black cats and fallen trees, under ladders always walkin’…

Posted by Payton | Posted in holiday | Posted on 10-31-2009

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Ryan Adams – Halloweenhead (acoustic)

Here’s my festive Halloween post for you this year. Boo.

Check out last year’s post – also featuring Ryan Adams – with re-upped song links.

New Digs, Vol. 25: JET….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 10-26-2009

Esquire magazine named Kate Beckinsale the Sexiest Woman Alive, and I can’t argue with that. But don’t worry, we’re still here for the music. The magazine filmed a photoshoot with Ms. Beckinsale and put some music to it. Some good music.

JET – Goodbye Hollywood
from Shaka Rock (2009)

I looked up the band and learned that this wasn’t the first time their music has been used in conjunction with moving pictures to grab your attention. JET’s song ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ from their 2003 debut album has been blasted all over TV, most notably in one of Apple’s first dancing silhouette ads. Get Born was a huge success for the Australian rock band, selling 3.5 million copies thanks to their lead single, ‘Cold Hard Bitch,’ which reached #1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

While those songs are good, the way in which I heard them (radio) stalled my interest, and I figured them to be your usual one (or two) hit wonder sure to be embraced by MTV. But I recently picked up their 2009 disc, Shaka Rock, and was pleasantly surprised. So I went out and found Get Born. These guys are not the one-trick mainstream act you expect them to be. Sure, they shine when they rock with energy on par with The Kooks, but JET is equally impressive when they lay off the guitars and symbols a bit and throttle down to a mid-tempo song.

JET – Look What You’ve Done
JET – Radio Song
from Get Born (2003)

The two blockbuster songs from JET’s debut may still be their marquee songs, but this year’s release is tells us so much more about the band. The songs on Shaka Rock have more substance – and let’s face it… what Apple ad song has really meant something? They are chosen for their ability to immediately wedge themselves in your frontal lobe and stay there. These new songs, however, have a stronger lyrical focus and, in doing so, the band has expanded their sound.

JET – Seventeen
from Shaka Rock (2009)

Dave Rawlings Readies Debut….

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 10-19-2009

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I mentioned the other day that the long-awaited Gillian Welch follow-up to 2003’s Soul Journey is finally coming, albeit in the form of The Dave Rawlings Machine. Now that we have full details including track list, release date, album art, and pre-order, I thought I outta give this release its own post.A Friend of a Friend is the first solo album from Dave Rawlings, although he has collaborated (and played alongside) Gillian Welch throughout her career. In addition, the duo has been instrumental in helping a couple of my favorite artists get their recording feet on the ground. Dave pays homage to these friends on his album, due out November 17th on Acony Records, by re-recording songs co-written with Ryan Adams (‘To Be Young’) and Old Crow Medicine Show (‘I Hear Them All‘).

Those co-writes, along with five other original songs make up with bulk of the album, with an interesting cover medley of Conor Oberst’s ‘Method Acting’ and Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’ thrown in the mix. I’m most looking forward to the lead-track ‘Ruby’ and ‘Sweet Tooth,’ both of which I vividly remember from The Big Surprise Tour. As expected, Gillian lends her siren vocals throughout the album, and Old Crow Medicine Show will help fill out arrangements.

1. Ruby
2. To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
3. I Hear Them All
4. Method Acting/Cortez The Killer

5. Sweet Tooth *

6. How’s About You

7. It’s Too Easy

8. Monkey And The Engineer

9. Bells of Harlem

Pre-order now at Amazon – $11.99

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New Lyle Lovett on the Cheap…

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album release | Posted on 10-19-2009

Go pick up Lyle’s new album, Natural Forces, at Amazon today only for $3.99.

Here’s on of my favorite tunes of his:
Lyle Lovett – Step Inside This House
buy Step Inside This House (1998)

Links & (new album) News for October…

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, links and news, videos | Posted on 10-07-2009

First, the New Album news:

  • The much anticipated new Gillian Welch album isn’t coming anytime soon… but a David Rawlings Machine album is! Heather at Fuel/Friends reported that Dave’s album, A Friend of A Friend, is due November 17th and will apparently feature his version of ‘To Be Young,’ a Ryan Adams co-write. Gillian will appear on 8 of the 9 tracks.
  • The Felice Brothers got directly back to work after Yonder Is The Clock dropped earlier this year. They readied a 9-track demo with the intention of selling at shows – specifically The Big Surprise Tour. But the demand was such that their management wanted to make it an official release. No word on a release date or format for the The Mixtape yet.

**Update** Pre-order is available now. $10 – Ships Monday 10/12.

And the rest:

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The Low Anthem Covers Dylan

Posted by Payton | Posted in free music | Posted on 10-06-2009

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If you haven’t yet checked out Providence’s The Low Anthem, what’s wrong with you? I had the pleasure of catching an intimate live show of theirs in Nashville not long after discovering their 2009 disc, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. Both the album and their live set are mesmerizing. Read my show review – with updated song links for a couple days.

The Low Anthem is making their way back from a European tour and preparing for some Fall /Winter US dates, including some with Josh Ritter. Check ‘em out when they come your way:

October 15 Providence, RI Avon Cinema
October 17 Seattle, WA Chop Suey

October 18 Portland, OR Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom

October 19 Eugene, OR WOW Hall*

October 21 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall*

October 23 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour*

October 24 San Diego, CA Casbah*

October 25 Tucson, AZ Plush*

October 27 Austin, TX The Parish*

October 28 Dallas, TX Granada Theater*

October 29 Houston, TX Bronze Peacock at HOB*

October 30 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon*

See the rest here

* with Blind Pilot

Right now, simply by joining The Low Anthem’s mailing list (at the bottom, on the right), you’ll get a free download of the band covering Dylan’s Dignity. It’s done very simply and with the tone to make it sound like one of their own.

Evolution of Song: What Sin Replaces Love

Posted by Payton | Posted in evolution, ryan adams spotlight, videos | Posted on 10-05-2009

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What Sin Replaces Love?
Love is gone. There’s a hole where it used to be. What is the quickest way to fill it?

That’s what Ryan Adams asks in one of his most epic songs. And he wants to know RIGHT fucking NOW. The answer he inevitably settles on seems to be murder. He wants to “kick love right in its gut; beat it and leave it for dead.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that ‘What Sin…’ was never officially included on an album. But since its inception around 2000, the song has been a live staple. While it hasn’t changed lyrically in 9 years, it has evolved from a dark, acoustic tune into a full-on electric blues jam. Let’s explore.

Tell me what sin replaces love
I wanna know, right now

Tell me what sin replaces love

I wanna know, right now


Imagine yourself on a mountain

A mountain discolored with flowers

Flowers discolored with horses

Horses distracted by stones

Stone distrusting and mean

Then you might know what I mean

I want to kick love right in its gut

Beat it and leave it for dead

Go and wash my hands in the river

Lie down and die in your bed


The voice on the receiver

Baby cry howlin’ in the wind

I don’t wanna beg for your mercy

I wanna know right know, what sin


Tell me what sin replaces love

I wanna know, right now

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In The Toolbox: Double Feature….

Posted by Payton | Posted in toolbox | Posted on 10-01-2009

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You could say this about all my feature posts, but it’s been way too long since I’ve done an In The Toolbox. This is the recurring post theme that explores an ‘essential’ album chosen from my handy toolbox full of CD’s. I’ve extended this privilege to any of my vinyls that I keep in my sturdy Eurolite carrying case (both seen above).

To get things going again with this feature, I’m offering up two gems today. These discs come from a couple of Texas’ best songwriters and both were the album that turned me on to the artist. Also linking these albums together is the fact that they both feature a cut of the namesake song for this blog. This Mornin’ I Am Born Again was originally a Woody Guthrie poem that Slaid Cleaves got his hands on put to music. Slaid included his version on his career-making album Broke Down. A few years later, Ray Wylie Hubbard recorded a cut of the song for my favorite album of his, Delirium Tremolos.

Slaid Cleaves – Broke Down
Philo (2000)

One of my first orders of business back when I started this blog was to get Slaid’s name out into the blogosphere. My first post following the introductory Best of 2007 lists was an Artist Spotlight on Slaid. There, I expressed my admiration for Broke Down, his 5th album, but only the 2nd originally released on CD. The disc contains 10 tracks, not one of which can be considered weak.

‘Broke Down’ leads off, introducing the listener to Slaid’s unmatched ability to tell a story. If this album had a hand in jump-starting Slaid’s career, then the title track gets most of the credit. He continues this trend with ‘Breakfast in Hell,’ a John Henry-esque story of the tragic death of a Canadian logger. The most powerful track on the album is a well-chosen Karen Poston cover, ‘Lydia’ - a captivating story of a weathered widow twice-scarred by coal mine tragedy. The tune fits Slaid and the album so well, you would never guess it wasn’t his. While his narratives are generally of the brokenhearted and last-leggers, there is an air of optimism in Slaid’s voice that hints at a happy ending – even if it may not occur during the span of the song.

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