Absent for a month and indeed, sorry for that. But here we are now: the fall has descended upon the Ozarks and year 30 has dropped into my lap.
Let me admit some things. I will admit that I have not written since early October. I will admit that I have not listened to music — not a mixtape in my car, not a snuck secular jam in my office, not a handcrafted playlist in my home — in more than a month.
I will admit that it’s likely due to a combination of the weather and mood. I now possess a 30 year old disposition and I am finding it unbecoming. It is anxious and frail and it has left me at a loss for words. It has left me drained and without the want or will to find the energy to even just listen. It is a sad state. Those things I will admit.
I will also admit that today I spent no less than 8 hours in front of a computer with no other goal than to reacquaint myself with my medicine, that which has healed me in the past. I forget occasionally how that works and I lose track of the glorious seconds where I encounter a song that moves me and I have to physically remove my hands from the keyboard so that I can place them on my chest and feel along with the person singing. It is their story, their lyrics, but they’ve released them into the ether and the beautiful thing about it (and music in general) is that I can take those songs and use them as my very own ladders. They are helpmates out of holes in which I’ve dug myself into. These songs are friends that talk me down.
Last weekend, I ventured out to a country show. I packed up my travel anxiety and I left town on a last minute whim. I was with a hastily obtained press pass and without a hotel reservation. I packed myself into a tiny bar with 600 others, 300 or so of which I’m sure were most likely breaking some sort of fire code regulations with their attendance, and I danced my ass off to a genre of music that I have not two-stepped to since my childhood. There were two beers in each of my hands and there were great friends to my left and right. At times, I sang so loud and with such gusto that I felt it breaking my heart free from the locked cage in which it had decided it would spend the winter. I attempted to take video of a raucous sing along, “Long Hot Summer Day” so I could remember the minute it happened later — I grounded my camera on the thick hewn log railing that bordered the area where we danced upstairs in the bar but the crowd was stomping so hard that there was just no stability to be found, even among the timber. Fucking music. It saves the day always and apparently not just for me but for hundreds of others crowded in a bar for the country show. Fucking music, man. It’s so perfect.
Here’s to the fall and here’s to the damned cold.
Here’s to making it through the season…
The Avett Brothers :: The Fall
This is a literal fall and there is the fall which drops the leaves from the tree branches. And then there is this song by The Avett Brothers that reminds me of springs and summers during which I opened wide all the windows in the house and turned the speakers up to 11 so that I could hear these words while I planted flowers in the front garden. There was a beer beside me and there was sun on my tank-topped back. Those were the days, man.
Those days shall return, yes, but in the meantime there is old school Avetts to mind that gap.
(If you’ve yet to meet your awesomeness quota for the month, might I suggest a purchase of The Avett Brothers Four Thieves Gone that was just released in the most badass of vinyl packages? Get that here.)
BUY Four Thieves Gone :: SITE
Adam Faucett ::The Way You See It (Live at Daytrotter) [mp3]
My history with Faucett is both non-existent and storied. We have never met, will never meet. But if Six Degrees of Separation is a real thing then by God, we’re best friends. I once met two of his pals at a bar, musicians both, and saw his face in a facebook photo of those boys. My musical blogger instincts said that man too, with his beard rivaling that of his friends that I’d once encountered, probably had a band too. Indeed, he did. That bearded, legally blind man was Faucett and now that I am fully comfortable with his wail and his words, I am devoted.
We have never met, never we shall. But his music will ring through this house all fall and all winter. I assume that on the river next year even, I will hum this song in my head as I round bends to long, deep eddy’s.
The Deep Dark Woods :: Sugar Mama [mp3]
This is most likely the best 2:39 of song I’ve heard in the past…forever. A song of lament and hope with a country-folk bent that’s right up our alley. This song has been played over 500 times in this house and will likely be played over 500 more. What with that lament of age and displacement of one’s youth and it’s summery, sunny sound, how could it not?
Gin House :: Midwestern Mind, Southern Heart
There is a thing I like about this song. That thing looms large and that thing is a personal comfort and a knowing that lurks within these words. This, to me, is a gloriously written alt-country jam with a full on, lyrical country bent.
Passenger :: All the Little Lights [mp3]
Sometimes a mantra is needed, something to repeat as the warmth leaves this Midwestern state, something that will convince my heart that one day the sun will return. The chorus of this Passenger jam work just fine in that capacity: We’ve all got million of little lights shining in our hearts and they show us the way. The sun isn’t always necessary, not when you have all those little lights.
The Oh Hellos :: The Truth Is A Cave [mp3]
At the ass end of 2011 The Oh Hellos put out a stellar album that I dug into just a few months ago. As it usual, I quickly fell in love.
Sometimes though, when one loves an album and a band so much, there is cause to worry. When an album reaches that pinnacle within your heart, one might be cincerned that the greatness of the second can never match the wonder of the first. But awesomely, in regards to The Oh Hellos just released second effort, Through the Deep, Dark Valley, one needn’t have ever concerned themselves with thoughts like that to begin with.
The last lines of this song utterly slay my heart. I was tired of giving more than you gave to me. And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to see. A-fucking-men.
Some Dark Holler :: Sweet Red Wine [mp3]
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe with all your heart that autumn is perfectly soundtracked with foot stomps, a violin and a dobro, and words about some form of booze then we were probably not meant to be friends.
Aiden Knight :: Jasper [mp3]
Aidan Knight is a songwriter and a damn fine one at that but not just one man (as the moniker would imply) but instead a quintet of folkies from Canada. I think. In other news, Aidan Knight is awesome.
Also, dudes. Here is a video of Aidan Knight and Dan (fucking) Mangan singing “Jasper” in the snowy wilderness. It is glorious and you should watch it.
BUY Small Reveal :: SITE
The Wooden Sky :: Take Me Out (Halfway House Sessions) [mp3]
I fucking love this song (and this band) and on the aforementioned roadtrip with my moms, she fell in love with it, too. I learned, after wondering all these years, from who it must have been that I inherited a need to play certain songs on repeat, over and over for days and days. My mother took over the stereo, hitting back again and again, until we realized that she had played this song approximately 32 times in a row as we passed over state borders and county lines.
Brett Detar :: Coasts [mp3]
Breaking circles, man.
Wake Owl :: Gold
Wake Owl’s “Wild Country” has, without a mathematical doubt, been played more in this house this year than any other song I’ve come across within the past 365 days. FACT. Want another fact? “Gold” is in the running for being the second most listened to jam. For an EP release of just a few songs, that’s quite a fucking feat.
Father John Misty & Phosphorescent :: I Would Love You [mp3]
No comment here because no comment can equal the utter awesomeness of such a duet between the immeasurable Misty and Matthew Houck.
Lemolo :: Letters [mp3]
This is included because of…reasons.
Chris Ayer :: The Infinite Abyss of Space [mp3]
Listen to the first 7 seconds of this song, indie music fan, and tell me that you don’t like this. Do it, I dare you. See what happens…
Tumbling Bones :: Trouble Around My Soul [mp3]
Something about some dudes harmonizing a capella about the troubles that those of us in this land seem to innately understand from birth gets me every damn time.
Tumbling Bones’ Selections: 2011-2012 is a stunningly gorgeous collection of jams. I stumbled upon it a week ago and have had it on repeat since, all 8 bits of it. Highly (no seriously, bro, HIGHLY) suggest you snag it.
Frightened Rabbit :: Old Old Fashioned
FRabbit is releasing a new album, Pedestrian Verse, in some months and I, for one, with my penchant for slightly depressing yet awesome indie rock, am jazzed for its arrival. To keep my whistle whet until then, I’ve dug out The Midnight Organ Fight and put it on repeat because it is good and I fucking love it.
Turnpike Troubadours :: Long Hot Summer Day
Remember when I told you about the time that I saw a band that had a crowd of 600 stomping so solidly that a building made of some seriously large logs actually shook so hard that it was impossible to even anchor a camera? This is that band that I spoke of and this is that song.
Shakey Graves :: The Waters [mp3]
YOU GUYS. Watch this:
I mean, Jesus, COME ON.