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…
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.
So happy to see my interview with Perpetual Groove hit the interweb. This was a pleasure to work on, in part because it’s such an exciting moment for the band. They’re picking up steam after taking some time off — new EP, on tour now, and they’ll be stopping in Richmond at the National this Saturday night. Should be a special show — keyboardist Matt McDonald said some really nice things about the National in our interview. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about their journey and their history of environmental activism in this River City Magazine article.
Perpetual Groove — “Best Of Anything” [Spotify/iTunes]
Going to try to sneak some CD listening in this week. May just end up listening to Little Mermaid, like we have been lately. We’ll see. Looking at it as a win-win.
Very curious about what Then Play On has in store, because I’ve heard very little of it (it’s not on Spotify) and the friend who loaned it to me said it’s nothing like Mac’s later output. More bluesy, I’m told.
If it’s half as majestic as that cover art…
Fleetwood Mac — “Rattlesnake Shake” (live) [Discogs]
Just a few quick things this Friday. Hope y’all have an awesome weekend ahead!
- Be on the lookout for the return of CD Monday next week…
- Haven’t seen it yet, but NPR has video of The Head and the Heart performing their new album at NYC’s City Winery. Definitely watching that. That album is very, very good.
- And hot damn, is the Hamilton Leithauser/Rostam album good. “The Bride’s Dad,” y’all. You gotta hear it. NPR is streaming it — click here to listen and click here to sign my petition asking for them to be a band forever and for that band to be called RostHam.
- Car Seat Headrest was excellent at the National on Monday. Was not expecting a Frank Ocean cover (“Ivy”) but was so excited when he announced it was about to happen that I guiltily videoed the whole thing. Then I listened to it on the way home and felt… OK, still guilty but I’m happy I can revisit it. Here’s a video someone took of him doing the song Asheville.
- Lumineers tonight at RIR. The same RIR Denny Hamlin kicked ass at last weekend. OK, so it’s technically at an amphitheater near the track, but whatever. Something tells me the smell of victory (burnt rubber, beer, pee) is still floating around that place. Might need to wear some #11 merch tonight to soak the win in fully.
- If you’re looking to go out Saturday night, there’s Ben Folds at the National and I heard from bass player Ted that Angelica Garcia is playing as part of a trio called Whatever Honey at Poe’s Pub.
Over the weekend, I stopped by Deep Groove (well, the alley next to Deep Groove) to catch a performance by Julien Baker.
I stayed near the back so I could make sure the bike I was too lazy to lock up didn’t roll away, and I’m so happy I stood there. We did miss out on quieter moments, but Baker’s voice emerged clear and resonant and triumphant again and again, and it turned into this incredibly inspiring group experiment in active listening. During songs, people were silent. Cars drove by and the wind picked up here and there, but none of the humans assembled to see Baker made a sound while she sang. It was inspiring.
The quieter moments helped me soak in what I was seeing, from the gentle slope of the alley to the way Baker’s expressions grew more pronounced the further into songs she got. It was like a cycle — the song would build, the lyrics would overwhelm, and those of us in the back would hear the climactic words loud and clear. It’s amazing how smooth and consistent those loudest notes were. Even though they delivered the most emotional words, her singing was as steady as it could have been. That alchemy that turns turmoil into strength via music — she’s got it down.
One word I was surprised to hear emerge in one of those climactic moments was badlands, as in Bruce Springsteen’s “Badlands.” I was standing next to Deep Groove’s Jay Leavitt, and I think we recognized the song at the same moment. It was awesome. Here’s a video of Baker doing the song backstage at this year’s Newport Folk Fest.
Julien Baker — “Badlands” (Bruce Springsteen cover) [YouTube]
Late-breaking Friday News and Notes!
- Happy reissue day to Lucy Dacus, and happy release day to The Head and the Heart! Also to Wilco, though I grabbed a copy of Schmilco at BK Music’s listening party on Tuesday. It’s excellent. It sounded more understated and mellow when I was listening at BK, but listening at home was a whole other story. Very tense, like bottled up emotions slipping out a little at a time, with more fun weirdness and ornamentation than I heard at first.
- Speaking of BK, while I was there on Tuesday, I flipped through their amazing new bluegrass/country section and found a copy of Tony Rice’s Manzanita. I’ve been looking for his stuff since I learned that the cover of Daniel Bachman’s Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Bullshit album was an homage to one of Rice’s. Is Manzanita a good Rice starting point? They had a couple of others, but I kept seeing Manzanita described as a landmark/watershed album when I looked it up, so it seemed like a good bet.
- Enjoying Amanda Shires’ new album — check out the First Listen over at NPR.
- Another First Listen worth a… listen… Blake Mills produced Dawes’ new album. I’ve only heard a few songs, but they’re wildly interesting so far. Mills is a brilliant dude.
- Insane run of shows coming up. Car Seat Headrest at the National on Monday, The Lumineers at RIR on Friday, then The Mountain Goats at the National the Monday after. There’s even a Willie Nelson show somewhere in the middle, though that one’s sold out. Someone please hold me to this promise: I will see him next time he comes to town.
Got takeout from Perly’s yesterday and they had excellent music going at the bar while I waited, including a live Grateful Dead cover of “I Second That Emotion.” Not sure if the one below is the same version, but I thought it was worth sharing nonetheless.
Speaking of sharing, thanks to Mrs. YHT for letting me have the other half of her Goy Vey for lunch today.
The Grateful Dead — “I Second That Emotion” (Smokey Robinson cover) [YouTube]
How is it September? September is supposed to be, like, in the future. Not the present.
As tempting as it is to lament the end of summer, one early-September event has me looking forward to the month ahead, and there are a few other links I wanted to share:
- Today kicks off the SoundView Project, a public art/music event in which Troy Gatrell of Clair Morgan and Way, Shape or Form will write, record, and mix five songs over the course of a month in full view of Broad Street passersby. (Yes, I was excited to pluralize “passerby,” just as I would have been to type “attorneys general,” which I guess I just did.) They’re having a kickoff party tonight during First Fridays to celebrate. Definitely going to stop by at some point to check things out — what a great idea, and it’s being done to raise awareness of the importance of music education.
- Do you like shiitake mushrooms but lament the lack of songs about them? Your prayers have been answered. (Thank you for the heads up, Travis!)
- A friend gave me a copy of The Band’s Anthology, which I hadn’t even heard of, for my birthday. A Canadian pressing at that. I have Moondog Matinee, but I clearly don’t listen to it enough, because their cover of “The Great Pretender” snuck up on me. It’s awesome.
- I reconnected yesterday with Big L’s “Ebonics,” which is exceptional. Steady Sounds posted a pic a while back showing they had a copy of The Big Picture in, and I really should have bolted over there.
- Speaking of exceptional… Beyoncé’s VMAs medley. Lordy. For whatever this commentary is worth, I just want to throw out there that I think what she did that night and what she’s doing with this album are incredibly important. I didn’t connect with the idea of a visual album before now — I’ve enjoyed her self-titled album greatly without spending much time with the videos — but Lemonade feels different. She’s staking her claim to broader emotional and cultural territory while putting her image front-and-center, as if to say “You know that two-dimensional pop star you’ve been taking for granted? That smiling face you’ve seen a thousand times? You’re going to see what it looks like when I’m pissed, because everything is not OK right now.” Or, put more succinctly, “Who the fuck do you think I is?” I have a huge amount of respect for that.
- Just two quick show recommendations for Saturday — a Stranger Things-inspired 80’s party at the Broadberry, and a great Camel show that will include My Darling Fury and Vexine.
Hope y’all have a great long weekend. Stay dry, East Coasters.
My father-in-law gave me his vinyl collection a couple years back — the boxes that weren’t ruined when the Susquehanna River flooded and filled their basement when my wife was a kid. He gave me lots of really great stuff, so I’m still making my way through it all. I put sticky notes on the albums I wasn’t familiar with so I’d have a visual reminder to check them out at some point, and one I recently pulled the sticky off of is The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands.
Steady Sounds posted a picture of a patron holding it a little while back, and when I went in shortly thereafter, I saw the album in the used section and asked Marty what he thought of it. He said that it really was made to sound like a battle of the bands, with varied tracks and styles. I gave my father-in-law’s copy a spin this week and enjoyed the whole thing, but it was the last track, “Earth Anthem,” that stopped me. Literally — I stopped what I was doing (I think I was folding laundry), went over to the turntable and played it again. Then I played it again. It didn’t just feel like a different group — it felt like it was from a different time. Like something recent that was supposed to sound like something old, if that makes any sense.
Check it out below. It’s simple, but it packs quite a punch, I think.
The Turtles — “Earth Anthem” [Spotify/iTunes]