music

Farewell, Molina. Again and Again.

I am without armour at this juncture. And yet I feel protected, prepared, Jason's music so prevalent every step of my journey, his spirit an apotropaic force in my life.. Every corner I turn, there he is.

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Fly Home, Everybody's Waiting :: Tyler Ramsey in Asheville

[this post originally appeared 9.27.2011] Tyler Ramsey has a formidable presence. Though outwardly regal and composed, when he sings, all the tiny and beautiful creatures come pouring out of him, amongst their stories, and wind their way out from behind the mane of chestnut curls which swing freely across his face while he plays. His arrangements are humbly alive, even the softest notes are electric, the absence of sound is heavy and substantial.

Ramsey has a singular sound, somewhere between Jason Molina and Mark Kozalek, and is able to hit notes on the higher end of the spectrum that could sound labored when sung by a less-resonant voice. Ramsey’s vocal mutability is characteristic of a seasoned musician who exercises his strengths while challenging his weaknesses. His Americana-infused finger-picking walks the line between delicate and complex, mathematical and fluid. The more complex his composition, the more effortless it seems, and yet, when playing the simplest of notes, there’s a strained beauty, a haunting quality to the sustained notes.

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The Valley Wind proves Ramsey’s skill at arranging sparse yet effective compositions to accent his uncanny ability to tell stories through suggestion. The title track features a heart-beat courtesy of Seth Kauffman, and the cascade which mirrors this rhythm feeds the image of long road-trips and borders on anthemic, while “Nightbird,”** with it’s layered tracks of increasingly incandescent guitars is monumental in it’s subtlety: “is it the ocean, the ocean or the sky that you are seeing, I know sometimes our eyes can be deceiving. Is there a reason for these disconnected feelings you are feeling? Everybody knows you should be sleeping.. you should be sleeping.”

The Valley Wind is out today.

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Fat Possum Web Store

or at any stops on tour, info. can be found at tylerramsey.com or on facebook

11/21/14- The Grey Eagle: Asheville, NC http://bit.ly/1vXU8Jn 11/22/14- The Evening Muse: Charlotte, NC http://ticketf.ly/11ZnWc9

Here are a few shots from the Tyler Ramsey show in Asheville on November 18th 2010.

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**(“Nightbird,” is particularly resonant for me as I heard it the last time I visited Asheville, sitting in Tyler & Joti’s kitchen. The morning I left to drive back up North, we listened to the beginnings of this record, just after Tyler had shared a few of the newer songs at a show at the Grey Eagle a few nights prior, and for some reason this one stuck in so many ways. And now, eight months later, he is releasing the record as I am flying into Ashevile.. “fly home, everybody’s waiting.”)

edit: I've moved back to Asheville, and it's even more timely now, somehow.

the January Cure

I made this mix for January, a month which often brings forth the most lamenting from me, a month which is such a struggle because of the grey and the mush and the lack of sun. Even though it has quietly become February, I figured this mix still applies, as it is currently 24 degrees and snowing in Boston. But it will get sunny some day, the snow will melt, even if not until March. So like January, though this mix starts melancholy, it turns around.[8tracks width="600" height="600" playops="" url="http://8tracks.com/mixes/3327321"]

some track notes:

"The Big Game is Every Night" - Jason Molina / Songs: Ohia / Magnolia Electric Co.  : just released at the end of 2013 as part of a 10th Anniversary re-release of The Magnolia Electric Co. album. This track was never released but was recorded during the Magnolia sessions, and is quickly becoming a favorite in my Molina rotation. Warning: it's a silent killer, with zinger lines like “The last thing I see/ Let it be me helping/ Honestly, let it be me working/ On being a better me.” more info about the record and activities surrounding its release herehere

"Mr Big Stuff" - remix by Dart DJ : I read about these guys on esb. You can download FREE awesome party mixes on their soundcloud!

"Seized" - Floating Action : Though the music of Seth Kauffman often feels warmer to me, this song has a crispness to it that makes it more late winter than his usual. 

"Neighbor" - Band of Horses : my favorite from the forthcoming Acoustic at the Ryman lp, "Neighbor" exemplifies how strong Band of Horses can be with just harmony and simple, stripped down instrumentation. The whole record feels like a mix between Church and a living-room session, and it's only for the occasional crowd cheering that brings you back to the whole "live-record" thing. (Band of Horses will be on a sold-out acoustic tour this Spring)

"Make You Feel My Love" - My Brightest Diamond : the most recent in a long line of covers of this song is delicate and lovely. Past renditions of Bob Dylan's original include Adele, Billy Joel, Prince, Garth Brooks, Joan Osborne and Jeremy Irons (yes, the actor), to name a few.

While Boston is covered in several inches of the fluffiest, powderiest snow, R and I make a fort on the living room floor and celebrate this snow day by snoozing and watching Amélie.

From When I Lived Alone :: May 2009 mix {from the Cumberland Ave apt. #2}

After my hard drive crashed last year, I lost a bunch of my favorite monthly mixes. I was able to recover a few by having hard copies laying about, but also by tracing the archives of my old blog and email records. If you have any of my old mixes laying about your place {ahem, always June... perhaps, Juniper?} please send me the tracklisting so I may continue my recovery of these lost mixes. This one comes from May 2009, when I was living at the second Cumberland Ave apartment. The one with the side balcony and the breakfast nook. I don't have nearly enough pictures of that apartment. [8tracks width="400" height="400" playops="" url="http://8tracks.com/mixes/925915"]

as always, if you want a hard-copy of the mix, just holler.

xols

Memory Trippin' With Howlies

While going through some old pictures, I found these shots of Howlies, from Hand Cranked Letterpress {when the studio Lance Wille and Suzie Millions shared with a few other artists was still on Tingle Alley} in Asheville in February 2009. Howlies had just played an in-store at  Static Age on Lexington Avenue and made a stop to visit Lance at Hand Cranked to bring him a copy of their record, for which he set the type on the back cover. We then took a tour of Echo Mountain and then ate a late lunch at Early Girl before heading to New French Bar. It started snowing and by the time they shipped out the next morning, there was a few inches on the ground. One of the guys made me a tiny snow man and left it on my coffee table to melt, as well as writing their name in the snow outside the house. I miss them. {more pictures below} [bandcamp album=1279156064  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=366387 size=grande3]

oh yeah, and I was in their music video for "Aluminum Baseball Bat" keep your eyes peeled at 4:15

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_FVv_Q6Mko]

From Creative Loafing Atlanta:

When Howlies' drummer Aaron Wood announced via Facebook that the band was breaking up Oct. 5, it brought one of Atlanta's finer rock 'n' roll bands to an unceremonious end. When CL's Crib Notes music blog contributor Jhoni Jackson asked for an explanation, he responded, "I took a mastur-nap — it's where you masturbate and take a nap afterward — and then I woke up from my mastur-nap and I was like, 'Whoa, I'm gonna quit a band.'"

It was a lame stroke at humor and a slight disservice to the rest of the members of a band whose 2009 Kim Fowley-produced debut, Trippin' With Howlies, arrived bursting with the hooks and energy of an outfit that seemed destined for some level of success.

Since the initial announcement, Wood has also canceled Howlies' final show, which was scheduled for Star Bar's 20th anniversary/Halloween party. Though the rest of the band disagreed with Wood's decision, they've decided not to continue Howlies without him. "Aaron quit Howlies, and cancelled this show on his own. The rest of us had no intention of ending this band," Justin Brooke and the remaining members wrote via email. "This is the way one person has chosen to end a 16-year musical partnership. People have been asking if we'll continue Howlies without Aaron, but we don't feel like that would be doing you or us any favors."

Sweet Friends: Ice Cream

Michael Libramento and Evan Martin are both super-talented men of many bands. Currently, Michael is playing with Grace Poter and the Nocturnals, and Evan has recently played with Angi West and Floating Action. But none of this matters, because together, they are Ice Cream.

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David Byrne & Annie Clark

David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Annie Clark of St. Vincent have made an album together, and have released the first single from it: "Who" from Love This Giant. Both Artists are really bizarre in the most beautiful of ways, and the first track satisfies my wager that this album will be articulately curious and dynamically eccentric.

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"little bitty things that i never really decided on" :: Ryan Monroe of Band of Horses debuts making-of A Painting of a Painting on Fire doc

My sweetheart's record is coming out on Tuesday June 12th! I can't review the record the way I normally would right now because I am too excited and biased*, so here's a behind-the-scened documentary that Ryan made with footage that Christopher Wilson shot of Ryan making the record! {premiered on Filter yesterday}

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presspauseplay :: check out this documentary, download for free

The industry as we know it is collapsing, we as artists have a rare opportunity to move forward on our own terms. The task at hand is being the speck of quality in the black hole of digital dissonance.PressPausePlay is relevant to anyone in a creative field: from graphic designers to photographers, musicians to filmmakers, artists in general. Hoever, it's larger potential effect is the consumer, who may now begin to understand the difference between music and the "music industry," or a singular, independently produced, released, etc. feature film compared to the "film industry."

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grizzly bear announce new record, tour

according to their website and myriad other online music sources, grizzly bear will be releasing their next album, SHIELDS, on september 18th, 2012, pre-order digital and physical copies from their website! {i just pre-ordered mine and got the first single, "sleeping ute" which is jangly and electronic and enmeshed with soaring harmonies and deep thunderous-simple percussion and delicate crashings and all the other things we love about grizzly bear}

the first single, "sleeping ute," may be listened to on their website or by playing the youtube video, though i think you should just pre-order the record.

tracklist:

1. sleeping ute 2. speak in rounds 3. adelma 4. yet again 5. the hunt 6. a simple answer 7. what's wrong 8. gun-shy 9. half gate 10. sun in your eyes

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"..just something to do to keep my soul warm" - Michael Kiwanuka

It is a feat when a record is released that has such ubiquitous appeal that nearly everyone can enjoy it... Home Again, which was produced by Paul Butler of The Bees {A Band of Bees}, pairs straight-forward folk-style gems like "Home Again" and "I'm Getting Ready," which clearly demonstrate Kiwanuka's affinity for Bob Dylan and Laura Marling, with the Buffalo Springfield meets Ray Charles "Bones," and a little "Mother Nature's Son" on "I Won't Lie."

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