Dudes, I HAVE NOT ABANDONED YE. Work kicked my balls this week (is still doing so, in fact, despite that I should be off right now) and music was not even on my brain. What a sad state of affairs. Regardless, life goes on and a mad amount of cool shit went down so let’s update and converse about it, shall we?
Matt from the ever-so-wonderful Everybody Taste, has started a label. In terms of blogger dreams we all wish for ourselves, dude is WINNING. Analog Edition Records first issue is a 7″ from Blake Mills. You want it and you don’t even know it. GET IT. Support a wonderful blogger in his endeavors. Be a good person.
Alexander (Ebert’s) new disc is out today. From what I’ve heard, it’s full of fantastical hippy jams, perfect for river times and smoking blunts, if that’s your jam. Also, good for romps in the hay with bearded dudes, I bet. Buy it.
King Jim, who we love, has released a new EP, Wedding Bells. I’ve listened and pre-approved it for your ears.
This post over at Draw Us Lines, Folk Hive’s Official Dude Equivalents, in regards to The Wooden Sky is a good read and further, packed full of good jams. Head on over.
I hope to return this weekend. I hope to wax on about how I’ll be missing the GAYNGS Affiliyated bit this weekend in chilly Minneapolis, despite hotel and tickets being procured a month ago. I hope to receive your pity, readers. Prepare yourselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[2010’s Most Revered is The Hive’s version of a year-end list. Right about now (or meow, if you will) we will highlight the albums, EPs (yes, EPs), and what-have-yous, that made us sit up and listen over the past 365 days.]
Dudes, let me clue you in. This here is a music blog. Yes, I ramble about personal shit and then throw some semi-related tunes at you but in my defense, this is what I know how to do. I can journal; I cannot write a music review. That requires like, college and shit. But because this is a music blog there will be a year-end list. There HAS to be. However, I won’t pretend to be smart enough to analyze what jams and beats and albums were the best across the board in this Year of our Lord, 2010. Again, college. But I can tell you the albums that were most revered in this house over the past year. I will say this: this series will be the most awesome and yet fucked year-end list you’ll find on the internetz. Also, no #10. Get over it.
All that said, we present Folk Hive’s Most Revered of 2010: The only year-end list on the internet that features intelligent input from a five-year old. Let’s hop to it, shall we?
[Number NINE :: The War On Drugs Future Weather EP]
I’ve mentioned that ‘Taking the Farm’ was an important song in this house. First, I had a simple love affair with this band’s chosen moniker (oddly enough, I was reading this when I got into War) and then, there was the music. Wagonwheel Blues is still an album that is on consistent rotation around here and though Future Weather is an EP, it is so colossal that it defies that classification. As much as I loved the previous, the new blew that shit right out of the water. It was beautiful and expansive and it burned. In a way, The War On Drugs remind me of the greatness of Petty in his heyday — it’s something that feels like maybe you could put it together with your friends in the garage after a lager or two because it’s that simple but then you really listen and your ass knows better. There’s no way you could insert that emotion into an organ chord and there’s no way you could write and then sing out like Kurt Vile. I mean, shit. He’s Kurt fucking Vile, dudes.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing moments to me in this past year was learning that the GAYNGS show I had tickets to in Nashville had been canceled. I was not saddened by my inability to see a supergroup in N’ville, per say, but by the fact that not being in that town on that night meant that I would not be in that town for the Peter Wolf Crier show the night prior. “Crutch and Cane” reeled me in early this year and since that time, I have been enamoured with this band. I have spoken of my love for these two men previously and considering that they’re members of the un-bearded sect of society, this is massive in Hive Land. Inter-Be rocked my 2010 and expanded the musical horizons of this avowed folkie. I suspect this album will get considerable play in the new year. And to remedy this year’s sadness, I’ll be seeing them in live in 2011. Also, Moen induces lady boners. LADY BONERS.
All Those I Know hit me like a ton of fucking bricks. Unexpected, storied, and unprecedented in that such a wonderful album was simply given away, it stayed in rotation for weeks. When it was occasionally relegated to the back burner by the Blackbird, Blackbird’s and Arcade Fire’s of the indie world, it was immediately brought to the forefront again with a singular listen. To say that the opening track (after which the album is titled) is massive and fan-fucking-tastic x 10 is an understatement. The rest of the album follows that song’s lead and every tune is an eye-opener.
While I have heard it uttered by serious, life-long Black Keys fans that this album is not their strongest and that the band has sold out (Christ, shut up.), I can tell you as a new Black Keys fan I was in love with this album from that first guitar lick. In my defense, I did not discover the band on a hyped list, I did not hear them first on a commercial and then search them out, nor did I get like, a Verizon phone accompanied by a free download of a Black Keys jam. I heard Dan Auerbach. It was over. While I have not been a fan from the beginning (forgive me Father, for I did not know of this band’s existence), I am now devoted. If Brothers is the sound of someone selling out, then more bands should get on that. Also, Jude probably spent 90% of his time pretending to be Auerbach when I first put this record in rotation.
The discovery of Megafaun in early 2010 turned this year around. It inspired me and opened my ears and heart to a brand of music I had never heard. Casual fans were interested in the association with DeYarmond Edison and Justin Vernon; devoted fans are astounded at the speed with which this band, on its own, manages to race toward the resonance of new so quickly and easily. Every album, mini-album, and live show is an exercise in family and love and the healing powers of music. Heretofore is gospel but it’s an au courant gospel.
[Number FOUR :: Nathaniel Rateliff In Memory of Loss]
My love of Nathaniel Rateliff is nearly unsurpassed. While I will admit that I prefer Rateliff in the real as opposed to in a sound booth, recording a record, I’ll take whatever I can get. I feel the same way about this music as I do your mom — both are awesome. I fucking dare you to listen to a Rateliff Daytrotter session, I dare you to observe a Rateliff wail in video or person, and not tear up. It is his ease and his seeming comfortability with what he’s saying that makes this music so close to perfection. “Early Spring Till” is a masterpiece. Yes dude, I am pressed down. Yes, I am full of that feeling. Yes dude, I like that deep v-neck tee.
Alright folk, shit is about to get real. And cuss yes, I’m serious. GAYNGS changed my life. This is not an exaggeration. I love The Rosebuds, that’s been said. I love Megafaun and that too has been discussed. I also like to get down with Solid Gold now and then and I sure as shit love Bon Iver, even more than your mother. So naturally, a group composed of those and then some gives me a slightly odd and scientifically unjustified lady chub. Along with the fact that I have to deal with these awkward boners daily is the fact that I am also affected by what is known as Undiagnosed (And Therefore Only Potential, Whatevs) Social Anxiety Disorder. This means concerts and shit of the like are typically out of the question. Hell, going to the local Walmart without my child is out of the question. So it is a testament of my love for GAYNGS (or perhaps more specifically, the parts of its sum) that planned to first travel 800 miles for a show and then when that was canceled, that I traveled 2000 fucking miles for one. Yes, I did that. I drove from the middle of Missouri to Durham, NC for a goddamn Gayngs concert. Let me bullet point this shit for you:
I left my kid for more than two days. Unprecedented.
I drove through rush hour traffic in like, 12 states. I shit myself.
Day one I was in a vehicle for more than 20 hours.
I made this trip with my sister. We almost killed each other.
We got lost in Durham. For three hours. At 3am.
I slept an hour and ventured downtown, suffering from PTSD resulting from GETTING LOST FOR THREE FUCKING HOURS AT 3AM.
I drank Sparks in a parking lot, which I think is illegal.
I met amazing and rather endearing folk. I talked to them like I didn’t have this undiagnosed Social Anxiety shit. It was good. They are my people.
I grooved down at the most badass show I wintnessed this year.
I triple-fisted beers. Dude, it was GAYNGS.
I participated in using words like “GAYNG-bang” and “GAYNG-over” and I didn’t feel like a dipshit for doing so.
I woke up the next day with a hangover. Drove 8 hours. Slept in Nashville. Drove another 8 hours. Pulled into my driveway.
I have not spoken here of the two months of anxiety that nearly crippled me before this trip. I have not spoken of the doubt and the realization that driving like, 17 states away for a concert, was just ludicrous. I have only spoken of my doing that very thing. And looking back, it was one of the sweetest trips of my younger years. I am a GAYNGS devotee for fucking life.
Another tidbit: My father, a truck driver who frequently pointed out how juvenile and potentially irresponsible I was in making this trip, says, “So, what does this…GAYNGS? Is that what they’re called? GAYNGS?! Jesus, so what do they sound like?”. “Well dad, they’re like a bunch of folk dudes I guess, maybe. Anyway, they make…fuck jams. Fuck jams, dad.” Dad: “WHAT?! So, like Foreigner?”. No dad, not like Foreigner…
No band brought me to more tears this year than Breathe Owl Breathe. Good tears. Tears of happiness and tears that were the sum parts of beautiful music and a sense of humor and seeing my child flabbergasted. I wrote about it. And it was probably the most fulfilling and yet gut-wrenching thing I’ve written about this year. My child and I are involved in a love affair with this band. Magic Central is the first vinyl that he ever owned (it is also the ONLY vinyl he currently owns). Breathe Owl Breathe inspired my five year old to pick up a banjo. And I wouldn’t be all facetious about this next statement but Breathe Owl Breathe made us both better people. The urge to tattoo their lyrics all over my body is strong. Magic Central has the most fitting title of any album this year.
[Number ONE :: Cotton Jones Tall Hours In The Glowstream]
To understand my love for Cotton Jones and this album is to understand me. I cannot say that I was captivated by this band from Paranoid Cocoon or even prior, the Page France days, as I was simply unaware of their existence. What sadness. But when I discovered Cotton Jones first album (under that moniker) early this year, I was stunned. I was even further flabbergasted when they turned out to be so much more than just a one track band and that’s saying quite a bit considering how great each track is on its own. Cotton Jones soundtracked the aforementioned journey to North Carolina — all 17,020 hours of it. Cotton Jones is my fall back band when I’m in need of a musical bump. “Somehow To Keep It Going” is probably our most loved jam this year. Cotton Jones was my 2010.
While GAYNGS are certainly the most mighty collective making Fuck Jams this year and while simply listening to said band might impregnate you (male or female, oddly enough), I’ll admit to a fondness for FJ’s off a slightly different kind. There are the kind similar to a Springsteen tune (if you don’t hear “I’m On Fire” and want to fondle your neighbor, we cannot be friends). There are the kind like Drew Grow is making with his Pastors’ Wives.
You’ve seen High Fidelity, right? Dude, right?! I bet that if our beloved main character Rob were putting together a mix of tunes to be later put to use in seducing the ladies he would 1. agree with my Springsteen assessment, and 2. add Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives to that mix.
This is music about the heart and the struggle to just be. This is music that is heavy and not to be taken lightly. (Note: At this point I want to write “Just like fucking.” but my mother will read that and be disappointed in me.) Ahem.
From start to finish, this is a seriously solid album. I mean, “I need a friendly face singing in my choir”? Join the club, dude. But you know what, thanks for saying it anyway. Really.
Check the vid below (from the Doe Bay Sessions) and after that head out and snag the self-titled debut. And get the vinyl. 10 points to the first person who writes me to let me know how sweet it is…
Because we here at The Hive love everything Megafaun does, I knew I’d love their take on Congotronics. Also, define “Congotronics” and I’ll give you ten points.
Of course, with a name like ‘Conjugal Mirage’, the track does not disappoint. Let us just scratch this off the list of badass shit Megafaun has been throwing down lately (see Gayngs, Phil Cook and His Feat, Heretofore, et. al.).