Shout Out: Lydia Burrell

If you like music (and who doesn’t), then check out this gorgeously played slice of magestic pop from Alex “Lydia Burrell” Smith.

 

Yeah, that was great, I know. So now you should go buy the song as part of The Animals EP.

And don’t stop there…LB is a full band now, but not too far back Alex recorded a full-length by himself, with a little mix and production help from Jim of My Morning Jacket. It rocketh, so pick it up too!

Lydia Burrell on Facebook
Lydia Burrell official website
Lydia Burrell page at Removador

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List: My Top 10 Dylan Tracks

Well, everyone else is paying tribute to Robbie Z. on the occasion of his 70th birthday, so I thought I might do so as well. Here it goes…

My Top 10 Bob Dylan Tracks

“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” – 1965 – This is one of the greatest album closers ever. It’s a classic kiss-off in one sense, but what makes it remarkable is the apocalyptic imagery Dylan throws in. Love that noodly guitar too.

”Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” – 1966 – Everything about this song is simply amazing, from the lyrics to the drumming. It just sort of sweeps you up and carries you along on a wave for six or seven minutes.

”Tangled Up In Blue” – 1975 – One of the most beautiful songs ever. I love the way you feel like you’ve completed a journey with Dylan by the time the last verse ends, and then that harmonica kicks in and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Awe inspiring.

”If Not For You” – 1970 – What a great little love song. You gotta dig the arrangement – so 70’s.

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Greatest Hits Vol. 2 version)” – 1970 – This is Dylan’s goofed-out performance of an already silly song. Roger McGuinn of The Byrds went and butchered the lyrics a few years earlier, and so Dylan sends him up in the first verse. “Oooo-eeee/Ride me high/Tomorrow’s the day my bride’s a-gonna come/Oooo-eeee/Are we gonna fly/Down into the easy chair…”

“She Belongs To Me” – 1965 – “She’s got everything she needs/She’s an artist/She don’t look back…” Absolutely sublime lyrics on this one, the kind of stuff that “stones me to my soul” as Van Morrison would say. The arrangement is so wonderful too. An incontrovertible proof of Dylan’s greatness.

“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” – 1965 – “When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez/When it’s Easter time too…” The ragtime riff on that piano is pure genius.

”The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) (live)” – 1969 – This is Dylan’s performance with The Band at the Isle of Wight festival in 1969. Most people know this song from the Manfred Mann “oldies” version, but Dylan & The Band make this sound  like a blast. It’s sloppy and joyful, almost like a lost take from The Basement Tapes.

“Buckets of Rain” – 1975 – This one brings me to tears just about every time. Again, it’s such a simple song, but the lyric is vintage Dylan – soulful with a little bit of silly thrown in. I can’t help but think of the heartbreak that Dylan was going through at the time.

“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” – 1962 – I’m generally not a big fan of Dylan’s work prior to Bringing It All Back Home, but this was one of his great early tracks. It’s not a protest song, not even faintly political, but it’s a showcase for the sort of wit that would become a centerpiece of Dylan’s work on later albums. Great finger-picking too. An underrated early pop-folk song.

Check out what else I’ve had to say about Dylan (plenty)…

Honorable Mention:
One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
Goin’ To Acapulco
I Shall Be Released (Greatest Hits Vol. 2 version)
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
Tomorrow Is A Long Time (live)
Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
Thunder On The Mountain
Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You

5 Things: “Luv Goon” by Pearl Harbor

5 things I love about “Luv Goon” by Pearl Harbor…

1) That guitar – it’s the best of Peter Buck, The Edge, and Johnny Marr all rolled into one.
2) The blinding brightness of the song.
3) The siren song vocals – gorgeous, though I can’t understand a word…
4) Except the chorus: “Anything you want me to/I’m your love goon”
5) Gotta say I love that guitar again. Just fabulous!

What about you?

Like Eddie Vedder…

Just wanted to touch base and say that I’m still alive, and plan on returning to regular blogging sometime in the spring.

A few music-related thoughts:

– the new Norah Jones was like the last Norah Jones, pretty blah…
– the new Vampire Weekend is okay, pretty mediocre compared to their outstanding debut…
– the new Dawn Landes sounds EXCELLENT after one listen…
– I never did pick up the Farrar/Gibbard record…anyone care to comment?
– Louisville indie-rockers Second Story Man just released a new record, Screaming Secrets…you should check it out…
– I’d probably agree with Paste Mag that Sufjan’s Illinois was the greatest record of the last decade…more later though…
– I”m stoked that Louisville’s Follow the Train might re-group when their new LP is released on Removador Records
– of course I’m with CoCo…duh…
– I like that new-ish band Real Estate…
– psyched for some new Josh Ritter in the spring, more psyched for the tour that should follow…
– best record of 2009? No clue…I think last year kind of sucked for music…

That’s it for now, stay in touch…

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (2007)

Dawn Landes
Fireproof; 2007
Fun Machine Music
My Rating: 77/100
Dawn Landes’ dreamy urbanicana draws from the same Kentucky well as My Morning Jacket’s debut. FIREPROOF, her second full-length, shows the kind of restraint and melodic prowess common to artists like Feist, M. Ward, or Kings of Convenience. Still, unlike her sometimes-cohorts Hem, Landes’ outlook is infused with an off-beat humor and sleepy-eyed optimism that, on first listen, churns imperceptibly below the surface. Give the straight-laced groove of “Bodyguard” a second listen, though, and you’ll soon feel the joy. Landes shines brightest in simplicity. The simple strums and harmonies of “Tired of this Life” are playfully modest, and the afore-mentioned “Bodyguard” sounds like the rhythm was hammered out during recess twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the album sags dramatically in the middle, with novel excursions like “Picture Show” and the unbalanced and awkward “Kids in a Play.” But Landes saves the best for last, closing with a run of four brilliant tracks, including the angelic sway of “Dig Me a Hole” and the last dance of “I’m in Love with the Night.” Bonus points to Landes for her hushed and intimate take on Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, sneaking it in a few minutes after the star-crossed romance of “You Alone.” FIREPROOF proves that Landes is a big talent, someone with a unique and alluring vision. I expect we’ll be hearing from her for years to come.
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Tracks:
1. Bodyguard (5/5)
2. I Don’t Need No Man (4/5)
3. Tired of this Life (5/5)
4. Twilight (4.5/5)
5. Private Little Hell (4/5)
6. Picture Show (3.5/5)
7. Kids in a Play (3/5)
8. Toy Piano (4/5)
9. Dig Me a Hole (5/5)
10. I’m in Love with the Night (5/5)
11. Goodnight Lover (5/5)
12. You Alone (5/5)

Dawn_Landes___FireproofDawn Landes
Fireproof; 2007
Fun Machine Music

My Rating: 77/100

Dawn Landes’ dreamy urbanicana draws from the same Kentucky well as My Morning Jacket’s debut. FIREPROOF, her second full-length, shows the kind of restraint and melodic prowess common to artists like Feist, M. Ward, or Kings of Convenience. Still, unlike her sometimes-cohorts Hem, Landes’ outlook is infused with an off-beat humor and sleepy-eyed optimism that, on first listen, churns imperceptibly below the surface. Give the straight-laced groove of “Bodyguard” a second listen, though, and you’ll soon feel the joy. Landes shines brightest in simplicity. The simple strums and harmonies of “Tired of this Life” are playfully modest, and the afore-mentioned “Bodyguard” sounds like the rhythm was hammered out during recess twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the album sags dramatically in the middle, with novel excursions like “Picture Show” and the unbalanced and awkward “Kids in a Play.” But Landes saves the best for last, closing with a run of four brilliant tracks, including the angelic sway of “Dig Me a Hole” and the last dance of “I’m in Love with the Night.” Bonus points to Landes for her hushed and intimate take on Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, sneaking it in a few minutes after the star-crossed romance of “You Alone.” FIREPROOF proves that Landes is a big talent, someone with a unique and alluring vision. I expect we’ll be hearing from her for years to come.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)

Tracks:

1. Bodyguard (5/5)
2. I Don’t Need No Man (4/5)
3. Tired of this Life (5/5)
4. Twilight (4.5/5)
5. Private Little Hell (4/5)
6. Picture Show (3.5/5)
7. Kids in a Play (3/5)
8. Toy Piano (4/5)
9. Dig Me a Hole (5/5)
10. I’m in Love with the Night (5/5)
11. Goodnight Lover (5/5)
12. You Alone (5/5)

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul part 3

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.
Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.
Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?
Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.Eve

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part two

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.

Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.

Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?

Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul (part 2)

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part one

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, this collection of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.

Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.

completed tomorrow…

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was inspired by a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, the reissue of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.
Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end before beginning from track 1. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.
completed tomorr

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul (part 1)

Evergreen
Wholeness of the Soul
Noise Pollution; 2009
1992: I’m a seventh grader in Louisville, Kentucky, enamoured with the “alternative” bands that have de-throned glam rock heroes like Poison and Motley Crue on MTV. Watching Pearl Jam’s videos for “Even Flow” and “Alive” introduces me to the non-stadium “show” experience. Simultaneously, the skater kids at my school begin sporting t-shirts for bands like Sunspring, Kinghorse, Crain, Sancred, and Evergreen, bands that don’t exist on MTV. I’m intrigued.
1994: I buy my first 7″ records via the Slamdek distribution catalogue. They are records released by the Self Destruct record label. One of them is Evergreen’s self-titled 5-song 7″.
1996: I finally get my hands on a dubbed copy of Evergreen’s Go Kart Ride cassette. It’s official. I love this band. Too bad that version ended three years ago.
2006: I listen to my CD-R of “old” Evergreen’s 13 tracks for somewhere around the 200th or 300th time.
2009: Noise Pollution releases the “old” Evergreen anthology Wholeness of the Soul. It’s about time.
to be continued tomorrow…

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution

1992: I’m a seventh grader in Louisville, Kentucky, enamoured with the “alternative” bands that have de-throned glam rock heroes like Poison and Motley Crue on MTV. Watching Pearl Jam’s videos for “Even Flow” and “Alive” introduces me to the non-stadium “show” experience. Simultaneously, the skater kids at my school begin sporting t-shirts for bands like Sunspring, Kinghorse, Crain, Sancred, and Evergreen, bands that don’t exist on MTV. I’m intrigued.

1994: I buy my first 7″ records via the Slamdek distribution catalogue. They are records released by the Self Destruct record label. One of them is Evergreen’s self-titled 5-song 7″.

1996: I finally get my hands on a dubbed copy of Evergreen’s GO CART RIDE cassette. It’s official. I love this band. Too bad that version ended three years ago.

2006: I listen to my CD-R of “old” Evergreen’s 13 tracks for somewhere around the 200th or 300th time.

2009: Noise Pollution releases the “old” Evergreen anthology WHOLENESS OF THE SOUL. It’s about time.

continued here

Thank You Emusic

This blog is not about advertising, but given that I have a healthy dose of writer’s block tonight, I thought I’d switch gears and just appreciate the fact that Emusic has pretty much drowned me in music over the last month.

1. There’s the standard 37 tracks per month at $15.
2. I purchased 100 tracks using a $30 gift card in August.
3. Last night, they gave me 50 extra downloads for being a loyal customer through their transition in bringing Sony onboard.
4. I will shortly be receiving 10 more downloads for rating 10 albums. Yes, I select stars for my favorite records, and I will get 10 free songs.

That’s 197 tracks in one month at $45.  That’s 23 cents a tracks. Muy bueno.

And what did I purchase? Well, here’s an incomplete list:

1. Modest Mouse, No One’s First and You’re Next EP
2. 12 tracks from Bob Dylan’s first two greatest hits volumes (i.e. “All Along the Watchtower”, “I Shall Be Released”)
3. 5 tracks from Pearl Jam (i.e. “Nothingman”, “Once”)
4. Nathan, Jimson Weed
5. Hem, Funnel Cloud
6.  Neu! 75
7. Arcade Fire EP
8.  The Swell Season
9.  The Inbred, Kombinator
10. Sandra McCracken, Red Balloon
11.  The Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime (43 tracks for the price of 12!)
12.  5 tracks from Modest Mouse’s Sad Sappy Sucker
13. Son Volt, The Search (Deluxe Edition)
14. Sandra McCracken, Gravity/Love
15.  Dinosaur Jr., Farm
16. 6 tracks from Modest Mouse’s Epic releases
17. Bruce Springsteen, Hammersmith Odeon London ’75

And while there’s more where that came from, I’m not even done buying yet. I don’t know of a deal that even comes close to that in music downloads. So if you haven’t done a free trial with eMusic, what are you waiting for?

Sandra McCracken: Gravity|Love (2006)

Sandra McCracken
Gravity|Love; 2006
Towhee Records
My Rating: 80/100
Sandra McCracken has built herself a reputation as the thoughtful girl-next-door, and her fourth album, GRAVITY|LOVE, is her strongest offering to date. Folky songwriters can often miss the point when it comes to concept, but Sandra gets it right here, crafting eleven cohesive tracks centered around Love as Gravity as Love. Not that she ever gets cerebral about it, but these lovely tracks speak to the deepest of human longings. Yet the greatest strength of this record is that she casts it as a road record, every track seeming custom made for hitting the open highway in search of God knows what. From the joyous opener “Head Over Heel” to the sad-eyed “Portadown Station”, this is a record more about departures than arrivals, especially given the brilliant tribute to George Harrison, “Goodbye George.” Like U2, you get the impression that although Sandra knows what she’s looking for, she still hasn’t found it. That’s okay – being along for the ride will do.
Cohesion (4.5/5)
COnsistency (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Tracks:
1. Head Over Heel (5/5)
2. Long Way Home (4/5)
3. Goodbye George (5/5)
4. Gravity (4/5)
5. Traincar (5/5)
6. Portadown Station (4.5/5)
7. Doubt (3.5/5)
8. Broken Cup (4/5)
9. Shelter (4/5)
10. Chattanooga (5/5)
11. All the Miles (4/5)

SandramccrackengravityloveSandra McCracken
Gravity|Love; 2006
Towhee Records

My Rating: 80/100

A road record for the endless highway…

Sandra McCracken has built herself a reputation as the thoughtful girl-next-door, and her fourth album, GRAVITY|LOVE, is her strongest offering to date. Folky songwriters can often miss the point when it comes to concept, but Sandra gets it right here, crafting eleven cohesive tracks centered around Love as Gravity as Love. Not that she ever gets cerebral about it, but these lovely tracks speak to the deepest of human longings. Yet the greatest strength of this record is that she casts it as a road record, every track seeming custom made for hitting the open highway in search of God knows what. From the joyous opener “Head Over Heel” to the sad-eyed “Portadown Station”, this is a record more about departures than arrivals, especially given the brilliant tribute to George Harrison, “Goodbye George.” Like U2, you get the impression that although Sandra knows what she’s looking for, she still hasn’t found it. That’s okay – being along for the ride will do.

Cohesion (4.5/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4/5)

Tracks:

1. Head Over Heel (5/5)
2. Long Way Home (4/5)
3. Goodbye George (5/5)
4. Gravity (4/5)
5. Traincar (5/5)
6. Portadown Station (4.5/5)
7. Doubt (3.5/5)
8. Broken Cup (4/5)
9. Shelter (4/5)
10. Chattanooga (5/5)
11. All the Miles (4/5)