive collection of uplifting ballads and light-hearted gentle pop songs. This collection, Night Light, was complete with an oddly fitting rock jam cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs."
Recently, Hearn has completed a new album, The Miracle Mile, and it's first single, "In The Country," is proof positive that he is at the top of his game and even more enamored with his keyboards and synthesizing abilities. As I mentioned, it appears that the new disc will follow Night Light's lead as spectacular music for driving on warm Summer days.
Given that I've been wanting to do a Spotlight on Kevin's albums since my very first Tuesday Spotlight, added to the fact that I just learned that The Miracle Mile will be released (in Canada) next Tuesday, I thought I'd work a Spotlight in early. Be sure to listen to the magnificent "Lost and Stolen" on Kevin's MySpace along with the aforementioned Black Sabbath cover. Speaking of covers, look below for Kevin's cover of Tom Waits' "Picture In A Frame."
The following is a BONUS SPOTLIGHT on Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle, made extremely difficult by my inability to choose my favorite songs from H-Wing.

Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle's "The Diving Board"
& "Spider Arm"
from H-Wing

Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle's "Nightlight"
& "Jocelyn"
from Night Light

Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle's "In The Country"
from The Miracle Mile

BONUS: Kevin Hearn's "Picture In A Frame" (Tom Waits cover)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

when the water hit the setting sun.

Rocky Votolato is from Seattle by way of Texas and has been writing stark and truthful songs for over a decade. With his brother Cody Votolato (of The Blood Brothers), Waxwing was born. The band was justifiably classified as emo, but their sound hinted at much more. With influences ranging from punk to folk Waxwing were, at times, aggressive, raw and upbeat, and occasionally stripped down, experimenting with more diverse dynamics. Rocky, himself, found himself writing more and more material that wouldn't necessarily work in his band, and started recording as a solo musician with the help of several friends. Votolato's material is largely acoustic and introspective in the way that singer/songwriter material tends to be, but his sadness is uplifting and his ideals are agreeable.
Truth be told, I've listened to "White Daisy Passing" several dozen times in the last two weeks. Makers, as a whole, is the masterpiece Rocky's been hinting at for years. Suicide Medicine being a difficult album to follow, the latest does so smashingly. His new label, Barsuk, is privileged to have released such an extraordinary album, so close to it's roots.

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. Each firework is just a passing moment gone.

Waxwing's "Deadly Wisdom"

from For Madmen Only

Waxwing's "All Of My Prophets"
from One For The Ride

Waxwing's "Laboratory"
from Intervention: Collection+Remix

Waxwing's "Colour"
from Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns

Rocky Votolato's
from Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato's
"One More Work Song Blues"
from A Brief History

Rocky Votolato's
"Don't Walk Out On Me"
from Burning My Travels Clean

Rocky Votolato's "The Light and the Sound"
from Light and Sound

Rocky Votolato's "The City Is Calling"
from Suicide Medicine

Rocky Votolato's "White Daisy Passing"***
& "Portland Is Leaving"
from Makers