Martin Barre


On Friday night, I was spinning Aqualung on my turntable. On Saturday morning, I was speaking over the phone with Martin Barre, Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist. (He’s performing at The Tin Pan on Saturday night.) It was a great, truly candid conversation, and I compiled the best bits for a Richmond Navigator interview that went online yesterday. I hope you’ll take a took and grab a ticket for Saturday, if you haven’t already.

If you’re curious about his solo work, here’s a track that provides a nice bridge between his past and present — a rearrangement of the Jethro Tull song “Slow Marching Band” that Barre included on his 2016 Back to Steel album.

Martin Barre — “Slow Marching Band” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes


A few quick pre-weekend notes:

  • Congrats to Bob Dylan on his Nobel Prize in Literature. It couldn’t have been a more fitting selection — choosing him transcended the honor’s boundaries just as Dylan gave songwriting a transcendent push in the twentieth century. It’s been fun watching tributes roll in, from favorite lyrics to pictures of tattoos of favorite lyrics to evidence of Dylan binge-listening. Inspiring all around.
  • And congrats to the organizers of the Richmond Folk Festival, for putting on another excellent event — this year in the face of shitty weather. I was only able to stop by on Sunday, but I will never forget what I saw: Rahzel doing “If Your Mother Only Knew.” I saw that. In person. It’s still sinking in. I have a crappy video I may upload at some point for the audio’s sake if folks are interested.
  • Last Friday’s Lucy Dacus show was outstanding. This review did a great job of explaining why.
  • New Phil Cook out today! Gorgeous, contemplative stuff.
  • My mom’s been sending me some delightfully out-there music recommendations lately. Here’s one — a movement from Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices. It’s a wild ride. I won’t say another word, because going in cold, without context or expectations, is really, really fun.
  • Another mom recommendation: Sacred Harp singing.
  • Were you lucky enough to get tickets for tonight’s Big Freedia show at Strange Matter before they sold out? I am envious. Post pics and videos plz.

Have a great weekend, y’all. Hope these links make it a little weirder.

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Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985

I know mine isn’t and shouldn’t be the most valued opinion on the matter, but I really like the Indigenous Peoples’ Day idea — the suggestion that we’d acknowledge the fact that Columbus was more than a little monstrous by replacing his holiday with one that celebrates the people he did monstrous things to. (The same people America has done monstrous things to, not-so-incidentally.)

I was a day late, but yesterday afternoon, while I was working from home, I decided to spend the afternoon listening to all six sides of Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, the stunning compilation Light in the Attic Records released in 2014.

I didn’t know a thing about the artists on the album when I bought it. Frankly I don’t know what made me get it — I know I knocked off some of the sticker price by trading in some super weird Goodwill finds at Steady Sounds, but I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand. But it seemed important. And bigger than its physical size, somehow, like the reverse of that hallway in Willy Wonka that gets smaller and smaller as you walk down it.

And it really is a stunning artifact. The 12×12 book that accompanies the three discs offers a wealth of information, and the music on those discs ranges from familiar to remote, professional to amateur, trippy to tribal. But all of it sounds intensely intentional. Heartfelt. And, yes, important.

I still have a lot to learn about the people featured in Native North America, Vol. 1, and I’m planning to make it a regular part of the second Monday in October, regardless of what that day ends up being called.

Willy Mitchell — “Kill’n Your Mind” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes


Fancy a few Friday news and notes thingies?

  • Today’s an awesome release day (hello there, Hiss Golden Messenger), but I left two crucial releases off last week’s list: White Laces (wrote about No Floor yesterday) and Moses Sumney. Lordy, is Lamentations good. I pretty sure I remember “Worth It” from when he opened for Sufjan Stevens at the Altria Theater — it went straight on my “That’s My Jam” playlist after I heard this version. “Lonely World” is also outstanding, with an assist from Thundercat. Well worth a listen, if you’re not already a Sumney fan. Or if you are. And since everyone on Earth falls into one of those two categories, there’s no excuse for not listening.
  • Some really great Spacebomb news — their newest roster addition, Georgie, just released a song called “Company Of Thieves” and a corresponding video that looks like it was really fun to make. This is some seriously punchy stuff, both in terms of the strength of her voice and the oomph the horns provide. More plz thx.
  • Next long run I go on I’m listening to the Bruce Fresh Air interview. Can’t wait. Also looking forward to reading his book. There need to be more hours in the day so I can do that like… now.
  • Goodwill scores this week include Wynton Marsalis’ debut album, the soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back, and two spoken word Star Trek albums, which include three or four narrated episodes each. I’m not all that into Star Trek, but they looked too campy to walk away from.
  • Too much good music this weekend. Lucy Dacus (with My Darling Fury and Spooky Cool) at The National tonight and the Richmond Folk Festival all weekend. Here’s hoping the weather doesn’t act up too much — Stephen Lecky and the whole Folk Fest machine put in so much work each year, and it’s such a gift to the city. Stop by early and often, and be sure to throw a few bucks into an orange donation bucket. You’ll probably get a sticker, and you can wear it like a badge of honor.

I whined a little about the weather earlier, but if you’re in Florida/Georgia/South Carolina and you’re reading this, be safe. Here’s hoping the storm heads east and doesn’t circle back around.

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White Laces


How rare is it that you get to say that every release a band has put out has been your favorite of theirs to date? I can say that about White Laces. It’s as much a winning streak as it is evidence of the band’s searching nature. They’ve changed a bit with each release, and with No Floor, I think they’ve found something really remarkable.

There’s more synth/programming than ever on this album, and heading in that direction has opened up a powerful pairing — the precision of synthetic elements and the fluidity of Landis Wine’s voice, which is one of the most distinctive in town. The effect is almost visual; when I close my eyes and listen to the choruses of “Cheese” or “Mall Madness,” I see sharp edges layered with colorful, rolling hills. I see contrast. Not dissonance, necessarily, just contrast.

Tori Hovater’s vocals work similarly — they’re such a complement to Wine’s — and I’m wild about the minor turn the grinding synth sound takes during the chorus of “Youth Vote.” It came as a surprise the first time I heard it, but the contrast it builds with the major sound of the verse makes it a surprise that rewards over and over.

On the meaningful and memorable “Dots,” Wine sings “I used to think about time as a living thing.” It seems to me that, by drawing inspiration from the 1980’s, White Laces has found a really exciting way forward — one that has them sounding as lively as ever.

White Laces — “Cheese” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes


A few news and notes to complement your Friday…

I hope everyone has a fun weekend ahead. The band is recording all day tomorrow at Audio Verite with Pedro Aida. Trying to get three songs done. Fingers crossed…

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Friday News and Notes


Just a few things to wrap up the week…

  • The Mountain Goats show was everything I could have hoped it would be — new songs, old songs, constant enthusiasm from John, enthusiasm from the crowd, a cover of “Dark as a Dungeon,” a “This Year” finale — and holy hell, was the merch table a dream. Practically his entire back catalog on vinyl. I got a copy of Beat the Champ (listening as I type this) but The Sunset Tree is absolutely on my wantlist now.
  • Oh Pep! opened and did an amazing job. Their song “Tea, Milk & Honey” has stuck to my brain like… well, honey is a perfectly sufficient simile. They even had homemade egg cups for sale at the show. I’m telling you — this was the most insanely good merch table I’ve ever seen.
  • Speaking of sticking to your brain, cheers to the White Laces on their new song “Cheese.” So catchy — such a bright and fascinating continuation of their ongoing evolution. Can’t wait to hear more.
  • Wow. I was excited for the Ian Chang solo stuff to come, but the video for “Spiritual Leader” totally blew my mind. Just wow. Want to see what drums can do? Watch this.
  • I’ve been meaning to post the “Animal Quietlies” video from Manatree. So glad to see this excellent, frenetic song making its way around the interweb.

Heading to Denver this weekend. Hope your weekend is great wherever you’re spending it.

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