Y’all Need to Listen To This: Father John Misty, Fear Fun

Fear Fun, by Father John Misty (aka J. Tillman) is: the soundtrack for an adventure. Not the twee hipster kind either; to paraphrase NTSIB-friend Cam Rogers, this is music for the bad ideas that will end in bruises.

Or possibly with In-and-Out fries, consumed slowly while perched on the hood of a van, watching the sun rise at Venice Beach.

Or maybe with bruises and fries.

I’m Writing A Novel by subpop

Fear Fun is also: a record I want to share with everyone, because, seriously, y’all need to listen to this, and a novel that I find myself circling back to, just to see how the characters are doing.

If it actually was a book, it would be one that I would I know if I lent it out I’d never get it back. It would also be one that I would deliberately lend to people who needed it. And then once they had finished it we could go down to the beach and eat our … Continue reading

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Grifter’s Hymnal

1. Who is Ray Wylie Hubbard? He’s Gandalf, if The Lord of The Rings had been written as a team effort by Warren Ellis and Charles Portis.

2. Once, very long ago, when I had only just begun to wander, I fetched up in a church in the center of London. There was music playing when I walked through the door, organ music, swelling and rolling and bouncing between the marble floors and pillars and filling up the soaring arches.

I drifted around, muddled by jet-lag, enjoying the music and only vaguely paying attention to the people who were with me. Eventually the music stopped, and a small, gray-haired man emerged from behind the organ, and I realized a) he had been playing the whole time and b) I had been walking quietly so I didn’t disturb the angels that I had thought were there and c) it had not seemed the tiniest bit irregular to me, that an off-duty angel should have stopped in to a random church in central London to keep the organ in good tune.

(I was really jet-lagged. About two hours later I would fall upon the only 7-11 in town … Continue reading

The Big Nowhere: Pull Down the Moon

Good morning, NTSIBbers. Some of you may recognize today’s band from their recent appearance at Couch by CouchWest, but for those of you that don’t, please meet The Big Nowhere, from Glasgow, Scotland.

Their line-up is still evolving, but the music I’m bring you today is the work of Simon Sinclair (Vocals, Guitar, Slide Guitar, Organ, Percussion, Melodica, Saxophone), Billy Crowe (Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Harmonica, Banjolin, Lap Steel), Joe Keegan (Piano, Organ) and Peter Morgan (Drums).

Together they make music that sounds like it belongs somewhere (or some-when) a little bit wilder than now; some place and time where people are just starting to build dance-halls on the frontier.

The song that hooked my attention was, as it happened, the first song on the record: Some Kind of Sickness. Something about the tune was familiar, but I couldn’t quite work out what it was – something about the melody, maybe. I found myself humming it at odd moments, trying to figure it out. The penny finally dropped one afternoon when … Continue reading

Jon Gant & His Band: A Rough Start to the Night

A Rough Start to the Night is Canadian singer/songwriter Jon Gant‘s eighth album. It was recorded in Calgary with Lorrie Matheson, and Gant’s new band, which is Scott Munro (Chad Vangaalen, Gunther) on upright bass, Chris Dadge (Lab Coast, Samantha Savage Smith) on Drums, Chris Vail (Key To The City) on mandolin and Lawrence Nasen (No River) on banjo.

Gant’s been around for a while and done some hard traveling, and on this record, it shows. Though while these songs are world-weary, only two – Broad Street and That Way Again are really sad.

My favorites are the love songs: And I Always Will and Wild Irish Girl.

The former is wry and sweet – sample lyrics: I used to tell you through the radio / but the radio don’t play my songs anymore / I’m hoping somehow this song will make it to your stereo/I just want you to know / I love you / and I always will – and got me to thinking about both love songs and … Continue reading

Dolly Varden: Mouthful of Lies

Dolly Varden is: Steve Dawson (vocals, guitars, piano), his wife Diane Christiansen (vocals, guitar, organ), Mark Balletto (back-up vocals, guitars, lap steel), Mike Bradburn: (back-up vocals and bass) and Matt Thobe (back-up vocals, drums and piano). My favorite fact about them is that they named their band after a “rare and beautiful trout” that was named after a character in Charles Dickens’ short novel Barnaby Rudge and not, as it may sound, after Dolly Parton.

They are from Chicago, and Mouthful of Lies is actually their debut album from way back in 1995, freshly remixed and remastered and returned to the world. It’s a little bit like a time capsule: there’s some grunge echoes in there, some shoe-gaze-y filigree around the edges, and a couple that have some sweet pop shimmer.

This is the title track:
Dolly Varden "Mouthful Of Lies"Dolly Varden "Mouthful Of Lies"
Watch this video on YouTube

And this is the one I go back to over and over again:
Continue reading

Let the Wrong Light In: Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Heart of a Dog

Kasey Anderson and the Honkies are from both Seattle and Portland, and are Kasey Anderson on vocals, guitar, percussion, Andrew KcKeag (Presidents of the United States of America) on guitar, vocals, Eric Corson (The Long Winters) on bass, and Mike Musburger (The Posies, The Supersuckers) on drums.

Heart of a Dog is the result of Anderson’s desire to move beyond being a solo artist and “just make a rock n’ roll record” and, dear readers: he, the band, and their all-star guest stars (Jenny Comlee of the Decemberists and Dave Harding of Richmond Fontaine, among others) have most definitely succeeded.

I’ve been carrying the songs around with me for a while now, and listening to them in all kinds of situations: while studying for exams, while on the train, and now, poolside, and they always improve both my mood and my day, whether I apply them directly or they float up on shuffle.

I can’t really isolate one or two favorites for you – the whole record is strong – but I … Continue reading