Blondes. Brunettes. Paper Jets…

So, this entry is an entirely lazy effort.  It’s lazy because there’s no real structure.  No plot.  No story.  Just me throwing out links.  It’s a lazy journal entry, but it will require a lot of your time.

There was a time (not so long ago) where I would clog my friends’ News Feeds on Facebook with music videos from YouTube.  I started this blog so that those impulse Facebook posts would drop to a minimum.  Still, every once in awhile I still get the urge to share stuff that I’ve been recently obsessing over.  What follows is an attempt at satisfying that urge.

So, recently I bought some albums, or I should say, they showed up at my doorstep.

This kid from New Orleans.  His sound is really exciting.  It’s not entirely new.  After all, what really is anymore?  But, his approach is really fresh.  I’ve been mostly obsessed with his lead single…

Then there’s Cory Branan.  I’ve read about him a lot over the last few years.  He’s beloved by other songwriters, and he’s pretty good friends with Jason and Amanda Isbell.  That was the first time I saw him play – in Charleston, opening for Jason Isbell.  I immediately purchaased his last album, Mutt.  Then, I purchased the one before that (12 songs).  I pre-ordered his latest a few months ago, and it’s by far his greatest work to date.  Check out this feature on him from NPR.  The train is kind of full, but I think I have room for one more “favorite” singer/songwriter.

Sticking with the Americana/roots music…  The new album by Charleston’s own Shovels & Rope is another excellent release.  This is the one complete album that has been occupying most of my time lately.  Just love these guys.  If you are someone who gets out to see live music, make it a point to see these kids.  They will blow your mind.

Then there’s the latest album by The New Pornographers.  It’s a welcome power-pop experience.  But, to date, I’ve been more obsessed with this video (and single) than the entire album.  This video has an excellent inside joke – which is obvious to existing fans of the band.  Aside from that, it’s just an incredible video.  I’ve watched it a minimum of 15 times.

I’m not done yet.  I just got started…

On September 9th, I’m going to be spending a lot of money at Lunchbox Records.  There are three albums coming out that day, and two of them are among my most anticipated for this calendar year.

First of those releases is the new Ryan Adams album.  The lead single is absolutely fantastic.  The official video is hilarious, but I want you to be able to focus on how great the song is…

The other highly anticipated album is Lateness of Dancers by Hiss Golden Messenger.  A former co-worker turned me onto this project of M.C. Taylor – who currently resides in the Durham, North Carolina area.  I’ve purchased about everything of his that I can over the last 2 years.  He recently signed to Merge Records, and his latest release will be his first on that label.  This solo performance is magical…

Finally, there’s the new album from Justin Townes Earle.  On his last three albums, Justin has really come into his own by fusing a good bit of rhythm and blues into his classic folk and country repertoire.  The following tune is quite beautiful…

Here are some other videos I haven’t been able to get away from lately…

If this performance doesn’t make you smile, then something is wrong with you.  You should probably spend more time finding a happy place.

Now, I’ll turn it down a notch.  There’s always time for Andrew Bird live performance videos…

Now, merely minutes after I challenged your ability to smile, I will leave you in the darkness.  But, sometimes the darkness just feels oh so good.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… The Night Porter.

They Got My Soul

beatlemania

For my friend, Chris, it’s Wilco.

For my friend, Daniel, it’s Dave Matthews Band.

For my friend, Marion, it has and will always be K.I.S.S.

My friend, Rob, would tell you it’s Lana Del Ray, but he’s lying.

At some point in our lives, we have all had one.  A favorite band.  The level of dedication is not necessarily important.  You don’t have to still be a fanatic to this day, but at some point you were obsessed with a particular recording artist or band or singing group.  Maybe it was a fleeting fad from one’s childhood.  Who can forget the girls that were obsessed with Duran Duran?  Or, New Kids on the Block?  Maybe it was a cultural phenomenon.  Remember how huge the Dixie Chicks were before everybody found out they actually had an opinion about something?  Maybe it was a love for a band that parents handed down to their offspring.  There are countless Gen X’ers that are obsessed with The Beatles to this very day as if they never broke up.

I’ve had many different “favorite” bands over the years.  One of them I’ve covered pretty extensively already.  I have also had favorites that just haven’t stood the test of time.  It’s something that happens with music enthusiasts like myself.  Like with food or alcoholic beverages, your taste evolves over time.  In 2001, I discovered the finest of aged wines.  That year, I bought Girls Can Tell by Spoon.  I was immediately entranced.  Later that year, I purchased their first album Telephono.  By the time Kill the Moonlight was released in 2002, it was decided.  Spoon was my new favorite band.

It wasn’t the lyrics (even though they are great).  It wasn’t an emotional connection (even though that happens from time to time with their songs).  It was almost purely about musical style.  At that time, Spoon fit just about anywhere on your spectrum of cool – from Johnny Cash to The Stones to The Stooges to Elvis Costello.  Their sound was purely a continuation in a lineage of rock and roll that spans from Chuck Berry to The Kinks to The Clash to The Pixies and on…  That was what stood out to me upon first “discovering” them, and why, 13 years later, they are still my favorite band.

Their new album, They Want My Soul, is going to be released tomorrow, and well, I’m pretty excited about it.  In fact, I already have it.  I pre-ordered the translucent blue vinyl with the glow-in-the-dark cover.

theywantmysoul

It’s kind of embarrassing to be a 36 year-old who is excited about something as trivial as a new album being released.  Hell, it’s not lost on me that the fact that I even have this blog is kind of embarrassing.  After I’ve completed a new entry, I have at least an hour long debate with myself whether to share it on Facebook.

I wonder a lot about how I’ll handle my music geekness over the coming years.  When I have children, will it just stop?  Will I stop caring?  Will I still be attending shows or going to music festivals like my sister and her family do in Portland?  It’s probably easier in Portland.  Especially when bands like The Shins are playing at local Elementary Schools.  Will I be the oppressive father who forces my child to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s instead of the soundtrack from the latest Disney movie?  Will I be a Rock n’ Roll Earl Woods who forces his kids to take piano lessons; or even worse, buy them a drum kit so they’ll hopefully grow up to be recording artists who change the world?  Will I go crazy in my middle age and buy a harmonica and start showing up at open mic nights across the Charlotte-Metro area asking folks if I can “sit in on the next one?”

Here’s the video for the latest single by Spoon, “Do You.”  If I analyze it thoroughly enough, I’m pretty sure I can find some kind of metaphor that pertains to my life.