Monday Music Roundup
I had a full day interview here on Friday. Now that's eight hours straight of me talking about myself coherently and winningly. This is a draining endeavor, no matter how exciting the job or how good of a fit. I did mostly okay except for one specific question where I recall clearly starting to veer into Miss Teen USA territory ("such as"). Hey! Turns out if you don't know the answer, continuing to talk is not going to help you find it, oddly enough.
In between the real-life stuff going on, I've been listening to these songs:
I just got news today from Rounder Records that they've signed Delta Spirit, who I allegedly saw with Port O'Brien at Noise Pop in March but regrettably actually missed due to sensory overload at the time. But I remember reading a review a few days after the festival that Amrit from Stereogum had penned that completely intrigued me: "Matthew Vasquez's vocals are powerhouse stuff, and his Dylanistic harmonica and melodies worked well over Delta's roots-rock roots. 'Strange Vine' was a standout, riding the sway of old mid-tempo, '50s-styled r&b rock, with vocal lines ala Alec Ounsworth or Julian Casablancas depending on how the light caught it." I want to listen more to these guys - they've got a great sound and a lot of promise. Their 2007 release was aptly named Ode to Sunshine, and will be re-released by Rounder.
The Black Keys
If you're the grizzled, bluesy force of nature known as The Black Keys, and you're just sitting around Dan's house on a Thursday, why not record a Captain Beefheart cover and post it on your MySpace for free download? Why not indeed. Just a few days old, this cover is fuzzy and dirty like it's being sung through a dusty microphone someone dug up in the garage, then looped back through a decades-old set of crackly speakers. But you know, it's also just about perfect for some really late-night drunk slow dancing - sad and regretful but with some heat behind it too. Attack & Release is out now, The Black Keys are playing Red Rocks with My Morning Jacket in August, and then next day will be out in San Francisco for Outside Lands.
Never So Strange
The harmonies and vocals on this particular song evoke straight-up '50s power pop, but there's also a tenser undercurrent of that good '90s rock running through it that you know I'm a sucker for. Atlanta's Morning State cooks up a jubilant blend with a kick to it. They've played shows with Dr. Dog, Peter Bjorn & John, and White Rabbits, all of whom are fun bands that we like round these parts. This is a fun band. Their new album You Know People I Know People is out tomorrow on Indie Outlaw.
Time Can Be Overcome
Said The Gramophone intrigued me (as they always do) with a fictional vignette Sean constructed around this song, involving a South Korean man in an isolated high-rise apartment: "[He] bought an electric guitar thirteen years ago and every night since then he has spent learning a single song. He does not feel this is slow or fast; it is just right. One day he will play the song, play the whole thing. Meteorites will hammer the city and tsunamis will rise and his heart will come to life in his chest." Really, I couldn't ask for more than that. This is a terrific, terrific slowburn of a song. From the Constantines' recent release Kensington Heights (Arts & Crafts).
Measure Of The Same
Birds of Avalon
Kids heading out and paying the big black-market bucks to see The Raconteurs recently on their tiny-club tour were greeted by the psychedelic retro-tinged sounds of Birds of Avalon as openers. A five-piece band from Raleigh, North Carolina, BofA formed from the ashes of previous '70s garage rock incarnation The Cherry Valence. They actually have a guitar player named Cheetie Kumar, which frankly is reason enough to go see them -- also the way she shreds that thing ain't bad. Their new The Outer Upper Inner EP is out now on Volcom.