The Return of a Couple Things….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-04-2009

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How’ve you been?

C’mon… it was just a couple weeks.

You already took me off your RSS reader?!?

Okay, so I have no excuses. Just like anything else, it became easier to put the blog aside with each day that I took off. But with this post, I intend to get back into full posting action (no guarantees here, though). After all the mundane tasks that went into making my year-end lists, some of the fun was sucked out of the music. And, frankly, I’m not going to post when I feel a little less than expired.

Spoon – Back To The Life
from Spoon’s Daytrotter Session

In my defense, I have been somewhat pre-occupied in the evenings fixing up the old High School stomping grounds. We spent most of our youthful nights across the street from my current location in a converted garage that housed a pool table and endless amounts of beer.

Now with a friend back in the house, and a few more years under belts, the time has come for a little remodeling. The pool table has been re-felted, the beer boxes have all fallen off the ceiling, and the sound system/music library has received a much-needed overhaul. We wiped clean my old desktop computer, loaded with nothing but iTunes and a few thousand choice musical selections and wired it to a vintage but powerful receiver to pump the room full of aural goodness. Providing the bass in the room are the big speakers from an old ROCK-OLA 45″ Jukebox. The ultimate goal is to fill it with record store gems, but until then the original speakers are doing just fine. No home bar in Texas would be complete without a State flag under spotlight and a semi-creepy portrait of The Duke. We also removed the stand from the back of the monitor and mounted it on a swivel so one can DJ from either side of the bar. Going through the uploaded tunes to make brand new playlists has allowed for an eye-opening musical review of the many songs I’ve picked up over the last couple years.

Whiskeytown – Bar Lights
from The Freightwhaler Demos (1996)

The Replacements – Pool & Dive
from Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? (2006)

Cross Canadian Ragweed – 17
from Purple (2002)

The Belmont isn’t complete yet, but the transformation is more than underway. And we’ve made the decision to never again decorate with cardboard.

Gravy On Top…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in bonus disc | Posted on 11-04-2008

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Going through some of my 2007 pickups, i remembered a few of the best came with entire discs full of bonus material – none of which were advertised or marked as limited edition releases. This has taught me to always pre-order.

It seems the Bonus Disc was a treat reserved for ‘07 – 2008 has given me only one, The Kooks’ Rak, which is really more of an extra album than it is a bonus disc. This year, the trend seems to be the option of vinyl, which may be even better. Nevertheless, today i will share with you some of the best from those ‘07 Bonus Discs:

Spoon – Mean Mad Margaret

It took me a couple months to even find the ‘Get Nice!’ Bonus Disc that came with Spoon’s ‘07 release Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – it was unnoticeably hidden behind the plastic backing. A considerably lengthy extra disc, the addition includes alternate versions of some of the album tracks, a few righteously groovy bare-bones tunes, and one scorching punk ballad.

Spoon – 1975

Buy Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

Josh Ritter – Labelship Down

Josh Ritter’s monumental Historical Conquests was augmented with a 4-track bonus disc. The all acoustic collection is highlighted with a short tropical tune and a heartfelt lament.

Josh Ritter – Naked As A Window

Buy The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter.

Bright Eyes – Susan Miller Rag

Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga included not only magic-eye packaging complete with decoder film, but an extra single printed on a mini-disc.

Buy Cassadaga.

Fiction Sounds Good…….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, movie, soundtrack | Posted on 10-06-2008

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Time again for one of my sporadic movie/soundtrack posts.

Just finished watching Stranger Than Fiction, and i like. Will Farrell toes the line between humor and oddity better in this film than his other ‘dramedies.‘ This was a movie that i hadn’t been dying to see, by any means, but i’m glad that a rainy Monday night allowed me to do so. With a guest list of folks like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, the movie has promise from the start. Thematically, it’s witty and original – Will plays a remarkably boring/borderline OCD IRS agent whose life inadvertently becomes the subject of a novel written by Emma Thompson’s character. In turn, the pages of the novel begin to control Will’s own fate and change his lifestyle. You’ve at least seen the trailer, so i shall not go on.

But we all know the reason why you’re here, so let’s get to it….

The songs in the film, expertly placed between Thompson’s narration and impressively relevant to the movie, are superb. Britt Daniel (above) of Spoon collaborated with soundtrack veteran Brian Reitzell to create half original score/half amazing soundtrack. The tracks that weren’t written for the film are made up of a few Spoon songs and a handful of relatively unknown (at least to me) post punk tunes. The movie is somewhat dark, and the contrast between that and the upbeat, sanguine nature of Punk music somehow works perfectly. Hearing Britt’s work placed next to this style of music reveals obvious influences i may not have noticed otherwise. i’ve always thought that Spoon fits the elemental mold of indie-rock, but now i’m starting to see something seep out of the edges. The highlight track is from Wreckless Ericsounds like a grunge Donovan – Will Farrell gives us an impromptu acoustic version in the movie (see below). This Monday movie night has just presented me with a few new bands to look into.

Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World

Maximo – Going Missing
Califone – Bottles & Bones (Shade & Sympathy)
Spoon – The Way We Get By
Spoon – The Book I Write

Buy the Soundtrack

Buy the Movie

Top 10 Songs of 2007

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, best of 2007, lists | Posted on 01-22-2008

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Here is the second post from my myspace blog.
originally posted on January 13th, 2008 @ 3:42pm

Top 10 Songs of 2007

we will continue without too much rambling…..
you’ll notice a lot of these songs of the year come from my albums of the year, but i planned it so i wouldn’t duplicate any of the songs……’re welcome for the free music – but do yourself (and the artists) a favor and go out and pick em up.

10. The Kooks – She Moves in Her Own Way
Inside In/Inside Out – Astralwerks

This was the first song i heard off of Inside In/Inside Out, and i coulnd’t get enough of Luke Pritchard’s super British accent. Once i figured out what he was even saying, it made it all that much better.

9. The Everybodyfields – Aeroplane
Nothing is Okay – Ramseur Records

From the time i first popped Nothing is Okay in the cd player and that fiddle came screamin’ in on the track 1, i was sold The Everybodyfields.

8. Ryan Adams – Goodnight Rose
Easy Tiger – Lost Highway

What a way to kick off an album. No foreplay – just straight into what Ryan does best: a rockin’, memorable guitar riff and powerful lyrics delivered like only he can.

7. Deer Tick – Diamond Rings 2007
War Elephant – Feow Records

Don’t know why he put that 2007 on the end of the title, but it kinda makes sense now doesn’t it? John McCauley gives a jangly, tamborine filled song with enough echoey reverb to make Jack White happy.

6. Feist – 1234
The Reminder – Interscope Records

Most of us first heard this on the iPod nano commercial, and (consequently or not) i soon after starting getting into more indie rock like this. This song starts pretty simply – a little acoustic guitar and Feist’s voice – but turns into one huge party as her vocals soar. Horn sections, dozens of backup vocals, jazzy piano, and lays back down with just a plunky banjo. The video’s pretty cool, too.

5.Spoon – The Underdog
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Merge Records

i consider myself to like pretty tradtional music and always enjoy stripped down acoustic stuff, but the crazy amount of shit goin’ on in The Underdog is what drew me in. There’s a horn section, a booming bass drum, and about a dozen different noise makers (maracas, shakers, tambourines, hand claps, some sort of stick bangin’ on a bottle, and probably much more) that all culminate into a crash landing at the end. And not one bit is unnecesary.

4. The Kooks – Naive
Inside In/Inside Out – Astralwerks

The second gem i came across from the album is a little more rockin’ than She Moves…. but again it’s that accent that makes the song. Somehow i don’t think anyone without a British accent could cover this and do it justice.

3. Josh Ritter – The Temptation of Adam
The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter – Sony USA

Normally a song that mentions the inevitability of WWIII would immediately get skipped on my playlist, but Josh does this futuristic look at Adam and Eve controlling the fate of the world too cleverly not to enjoy.

2. The Avett Brothers – Paranoia in Bb Major
Emotionalism – Ramseur Records

From the first ring of the Scott’s banjo, to Seth’s guttural “yeah’s”, to every single plunk of Bob Crawford’s bass, this song is pure energy manifested into one of the best folk-rock songs ever.

1.Bright Eyes – Four Winds
Cassadaga – Saddle Creek Records

Some the best fiddle solos i’ve ever heard mixed with Conor’s philosopher-like lyrics on top a driving rhythm combine to make my number one song of 2007. Just check out the lyrics:

Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe
There’s people always dying trying to keep them alive
There’s bodies decomposing in containers tonight
In an abandoned building where…

The squatters made a mural of a Mexican girl
With fifteen cans of spray paint in a chemical swirl
She’s standing in the ashes at the end of the world
Four Winds blowing through her hair

But when Great Satan’s gone…
the Whore of Babylon…
She just can’t sustain the pressure where it’s placed
She caves

The Bible’s blind. The Torah’s deaf. The Qu’ran is mute.
If you burned them all together you’d get close to the truth
Still they’re pouring over Sanskrit under Ivy League moons
While shadows lengthen the sun

Cast on a school and meditation built to soften the times
And hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds
It’s knocking over fences, crossing property lines
Four Winds cry until it comes

It’s the Sum of Man slouching towards Bethlehem
A heart just can’t contain all of that empty space
It breaks. It breaks. It breaks.

Well I went back by rented Cadillac and company jet
Like a newly orphaned refugee retracing my steps
All the way to Cassadaga to commune with the dead
They said, “You’d better look alive”
And now it’s off to old Dakota where a genocide sleeps
In the Black Hills, the Badlands, the calloused East
I buried my ballast. I made my peace.
Heard Four Winds leveling the pines

But when Great Satan’s gone
The Whore of Babylon
She just can’t remain with all that outer space
She breaks. She breaks. She caves. She caves.

Givin’ It A Go….

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2007, lists | Posted on 01-22-2008

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Ok, so first post…….

i started blogging on my myspace page to try it out. i made a couple of ‘Best Of 2007′ posts and really enjoyed it, so i decided to move it over to this site. Here are the original posts.

-originally posted on January 12th, 2008 @ 11:57pm

so i’ve been thinkin a lot lately about starting a music blog since i spend about 90 percent of my time on the internet reading them. for those that may not know these are blogs where people post best of/worst of lists of music, highlight artists they like, or simply talk about music. the best part however, is that these bloggers post links to mp3’s of songs mentioned. as far as i know this is legal music sharing, as there is always a link to buy the albums/songs, a disclaimer saying the songs are for sampling purposes only, and artists/labels can request that their music be removed. also, the links normally expire within a few months, so you gotta move fast.
if you’re interested in this, try starting out at The Hype Machine tracks a variety of MP3 blogs. If a post contains MP3 links, it adds those links to its database and displays them on the front page.
2007 was a big year for me musically:
- i bought a fiddle; two actually (still workin on that tho)
- i finally took off my ‘texas music’ blinders and have since found some of the best artists around and redefined what i think good music is (i won’t even try to explain what that is).
- i gave in and starting using iTunes as my music library program, and consequently…
- i bought a 160gb iPod to store all this newfound musical goodness (plus, i outgrew my 20gb iRiver).
Because 2007 was good to me, i’ll return the favor my starting my blogging career with some best of 2007 lists.
stay tuned for those…….
-originally posted on January 13th, 2008 @ 8:28pm (**these mp3’s are linked to other blogs that i found through**)

so, as i said, i will commence my music blogging with a look back at the best of 2007.
but first, i’m gonna attempt to explain the music i like:
you can read my interests in music on my page to see a loooong list of artists i like, but i’ll try to explain it a little more.
almost everything i listen to is rooted in country in some way. Texas/Red Dirt is still a huge part of what i like, although removing the aforementioned blinders made me realize that some of the artists in this so-called genre that i used to dig on basically blow. i won’t give any specific names, but i will say that the mention of things like… uh, beer, bait, and maybe ammo in front of a steel guitar used to do it for me. not so much anymore. but i’m glad for all the music i’ve gone through on my way to what i now like. (i’ll probably look back at these lists in five years and think i was an idiot for listening to this music. right now, i find that nearly impossible, but then again, i would’ve said the same thing in my rebel-flag flying, mudding high school days). ok back to the task at hand….
so, over the last year, i’ve gotten into bluegrass music. mainly due to Old Crow Medicine Show (which isn’t technically bluegrass, but that’s for another day). i dig the sound of a mandolin, a stand up bass, and of course a screamin’ fiddle.
i listen to a lot of folk music, which isn’t a very good description of genre, but simplified it means country-tinged, traditionally born music. by getting into folk, i, in a sense, rediscovered some artists that i had previously come across and took for granted: Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, etc.
through folk, i found some ‘indie folk’, artists such as Iron & Wine and The Everybodyfields, and blog-hunting led me to discover some artists that could be described as ‘indie rock’: The Kooks, Spoon, Band of Horses, etc.
i’ll stop wastin your time with words and show some results:

My Top 10 Albums of 2007

10. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin

This album, as well as number 9, i don’t actually own, but from the sampling of songs i’ve gotten my hands on, i’m sold (and i’ll pick them up as soon as possible **edit 1/14/08** i picked this one up today**). The sophomore effort from Band of Horses is killer indie rock highlighted with echoey guitars and sweet harmony.
Band of Horses – The General Specific [MySpace] [iTunes]

9. Patty Griffin – Children Running Through

Patty Griffin, in addition to sharing a name with a good buddy of mine, is the current queen of folk. She’s been covered more than waffle house hash browns and her voice sends chills through me (so does waffle house – both in a good way).
Patty Griffin – Heavenly Day [MySpace] [iTunes]

8. Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
There is way too much music out there for me to check it all out, so i try to at least remember the names of artists i come across. If i see the same name show up numerous times across different blogs, i’ll check them out. Earlier last year, i saw Josh Ritter’s name just about everywhere, including the cover of No Depression Magazine. Wow. What this guy can do with words is kinda like pringles does with chips: there’s a bunch in there and they’re all good.
Josh Ritter – To The Dogs or Whoever [MySpace] [iTunes]

7. The Everybodyfields – Nothing Is Okay

You know how it seems weird to mix thick, black, licorice-flavored Jagermeister with bright, bubbly Red Bull, but where you do, it’s oh-so-glorious? That’s kinda like what you get when mix the voices of Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews to form the Everybodyfields. This folk duo (with a fiddle and dobro thrown in for good measure) from Johnson City, TN sings powerful tunes so sad you’ll want to forget the Red Bull and just take a pull (or fifteen).
The Everybodyfields – Lonely Anywhere [MySpace] [iTunes]

6. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I visited my sister in NYC last summer before i had really gotten into the whole ‘indie rock’ thing. i remember seeing this damn album cover on every light pole, subway station, and covered walkway in the city. Then i kept seeing it on all kinda music blogs. Okay, Spoon, you win. Checked it out and here we are. Theses guys from Austin rock hard with more random percussion than a dishwasher. **edit 1/14/08** so, today, i was movin some cd’s around and a bonus cd fell out of the back on the Ga Ga Ga… case. how sweet is that? and not just like a 2 track cd, but 12 friggin’ songs! i’ll report back on what i think of them later**
Spoon – Eddie’s Ragga [MySpace] [iTunes]

ok, i’m tired – top 5 tomorrow……


-originally posted on January 13th, 2008 @ 11:32am

5. Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams released an album in 2007. It’s gonna be on my list.
Ryan Adams – Halloweenhead [MySpace] [iTunes]

4. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga

Conor Oberst, or Bright Eyes, is only like 27 and has almost 20 releases (including EP’s) since ‘98. Some of them are a little obscure for me, but Cassadaga is pure lyrical and musical goodness. Plus, he gets a little help from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings (kind of a recurring theme in my favorite artists).
Bright Eyes – Classic Cars [MySpace] [iTunes]

3. Deer Tick – War Elephant
John McCauley is only 21 and is the mastermind behind Deer Tick. He sings lyrics as real as Townes or Dylan with groovy guitar licks behind them and unusual arrangements. Hell, i even hear a little Hank in there. i’m anxious to see if his debut effort breaks Deer Tick into popularity, but the fact that his own record label (Feow Records) is sold of of the album and you can only download it on iTunes is a positve sign.
Deer Tick – Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin) [MySpace] [iTunes]

2. The Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out

This is my first real taste of the so-called ‘Brit Pop’, but if it were all like this i think i would’ve found it a long time ago. The Kooks are huge overseas and fastly getting that way here. The only reason this album isn’t 1, is that i just got it at Christmas, but this is one of the best peices of music i’ve heard. Hook writing masters, the Kooks bring just enough acoustic riffs out in the middle of hardcore reggae rock. Yeah that’s right. (Thanks, Ashley, for turning me on to them)
The Kooks – Ooh La [MySpace] [iTunes]
p.s. i know this album was released in late ‘06, but you can lick me, it’s that good.

1. The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism

Scott(banjo) and Seth(guitar) Avett, along with Bob Crawford(stand-up bass) form the Avett Brothers and they are probably the most talented group of guys around. Everyone knows when brothers get together to sing harmony, amazing things happen, but add to that harmony – unique instrumentation (try Seth stomping on a high-hat pedal and Scott stomping on a bass drum pedal all while rockin’ hard on their respective instruments) – profound and flowing lyrics (“when you run, make sure you run – to something and not away from – ’cause lies don’t need and aeroplane – to chase you down”) – mix in a little punk rock (the brothers were previously in a hard rock band, and have retatined a little of their screamo attitude) – and you get my favorite album of 2007. Emotionalism. (By the way, both brothers play the drums and Scott is a painter)
The Avett Brothers – Die Die Die [MySpace] [iTunes]

stay tuned for my Top 10 Songs of 2007……