Monthly Archives: May 2016

CD Monday*

Jeff Bennett

This week’s CD Mon(Tues)day goes out to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even in defeat, they were magnificent. KD is amazing. Russ is a freak. Steven Adams is unexpectedly hilarious and kind of a badass. I wanted Golden State to win — so they can win the title and fully validate the absurd number of hours of Warriors basketball I watched this season — but I hate seeing KD sad. Dude needs to win at some point, in OKC or elsewhere. Same for Russ — his maniacal efforts deserve to be rewarded. Hopefully they’ll stick together and win one eventually.

Jay Bennett — “Survey The Damage” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes

Toddler YHT
Toddler YHT is clearly ready for the weekend — are you?

  • CD Monday update: Mudcrutch was a hit. My daughter dug it. I dug it. A great time was had by all. There’s a great looseness to it — I’m not sure how long recording took, but it reminds me of the great, lightning-in-a-bottle spontaneity of that Shouting Matches album. Thanks so much to Marcus my coworker for loaning it to me!
  • I saw Car Seat Headrest on Monday night in D.C. I have thoughts about it. While I try to get those thoughts organized and typed up, I recommend reading this Doug Nunnally-penned RVA Magazine interview with Will Toledo and listening to anything and everything of his you can get your hands and ears on.
  • I could have met Bob Boilen on Monday night but got too nervous. So pissed at myself.
  • New Debo Band album!
  • This week’s is a must-see Friday Cheers. RVA Music Night. Natalie Prass. Sam Reed. Lady God. I’ve seen the first two, and am crazy about both, but this will be my first time seeing Lady God. Very much looking forward to it. We’re going to book it down to Brown’s Island after work, and by “we” I mean the whole family. Fingers crossed everyone gets in their respective car seats in a timely fashion. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, MRS. YHT.
  • This is a two-show weekend, actually, because I have a ticket to go see Son Lux at Strange Matter tomorrow night. I was psyched to see that the opening act, Xenia Rubinos, has a new record streaming over at NPR. I’ve yet to hear the whole thing, but what I have heard is varied and intriguing and I’m hoping I can show up early for this one as well.

See y’all at Cheers. First round is on Toddler YHT! (JK she’s broke as a joke.)

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Me: [clicks on link to Pitchfork article with a headline that contains the words “Animal Collective” and “Bob Dylan” because of course I did]

Me: How the hell do you “remix” a Bob Dylan song?

Me: [presses play]

Me: Oh… I… this is really good…

Me: [keeps listening]

Me: There’s the guitar!

Me: [starts looking forward to pressing play again before the song is even over]

Bob Dylan — “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (Animal Collective remix) [Soundcloud]

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CD Monday

Mudcrutch

On loan from a generous coworker. (He also loaned me a DVD copy of Runnin’ Down a Dream, the four-hour Tom Petty documentary Peter Bogdanovich made.) This is the first I’ve heard of Mudcrutch, but wouldn’t you know it, the rejuvenated Petty project just released an album last Friday. Wild, eh?

Tom Petty called the band’s name “really terrible.” I call it “really fitting” because it won’t stop raining and there’s mud everywhere and I can never remember to take off my shoes before I go in the house and Toddler YHT is laying waste to my backseat by grinding her adorable and sparkly but also muddy Crocs into the fabric opposite her rear-facing car seat.

Mudcrutch — “Orphan Of The Storm” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Friday News and Notes

Sounds of RVA

  • No CD Monday this week to update (was traveling back from NYC on Monday), but I’m psyched about next week’s. Tom Petty is involved.
  • I recommend reading this touching remembrance of John Berry by Jeremy Shatan of AnEarful and Off Your Radar.
  • Speaking of saying goodbye, I was very sad to see Sounds of RVA’s farewell message. I’ve enjoyed following along with Sarah’s posts and have learned a lot from them. Between this announcement and RVA Playlist’s, it feels like the end of an era. Sarah and Andrew have felt like partners in crime, and I’ll always appreciate the added motivation I’ve gotten from knowing there are people our there with whom I share a sense of purpose. Definitely going to deploy my prized Sounds of RVA coozie tonight in Sarah’s honor.
  • Important PSA: Don’t forget to check that the albums you find at Goodwill actually have the right records inside. I thought I’d found a nice, clean copy of Pearls Before Swine’s Balaklava. I had actually found the cover of Pearls Before Swine’s Balaklava with some crusty big band nonsense inside.
  • No Friday Cheers this week, but Dominion Riverrock has some great music — Keller Williams and G. Love and Mikrowaves and Big Mama Shakes and more — and it’s free! Click here for the full schedule.

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Phil Cook

Phil Cook

It’s hard to overstate the influence the people in this photo have had on my musical life.

Not long after Phil Cook started playing at last week’s Friday Cheers, I saw Matthew E. White walk through the crowd and settle in near the front, and at the risk of being a little bit of a creeper, I made sure to get a shot of these two hugely important people in one place.

This was my first time seeing Phil Cook play under his own name, but I’ve gotten to see him perform three (I think) times before — twice with Hiss Golden Messenger in Richmond and once with Megafaun in Portland, OR. That 2011 Portland show at the Doug Fir was the seed of something that’s grown much bigger. I’ve written about this idea before, but every single thing the Megafaun diaspora touches or is associated with — HGM, Sylvan Esso, The Shouting Matches, Grandma Sparrow — turns to gold, and those projects and Phil Cook’s solo album have brought me a great deal of happiness in the years since Portland.

Less than a year after that show, the first songs from White’s Big Inner debut (Phil Cook was involved with that too) started appearing on the interweb. I hadn’t been clued into Fight the Big Bull back then, so these songs were my introduction to White. It was a little like when I first heard White Laces — it felt like I’d stepped on a live power line in my own backyard, like “Holy crap! Was this here all along?” I preordered the album and followed White on all possible social media channels, including his Spotify profile.

I’m not sure how many of y’all use the feature that allows you to see what your friends/the people you follow are listening to, but White’s feed changed everything for me. It’s how I found out about Randy Newman. About Harry Nilsson. About Stevie Wonder. And then Stevie opened up the whole world of soul music for me — Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Nina Simone… there’s an entire section of my record collection that probably wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for White’s Spotify feed.

The same goes for one of the happiest moments of my life: In the spring of 2014, Mrs. YHT and I did a long weekend in Corolla, NC while she was very pregnant, knowing we were going to skip my family’s summer beach trip that year. On the last day, before heading back to Richmond — and back to reality, where parenthood was imminent — we spent a few minutes in (what I believe is called) Historic Corolla Park literally sitting on the dock of the bay (OK, the Currituck Sound) listening to Otis Redding. For that short time, I felt completely at peace with the world and my place in it. Peace was scarce in those days, given how anxious I was before our daughter was born, so I’ll never forget listening to that song in that setting in that moment. Without Otis Redding, and by extension, Matt White, I’m not sure I would have found that sense of peace.

Toward the end of his Cheers set, Phil Cook dedicated a song to a friend in the audience, and while I can’t remember the exact words of his dedication, it seemed clear he was talking about White. The song ended up being Randy Newman’s “Sail Away.” Two days later, at the P.S. 321 Flea Market in Brooklyn, I found a copy of Newman’s album of the same name. It felt like all the musical connections I’d been thinking about for those two days came together in that one record I was holding. I’d held a copy of the album before — while flipping through records at Deep Groove a while ago — but on Sunday, it felt like the most valuable record in the entire world.

I really wish I had video of Cook doing “Sail Away” on Friday. My phone’s battery was low because I had already taped Cook playing “Crow Black Chicken,” which Ry Cooder recorded for Boomer’s Story. Here’s that recording — it’s a little blurry, but there’s an excellent bass solo from Michael Libramento. And it seems only fitting, given that this is a story about connections, to share that Ry Cooder played on Newman’s Sail Away album.

Phil Cook — “Crow Black Chicken” (Ry Cooder cover) [YouTube]

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Friday News and Notes

Simpsons

A few Friday News and Notes items to finish out the week:

  • CD Monday update: The Sufjan song is excellent, and I enjoy the Rafter track, but the real winner is the Helado Negro song I posted on Monday. Baby YHT (who isn’t really a baby anymore — maybe she should be Toddler YHT for now?) even liked it and gave it the “Again!” seal of approval a couple times.
  • I can’t remember what day this week it was, but I had to get out of the car right when Marketplace was starting a story about Radiohead’s finances and, presumably, how they start new companies for each record they release. Bandmate 4eva Doug unknowingly came to the rescue by sending me this Guardian article about the same thing a day or two later. Interesting stuff, I think. Maybe I need to start a couple corporations for YHT, especially now that I bought an actual domain for the site.
  • Hey! I forgot to tell y’all! I bought youhearthat.com, so there’s that. Feels like I got my own little plot on this great big internet, and it feels like I should be saying that while standing with a cup of coffee in one hand and a suspender strap in the other, looking out over my growing crop of blog posts through the early morning haze. That’s how the internet works, right…
  • James Blake? Gooood. Radiohead? Goooood. Beyoncé? I trust that it’s good, but I still haven’t heard more than a couple songs. I don’t want to pay to download it, since it might come out on vinyl at some point, and it’s not on Spotify, and I’m not about to sign up for Tidal while I’m still paying for Spotify Premium, so…
  • A+ Friday Cheers tonight, y’all: Phil Cook and Shovels & Rope. Don’t miss it. And might I suggest heading to the Broadberry after for The Big Payback and Life on Mars?

I’ll be heading up to NYC this weekend, which makes three trips up 95 in four weekends. Yet somehow I still get a kick from zooming through E-ZPass only toll lanes. It doesn’t take much.

Have great weekends! See y’all tonight at Cheers!

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Avers

Avers

New Avers!

EggHunt, man. They could easily be sitting back and basking in the brilliance of their recent successes, but it’s full steam ahead with another preorder-worthy release, Omega/Whatever. Out July 29. Love the cover art.

I got to see Avers last Thursday night at the Broadberry as part of a three-band celebration of Virginia Tourism’s new “Virginia is for Music Lovers” campaign (which you should definitely check out — Andrew Cothern is doing really inspiring things in his new role there). No BS! Brass Band was first, Galax-based singer-songwriter Dori Freeman followed (you can read more about her set over at Doug Nunnally’s blog), and Avers closed the show.

I’ve gotten to see Avers a number of times, and have favorite tracks from both their Empty Light LP and their Wasted Tracks EP, but a song I wasn’t familiar with grabbed my attention. “These are the days when everything hurts” it said. “I feel ya,” my internal monologue responded. Turns out it’s one of the tracks on Omega/Whatever, “Everything Hz,” and Consequence of Sound just wrote it up. Very cool.

Avers is packed with capable songwriters, and I’m not sure who penned this one, but the title reminds me of the way The Trillions (another Charlie Glenn outfit) name songs — references to technology, with lyrics that often convey an uneasy feeling about internet culture and digital-age relationships. According to EggHunt’s site, Omega/Whatever traffics in similar concerns: “It’s an album about balance, too, centered around the struggles of living in the modern world.”

Sounds like this is going to hit extremely close to home. Balance is something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what Avers have to say on the subject. “Everything Hz” is certainly a strong, relatable start.

Avers — “Everything Hz” [Soundcloud]

 

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The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats

Step 1: Head to the Answer on a Monday night to interview Kelli Strawbridge and see Mekong Xpress and the Get Fresh Horns.

Step 2: Finish the interview and sit at the bar next to trumpet player Bob Miller.

Step 3: Chat with Miller about being part of the horn section that Matthew E. White and the Mountain Goats shared when they toured in support of their respective 2012 albums.

Step 4: Head to Steady Sounds the next day over lunch to snag an original pressing (!) of D’Angelo’s Voodoo.

Step 5: Take a quick look through the bins and find a used copy the aforementioned 2012 Mountain Goats album, Transcendental Youth, and pull out the liner notes to see if Bob Miller played on the album.

Step 6: See that he did and feel that “Everything is connected and beautiful” feeling.

Step 7: Play the album later that night and soak in White’s smart and reverential arrangements.

Step 8: Listen as a hair gets stuck on the needle, causing the lyrics “I could do this all day” from “Counterfeit Florida Plates” to loop perfectly about a dozen times.

Step 9: Feel that “Everything is connected and beautiful” feeling again.

Step 10: Buy tickets to the Mountain Goats’ September 19 show at the National.

The Mountain Goats — “Counterfeit Florida Plates” [Spotify/iTunes]

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CD Monday

Asthmatic Kitty

Asthmatic Kitty threw this sampler in with a record I had delivered, and I grabbed it this morning not knowing that Pitchfork had posted a review of Helado Negro’s Island Universe Story: Selected Works this morning. Neat coincidence.

I really enjoy Helado Negro and am very interested in hearing Island Universe Story so I can get a more complete picture of his music and how it’s changed over time. I’m most familiar with Double Youth, which is the album the song on this sampler comes from (the Pitchfork review actually mentions it — “Invisible Heartbeat”), and while I’ve seen him perform, I only caught a few minutes — at Gallery5 during 2013’s Fall Line Fest. But those few delightfully weird minutes left a strong and positive impression. I remember thinking how cool it was that just a little time in the same room with a band or artist can be enough to form a lasting connection. It’s also reassuring. That was before my daughter was born, but I often think back on that night when it looks like I’m going to be late to a show or have to leave in the middle so I can wake up early the next day.

Here’s “Invisible Heartbeat” — I’ll check in about the rest of the sampler on Friday!

Helado Negro — “Invisible Heartbeat” [Spotify/iTunes]

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