Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jay Bennett: Whatever Happened I Apologise

Former Wilco member Jay Bennett has released his new album for free on It's a strong album from a really good songwriter. I always thought it was a pity he left Wilco because he added a lot to the group. I haven't really kept up with much of his solo work but seeing as this one is free, it's a pretty good place to start. Here's what Jay had to say about the release.

It is stark, stripped down, and acoustic based—more so than any other record I have made. I really wanted to capture the simpler and more emotional nature of the songwriting, and I knew that the only way I could do this was to put it together quickly, with no second-guessing, and no heavy deliberating about minor details. Consequently I would have to learn to embrace the resultant imperfections—and I have. All of the vocals are done live to my own acoustic guitar accompaniment, so it has some "warts," but, in my effort to not forsake integrity for technical perfection, the album ended up feeling more honest, immediate, naked, and cohesive to me. I am very proud of presenting myself without my typical voluminous bells and whistles. I am left wondering why I haven't done this more often in the past.

As I've really wanted to help out my studio partner, Matt DeWine, and his partner Casey Meehan, with their new "download record label," rockproper, that's just where you can find this new album: Again, it's called "Whatever Happened I Apologize," and did I mention it's free? I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mr. David Viner - Among The Rumour and the Rye

I've been listening to this album a lot recently. Probably closest to folk music but elements of blues and country in the mix as well for sure. He's a great musician and a fantastic songwriter. His voice is unique and it all adds up to a great atmospheric album. Here's a video of him performing one of the stand out tracks from the album called Lavender.

He has a couple of mp3s up on his website including this unreleased track.

Mr. David Viner - Easier To Cry

Monday, November 17, 2008

Little Joy

There hasn't been too much new music that's interested me in the last while, but recently there's been a couple of good releases. This is definitely one of them. Little Joy is Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti's side project who along with Rodrigo Amarante and Binki Shapiro has created a really great mellow (in the best sense of the word) short record. It's 11 songs clocking in at 30mins and it doesn't waste a second. There's definitely an old school influence to the record and it ranges from 60s radio pop to reggae. A really good debut album. Who needs the Strokes when Fabrizio and Albert Hammond Jr. are making such good music on their own.

Little Joy - Next Time Around

Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream

Bruce Springsteen's new album is set for January 27 release on Columbia Records. Working on a Dream was recorded with the E Street Band and features twelve new Springsteen compositions plus two bonus tracks. It is the fourth collaboration between Springsteen and Brendan O'Brien, who produced and mixed the album.

Track list:
1. Outlaw Pete
2. My Lucky Day
3. Working On a Dream
4. Queen of the Supermarket
5. What Love Can Do
6. This Life
7. Good Eye
8. Tomorrow Never Knows
9. Life Itself
10. Kingdom of Days
11. Surprise, Surprise
12. The Last Carnival

Bonus tracks:
The Wrestler
A Night with the Jersey Devil

Springsteen said, "Towards the end of recording Magic, excited by the return to pop production sounds, I continued writing. When my friend producer Brendan O'Brien heard the new songs, he said, 'Let's keep going.' Over the course of the next year, that's just what we did, recording with the E Street Band during the breaks on last year's tour. I hope Working on a Dream has caught the energy of the band fresh off the road from some of the most exciting shows we've ever done. All the songs were written quickly, we usually used one of our first few takes, and we all had a blast making this one from beginning to end."

Working on a Dream is Bruce Springsteen's twenty-fourth album and was recorded and mixed at Southern Tracks in Atlanta, GA with additional recording in New York City, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. [press release from]

The album drops just five days before Bruce and the E Street Band play the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIII. A preview of the album's title track came last night on NBC's Sunday Night Football, a 90-second edit of the song over halftime highlights:

TV On The Radio Tripod Saturday 15 November

Excellent performance by TVOTR on Saturday night.A great mix from their three albums with far more older stuff played than I expected. Disappointed not to hear 'Halfway Home' and a couple of others but overall the setlist was good even though it was very short (about 70mins, definitely could have done with a couple of more songs.) The sound wasn't the best, with the vocals too low and everything else very muddy. Still enjoyed it though and while it wasn't as good as perhaps I was expecting, it was still a performance far beyond the reaches of most bands.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Gaslight Anthem Acoustic

The excellent blog I Am Fuel, You Are Friends posted some great acoustic Gaslight Anthem tracks recently. Download them here. They're really good, and the lyrics are easily good enough to stand the extra focus put on them by the acoustic versions. 'The 59 Sound' is excellent and 'The Backseat' is probably better than on the record. They're playing here in March next year. Going to be a great gig.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Cardinals - The Ambassador 8 November 2008

Fantastic. Will definitely be on many a gig of the year list. Starting just after quarter past 8, The Cardinals unleashed a two hour set of near perfection. Straight from the opener 'Cobwebs' it was clear Ryan was in great voice and the band was in great form. The excellent sound in the Ambassador allowed them to really express themselves. There wasn't much interaction with the crowd, past a couple of muffled "thanks" from Ryan but I didn't mind it too much. The music was more than enough.

Nearly every song was a highlight, but I still had a few favourites. 'Fix It' was incredible, his voice was particularly great on that one I thought. 'I Taught Myself How To Grow Old', 'Come Pick Me Up', 'Crossed Out Name', 'La Cienega Just Smiled' were all fantastic. Special mention has to go to a stunning version of 'Wonderwall' and also to 'Stop' which had the entire audience in wowed silence. They finished with an explosive version of 'I See Monsters' which wrapped up the show perfectly. He could have played for another two hours and I wouldn't have had many complaints. The band is easily one of the best bands around today and the two songs Neal Casal sang were really good as well. Not many bands or artists could reach the level The Cardinals managed last night.


On stage - 8:20PM GMT
1. Cobwebs
2. Everybody Knows
3. Born into a Light
4. Please do not Let Me Go
5. Fix It
6. Natural Ghost
7. Goodnight Rose
8. Off Broadway
9. Wonderwall
10. I Taught Myself how to Grow Old
11. Sun Also Sets
12. Come Pick Me Up
13. Grand Island (Neal Casal)
14. Go Easy
15. Sink Ships
16. Crossed Out Name
17. Stars Go Blue
Band Intro
18. Let it Ride
19. Desire
20. Evergreen
21. Cold Roses

Off 22:00

On 22:05

22. Freeway to the Canyon (Neal Casal)
23. Like Yesterday
24. La Cienega
25. Stop
26. Two
27. I See Monsters

Off at 22:33

Okkervil River - The Academy 7 November 2008

A very good gig that could have been great was the feeling I had leaving. First off, the show itself was very strong, I'm not a fan of everything they do but there were moments of real brilliance. Lost Coastlines followed by Our Life Is Not A Movie, Or Maybe was a particular highlight for me. The band were in good form and played for a more than respectable 80mins or so. They're a great live band, with a really good energy.

Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, this wasn't easily transmitted on Friday night. The venue was woeful, the Green Room in the Academy. It really seems that they had a spare room in the building and decided "Hey let's make this into a music venue". Bad idea, with it's low ceiling, poor sightlines and ridiculously low stage, it made for a pretty uncomfortable night and left most of the audience not able to see a thing. Possibly because of this, there was an audible chatter through nearly all of the gig, particularly noticeable during the couple of acoustic songs. I'd definitely go see them again and would recommend their albums but I couldn't help feeling it was a bit of a missed opportunity for a really great gig.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coffee and Cardinals

Really looking forward to this Saturday in the Ambassador. Here's an acoustic session with performances of 'Born Into The Light', 'Evergreen', 'Fix It', 'Magick' and 'Natural Ghost'

The Killers - Spaceman

Loved this song from the first time I heard it in The Academy a couple of months back. Here's the performance from Jools last night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jenny Lewis & Elvis Costello - Carpetbaggers

One of the best songs on her newest album, here's Jenny and Elvis recreating the song live on Letterman.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bruce Springsteen - Workin' On A Dream

Another new Bruce song, premiered at an Obama rally on Sunday, called Workin' On A Dream. Quoting the always reliable

"The song has been recorded for the follow-up to Magic, which Springsteen has been working on this fall, an album expected to see release around the time of the Presidential Inauguration in January 2009. "

Great time to be a Bruce fan.