Lots to catch up on since my last news and notes post. To be honest, I’m having trouble posting these days because the world seems so grim, but there is still so much good music worth celebrating, and I’m trying to let the light in. Here are a few things that have been shining particularly bright for me lately:
- This is almost a month late, but I’d recommend Amanda Petrusich’s thoughts on the Mariah Carey NYE debacle. After reading it, my first thought was that it’s a pleasure to read along as Petrusich makes sense of things. It reminds me of one theory about dreams — that they help you process and file away the things that are happening around you. That’s Petrusich’s writing to me.
- While I’m tempted to say the outfits are the best part of this hour-plus video of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters performing in Germany in 1974, the groove is too damn good. Cheers to Aquarium Drunkard for posting it.
- I included Spencer Tweedy’s Geezer Love in my best EPs of 2016 post, and just weeks later, his brother Sammy released his own EP, called Canoe Country, comprised of looping synth sounds and guitar. Really neat. Jeff Tweedy has some talented kids.
- How’s about a recent Daniel Bachman live set recorded in Richmond? While you’re at it, check out the Liza Kate set from that same show that starts with the following joke:
“What do you do when you see a fireman?
“Put it out, man.”
- This Phantogram cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” is precise and wonderful and I don’t know how you repeatedly and consistently arpeggiate guitar chords like this without your name being Jonnie Greenwood.
- I didn’t go too crazy for Conor Oberst’s Ruminations album, but hot damn am I psyched for this upcoming Salutations album. (This NPR write-up had me at “Guests on Salutations include Gillian Welch…”) I’ve listened to this updated version of “A Little Uncanny” more than a dozen times and counting. Fuck Ronald Reagan. Seriously.
- So Ryan Adams is coming to The National here in Richmond, and I’ve managed to snag my ticket for the Sunday (3/5) show. Tickets for that one and the next night’s show are on sale now, unless they aren’t because they’ve already sold out. This might be my favorite pairing of artist and venue since Landlady came to Hardywood last year. (Oh yeah, they’re coming to Richmond — to The Camel — on the second night Adams is in town, so I get to see him and them on consecutive nights. Pretty sure I’m going to happy cry at one or both.)
In recent years, I’ve made the mistake of waiting until the two or three days leading up to Christmas to start spinning holiday tunes, so I’ve been hitting it hard in the last week or so. John Fahey. John Denver (Toddler YHT’s choice: “I want the mountain one”). The Kingston Trio. Charlie Byrd. Here are a few web-based recommendations:
Too much good stuff, too few Christmases per year, y’all. One more thing: Don’t miss tonight’s No BS! Brass Band show at The Broadberry — it’s three things in one: A canned food drive, a beer release and, well, a No BS! show. Luray opens. Click here for tickets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That’s a heart-shaped leaf I found on the sidewalk, because I love all you weirdos. And these are Friday News and Notes!
- Congrats to Adam Henceroth — Mr. EggHunt Records himself — on this great Style Weekly profile. EggHunt is on one hell of a winning streak, and the albums they’re putting out are serious points of pride for this city. Adam is also just a very friendly person, so it’s nice seeing him get this kind of recognition. Applause emojis all around.
- Anyone else think this fairly snazzy new Britney Spears song would sound right at home on The 20/20 Experience? Is that you I hear, Timbaland? And can someone tell me why I have to look up the spelling of Britney Spears’ first name every time I type it?
- Really wish I would have found out about this Durand Jones & The Indications album before it’s resell price got up to $75…
- Y’all see that they just pressed John Prine’s In Spite Of Ourselves to vinyl for the first time? Feel very fortunate to have snagged a copy at BK. It’s a fantastic album of duets, and the title song might be my favorite song of his.
- I’m enjoying the hell out of next week’s Off Your Radar album, Dear Bo Jackson by The Weeks. Not sure what I’m going to say about it, but it’s definitely getting filed under “How on Earth did I miss this?” Southern rocky, soulful, horns, pedal steel — like shooting fish in my musical preferences barrel.
- Just bought a bunch of concert tickets I’d been meaning to get. Car Seat Headrest and Mountain Goats are coming to the National on consecutive Mondays — that’s going to be a fun week. And Drive-By Truckers just went on sale today, and I grabbed a couple for the Friday show. That Thursday show is pretty tempting as well, though. Hm.
- Did y’all know that video killed the radio star?
Hope a great weekend awaits each and every one of you, and that random heart-shaped things pop out at you wherever you look.
A few quick notes heading into the weekend:
- CD Monday update: CD Monday is on the ropes, y’all. Once again, I didn’t get to listen much to the week’s album — this time it was because Toddler YHT has started requesting “Video Killed The Radio Star” the moment any other music starts playing. As repetitive as it may be, The Buggles are 1000% preferable to Daniel Tiger singing about his feelings. It reminds me a little of when I worked at Buffalo Wild Wings one summer: I thought I’d get sick of chicken wings — I went home smelling like one every night — but I ended that summer more hooked on Bdubs than ever. I think the same thing is happening with “Radio Star,” as my daughter calls it.
- Avers Note #1: My vinyl copy of the new album came in the mail earlier this week, and it’s excellent. Can’t wait to write a longer thing about it.
- Avers Note #2: Congrats to the band on the Billboard advance stream! Love thinking about how many new ears they’ll be reaching.
- Avers Note #3: Tonight’s the big release show at the Broadberry! I’ll be gigging tonight, but y’all should all go and get your faces rocked off. And be sure to hit the merch table while you’re there — Omega/Whatever is a must-have.
- This is very random, but I brought a VCR to the Corolla last week, and one of the movies we watched was Disney’s foxy version of Robin Hood. While it was playing I found out that the Watkins Family Hour album from last year has a fantastic cover of “Not In Nottingham.” Did y’all know Roger Miller wrote that? And the “Oo De Lally” song? How cool is that?
- Ryan Adams writes a lot of spontaneous mid-concert throwaway songs, but this has to be one of his best. By the way, if you haven’t heard his set from Newport — the one he did with The Infamous Stringdusters –it’s definitely worth a listen.
- Next week’s Off Your Radar will cover Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator), and I am so damn excited that I have no idea what to write. Tune in on Monday to see what happens when that confused excitement collides with my Sunday submission deadline!