Tag Archives: Ben Gibbard

Tune In Tuesday: 6/22/10

Welcome back to another installment of Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s six albums are pretty diverse in regards to musical genre and over all style but have the commonality of not sucking at all. 

Mojo

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

This is Mr. Petty’s first studio album in eight and is well worth the wait.  The tunes are refreshingly reflective of the bands thirty plus years in the business. The songs have an air of fun and a cohesive quality that have always been a trademark of the Heartbreakers.  Heavy on the sweet southern rock sound, the songs have a classic vibe that sounds fresh yet familiar.  Petty’s voice is in fine form with the light, nasally, southern drawl, Campbell’s guitar playing is as tight as ever, and Trench’s ability to tickle the ivory brings it all together.  The album reminds you why Petty is so great and why he can take eight years off and come back just as relevant to the music scene.

Key Tracks: Running Man’s Bible, Something Good Coming, Takin’ My Time

American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

This is the third album for the New Jersey band and a pretty dramatic departure for the heartland punk rockers.  It seems that the urgency and tension of the first two albums has dissipated and allowed them to grow as a band.  Obviously influenced by Springsteen, American Slang is a more mature sound for the band and allows them to better connect to their audience as well as bring new folks into the fold.  Don’t get me wrong, the band still rocks and a few songs have the speed and antagonism of their previous two albums.

Key Tracks: Bring It On, American Slang, Orphans

Fly Between Falls

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO)

Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) is the hippie, trippy, California band that brings the good time vibe to everything they play.  The band was formed by high school buddies Zach Gill, Steve Adams, Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006.

This album is just plain fun.  Each song is up tempo and quirky yet sucks you in a little deeper each time you listen. 

Key Tracks:  Girl I Wanna Lay You Down, Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song), Barbeque

I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are the folksy, rocking, alt/country with a tinge of bluegrass band from North Carolina.  With such a diverse pedigree, is it any wonder the Rick Rubin took notice, signed them to his label, and produced their major label debut “I and Love and You”?

The album is sonically rich with harmonies provided by Scott and Seth.  The melodies are tight and the musical arrangement has a certain level of complication but not in an overly dramatic fashion.

Key Tracks:  Ten Thousand Words, Kick Drum Heart, January Wedding

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone

Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Key Tracks: California Zephyr, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Big Sur, San Francisco

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion

One Day as a Lion is the musical collaboration and eponymous debut EP of acid tongue, fire and brimstone, anti politico Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine) and drummer Jon Theodore (Mars Volta). 

The overall vibe on the EP is not an exodus sonically or lyrically for either musician.  The lyrics are politically and emotionally charged, the music is in your face antagonistic, and the overall delivery is the equivalent of a sledgehammer.  Bombastic drums and hypnotic keyboards bolster the fiery vocal release of de la Rocha.  The album has urgency to it in both the spirit of the music and the delivery of the lyrics. 

While the five songs seem to play quickly, what the album lacks in length, it more than makes up for with the strength of each song.  It also brings the realization the potency of de la Rocha’s delivery and the void that has existed musically since the disbanding of Rage Against the Machine.

Key Tracks: All 5 Songs!

 Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Jay Farrar!

Jay Farrar is the incredibly gifted singer/songwriter/musician who has been part of the creative process for two influential bands (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt).  He has also had a nice solo career and most recently ventured out with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) on the soundtrack for “One Fast Move or I’m Gone”. 

Musically he is just as adept in the sparse folksy acoustic of Americana music or the powerful roar of rock and roll.  In addition to the guitar, Farrar also knows his way around the harmonica. 

Jay Farrar Discography:

  • Sebastopol (2001)
  • ThirdShiftGrottoSlack (EP 2002)
  • Terroir Blues (2003)
  • Live EP (2004)
  • Stone, Steel, & Bright Lights (2004)

Upon the demise of Uncle Tupelo, Farrar formed Son Volt and released three albums before going on a six year hiatus.  Upon return in 2005, Farrar was the only original member of Son Volt and the newly designed band released an additional four albums. 

In 2006 Farrar and Anders Parker created Gob Iron and released one album while he was in the process of recording another Son Volt album. 

Farrar’s distinctive vocals are the glue that holds all of his music together.  While he has respectable writing and musical skills, it is his voice that puts the energy and emotion into the songs.   At times, it is low and deeply emotive, conveying the world weary troubadour.  Others times, it is painfully hidden behind the weirdly tuned guitar.

Top Five Jay Farrar Songs:

  1. No Rolling Back (Terroir Blues)
  2. Damn Shame (Sebastopol)
  3. California (Terroir Blues)
  4. Feel Free (Sebastopol)
  5. Station to Station (ThirdShiftGrottoSlack)

Check out Jay Farrar at www.jayfarrar.net

www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9UNSyisYG8

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9N4fDkSLUE&feature=related

Great music awaits!


Music you should have listened to last month but can now watch!

Greetings music fans,

Today I will highlight the artists from last month and give my selection for their best album and song. 

This may seem like a copout blog, and it kind of is.  But, with good reason, we became foster parents to three endearing and for the moment, little puppies on Saturday, and they necessitate and deserve more attention than you!  Just kidding, you too deserve some attention, but this is as good as it gets today.  However, I did pull video for each song selected.  That should count for something!

Last month’s featured artists, in no particular order:

Artist Best Album Best Song
The Avett Brothers I and Love and You Ten Thousand Wordswww.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt6k8htvc9k
Bruce Robison Wrapped My Brother & Mewww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3q8ShBkqBI
Counting Crows August and Everything After Anna Beginswww.youtube.com/watch?v=1tY9SNFAK2I
Doyle Bramhall II Jelly Cream So You Want It to Rainwww.youtube.com/watch?v=N52cpz6NJ_4
Drive By Truckers Brighter Than Creations Dark Gravity’s Gonewww.youtube.com/watch?v=BHnbiiPoMSU
G. Love & Special Sauce Philadelphonic Rainbowwww.youtube.com/watch?v=5glVe3BmjmM
James McMurtry Childish Things We Can’t Make It Herewww.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard One Fast Move or I’m Gone Big Surwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o
The Jayhawks Smile Bluewww.youtube.com/watch?v=GUVVGQjWFg4
Josh Ritter The Animal Years Wingswww.youtube.com/watch?v=X3OiUUEzwwI
Mason Jennings Boneclouds Fighter Girlwww.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfK9zajLdo
My Morning Jacket Z One Big Holidaywww.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Q9iAcPjzc
One Day as a Lion One Day as a Lion Wild Internationalwww.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKtt7F0rPU
Reckless Kelly Under the Table and Above the Sun Let’s Just Fallwww.youtube.com/watch?v=mW5uP8aYZsk
Robert Earl Keen Walking Distance Shades of Graywww.youtube.com/watch?v=eEgY93WECEc
Ryan Adams Gold Wonderwall (Cover)www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6xX6ZE16PI
Silversun Pickups Swoon There’s No Secrets This Yearwww.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbz-SqEd7JQ
Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures Scumbag Blueswww.youtube.com/watch?v=2M53SxSLHYk
The White Stripes Icky Thump Seven Nation Armywww.youtube.com/watch?v=xi8KdTk0u0g
Wilco Being There Sunken Treasureswww.youtube.com/watch?v=j_GQWm35Ndo

 

Great music waits!


You should be listening to Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard!

Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo) and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) teamed up to write and record an album for the documentary “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s “Big Sur”.  While originally set to record a few songs, the process and collaboration was so fruitful that it turned into a full length album which is named after the movie.

With Kerouac’s connection to jazz, both Farrar and Gibbard seem to be an odd choice to write and represent the spirit of Jack.  However, given the tragic nature of the book and Kerouac’s immersion into the depths of alcoholism and debilitating depression, Farrar with his naturally dour vocal styling and proclivity to writing deep emotionally damaged lyrics was a competent selection, while Gibbard seemed an awkward fit with his more melodic voice and previous synth heavy work with The Postal Service. 

Any trepidation I had concerning the pairing was quickly assuaged as Gibbard vocals leapt off the first track “California Zephyr”.  I was amazed at how natural he sounded reciting the words of Farrar who wrote eleven of the twelve songs on the album.  Gibbard wrote the title track “One Fast Move or I’m Gone”. 

Given the inspiration for the album it is no surprise that musically, the album is steeped in Americana with acoustic, electric, & steel guitar, lap & pedal steel, harmonica, piano, and percussions.  A majority of the lyrics were taken from Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” and Jack gets writing credit on all of the songs except Gibbard’s lyrical contribution on the title track.

The irony of this project is that as dark and damaged as Kerouac was; the album is hopeful with a vulnerable beauty etched in the music and lyrics.

Check out Jay Farrar & Ben and Ben Gibbard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXfUSmdGa6E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNIWA5esH4o&feature=related

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Son Volt!

Son Volt is the band that Jay Farrar formed upon the demise of Uncle Tupelo in 1994.  While their debut “Trace” was met with critical acclaim, as where the follow ups “Straightaways” and “Wide Swing Tremolo”, Son Volt was not as commercially successful as some of the bands that were emerging on the music scene in the late 90’s. 

While often lumped in the Alt/Country genre due to his early work with Uncle Tupelo, Farrar expanded the sound of Son Volt in to a more traditional Americana type sound.  Son Volt’s use of steel and acoustic guitars, pianos, organs, and Farrar’s lonesome vocals conjure up visions of America of long ago. The stylized texture provides an organic feel to their music and further distances them from the Alt/Country scene.  This is really evident on their latest release “American Central Dust”.

Early rumors and speculation that surrounded Son Volt’s demise were unfounded despite the solo albums and tours of Jay Farrar from 2001 – 2003.  In 2005, a retrospective was released and shortly thereafter, Farrar recruited some new band members and released “Okemah and the Melody Riot” in 2006.  As it stands today, Jay Farrar is the only original member of Son Volt. 

In 2009, Farrar team up with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and recorded the album “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone” Music from Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur.

Son Volt Discography

  • Trace
  • Straightaways
  • Wide Swing Tremolo
  • A Retrospective 1995-2000
  • Okemah and the Melody Riot
  • The Search
  • American Central Dust

Top 5 Son Volt Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Methamphetamine (The Search)
  2. Windfall (Trace)
  3. World Waits For You (Okemah and the Melody Riot)
  4. Circadian Rhythms (The Search)
  5. Back Into Your World (Straightaways)

Check out Son Volt and let me know what you think.

Son Volt’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.sonvolt.net.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


Music you should have been listening to in 2009

Greetings music fans,

 As we eagerly anticipate ringing in the New Year and 2009 comes to a close, I thought it would be entertaining to do a little musical year in review.  Here is smattering of albums that were released in 2009 that you should be listening to.  The list is compiled alphabetically by artist.  This, of course, is for my own personal benefit and helps calm my little OCD head.

 Arctic Monkeys “Humbug” 

Third album for the band with several tracks produced by Joshua Homme of (Queens of the Stone Age), (Eagles of Death Metal) and (Them Crooked Vultures)

Dan Auerbach “Keep it Hid”

Dan is half of the genius behind (The Black Keys)

The Avett Brothers “I and Love and You”

Major label debut produced by Rick Rubin

The Black Crowes “Before the Frost and Until the Freeze”

Two disc set (“Until the Freeze” only available as download) that was recorded in Levon Helm’s (The Band)Woodstock Studio.

The Dead Weather “Horehound”

Yet another reason Jack White is musical greatness

Drive-By Truckers “The Fine Print”

A collection of oddities and rarities that includes a cover of Tom Petty’s “Rebels”

Steve Earl “Townes”

In homage to the late, great Townes Van Zandt, it is an amazing collection of songs, with “Lungs” being my favorite track.

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone”

Music from Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur”. These songs were recorded over a five day span with minimal revisions.

Grizzly Bear “Vectatimest”

A diverse collection of songs that will take a few times to appreciate.

Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 “White Lies for Dark Times”

Ben ventures beyond his Innocent Criminals and adds some Texas folks to the band.  Another solid Ben Harper venture.

Patterson Hood “Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)”

Hood, of (Drive-By Truckers), releases his 2nd solo disc.  Check out “Pride of the Yankees”

Iron and Wine “Around the Well

Two disc set of previously unreleased materials and cool covers.

Jay-Z “The Blueprint 3”

Come on, it is Jay-Z.  What is not great about this?  If you are into Jay-Z, check out his unplugged album with (The Roots) as his backing band.  Pure greatness.

Dave Matthews Band “Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King”

First album since the death of founding member Leroi Moore.  I’m a huge DMB fan and make no apologies for it. 

M Ward “Hold Time

2009 was a busy and fruitful musical year for Mr. Ward. 

Monsters of Folk (Self titled)

Well, you have Jim James (My Morning Jacket) Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and M. Ward.  How could you go wrong?  They brought back the multi part harmony that is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, & Nash and The Eagles.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band “Outer South”

This dude has been recording since he was 13.  Dropped the “Bright Eyes” moniker but still exploring and expanding the boundaries of music.

Pearl Jam “Back Spacer”

Great follow up album to their 2006 self titled album.  I saw them live at the 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival.  Two plus hours of amazing music played with such fervor and with guest appearance by Ben Harper and Perry Farrell. 

Tom Petty “The Live Anthology”

This four disc set is a must have for any Petty fan.  This set spans 30 years of concerts and is absolutely amazing.

Phish “Joy”

Great to see the boys back together and playing nice.

Silversun Pickups “Swoon”

Second full length release that is a gradual departure from “Canvas”

Son Volt “American Central Dust”

From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar created Son Volt.  Not a disappointing album in the collection.

Sonic Youth “The Eternal”

After all these years, still making relevant music and inspiring others to do so as well.

Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream”

The Boss has been rather prolific in the 00’s.  This was a great way to round out the year and decade.  Saw him in Charlotte NC in 2008.  Amazing!

State Radio “Let It Go”

This is the third full length disc from Chad Stokes formerly of (Dispatch) and company.  A great live band if you ever have the opportunity.

Street Sweeper Social Club (Self titled)

Tom Morello  (Rage Against the Machine), (Audioslave) and (The Nightwatchman) and Boots Riley (The Coup) come together and create revolutionary party jams.

Them Crooked Vultures (Self titled)

Dave Grohl (Nirvana) and (Foo Fighters), Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and (Eagles of Death Metal), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin).  Need I say more?

U2 “No Line On the Horizon

Getting back to the greatness of The Joshua Tree.  Bono and Co. show why they continue to be in the running for world’s greatest rock band.

Wilco (Self titled)

From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy created Wilco.  Not a disappointing album in the collection.  Funny how that worked out for both he & Jay.

Pete Yorn “Back & Fourth

I’ve always been a Pete fan but have found a new appreciation for him in the last few years.

Great music awaits!