Spring/Summer Album Release Update

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 05-12-2010

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Over the last few months I’ve posted quite a few notices of Album Releases spread across April, May, and June. Here’s a re-cap for your pre/late ordering pleasure all in one convenient place:


6th/ Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digital]

I only recently became a Dr. Dog fan, but since I finally gave their 2008 album Fate a listen, they’re basically ALL I’ve been spinning. I also had the pleasure of catching their live show in Austin a couple weeks back, and it was THE BEST rock and roll show I’ve ever seen. If at all possible catch this tour – the light show is mindblowing.

Dr. Dog - I Only Wear Blue


20th/ Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The third album from this acoustic folk outfit from Portland dropped late last month. I received my vinyl copy a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the chance to fully enjoy it yet. This one sounded good on the first pass:

Horse Feathers - Vernonia Blues



4th/ Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ll be honest, So Runs The World Away kinda bored me on the first listen. The second time through, the latter half of the disc sounded better – especially this one with it’s busy acoustic guitar:

Josh Ritter - Lark


11th/ Sam Quinn + Japan Ten – The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships

buy: [CD][Digtal]

Sam’s first solo endeavor, The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships showcases the heartbreaking songwriting ability we all came to love with The Everybodyfields.

Sam Quinn + Japan Ten - So Strong


18th/ Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ve given this one a few spins since picking it up and I like just about everything I’ve heard. This one seems to be a more melodic record than previous Band of Horses albums.

Band of Horses - Laredo removed by request


18th/ The Black Keys – Brothers

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The world’s best Blues/Rock duo has done it again with Brothers, the band’s 8th studio album. They continue to invent the grooviest of grooves, but Brothers isn’t as raw as the rest of their catalog – Dan’s songwriting shows through nearly as strong as on his solo album.

The Black Keys - Howlin' For You



8th/ Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl]

Following their meteoric rise over the last two years, the Providence Grunge-Folk Rockers Deer Tick release their third full album. They opened for Dr. Dog this month in Austin and from the sampling we heard, this one should be stellar.

Deer Tick - Twenty Miles


22nd/ Various – Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (John Prine Tribute Album)

pre-order: [CD]

An All-Star cast of today’s best folk musicians came together to pay tribute to one of folk music’s best songwriters of all time. Whether it’s Justin Vernon, Josh Ritter, Willie Watson, or John McCauley doing the singing, the simply perfect melodies never let you forget you’re hearing a John Prine song.

Old Crow Medicine Show - Angel From Montgomery

New Digs, Vol. 27

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, new digs | Posted on 04-06-2010

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Got a string of brand new tracks in the last couple of days. No time for words, as more brand new music is pouring in as we speak.

Enjoy the latest, greatest additions to my music library:

Deer Tick - Twenty Miles
from The Black Dirt Sessions (out 6.8.10)


Band of Horses - Compliments
from Infinite Arms (out 5.18.10)


Dr. Dog - Unbearable Why
from Shame, Shame (out Today)


Ben Kweller - It All Happened
from Esquire Exclusive Download


John Prine - She Is My Everything (live)
from In Person & On Stage (out 5.25.10)


New Album from Deer Tick

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 02-27-2010

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Partisan Records has released news that Deer Tick has a new album ready for launch in June. The Black Dirt Sessions will be the band’s third full-length release – following 2009’s Born On Flag Day and an EP released late last year. On this record, Ian O’Neil replaces lead guitarist Andrew Tobiassen. Ian is know from Deer Tick’s recent live shows as the guy that looks like Bob Dylan.

As I hypothesized long ago, 2009 saw Deer Tick blow up in the national spotlight, gaining a rabid fan base – one which even contains NBC’s Brian Williams. Their furious tour schedule, coupled with an intensely  intriguing live show has helped to bolster this notoriety. Adding prolific output to the band’s resume is the next best way to grab and keep those fans. Reportedly, the new album has the sound of a band finding their stride and a frontman in John McCauley coming into his own as a true songwriter. Can’t wait.

The Black Dirt Sessions (June 8th, 2010):
1. Choir of Angels
2. Twenty Miles
3. Goodbye, Dear Friend
4. Piece By Piece, Frame By Frame
5. Sad Sun
6. Mange
7. When She Comes Home
8. Hand In My Hand
9. I Will Not Be Myself
10. Blood Moon
11. Christ Jesus

pre-order available April 27th.

To curb your appetite until some tracks become available, here’s a sweet little Demo Version of a tune off Deer Tick’s debut album:

Deer Tick - Art Isn't Real (City of Sin) [Demo Version]

Deer Tick Download Code Giveaway!!

Posted by Payton | Posted in contest, free music | Posted on 01-20-2010

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As promised, I’ve got a few more unused download codes to give away. Up for grabs this week is the newest album from one of the hottest bands in the country. Deer Tick’s Born on Flag Day found itself at #4 on my Top 20 Albums of 2009. Read my review.

This time there’s no trivia stopping you from giving it a try. Simply click below or on the album cover and enter your email address. Next Wednesday (1/27), I’ll pick a random winner and notify them via email with the working download code. Do it.

Click here to enter the Deer Tick Contest
Contest Complete – Congrats Jeanette!

The Lists: Top 20 Albums of 2009 (1-10)

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-22-2009

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Part II of my Top 20 Albums of 2009

10. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies

Bloodshot, 3.3.2009

Justin Townes Earle’s second album cemented his star-studded name as star in his own right and won the top spot in the first ever Bird List – by a landslide. Justin, like some of the best out there, has a difficult time translating his live show allure to a studio CD, but Midnight At The Movies does a damn good job trying. His rollicking, ‘Hillbilly Music’ (tracks like ‘Walk Out’ and ‘John Henry’) are where he grabs your attention, but it’s the slower, more personal songs (‘Mama’s Eyes’, ‘Someday I’ll Be Forgiven’) that truly separate JTE from other folk-country acts out there.

Justin Townes Earle – They Killed John Henry

9. Sea Wolf – White Water, While Bloom
Dangerbird, 9.22.2009
Alex Brown Church and the folks behind him, better known as Sea Wolf, are probably one the most accessible bands I promote here. I have to admit that they had a little advantage making my top 10 due to the fact that I didn’t discover their 2007 release Leaves In The River until last year, and wanted to make up for not mentioning it in my inaugural posts. This year with White Water, White Bloom, Sea Wolf continued to make listener-friendly indie-rock paved with inspiring string pieces, powerful rhythm sections, and soaring vocals.

Sea Wolf – Dew In The Grass

8. Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Songs In The Night
Ramseur, 4.28.2009

Samantha Crain broke into the folk scene last year with a superb EP. Don’t let the fact that her debut full-length was released early this year and the hype surrounding her may have since slowed lead you astray. This is one killer album. Songs In The Night contains very mature writing and even better music created by The Midnight Shivers. It’s got a perfect mix of tempos – sing-along folk-rockers, contemplative acoustic ballads, and even a couple electric grooves. If I could pick a poster-band for the sound I want out of my Americana, this is it.

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Devils In Boston

7. Middle Distance Runner – The Sun & Earth
Engine Room Recordings, 10.20.2009

Every year so far, I’ve had at least one album that made my list for one simple reason – it rocks. This year’s album that always seems to get my head bobbin’ is Middle Distance Runner’s The Sun & Earth. I stumbled across the D.C. band earlier this year thanks to a couple mind-numbing singles/EPs they released. I grabbed the full album released in October, delighted to see those tracks on it, and even more thrilled to enjoy the rest of the disc. It’s one of those albums that you seem to not remember tracks names simply because it’s 45 minutes of pulsating Rock n Roll intertwined with moments of acoustic bliss of that all melds together in you brain – in a good way.

Middle Distance Runner – Round Here

6. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid
Nonesuch, 2.10.2009
I was skeptical of Dan Auerbach breaking from his bandmate to strike out on a solo mission. But I was a fool. Dan brought his funk-filled guitar licks to the studio, polished them off just a tad, and ultimately brought everything to his solo debut that The Black Keys were missing. Keep It Hid has the feel of an artist who knew the exact sound they wanted. Plus, who knew this blues-rocker could slow it down and give us a handful of touching down-tempo ditties to compliment his unique, blistering electric sound.

Dan Auerbach – When The Night Comes

5. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Outer South
Merge, 5.5.2009
I had Outer South, the second album bearing Conor Oberst’s name and the first bearing The Mystic Valley Band, in my library for a while this year before I really gave it a listen. I don’t know what held me back – maybe I was overwhelmed by the amount of tracks on it and the fact that Conor participated in another release this year – but as soon as I listened once through, I knew it was a top 5 album. This year will mark the 3rd year in a row that Conor Oberst has placed an album in the top 5 here at This Mornin’. Last year, I made the claim that his self-titled album solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30, and with this release I stand by that claim – though he only has 2 more months to hold the title. He will then have wait 5 years in a distant second place until Ryan Adams turns 40.

Outer South doesn’t necessarily show us anything particularly new about Conor – his songs continue to be energetic – only slowing when necessary – well-written, and most noticeably perfectly delivered. Conor has a knack for isolating a line apart from the music behind it with the effect of heightening the importance of that lyric like no one else. What sets this album apart from Oberst’s earlier work is his band. Although The Mystic Valley Band played on Conor Oberst, that album was more about Conor. On Outer South, he lends prime real estate to his bandmates letting them take 7 of the 16 tracks, including tracks as early as 3 and 4. The songs that Nick Freitas, Taylor Hollingworth, and Jason Boesel wrote and provide lead vocals for aren’t my favorite off the album, but they ain’t bad, either. Hollingsworth may have the standout non-Oberst song with his Replacements-esque ‘Air Mattress.’ Outer South is yet another disc from the Omaha alt-rocker that doesn’t have a single skippable track.

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Cabbage Town
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Air Mattress
4. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day
Partisan, 6.23.2009

Easily my most anticipated release of the year, Deer Tick’s sophomore effort obviously pleased me. But not right at first – if you read my initial reaction, you’ll see I was happy with it, but thought it paled in comparison to 2007’s War Elephant. What I grew to enjoy about the album after some time, however, was everything that sets Born On Flag Day apart from their debut. Aside from John McCauley’s grizzled vocals, this album doesn’t have the same grunge-rock feel of which we were introduced to Deer Tick. In its place as an overlying feeling on the album is a bit of a retro-vibe. Born On Flag Day boasts multiple tracks that sound straight out of a 50’s studio session outtake disc. Both vocally and musically, I’ve heard traces of The Everyly Brothers (when they tried out an electric set), The Animals, Chuck Berry, and even some Beatles when I listen to this album. John manages to get those familiar, classic rock tones from his sea-green Fender Strat, both on this album and in the band’s live show.
Deer Tick – Stung
3. Bombadil – Tarpits & Canyonlands
Ramseur, 7.7.2009

I could sit here and regurgitate words that tell you how Bombadil is groundbreaking, brave, and stylistically unclassifiable, but if you’ve ever heard their music, that is all too apparent. The simple fact is, it’s fun to listen to them – and what else do you really need to know? Tarpits and Canyonlands outreaches the band’s last album in terms of accessibility and execution. Here, there are real songs, still liberally arranged with instrumental twists and turns, but in a more focused way. The guys took their time with this recording, and it shows. Most impressively, Tarpits‘ strongest parts may be the more subdued moments. The slow-building opener ‘I Am’ provides a gentle, yet ominous lead-in to an album with peaks and valleys in terms of tempo and activity, but never a dull moment.

Bombadil – I Am
Bombadil – Kuala Lumpur


2. Dave Rawlings Machine – A Friend of a Friend
Acony, 11.17.2009

I reserved big, comfy spot for this album in my Top 10 as soon as I learned of its release. Don’t get me wrong – I still analyzed the songs, but I already knew what we were getting. For an artist with a resume like Dave Rawlings, over a decade to hone his songwriting chops, and the likes of Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show ushering him in, A Friend of A Friend was bound to be nothing short of spectacular. The last thing I expected going in was to be most impressed by the strength of Dave’s original songs. ‘Ruby’ immediately shot to the top of my favorite songs list, while ‘Sweet Tooth’ and ‘Bells of Harlem’ are at once fresh and classically timeless. It’s a short and sweet album, with a perfect mix of Dave’s early co-writes, well-chosen covers, and original compositions that will no-doubt stand the test of time. Expect a further in-depth review of this one after I’ve let it simmer a little longer.

Dave Rawlings Machine – Sweet Tooth

1. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Nonesuch, 6.9.2009

Last year, I expressed my thoughts on what I believe makes a great album. Most importantly, that it need be a cohesive, focused, flowing collection of songs, none being superfluous or out of place. The Low Anthem’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin takes this idea to another level. It’s a beautiful record, start to finish, complete with ballads and rockers, an interlude, and a reprise. It flows seamlessly, taking you through ethereal hymns and turbulent gospel barn-burners. Some may argue that OMGCD was a 2008 release – the Providence-based band self-released the album in September of 2008 and were subsequently picked up by Nonesuch Records. The label then gave the record a proper release (including vinyl) in June of this year. I discovered the band just after this release and was pleased to see that their schedule crossed paths with mine and we would both be in Nashville at the same time – me for The Big Surprise Tour, them for an intimate show at The Basement. Catching a live show of theirs and meeting the band members had a big part in the placement of this album at the top of my list. Read my review.
The Low Anthem’s strongest quality – as a band and especially on this album – is their unmatched instrumentation. Between only Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystokwsky, and Jocie Adams, The Low Anthem travels with a trailer-full of gear, all of which gets used on a nightly basis. Their stage progression plays out like a carousel, or literally a game of musical chairs. Most instruments can be played by more than one member, each with their own personal flair. I read a few interviews with the band prior to this write-up (check out this well-written one). In one interview, Miller says they try to push their musical limits by limiting their play on instruments they are comfortable with. He says they walk blindfolded into the instrument room; they “prefer to stumble into beauty.” Another interesting note I picked up on, Miller says that band doesn’t get too caught up in listening to a lot of contemporary music. This is obvious in the end result of their own music – you can’t seem to pick out any specific influence or even compare it to anything else you’ve heard before: completely original music, earthy and natural.

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin
The Low Anthem – Horizon Is A Beltway


The Lists: Top 5 Eps of 2009…

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-10-2009

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Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I’ve been cramming for finals. Ha. Not those… I’m done with school, remember. What I’ve been cramming is music. Into my ears.

You see, it’s that time of year again where every self-respecting blogger boils down the thousands of discs and songs they’ve collected over the year into structured, numerical lists. This year, my Top Albums list will part of The Bird List (for the record, I voted for The United State of Americana) – a sort of master list aggregated from over 40 Americana/Country/Folk blogs. Our finalized lists of 20 albums are due tonight, and the results will be tallied and will go live (here) on Monday the 14th.

So to answer your agonizing question… yes, my list is complete. And although I know you can’t wait any longer to see the definitive Top Albums of the year, I won’t be posting mine just yet. Like last year, I will begin my year-end lists with a small sampling of the Best EP’s of the year. This year we have 5, 2 up from last year. My albums list has doubled to 20. And I plan on offering somewhere near 50 of my favorite songs this year. Stay tuned, folks.

5. Angus & Julia Stone – The Beast [EP]

I found Australian sibling duo Angus & Julia Stone through Rollo & Grady. I was a little late to the party – they have putting out music for a few years now. This EP saw its US release early this year in preparation for their debut LP A Book Like This. Julia’s bubbly yet sultry voice (think Kasey Chambers, Joanna Newsom) is the initial attention-grabber, but Angus’ smooth vocals and lyrics will keep you listening.


4. Deer Tick – More Fuel for the Fire [EP]

As expected, 2009 was a huge year for Providence’s Deer Tick. Just five months after releasing their sophomore album, John McCauley and crew gave us a new EP sampling 3 new songs. ‘La La La’ might be the country-est tune Deer Tick has recorded thus far. Guitarist Andrew Tobiassen takes front stage on his tune ‘Dance of Love.’ And ‘Axe Is Forever’ is yet another retro-groove sure to stick in your head throughout next year.

La La La

3. Jonny Burke – The Long Haul [EP]

Former 1/2 of The Dedringers Jonny Burke spent 2009 on the road across the country opening for such acts as James McMurtry and Ryan Bingham. Somehow, he found the time to record a 5-track EP. ‘Ship Come In’ enlists Austin’s Band of Heathens to help fill sound and vocals. ‘El Paso’ is a western lament a-la Townes Van Zandt.

El Paso
[CD][free download]

2. Tristen – Deceivers Are Achievers [EP]

A gracious reader emailed me to suggest that I may enjoy an EP from Tristen Gaspadarek, a Nashville-based singer and multi-instrumentalist. He was right. Tristen’s brand of jangly pop (rubbed in the dirt just enough to be folk) is right up my alley. Her youthful voice and original melodies have been known to stick in my head some.

Matchstick Murder

1. Joe Pug – In The Meantime [EP]

My favorite discovery of the year was, hands down, Joe Pug. He blew onto the scene last year with his Nation of Heat [EP], but it somehow slipped past me. I’m always a fan of simple acoustic music, and Joe has that art down to perfection. This EP – free on his website – consists of leftover tracks from the Nation sessions. Look for 2010 to be a breakout year for Joe as his touring has recently been shifted into full-gear (including some time overseas with The Low Anthem) and his debut LP, Messenger, is set for a February release.

Dodging The Wind
[free download]

Refresh your memory with last year’s lists:
Top EPs
Top Songs
Top Albums, pt 1
Top Albums, pt 2

Get Lotsa Deer Tick for <$10!!

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 12-01-2009

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Deer Tick’s 2009-ending EP More Fuel For The Fire is out today through iTunes. Get it for only $3.96. You get 3 new tracks and a live cut of ‘Straight Into A Storm.’

Also, Amazon is selling Born On Flag Day for only $5 today. Get you some.

But to keep you folks comin’ to this here site, I’ll give you some cheap music as well. Here’s John from Deer Tick doing his best acoustic Mellancamp:

Deer Tick – Authority (John Mellancamp cover)
Check the video at Fader TV.

"there’s no good place in town, but I feel alright…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 11-23-2009

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Deer Tick – Houston, TX
buy Born on Flag Day (2009)

Saw Deer Tick tonight in Houston.
No cameras allowed.
They opened.
They rocked.
Buy this album. (and this EP… in a couple days)

New Deer Tick EP – December 1st

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, live show | Posted on 11-18-2009

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Deer Tick announced last week that they have a NEW EP ready for release. More Fuel For The Fire will be available exclusively through iTunes December 1st. Read the CMJ story here. The EP will feature 3 new tracks and a live cut of ‘Straight Into A Storm’ from Born On Flag Day – the band’s sophomore album – released only a few short months ago.

I will be attending Deer Tick’s show in Houston this weekend to get an early preview of these new tunes. The boys are opening for Neko Case at Warehouse Live. I also plan on catching Slaid Cleaves Friday night at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. If you’re ever in the Houston area – check their schedule. Truly one the best places to see live music.

Both of these artists had 2009 releases and have yet another chance to impress me before I finalize my end-of-year lists. And I’m proud to announce that this year, my list will be part of something much bigger than simply this blog. The Bird List will compile chosen albums from more than 30 Americana/Alt-Country/whathaveyou blogs to create the ultimate Best Albums of 2009 master-list. Special thanks to Matt from A Truer Sound for including me in this effort. I’m excited to see how this turns out in its inaugural run.

Viva la Vinyl: Deer Tick Goes Tejano….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, videos, viva la vinyl | Posted on 07-21-2009

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A couple Thursdays ago, I shot over to Austin just in time to catch Deer Tick tear down Emo’s. The Providence boys were obviously not accustomed to Texas heat, and thus were all shirtless by song number 2. That helped open the door for what would turn out to be a no-holds-barred, raucous evening complete with flying beer, John McCauley on the drums, and even a little crowd surfing (see below). I managed to keep my new camera safe and even snagged a few shots worth keeping.

I had a quick conversation with John after the show, in which he mentioned that he had been by This Mornin’… before. Pretty cool. So, John, if you’re reading this, leave a shout out down below. I then saw someone walking by with a white cardboard sleeve just about 7 inches square. Checking with the merch table, my suspicions were confirmed. So here you are, folks, the newest Deer Tick track to hit the web. A seven-inch vinyl-only single, exclusively at www.ThisMornin.com:

Deer Tick – La Bamba (vinyl rip)

Wikipedia says:
La Bamba’ is a Mexican folk song that was made popular in 1958 by the late Ritchie Valens. The la bamba is a traditional Mexican dance performed at weddings (along with the song). Valens’ version infused rock ‘n roll with traditional Mexican instruments and rhythms. ‘La Bamba’ is the only non-English song to make Rolling Stones’ list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (#345).

The boys split this 7″ with The Shivers – a NYC based rock/experimental group, and I have to say I rather enjoy the groove.

The Shivers – Shallow Water (vinyl rip)

In other Deer Tick news, a slew of live sets were linked from their twitter today. They recently did a ‘LaundroMatinee‘ set for MyOldKentuckyBlog. The set features Houston, TX, These Old Shoes, The Dance of Love, Dirty Dishes, and Dead Flowers. You can download the mp3’s here. My personal favorite from the collection:

Check out a brand new song John and Dennis debuted at their Waterloo Records in-store performance the day of their show at Emo’s:

More Viva la Vinyl at This Mornin’….

Whiskeytown’s Record Store Day 7″ – 4.30.09
Viva la Vinyl: Ryan Adams Set – 4.15.09
Whiskeytown’s Theme For A Trucker – 2.20.09