A few quick notes before the weekend. Just a warning: Things will likely get political on here next week, so let’s enjoy this carefree* moment while we can.
- I’m not crying at this video of First Aid Kit singing to Emmylou Harris, YOU ARE.
- Hell yeah, new Daniel Bachman album. And a First Listen sampling of that huge Bob Dylan live box set. Fun stuff over at NPR.
- I hadn’t listened to Delicate Steve in a while, and I hadn’t listened to his 2015 live album at all, but I spent some time with it earlier this week. Hot damn, it is good. Really makes me wish I’d caught him a couple years back at The National. Come back to Richmond plz!
- More fun Spacebomb news: Foxygen just released a super fun video for their new single, “Follow the Leader.” The song sounds incredible, and there is, according to Matthew E. White, “a huge dose of Richmond” stirred in. Excited to hear the rest of the new album.
- Speaking of doses of Richmond, be sure to check out Heartracer’s new Eat Your Heart Out EP. It’s wonderfully clean and intentionally constructed. Really well done.
- Did some crucial prep work this morning by spinning Animal Collective’s Live At 9:30 album while getting Toddler YHT ready for daycare. Very psyched for tonight’s show at the National, as I am for Kikagaku Moyo and Helado Negro at Strange Matter on Monday. (And Truckers at The National later next week!)
*I’m an anxious train wreck right now and Wednesday can’t come soon enough.
(Click here to browse my 5 original year-in-review posts.)
While Mrs. YHT was making a delicious Mexican corn chowder thing the other night, a song that was released in 2012 came on our under-cabinet CD player — yes, we still have (and use) an under-cabinet CD player — and a wave of regret began to wash over me. No… that metaphor isn’t strong enough. Hearing this particular song was more like regret giving me a spirited kick to the nuts. (You’ll find out which tune it was in a minute.)
In some ways I’m glad it happened, because there are a few artists and albums I’d take a mulligan to include, either because I screwed up or because of my short-sighted — albeit merciful, for sleep-getting reasons — decision to limit myself to 5 of each superlative category.
If you’ll indulge me, I promise not to ever talk about 2012 again.
OK, I can’t promise that, but indulge me anyways?
I have some pretty strange eating habits. Mind if I share one? I promise to make it snappy. It involves Hot Tamales, which are almost certainly Mrs. YHT’s favorite non-chocolate candy. Whenever I manage to wrest one away from her, I apply squishing pressure to either end of the capsule-shaped Tamale until it looks like how movies sometimes depict catastrophic explosions in space (it more closely resembles this yo-yo, but that’s not nearly as dramatic, is it?). Once the capsule’s modification is complete, down the hatch it goes. I don’t know how my Hot Tamale ritual started, and I sure as hell don’t know why it makes me so happy. It just does.
I have a listening habit just as idiosyncratic that I’d like to share, and unlike the candy custom above, you can join in on the fun right this very minute! It has to do with cover songs. Often, when I find a cover I really like, I’ll listen to it, then listen to the original version, then the cover again, then the original again, cover, original, cover, original, over and over, until I absolutely, positively have to take my headphones off and and pay attention to something else. A little crazy, right? I’d say it’s like being a tennis spectator, glancing left and right to follow a rally, but if I’m being honest, it’s more like being the ball. And as nutty as it may sound, I could go on forever like that, comparing the songs, finding little differences in the phrasing of the lyrics, trying to imagine why certain decisions were made during the respective recording processes.
Wanna play a little cover tennis? C’mooooooon, it’s super fun. I’ve picked out three pairs of tunes, and I’ve even assigned a tennis player (two of whom are competing in the London Olympics) to each pair, based on how obsessed with them I’ve become. So let’s crack open a new tube of balls, take a sniff — because it’s the best smell in the universe — and get to thwackin’!
Another good reason I didn’t puke when I saw Jack White in the Third Man Records parking lot in Nashville, TN (aside from maintaining my self-image as super-cool under pressure) is that some very precious cargo was riding in the black shopping bag at my side. Nestled next to a copy of Drive-By Truckers’ Live at Third Man was First Aid Kit’s entry in the label’s Blue Series. I’ll be frank; I knew I was leaving with this 7-inch record the moment I saw it, regardless of which songs were on there. My love for First Aid Kit has grown by leaps and bounds since I first professed it in February, and whatever they’re sellin’… I’m buyin’.
What I didn’t know was that I’d share an eerie connection with the cover song that graces the record’s A-side.
So I’ve been sitting on this one-liner for a solid year, just waiting for the perfect occasion to post it to Twitter, but I’m gonna share it with you guys instead. You ready? You suuuuure?!? OK, OK, here’s the joke, set off in its own paragraph so you know when to laugh riotously…
I’m pretty sure Emmylou Harris’ answering machine just says “Yes.”
Get it? Because she collaborates with everyone under the sun? Any ROTFLCOPTERing out there? No? Crickets? OK, so now you know why I’ve been sitting on it. Really though, Harris has performed with a zillion artists (I’d start listing them here, but my last post was more than 1,000 words, and the proprietors of You Hear That don’t pay me enough to keep up that clip), making her one of the most prolific and respected backup/duet singers in the biz. So whats the occasion? What Emmylou event inspired me to unleash this dormant comedic gem? Did she collabo with Kayne? Did she duet with Dokken? Nope — well, not that I’m aware of. In fact, she’s not even directly involved.