Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jake Roche and The Comforters

After a euphoric Bank Holiday weekend, it's been back to work with a whimper this week. So here are some songs to ease us all through the daily grind.

In a sea of folk/rock/americana MySpacers, Jake Roche stands out a mile. Can't quite put my finger on why I like it so much. It reminds me of Maplewood, perhaps the Waterboys; it's a bit Van and quite a lot Dylan. All in all, a rather lovely thing. Have a listen and see what you think.
Jake Roche - Love's Version
Jake Roche - If I Didn't Have Much Time (particularly like the vocals on this one).

And The Comforters do exactly what their name suggests. They are a husband/wife team based out of Eugene, Oregon and together they make a lilting and joyful noise, full of melody and quietly seductive. Plenty of potential for a gentle sway around the kitchen to this one, folks. Enjoy.
The Comforters - I Want to Rock

Friday, May 25, 2007

Patty Griffin - Railway Wings

I've had this album in the car since February, and I've yet to tire of hearing it. Its very obviously an album that has been lavished with time, what sounds like expensive (antique?) microphones and other studio equipment. The sound of the room each song was recorded in really makes a difference, even on relatively low kbps mp3s. Of course this doesn't (and shouldn't) detract from the songs and the empathetic and subtle performances of the musicians.

I've just re-read the paragraph above, thought about deleting it for being a bit gushing, listened to the track again and decided to keep it.

Beth here - and since Howard shared it with me, I've listened to this album a lot on the weekly commute - up and down the heart of the country, watching it become greener as spring turns to summer. I have to admit to being a newcomer to Patty Griffin - she has nowhere near the profile in the UK that she deserves to - so it has been a bit of revelation. By turns, it's a mix of pared-down acoustics, gospel, country and with a cheeky hint of R&B (horns, anyone?). There are so many strong points, Howard could have chosen a winner with almost any song from the album, but I'm pleased he has gone with this one. Opening track 'You'll Remember' also highly recommended.

Listen: Patty Griffin - Railway Wings
Buy it

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nick Drake tracks cause blog to receive DMCA

Time has told me received a DMCA for one of their Nick Drake posts from October last year. I didn't read the now deleted post inquestion, but I'm going to restate that if you have a problem with us posting any songs then just get in touch and we'll remove the link. Perhaps this is to do with that 'new' Nick Drake album I was informed about. In the meantime here's lonesome favorite Lucinda Williams covering Nick's Which Will.

Listen: Lucinda Williams - Which Will

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Elton sings Nick

Here, for your enjoyment are the Nick Drake songs that Elton John sang back in 1968. Part of a set that included Mike Heron, John & Beverly Martyn's songs (details). They aren't as good as the originals, but I have never found Elton's treatment disagreeable and rather enjoy the placid, laid back mood they evoke. There is more than enough online dissection of these tracks, so I'll let you give them a listen and make your own minds up.

Listen: Elton John - Day is Done
Listen: Elton John - Saturday Sun
Listen: Elton John - Way to Blue
Listen: Elton john - Time has told me

Whilst writing this I came across the rather good folk/rock blog - Time has Told Me, a blog rather too familiar with the obscure, and all the better for it.

Other recommendations this week include the new Richard Thompson album called Sweet Warrior - there's at least one track floating around the blogosphere at the moment (my favorite is over at the ever dependable Songs:Illinois) and Candie Payne's I wish I could have loved you more, a 60's style album with horns and guitars that go chk! that at times sounds like Dusty in Memphis sung by a Asha Bhosle - sample the delights of the title track over on this post at homo eclectic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Some hard to find Nick Drake

I received an email a couple of months ago threatening a new Nick Drake album. I have my fair share of dodgy bootlegs and home tapes, but I'm really only interested in the recordings that were meant to be released, those that have been sweated over, worked on and perfected. So here we have a few tracks that Nick Drake played on - a children's radio show called Interplay One.

Interplay One - Full Fathom Five

Interplay One - With My Swag All On My Shoulder

Interplay One - I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again

Lots more info here

Monday, May 14, 2007

Willy Mason - If The Ocean Gets Rough Tour

I've just come home from seeing Willy Mason play the first night of his first headlining tour in Leeds - or at least he claimed it was his first night as a headliner, anyway. I'm listening to his new(ish) album with new(ish) ears and thought I'd share it with you.

It's certainly a bigger sound than his first album, his voice is deeper and the production is a lot less brutal. I know these facts have displeased the naysayers, but it does make it a more friendly record to listen to.

He has two other guitarists with him on stage and they all spent more time tuning their guitars than a rock venue is used to, and the audience ranged from embarrassingly rapturous to audibly disinterested, but, overall, it was a great way to spend a Monday night. Highly recommended. More tour dates and information here.

Listen - Willy Mason - Simple Town

Listen - Willy Mason - We Can Be Strong

Buy If The Ocean Gets Rough

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Songs from Two Dollar Pistols

It's about time we had some proper straight-up country round here and these new ones from North Carolina's Two Dollar Pistols are just that. Full on slide guitar, honky-tonk, non-ironic country at that.
And, my word, have you heard this man sing? John Howie Jr is blessed with a fine set of baritone pipes. He seems to know how to wear a hat, too, going by the picture that I managed to find.

Not that a hat seems to give him much luck with the ladies, oh no; this is a man who's done wrong and is wronged on a frighteningly regular basis and who I'd like to think would know a good pair of boots from tourist tat.

Listen - Two Dollar Pistols - Stranger Things

I love this. It ticks all my boxes – doomed love, a bit of boy/girl vocal, steel guitar and a chorus that you know you could sing at the top of your voice in the car. If you liked the Caitlin Cary/Thad Cockrell from an earlier post, then you'll love this.

Another belter, and the title of their new album out sometime very soon, Here Tomorrow Gone Today follows a familiar lyrical path but it is still top quality. This one has a swagger and wiggle to it - I can’t put my finger on what makes it stand out – so just have a listen to it yourself.

Listen – Two Dollar Pistols - Here Tomorrow Gone Today

The new record isn’t out yet – rest assured that we will let you know when it is. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and get your hands on their album with Tift Merritt (as featured in the Lonesome 2005) or one of their albums (my favorite being 2003's glorious You Ruined Everything).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

laura veirs - move to the country

The subject of some discussion between Beth and I, this rather lovely song makes me stop whatever I'm doing and reflect for a moment on it's rolling harmonies and essentially uplifting vibe. From what I've heard, Laura's latest album sounds a lot less stark than her previous outings - we've moved on in scope from carbon glaciers and meteors and now we're onto rolling oceans. There's even a choir in this one. And handclaps. And you know how much we like handclaps.

This song is less Nina Nastasia and much more Sufjan Stevens. You can't hear her glasses in this one.

Listen: Laura Veirs - To the Country

Buy it