Saturday, December 23, 2006

albums of the year

Well I thought I wasn't going to be posting any lists this year, but I'm just can't help myself. I'm just going to put the list up at the moment, and then back-fill with tracks over the holiday. These are ranked roughly in order of number of times listened to end to end. Have a very happy holiday, wherever you are.

Avalanche by Sufjan Stevens - works amazingly well as an album, a little too well. Well I'm sure this whole album has been posted in its entirety by the blogging community enough times - here's a couple of tracks that you might not have heard:
Listen: Sufjan Stevens - a size to small (acoustic guitar solo)
Listen: Sufjan Stevens - he woke me up again (banjo solo)

Subtitulo by Josh Rouse - the sound of my sister and I in Barcelona givin' it up for good. As I tried to convalesce after last year's car crash we played scrabble, drank beer from little bottles and generally lived it up.
Listen: Josh Rouse - Quiet Town

Songs from the Deep Forest
Songs from the Deep Forest by Duke Special - a surprise late entry from the last two months. Chamber pop, lots of instruments, quite upbeat musically, despite the lyrics. It also has the strongest melodies I've heard in years - some real Paul McCartney moments there.
Listen: Duke Special - Ballad of a broken man
and from the equally brilliant debut album adventures in Gramophone
Listen: Duke Special - Love is a series of scars

Through The Window Pane
Through The Window Pane by Guillemots - genius album, gives the wife a headache in the car though so we don't tend to have it on on joint journeys. Here are some singles tracks:
Listen: Guillemots - over the mountains (from the songs ep)
Listen: Guillemots - my chosen one (from Trains to Brazil)

Puzzles Like You
Puzzles Like You by Mojave 3 - there's never been a better time to get back into the Byrds. I got my 12 string Rickenbacker this year for just such emergencies - anyone want to play too? Anyway, the mojave album is a cracker, it might not have the emotional clout to make me hold my breath in case I miss anything that the previous three have, but it has strong songs played with a tangible sense of fun, if not relief.
Listen: Mojave 3 - Big Star Baby (demo)

I want to just mention the sad passing of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci this year, just as folk seemed to be going places - if you don't own their blue trees album then go out and get it sometime soon.

Long Island Shores
Long Island Shores by Mindy Smith - sounding like the Sundays gone country, this little gem of a record has but a single duff track, the remainder making it easy to forgive.
Listen: Mindy Smith - out of control
Listen: Mindy Smith - peace of mind

So Much More
So Much More by Brett Dennen - upbeat, clever songs, traces of hi-life guitar mix with the jazzy chord progressions and folky overtones to make a very slick yet lovable record.
Listen: Brett Dennen - because you are a woman

Just-One-Second-Ago-Broken Eggshell
Just-One-Second-Ago-Broken Eggshell by Flying - one for the headphones, the album is all over the place in the best possible kind of way, not all tracks are lonesome style, but they are all worthy of your attention, it's like captain beefheart playing folk with Ive's marching band collisions in there sometimes, yet somehow it hangs together.

Listen: Flying - love dies here

Comments of the Inner Chorus
Comments of the Inner Chorus by Tunng - like the calming effect of 3 strong cups of tea and that slightly queasy feeling after the first half of the third cup that doesn't quite make you stop. Tunng share a lot of the same soundscape as flying, they just have marginally better PR. The album is full of warmth and comfort with asides and verses written mid-song as if they were in parentheses.
Listen: Tunng - woodcat
Listen: Tunng - jenny again

Hello Love
Hello Love by Be Good Tanyas - mumbling (and banjo) proved sexy. I've played this more than their previous album, somehow the songs work as a whole, even the Prince cover at the end.
Listen: Be Good Tanyas - for the turnstiles
Listen: Be Good Tanyas - crow waltz

That seems a very good place to end my best of 2006 - let me know if you think I've missed any, I'm always very open to suggestions for new music.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Karen Dalton

There's a tribute show at the Lumiere in London on December 2nd for Karen Dalton. Her bluesy, jazz tinged songs with a strong Billie Holliday overtones are real late night headphone classics. The re-release of It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best earlier this year is highly recommended if you like the tracks below.

Listen: Karen Dalton: in the evening (it's hard to tell whos going to love you the best)

Listen: Karen Dalton: little bit of rain

Buy it

Santa Dog are also playing the Lumiere on the 9th Dec

Friday, November 17, 2006

Linda Perhacs

Well in the absence of any of my sister's posts we're back to more folky Friday, this time with Linda Perhacs, who like Minor Threat can fit her entire discography on a single CD - and gentle souls be rest assured that's pretty much the only comparison you can make between those two parties. Having put out one rather good album, Parallelograms in 1970, Linda disappeared from the scene. Not sounding quite as much like someone's mum as Vashti Bunyan, but without the gauche theatrics of Judee Sill I first encountered her on the Folk is not a four letter word compilation put together by Andy Votel (whose songs in the key of death is coming up sometime soon on lonesome, just to cheer things up).
Whilst you're out there shopping, or adding to your Christmas wishlists I can recommend the fuzzy-felt folk compilation too in a similarly warped folk vein.

Listen: Linda Perhacs - Chimacum Rain
Listen: Linda Perhacs - Hey, Who really cares?

Buy it


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brett Dennen Interview

Well this is the exception that proves the rule. I don't do interviews but since his new album is good enough for my wife to start playing in our kitchen at weekends (high praise indeed coming from her)... Excuse the clunky questions, the reply came as a word document, formatted as musical notation.

LM: How aware are you of music blogs and how do you feel about them giving away your songs for free?

A music what? Blog? What's that? You give my songs away for free? You can do that? I don't know how I feel about it. Who's doing this? Is that legal?

LM: What kind of musical education (if any) did you have? Was there music being made in your home? Did you have lessons at school? What instruments can you play?

I had a teacher one time who tried to learn me music real good. But I was too busy planning how I was going to create an image for myself. So I quit music schooling. I heard that you don't have to be good to be on the radio. So I learnt myself. My folks don't play no music. Dey just hear it.

LM: You've got some big names on the album, did you write with them in mind and how did you meet the rest of your band?

I didn't write with these musicians in mind. They came to me through the producer, Kevin McCormick. They are all folks that he knows. The Ozomatli guys I know from the Dave Matthews cruise. I met Randy, who drums with me onstage, in college at Santa Cruise. As for the rest of the band. Well, lets just say I used a service. I don't think there is any shame in it. I think it is hard to meet people today when everyone is so busy. I wanted to take the time to make sure it was a good match. These service things have compatibility questionnaires that you fill out. And deep questions I must add. Like, what do envision as a perfect back up singer?

LM: Your press biog, as all press biogs are wont to do, drops some pretty heavyweight names and all seemingly without using more than one paragraph. Who, would you say were your formative influences and whose career path seems the most attractive to you at this moment?

BD: I didn't write that bio. I wouldn't compare myself to them. All the career paths that are attractive end up in someone dying in the end. I'm not sure that's what I want to do.

LM: Your music feels organic, I wondered if you own a computer, and if you do, do you use it to write music?

BD: Well, it's not certified organic. You gotta have like a rabbi come and bless your pesticides for that. I do own a computer, but don't hack into it. That's where I keep all my lyrics and ideas for songs.

LM: Are you going to be touring the new album in the UK and around Europe?

BD: Yeah probably. We will for sure be playing in the UK. Europe too. I also wanna try and play in England. Maybe even New England.

LM: What were the last records/CDs/mp3s that you actually bought, like spent money on rather than just were given?

BD: Today I bought the latest Johnny Cash American Recording, the new Madeline Peyroux and Antony and the Johnsons.

LM: and finally, for my own personal curiosity, how many guitars do you own? I like your small mahogany guitar, does it have a history?

BD: Four, but I don't actually own them. I more like, have an unattached open relationship with them. They aren't even really guitars, they are more like women. Older wealthier women who are way out of my league. Not like elder, but like older than me. Like in their late thirties.

LM: Thanks for taking the time to answer these, maybe after the next record you'll be able to just dictate answers and have someone type them in.

BD: Yea, I'm open to that.

Listen: Brett Dennen: Ain't no reason
Listen: Brett Dennen - She's Mine (possibly the most upbeat thing I've ever posted here apart from Dolly singing If)


Buy it

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores

This came out a couple of weeks ago, and I've been enjoying it whilst watching the planes coming in to land at Heathrow for the last week. A lovely mixture of americana and rock with lashings of pedal steel/lap steel/bluegrass mandolin - what's not to love?

Listen: Mindy Smith - Tennessee
Listen: Mindy Smith - What if the world stops turning

Buy it

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sonya Cotton and Chris Kiehne

Chris Kiehne emailed me about some halloween tracks that he thought I might like - he was right. They were both recorded in the last week according to Chris, so here they are, hot off the hard drive:

Keep Quiet (by Sonya Cotton

The Kingdom of the Dead (by Chris Kiehne

Happy holidays, whatever you're celebrating.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

the be good tanyas - hello love

Fitting like a glove in the lonesome music CD collection, the new album by the be good tanyas called hello love is a thing of beauty, the kind of hazy country-folk hybrid wherein words are mumbled and stretched like Van at the top of his game, and an assortment of lovely instruments are struck, plucked and strummed into willing submission. The first is the title track and second chosen because it reminded me to post some Opal here sometime soon.

Listen: the be good tanyas - hello love
Listen: the be good tanyas - opal
Buy it

Bonus: the be good tanyas - human thing mp3 freely available from their US merch store.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

dennis wilson - pacific ocean blue

It's no secret that I'm a massive Beach Boys fan, or that the older I get the more I find myself drawn to the mid-period albums. Dennis Wilson's solo album Pacific Ocean Blue from 1977 eluded me until two years ago, when I found it online in its entirety on a tribute site protesting about the music company's refusal to re-release it (the 1990 CD release pops up on ebay for frightening amounts of money, and the quality is not meant to be all that good anyway). So if ever there was a Rhino or Rykodisc candidate for the full mastering treatment and a green jewel case, this gets my vote. The music itself is rich and lush, Dennis's voice breaks in all the right places and his cosmic vibe sentiments never get mawkish.

Listen: Dennis Wilson - Thoughts of you
Listen: Dennis Wilson - Farwell my friend

Friday, October 06, 2006


Taken from the monumental 1972 Atlantic double album Manassass, we're carrying on with that soft country rock theme here with Stephen Still's fantastically accomplished band. This is in addition to the stuff he was putting out waith Crosby and Nash! The extended blues guitar workouts aren't really my cup of tea, and smack of band concession/filler but I'm sure (hope) they made more sense in the context of the 1970's American landscape rather than my current home counties aspect of Lonesome's southern HQ.We'll get weepy again next post, I promise.
Listen: Manassas - Johnny's Garden
Listen: Manassas - Colorado
Buy it: Manassas

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

gene clark

This might possibly be part of a lost albums set of posts, we'll see. Anyway this is taken from Gene Clark's 1974 No Other, I dug this out after a prolonged exposure to the Midlake album Trials of... that I blogged about a few months ago. It's a great record that manages to transcend it's rather strict adherence to the soft country rock instrumentation and arrangements, anyway have a listen to these and let me know what you think.

Listen: Gene Clark - Some Misunderstanding (Alternate version)
Listen: Gene Clark - No Other (Alternate version)

official (with lots more mp3s)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

cowboy junkies - you will be loved again

There are moments in time for which someone somewhere has written the perfect song to give utterance to your inner thoughts and articulate that knot tied in your stomach, pricking tears at the corner of your eyes. Revisiting the song doesn't make it hurt any less, but sharing it sometimes does.

Listen: Cowboy Junkies - You will be loved again

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hem - funnel cloud

I was preparing a post on the cowboy junkies the other day when I received an email asking if I was interested in listening to the new Hem album Funnel Cloud. Now having missed them play in the UK earlier in the year (I was watching Nitin Sawney play a live soundtrack to a 1930's bollywood classic) I jumped at the chance. Jolly good it is too.
Anyway,it turns out there's not one, but two new albums - the other being called No word from Tom. I'll let you know what that one's like when I get it.
I've been playing Funnel Cloud for the last few days and it's a more upbeat prospect than eveningland ever was, there's still the themes of love and loss and love lost, but the production lifts the vocals above the music, making it feel as if it's a bird over a landscape rather than a fish in the river (get me). So here's some songs for your 'so nearly end of the week you can taste it...'

Listen: Hem - not california
Listen: Hem - the pills stopped working

Hem Official

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Evan Duby - Pale

Give it all away, that's what I'd do if I had any music I think people would want to hear. Evan kindly sent me a link to his EP Bridge and Tunnel, that he is giving away to fellow music lovers like you and I - so check out the mp3 here and the get yourself over there for the remainder.

Listen: Evan Duby - Pale


Monday, August 28, 2006

Early day miners - return of the native

I'm a sucker for any music that claims talk talk as an influence, and with the eary day miners' press release containing the phrase 'Talk Talk meets 4AD wash rock' it was a near certainty they'd be listened to with a good deal more concentration than my work should probably allow.
The idea of a 35 + minute piece of music called Offshore constructed from a previous piece also put me in mind of 4AD's Insides' Clear Skin release of the early nineties. Anyway here's a piece of Offshore called return of the native, featuring Amber Webber from Black Mountain on vocals.

There's a music/installation/presentation of the whole thing at the following venues, sadly none in the UK.

09/08/06 Philadelphia, PA - The Khyber w/ Windsor For The Derby + Pela

09/09/06 New York, NY - Tonic w/ Windsor For The Derby + Pela
09/10/06 Brooklyn, NY - Southpaw w/ Pela

09/11/06 Cambridge, MA - The Middle East w/ Pela

09/13/06 Toronto, ON - Tranzac
09/14/06 Hamilton, ON - Casbah
09/15/06 Dayton, OH - Nite Owl

09/16/06 Bloomington, IN - Hospital

Listen: Early Day Miners - Return of the Native

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brett new album - So Much More available now for earlyearlypurchase only to fans!

As longtime readers will know, I like Brett Dennen's music very much, with his debut album still being played regularly here at lonesomemusic's southern HQ. Anyway I had an email from his manager Leslie (below) and thought well we're all fans here right?

We are very happy to announce we’re (finally) allowed to sell Brett’s new cd, “So Much More”!!! It took a few weeks to convince the label that it was a good thing to let you get the cd before it was available to the public & they finally see things our way! I told them I thought, just through you & other Brett fans, that we could sell 10,000 cds before street date on Sept. 19th – so I hope you’ll go to this link now (use this link only or it doesn’t count toward our goal) & get your copy & if you know anyone else needing one, please encourage them to do the same.

It’ll only take 1 per fan & then everyone telling one to five friends, to make our goal – please spread the love & thank you! The first 300 fans to “early order” will be entered into a drawing to win an original piece of Brett’s art (he did the watercolor on the 1st cd cover & also the inside watercolor on the new one.) We’ll be giving away 5 pieces.

You can also get an autographed copy – just fill in that spot on the order page & we’ll get them out to you in the next couple of weeks (Brett has a lot to sign, and he’s working on it!)

Warmest regards,


There are some mp3 snippets of the new album on that link, and very good they sound too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Billy Bragg - Must I paint you a picture

Chosen by Beth, wittered on about by me.

Noone told me he had country leanings, and who knew about the world music that was to come later? Me? I heard an essex boy's glottal stop'd urban folk music. Rough, ready with a heart of gold and a better turn of phrase than my teenage self could muster.

Bragg's milkman of human kindness ranks amongst the few songs to bring tears to my ears, and no, its not because of his singing voice.

I have the book of Tab with the flexi disk of Billy telling me how to play the Saturday boy and still regret not seeing him play the miner's benefit in my home town at the time of the miner's strike, his politics were getting in the way of my teenage self absorption.

It's still his dissections of personal politics that catch in my throat, I had barely given the young Susannah York a second thought beforehand. Here's a corker:

Listen: Billy Bragg - Must I paint you a picture?

Monday, August 21, 2006

beachwood sparks - silver morning after

I love the beachwood sparks, all their albums stand up to repeated listens. Sure, it can sound a bit like a country Trout mask replica sometimes, but their woozy West Coast-flecked Gram meets prime beach boys (Sunflower, Holland, Surf's Up) in a meeting of loved-up (not Mike Love) guitar strumming (I'm thinking big sunburst Gibsons with birds or plants on the pickguard) and little boy lost pedal steel.

Sadly they are no more as a band, continuing, fractured in the tyde and the mystic chords of memory. Listen whilst there is some life left in the Sun.

Listen: beachwood sparks - silver morning after (taken from their self titled subpop LP)

I might also recommend their album once we were trees and mini albummake the robots cry.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Moose - I wanted to see you to see if I wanted you again

Belated happy birthday Beth, one more time now...

and when I see you....

and having scouted around the net I find that you can't even buy the liquid make up single this came from, so in an unusual move (for me) here are the other tracks all in 192kbps

The quirky
Listen: moose - Ramon

and the gorgeous
Listen: moose - there's a place
with the message don't ever give it away, although in the face of the record collectors market I'm sure they won't mind this time...

btw. the Tailors promised me there's an album on the way.

Nickel Creek - First and Last Waltz

This post was going to be written by Beth just after she went to see Nickel Creek months ago and people started waltzing on cue in the old time victoriana environs. Only she's been busy having to good a time of it this year, so I'm just going to post it anyway and ask that you listen to their new album if you haven't already done so as its rather good.

Listen: Nicklecreek - First and Last Waltz
Buy: Why should the fire die?

Friday, July 28, 2006

M Ward - fearless

Excuse the brevity of the posting - I'm finishing up work for the week with a view to having a BBQ tomorrow - much tidying up to be done here in the wake of Noah's arrival/plastic tat containment. Another track from the Come on beautiful AMC tribute, for my sister.

Listen: M. Ward - Fearless

More details in previous post.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Calxico - Chanel Number 5

Things have obviously been too cheerful around here lately - no American music Club for months and months, so in the spirit of temperance (and here are
Calexico covering American Music Club's Chanel No.5, although in my mind it's the Songs of Love Live version that defines the song. This is from the AMC tribute album Come on Beautiful - lots of interesting interviews and contact details on that link.

Listen: Calexico - Chanel No.5

Calexico Official

AMC Official

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amy Millan shorn of stars

As a singer in the band stars (whose album Set yourself on fire I described to Beth the other day as sounding like the Field Mice making their own Screamadelica), Amy Millan provides a cool counterpoint, but on her own album Honey from the tombs she cuts a more lonesome-style country sillouette. Mandolins and some expensive sounding guitars along with cavernous drums, ambient noises buried in the mix and a funk homage near the end that nearly blew my speakers called wayward and parliament. At least an order of magnitude better than the Allison Moorer album I was going to tell you about.

Listen: Amy Millan - Skinny Boy

Listen:Amy Millan - Hard Hearted (ode to Thoreau)

Buy the album



Monday, July 17, 2006

joni on a monday

It's Monday, I've fought my way into central London to get a seat at work! The sun is out and I'm wishing the week away already. So here's my starter, I'm going to assume most of our readers already know this, if not own it, but have you transferred it from your well worn and loved vinyl to mp3 yet? btw. it took me years to prefer this version of the song to CSNY's cover.

Listen: Joni Mitchell - Woodstock

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Milroys - Hallelujah Time

Now this is nice.
A gorgeous and plaintive song from the new Milroys album. Controversially, there's not much pedal steel; but there is love, drink, men, women, wonder and redemption all wrapped up in glorious, old-fashioned harmony.

If I had a porch, rather than a back yard in the North of England, this would be my soundtrack of choice to nod along to in my rocking chair. Howard and I are both in the midst of having our gardens landscaped and this is just the tune to mooch around to on a balmy summer's evening - let it soothe you into the weekend.

Listen: The Milroys - Hallelujah Time

Buy it


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Last Town Chorus in the UK

For those of us unable to afford a pedal steel (or the space to put one in, or indeed the years of practice it takes to perfect) we can take heart and tune those lapsteels up to open G (G B D in two octaves) as after what seems like a very long time, the Last Town Chorus return to the UK. They're playing the Latitude Festival and are in London Monday July 17th at The Spitz, with Lavender Diamond, and Tuesday July 18th at The Social, to mark the release of a limited edition 7" vinyl release on Fitzrovian phonographic in the lead up to the new album wire waltz (although I feel like calexico should now have a say in any album with the word wire in the title) Anyway here's the title track:

listen: The Last Town Chorus - Wire Waltz


Friday, June 30, 2006

The Tailors - Giddy and maudlin

Come on you Tailors, get some more songs out there. Don't make me bring out the rockingbirds comparisons....

Listen: The Tailors - Giddy and Maudlin


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Guillemots - If the world ends

I've been listening to a friend's pre-release copy of the guillemots album through the window pane - it's out at the start of next month. When I say listening, I mean over and over again, and then once more for luck. I've played it maybe 12, 13 times since yesterday whilst working from home.
I don't think it's the sort of album that's going to do very well in an ipod world of downloading individual tracks. Sure the singles sparkle with jaunty abandon reminiscent of Dexy's or prime Waterboys (maybe World Party?) at their best (keep an eye out for the most recent single made up love song #43, or their last one trains to brazil - surely the best song about worrying about terrorists whilst getting on with life ever) but it is the more introspective moments that capture and pull at the heart strings. Unlike most lonesome music posts, it is pure pop, but when an album has moody moments like the Wicked Game beauty of If the world ends, whose complaining?

Listen: guillemots - if the world ends link removed link reinstated - email me if you have a problem with this.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Thomas Fraser - cowboy music out of time

I came across this article in the Observer music magazine last week and was intrigued enough to get a copy of you and my old guitar. Basically Thomas was a lobster fisherman on the remote Shetland Islands (specifically Burra), records classic American country he hears on the radio in the 1950s. Thomas Fraser died in 1978, but the tapes he had made have been released by his grandson to much critical acclaim. This is the real thing. No fake webcasts, no street teams. This is the sound of a man making music he loved for his own and his friends amusement. I'm not sure if I'm going to get the other CDs - but I loving the one that I've got. Check the other samples on the official site.

Listen: Thomas Fraser - Lonesome Town

Official website

Buy it: from Burra - it's more fun!
Buy it: from CDbaby

Friday, June 23, 2006

Midlake - Bandits

Taken from their new album, amusingly called the trials of van occupanther, it's taken a while for this album to grow on me. I got it because of the Incredible String Band style cover and was a little surprised to find myself reminded of a folk Fleetwood Mac. It was also quite difficult to choose a track - I'd recommend you listen to the album as it feels a little odd extracting just one.

Listen: Midlake - bandits

Buy the album


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shelagh McDonald - Sweet Sunlight

Taken from her 1971 Stargazer album and posted simply because I heard it this morning and it lifted my spirits even higher than they were - I love working from home.

Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Sweet Sunlight

Just buy it

Sunday, June 11, 2006


There are three songs on their website. I've posted the one that I thought would work best here on lonesome, but they are a little like the guillemots - they have a coherent sound, but one that doesn't really fit any defined category. I hear bits of jazz (the chord changes, the piano work on falling leaves), freak/psych folk (percussion, tonality and space) and just plain weirdness each time I listen to them. Let me know what you think.

Listen: Flying - Falling Leaves


email them and say nice things: flyingflyingflying at

Buy it real cheap on amazon

Monday, June 05, 2006

Our Lady of Bells

John Berry of Our Lady of Bells sent me an email sometime last month, obviously things have changed a little since then at lonesome's Southern HQ, and I've only just got around to listening to his band's songs - a mix of boy-girl country inflected folk, or folk informed country depending on which side of the bed you got out of this morning, or if you went to bed, and if you did whether you got any sleep - I'm rambling aren't I? Either way, I highly recommend you check out their website and the tracks below, their mp3s don't have the name of the band attached - so you might want to add them before putting on your mp3 player and then tearing your hair out trying to figure out who it is (like I did).

Listen: our lady of bells - Oh My Oh My

Listen: our lady of bells - here they all pretend


Buy their stuff

Jay Pea

With a politely worded email and an invitation to download and post mp3s, rather than the all too common "listen to it at our MySpace site" I actually clicked the link and listened to the first track on the website - it took all of about 3 seconds to realise I'd be posting something on Lonesome - it's a gentle country-folk mix, thankfully easy on the Dylan and hackneyed blues turn arounds there are xylophones, 'cellos and vaguely martial drums. It might not change the world, but it made me smile.

So here are

Listen: Jay Pea - A day in march

Listen: Jay Pea - Dalilah's Dream


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

mojave 3 on bars and guitars

Get on over to Bars & Guitars for some new mojave 3 tracks from their new album.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

zero 7 - Futures

Hello, I've been a bit busy the last few weeks, especially this last one:

His name is Noah, and he's been quite enjoying the new zero 7 album The Garden. Personally I think it's a bit over-polished, but I suspect he only likes the CSNY homage that is the first track that I'm posting here for your enjoyment.

At the moment Noah's most listened to album is Brian Eno's Music for Airports, following the advice from one of the millions of baby help forums out there on the net - and it works a treat mid-afternoon. Not so good early morning - I am writing this at 5.30am - I guess we're not going to be quite so lonesome anymore.

btw. the Zero 7 album has a few tracks with that nice Jose Gonzalez we've posted on lonesome a few times.

Listen: Zero 7 - Futures

Monday, May 08, 2006

tunng - pioneers

Tunng's new album comments of the inner chorus is really very good indeed. A mix of folk, interesting percussion and subdued electronica it manages to be both calming and prick the interest of the listener at whatever volume it's played at. With my headphones on it becomes a treasure trove of found sounds and layers. Fantastic, out end of May.

The tracks for your pleasure are from their two singles this year, the first is a cover of the bloc party song that came out on a rather special one-sided etched 7 inch and the second is their current single woodcat.

Listen: Tunng - Pioneers
Buy the Pioneers EP

Listen: Tunng - Woodcat
Buy the single or preorder the album from here

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the hazey janes

Any band that sounds like a langorous teenage fanclub is fine by me. I've just listened to this three times straight - that's not happened since fistful of love or worry about the wind over a year ago. They almost throw away this gorgeous song at the end of their album, not even bothering to give it a name, leaving it just called Untitled. One for the SummerBurn that's for sure.

Listen: The Hazey Janes - Untitled


Monday, April 24, 2006

Josh Ritter - the animal years

With a gently worn edge to his increasingly Springsteen sounding voice, Josh Ritter's latest album touches on simple truths, simply told. In fact timing is everything here, the deliberately low key production makes it easy to disregard the album as background music, but the truth is it's an album that comes alive with a pair of headphones on in a quiet room - this is not commuting music, at least not for me.

Listen: Josh Ritter - Good Man
Listen: Josh Ritter - Monster Ballads


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Gene Pitney RIP

Sad news as Gene Pitney found dead in hotel.

Listen to the man's greatness: Gene Pitney - 24 Hours From Tulsa


Beirut at the catbirdseat

Now wishing I'd bought the five string guitar-like instrument in Barcelona. I definately didn't have enough money for a charango like the one on the Beirut track at the catbirdset.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Josh Rouse - Scorchio in Catalan

We're just back from our holidays - 5 days in Barcelona on the pretext of my convalescence. Staying in an apartment in the slightly seedier end of town, we had a holiday soundtrack of about 8 CDs, but the new spanish-inspired Josh Rouse album was the most played. It's only 33 minutes long, with a happy-go-lucky vibe that suited the place perfectly. Sunny music for a sunny place that will help to speed up healing of all kinds. Here's the track that was declared as the one to put on a compilation tape -it's a corker that sounds good, even through the walls.

Listen: Josh Rouse - Givin'It Up

basque national dress2
And after a hard day of exploring the city, this tune was just the job for winding down to with a glass of Cava and some rockin' Scrabble. The more serene album finale:
Listen: Josh Rouse - El Otro Lado

Buy it

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Gomez new album

Gomez have a new album out in May called How We Operate. They've sent me lots of nice emails about organising listening parties, but I'm a bit old for that - in fact I hope to be a father by the release date (UK is at the end of May) so I'm going to pre-empt the album release by posting a couple of tracks here to add to the track I posted on lastsoundofsummer a few days ago.

Always a sucker for a well recorded guitar and some nifty percussion, the new album is a welcome return to form.

Listen: Gomez - Chasing ghosts with alcohol
Listen: Gomez - Charley Patton songs


Saturday, March 11, 2006

The 18th day of May

The 18th Day of May are a young band, building on the early Fairport and Trees psychedelic folk rock sound. They build songs that twist and turn like a pair of corduroy flares in the wind.

But seriously, I like it - hope you will too. Here are couple of tracks from their self titled album (on Rough Trade), a quick instrumental and a full on song.

Listen: The 18th day of May - Twig folly close
Listen: The 18th day of May - Hide & Seek

Official - there are some podcasts of the quiet joys of brotherhood and sir casey jones on the site that are worth getting too.

Monday, February 20, 2006

John Renbourn - Lord Franklin

I've been spending an hour a day or so since January learning how to play various tunes from John Renbourn's fingerstyle book. It's actually been a really pleasing way to get to know my Atkin acoustic guitar better (Here's a picture my guitar - a mahogany OM). I found myself a bit obsessed with the tune Lord Franklin, about the doomed Arctic expedition. I'm not bad at playing either, pity about my singing at the same time though...Anyway I'm hoping posting it here will assuage my obsession somewhat and I can move on to another tune.

Listen: John Renbourn - Lord Franklin

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

king creosote - grace


Part of the Dream Brother compilation of songs of the father and son tag team of tim and jeff buckley that was released last year. This is getting posted for several reasons. I saw King Creosote and quite a few of the fence collective whilst working in Edinburgh a couple of years ago, they were very good and I was very drunk. There's a distinct folky edge to the music king creosote makes, an honest, brutal truth. Whilst enjoyable in it's own right this version of the song does make me yearn for Jeff's original.

Listen: King Creosote - grace

King Creosote official
Fence Records
Buy it

Monday, February 13, 2006

jose gonzalez - teardrop

Over at Falling Sky has a great post of Jose Gonzalez covering Massive Attack's teardrop. Don't forget to leave a comment while you're there.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Subway Map Launcher

Check this map of Laura Cantrell's C&W NYC map - Subway Map

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Euros Childs - Surf Rage

Taken from his recent solo album called Chops, this is here because of his and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's sterling effort to keep the freaky in folk, building a wonderful body of work (just avoid Gorky5) all indebted to folk music whether it's in the subject matter, instrumentation (have I said I want more recorders in pop lately?) or presentation.
Check out Gorky's The Blue Trees for Gorky's most consistant folky beauty (the rest are great, but sound like mushrooms were involved in their production).

Listen: Euros Childs - Surf Rage

The hype agency bumf you'll see in all the other solicited press straight from the press officers mouth

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Feathers' self titled LP (from Vermont 2005CE, although it fits right in with any of the early 70's compilations I've been listening to lately) is a thing of luminescent beauty, at times threateningly claustrophic and just plain weird. It is undoubtedly head music and over the course of it's 8 tracks there's more of than a hint of a krautrock obsessive (or at least someone whose seen the wickerman more than is healthy) in one or more of it's number - listen to the end of Van Bal and feed your head, I'd love to know if Julian Cope has heard this group.

Listen: Feathers - Old Black Hal With a Dandelion
Listen: Feathers - Van Bal

Feathers website
Cargo (UK) releasede the album (hard to find on amazon)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ann Briggs

Steering dangerously close to the traditional folk idiom I said I'd try to avoid, Anne Briggs is included in my folk foray due to her natural treatment of the folk vocal mannerisms and embellishments that some singers make a pig's ear of. Thankfully Anne Briggs never forgets that the melody is more interesting than the styling. It sounds to me like her natural singing voice, it is difficult to imagine her bellowing out a blues/pub rock number a few songs later (although for all I know that's a possibility).

Her records contain a lot of traditional solo vocal numbers, but I'm putting a couple of tunes with instrumental backing simply because I find unaccompanied music to require considerably more attention than I imagine are the environments most people are in when listening to mp3blog music.

Listen: Anne Briggs - Blackwater Side
Listen: Anne Briggs - Willie O'Winsbury

A better piece than I could write about why she is so good
Topic Records' Collection compilation

Dolly at 60 - BBC radio documentary

Mel comes up trumps and points out this rather fab BBC - Radio2 - Documentary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Guillemots - if the world ends

Guillemots have a love of strange noises that would suggest that making music isn't a career move for them. Their website has quite a few mp3s that demonstrate this along with some of the best new music I've heard in ages. I posted this one as it reminded me of the Ella Guru tack I posted an age ago (have I really been posting that long?)

Listen: Guillemots - if the world ends

Official site: Guillemots, warning - the most annoying use of mixed caps.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Judee Sill Demos and Unreleased Recordings

From the ridiculous to the sublime...whilst poking around looking for some music to assuage the guilt of the previous post (still like that guitar though...) here is a link to an extensive set of Judee Sill Demos and Unreleased Recordings made available by a guy called Bob Claster.

With only a limited amount of releases, this is another file under cult singer-songwriter. This time in a Carly Simon/Joni Mitchell/West coast in the 70's style. Some of it comes over so Fleetwood Mac it's hard to believe that she was on smack rather than coke.

Here is the studio version of donor:

Julee Sill - The Donor

Observer piece

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gretchen Wilson

This is truly the pop side of country, cleverly aligning itself with the rebels (check the Merle shout, the redneck tag, I think Kid Rock was on the previous album). In a lot of ways it demonstrates the parallels between country and gangster rap - they're both selling a lifestyle, only here it's Budweiser, Skoal, trucks and other country singers. The number of product placements on this album is quite amazing, although not up to 50p's standards. This is what happens if you come from a different 'hood I suppose.

Still respect if you can carry a guitar off like this:

Sadly this isn't a redneck version of the Beach Boys classic, but a slickly polished ode to womanhood and all it's curves.

Listen: Gretchen Wilson - california girls

Gretchen Wilson

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Shelagh McDonald

Time Out claimed that folk is the new jazz, but things have been pretty folky around here for some time. So I'm going to cut the Americana with some English folk that will at no point involve Arran Jumpers or fingers in the ear.

She was beautiful, played a fantastic guitar in the 'informed by Davey Graham' school of fingerpicking like everyone else from Jansch to Drake (a lot of the solo stuff sounds like better played versions of Nick Drake's home recordings - except they're not standards!) and there's a few pieces that show what can be done with a 12 string guitar in alternative tuning playing folk rather than blues that are astounding.

Two albums - Album and Stargazer are all she left behind before a bad trip and her mysterious disappearance in 1972. Castle records released this compilation last year, with much better sound quality than my poorly tape to taped copy (and it contains all Stargazer)

I'd recommend getting the compilation first, but that's just me and it didn't stop me getting the albums separately later.

Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Peacock Lady
Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Rod's Song (demo)

The invaluable piece on Black Velvet

Bob Stanley's piece in the Times, seemingly based heavily on the one above (like this one).