White Fence: To The Boy I Jumped in Hemlock Alley

A couple of years ago, I went to a White Fence show for New Year’s Eve. They were in the middle of the bill. At the end of the show my friends and I agreed, that while the headliners were good, we would have been happy to listen to Tim Presley and friends noodle around on their guitars all night long. He is truly the king of gloriously weird psychedelia.

Here is To the Boy I Jumped in Hemlock Alley, from Cyclops Reap, White Fence’s most recent record:

You can listen to the rest here.


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Mud, Blood & Beer: The Sweet Life

On their second record, Mud, Blood & Beer have added some hard rock muscle to their country bar band sound, and the results are fantastic.

For example, there is this tune, which I love in part because they manage to make nasturtiums sound kind of dirty:
Nasturtiums in Bloom by Mud, Blood & Beer
And also these two, which which I love because I love aggressive almost-fuzzy guitars and sing-along songs:
Matches & Gasoline by Mud, Blood & Beer
Break Your Heart by Mud, Blood & Beer
If you’re in New York this weekend, you can hear them play songs from the record at their CD release party, which is Saturday, April 13 at the Bitter End at 8 PM.

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The Big Nowhere: Don’t Burn the Fortune

Pull Down the Moon (2012) rollicked and rolled; Don’t Burn the Fortune, the second record from The Big Nowhere, is contemplative, quieter, and a little melancholy, more evocative of a piano bar than a frontier dance hall. Whatever kind of heartbreak you have, they probably have a song for you.

The following are three of my favorite tracks:

365 Sunset Strip-Tease by The Big Nowhere
Margarita by The Big Nowhere
Dancing At The Country Queen by The Big Nowhere
The record is available digitally right now, and as a limited edition 100 CD release on May 1, 2013. The CD booklet will include artwork from some of the Big Nowhere’s friends, including author and comics genius Neil Gaiman; legendary singer-songwriter and BBC6 Music presenter Tom Robinson; TROMA films head and director Lloyd Kauffman; author Christopher Moore; singer-songwriter Stephen Jones (Babybird); singer-songwriters Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri; and comedian Continue reading

[strangers], Something New

Something New, from [strangers] featuring Eleanor Fletcher (Crystal Fighters), music for: Here we go over the falls, one more time. Maybe this is a terrible idea, but we don’t care. We can see the white water and the rocks but it doesn’t matter, we have each other. We’re too busy making new universes every time we kiss to care about things like logic and sense and appropriate planning. Are we doomed? Maybe. We’ll find out when we land.



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Rhubarb Whiskey: Same Sad End

Rhubarb Whiskey is Emchy (accordion, vocals), Boylamayka Sazerac (guitar, mandolin, upright bass, vocals) and Sizzle La Fey (violin, mandolin, banjo, piano), and they’re back and better than ever with their second record, Same Sad End.

There are, well, not murder ballads, exactly; maybe a murder waltz? Murder two-step? Songs which could be used to score a romantic montage for Bonnie and Clyde?
Grave Digger by Rhubarb Whiskey
Dreamy sad wandering songs:
My Rifle, My Pony, and Me by Rhubarb Whiskey
And this one, which haunts me. I keep listening to it hoping the story will change and Ella will get a happy ending and she never does.
Ella by Rhubarb Whiskey

Should you need a revivifying drink after that, the band does have a signature cocktail!

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Navy Skies: Cut My Teeth

Today is the first day of spring.

Time to open the windows and get the air moving in the house.

Make sure there aren’t any cobwebs in awkward locations, like, say, stretched across the entrance to your front porch.

Lay out your garden – window gardens count – and start looking at seeds.

Gather up all the projects that fell by the wayside during the winter gloom and figure out which ones you can finish before the heat of summer makes you lazy again.

While you’re doing all of that, you should listen to this song turned up as loudly as possible:
Cut My Teeth by Navy Skies

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Alex Culbreth and the Dead Country Stars: Heart in a Mason Jar


Heart In A Mason Jar is the new record from Alex Culbreth (Parlor Soldiers) and his band The Dead County Stars. They play both kinds, country AND western.

The record is full of things I like, including some honky-tonk swing:
Where Will My Troubles Go? by Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars

A variety of melancholy slow jams:
I'm Going To Nashville by Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars
A sobering, bittersweet love song for a hallucination:
Daisy by Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars
And a dollop of full-tilt bluegrass:
West Virginia Nervous Breakdown by Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars
And if you need a live performance to sway you, here they are at Ashland Coffee and Tea with Bang Bang:
Bang Bang-Alex Culbreth&Dead Country Stars@AC&T 2012Bang Bang-Alex Culbreth&Dead Country Stars@AC&T 2012
Watch this video on YouTube

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Fanmix: Warren Ellis, Gun Machine

Fan mixes: collections of music created as both soundtrack and illustration for other works, usually works of fiction, intended as both appreciation of and enticement to read the work of fiction.

This one is for Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, who is author of, among other things, Transmetropolitan and Crooked Little Vein, and is NOT the dude who plays music with Nick Cave.

Gun Machine is a murder mystery set in New York. But not the New York you usually see on cop shows; the Financial District, which is older and darker. Down there you’re off the grid. The streets are narrow and twisty and reality can be very thin. Depending on how the wind is blowing off the water, it does feel like you could walk around a corner today and stumble into the 17th century, 1926 could be tomorrow and 2018 was last week.

“Off the grid” would actually sum up the book as a whole. It is also bloody, startling, deeply lonely, occasionally bitingly funny, like watching my own city from the wrong end of a telescope, a complex puzzle, and very, very good. If you pick it up, be sure to both read and … Continue reading

Frank Iero: Be My Baby

Yes, the classic one, written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich and made famous by the Ronettes. But I promise you’ve never heard it quite like this, i.e. as if the person singing it – Frank Iero, of My Chemical Romance and LeATHERM0UTH – might be having both heart and throat destroyed.

It is creepy and beautiful and I love it.

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