...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

It's like Christmas in August.

If you've attended conferences for work before, surely we've all collected the same array of doodads and logo-covered items over the years. But I've never experienced quite the excitement that I get tucked inside a nondescript canvas bag at the registration table for the Boulder music summit. Instead of letter openers and stress balls, I find enough sampler CDs and random little EPs to sate me for quite a while (even a Modest Mouse 7"! Yeehaw).

Many of these artists are buzz bands that I keep hearing about, and going through them for myself was a kick. I also came back just chock full of word-of-mouth recommendations from all the fellow music nerds there.

I've done some culling and here are five of the best for this week's Monday goodness:

Sara Bareilles
This gal was the opening act for Ryan Adams on Thursday night at The Fox, and I was really taken by her. Sara Bareilles is 25 years old and from Eureka, California (way north by Oregon). She was signed to Epic in 2005 with no formal musical training after singing in an a capella group at UCLA. She says the following, "I write mostly on piano and I'm a girl, so lots of people say it's Norah Jones, or Fiona Apple. That's fine. I love Norah's subtlety and Fiona's fierce lyrical prowess. But I also have an affinity for the playful and intelligent-pop of people like Elton John and Ben Folds." She closed her set with this song, which she said was about a particularly intense relationship that took her six years to get over. You truly could have heard a pin drop in the room. I was moved by the mournful realization written all over her face as she sang these stinging lyrics. Her album Little Voice is only $6.99 on iTunes.

Crown Victoria
Robbers on High Street
Recommended for fans of The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, or the "where, exactly, in the UK is he from? Oh wait, it's Chicago" accent of The Redwalls' Logan Baren. Robbers on High Street are actually from New York, but my friend Josh and I spent several minutes during their lunchtime set discussing where "The Accent" was from. It's not, apparently. I dig their sound -- check "The Fatalist" on their MySpace, it's also ridiculously catchy. These guys are in LA tomorrow night, and breeze through San Francisco's wonderfully snug Cafe Du Nord on Thursday. The album is called Grand Animals and just came out two weeks ago.

Broken Strings
The Cobbs
Raw and rough rock from unsigned under-the-radar The Cobbs from Philly, this has a distinct fuzzy Black Keys feel to it. I hear that they absolutely kill it in concert -- they've just finished a run with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and share some of the same '60s guitar pop/garage rock vibe with a hint of the Stone Roses thrown in. This was a word-of-mouth recommendation to me that I'm glad I heeded, I look forward to spending some more time with their album The Cobbs Sing The Deathcapades this summer. You can stream the whole album over at http://www.apolloaudio.com/.

House of Regret
Wild Sweet Orange
With a duet-tastic chorus reminiscent of the harmonies on one of my favorite Bright Eyes songs - Landlocked Blues with Emmylou Harris - this track is the closing romp a little EP from Birmingham, Alabama band Wild Sweet Orange. Here's the story of how I heard of these guys - last year after the Boulder summit I wrote about Joshua Radin, and posted my most, most favorite version of his "Only You" cover, recorded live at Reg's Coffee House. Well, that Reg guy who runs it passed me this one as well -- with his recommendation, I think you should take a listen. According to pal Dodge, they're on tour soon with The Whigs and The Broken West, both of whom I have spoken highly of. That'll definitely be a shared bill to catch.

Scott Matthews
This weekend I sat down and re-watched the Jeff Buckley: Live in Chicago DVD. Actually, watched is an understatement; I was more glued back into the couch cushions, unable to breathe. I'm serious, not trying to be melodramatic -- that voice, in the flesh, does something to my ability to move. I tell you this because there's most definitely haunting echoes of Buckley in the voice of British artist Scott Matthews, that much is clear from the first notes. He's got a gorgeous silvery range with melancholy tuning that brings Nick Drake to mind. I hear he'll be huge, but you should just listen because he's good. His album Passing Stranger is out now as an import, and will tentatively be released in the U.S. on Sept 25 (Universal Republic).

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At August 06, 2007 6:35 PM, Anonymous Lauren said...

That Sara Bareilles song is fantastic. I've listened to it a few times through and each time it just gets sadder. That bridge must have been killer to hear live.

At August 06, 2007 7:26 PM, Anonymous carolyn said...

i totally second sara bareilles recommendaton - i am loving that album.

and that is too funny about robbers on high street because i saw them at schuba's several years ago and we ALL thought they were from chicago!!

At August 06, 2007 7:26 PM, Blogger heather said...

Lauren, I love the line, "You hold me without touch, keep me without chains. I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain...."
Chills. Every time.

At August 06, 2007 8:28 PM, Blogger jeffro said...

How convenient! The day I searched for Sara Bareilles in Hype Machine, you posted some!

At August 06, 2007 9:09 PM, Blogger MM said...

Scott Matthews is terrific, and that domestic release sure has been a long time in coming. Great that you've featured him here!

At August 07, 2007 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought the Sara Bareilles album. It rocks. I am rocking to Many the Miles right now.

Thanks Heather.

Kev in St. Louis

At August 07, 2007 8:51 AM, Blogger jane said...

the Cobbs ABSOLUTELY kill in concert. saw them open for BRMC in June and they are hands down one of the top five live acts i've ever seen, and i have the qualifying history to make that statement. as a side note, they rank only second to Wax Fang in theremin wailing!

At August 07, 2007 11:20 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Good stuff all. Robbers On High Street has a real Libertine-y vibe.

Like Wild Sweet Orange a lot, and Sara Bareilles, that's just beautiful.

At August 08, 2007 12:54 AM, Blogger Go Nicole Yourself said...

Have you heard Sara's first album - Careful Confessions? It's a lot of what she released on Little Voice but different arrangements. I also prefer her demo version of Love Song - just so much snappy fun. If you don't have it, I'll shoot you an email with the songs. She's awesome - glad you got to see her live.

At August 08, 2007 8:30 AM, Blogger Brendan said...

I'm glad Scott Matthews is getting some recognition! I saw him, albeit briefly, back in September in a packed bar and he's fantastic. The album has been one of my most listened to this past 12 months or so. :] Keep up the good work!

At August 08, 2007 9:08 AM, Anonymous Brogan said...

I happened to snatch "Love Song" from Ms. Bareilles when iTunes handed it out recently, her voice is incredible and it was a catchy, upbeat song. I believe I like "Gravity" even better. I hadn't heard she was a UCLA student until your post....be still my heart - not only does she sing like an angel but the woman must have some serious brains.

At August 11, 2007 8:04 PM, Anonymous mel said...

Mmmmmm... Elusive. Can't. Stop. Listening.

At August 13, 2007 12:27 AM, Blogger Jules said...

I just purchased Little Voice - it's up to $7.99 now, demand must be rising :-)

At October 31, 2007 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just bought the cobbs record. it's amazing!

At December 02, 2007 11:57 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

I just got the cobbs' album

i can't wait to witness them live.


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