If you missed CXCW last week, you missed out! (Except you didn’t because you can still see the whole thing on the site.) One of the stand-outs for me (aside from performances from our friend Kroyd of the Wind-up Birds with his project Forgets, our friend Pete David of the Payroll Union taking a solo turn, and our friend Christian D. once again inspiring panty-flinging), was a band out of New Jersey called Boxed Wine, who not only played a great cover of Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks”, but also trotted out an original called “Boomerang”.
Check out their EP Cheap, Fun which includes “Boomerang” as well as two other energetic, catchy songs that will get stuck in your head without making you hate them.
Cheap, Fun EP (FREE if you put '0') by Boxed Wine
Boxed Wine @ Bandcamp
Boxed Wine @ Twitter
Boxed Wine @ Facebook
A Foreign Country is a non-regular series in which I write about music I dug in my youth and still enjoy now. The name comes from the L.P. Hartley quote “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”, because, while I do continue to enjoy some of the music I listened to in my early days, my tastes have changed since then (thank fuck for that) and even the songs I still like are heard through different ears.
Depeche Mode initiated me into puberty.
This is an exaggeration, of course. I had already been a fan of Depeche Mode – then composed of Martin Gore, Dave Gahan, Andy Fletcher, and Alan Wilder – for a couple of years when their album Music for the Masses was released. I was 14, and the album brought DM up so high in my estimation that they might have even had a chance of knocking Duran Duran from their throne as my favorite band. It was a great album, an evolutionary step forward in their career, … Continue reading
In the three years that Now This Sound Is Brave has been going, I have come to think of some of the bands we cover as “my bands” – bands who have struck a singular chord with me and whom I have continued cover, excited to share news of their movements. If I had to rank “my bands” based on which ones hold the biggest place in my heart and spend the most time on my personal listening turntable, the Payroll Union would likely top that list. We’ve been covering the band since spring of 2011, and this year has been the most exciting in our shared history with the band yet.
This year has seen them touring the UK, beginning an exciting collaboration with historian Andrew Heath, and, best of all, releasing their first full-length album, The Mule & The Elephant . TM&TE is a more somber outing than previous Payroll Union releases – though more in sound than lyrical content as they continue to focus on the hard and bloody stories of early American history – but it is the most rewarding one so far.
As Dr. Heath expounds … Continue reading
CXCW (Couch by Couchwest) is on! It’s been great fun so far. If you missed the first day, don’t worry: unlike at other festivals, you can always catch performances later (and even previous years’ performances) at the website. For added fun, be sure to join in the chatter on Twitter by following @couchxcouchwest and the #CXCW hashtag.
“This month we celebrate Couch By Couchwest (http://couchbycouchwest.com/). That’s the alternative music festival that can be enjoyed from the confines of your own home, on your very own luxurious couch! Who needs SxSW? You’ve gotta take time off from work and deal with crowds and drunkards. I don’t know about you, but I’m too broke and lazy to go to the trouble of heading to Austin. Criminy, you can be your own crowd and revel in your own drunkeness!
Thanks to AnnieTUFF (@AnnieTUFF) for this month’s artwork. Grab a beer, a shot or… some herb if you live in Colorado or Washington (like me!), kick back and listen to some tunes. Oh! And leave some comments!”
Sold out shows at the Grog Shop are kind of a bad deal for short people, as evidenced by the above photo. Sure, the most important aspect of a show is the sound (and this is where the sold out status was a benefit as the bodies absorbed some of the typically enthusiastic Grog Shop sound mixing), but there is a certain disconnect from the energy of a show when you can’t see what’s going on onstage. And you tend to miss some of the fun.
Opener Damion Suomi, who accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, set to charming the audience immediately, which can be more than half the battle for an opening act. During the course of one song, the subject of our infamous burning river came up, making Cleveland-virgin Suomi stop and comment a verse later, “I’m sorry: you just cheered your river catching fire.” Yep, welcome to Cleveland.
Suomi has a pretty direct, simple American sound that sometimes pulls elements from Irish music. It is not, however, a painted-on Irish atmosphere, some of the elements being used very subtly, and seems to be a part of Suomi’s core as I observed that the character of his voice … Continue reading
“Riot in My House” – Mark Lanegan Band
Yes, I just made a “Why isn’t everyone a raving Mark Lanegan fan yet?” post a couple of months ago, but I just started a new day job, and Lanegan’s rumbling tones have been helping ease my re-entry at the end of the work day (the album version of that killer live track above is particularly good for shaking off the effects of fluorescent lighting and conversations with normal people).
And there is a bit of news to include:
- Lanegan has collaborated with British multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood and the result, an album called Black Pudding, is slated for release on April 16.
- April 2 will see a deluxe reissue of Mad Season’s sole album Above and will include a track featuring Lanegan called “Locomotive”. You can hear the song at Rolling Stone.
- Mark will be opening for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on a run of Australian dates:
Sat. March 2 SIDNEY MYER MUSIC BOWL Melbourne, VIC
Sun. March 3 THEBARTON THEATRE Adelaide, NSW
Wed. March 6 RED HILL AUDITORIUM Perth, WA
Fri. March 8 RIVERSTAGE, … Continue reading
Some hip hop from the ATL for you today. We get so many submissions from rappers who just spit straight over an old song, with no attention paid to rhythm or dynamics and little thought given to production, that when I come across an artist like Yamin Semali, who leaves some space for personality and clever rhymes over great production, I almost cry.
Check out the video for “Yamintro (Hello Again)”, utilizing the classic Cars song, from Semali’s new album self-titled album, and keep any eye out for the cool Chevy-logo tailpipe.
“Yamintro (Hello Again)” – Yamin Semali
Yamin Semali’s album is available now via his Bancamp site and features John Robinson (Scienz of Life, DOOM, J. Rawls), Boog Brown (Mello Music Group), Chopp (The Smile Rays, Dillon), Blc Txt (King I Divine), and Gotta Be Karim (Black Spade, Do For Self), with production by Illastrate.
Yamin Semali @ Bandcamp
Yamin Semali @ Twitter
Yamin Semali @ Facebook
Around the time Now This Sound Is Brave started, back in 2010, I found myself in the habit of inadvertently seeing Willy Mason play live as he seemed to be opening for everyone I wanted to see. While he clearly had talent and skill, it took a while for me to be won over. Mason had started his career at a young age and was growing into his role.
Seeing his name pop up in the old e-mail inbox after three years is like seeing an old, beloved friend again. Willy Mason is trotting out his first new album in six years, Carry On, and in the run-up, he has an EP titled Don’t Stop Now available for free download from NoiseTrade. It’s a beautiful little thing, ranging from the somber to the downright danceable.
Mason is gearing up to tour the UK and Australia, and will be joining the Gentlemen of the Road tour for four stops this summer.
Willy Mason Official … Continue reading
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.
In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.
Murder by Death’s latest album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, is a product of one of the most successful Kickstarter music campaigns to date, and the endearingly silly video … Continue reading