Catching Up

Sorry for the weeklong absence everybody! I’ve been working furiously at doing some end of the year list type posts, but part of that has been me going back and spending some time with albums I haven’t been playing as much lately. So, hopefully those posts will be done soon, and then posted for your viewing/listening pleasure.

I’m also working on a nifty winter mix for your downloading pleasure, and I’m shooting to have that up in the next two weeks or so. I think it will make your ears happy. I hope so anyway.

In the meantime – I’m still on track to go to 100 concerts this calendar year. Which is absolutely ridiculous. And awesome. So, I’ll be busy at shows this December (if you have any to recommend  I’m all ears – I’m still 3 short!), and I’ll be posting about as many of them as possible!

 

I want to make sure I give you some things to listen to as the nights get longer and I’m working on all of this stuff – so in the meantime, here are a few things that have made me really happy in the post-Thanksgiving doldrums:

 

This track from Deep Sea Diver, whose debut album came out this year and was fantastic:

 

This track from Half Moon Run (who I’m seeing open for Patrick Watson on Sunday):

 

And this video from Hey Rosetta! (via Adam at songsfortheday) performing Graceland by Paul Simon, which I got to see them play live at Bonnaroo at about 3 am in the woods, which was pretty unforgettable:

 

Enjoy! (And keep an eye out for big posts in the next two weeks!)

On Why I’m Thankful for the Internet

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I’ve begun to reflect on the things that I’m really, truly thankful for – and as I sat down to write this post, I realized how truly thankful I am for the music community that  the internet has fostered and allowed to grow and shrink simultaneously. I’ve found so many bands through blogs, forums, social media, and a few incredibly innovative websites that continue to blow me away on a daily basis. So I want to use today’s post to introduce you to some of those resources, and the community that’s so important to me.

 

Bandcamp

First – a giant, gleeful shout-out to Bandcamp. For those unfamiliar, Bandcamp is a tool that allows artists to sell their music directly to their fans, in a simple, straightforward manner. The artist receives the majority of the money (At least 80%) and can name their prices, etc. Additionally, you can listen to entire albums before buying. As more and more artists embrace this medium, I hope more and more people buy their music here, as opposed to funneling money into iTunes, money Apple certainly doesn’t need. Also, as of today, Bandcamp is beta testing a social component to their site, in which users can share things they’ve bought, interact with artists and other fans, and discover phenomenal music. You have to check this site out. Below, here are links to a few awesome songs I found in about ten minutes of exploring the new functions, all of which are phenomenal.

 

 

Also, feel free to check out my beta profile over there, and see what I’m buying/collecting. Here’s the link: http://bandcamp.com/musicmeansfamily

 

Daytrotter

Daytrotter is the brainchild of Sean Moeller, who lives over in Rock Island, IL. If you haven’t checked out this site yet, you need to. Daytrotter features daily live sessions from tons of artists, both established and new, with awesome mini write-ups and illustrations, and all of the recordings are fabulous. A $24 yearly membership gives you access to all of the downloads you can fit on your computer, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve given myself in a while. Additionally, you can download their app to your phone and listen to new sessions all day long, which is pretty great for work/transit/etc.

Here’s a link to their phenomenal session from late last year with The Lumineers. Listen, check it out, and then get a membership. You really won’t regret it. Daytrotter – Lumineers

 

The Blogosphere

There are so many wonderful independent music blogs around right now, that are infinitely more valuable than the garden variety Stereogum/Pitchfork crap – and you should be reading them. Here’s a few I love.

 

Songs For The Day – This blog, run by my friend Adam, highlights a new song or two or seven everyday that you should check out. His recommendations are generally perfect. And he’s a pretty cool dude.

Folk Hive – Another small blog, this one from Missouri. Sam(antha) who writes it, is a wonderful writer with great taste in music. Please pay her site a visit.

Fuel/Friends – This is the blog that got me into blogging. Heather is a beautiful writer, and her interaction with, and support of, the music community is really sweet. Every so often she posts an amazing chapel session, recorded near her home in Colorado, and you can download them for free. Today she posted this gem from Hey Marseilles. Watch the video below, then check out her blog and download the session (and all of the other sessions too).

 

Check out all of these awesome things. Enjoy your turkey tomorrow. Enjoy friends & family. I probably won’t pust again until Saturday, so if you do shop on Friday, my only request is that you do your best to shop local. Visit cool stores in your neighborhood. Participate in Record Store Day. Get some really cool limited release records from The Lumineers, The White Stripes, and tons more. Most importantly, don’t stress. Love you all!

2 Days

I’m feeling super nostalgic these last few days, and this time of the year is always kind of hard for me. I’m trying to honor the quiet, wistful yearning that’s sitting deep in my chest, and the music I’ve listened to the last few days as really reflected that. I know I said I’d try and throw some higher energy stuff up here, but I think I just need a few more days to sit with those songs that tangle themselves up in your heart/lungs/throat and make it a little bit harder for three or four minutes, but leave you feeling a little bit better afterward.

 

This Strand of Oaks cover of Damien Jurado’s “Ohio” brings me near tears every time. Every time. Special thanks to Heather over at Fuel/Friends for opening my eyes to this:

 

I’ve loved this Joni Mitchell song since high school, and to have Noah Gundersen cover it, and to cover it like this, holy shit:

 

This performance, of this song:

 

And, when feelings are abundant, Ryan Adams is always a good idea. Or a tearful, no-air-in-lungs idea. Something like that:

 

I really will try and get some higher energy stuff into these posts soon – let’s just settle down and eat some turkey, and have fun with the people we love these next few days.

 

Thanks for going on this journey with me, it would mean the world if you showed this blog to just one person you think might like it. Or share it on Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever. I really am thankful for everyone who reads this.

3 Days Until Turkey

So, another (thankfully short) week of work, and all I want is to spend time with friends who are back home and eat delicious things. I got to spend the evening yesterday with some of them, and I’m feeling very centered, albeit eager for the week to end. Because of this, and in the spirit of my delightful friend Chris, I wanted to post a few things that reflect the calmness I feel right now, mixed with the anticipation and yearning for the holidays bouncing around in my head.

I know I’ve been on a Field Report binge. This video from the Current in MPLS is excellent though. And perfect for today.

Chris and I watched this unbelievable video of Pretty Broken Things at Doe Bay Fest last night. You should watch it tonight. It’ll make you happy.

This new song from Hey Rosetta! on their holiday EP is just ridiculously good, and makes me way too excited for the coming month.

I’m slowly putting together a winter playlist for the snowy months, so keep your eyes/ears out. Also, I’m going to try and get some love for some more “upbeat” stuff over the next few days here, so be ready for some of that.

Happy Monday!

Last Night

Last night I was at the always wonderful Schuba’s – seeing one of my favorite new bands this year, Field Report. Field Report, the brainchild of Chris Porterfield, formerly of DeYarmond Edison (which was comprised of Porterfield, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and the band now known as Megafaun), is a superb Americana/rustic roots-rock band hailing from Eau Claire, WI. Their debut album came out this past September, and it’s gotten an enormous amount of plays from me.

Their concert last night was, as expected, absolutely phenomenal. They have an unbelievable ability to hold an entire room spellbound for an entire evening. Watch this clip below, and then seriously, go get the album, you absolutely won’t regret it.

Also – I discovered last night that currently Shane Leonard, who records under the name Kalispell, is currently playing drums, violin, and banjo for Field Report. Kalispell’s debut full length just recently came out, and it’s beautiful. It’s only $7 on Kalispell’s bandcamp page, and it’s absolutely worth it. Listen to ‘Westbound’ below:

I really hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

P.S. – Ivan Howard, from The Rosebuds, released an entire cover of Sade’s magnificent album Love Deluxe. And it’s free. And perfect. Get it here: LOVE DELUXE

Live Sessions (They’re Great!)

As I was bouncing frenetically  around the internet yesterday, scouring the dark corners for things that would perk me up in the middle of the week, I realized how many of my favorite representations of artists I love online came from certain “session style” recordings, generally done by various groups who film, with exceptional production values, random (and frequently acoustic) sessions of great bands. I wanted to take today to highlight some of my favorite people doing this right now, in hopes that you might unearth the massive amount of awesome that exists in their troves of footage. So:

 

Hear Ya! Sessions – Filmed in Chicago, these guys grab bands who are playing shows in the area, and have them record one or two songs in their studio. Here are two gems from Hey Rosetta! and First Aid Kit:

Show Me Shows – A monthly release from St. Louis. All of their videos are great. Here’s one of my absolute favorites, The Head and the Heart performing ‘Virginia’:

The Sight of Sounds – These are just amazing. That’s all. Here’s The Lumineers ‘Stubborn Love’ on a bus. Yea.

Fuel/Friends Chapel Sessions – Many of these are audio only, and all of them can be downloaded for free at http://www.fuelfriendsblog.com (Which you should also read, because it’s awesome). Check out this stunning video of Bryan John Appleby:

Take Away Shows – I can’t even begin to address the number of amazing bands/videos/everything done by La Blogotheque, who are responsible for these amazing Take Away Shows, which generally consist of bands wandering the streets of Paris/NYC/Los ANgeles and making awesome music. You should probably watch all of them, ever – but feel free to start with these two, from Local Natives and Bon Iver respectively:

 

There are so many more, absolutely amazing people doing amazing sessions like these every day, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to feature more in the future. For now, enjoy this little boost – the weekend is getting closer!

 

A Few Links (To Get Us Through The Week)

As I slowly come down from my post-Bowerbirds high, I find myself staring at three more days of work this week, and I’m feeling the need for a little juice to get me through. So I thought to myself, let’s find some great videos and some great artists to keep my mood up for the rest of the week – hopefully these can do the same for you.

This song by The Staves is beautiful. Their debut album came out today, and it’s really quite perfect for this late fall weather. Check it out!

Adam over at Songs For a Day reminded me of this awesome video of Ben Sollee singing ‘A Few Honest Words’ at the Lincoln Memorial. A reminder of how thankful I am that the election season is over.

I saw Daughter a few weeks ago and it was one of my favorite shows of this year. Her music is perfect for this time of year.

This is just beautiful, and I forgot about it until I felt the cold wind on my face coming home from work today.

This song from Lucy Rose, another English artist, is also keeping me solid right now.

One more, from Broken Twin:

 

Keep your heads up, y’all – it’s almost Turkey Day!