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I swear to shit, 2011 is the year of the ‘Higher Love’ cover and everybody is just killing it.  Yes, fellow music bloggers raging against that phrase, I just fucking said killing it.  DEAL.  In other news, I’m enormously stoked about this Winwood related development.  Think about it…

James Vincent McMorrow :: Higher Love [mp3]

WEBSITE

Also see Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr cover Winwood below.  Fucking Winwood is the shit.

 

 

This time (as opposed to this time), with a little less talk and a lot more tab.  Seriously, this shit up here is just out of control and all of it good, so let’s preserve it here for posterity, eh?  Eh.  (Note: The ass end of this post is video heavy.  But don’t get your knickers in a twist; watch all those movin’ pictures and get happy.)

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Tab One :: Whiskey Folk Ramblers Facebook Page

Brought to my attention by drummer man extraordinaire Daniel T Hall as the Whiskey Folk Ramblers happen to be playing a CD release with his band, Fox and The Bird.  Good jams, good jams.

Whiskey Folk Ramblers :: Moanin’ Rag [MP3]

BUY WFR’s latest, And There Are Devils :: WEBSITE

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Tab Two :: Dead Man’s Bones live video for ‘Name In Stone’

This here is a gem and one that I cannot say for sure how I located it or why.  But who gives a shit, yo.  I’ve hit replay on this video about a million times in the past week and I still find myself jonesing for this tune on the regular.  The choir moves me, the quiet weight of Gosling’s voice (yes, that Gosling), the fucking cemetery.  I raise my flag up into your heart, you let the wind come tear it apart.  Now clap along, kids.  [Sidenote: NOT CLOSING THIS TAB.]

Dead Man’s Bones :: Name In Stone (recorded live in a cemetery that is all) [MP3]

BUY Dead Man’s Bones 

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Tab Three :: The Pines Daytrotter Session

I’ve yet to make it all the way through but I can tell you one jam in, it’s worth your time.

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Tab Four :: Pigeon Row Bandcamp

Do not be confused, Pigeon Row is not a band (though, admittedly, I dig that as a band name), but instead a PR firm out of Nova Scotia.  But this looks to me like yet another tab I’ll need to keep open to further investigate.  After all, anyone (or any firm, whatever) working towards getting all the world acquainted with The Sheepdogs is good people in my book.  But the particular thing I’m jamming on via Pigeon Row?  I’ll just leave it down here for you…

Kate Maki :: Lose My Mind [STREAM]

DOWNLOAD ‘Lose My Mind’ :: Pigeon Row PR

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Tab Five :: The Lion & The Wolf Bandcamp

I’ve yet to really devour all of this yet either but 1:52 into the first tune and I was intrigued so atop my browser it sits.

DOWNLOAD the S/T EP

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Tab Six :: I Draw Slow’s video for ‘Goldmine’

Having never heard of Irish band (yes?) I Draw Slow, I wasn’t expecting much but I happen to love this song.  I’ve got a feeling I’ma need to be locating and downloading this album.

MYSPACE

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Tab Seven :: Lost In The Trees Violitionist Session

Had never heard of Violitionist either but hell, I’m down with it to the max.  Have heard of Lost In The Trees of course and also, down with that.  The combination of the two, below, is so so sweet.

Lost In The Trees :: Walk Around The Lake [MP3]

BUY All Alone In An Empty House :: WEBSITE 

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Tab Eight :: Trampled By Turtles HearYa Session

Seriously, you guys, ‘Victory’ has been my fucking jam for a week (along with all this other shit up in here I said was my jam this week).  So naturally, I was really excited to run across notice of this just released HearYa Session yesterday.  On top of the awesomeness of my current fave jam being included, we were gifted with a new tune, ‘Widower’s Heart’.  It’s stunning.

Watch that video, seriously.  You cannot tell me there is anything much better in the world than a bunch of bearded dudes, sitting in a half circle, banjo and mandolin and fiddle abounding.  This video is the best 4:33 of my week, I shit you not.

Trampled By Turtles :: Widower’s Heart [MP3]

HearYa Session :: WEBSITE 

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Tab Nine :: Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr cover ‘Higher Love’

Best cover of any Winwood song in the history of always.  HANDS FUCKING DOWN.  If you listen to that breakdown and disagree, we will fight.  With fists and shit.

WEBSITE

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Tab Ten :: MEGA-FUCKING-FAUN!

You think your birthday rocks?  You think that time your uncle gave you a pint of SoCo to commemorate your day of birth was rad?  You think your mother baking you a Star Wars cake was the shit?  Bullshit.  The universe is giving me a new Megafaun album on my birthday.  I WIN.

I lamented to a pal this morning that morning that there has been no music in my veins these past two weeks.  Is it writer’s block?  Lack of sun?  THEN END OF THE FUCKING WORLD AS WE KNOW IT?!  Who fucking knows, ya’ll.  I’ve no doubt I’ll shortly return to my old ways, blowing off life and responsibility to instead search for this year’s best jams and depressed singer/songwriters but until then, Bits & Pieces.

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I wish commentary was my strong suit.  Until I actually return to college where I’d surely learn to piece together coherent thoughts, I highly suggest this piece by Matt Carr over at Everybody Taste.  I’m not one of those riding the Pitchfork Blows Ass bandwagon but I certainly wouldn’t rely on them as a music tastemaker, personally.  But one cannot deny that bands like Dawes, perhaps one of the greatest I’ve heard this past decade deserves the attention of all rock writer’s and for some reason, Pitchfork choses to arbitrarily deny it.

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This.  I would typically balk at a Skinny Love cover, as I’m one of those assholes who truly believes that it’s one of the best songs written and performed in the past 20 years, AT FUCKING LEAST, but when Justin Vernon recommends, I’ll listen.  Plus, chick is 14.  What the shit?!  When I was 14 I was not near badass enough to be listening to shit like Bon Iver.  Regardless.  You can find this on iTunes I believe but I hate that moneysucker, don’t use it, so search it out on your own.  I can’t do everything for you.

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Yours Truly is just awesome.  Invisible Children is also, just awesome.  As are Middle Brother and Mountain Man.  Shit, EVERYBODY is awesome.  To wit:

 

Support Invisible Children

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KCRW has a new Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr track.  It’s badass.

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Until tomorrow (or next week, whatevs), ya’ll.

Emotions, specifically those related to love and other gross feelings, are not my strong suit.  I do not excel at words in those instances and I do not win at letting those around me know they’re importance in my life.

As a subsitute, I do this with music.  And if we think about it, the differences between love and music, as emotions and things even, are so fine that they are almost invisible.  It’s true that most definitions of love and it’s associated feelings revolve around people and tangible things, things you can touch and feel and move to the other side of the table if you wish, but really, they are one and the same in my life.

Amazingly, this has not been the hindrance most people would assume that it would be.  I have lovely friends who understand that my sarcasm denotes my hopes that they will always be here and that I will do the same for them.  Inside a relationship, this “works” as well.  It’s something I strive to be better at, to be more appropriate with, but it’s certainly not something I ever would have listed off as a personality flaw, this inability of mine to be loving.

If we’re going to get specific, love is defined as “a strong positive emotion of regard and affection; any object of warm affection or devotion”.  Music is not defined as the same but the two nouns fit nicely together and in their purest form, seem synonymous to me.  And the only difference I can see here between these two beautiful things is that I’ve never picked up the ability to shit on good music the way I have on good love.  The kicker here is that music will not do the bad to you that love can.

It’s supposed to be pure, this thing called love, and it’s not supposed to break your heart.  It is expected to stand by your side and it is expected to stick around when things are tough and tired and just hard.  It is defined as something that will hold you up when you want to fall, something that will give you meaning when you see none, an emotion that is so strong it cannot really be defined.  But all that has always seemed like such bullshit to me.

It’s the most pessimistic of views, perhaps.  But I’ve always had a substitute that was more than sufficient.  Jams.  Tunes.  Vibes and feelings brought to my heart in neat little packages by writers and singers and those who are willing to lay it out there.  I don’t need love, I’m not the one writing this shit.  I don’t need a life partner for Megafaun works just fine in filling that void, if you can call it that.  I don’t need to go out to dinner, I don’t need to buy dresses and cute heels and eyeshadow, because Cotton Jones will care for me even if I don’t.  It’s amazing to me that something so simple and easily accessible is such a wonderfully perfect surrogate for something as deep and occasionally distant from all of us.  The absorbing and poignant feeling I have for records and melodies dominates my life.  I am beyond happy with this arrangement.

Scratch that.  I was, I suppose.  It’s not that music has now taken a backseat but brace yourself, for what I am about to clue you in on is potentially barf-inducing.  GET READY FOR IT.

I’m in love.

Now let’s all collectively gather ’round a toilet and bond over our disgust with my current state of emotions.  Meet me at a bathroom in St. Louis?

This is new ground, something I am not accustomed to.  Something my brain and heart are adapting to well, yes, but this territory is unexplored and though I feel it should require a map, it has not.  I get love, I do.  I DROVE 2000 MILES FOR GAYNGS, BITCHES.  Do not tell me I don’t get love.  And because this is new, I suppose that my body has taken to comparing this unordinary love to music.  I am coping with it by likening it to a new Bon Iver record — it might take a while getting used to but stick around AND THAT SHIT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

This love is unexplainable.  Perhaps it’s that I have known this man a large majority of my life.  Perhaps it’s that for that long time he has sat on a pedastal that is but 2 feet below the one my father resides on.  He is a piece of my past, someone who was there before my life fell apart and before I was able to put it all back together, piece by fucked up piece.  He was the friend by a bonfire in the sticks when I was 17, he was the man who I let drive my classic 3-speed-on-the-tree pickup truck, he was my first taste of love.  Perhaps it is that he is simply wonderful — just and fair, sweet and kind, the best kind of people.  And what I’m feeling now will undoubtedly influence me and my writing so I feel it only fair to mention.

To prove that I have not abandoned my love of tunage and replaced it with hand-holding and viewings of The Notebook, a (not so) tiny mix.  Songs that I’ve been listening to and feeling real fucking hard lately.  While I am starting to doubt that maybe love is always something that simply comes and goes as it pleases, leaving distress and broken hearts in it’s wake, I am still keenly aware that if this shall ever end, if the happiness and feeling of comfortability and just sheer love dissappears, there will still be music.  These songs will still be here.  Always.  Coping mechanisms, they are.

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Active Child :: When Your Love Is Safe [MP3]

Pat Grossi (Sir Active Child, ahem) says of this song: “The chorus reflects ironically and sadly on how when I have a great love and its locked up safe, for whatever reason, I’ll run away, give it away, literally drive away to another state.  Quite cowardly now that I think about it.”.  Kindred spirits we are, brother.  

BUY Curtis Lane EP :: WEBSITE :: DAYTROTTER

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Merle Haggard :: Today I Started Loving You Again [MP3]

One of the things about loving a country fella, is that one must learn to appreciate the nuances of men like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.  I have no choice in this matter if I’m to kitchen dance properly.  This is how I know I’m in love: I actually WANT to attempt to kitchen dance properly to music I don’t quite understand.  Baby steps, ya’ll.

BUY Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard

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Megafaun :: Worried Mind (Live) [MP3]

Everything about this song says love.  ‘Worried Mind’ and I have been dating since early 2010, actually.  I will wound my relationships with my own neurotic mind but this time I will lay that urge down.  ‘Worried Mind’ exemplifies what my love looks like.

BUY Gather, Form, and Fly :: WEBSITE

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Panda Bear :: You Can Count On Me [MP3]

No, seriously.  You can count on me.

BUY You Can Count On Me

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Townes Van Zandt :: Be Here To Love Me [MP3]

Why hello, mixture of hippy and country!  You look just like my love!

BUY Be Here To Love Me

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Port St Willow :: Even [MP3]

It’s not so much the words of this jam that get me (though “you built this cage, quit pacing around” hits real fucking close to home) but the feeling.  I sense love in there.

BUY Even // Wasteland :: BANDCAMP

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Romany Rye :: Dear Holly (Daytrotter Session) [MP3]

Required love letter inclusion.

WEBSITE :: DAYTROTTER

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GAYNGS :: By Your Side (Sade cover :: Daytrotter Session) [MP3]

I’ve always viewed love as cheesy.  I’ve always viewed Sade as cheesy.  Clearly I was wrong on both counts.

WEBSITE :: DAYTROTTER

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The Acorn :: Misplaced [MP3]

I fell in love with The Acorn/’Misplaced’ long before I fell in love and shit howdy, if this isn’t a lesson in how the meaning of a song can change for you along with your emotions.

BUY No Ghost :: WEBSITE

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Akron/Family :: Set ‘Em Free Pt. I [MP3]

Perhaps the reason that love is so odd to me is that I view it so differently in the first place.  It’s not about holding tight, it’s not about suffocation and the blending of lives so that two literally appear as one.  It’s not about possession or the taming of another.  It’s about being free and allowing the one you love to be the same.  It’s about being wild, together.  In other news, I set a singular New Year’s resolution this year: to live by this song.  For realz.

BUY Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free :: WEBSITE

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Bon Iver :: Bruised Orange (John Prine cover) [STREAM]

And my head shouted down to my heart, better look out below.

BUY Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows :: BANDCAMP

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr :: Nothing But Love (from Daytrotter Session) [MP3]

I imagine the day that I attempt to introduce Country Man to a band called Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr will be fucking epic.

BUY Horse Power EP :: WEBSITE

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Deer Tick :: Twenty Miles [MP3]

A Folk Hive repeat.  While driving through the country recently this song suddenly mattered more and I knew.  It is likely that I have never sang lyrics as hard as I sing If you’re running away I’m looking for you and if you lost your way I’m seeing you through.

BUY The Black Dirt Sessions :: WEBSITE

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Wynn Walent :: If You Fall I Fall Too [STREAM]


It was this song and the prior that really brought this new love home for me.  It’s meaning really has little to do with romantic love but it just goes to show that everyone finds their own in songs, regardless of the writer’s intentions.  If he falls, I fall.  He fell, I fell. I have seen you look down, I’ve carried that feeling.  I know it’s not light.  The things that befell you have nothing to tell you of the good things that may come to you. I hit play and I have no choice but to turn it up and compare it to my life.  There is such intense meaning in there.  I have no doubt that forever, I will consider this one of the jams that clinched this love for me.

BUY Eating An Ocean :: BANDCAMP

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