Friday News and Notes

A few Friday news and notes items, starting with the video above…

  • Holy crap — have y’all heard this Angelica Garcia songMatthew E. White tweeted about her yesterday, and Ted, the bass player for my band, saw her at The Tin Pan last night and raved about it. Can’t wait to hear more. (BTW s/o to a fellow son [daughter in her case] of a preacher [Episcopalian priest in both our cases] man [woman in my case].)
  • Mrs. YHT and I finished Stranger Things last night. No, YOU were a sobbing mess. Did you hear that the band that contributed the original score — they’re called, appropriately, Survive — is going on tour?
  • Speaking of soundtracks hitting the road, Seu Jorge is doing a David Bowie tribute tour, reprising his role in The Life Aquatic. He’s coming to D.C., but it’s on a Tuesday, and that Tuesday happens to be election day. Not sure I’m brave enough to go to that city on that day, but hot damn do I want to see that show. And hot damn to I want to get my hands on a copy of this.
  • So Delicate Steve played on Paul Simon’s last album. Which I love. I had no idea. I found this out because a press release celebrating his signing to ANTI- mentioned it. (Here’s the new tune of his they linked to in that email.)
  • David Vandervelde — one of two people named David who played music at my sister’s wedding — is putting out a collaborative EP with Tess Shapiro. It’s streaming over at Brooklyn Vegan, and I’d recommend listening all the way through. The whole thing is good, but I’m really digging the last two tracks.
  • The only thing better than friends who make mixtapes are friends who make mixtapes and also link you to other excellent mixtapes. Thank you for sending a link to this wonderful Aquarium Drunkard mix, Giselle!
  • I’m turning 33 tomorrow, and I’ll be celebrating the first few hours of my birthday by joining Doug Nunnally on Sound Gaze. Not sure when I’ll be jumping in, but the show runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WDCE. Listen online, listen on the radio, peer into the windows of the station… whatever it takes.
  • Gigging tonight at bdubs, so no show recommendations. As for bdubs recommendations: spicy garlic. Now and forever, spicy garlic.

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Shovels & Rope

Shovels and rope

Shovels & Rope played the song below at Friday Cheers this year, and I was insta-smitten. The choruses — each one is a little different, though they end with the same line — are so sweet and tight and concise, and I remember wanting to bottle the song up then and there. I didn’t know its name, I didn’t know when a studio recording would surface, but I knew I loved it.

Now that the studio version is here, along with a touching video (NPR has the backstory), I’m even more smitten. It’s called “St. Anne’s Parade,” and I’m posting it below so you too can happy-cry your way through Wednesday.

Shovels & Rope — “St. Anne’s Parade” [YouTube]

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Guy Clark

Guy Clark

I was lucky enough to see Gillian Welch at Maymont on Sunday night. The show was excellent, aside from cicadas trying so hard to drown out the music that Welch and Dave Rawlings actually commented on them. Seeing her sing “Hard Times” was incredibly meaningful, but what’s stuck with me most is a cover they played.

“Stuck with me” might not be strong enough language. It’s more like I’ve been haunted. It’s been stuck in my head, I’ve been singing the chorus to my daughter, I’ve missed out on some sleep because my brain has decided that bedtime is when I should try to run through the lyrics… It’s a little nuts.

I’m talking about “Dublin Blues,” a Guy Clark song. Welch played it as a tribute to Clark, who died in May of this year, finishing with “We love you, Guy!” and a story about Clark championing her music early in her career. I took a video of it (I try to keep my phone in my pocket as much as possible at shows these days, but hearing “This is a cover of…” causes involuntary reflexes to kick in) and I watched a few times when I got home, then found Clark’s studio version, and haven’t really stopped listening since, if you count the intra-cranial plays.

It’s hard to put a finger on why “Dublin Blues” managed hijack my brain, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has something to do with the way it plays with the idea of sophistication. By singing “I have been to Forth Worth, and I have been to Spain,” Clark upends the notion that people who drink Mad Dog margaritas have no culture, while simultaneously elevating the everyday experiences of those who may not have the means to visit Europe. He does the same by finishing a list of wonders he’s seen — Michelangelo’s David, the Mona Lisa — with seeing Doc Watson play “Columbus Stockade Blues,” a wonder that, ironically, will never be seen again. (For a sillier take on the same idea, try “We’re Not The Jet Set.”) And the whole story is couched in heartache — something that can strike anyone at anytime. All that nuance, just three chords, as best as I can tell.

Speaking of just three chords, hey band guys — if you’re reading this, wanna cover it? I’ve been working on the lyrics…

Guy Clark — “Dublin Blues” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes

104.3

Just a few quick news and notes items for your Friday enjoyment:

  • The picture above is proof that I was listening to the new, amazing throwback hip hop and R&B radio station 104.3 at 10:43 the other night. And proof that it was 91 degrees at 10:43, which is crap. It needs to stop being so hot.
  • Speaking of early 2000’s throwbacks, did you know that the men’s Olympic basketball team loves Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” and that Carmelo Anthony actually tweeted Carlton to apologize for looking cranky in this video? The joy all of this brings me is immeasurable. Let’s hope the result against Spain today is joyful as well.
  • I hope folks had a chance to check out this week’s Off Your Radar. I had the chance to thank three amazing benefactors for giving me the gift of Jump, Little Children, and I’ve enjoyed reading all the OYR takes on Magazine. I feel very lucky to be part of this newsletter. And I now know where Jump, Little Children’s name came from.
  • New Frank Ocean!
  • The new Head and the Heart album is shaping up to be really special. I’m wild about “Library Magic” — that type of magic being central to any marriage between two English majors (s/o Mrs. YHT) — and “All We Ever Knew” is blowing up.
  • Really enjoying this new song by Aaron Lee Tasjan. Very thankful bandmate Mark excitedly texted me from one of ALT’s shows and got me into him.
  • Also looking forward to new Bon Iver — I’ve grown very attached to “22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version].” And I really hope I copied and pasted that title correctly.

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Doors Wide Open

Oleta Adams

Being there. It’s paradoxically simple and incredibly difficult. It’s also a great Wilco album, but that’s beside the point.

I struggle with balancing work and fun and music and running and writing and sleep in a way that ensures that I’m present enough. Home. Awake. Attentive. Resisting “the urge to live inside my telephone,” as Jason Isbell put it. Shit is hard.

I think that’s why seeing Doors Wide Open cover “Get Here” during last week’s Shockoe Session was so affecting. At first glance, it may seem like the lyrics beat the premise into the ground. Here’s just a sampling of the ways Brenda Russell wrote that her significant other can reach her:

  • Railway
  • Sailboat
  • Rope swing
  • Sled
  • Horse
  • Windsurfing
  • Magic carpet
  • Balloon

And that list isn’t even comprehensive. The repetition is silly, on a certain level, but it also reflects the paradox at work here. The increasingly absurd modes of transportation mirror how some of the most elaborate obstacles that stand between us and the people we care about are self-imposed. Maybe a more glass-half-full way of looking at things would be that, regardless of where you go, there’s always a way back. Or as Bill Callahan put it, “No matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around.”

The irony here is that I had to spend time away from home to have this experience. But I really enjoyed seeing Doors Wide Open, and I hope to be invited to more Shockoe Sessions. (In Your Ear does a great job — good food, good drinks, good music, good people.) To help ensure it was time well spent, I’m putting Oleta Adams’ version of “Get Here” on my Rx playlist — songs with curative powers — alongside “Three Little Birds” and “dlp 1.1” of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops.

Oleta Adams — “Get Here” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes

Lucy Olympics

Happy Olympics, y’all! Can’t believe I didn’t say something last week.

Dunno about you, but I just about cried last night when Simone Manuel got her gold, and while I know what happened in the women’s individual all-around, I’m not going to say anything because Mrs. YHT is trying to achieve the informationally gymnastic feat of not finding out until she has a chance to finish watching. On a slightly less triumphant note, I’m worried about the men’s basketball team. That Australia game was slightly terrifying, even watching via DVR knowing what the outcome would be. Let’s hope they pick it up against Serbia tonight.

A few News and Notes items to keep you company until then:

  • Many thanks to Doug Nunnally for inviting me to my first Shockoe Session. We got to see a jazz group called Doors Wide Open, and I got my first glimpse of In Your Ear studios. Very cool space, very cool monthly event — check out Doug’s description of Doors Wide Open’s performance here. (Hoping to have a post of my own up about it next week.)
  • Cheers to White Laces on the cassette reissue of Sick of Summer! Stream it here and place your preorder here.
  • I know I said it yesterday, but BK’s latest used haul really is worth checking out. Two albums you won’t find there: The Clash’s London Calling and The Postal Service’s Give Up. Grabbed them when I went to pick up Durand Jones’ jam (say that five times fast). Gonna be a fun turntable weekend.
  • Finally watched the Michelle Obama/Missy Elliott episode of Carpool Karaoke. Planning to watch it whenever my faith in humanity needs to be restored, because it’s absolutely beautiful.
  • Hey! It’s my Off Your Radar turn this week! We’re going to be covering Jump, Little Children’s Magazine album, with yours truly kicking things off with the long first blurb. Click here to subscribe if’n you’re interested and haven’t yet.
  • The Big Payback is playing tonight at the Broadberry (read the article I wrote about them here) and Landlady will be at Hardywood on Saturday. Still can’t believe I’m getting to see Landlady there — the combination of one of my favorite bands and one of my favorite places to see music feels fated. Tailor-made. Cozy. It’s even Doug’s Pick of the Week for fellow OYR contributor Drew Necci’s RVA Must-See Shows. And get this — Landlady’s frontman, Adam Schatz, is making a guest appearance on OYR next week! So excited. Hope to see y’all at Hardywood!

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Durand Jones & The Indications

Durand Jones

Talk about wish fulfillment.

Last Friday, I whined about being late to the Durand Jones & The Indications party, and how it meant I likely wouldn’t get my hands on a copy of the group’s self-titled debut album, which was pressed in relatively small numbers.

BK Music to the rescue.

They just got in an incredible haul of used vinyl, and to get the word out, they did something that I’m seeing more and more — they posted a short video of disembodied hands flipping through the albums. I saw Durand Jones was in there, blacked out, and when I came to, I was listening to it on my turntable. Feeling very lucky right now.

Quick, related side note: A coworker once told me about how her daughter was hooked on these YouTube videos in which disembodied hands (OK, so there really are bodies attached, you just can’t see them) open up plastic or paper mache eggs and show what’s inside. Toys, candy, whatever. Depending on how your brain’s reward system is wired, you’re probably either saying to yourself “What’s the big deal?” or “I TOTALLY GET IT.”

And I totally get it, because I’m pretty sure those videos poke the exact same part of the brain that makes it so fun to flip through records. The element of surprise… the possibility that the next item could be the very thing you’re looking for… and experiencing that vicariously online is such a logical extension of that impulse. Not as great as being at the store to dig in person, but it’s still pretty great.

In summary, I have the brain of an addict, record stores everywhere should be doing this, and BK makes dreams come true.

Back to Durand Jones. This album cuts to the core of what I love most about soul music. It’s not about being polished or elaborate. Tons of legendary soul songs were recorded minutes after the band ran through them for the first time. It’s about the magic in the air when you do hit the record button — the emotion in the singer’s voice, the groove the band finds — and Jones & Co. have that magic in droves. See what you think:

Durand Jones & The Indications — “Tuck N’ Roll” [Spotify/iTunes]

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