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.)
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]
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.).
In a time when most music listeners have no real concept of music labels (why in the fuck would they care who put out Katy Perry’s latest single?), one might get the impression that the involved label has fallen by the wayside. Record labels exist to live behind the curtain and inaccessible to the listener, right?
The same could be said for the art of putting some tunes on vinyl and releasing it to the masses. Today’s home doesn’t typically bear a turntable and if it does, its sat in the garage since Grandma died, gathering dust. For the most part, people seem to have forgotten about the art of vinyl and how much more fulfilling it is to listen to your favorite musicians while they crackle away under a needle. Turntables are cumbersome and unless you’re a DJ these days, they’re not on your radar.
When my own Granny died the only thing I asked to be given was her beloved turntable. In her latter years the radio got more use than the record player did but the fact that this piece of Hitachi furniture had sat in her home, whether it was the farm or her old restaurant, for the last fifty years meant a lot to me. And I’ve got a vinyl obsession, so that helped. What surprised me was that even her grandchildren, who’d grown up under the magical spell of vinyl, had no interest in it. Now it sits in the corner of our living room, still plugging away and still bearing the shrink-wrap plastic on its metal parts that she never removed, presumably because it was expensive in its day and it wasn’t her way to
The uneducated and those who prefer their music from iTunes might not have any idea that music labels still exist today that press vinyl and not only that, but record labels exist that view doing just that as an art form. That’s how it should be, in my opinion. While it can be said that quite a few of the artists that live on those labels wouldn’t be there if not for the accessibility of their music because of iTunes and computers and music at our fingertips, at the touch of a button, it can also be said that they wouldn’t be the artists they are without vinyl. While there is certainly magic in our ability to discover new music often through the internet that doesn’t negate the beauty and the wonder of actually listening to that music on a 45. It feels different — it’s personal and it’s homey and it’s spectral. Like a fucking unicorn. And everyone loves a unicorn.
Thus, let’s talk about some labels. Or rather, A label. We’ve made our love for bands like Megafaun and Breathe Owl Breathe common knowledge on this here blog and while I’m sure that I’d love these bands if my only listening option involved my cheap Dell computer speakers, I’m sure I wouldn’t love them as much as I do if I weren’t able to simply give their amazing label, Hometapes, a mere 15 bucks — little more than the cost of a disc and yet, with a much bigger return than one gets from a CD — for some sweet vinyl, conveniently shipped to my home. And these things from Hometapes are not just records and music and tunes, mind you. They are the epitome of works of art — the new Breathe Owl Breathe record, Magic Central, contains a newsprint poster featuring the prints of the half the band, Micah. That ain’t just music people, that’s fucking art in it’s most awesome form. The most recent release from Bear in Heaven is multi-colored vinyl. The Segni EP from All Tiny Creatures is pressed on white vinyl with concept packaging by the formidable in more area than one, Thomas Wincek (seriously, when was the last time you saw a stark white piece of vinyl?).
This is all to say that perhaps we’d be a better people — a better country, too? — if more people were invested in things as simple as vinyl records. And that’s not me being facetious. I’m fucking serious. If people took more of an interest in their music perhaps we’d all move away from mass produced to something that takes time and delivers the listener a product that gives the impression that those who made it care about us, their humble listeners, just as much as they do themselves. It’s not about money and it’s not about MTV, it’s about giving someone they can hold and feel the weight of. It better represents the work and care put into making music for fans of music. When it’s done right, it’s heaven. And Hometapes sure as shit does it right.
As mentioned previously, here at our house, the weekends are typically reserved for playing with Legos at a leisurely pace fitting of an off day, walking about the street, Wii duels, and whatever the fuck one else might want to do. I choose to spend a large chunk of that time following links here and there, perusing aggregators, and digging out old records to stare at. So…music.
All the while I’m doing this, my tiny little prodigy chimes in with his thoughts. He recommends things for the playlist. And sometimes he totally gets the feel of the weekend and knocks out a sweet one. And when that happens it gets saved and I flip up the volume and we let it run, over and over. All day long. Really loud background noise.
So, Jude made the playlist this morning. Currently I’m googling Virgil Thrasher and cleaning at a snail’s pace while the kid is currently blowing fart strawberries onto his own knees in the bathtub (“I don’t know what I’m gonna call this game yet.”) and I just noticed that these same few songs have been on repeat today. The massive amount of banjo? Yeah, we just went to the music store and picked out the banjo that Jude is asking Santa for. No big deal, just the most awesome thing ever. Anyway, you want in on Jude’s list (I could tell you did) so here it is*. It’s linked quickly and in a non-music blogger fashion because…it’s fucking Sunday, I guess. And because on Sunday one does whatever one wants to.
Yes, seriously, there are 3 Breathe Owl Breathe songs. Shutup about it. We’ll be seeing them next month. It will be The Jude’s first live concert/show and we’re both equally stoked. Also, banjo.
*It’s probably worth noting that unfortunately, Jude is only allowed to choose songs that I already have on this here computer. I love him lots but I’m not gonna go download the Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones’ soundtracks.