Cover/Uncovered: Obscure Covers….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, cover/uncovered | Posted on 10-22-2008

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Bands have been reaching outside of their influence bag to find those not-so-normal cover songs for quite a while. In the 90’s The Gourds covered Snoop’s Gin & Juice, Alien Ant Farm went MJ on us with Smooth Criminal, and and Dynamite Hack paid tribute the original gangsta Eazy E with their mellow version of Boyz In The Hood.

Here’s a semi-new batch of obscure covers – originals are not included this time since pop music is evil and contagious.

Deer Tick – Beautiful Girls (Sean Kingston)
i love that John noticed the Doo-Wop undertones in this song an expanded on them – even breaking into Stand By Me at the end.

The Kooks – All That She Wants (Ace of Base)
buy Radio 1 Established 1967 (2007)
A perfect fit for these guys.

Nickel Creek – Toxic (Britney Spears)
Simply amazing musicianship/showmanship.
Forgive the quality – it’s a youtube rip. Check it out.

No Show……

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show, rant | Posted on 10-03-2008

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i didn’t take that picture.
But i could have.
Like… five minutes ago.

That is, if The Kooks hadn’t have canceled their show in Houston tonight. Although i only bought my tickets 2 days ago, i was hugely pumped to see that show. And just before i was to leave town and head for Houston, across the wire came the news. Some sort of illness. Shit.

So here i am.
In front of the computer instead.
Whiskey & soda.

i don’t get to catch many shows as it is in these parts. Especially not folks like The Kooks. i was ready to have my face melted by the hottest thing to come out of Britain since fish n’ chips.

i’m gonna continue to vent here….

Just 3 weeks ago, i was in Austin and hours away from seeing Kasey Chambers (who came even further than Luke Pritchard and band). Until my craigslist ticket connection backed out on me.

So there goes two chances to see great music that won’t happen again for quite a while.

But alas, disaster-barring, i WILL see Ryan Adams & The Cardinals in Austin in 13 short days. There is hope, folks.

That is all.

The Kooks – If Only
buy Inside In/Inside Out (2006)

Kasey Chambers – Guilty As Sin
buy Wayward Angel (2004)

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – NY, NY (punk version)

Playlist Pulse: Raawwk…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, playlist pulse | Posted on 09-18-2008

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Self-explanatory. Turn it up.
  1. The Kooks – See The World
    buy Inside In/Inside Out (2006)
  2. Cross Canadian Ragweed – Don’t Need You
    buy Purple (2002)
  3. The Black Keys – Thickfreakness
    buy Thickfreakness (2003)
  4. Deer Tick – Standing At The Threshold
    from War Elephant (2007)
  5. Ryan Adams – Shallow
    buy Rock N Roll (2003)

Bonus Discs Make Me Smile…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review | Posted on 05-07-2008

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So, as i mentioned here, i got a bonus surprise when i picked up Konk from The Kooks a few weeks ago: Rak – a bonus disc packaged with limited edition releases of the Brighton band’s second release. Also, i talked a little about the importance of this new album from The Kooks here.
Konk shows the rising band’s slight shift from the more electric, rockin’, sometimes reggae-like debut Inside In/Inside Out with a slightly calmer, lyrical record. While i find the hook writing far superior on the debut, there is no doubting the maturation in song writing and structure with Konk. i’m not initially blown away by the record – like i was with the first – but i’ll give it time to grow on me. What we’re here for today, however, is to talk about that bonus CD.

Rak takes that laid-back attitude and brings it to another level. It seems like it was a more candid recording session – with far less overdubing and track usage. It also shows the band experimenting with new things: many more co-writes from various band members, use of the piano, and Hugh Harris even takes the lead vocals on a couple tracks (Kinda like those sporadic Stones songs that Keith takes the reins on……).

mp3: The Kooks – No Longer (written and sung by Hugh Harris)
This is one of those experimental tracks. Groovy, well-written, and catchy – all the things that i like about The Kooks. It uses some amazing contrapuntal harmony techniques that always grab my attention (y’know kinda like the row, row, row your boat deal you did in music class). This one could have easily held its own on Konk. Hopefully this is just proof that is more than one budding talent in this band.

Another standout track on Rak is Eaten By Your Lover. The quirky lyrics, piano, and short length (only 1:06) sorta echo something off the bonus disc that came with Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
mp3: The Kooks – Eaten By Your Lover

One of the things that kept bothering me about Inside In/Inside Out was the fact that at the beginning of Time Awaits, they have this bluesy, acoustic – sitting around mics in the studio -feeling and then they tear it apart with electricity and borderline obnoxious guitars. So the shift into that more acoustic style is what pulls me into a lot of the tracks on Konk/Rak. If you’ve heard Konk, you’ve heard some of this styling on Tick of Time. It’s the song where they start singing one, break into laughter, and start a completely different song. If you happened to like the groove of the inital try – your’re in luck. It shows up on Rak:

mp3: The Kooks – Hatful of Love
It’s full acoustic (just brushes on the drums) and live-in-studio style.

Another standout track is the opener, Watchin’ The Ships Roll In, that kinda reminds of the opener on their debut, Seaside. They also have a beachy-sounding reggae, alternate version of See The Sun from Konk. The bonus disc ends with what could be considered Luke’s most introspective tune with a solo piano ballad called Brooklyn.

i’d like to post these songs for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to get the limited edition, but i’ll probably have to take those that i did post down soon – i think the initial songs i posted from Konk a few weeks back were the ones that got my Album Release Forecast, Vol. 2 post deleted. Download while you can……

You can get the Limited Edition of Konk from Amazon here.

Playlist Pulse………

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, playlist pulse | Posted on 04-23-2008

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Today’s Pulse comes from my playlist entitled: hipster-indie-folk

Ok, so as you’ll see, i’m great at coming up with playlist names – they’re usually pretty broad descriptions of the type of music that resides in them. But each playlist has a special purpose – if i like a song, i’ll find a playlist that fits it. Hipster-Indie-Folk is home to this new batch of music i’ve gotten into since finding the music blog world. Some folky, some indie-rockish, all good.

  1. mp3: Okkervil River – Westfall
    buy Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See (2002)
    A powerful song that gradually builds intensity throughout. F
    rom Okkervil’s 2nd full length album.
  2. mp3: The Avett Brothers – Colorshow
    buy Four Theives Gone (2006)
    From the Avett’s 2006 effort that shows more of their slightly screamo style. Wild.
  3. mp3: Iron & Wine – Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
    buy The Shepherd’s Dog (2007)
    Sam Beam has that airy voice that, when coupled with a repetitive little acoustic riff, can be very calming. I used a lot of the songs on his previous albums to fall asleep to. With The Shepherd’s Dog, however, he beefed up his sound with some extra instruments and bigger grooves. This won’t put me to sleep.
  4. mp3: Mark Ronson – Most Likely You Go Your Way (I’ll Go Mine)
    buy Mark Ronson’s Dylan Remix (2007)

    British Producer and remix-master, Mark Ronson, finally got Bob Dylan to agree to let him rework a Dylan tune. Putting the hipster in this playlist is this groovy,-horn splattered tune.
  5. mp3: The Kooks – All That She Wants
    buy Radio 1 – Established 1967 (2007)
    This compliation disc features some top artists from the UK doing interesting covers (check out Amy Winehouse’s Cupid). Here we have The Kooks covering Ace of Base – and admit-it-or-not, you ALL know this song.

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……