Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Post #247: Yellow Ostrich

***New album released in August of this year.***

Growing up, watching Sesame Street, I never bothered to ask certain questions.  What is Snuffleupagus?  Are there such creatures as Grouches?  Is Elmo really that ticklish?  Instead, I trusted them.  Trusted that in the end, my questions would be answered, like coming to the end of Lost.

Unfortunately, I never received my answers...until now.  Recently, I picked up the new Yellow Ostrich album, and I feel that their name answers one of those long unanswered question, What is Big Bird?

One less thing for me to worry about.

(Disclaimer:  I came to this conclusion alone.  At no point during their album do they endorse Sesame Street or Big Bird.  And not once to they reference the fact that they have cracked the code).

Their full length album, The Mistress, was released in August of this year, and is where you will find both "Mary" and "Whale".  I absolutely love this album, and it leaves me wanting so much more!

Thankfully, after further research, that is what I found.

After moving from Wisconsin to New York, Alex Schaaf, using the lo-fi approach of a 4 track recorder, released his first full length album in 2009, and since has released a handful of EPs.  Experimental at times, ranging from The Serious Kids EP which is a trial run at dance music, to The Morgan Freeman EP which was "inspired by Morgan Freeman's Wikipedia page".

The one that really caught my attention was the most recent, 2010's Fade Cave EP, which consists entirely of vocals and nothing more than a drum machine.  So good!

Each release, up until The Mistress, is available on their Bandcamp page.  I have included the link HERE, but have also embedded his first self titled release, as well as the Fade Cave EP.

They have chosen to allow these as downloads for a 'Name your price' price tag.  However, I am including them here with the hopes that not only will you download and spread the word, but that you will decide to buy them at a reasonable price.

Yellow Ostrich played at the 400 Bar back in April.  Let's buy enough to ensure that they will be back in the near future.

Please support this artist!!!

Wikipedia (no page yet)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post #246: The Head and the Heart

***Live iTunes session released today.***

Earlier this year, I learned about The Head and the Heart when I purchased my tickets for Iron and Wine (posted HERE and HERE), as they were scheduled to be the opener for the June performance.  You can check out my post HERE from April.

At that time, I said, "I think we are at the beginning of something huge."

I think I was right.  Excuse me...I know I was right.

Not only have I now heard them on the radio in various public places, but they also performed their track "Lost In My Mind" for the recent Cities 97 Sampler #23.

Today, they released an 8 song, live EP, exclusive to iTunes.  If you haven't purchased anything I have posted up until now, this would be a great time to start.  I suggest you start with their self titled debut, from January of this year and then move on to this EP.

It includes 6 songs from their self-titled album and two new ones titled "Ever Since" and "When I Fall Asleep".

"Rivers and Roads" is one of my favorites, but I also recommend "Cats and Dogs" and "Down in the Valley".

When they were in town, I had a chance to meet the band, and spend a good amount of time speaking with Josiah (the one in the hat).  Awesome guy, and bunch of great people.

If you haven't seen them yet, I also posted about 10 videos of them both at First Avenue and at an in-store performance at the Electric Fetus.  Check them out HERE.

This is the type of band that not only need our support, but they deserve it!

Please support this artist!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post #245: Youth Lagoon

***Played at 7th Street Entry last Wednesday.  New album
released in May.***

If I were to ask you what artists hail from Idaho, you might be able to name Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue fame, or possibly Josh Ritter, whom I posted HERE, HERE and HERE.  Well now you can name a third.

This last week, Youth Lagoon stopped by the 7th Street Entry for a set.  Unfortunately, I didn't see this video until that day.

Trevor Powers wrote most of his material between classes while attending Boise State University, recording his debut album in his bedroom, kitchen and 4 car garage.

After posting his first song online, it got enough attention to land him a two album deal with Fat Possum Records.

His first album, The Year of Hibernation, was released in May of this year, and "Montana" is track number seven.  I would suggest also checking out the songs "17" and "The Hunt".

Let's hope this is just the beginning and that it won't be long before his return to Minnesota.

Please support this artist!!!

Website (bio page on Fat Possum Record's site)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post #244: Feist

***New album released in October, and a cameo 
in the new Muppets movie.***

At this point, I think most people are familiar with Feist.  Up until Friday, I could say the same thing for myself.  Except in my situation, I hadn't actually listened to her yet.

It took bringing my boys to see the new Muppet Movie, in which Feist makes a cameo, for me to pull up her recently released album Metals on my ipod.  Up until this weekend, the only Feist album I owned.

Born in Nova Scotia, Leslie Feist has released 5 solo albums, spanning from 1999 to October of this year.  During this time she also lent her vocals to fellow Canadian band Broken Social Scene.

As the opening track on Metals, "The Bad In Each Other" had me hooked instantly.  I'm still digesting this album, and will continue to do so before I crack into her previous work.

Hopefully I'll have a chance to do so before she appears in the Muppet sequel.

Please support this artist!!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post #243: MyChildren MyBride

***Playing at the Cabooze Sunday night.***

It was Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" that would cause me to consciously decide that I love music.

And it was Metallica's "Enter Sandman" that caused me decide I love 'heavy' music.

I remember being at my neighbor friend's house, one that had MTV, and seeing the black and white video for the first time.  I had always seen people at school with Metallica shirts on.  Shirts with slogans like 'Ride the Lightening' or 'Metal up your ass'.  But up until that point it never appealed to me.

Well that day, on my friend's 'L' shaped couch, in his basement, far away from the protective rules of my parents, that video set in motion something that would change my life forever.  I became a metal head.

Over the years my taste for it hasn't changed, as I still love Metallica, but it has grown.  Grown to where I am listening to things that most people wouldn't even consider music.  Things that back then I wouldn't have called music myself.

One of those bands is Mychildren Mybride, a Christian metalcore band from Alabama.

They signed in 2007 to a label that has become a staple in my collection, Solid State Records, which is home to numerous other heavy metal Christian bands like August Burns Red (posted HERE and HERE), Demon Hunter (posted HERE and HERE), and Living Sacrifice (posted HERE and HERE).

Mychildren Mybride released their second album in mid 2010, with "Terra Firma" being the opening track.  They are currently in the studio working on number three.

I know this won't appeal to a large number of you, but this is music to my ears.

Please support this artist!!!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Post #242: Mason Jennings

***Performing at First Avenue Saturday night.***

Earlier this year, Mason released his 10th full length album, Minnesota, named after his adopted state where he spent most of his early career.

Where his most recent studio album of new material, 2009's Blood of Man, took on an electric rock type sound, this album moves back towards Mason's mellow side.

You will find "Bitter Heart" as the opening track of the album, and "No Relief" as the closer.

This will be the 5th time I've seen Mason, and I have no doubt I will be leaving with a smile on my face.

Part of this smile will be as a result of seeing a great show, but also due to being able to experience singing each and every song with the rest of the Minnesota crowd.

Please support this artist!!!

Record Store Day celebrates Black Friday

***Record Store Day celebrates Black Friday.***

One of my favorite things to do is go to the record store.

There is something so relaxing about flipping through stacks of vinyl and CDs, one, by one, by one.  I always lose track of time, and typically run out of time.

I for one have a habit of making regular trips to the record store, and unfortunately this is not a trait shared with most of the general public.  It is this lack of patronage and the growth of digital downloads that is making it harder and harder for the true music stores to keep their doors open.  This is where Record Store Day can hopefully be of some help.

Taking place on the third Saturday of each April, it is the day that fans, artists and independent music stores join together and celebrate their love of music.

Initially conceived as a way to celebrate the art of music, it has also done a good job of getting people to actually go to the record stores.  A reason for this is that the releases are special, limited edition items, often times vinyl, that are produced in quantities of anywhere between 300 and 7000.

The first Record Store Day started in 2008, bringing approximately 10 special releases through 300 or so stores.

With each year it has grown substantially with this year seeing over 150 special releases, distributed through over 700 stores, with over 600 artists making in store appearances by either performing or doing a meet and greet.

With today being Black Friday, and all about shopping, it would only make sense that Record Store Day utilize it as well.

Below is a link to a PDF list of today's Black Friday releases from artists like Ryan Adams, Black Keys, Wilco, The Cilvil Wars, Beastie Boys and Kings of Leon.

Hopefully the creation of this glorious day in April, and the addition of Black Friday Record Store Day, will help the independent music store stick around for as long as possible.

PDF list of today's releases

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Post #241: The Ike Reilly Assassination

***Playing tonight at First Avenue***

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have posted this a few days ago to give enough advanced notice so that you could actually check out the show.  However, seeing that The Ike Reilly Assassination have a pretty big following in Minneapolis, they will be back, and quite often.

Hailing from Libertyville, Illinois, Ike's Minneapolis following is so strong, that many actually consider him a local musician.

It all started with a four night stand he did at the Turf Club in 2001, after the release of his first official album, Salesmen and Racists.

It was the release of this album, and the popularity that followed, that allowed Ike to retire from his working class lifestyle as a doorman and cemetery worker and stop "halfway screwing around" with music.

Since then, he has released a number of albums, with his most recent being Hard Luck Stories in 2009.

Ike and his band are known for in your face lyrics and very energetic live performances.  I tried to find a video to highlight this, but it was hard to find one with decent sound quality.  "When Irish Eyes Are Burning" can be found on his 2007 release, We Belong to the Staggering Evening.

Please support this artist!!!

 - Ike Reilly
 - The Ike Reilly Assassination

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Post #240: Doomtree

***New album, No Kings, was released today***

Today, the Minneapolis Hip Hop Collective, Doomtree, released it's third studio album entitled No Kings.

Much like their previous work, it is the coming together of 7 individual artists, each bringing their own musical talents and backgrounds.

Doomtree is made up of P.O.S. whom I posted HERE and HERE, Dessa, Sims, Mike Mictlan, Cecil Otter, Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak, most of which hail from Hopkins High School located just outside of Minneapolis.

Having had been a fan of P.O.S. first, I always enjoyed the way he took Hip Hop and injected it with Rock and Punk.  This same Rock and Punk influence is heard with Doomtree as well.

Both "Beacon" and "Bolt Cutter" can be found on No Kings.  Be patient with "Beacon" as it shifts gears at 40 seconds in.

Starting Sunday December 4th, the Doomtree Blowout VII will hit First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry.  Each night, one of the Emcees (Sims, Mike Mictlan, Dessa, P.O.S. and Cecil Otter) will be taking the stage at 7th Street Entry, leading up to a group effort on Friday and Saturday night in the First Avenue Main Room.

Seven straight days of awesome local music.

And even though I went to Cooper, a rival of Hopkins, I purchased the album today anyways, and predict that "Beacon" will be on repeat this week.

Please support this artist!!!
itunes (link #2) For some reason, their albums are showing up in two separate places.  No Kings is in link #2.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Post #239: Wooden Wand

***New album Briarwood is being released tomorrow.***

James Jackson Toth is a man of many names and many albums.  Using the mediums of cassettes, CD-Rs, Vinyl, and CDs, he has released over 100 albums to date.  Sometimes under his name.  Sometimes under the moniker WAND.  Tomorrow he releases Briarwood under another, Wooden Wand.

I tried to find a music player so that I could embed a couple of his new songs in this post, but couldn't get one to work.  Instead, I suggest visiting his Facebook page, where he has two of the tracks, "Big Mouth" and "Winter in Kentucky" available for listening.

Instead I found the above on Youtube, which is the 2nd song on his previous release, Death Seat. from 2010.

In this album, like this song, I hear a little Dylan and 60's style rock.  However, this isn't necessarily indicative of the rest of his catalog, which has drawn comparisons to genres such as Freak Folk, Acid Folk, Psych Folk and Indie Folk.

I'd say it is safe to say that it is some kind of folk.

Regardless, there is something here for everyone.

Please support this artist!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Post #238: A Lull

***Released a new EP in August.***

Tonight I rediscovered a recent find.  I can't say it is a new find, as I saw them open for Cold War Kids at First Avenue earlier this year.  They impressed me enough that evening, that I came home with two albums and a signed, screen printed poster.  (By the way, you can check out my Cold War Kids posts HERE and HERE).

Unfortunately, it has been my love of music that has prevented me from listening to them again until now.

I am backlogged.  Concert outings and trips to Cheapo and Electric Fetus have left me with a stack of about 100 CDs in my 'music' room, which I have yet to download onto my computer.

Throughout an evening of laundry, and spending time with my two boys, I have been attacking this project, one album at a time.  I'm about a third of the way through, and just came across Confetti, the full length album released in April by Chicago band, A Lull.  This is where you will find "Weapons For War".

Be patient with this one.  If you didn't know what to expect, it almost comes across as an instrumental at first.  The lyrics start just after 1:35 in.

More recently, A Lull released Confetti Reprise, an EP with 4 additional songs.  From what I have read, the band actually had 70 songs that were finished or close to being finished, narrowing it down to 15 for the album.  Once this was complete, they were still 20 minutes too long, so they removed 4 songs.  I am assuming that these are those 4 songs.

With as much as I like this, I'm extremely curious to hear what the other 55 songs sound like.

Please support this artist!!!

Wikipedia (no page yet)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Post #237: Joseph Arthur

***Playing Saturday night at the Varsity Theater***

Almost a year ago, I posted a video of Fistful of Mercy HERE, performing the first single off their newly released album.  Considered a 'Super Group', Fistful of Mercy is made up of Ben Harper (whom I posted HERE), Dhani Harrison (George Harrison's son), and Joseph Arthur.

Joseph Arthur wouldn't waste much time getting back to work, releasing his 8th solo album 7 months later in May of this year.

It was 1996 when Arthur began his professional music career, after being discovered by Peter Gabriel when Gabriel was given a 4 song EP that Arthur had self-produced and self-released earlier in the year.

He would be the first artist to sign with Peter Gabriel's label.

Aside from musical talent, he has also received a lot of praise for his work in painting and design.  The video above shows him hard at work on paintings which are now available for sale on his website.

"Face In the Crowd" can be found on his newest release, The Graduation Ceremony.

I've not had a chance to delve too deep into this one, so I will also recommend his 2006 album, Nuclear Daydream, which is probably my favorite.  It is in the same vein as The Graduation Ceremony as both are solo albums, where as the two albums released in between in 2007 and 2008 were backed by his band The Lonely Astronauts.

I love the solo stuff, and with his talent for looping, evidenced in the video above, he doesn't need a band.  "Leave Us Alone" can be found on his 4th full length from 2004, Our Shadows Will Remain.

Please support this artist!!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post #236: Hey Rosetta!

***Playing at the 7th Street Entry this Friday***

This Friday, Hey Rosetta! will be hitting the 7th Street Entry stage, one day after playing in their home country of Canada.

Looking at their tour calendar, they are traveling along the Northern border, bouncing back and fourth between Canada and the U.S., finishing up in their home of Newfoundland.

What is interesting is that tickets for the show this Friday are only $12.50, an inexpensive and typical price for a show at 7th Street.  But when you compare this to their shows in Canada, which are going for $30 and selling out, it becomes obvious that these guys might have something special to offer, and would be worth checking out.

More than likely we won't be able to see them for $12.50 again.

Chances are that their popularity in Canada has to do with the awards they have been winning since they got their start in 2006:  Band of the Year, Rock Recording of the Year, Album of the Year, and so on.

Most recently they were up for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize which is given to the best full length Canadian album.  They made the final list of 10 nominees, ultimately losing to Arcade Fire's The Suburbs.

This is where you will find both "Bandages" and "Yer Fall".

What a wonderful way to spend a Friday night!

Please support this artist!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Post #235: Carina Round

***Just released a new single for her upcoming solo album.  
Performing as co-vocalist/guitarist in Puscifer, and as the 
opening act on the current tour.***

Unfortunately, the only proof I have that I attended the Puscifer show last night is my ticket stub and a couple of t-shirts.  For those of us that are fans of Maynard James Keenan and his other endeavors (Tool and A Perfect Circle whom I posted HERE), we know the standing rule: NO VIDEO and NO PHOTOGRAPHY.  As much as I would have liked to come home with some video, which believe me would have been some amazing footage, I always want to respect the wishes of the artist.  And unfortunately, my tweet to Maynard asking for permission went unanswered.  It was worth a shot.

The entire performance was awesome, and was unlike any concert I had ever been to.  It was 50% concert, 25% spectacle, and 25% comedy/theatrical performance.  If you haven't had a chance to yet, you can check out my Puscifer post from last month HERE.

As far as the concert was concerned, I love the direction Maynard has taken Puscifer with the addition of a female vocalist.  It compliments Maynard's voice perfectly.  The female I am speaking of is Carina Round.  Such a beautiful voice!

From Wolverhampton, England, Carina has released 4 albums since 2001, with her most recent being a 5 song EP from 2009 entitled, Things You Should Know, which after sampling a few of the songs, I'll be purchasing tonight.

In the fall of that same year, she would begin to sing with Puscifer after turning down an offer from Billy Corgan to join Smashing Pumpkins as their bassist.

Earlier this month, she released her first single "The Last Time" from her new upcoming solo album.

And earlier this week, she sat for FILTER magazine taping another new song, "Set Fire".

I'm glad I found this great live video, as it eases the disappointment of not getting video of my own.

Please support this artist!!!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Post #234: Sigur Ros

***Releasing a DVD & Double CD set of 
live material tomorrow.  The movie also has upcoming 
screenings at St. Anthony Main Theater.***

I don't remember exactly when, but it was probably not long after their 2002 release, ( ), that I came across Sigur Ros.

What started off as a typical trip to CD Exchange, turned in to a long conversation with the clerk behind the counter, each of us sharing the names of bands and artists that the other may like.

He asked me if I listened to Radiohead, and I said, "Of Course!".  He then asked me if I had ever heard of Sigur Ros, and after hearing "No.", suggested I pick up ( ).

Right away the packaging caught my attention as this was back when 99% of CDs came in a plain old jewel case.  Packaging was rarely 'interesting'.  This however was different, as it had a plastic sleeve that slid over the jewel case.  Nothing super fancy, but I loved it!

From Reykjavik, Iceland, and named ofter vocalist Jonsi's sister (Victory Rose in English), most of their music across 5 albums is sung in Icelandic.  With the exception of ( ).

On this album, there are no actual lyrics.  Instead, Jonsi uses Vonlenska, which is a term used to describe lyrics used by the band that are unintelligible.  They first did this with the song "Von" from their 1997 first release, and is where it gets it's name.  In English, Vonlenska translates to Hopelandic.

The best way to describe it, as the band states on their website, is that it is "a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music."

To make it even more ambiguous, the songs don't really have titles either.  Starting with the above song, they are called "Track 1", "Track 2", etc., through 8 songs.

I often times have a hard time listening to music without lyrics or with lyrics I can't understand (with the exception of some heavy metal of course).  However, I can get lost in this CD.  It is beautiful.

Tomorrow, Sigur Ros will release INNI, which is a DVD and double CD of live performances.

If you are so inclined, they are also doing screenings around the world, and just so happen to have a weeks worth coming up from November 25th through December 1st at the St. Anthony Main Theater.  Click HERE for tickets.

If nothing else, pick up ( ) will be glad you did.

Please support this artist!!!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Post #233: Me and My Arrow

***Local band playing at Cause Spirits and Soundbar tonight
with Chris Bathgate opening***

According to my itunes, it was almost one year ago, November 23rd, 2010 to be exact, that I picked up a 4 song EP at Cheapo Records over in St. Paul.  It was on one of their listening boards, where they have CD players mounted to the wall with recently released albums.  A great way to test drive some new music.  As always, I went to the listening board I always visit first.  The one labeled "Local" in big bold letters.

This is how I came across Me and My Arrow.

After listening to the beginning of each song, I added it to my stack, paid my money, and downloaded it to my computer not long after getting home.

Unfortunately, it took the fact that they are playing with Chris Bathgate this evening, for me to pull it out and give it my first official listen.  The side affect of being addicted to music.  (And if you haven't had a chance to hear Chris Bathgate, check out my post HERE from May).

The EP I purchased just so happens to be their most recent, entitled EP 3, which is where you will find "L.A. Air".

If the above video is any indication of what I will witness tonight, I am beyond excited to see these guys.

Looking at their website, it doesn't seem they have any shows scheduled beyond this evening, but I'll add them to the calendar once they do.  Aside from EP 3, they also have EP 1 and EP 2, all of which are available on itunes.

I am also looking forward to seeing a show at this venue as this will be my first one there.  Check out their website HERE.

I called earlier today, and they don't sell tickets ahead of time.  Instead, at around 8:30 or so they will start selling wristbands, and seats are first come first served.  Music starts at 10pm, with Chris Bathgate going on at 11:15, and Me and My Arrow taking the stage at 12:30.  This is going to be a late one.

They also mentioned that they are expecting possibly 300 people.

I will be leaving early to make sure I get a good spot for some great video.  I sure hope it works out.

Please support this artist!!!

Wikipedia (no page yet)
Allmusic (no page yet)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Post #232: Dry the River

***Releasing an EP next week in Europe...  
hopefully in the US soon***

I happened across Dry the River the other day as I was searching for videos of Noah and the Whale, whom I posted HERE a few days ago.

The still picture used for the video grabbed my attention.  It would end up being the face of the vocalist, and after clicking play, "No Rest" began, and I fell in love with them immediately.

(Note:  The first two videos may require you to click on a link that will take you to Youtube.)

After doing more research, I would learn that they are from England, and while they have released a couple of things across the pond, they have only managed to release one single, and a live EP here in the U.S..  "No Rest" is this single, and their only studio music available on the American of right now.

Visiting their website, they are scheduled to release a 4 song EP, entitled Weights & Measures EP, next week in Europe, which includes the the title track, "Weights & Measures".

Listening to more of their stuff, including live versions of songs like "Family Tree", which is the second track on the new EP, I would hear glimpses of a handful of artists I love.  Radiohead, Coldplay, Bon Iver (posted HERE), and Antony & the Johnsons (posted HERE).

The cool thing is, I couldn't pin point one band, which means Dry the River has a sound that is all their own.

Coming across them the other day, reminded me of when I first found Coldplay, at a time when they were an unknown.

I feel the same way about Dry the River as I did then about Coldplay.

This is the beginning of something big.

Please support this artist!!!

Wikipedia (no page yet)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Post #231: Jeff Mangum/Neutral Milk Hotel

***Neutral Milk Hotel vocalist Jeff Mangum, announces show in Minneapolis on February 4th***

Just inside my office door, I have 9 framed record albums, each having in some way shape or form, significance to me, whether it be the artist or the album itself.  Nick Drake's Bryter Later.  Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's Master and Everyone (posted HERE and HERE).  And Elliot Smith's 1995 self titled.  

One of these 9 is In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel.  One of my favorite albums of all time, and one that many people, including myself, believe should be in everyone's music library.  

For many years it was a forgone conclusion that I wouldn't ever get the chance to see these guys perform live, as in 1999 they went on 'hiatus'.

However, over the last couple of years, vocalist Jeff Mangum started to become active again with a few live sets here and there, as well as a mini tour earlier this year.  He is even releasing a vinyl boxed set of each of Neutral Milk Hotel's albums, including unreleased material, later this month.  I've ordered mine which will ship on November 22nd.

I started to building hope.

Yesterday, I received the announcement I had been longing to see.  Jeff Mangum will be coming to the Pantages Theater on February 4th, and tickets will be going on sale this Friday.

To be honest, I have written and rewritten this post numerous times.  I don't know how to explain how excited I am for this show, and how much this tour is bordering on historical.

Unfortunately, this won't be the entire band, as it sounds it is an acoustical solo performance of just Jeff, but it will definitely do.

If you didn't have a chance to check it out, I previously posted Jeff HERE and Neutral Milk Hotel HERE, as well as a remix done by Tyler the Creator, HERE.

Please support this artist!!!

 - Neutral Milk Hotel
 - Jeff Mangum
 - Neutral Milk Hotel
 - Jeff Mangum
 - Neutral Milk Hotel
 - Neutral Milk Hotel

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Post #230: Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy

***"Stairway to Heaven" turns 40 today***

Forty years ago today, a song would be released that many consider to be one of the best songs of all time.

That song of course is "Stairway to Heaven" off of Led Zeppelin's fourth release, often times referred to as Led Zeppelin IV.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, HERE, Led Zeppelin will always have a special place in my heart, as it was their music that caused me to decide that 'I Love Music!'.

In honor of this, I decided to post a couple from front man Robert Plant's most recent release.

Initially, Band of Joy was the name of a project he had started with Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham in 1966.  However, after a recording contract didn't materialize, Plant and Bonham moved on to form Led Zeppelin with Jimmy Page in 1968.

In September of this last year, Plant would resurrect the name, and release the album Band of Joy.

With Plant being 62 at the time of it's release, he obviously doesn't have the range or pipes he had back in the day.  Many people might be disappointed with this, but I love the new version of Robert's voice.  So mellow and so cool.  His vocals here aren't too far off from what he did with Alison Krauss in 2007.  If you haven't heard that album, I highly encourage you to check it out.

I chose the two above songs, "Monkey" and "Silver Rider", because they are cover songs originally done by a band known as Low, from Duluth, Minnesota.  I had posted Low HERE in May, if you want to check them out.

Both songs are from their 2005 release, The Great Destroyer.

Another album worth checking out.

Happy Birthday "Stairway to Heaven"!

Please support this artist!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Post #229: Noah And The Whale

***Coming to First Avenue on Monday, November 14th***

When I am meeting someone for the first time, at some point during the conversation music will become a topic of discussion.  I don't necessarily do this on purpose...most times that is just where my mind goes.  I am genuinely interested in knowing what people are listening to.  Over the years it has been a great way to come across new music.

During this back and forth of "Have you heard..." and "Do you have...", there are certain bands, that if mentioned, will give me an idea as to how deep their playlist goes, but more importantly can also mean I have a lot in common with this person.

As far as I am concerned, this can also be true with movies, and there is one movie that has proved to be a great litmus test:  Rushmore.

I absolutely love this movie!  I have enjoyed everything Wes Anderson has helped create: Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Fantastic Mr. Fox to name a few.  However, Rushmore is my favorite.  Not just of his, but of all movies...ever.

From London, England, Noah and the Whale formed in 2006, and took their name from combining the title of one of their favorite movies, The Squid and the Whale, with the name of its writer and director, Noah Baumbach, whom frequently collaborates with Wes Anderson.  The band also signs it's Myspace posts and group emails with, "Sic Transit Gloria", which is a common phrase used in Rushmore.

It is no surprise to me then that I am a fan of Noah and the Whale.  Chances are we have more in common than just their music.

They would release their first album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down, in 2008, and their second, The First Days of Spring in 2009, which is where you will find "Blue Skies".  The video itself actually has somewhat of a Wes Anderson feel to it.

Earlier this year, they released their third full length entitled Last Night on Earth, which is where you will find "Life is Life".

This will be a show worth checking out.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Post #228: The Dear Hunter

***Opened for Manchester Orchestra 
last night at The Cabooze.  Released EP collection, 
The Color Spectrum, in June of this year.***

Last night Manchester Orchestra put on one of the best shows I have seen in a long time.  So many things made this night perfect.  Not only did I get to enjoy the show with two friends from my favorite viewing spot within the Cabooze, but Andy Hull's vocals were dead on, the band's energy was endless, and when I had the opportunity to meet them afterwards they were super cool guys.

To make the night even better, I believe I 'married' a new band:  The Dear Hunter, from Rhode Island.

In fact, I could take the description of Manchester above and swap Andy's name with Casey Crescenzo and it would fit The Dear Hunter as well.

This was another situation where I had 'heard OF them' but hadn't 'heard them.'

They had me sold in the middle of their second song, during which I tweeted 3 letters that summed up how I felt: "WOW!"

It will take me a few days to get my videos uploaded, so I'm glad I found the one above, which I think is a great representation of their performance.

"We've Got a Score to Settle" can be found on the Red EP, which is one of 9 EPs that make up The Color Spectrum. This was a project envisioned by frontman Casey, in which each EP, named after the colors in the spectrum, interprets the colors through music.

Prior to The Color Spectrum, they released 3 studio albums, which are Acts I, II, and III of a 6 act story revolving around a character only known as The Dear Hunter.

"What it Means to Be Alone" can be found on Act III, which was released in 2009.

After the show, I came home with Acts II and III, The Color Spectrum, as well as one of their shirts.

They definitely had me at "Hello".

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Post #227: Jake Manders & Alyssa Bicking

***Local duo, with 4 upcoming shows between 
now and year end***

Last week I witnessed an amazing performance by Gregory Alan Isakov at the Cedar in Minneapolis.  I'm in the process of uploading 7 videos from the evening, but in the meantime, you can check out my post of him HERE.

Equally amazing was the opening performance by the duo of Jake Manders and Alyssa Bicking.

Both local to Minneapolis, I hadn't heard either of them before.  The bummer is I had a hard time finding a lot of information about them online.  The bright side is that what I did find, gave me even more music to check out.

Jake just released a solo album, and previously was part of The Pistol Whippin' Party Penguins.

Alyssa seems to have been part of a few projects, but spent most of her time in another duo known as the Floorbirds, which is no longer together.

I was floored by Alyssa's voice.  So effortless!  At times it reminded me of Natalie Merchant, one of my favorite female vocalists, whom you have probably heard of, but if not, I posted her HERE.

They did two covers that evening, one being the above video of a Townes Van Zandt song called "White Freightliner Blues".

The highlight of the evening was when they came out and helped Isakov with his song, "If I Go, I'm Goin".  Both Alyssa and Jake admitted to listening to Gregory constantly over the last year, and you could tell Alyssa was physically a good way.  So endearing, and the awesome!

I'll be checking out both of their material and will get to posting it at some point.

Thankfully they are local, so I (as well as you) should have a couple opportunities, if not more, to see them perform again.

Here is a list of their shows between now and year end.

November 15th, Amsterdam Bar, St. Paul
November 30th, Red Stag Supper Club, NE Mpls
December 8th, Amsterdam Bar, St. Paul
December 14th, 331 Club, NE Mpls

Please support this artist!!!

 - Jake Manders
Wikipedia (no page)
 - Jake Manders
 - Alyssa Bicking
Allmusic (no page)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post #226: Manchester Orchestra

***Playing at the Cabooze this Saturday night***

Earlier this year, on May 10th, Manchester Orchestra released their third album entitled Simple Math, an album I had anxiously been awaiting ever since becoming addicted to their second release, 2009's Mean Everything to Nothing. (I posted two solo acoustic songs from this album HERE and HERE).

They did not disappoint!

In fact, as I look back at the hundreds of albums I have added to my library this year, the song "April Fool" could quite possibly be my favorite song of 2011.

With two months left in the year, there is always a chance it will get beat out.

But at this point, I'd say that is a tall order.

To be completely honest, I find it hard to believe that this show isn't sold out yet.  It's only $16!!

I can't wait to get some great video capturing their amazing music and Andy Hull's perfect voice and trademark facial contortions.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post #225: Blitzen Trapper

***Co-headlining a sold out show with Dawes this 
Friday at First Avenue***

If, by chance, you are looking for something to do this Friday night, and happen to have $75 burning a hole in your pocket, I suggest you visit StubHub HERE and purchase one of the 4 tickets being scalped for this show.

As I have already talked up Dawes in previous posts (HERE and HERE), I would gladly pay $75 to see them play.  Adding Blitzen Trapper to the bill makes this one of the top shows of the year and a steal at $75.

With a sound that has been described as 'experimental alternative country/folk', they create something that is unique and modern, but at the same time classic.  "Might Find it Cheap" is a great example of this.

At times I feel that their music could be found on KQRS (local classic rock station) right in between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Formed in 2000, in Portland, Oregon, Blitzen Trapper released their first three albums on their own between 2003 and 2007.  It would be their third album, Wild Mountain Nation, that would get the attention of Sub Pop Records, and land them a record deal.

Since signing with Sub Pop in 2007, they have released 3 more full length albums, the most recent being American Goldwing, which came out on September 13th of this year.

This is where you will find "Might Find it Cheap", which is the opening track.

I am so bummed I am missing this one.  This is going to be a fun show.

And just because I am going to be bummed doesn't mean you have to be too.

I suggest you get a ticket.

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