Halloween Special: Sleaze of the Reaper, Blackwater Jukebox

For all of your Halloween party / waiting for trick-or-treaters / quiet evening at home with zombie movie needs: the latest from NTSIB favorites Blackwater Jukebox. I suggest you download it – it’s free! – and then crank it up.

Some of my favorites include Black Rain, from the Restricted Archives of the Smithsonian:
Black Rain by Blackwater Jukebox
And also Harvest Tarantella from the Sicilian highlands:
Harvest Tarantella by Blackwater Jukebox

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Fistful of Beard: Until We Know Better

Fistful of Beard


Often when you hear a band who sits at the, some would say unlikely, crossroads of country and punk, it seems the punk tag is only given a passing nod, more evident in band members’ tattoos than in the music. Fistful of Beard, who hail from the northern Alabama town of Decatur, attack it from the opposite direction. On FoB’s new album, Until We Know Better, the guitars crash more than they jangle – though the music always speaks with an Alabaman accent, an accent of good ol’ boys who are actually good, of people just trying to do the best they can.


In The Casket by Fistful of Beard


And for those who like a tender moment, songs like “The Rain” offer real poignancy.


The Rain (featuring Andy Jackson) by Fistful of Beard


You can get Until We Know Better on Bandcamp, either digitally or in a limited-run CD with a hand-screened cover of that wonderful sleeve art.


Fistful of Beard @ Bandcamp

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Halloween Special: Citóg Mixtape Volume IV

Gothic Christmas has (probably) been rained out for me this year – I’m writing this as Hurricane Sandy rolls over Manhattan – but I’ve been staying in the holiday spirit by listening to this mixtape from Citóg, a record label/ independent collective from the west of Ireland.

Milan Jay, scrappy little band of my heart, contributed a track called Mask Up (The Ballad of Michael Meyers) which I am sharing below, but the rest of the compilation is also excellent.
Milan Jay – Mask Up (The Ballad Of Michael Myers) by Citóg

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Postcards from the Pit: Fiona Apple / Blake Mills, T5, 10/16/12

This show was part pilgrimage, because I had never seen Fiona Apple play live before, and part penance, for largely the same reason.

The show started with music from her band, led by Blake Mills, who sang some of his delicately lovely pop songs and put on something of a master class in the fine art of the electric guitar:

Here is what I learned, about Fiona Apple‘s shows: every single one of them is a cage match between the spirit of rock n’ roll and her demons. She does not so much sing a song as conduct a jazz cabaret-inflected exorcism.

It’s incredible and intense; I actually spent several long stretches standing mostly still, eyes closed, just letting the chords bounce and crash around my head while her voice – her big, brazen, smokey, flexible, magnificent voice – washed over me.

I am, as usual, completely useless with things like set lists. I recognized several from The Idler Wheel, including Every Single Night, Daredevil, Anything We Want, Left Alone and Fast As You Can, but what really defined the evening for … Continue reading

Photos from the Austin City Limits Festival


Originally shot for Speakers in Code, our friend Nate Burrell has allowed us to share some of his photos from this year’s Austin City Limits Festival. The shots are so gorgeous, I’m not even going to begrudge him the fact that he didn’t shoot the Afghan Whigs. who played yet another stellar set at the fest.

(Click photos to view larger versions.)



For even more great ACL Fest photos, visit Nate’s site.


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Late Night Listening: Glen Hansard, The Parting Glass


A wonderful lullaby, here’s Glen Hansard singing the traditional Irish song “The Parting Glass”. Hansard has said he might like to record an album of traditional songs someday, and I hope he does. His strong, pure delivery makes me want to dig out my Dubliners album.


The Parting Glass (trad) performed by Glen Hansard from Conor Masterson on Vimeo.

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Video: The Rest, Hey! is for Horses [NSFW]

There is really nothing that gets my attention like an email encouraging me to watch a video containing puppet fornication. That kind of thing is my Kryptonite.

The video is the first of nine which the band intends to make and features puppets and set design by Kori Pop and horses by Amber Edgar. It mixes puppetry with delicately lovely animation and is truly a work of art. It’s also not safe for work OR small children.

The song is Hey! is For Horses, and it is from SEESAW, by The Rest. SEESAW is the Record That Almost Wasn’t – everything that could go wrong, did – but happily for all of us, it is also The Little Record That Could, and has made it to the light of day.

The last time I wrote about The Rest, I described one of their songs as a “bubblebath of noise” which is still the best description I can give you for their sound.

The only thing I would add is that they have the ability to be bouncy and poppy, and also to roar and soar within the same song, like a great dragon opening his wings and … Continue reading

Feel Bad For You, October 2012

It’s Fifty Shades of Come Make Fun of Us for What We Listen to When No One Is Looking for FBFY this month. I tried to save a little face with my entry.

“Embarrassed by some of the music that you love? October is for you! Honestly, I was expecting more bad country music submissions for this month, but we got a nice variety. And by nice I mean embarrassing. Your favorite bloggers, twitters, self-important a-holes on the internet, and other jokesters present 50 Shades of Feel Bad for You: Guilty Pleasures Edition. Thanks to @philnorman for the killer cover art.”




1. Title: Killer Whale
Artist: Underground Resistance
Album (year): 1992
Submitted By: Slowcoustic
Comments: I don’t want to say this is a “guilty pleasure” as much as it is a genre that most folks are surprised that I really really love (once and awhile). Early Detroit Techno. The “techno” today tends to be a bit too shiny for me and I am just too far removed from any sort … Continue reading