Friday, October 31, 2008

Wilco - The Wilco Song

Cool interview with Jeff Tweedy and a once off performance on the Colbert Report.

Bruce Springsteen - A Night With The Jersey Devil

A Halloween gift from the Boss. Great to see him release music in new ways. Lot of work gone into the video, looks great. Definitely his best video since Brilliant Disguise and probably ever. Be interesting to see if this is a hint of what the next album will be like. The bullet mic sounds great too. A great addition to the Springsteen catalogue.

Download the song at

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Fix It

Brilliant performance

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Aimee Mann

Went to see Aimee Mann last night in Tripod. A great show (although I had to leave early to make the last bus, curfews in Tripod were abandoned last night). Sharon Shannon was supporting and she was very good but she played for well over an hour so Aimee was always going to be finishing late. When she finally got on stage about 10.15, she started off well and only got better. A particular highlight for me was the sequence of 'Freeway', 'Save Me' and 'Wise Up'.

Her new record is really great and the songs she played from it last night all sounded great. She even took a couple of requests and deftly handled a couple of drunks near the front. Her stories were frequently funny (anybody know she had been asked to write a song for Shrek 3, although it was later rejected?) A very entertaining show and a very decent-sized crowd. Wasn't full though so the move from the Royal Hospital made sense. Hopefully next time she'll get on a bit earlier so I can see the full show.

She did a Daytrotter session not so long ago, performing songs from her new album. They're well worth downloading, which you can do here

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Band Of Annuals - Blood On My Shirt

One of the most impressive alt-country bands I've heard in recent times are Band Of Annuals, hailing from Utah in the US. Front and centre to their appeal is the vocal interplay between frontman Jay Henderson and keyboardist Jeremi Hanson. Comparisons to Whiskeytown can be made and I'd recommend their album 'Let Me Live' which you can get here. Their debut album has also been re-released and can be bought here.

Band Of Annuals - Blood On My Shirt

Band of Annuals - "Blood on My Shirt" Live

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Eels Manchester 2005 Live EP

Eels are to give away a free download of four tracks recorded live in Manchester for one week only from today (October 21).

The four track EP giveaway is to celebrate the release of a deluxe limited edition four vinyl version of their acclaimed Blinking Lights and Other Revelations album which is available now, signed by frontman E and numbered 0001-2500.

The four track EP is taken from the exclusive Manchester 2005 album which has previously only been available as part of the three vinyl version of Blinking Lights.

The EP tracklisting is:
'Fresh Feeling'
'Packing Blankets'
'Jeannie's Diary'
'Climbing To The Moon'

You can get your free Eels download by clicking here until October 28.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sweet Jane - You're Making This Hard

I think there's been a distinct lack of real quality Irish bands breaking through in the last while. I don't think the music scene in this country is as strong as it could be, due to a number of factors, not least the lack of support for bands at live venues. When there's so much established international quality bands playing gigs here, it's difficult to get people out to a gig by a band they may have only heard a couple of songs from. Without real support at the live venues, it's hard for bands to gain real foothold. Of course, there's also the fact that if an Irish band were absolutely amazing, word would spread. And for me, I haven't heard too many Irish bands that really excite me (there's been a few, who I'll write about in the next while.)

In this context I bought the new limited edition Sweet Jane EP 'Black Boots + Black Hearts' from Tower Records at the weekend. I'd heard a couple of songs from them before and had been impressed. The EP however is fantastic. There's five songs and I think it's one of the best Irish releases in a long time. Sometimes it's hard to describe exactly why music is good, most of the time it just is. This is one of those times and I'd highly recommend picking up the ep while it's still available (it's only physically on sale in Tower in Dublin and through their website, with only a limited number available. It's available through iTunes etc as well). It's always impossible to predict what the future holds for bands and how people will react to the music. I'd get right behind this band though.

Sweet Jane - You're Making This Hard

Those Dancing Days - Run Run

Been listening to the debut album by Those Dancing Days, 'In Our Space Hero Suits' a fair amount in the last few days. It was an album I had been looking forward to for a while and it certainly hasn't disappointed me. The songs are short, sharp and catchy, evoking the best of 60s girl group pop with Linnea J├Ânsson's brilliant vocals at the forefront. There are more than a few rough edges and a few of the songs would have to be considered filler but there's enough good songs to make it a worthwhile listen and a promising debut album.

Those Dancing Days - Run Run

Those Dancing Days - Hitten

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thundercrack Playlist #30

I've a number of songs that I haven't got around to writing about so I've included all of them in the latest playlist. There's some great cover versions in there and some excellent new music as well. You can download each of the songs individually or download them all together as one file as usual here.

01. Passion Pit - Sleepyhead from Chunk Of Change EP

02. Cut Off Your Hands - Happy As Can Be from Happy As Can Be EP

03. The Decemberists - Valerie Plame from Always The Bridesmaid - A Single Series

04. The Donkeys - Walk Through A Cloud from Living On The Other Side

05. John Mellencamp - Longest Days from Life, Death, Love And Freedom

06. Mumford & Sons - White Blank Page from their debut ep

07. Kathleen Edwards - Unknown Legend Live

08. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Magick Live

09. Sam Beeton - What You Look For from What You Look For single

10. Arcade Fire - Maps Live

11. Mates Of State - California Live

12. Joshua Radin - I'd Rather Be With You from Simple Times

13. Pete Yorn - American Blues, Vol. 1

14. Superdrag - Filthy And Afraid from their upcoming new album

15. The Rosebuds - Lifelike from Life Like

16. Yarn - Can't Slow Down from Empty Pockets

17. Todd Snider - Fortunate Son from Peace Queer

18. Woodpigeon - Home As A Romanticized Concept Where Everyone Loves You Always And Forever from Songbook

19. The Killers - Spaceman Live on SNL

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

Video for their breakthrough single off their debut Chunk Of Change EP. Already looking forward to the album next year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Horse Feathers - Curs In The Weeds

Really like this song from the Horse Feathers album 'House With No Home' and the album is very good as well but there isn't much variety over the course of it to really grab my attention. Certainly fans of this kind of sparse Americana should definitely seek out the album.

Horse Feathers - Curs In The Weeds

Monday, October 13, 2008

Broken Records - Wolves

One of the few bands who are worthy of all the hype surrounding them, Scotland's Broken Records are a band to watch. So far they've only released an ep and an assortment of singles but all have been uniformly excellent and bode extremely well for their debut album. Using a range of instruments including guitars, bass, violin, cello, accordion, mandolin, piano, trumpet, glockenspiel and drums, they create a sound combining traditional European folk with modern Scottish alternative music (so their MySpace says anyway). It's an interesting mix and they put it all together brilliantly. They're supporting the excellent Okkervil River in the Academy on November 7 so it should be a great night of music. Credit to the Song By Toad blog for the mp3. The video for their new single 'Lies' is also below.

Wolves (BBC 6Music Session)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The New Year - X Off Days & The Company I Can Get

These two songs are off the latest self-titled album by The New Year. I haven't heard the whole thing but it's got some good write ups and I've enjoyed their past work so looking forward to getting it. The album is out now.

X Off Days

The Company I Can Get

Official Site

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

American Bang - The Stones

Fans of Kings Of Leon (especially the first two albums) should take note of this band. With the same kind of southern garage rock sound, American Bang will probably be stuck with the comparisons for a while but they're a very good band who write some great rock songs so soon enough they'll be able to stand on their own. They've got an ep coming out this month with their debut album due out next year. There's a few more tracks on their MySpace and on their official site so check them out. Very impressive.

American Bang - The Stones

Move To The Music

Official Site


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Gaslight Anthem

Mentioned these guys a couple of times before but I finally got their album and had a listen so felt they were worth another post. Listening to the album, the immediate point of reference would be The Killers. In fact, at times this sounds like Sam's Town II. Which is no bad thing in my eyes anyway. Coming from New Jersey, Springsteen will always be mentioned in connection with them and they pay homage to the main man a number of times on the record such as on 'Meet Me By The River's Edge' with the line "No surrender my Bobby Jean."

I think this is a great album and it's great to hear a young ambitious band not afraid to write big rock songs. Their energy and enthusiasm seeps through every note. They aim high and for me, they achieve it. There's some great songs on the record and they sound made for the live setting. They're doing a small tour in the UK in December so hopefully some promoter will bring them over here for a show. Would be one hell of a gig.

The Gaslight Anthem - Old White Lincoln

The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis And The Cool

Video for The 59 Sound

The Killers - Spaceman on SNL

Great song, much better than the first single 'Human'. Just announced a date in the 02 next February. Tickets on sale this Friday. You can now download the mp3 of this performance here


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rocky Votolato - White Daisy Passing

The excellent Rocky Votolato is playing Upstairs at Whelans tonight and is well worth going to see. He's a real talent and his last two albums have been absolutely fantastic, with last year's The Brag And Cuss having a more expansive band sound than 2006's more stipped down Makers. He's an Italian-American singer-songwriter and his style would probably be best termed as alt-country, folk. Tickets are only €15 so if you're free I would recommend going along. Check out the song and the video for the fantastic 'White Daisy passing' from his 2006 album Makers

Rocky Votolato - White Daisy Passing

Official Site

Friday, October 3, 2008

Review : Blitzen Trapper Whelans 2nd October 2008

Blitzen Trapper are quickly becoming one of my favourite bands and they put on a brilliant show last night in Whelans. Sure, it was sparsely attended but they didn't put any less effort into it and played a great hour long set, with the majority of the material coming from their newest album Furr, which is fantastic. They're well versed in classic American music, and much like Dr. Dog, adapt all these different styles into their own mix. The album jumps from folk to country to hard rock and the live show is much the same. They have a great energy which comes across really well both live and on record. I really couldn't recommend Furr enough and whenever they swing by Ireland again, hopefully they'll be packing out venues.

Notable mention also to the support band Absentee who put on a very good show as well. They're a good band and lead singer Dan Michaelson has a strong voice, sort of a cross between The National's Matt Berninger and Richard Hawley. It works best on the more uptempo songs which came across really well. The only major fault I found was his vocals were impossible to make out but certainly a band to keep an eye on. Initial impressions of their new album I got last night are very favourable.

Blitzen Trapper - Furr

Absentee - Bitchstealer

Land Lovers - Dark Secret

One of the most promising Irish bands around at the moment, Land Lovers have recently released their debut album Romance Romance. Falling into the synth-pop-rock genre, the Land Lovers have written some brilliantly catchy pop songs with some great guitar hooks. It's essentially a home recording but sounds great. They're definitely an Irish band to get behind.

They're playing Whelans in November and the album is available in Tower Records and Road Records in Dublin. It's also available online through their MySpace for only €7 so it's well worth picking up. A highly recommended debut.

Land Lovers - Dark Secret

Official Site

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed

Brooklyn's Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson's mix of alt-country, blues and garage rock produced an excellent self-titled debut album which has recently been released. The album is brilliantly loose with songs going in all sorts of different directions with Miles' voice brilliantly suited to the ramshackle nature of the record. His songs deal with homelessness, drugs, isolation and this dark nature to his songs can draw comparisons with some of Ryan Adams' work, alongside songs by Tweedy and Townes Van Zandt.

Somebody to keep an eye on in the near future, he's only in his mid 20s and if he can keep on making music it'll be interesting to see where he journeys to.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed


Buy the CD here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sheltered In Sound - Falling Stars

One of the new artists that I'm listening to at the moment is Sheltered In Sound which is the musical guise of Toronto's Sean Nilsson. He's released his debut album Field Recordings From The City and it's a great album. The music is very intimate and sparse. The songs stand on their own which is quite rare in new artists which alongside his voice makes him stand out from the hundreds of other singer-songwriters. There's an atmosphere in the record that's hard to come by. Download a couple of tracks from the album below and you can order the album here.

Sheltered In Sound - Falling Stars

Sheltered In Sound - Requiem In A Flat Minor

Official Site


Sheltered In Sound - Dancing In The Dark

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

I'm a big fan of Rilo Kiley and of Jenny's first solo record so I had high expectations for this one. And it lives up to those expectations, but only in parts. There's some great songs on the record but there's also a few that bring down the overall quality. It's worth getting for the 5 or 6 great tracks and even the lesser tracks are still far above the reaches of many female songwriters due to Jenny's great voice. Not as well rounded as her solo debut but she's definitely testing herself with the different genres and that's a very good thing.

She's playing The Button Factory on October 19th and tickets are still on sale. I saw her on the last tour and she was fantastic and I would expect the very same this time. She's a natural performer.

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Carpetbaggers (from LA 12/9/08)