Fleet Foxes Download Code Giveaway!!

Posted by Payton | Posted in contest, free music | Posted on 02-15-2010

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Been quiet around here lately. Sorry for the lack of posts.

But to get things going again, how about another giveaway?? This time, I’ve got a download code for one of my favorite 2007 albums – hell one of my favorite albums EVER: Fleet Foxes‘ self-titled debut is an elegant masterpiece like nothing before or since. Robin Pecknold and crew created a unique sound that is at once classical and contemporary. The debut will no doubt be hard to follow, but rumor has it the band’s sophomore effort will be coming this year.

Click here to enter the Fleet Foxes Contest
Contest Complete

"Come Mornin’ I’ll Be Through Them Hills And Gone"

Posted by Payton | Posted in travel | Posted on 12-29-2009

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Headed out overnight for another New Year’s ski trip. Destination: Beaver Creek – my absolute favorite place to ski. Looks like my Top 50 Songs of 2009 will have to wait ’til 2010…. wow that’s strange to type.

If I find some time during the trip, I’ll begin another set of Download Code Contests. I’ve got 3 album downloads available from my Top 10 this year: JTE’s Midnight at the Movies, Deer Tick’s Born On Flag Day, and Conor Oberst’s Outer South. Be sure to check back for those.

For now, here are some songs to fit the mood:

Reckless Kelly – Snowfall
Fleet Foxes – Blue Ridge Mountains
Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings – Snowin’ On Raton (live)
White Antelope (Robin Pecknold) – Wild Mountain Thyme

New Digs……

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 05-11-2009

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Awww Yea-uh!

Back again with a handful of tunes I’ve been diggin’ on lately.
You know the drill: listen… enjoy… buy.

Wilco – Jolly Banker
A couple weeks ago, Wilco made this Woody Guthrie cover tune available for download on their site. It’s another example of music completely transcending time and history – the satirical song that was penned back in the dust bowl days as a slight to the fat-pocketed bankers rings just as true today. Nice choice Jeff. In related news, Wilco has announced their newest effort will be titled Wilco (The Album) and will feature a special appearance from Feist. Pick it up June 30th.

Sara Watkins – Will We Go
Sara Watkins was once 1/3 of the bluegrass-crossover giant Nickel Creek. Both Chris Thile and Sara’s brother Sean dabbled in solo albums throughout the bands’ tenure, but Sara has just released her debut solo album. The self-titled effort is well worth your time – especially if you are/were a Nickel fan – if only because of her fiddle skills and the fact that Gillian & Dave make an appearance. Buy It.

The Duke & The King – If You Ever Get Famous
I mentioned that Simone Felice decided to leave his band of brothers earlier this year. His new outfit, The Duke & The King, features Simone and Robert Chicken Burke. Their US debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay, will be available in August through Ramseur Records.

Band of Annuals – Blood On My Shirt
I came to know of Salt Lake City folk group Band of Annuals thanks to a reader recommendation (thanks Jeff). This six-piece band creates great folk rock, highlighted by a male-female vocal combo that sounds a lot like This Mornin’… favorite The Gougers. Get their latest album, Let Me Live, here.

J. Tillman – When I Light Your Darkened Door
Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman recently recorded a session over at Daytrotter, showcasing some of his amazing solo work. It’s mostly mellow, sounding somewhat like a mix between Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. This tune is from Cancer and Delirium. He more recently put out Vacilando Territory Blues.

Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) – It Ain’t Me Babe
I found a nice video of Fleet Foxes’ frontman doing his best Dylan – and ripped the audio for you.

Top Albums of 2008 (Part II)….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review, best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-28-2008

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5. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
3/25/08 ~ Third Man/Warner Bros.

i’ve always been a little wary of Jack White. His first effort with The Raconteurs swayed me a bit, but Consolers of the Lonely has sealed the deal. Much like what Caitlin Cary does for Ryan Adams, i believe Brendan Benson has a calming effect on Jack, keeping his crazy side in check. With each turn taken during the album, i am continually impressed with the musical decisions of this superband. Consolers reached just far enough into the folk realm to get me interested in the first place, and acquiring the album made visible the allure that has surrounded Jack White since the beginning.

Old Enough

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

4. The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers
3/4/08 ~ Team Love

Although they’ve been releasing music since 2006, i feel like 2008 was the breakout year for The Felice Brothers. i first posted about them back in February and, aside from Ryan Adams, they have been one of the most prevalent bands here at This Mornin’… An apt follow-up to last year’s Tonight At The Arizona, their self-titled album from this year is a raucous ride through backwoods country-side making stops in old-time barrooms and dirty roadside oases. ‘Frankie’s Gun’ took top honors in my Best Songs List without much of a fight. If i didn’t feel the need to spread the accolades around, songs like ‘Wonderful Life’, ‘Greatest Show’, ‘Take This Bread’, and ‘Love Me Tenderly’ could have also made the list. Moreover, i got to see the brothers live a short while back, and it only further instilled my appreciation for this authentic, super-talented band.

Love Me Tenderly

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
6/3/08 ~ Sub Pop

An album sure to be on many top lists, Fleet Foxes self-titled debut deserves every bit of praise coming its way. Sub Pop has proved once again that the sounds coming from the rainy Northwest are well worth paying attention to. The Foxes have self-described themselves as ‘baroque-pop,’ and as much as i’ve tried, i haven’t found a better description. With a lack of desire for conventional song structure and soaring vocals, The Fleet Foxes have managed to come off as classical while retaining what the appeal of the indie sound. Their chamber-music is at once peaceful and deeply inspiring. The fact that a 22-year old Robin Pecknold had the sage vision to put together a band of their caliber gives me tremendous hope for this young generation and their music.

Your Protector

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]

2. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
8/5/08 ~ Merge Records

Conor and his Mystic Valley Band took refuge in a secluded part of central Mexico to record the first album to bear the name of this Omaha alt-rocker. As you well know, Conor has a slew of releases under the moniker Bright Eyes as well as a ton of side projects. Conor Oberst is the most focused and accessible album that he has recorded. Shedding much of the cult-like stigma that hindered his 2007 Bright Eyes album as well as most of the peculiar and erratic tendencies from his adolescent career, Conor has solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30. ‘Souled Out’ reached #7 on my Best Songs List, which is an obvious injustice to the rest of the album. i truly can’t skip one song on the disc, and that includes the 50 second horn-blowing track from Ruben the Mexican. Conor and band headlined the above-mentioned show i attended in Austin. Read what i said about Conor Oberst back in my September Album Round-up.


Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl /mp3][iTunes]

1. These United States – Crimes
9/23/08 ~ United Interests

These United States’ second album of 2008 was immediately put in the running for the top spot when i first picked it up back in September. Read my original impression. Following A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden (whew…), Jesse Elliot put together a group of musicians and booked some studio time with an obvious vision in mind. What came out of the sessions was the Best Album of 2008. If you refer back to the preamble in Part I of this post, i talk a bit about the concept of an album – it being a complete work and not simply a neat packaging of songs. You’ll notice no cuts from Crimes were on my Best Songs List. Crimes reads like a story, a narrative that wouldn’t be complete without each element intact. The track-breaks flow seamlessly like chapters, with each song relating to the others through the common theme of the innate sinful nature of the human being. Crimes is jangly and loud for the most part, heavy on the background vocals and community instruments. Even the songs that begin at a crawl build and evolve back into an all-inclusive, welcoming sing-along. To have an album feel cohesive but still manage to continually engage the listener, one vital element is necessary: Dynamic. Crimes is unmatched in its layer quantity and progressive feel. And that’s just the sound of the album. Jesse Elliot fills each song with witty phrasing that begs you to listen intently. He’ll take a well-known saying and cleverly alter a word or two so that it will catch your ear no matter what other activity you’re engaged in. His slightly arrogant, but overly friendly delivery has the effect of a beloved author – one that you know is much smarter than you yet is still very relatable. Pick up this one, don’t simply download a track. Play it from beginning to end, and i promise it will leave you wanting more.

Old John Chapman Takes a Good Long Walk

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct][iTunes]


Be sure to read my Top 10 Songs of 2008.

Top 10 Songs of 2008…

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-16-2008

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Ok, i’ve put this off long enough. We’re now only 2 weeks away from 2009, and i might be one of last to get their lists up. And to be completely honest, my top 10 album list is not yet complete – well not the back half. But i have made final decisions on the Best Songs of the Year. But first….

What makes a song great?

That question has been tossed around since the first single was ever recorded, and if we (or anyone) knew the answer, there would be nothing left. The truth is, there is no answer. Music is subjective – some people simply listen, and if they like it, it’s a good song. Some look for originality, some for familiarity. Many people want emotive lyrics. Many want to hear words they can relate to. Many people (who are no doubt Dylan fans) are looking for groundbreaking wordplay that will blow their minds.

Of course, certain instruments excite certain people. i, for example, love the plunk of a banjo in an otherwise non-bluegrass tune. Acoustic guitars picked with purpose will grab my attention far earlier than a hard-strummed electric. Lately hand claps and tambourines make me happy.

What about vocals? Let’s be honest – the Folk/Americana/Alt-Country (what have you) world doesn’t possess the greatest or most talented vocalists. Many lead voices are of the love it or hate it variety, and can immediately turn someone off from a song. If i can’t listen to the lead vocals, the band is going to have a hard time getting on my good side. That said, there is no formula or standard that i judge by, and i have a fairly wide acceptance range. The most important thing a singer can possess is believability.

Growing up listening to mainstream country (and shifting between rap phases), i was under the impression the only song structure consisted of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. While that simple formula still works, an artist can expand or abbreviate to an indefinite degree as they see fit. Adding dynamic to a song with a tempo or key change can seem strange at first, but is one the most vital factors in keeping the listener engaged.

A particularly separating attribute for a list like this is enjoyability. This doesn’t mean that the song has to have uplifting lyrics; it’s often the opposite. The best judge for this element is how fun the song is to sing along to. The songs that i found myself belting out (severely off-key) in my car were the first to be added to the list.

So where does this leave me? Basically back where i started. There is no formula, no set of rules, and no boundary to great songs. That is what keeps music interesting, fresh, versatile, and what makes it an essential part of life. Taking these factors into consideration, here are my picks for the Top 10 Songs of 2008.

10. The Greatest Hustler of All ~ Old Crow Medicine Show

from Tennessee Pusher, written by Willie Watson/Ketch Secor

9. Who Am I To Say ~ Justin Townes Earle

from The Good Life, written by Justin Townes Earle

8. Skinny Love ~ Bon Iver

from For Emma, Forever Ago, written by Justin Vernon

7. Souled Out!!! ~ Conor Oberst

from Conor Oberst, written by Conor Oberst

6. Sideman Blues ~ The Dedringers

from Sweetheart of the Neighborhood, written by Jonny Burke

5. Murder In The City ~ The Avett Brothers

from The Second Gleam, written by Scott Avett

4. Traipsing Through the Aisles ~ Samantha Crain
from The Confiscation EP, written by Samantha Crain

3. White Winter Hymnal ~ Fleet Foxes

from Fleet Foxes, written by Robin Pecknold

2. Rattlin’ Bones ~ Kasey Chamber & Shane Nicholson
from Rattlin’ Bones, written by Chambers/Nicholson

1. Frankie’s Gun! ~ The Felice Brothers

from The Felice Brothers, written by Ian Felice

“My car goes… Chicago.
Every weekend to pick up some cargo.
I think I know the bloody way by now, Frankie,
Turn the god damn radio down, thank you.
Pull over. Count the money.
But don’t count the .30 in the glove box, buddy.

That’s for to buy Lucille some clothes.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Work zones, double fines.
Don’t pass the double lines.
Trailer McDonald’s, rest stop trailer double wide.
I saw a man hit my mom one time, really
I hurt him so damn bad I had to hide in Jersey.
Called my mama told her, ‘In the dresser
There’s ten or twenty dollars but there ain’t no lesser.’
That’s for to take my sister to the picture show.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Sha nay na sha nay na na na na na…
Sha nay na Sha nay na…

Slip make a fender shine,
Frankie you’re a friend of mine,
Got me off a bender after long-legged Brenda died.
I thought we might be on a roll this time, Frankie.
I could have swore the box said Hollywood blanks, but
You see my mama
Please tell her
I left a little rock in a box in the cellar.
That’s for to wear till kingdom come.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Sha nay na sha nay na na na na na…
Sha nay na Sha nay na…

Yodelea he hoo.”

Click the album covers to purchase.

Check out last year’s list (my 2nd post on This Mornin’…), and stay tuned for the definitive Top 10 Albums of 2008.

The Lists Begin: Top EP’s of 2008

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-10-2008

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Sorry for the lack of updates – been finding other things to do (movies, games, even a trip to the zoo) trying to stave off adulthood as long as possible, i guess. But here we are, nearly halfway through the last month of the year… and it’s list time.

As a warm-up, here is a mini-list for EP’s of the year. My motive for this post is the need to highlight the band who holds the top spot – newcomers whose 2008 EP would’ve easily made my album list had there been twice as many songs.

1. Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – The Confiscation EP

Beloved, We Have Expired
Youthful Okie Samantha Crain emerged on the folk scene this year with an EP released by Ramseur Records. i first posted on this EP in a New Digs here. The disc has remained in my rotation since i picked it up, and it simply keeps growing on me. Songs In The Night, the band’s first full-length effort is scheduled for an April 28th, 2009 release. Also, check out their brand new website.

Buy it.

2. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP

English House
The precursor to the Fleet Foxes self-titled debut offered a smooth introduction into the classical yet contemporary stylings of this Seattle band.

Buy it here.
Get the Fleet Foxes on vinyl and it comes with the Sun Giant EP.

3. The Avett Brothers – The Second Gleam

Tear Down The House
The Avett Brothers’ Emotionalism was my top pick for album of 2007, and i wouldn’t change that choice a year later. While the second edition in their Gleam EP series was not near as impressive, it shows that the band is still the most creative act on the scene, espicially with regard to their instrumental decisions.

Buy the CD.
Buy the Vinyl.

"Tell me anything you want, any old lie will do…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 08-25-2008

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Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood

More Seattle Sub Pop for you. This is one many great songs that make up the Fleet Foxes self-titler – which presently sits very high up on my best of ‘08 list. Somehow, we are 3/4 of the way through this year. Crazy.
Get it on Vinyl and not only will you get download codes, but also The Sun Giant – their Sub Pop debut EP.

New Digs…….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 06-27-2008

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Most of the music that’s recently been added to my library has actually been older stuff (thanks to the folks at Cover Lay Down, Setting The Woods On Fire, and Ceci N’est Pas un Blog) – Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Creedence, Emmylou……..

i have, however, picked up a couple new discs – some in the mail and some digitally.

Here’s some of the best new additions:

mp3: The Dedringers – Sideman Blues
pick up Sweetheart of the Neighborhood FREE!!
The lead-off and stand-out track from The Dedringers first full-length disc.
“i used to have a job as a sideman/playin‘ with a blues band/down on the coast/
i played Mr. Cale/rockin‘ the blues scale/bendin‘ out the notes”

more Dedringers here.

mp3: Reckless Kelly – God Forsaken Town
buy Bulletproof (2008)

Known for their in-your-face, roots-rock, Reckless Kelly has long since set the standard for bands that fall somewhere between Rock and Country. Somehow, though, i end up diggin‘ the more mid-tempo, lyrically driven songs Willie Braun and band deliver so effortlessly. This one is from the band’s latest (7th) release.

mp3: Ben Sollee – How To See The Sun Rise
buy Learning to Bend (2008)
By now, everyone has heard Ben’s cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. The other songs from this acoustic cello specialist’s debut album are just as moving. Ben got his start in The Sparrow Quartet – Abigail Washburn’s band.

These next two songs are from bands who have been raved about all over the music blog community – and i hate to jump on the bandwagon, but they really are good. i don’t own either album, but from the small sampling of tunes i have from each, i’m definitely thinkin‘ about it.

mp3: Fleet Foxes – He Doesn’t Know Why
buy Fleet Foxes (2008)
Sub Pop has once again turned out an amazing band. Along the lines of Band of Horses, The Shins, and Iron & Wine, the cosmic vocals from Fleet Foxes will take you to another world.

mp3: Mason Jennings – Fighter Girl
buy In The Ever (2008)
The dry deliver and literal songwriting of Mason Jennings is actually his appeal.