Tag Archives: Brushfire Records

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 Mason Jennings!

Mason Jennings is a folksy, poppy, singer/songwriter who has the prose of a poet, the political bend of a protester, and the heart of a musician.  He is renowned for his straightforward yet appealing melodies, intimate lyrics, and distinct vocal styling.  These attributes are just a few of the many reasons that have earned him a sizeable fan base which allowed him to sell over 30,000 copies of his first two albums without the benefit of any major label PR.

Jennings produced his self-titled debut album in 1997 on an analog four-track in the basement of a rented home, completing all of the instrumentation himself.  The album is raw yet familiar with an intimate sound due in large part to the above mentioned recording process.

His sophomore album Birds Flying Away is a lyrically darker departure from his debut with the focus on the sociopolitical aspects of the time.  Century Springs finds him a little more upbeat and really showcases his songwriting talent.  Use Your Voice is an intimate display of songwriting and warm folk sensibility with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional harmonica. 

His most recent release Blood of Man is Jennings first venture into the electric territory and like his debut, this album finds Jennings playing all the instruments. 

Mason Jennings Discography:

  • Mason Jennings
  • Birds Flying Away
  • Living In the Moment (EP)
  • Century Springs
  • Use Your Voice
  • Bone Clouds
  • If You Ever Need a Reason (EP)
  • In The Ever
  • How Deep is the River
  • Blood of Man
  • Independent (EP)

Top 5 Mason Jennings Songs (In no particular order)

  1. Be Here Now (Bone Clouds)
  2. Fighter Girl (In the Ever)
  3. The Light (Part 2) (Use Your Voice)
  4. Big Sur (Mason Jennings)
  5. Lonely Road (Blood of Man)

Jennings sang two Bob Dylan songs for the soundtrack of the movie “I’m Not There” He covered “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

Jennings is currently signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label and has released his last two albums on Brushfire.

Check out Mason Jennings at www.masonjennings.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DTiJHnF8tY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8nJjogJZc

Mason Jennings’s music is available at iTunes, stores, and www.masonjennings.com

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to G. Love & Special Sauce!

G. Love & Special Sauce is the Philadelphia based trio that fuse classic R&B, with bouncy, messy blues, and pure Philly soul.  While the music is easy on the ears and frisky enough to make your body move, it is hard to categorize.  With hints of hip hop, funk, rock, retro-soul, patches of folk, the occasional trippy psychedelic, and some Rasta shout outs, G. Love’s music is immersed in the laid back; life is a party, let’s get to know each other better kind of way.   While musically, he is like a mad scientist, more often than not, the experiments work.  Over the years, he has crafted a distinct sound for his band.

G. Love (whose Christian name is Garret Dutton) is the vocalist, harmonica player, guitarist, and face of the band.  Currently, Jeffrey Clemens is on drums, Timo Shanko plays bass, and Mark Boyce tickles the ivory.  A road weary veteran of the festivals and small venues, G. Love has built a solid reputation and impressive fan base with his live performances. 

G. Love, Jack Johnson, and Donavon Frankenreiter released a live EP that was cleverly named “Some Live Songs EP”.  Tracks 1-5 were recorded on pro surfer Kelly Slater’s radio show.  Jack, G. Love, and Donavon have all appeared each other’s records and at one time were all on Jack’s Brushfire Records label. 

G. Love & Special Sauce Discography (this list includes G. Love’s solo ventures)

  • G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Coast to Coast Motel
  • Yeah, It’s That Easy
  • Philadelphonic
  • Electric Mile
  • The Hustle
  • Best of G. Love and Special Sauce
  • Lemonade
  • Super Hero Brother

Top 5 G. Love & Special Sauce Songs

  1. Rodeo Clowns (Philadelphonic)
  2. Let The Music Play (Lemonade)
  3. Willow Tree (Yeah, It’s That Easy)
  4. Free At Last (Electric Mile)
  5. Baby Got Sauce (G. Love and Special Sauce)

 I’ve actually been fortunate enough to see him several times over the last several years.  I caught a free concert in the early 00’s in Dallas, I also saw him when he was touring with Jack Johnson in 2004, and have seen him two or three times at Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

Check out G. Love & Special Sauce at www.philadelphonic.com.

G. Love & Special Sauce’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.philadelphonic.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Animal Liberation Orchestra!

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, and Dan Lebowitz.  They all share vocal responsibilities and play a variety of instruments. 

They grew into a nine-piece band featuring a brass section and dubbed themselves The Animal Liberation Orchestra and the Free Range Horns, they began receiving considerable attention in the Santa Barbara area with their exciting live shows.  Eventually, Zach, Dan and Steve returned to their hometown and stripped the band back down to a quartet by reuniting with drummer David Brogan (with whom they played with in college) and the ultimate version of Animal Liberation Orchestra was finalized.  They are a huge hit on the jam band circuit and have drawn comparisons to everyone from Phish and The Grateful Dead to The String Cheese Incident.

Their debut album “Fly Between Falls” was originally released in 2004 and rereleased when ALO signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records in 2006 and in 2007 they released the album “Roses and Clovers”.  Their latest album “Man of the World” is set for release in February 2010.

Zach Gill went to college with Jack Johnson and has been touring with Jack and playing piano in his band, while Steve and Dan have toured with Brett Dennen.  ALO has toured with The Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson before headlining shows in late 2006.

I saw them a few years back when Jack Johnson came through Dallas.  The show was at the Nokia Theater and was pretty awesome.  Zach has a really great voice and is amazing on the keyboards.

ALO Discography

  • Time Expander (EP)
  • Fly Between Falls
  • Roses and Clovers

Top 5 ALO according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song) (Fly Between Falls)
  2. Girl I Wanna Lay You Down (Fly Between Falls)
  3. Monday (Roses and Clovers)
  4. Valentine’s Day (Time Expander)
  5. Barbeque (Fly Between Falls)

Check out ALO and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqKSf8bt1eM

 ALO music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.alomusic.com

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!


You should be listening to Donavon Frankenreiter

Donavon Frankenreiter can sing, surf, and sell sandals (Sanuk Donny Sidewalks).  Donavon is truly living a sweet and charmed life.  His first album, self titled, was released in 2004 on his buddy Jack Johnson’s “Brushfire Records” label.  He has collaborated with Ben Harper, G Love, Grant Lee Phillips, and Jack Johnson.  Did I mention that he surfs?  Professionally!  Yep, Donavon is a pro surfer (sponsored by Billabong) who has traveled the world in search of the elusive perfect wave. 

 His sound is laid back and mellow.  There is more than a hint of the 70’s sound in his music.  Most songs are built around an acoustic guitar, light percussions, and low key charm. He brings a little more electricity and energy to “Move By Yourself” but not a dramatic departure from his cool breeze ways. 

 I’ve seen Donovan on two occasions.  The first was a few years ago when he opened for Ben Harper.  The show was at the Majestic Theater in Dallas and the perfect venue for Donavon’s acoustic set.  The next time I saw him was at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  This was another great venue for Donavon’s style of music.  This show was a little more electric and included some backup singers. 

Donavon Frankenreiter Discography

  • Donavon Frankenreiter
  • Move By Yourself
  • Pass It Around
  • Recycled Recipes (EP)
  • The Abbey Road Sessions (Live)

 Top 5 Donavon Frankenreiter Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Wondering Where the Lions Are (Recycled Recipes EP)
  2. Butterfly (Donavon Frankenreiter)
  3. Move By Yourself (Move By Yourself)
  4. Free (Donavon Frankenreiter)
  5. Pass It Around (Pass It Around)

Check out Donavon Frankenreiter and let me know what you think.

Donavon Frankenreiter’s music is available on iTunes, in record stores and on www.donavonf.com.

  Great music awaits!