Tag Archives: Will Sheff

Tune In Tuesday: 6/15/10

Welcome to another addition of Tune in Tuesday

Omni

Minus The Bear

Minus the Bear is a Seattle, Washington indie band that has been around since the early 00’s.  Omni is their fourth and most recent release.  The album was produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket).  The album is easy to listen to and does not require a lot of thought as it has a certain background noise pop sensibility to it.  Each song was recorded in its entirety as opposed to piecing together recorded bits, which provides more of a live feel to the recording.

The name “Minus the Bear” comes from an inside joke among the band members, referring to the 70’s show B.J. and the Bear. “A friend of the band had gone on a date,” explains singer-guitarist Jake Snider, “and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, ‘You know that TV show from the ’70s B.J. and The Bear? It was like that minus the bear.’ That’s the straight truth.”

Key Tracks:

Excuses, My Time By, Into the Mirror,

 Get Off On the Pain

Gary Allan

This is Allan’s eighth studio album and had two singles, Today, and the title track Get Off On the Pain, to land on the Billboard charts.  He is a solid singer and decent writer who co-wrote five of the ten tracks on the album.   With his voice and steadfast determination to keep a traditional country sound, Alan has managed to avoid the cookie cutter mold of a litany of current singers that plague the radio.

Key Tracks:

No Regrets, When You Give Yourself Away, Today, She Gets Me

To The Sea

Jack Johnson

To The Sea is the fifth studio album from the environmentally friendly musician and sold 243,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one.  While Johnson does not navigate uncharted water, the album is solid with well crafted songs.  His voice has a bit more urgency as he sings and does not shy away from the electric guitar.  The vibe is still relatively mellow and the messages tend to be a bit more reflective but still positive.

Key Tracks:

You and Your Heart, No Good With Faces, Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology

Together

The New Pornographers

Together is the fifth release from this Canadian indie group.  The album is heavy on the guest list with the likes of Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Zach Condon (Beruit), and the horn section from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

The album has a powerful pop energy that is balanced by the varied vocal stylings of the group.  Lead vocals are shared between Neko Case, Carl Newman, Dan Bejar, and Kathryn Calder.  It is a fun album and might take a few spins if this is your first venture into the band.  Much like Canadian beer, you don’t realize how good it is until you try it.

Key Tracks:

Your hands (Together), My Shepherd, Valkyrie In the Roller Disco,

Great music awaits


Tune In Tuesday: 6/8/10

Welcome to Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums with Texas roots.

If We Ever Make It Home

Wade Bowen 

If We Ever Make It Home is Bowen’s third studio   This album reveals the trials and tribulations of any relationships.  It speaks of love, loss, and the fallability of human spirit.  He is a solid writer that is able to convey his story with passion.  Daddy and the Devil is an amazing song that features Chris Knight and Bowen on vocals. 

Key Tracks: Daddy and the Devil, If We Ever Make It Home, You Had Me At My Best

Fire, Honey, & Angels

Walt Wilkins

 This is Walt’s debut album and some of his finest songwriting.  Walt’s music has a timeless feel to it with poignant lyrics about love, loss, and the varying stages of life.  His voice is comfortable and familiar with a hint of wisdom.  He has the ability to convey so many different thoughts and feelings through his lyrics and voice.  His strongest material is the songs that paint a picture of everyday life.  His eye for detail is uncanny as is his ability to take the mundane and make it memorable.  Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters is possibly the best country song ever written.

Key Tracks: Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters, Our Lady of the Avenue, Lessons Never Learned

Like It Used To Be

Randy Rogers Band

This is the debut studio album for the band and is a solid first venture.  Their sound is appealing in the fact that it does not stand out.  It is good music that could be heard in any number of bars in a college town in the great state of Texas.  Their music gives hope to all the other folks that are out on the road singing in dive bars and backyards.  Their studio work is not overly produced and crafted for radio friendly hooks.  Tommy Jackson is my favorite song from the band to date.

Key Tracks:  Tommy Jackson, Lost and Found, Like It Used To Be

11th Floor

Erin Ivey

Erin Ivey is Austin’s Folk music darling.  She was voted one of the city’s top 4 unsigned artists in 2007. 

Her voice is amazing, both haunting and angelic with a touch of sensuality.  Her single “Chocolate” is an infectious little number that has her voice dripping over her guitar. 

Erin Ivey is a new artist for me as I just heard her for the first time when she opened for Joe Purdy in Austin a few months back. 

Key Tracks:  Chocolate, Separational, Beautiful World

Picnic

Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen is a Texas born singer/songwriter who has built a cult following of both fans and musicians alike.  Keen’s music is bathed in humor, the hills and landscape of Texas as well as the cast of characters he has met along the way.  Picnic has several memorable (in pure Keen fashion) songs and the duet Then Came Lo Mein with Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins as well as his cover of James McMurtry’s Levelland

Key Tracks: Undone, Levelland, Shades of Gray

True Love Cast Out All Evil

Roky Erikson and Okkervil River

Roky Erikson is the former leader of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and one forefathers of the psychedelic music scene.  This of course is before his well documented breakdown and battles that led him to a lengthy stint in Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane. 

Will Sheff is the leader of Okkervil River and is the reason this album came to fruition.  Some of the songs were penned while Erikson was incarcerated.  Sheff deftly produces the album without trying to replicate the sound of forty years ago when Erikson was blazing the music scene. 

Key Tracks: Good Bye Sweet Dream, Be and Bring Me Home, Bring Back the Past

Great music awaits!