Monday, March 07, 2005

Listen (y'know) to what I (y'know) have to say, you know?

Many thanks to Ryan Irelan of Becoming for asking me to be a part of his podcast this weekend. Elements focuses on music in a variety of forms, from bootlegs to Roger McGuinn's online folk archive. We had a good chat about the Oak Room and my recent SXSW spotlights.

Ryan did a great job of editing my rambling into somthing fairly coherent. The one thing that he wasn't able to do was take out my incessant "y'know...y'know...y'know", but if you can get around my verbal tics, it's a fun piece. I suppose I'm not the most objective judge. Give it a listen. Thanks again Ryan!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Prayers and Tears Again

Tonight's the release party for the Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers album I was talking about the other week. Having heard the whole thing (thanks, Perry!), I'm actually even more impressed. The sonic palette is wider than I had realized, but it maintains the high quality that was evident from what I pointed to earlier.

The Independent had a nice review, but it doesn't seem to be up on their site just now. You can look at the press page on the band site, though, or read this Pitchfork review.

I'm starting to get into the groove of what I called Wright's "verbosity" as well -- check out the hilarious "How to Release an Album in Five Easy Steps".
The one sheet is a single stop for all of your namedropping and braggadocio needs. We made ours in color to give it that little something extra, a bit of joie de vivre. This is where you essentially get to put words in reviewers' mouths, but in a way kind of like that game Telephone from elementary school. For example, if you say, "Prayers and Tears sound like My Bloody Valentine," you will get something like "Prayers and Tears love to sing Lorenz Hart's classic tune My Funny Valentine." Try it for yourself!
Sadly, I have to miss tonight's show at Local 506. Happily, the band put up some of their rehearsals -- check them out. Also, a nice cover of a Mountain Goats song from a radio performance.

MP3: "Ontothanatological"
MP3: "Concerning Lessons Learned From the Aliens"
MP3: "Rotation of Crops"
(from CD release party rehearsals 2/15/05)
Buy The Mother of Love Emulates the Shapes of Cynthia here.

MP3: "Against Pollution" (Mountain Goats cover)
(live on WKNC 1/13/05)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Old Ceremony: "pop noir"

As I noted yesterday, Django Haskins is free to devote all of his time to a new project, International Orange having broken up. And that's probably for the best, because while Int'l Orange made solid, well-crafted pop/rock, his new project, The Old Ceremony is much more intriguing.

It's jazzy, moody, and eclectic, with a core lineup that includes vibes, organ, and piano as well as bass, drums, and guitar, plus an array of come-and-go partners who add violin, sax, trumpet, and so on. I don't always give much credence to bands' self-descriptions, but in this case, the Old Ceremony's "pop noir" fits pretty well. You can hear a bit of Tom Waits in there (though a much more traditional vocal tone), some Kurt Weill, perhaps, thrown together in a smoky jazz cabaret. I wish I could write better about this, but fortunately you can judge for yourself. Give it a listen -- it's great stuff.

MP3: "Blood and Oil"
MP3: "Ole"
MP3: "American Romeo"
MP3: "Shadows On My Trail"
(demos and roughs for forthcoming album)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

International Orange: ex-band

Speaking (as I was last week) of former Ben Folds Five members, I was all set to put up a post about International Orange, whose members include BFF bass player Robert Sledge and Snuzz (!), as well as guitarist Django Haskins and drummer Jason Fagg. They make a nifty pop/rock noise and were cited as one of 12 bands not to miss in the Independent last year.

All set, as I said, but when I sat down to pull together links for this post, I learned that they've just disbanded. They did manage to get out an EP, Spoon Box, which was (again, per the Independent), "mesh of rootsy, country-tinged, pop-savvy indie rock, united by fine, understated playing and thoughtful lyricism."

Here's a couple of demos from the band's web site:
MP3: "Prince Charming"
MP3: "Afraid of Love"
MP3: "The Worst in You"
(buy Spoon Box here)

Snuzz has some other music in the same vein up on his web site, of which I like this one best:
MP3: "Lemonade"

Haskins may be more interesting on his own, if his 2003 album overeasysmokemachine is any indication. Here's a sample; if you like it there's more here.
MP3: "Talk Talk"
MP3: "State Road Valentine"
(from overeasysmokemachine, 2003. Buy it here.)

Haskins also has an intriguing new project -- about which, more tomorrow.


  • Great to see Howard back in action on all three (!) of his blogs. Lonesome Music has a lovelyTift Merritt song up -- I like Tambourine much more than he does [see comments for clarification], though I can see where the shift in style might lose some people. If I can get a little hosting experiment worked out, I'll post a new song for comparison.
  • Whether it was from my suggestion or not, See You In The Pit did a great Rosebuds writeup. Kind of impressionistic, but really captures the appeal of the band. I wish I could write like that. If you haven't yet, take the chance to listen to these songs.
  • Check out the snazzy new look of Honey, Where You Been So Long?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Can Joann

Only time for a brief post today, so let's go with a band that I know basically nothing about other than their music. Can Joann is a four-member rock band based in Chapel Hill. The Independent calls them "an intriguing mix of pop finesse and supple indie guitar crash", and some pretty nimble bass playing, I'd add. Within a basically conventional indie rock framework, they do manage to mix up their sounds a good bit, from garage rockers like "West Side" to more pop numbers like "Sympathetic Thrill" to the semi-funky "Cameron's Sleeping".

They have an EP (The Aiden Grace EP) and a full-length album (Meet Me on the Sly), both (I think) self-released. Their web site is undergoing renovations and their MySpace site is pretty sparse also, so I don't have much other background to relay. There are a bunch of MP3s here; I'll highlight a few favorites.

MP3: "West Side"
MP3: "Cameron's Sleeping"
(from Meet Me On The Sly, self-released 2003)

MP3: "Sympathetic Thrill"
MP3: "Lady Luck"
(from The Aiden Grace EP, self-released 2004)

I don't know how you can buy these albums, but if you e-mail the band I bet they'll tell you. Or you can ask them at tonight's show at the Library in Chapel Hill (with Randy Bickford's rootsy Strugglers -- should be fun!).