Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wit's End

New Cass McCombs album, Wit's End, out April 12 on Domino. Turn out the lights, stop what you're doing, and stream the lead-off track, "County Line," below.

Cass McCombs - County Line by DominoRecordCo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


[via ruradelia]

We get very schizophrenic winters here in Texas—a half-week of drizzly cold, followed by a few days of humidity and heat, then back to cold. Personally, I like our winters; the unpredictability is sometimes maddening, but there’s something beautiful to being at the mercy of Mother Nature. Consequently, I like to turn to Wilco’s “At Least That’s What You Said,” album opener to their highly underrated A Ghost Is Born. It’s the sound of weary resignation (and possibly psychosis), with Jeff Tweedy barely mumbling lyrics over haunting piano chords. Then the atonal bridge erupts, giving way to the best guitar freakout this side of Neil Young and Crazy Horse. With the abundant sunshine and heat the rest of the year, it’s nice to revel in such bleakness once in a while.

But our mild winters give way to warmer weather in an instant. It’s like somebody turns a switch: ladies and gentlemen, Summer! So during the drizzlier months, I put on Calexico’s “Corona,” knowing full well that the golden sunshine is just around the corner. “Corona” is a Minutemen cover, but in true Calexico fashion, the band strips the original of its punky attitude in favor of some Mexican flavor. It’s inherently cinematic: those mariachi horns, the gorgeous strings, and the romance of the sighing pedal steel all call to mind the best ever roadtrip to dusty, sweaty West Texas. And the false starts at the beginning sound like a clunker trying to turn over before finally kicking into high gear, its nose pointed west towards that blistering sunset. The people will survive in their environment…

[via prefix]

Wilco // At Least That's What You Said
Calexico // Corona

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Episode 27: Winter Mix

[via sunday morning]

A wintry mix to help get you through yer own wintry mixes. Get a nice drink and pop on some headphones as we say goodbye to some friends and start the new year with a toast. We've got much to talk about and much to reminisce...

Bob Dylan :: On A Night Like This
Captain Beefheart :: Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
Nico :: The Fairest Of The Seasons
Wilco :: Hell Is Chrome
John Fahey :: Days Have Gone By
Cotton Jones :: Gone The Bells (Demo Version)
Modest Mouse :: Grey Ice Water
Broadcast :: Echo's Answer
Edith Piaf :: Non Je Ne Regrette Rien
The Walkmen :: While I Shovel The Snow

Total running time: 35:50


Waterloo Sunset #27

Friday, January 14, 2011

Echo's Answer: RIP Trish Keenan

One of the great things about music is its vastness: there's simply not enough time in the world to listen to every single thing that has ever been recorded. Consequently, great music sometimes slips through the cracks, only to be picked up, dusted off, and enjoyed far into the future.

I found out about Broadcast a few months ago when I heard "Come On Let's Go" in a store, from their 2000 debut The Noise Made By People. Their lead singer, Trish Keenan, has an arresting voice: mysterious, a little bit airy, but instantly recognizable. The song sounds like a precursor to the current fascination in underground music, diffusing Phil Spector-like pop through a darker, more modern lens.

I was late to the Broadcast party, but that didn't stop me from diving head-first into that debut and eventually their ever-expanding discography. It quickly became the soundtrack to cold, misty, quiet December nights where the rain refracts Christmas lights into a million different directions. I was excited for the new sonic adventure. However, this morning came the news of Keenan's sudden death. It's especially shocking in this case; while I wouldn't call myself a Broadcast super-fan, I was falling fast for their beautiful sound. Now, my musical exploration of Broadcast has a definite ending point; now, the band--which prided itself on boundary-pushing--is frozen in time.

Besides the personal connection, it's a tragedy for Keenan, her bandmates, her family, and her fans. Here was an artist steady in her resolve and cut down too soon. She left behind a small legacy, one that just might do for you what it did for me: stop you in your tracks and force you to take notice. That's a rare gift. We had just met, but the music isn't fleeting.


Broadcast :: Come On Let's Go
Broadcast :: Echo's Answer