Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #1

The first album is up and available here.

Remember to open the album you need an application called WinRar or its equivalent. Winrar can be downloaded from for free.
A good mix of songs, please vote in the poll and let me know what song you think is the best. Please support all these musicians by buying their cds and attending their concerts.

1. The Mary Janes - Sham
One of my favourite bands of all time and one of the most talented Irish bands in history, their existence was sadly short-lived. They were formed in 1990 with Mic Christopher leading the band. Other members were Karl Odlum, Simon Good and Steven Hogan. Mark Stanley later replaced Steven Hogan. They released two albums, Bored Of Their Laughing and Sham.

The Mary Janes finally split in 1999 with Mic Christopher leaving to pursue a solo career. Mic sadly passed away in 2001. His only solo album was released after his death entitled Skylarkin'. This is another fantastic album and definitely worth checking out. Mic used to regularly busk around Dublin with Glen Hansard as can be seen below singing one of Mic's songs. A truly great musician. Please purchase Mic's solo album either through iTunes, your local record store or through the sites listed below. The Mary Janes album is harder to find but have a look through these links and you should be able to find it

2. Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat

Malcolm first came to prominence as part of the Scottish indie heroes Arab Strap. He is a man of considerable talent and this particular song featured in the playlist is one of my favourites of his career including Arab Strap. His live shows are also consistently excellent. Malcolm commented on 'A Brighter Beat' saying " We all get comfort from knowing that other people are uncomfy too. This idea is most evident in the title track, 'A Brighter Beat'. To me, it's a support anthem for people who find it hard leaving the house sometimes or socialising in general. If you're on your own at home and feeling depressed it's funny to think that there's millions of other people feeling exactly the same." He has a number of solo albums available, this song is the title track off his last album. Highly recommended. He has a new album due out in March and currently there is a limited edition cd of a solo acoustic performance of his. Only 1000 copies available so hurry up and order it quickly. Available on his website.

3.The Hold Steady - Cattle And The Creeping Things

A Brooklyn based rock band led by Craig Finn. They have produced three fantastic albums starting with 2004's Almost Killed Me. They followed this up the following year with Separation Sunday, from which Cattle And The Creeping Things is taken from. Their last album Boys and Girls in America brought them international acclaim. They are without a doubt one of the finest live acts in music today and if they come to your town make sure you get a ticket. They put on a fantastic, high energy rock show led by the fantastic Craig Finn. In terms of their albums, 'Boys..' is their most accessible and a good starting point. But as this track shows, the earlier albums are essential buys also. You can probably get these albums in your local record shop. Also available on iTunes and from the websites.

4. Uncle Tupelo - I Got Drunk

Uncle Tupelo were at the forefront of the alternative country music scene. Active between 1987 and 1994, the band had a huge influence on future musicians. It's members were Jeff Tweedy (now leader of Wilco), Jay Farrar (now leader of Son Volt) and Mike Heidorn. The band eventually broke up under the strained relationship between Tweedy and Farrar. Both wrote songs for the band and sang lead vocals. They made four records, all of which are excellent. Also available is an anthology of the band's existence. While it is an excellent compilation, with a couple of unreleased songs (including this one I Got Drunk), seeking out the albums would be better for those interested as they didnt write many bad songs and the Tweedy/Farrar relationship makes all the songs interesting. Each album has it's own distinct style such as March 16-20, 1992 which is acoustic. I obviously can't recommend to see them live but the spirit of Uncle Tupelo lives on in Wilco and Son Volt both of whom are fantastic bands in their own right.

5. Voxtrot - Trouble

Voxtrot is an indie pop rock outfit from Austin, Texas USA. The quintet is fronted by Ramesh Srivastava and also includes Jason Chronis, Mitchell Wayne Calvert, Matt Simon, and Jared Van Fleet. Their first EP, a self-made CD-R was produced in 2003 and sold at a few independent record stores in Austin. They have since released a couple of EP's and their first full length album which came out last year to great acclaim. Trouble is taken from one the Your Biggest Fan EP. A very exciting new band and they have a very good website offering all their past records. Definitely worth picking up a few of them and of course a good start would be their full length debut. Fantastic song off it called 'Firecracker'. Check out their podcast on iTunes too.

6. Jeffrey Foucault - Doubletree
Jeffrey Foucault is a singer/songwriter from Southeastern Wisconsin. His 2001 debut album, Miles from the Lightning, won much praise from critics and helped to kick-start a career of tours across the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2003, he released Redbird along with Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey with each of them taking vocals on a number of songs. In 2004 he released his second solo album Stripping Cane (Doubletree is on this album) and in 2006 he released Ghost Repeater. Personally I prefer his debut record. It's incredibly sparse and his voice really shines through. The two albums that followed are both excellent, with more of a band behind him. It depends what your personal preference is. He's also a great live musician. I've seen him a couple of times and he always puts on a great show. I've seen him in pubs with about 30 other people so get to one of these gigs while you can. He won't be in them for much longer if he isn't out of them already. He's touring soon so check his website for dates and also to get his cds.

7. Laura Marling - Night Terror
Laura is a folk-pop singer songwriter from Reading in England. She's toured with a number of well-known indie acts in the UK. She has a new single out at the moment with her debut album due out very soon. I think you'll agree after listening to her sing that the album will be an essential purchase once it's come out. Hopefully she won't be marketed as somebody for the teen market as I think she deserves to be taken more seriously. It's difficult for female artists to occupy the kind of ground currently reserved for PJ Harvey and such so if you like the song let's get behind her and buy the album.

8. Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass
Aesop Rock is an American hip-hop artist. He was at the forefront of the new wave of underground acts that emerged during the late 1990s/early 2000s. He has released a number of records and his latest - None Shall Pass was released last year. I'm a big fan of the record, with this being my favourite track off it. Check out his myspace. Plenty of videos and he's also touring Europe in the next couple of months so check the dates out.

9. Little Man Tate - European Lover
Little Man Tate are a four-piece indie band from Sheffield, England. They've used the internet very well to build up a loyal following, so for those interested in the band, the net should definitely be your first stop. They have an album out now although I haven't heard it yet so can't pass judgement on it. From this song though I'd say it's pretty good. There's a lot of videos and songs of the band around on their site so have a listen to a few and decide yourself if it's worth your money. Supposed to be a great live band too but again never seen them so cant speak personally. I'll be going along though if they swing by me.

10. Sahara Hotnights - Neon Lights

Sahara Hotnights are a rock band from Sweden. The band were formed around the early 1990s with their debut full length album released in 1999. They released their latest album last year entitled What If Leaving Is A Loving Thing. I really like this song and this band. They've been around for a long time but havent really made a big break outside their native Sweden. Hopefully that'll change in the not too distant future.

11. The Shortwave Set - Casual Use

The Shortwave Set are a British alternative pop band whose debut album The Debt Collection was released in 2005. The band's music combines sample-based music with more traditional songwriting to create a sound the group has described as 'Victorian Funk.' The band's second album is due out soon.
Again, great song. Really enjoy it. Their album is quite sample based and quite different to this song in the large part. I'd advise just having a listen to the songs on their myspace page and on their website you can listen to samples of the whole album so have a listen and see if it's for you. Fantastic song this is though.

12. The Doubtful Guest - Moment Of The Year

Hard to find too much info on this band. I saw them supporting Josh Ritter back in 2006 and was very impressed. Picked up a 3 song ep at the gig, which this song is taken from. It's really good and they were excellent live. Their myspace is a bit dead at the moment so if you like the band post on it and try and get it going again. As far as I know there's an album in the works but its hard to know. Let's hope so because if they make an album filled with the same quality as 'Moment of the Year' they have a bright future ahead of them.

13. Band Of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You

Finally, one of my favourite bands around at the moment. They're getting fairly popular now so expect to hear a lot more of them over the coming while. They were formed in 2004 in Seattle, USA. Their debut album Everything All The Time was released in 2006 and is absolutely fantastic. They have a new album out since October or so of last year called Cease To Begin. It's an excellent follow up and definitely one of the albums of the year. No One's Gonna Love You is taken from this album. Another great live band, they're touring at the moment so defintley should check them out. They've got a real intensity live and put an awful lot of work into every show. A great band.

So that's it. Hope you enjoy the album. I'll be regularly putting up playlists so keep checking back. I'll also be posting updates and bonus songs in both the facebook and myspace groups so if you're on either or both of those sites join up and keep up to date. Please vote in the poll for your favourite song. And finally this project has been set up to bring some of these bands to a wider audience so please support them and buy their cds, attend their concerts and show your appreciation for the great music that they're putting out.

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