“We chase misprinted lies, we face the path of time,
and yet I fight, and yet I fight, this battle all alone”
Here is Ryan Adams’ beautiful rendition of “Nutshell” by Alice in Chains, featured in his tour-only 7”.
Clearly I’ve been living under a rock these past few months because it wasn’t until last week that I discovered River City Extension. The 8-piece band from New Jersey, released their new album, The Unmistakable Man, and it has been on steady rotation every since. It’s ridiculously good.
The album is packed with fun and energetic folk songs, which might be more accurately described as folk anthems. With soaring female and male vocals, stomping drums, trumpets, banjos, strings, a lot of handclaps – and even mariachi-like harmonies, as well – the songs are simply huge. With all of these elements mixed together, it might sound chaotic and messy, but it all blends together seamlessly to make some of the brightest, funnest and catchiest tunes you’ve heard in a while. The album encompasses the listener with the sheer energy of the songs, and the lush musical landscapes they create; I can only imagine how amazing it must be to see them live.
Below are the band’s 2011 tour dates:
07/12 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lakes Fields *
07/13 – Mansfield, MA @ Comcast Center *
07/14 – Scranton, PA @ Toyota Pavilion At Montage Mountain *
07/15 – Mississauga, ON @ The Flats at Arrow Hall *
07/16 – Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean-Drapeau *
07/17 – Hartford, CT @ Comcast Theatre *
07/19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Marcus Amphitheatre *
07/20 – Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center *
07/21 – Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center *
07/22 – Burgettstown, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion *
07/23 – Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum *
07/24 – Oceanport, NJ @ Monmouth Park Raceway *
07/30 – Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
08/01 – Chicago, IL @ Metro #
08/02 – Chicago, IL @ Metro #
08/04 – Pontiac, MI @ Clutch Cargo’s #
08/05 – Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues #
08/06 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall #
09/24 – Burlington, VT @ Nor’easter Festival
* = Vans Warped Tour
# = w/ Alkaline Trio, Smoking Pipes
“Letter to Lainie”:
“Something Salty, Something Sweet”:
Summer took its sweet time to arrive this year, but it is finally here! So, to properly usher in this lovely season, we’ve put together our very own Summer Mix, so you can thoroughly enjoy all this warm weather goodness.
We included the obligatory “Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster The People, since it has been proclaimed left and right as THE song of the summer. However, if we had any say in it, we’d choose “Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous as this season’s anthem.
You can download the mix here. Enjoy!
Mount Moriah’s music is instantly appealing. You could say the North Carolina duo make folk or country music, but considering both members have post-punk and metal backgrounds, you can’t expect them not to experiment with the genre’s sounds, nor respect the traditional lyrical guidelines. There is absolutely nothing stereotypical about them. Their eponymous debut album was released on April 12th, and features collaborations by St. Vincent, Bowerbirds, Gayngs and others.
Heather McEntire’s clear and full vocals are perfectly suited for the music they make. Her voice is expressive, heartfelt and engaging. As a songwriter, she is just as talented: her lyrics are sharp and polished, and they offer a wealth of imagery and storytelling, with a constant vein of melancholy.
The theme of this album is undoubtedly about relationships, and they sure cover a lot of terrain. Whether it is about how religion can affect a lesbian relationship (“Momma calm your nerves, it could be so much worse, If this love is the devil’s curse, I don’t want your cure”), or the liberating feeling of a great break-up song (“if this will be anything, then let it be over”), the bittersweet ending of a good relationship (“the only way to love you now is to walk away”) or the possibility of a happily-ever-after (“you have my word, and you have my trust, we’ll have more than enough”). This album has it all.
The album’s standout track, “Lament”, is captivating. As the title might suggest, it is the opposite of a love song. It is a scathing, unabashed “I don’t love you anymore” statement, and it is this boldness that makes it so great. The lyrics are concise but brutal nonetheless: “a mouthful of bees couldn’t stop me from whisperin’ “I don’t love you””. It’s a song that haunts you, but unfortunately it is over much too soon; I often find myself hitting the repeat button right after it’s finished – listening to it just once isn’t enough.
In contrast, the song “Honey We Don’t Need That Much” is a sweet and hopeful song about love and companionship with lyrics like, “Just hold me tight and hold me close; through the season I’ll watch you grow”. On this song we can hear some more straightforward Southern country rock sounds, as well as in the track ”Only Way Out”. But it is with “Social Wedding Rings” that McEntire proves her skills at storytelling. With devastating narratives, she sings about ill-fated lovers: “The next time we would meet would be a train wreck of nerves and sexless sleep (…) there is nothing gentle about our stomachs full of gin, we are alive and we have no rest”. The song is fraught with turmoil, and the delivery is flawless.
I urge you to get this record; it is already shaping up to be one of my favorite breakout albums of 2011. You can stream “Mount Moriah” on their Bandcamp page.
First off, I have nothing but love for this band, but there is something I have to get off my chest before we proceed: they have a stupid name. It is one of the most internet-unfriendly names I have ever encountered. There, I said it. Now we can move on.
The duo from Pittsburgh began making waves back in 2010 when they released a couple of singles, but it wasn’t until they played a string of performances at SXSW that they generated a good amount of buzz as a “band to watch”. Now they are back again with their full-length debut album, New Heaven, released on June 21st via Frenchkiss Records. And it is pretty great. I am loving every second of it.
Their sound is rich and interesting, but above all, it is diverse. I think the best feature about this album is its unpredictability. 1,2,3 blend sounds that are characteristic to an array of genres, but still manage to avoid getting trapped in a particular genre themselves. They switch from “Work”‘s thundering drums, to the electronic slow jam “Heat Lightnin’”. Some songs are fun, infectious and effortlessly catchy, like “Scared, But Not That Scared” and “Confetti”; the songs with a more calm, languid tone like “Riding Coach” are beautiful in their own right. It’s the kind of album that keeps you on your toes, trying to figure out what they’ll come up with next. Nic Snyder’s vocals are just as elastic as the album. On some tracks he belts out with great force, on others, he is more soulful and restrained. His voice sets the tone of each song; sometimes soaring and sometimes almost dropping to a whisper – but always on point.
This could very well be a strong contender for album of the summer. You can download a couple of their tracks for free if you visit their website.
Video for “Work”:
Connect with 1,2,3: MySpace
Watch this fan-made video of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s song “Simple Girl”. The video perfectly captures the sweet, summery essence of the song. It’s absolutely charming.
A few weeks ago, the Detroit duo released the album It’s a Corporate World, and has already received some well-deserved praise. If you haven’t already, make sure you buy it. It’s pretty great.
“It’s alright. You won’t set the kids on fire. But I might”
Wilco’s released their highly-anticipated first single, “I Might”, off of their new record, The Whole Love. The single will be released on July 19th via Dbpm Records, their self-owned label. As for the album, we will have to wait until September.