A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Adam Turla, Murder by Death

Murder By Death, left to right: Matt Armstrong, Scott Brackett, Adam Turla, Sarah Balliet, Dagan Thogerson.
Photo by Greg Whitaker

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. Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, the sixth record from Murder by Death, has pretty much everything I like: big roaring drums, delicate and occasionally super creepy string sections, and songs that double as good stories. Such as Lost River – in which a husband begs a wife to drown herself to join him in the afterlife … Continue reading

A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Murder by Death

Murder by Death feature 2

  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 for the campaign helpfully categorizes the band’s sound as “dark whiskey devil music”. But before you go off thinking this is another cheesed-up act pining for … Continue reading

Murder by Death Is Coming to Cleveland

Murder by Death feature

  The best voices in modern music are not those that are technically proficient but those that are dented and torn, so full of character that they could tell a whole story just by humming a few notes. Tom Waits, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen… as their careers continued their lives seeped into their voices, expanding, contracting, cracking, causing deep crevices. Adam Turla of Murder by Death is well on his way to becoming a member of this camp. In the early days of MbD, Turla’s voice was like a flower bud, green and simple. Now, a decade on, his voice has a timbre closer to another one of those vocal icons, Johnny Cash.     And like those other singular singers, Turla is not relying merely on his battered vocal chords to carry him forward. He integrates it with A) a great band, and B) great stories. While this is clearly a band with a sense of humor – not only are they named after the 1976 murder spoof starring Peter Falk, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, and more, but titles in their catalogue include “Spring Break 1899″, “Intergalactic Menopause”, and “Killbot 2000″ – their strongest suit is balancing … Continue reading

Bits: Strand of Oaks, Murder by Death/The Builders and the Butchers, Rome, The Due Diligence, Hell and Half of Georgia

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Strand of Oaks has made the demos to Pope Killdragon available as a free download on Bandcamp. Murder by Death and the Builders and the Butchers are releasing a split 7″ on which MBD will cover TBATB and vice versa (and Ray Rude will cover both with his Mission Operation project). Murder by Death is having a contest wherein two artists can win all 5 MBD albums on vinyl, all 3 TBATB albums on vinyl, and 5 copies of the split 7″ for producing cover art for the split 7″. Details at Murder by Death’s website. Tracks from Rome, the project by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi – which also features Jack White and Norah Jones – have been made available. You can hear “Two Against One” at Pitchfork, and “The Rose with the Broken Neck” is streaming at NPR. The Due Diligence have made the mp3 version of their album I Will Wreck Your Life available if you just can’t wait for the record release on May 29. If you’re in Long Beach, California, this Thursday, April 21, check out NTSIB friends Hell and Half of Georgia at Alex’s Bar.

Bits: This Is Jim Jones, Sleigh Bells, Trent’s new joint, Liquid Swords II, Murder by Death & whiskey, litrock, Frank the Funkasaurus Rex wrecks ya

In Pitchfork’s One Week Only spotlight this week is This is Jim Jones. The guys at Citizen Dick share a bangin’ new Sleigh Bells song with their review of the band’s recent Cleveland show. Get a listen to the new Trent Reznor/Mariqueen Maandig project How to Destroy Angels at Pitchfork. I am underwhelmed. What do you all think? Confirmed via his Twitter, the RZA is producing the follow-up to GZA’s classic Liquid Swords album. RZA predicts a fall 2010 release. HearYa premieres the video for Murder By Death’s life-affirming paean to the water of life, “As Long As There Is Whiskey In The World”. For a little fun, largehearted boy has dug up Wikipedia’s List of Songs That Retell a Work of Literature. Whole lotta Tolkien and King going on there. If you have somehow missed the puppet dinosaur craze, please meet Frank the Funkasaurus Rex. Frank loves him some tits ‘n’ tubs, and we love Frank. Addendum: So, that scroll across the bottom? Not a joke. TBK was seriously pissed about this video. Sorry, guys. Wish I had known before. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_PrT25o8Vs]