Monday, November 18, 2019

VIDEO: Jeremy and the Harlequins -- "Chinese Restaurant on Christmas"

As a New York Jew, I tend to avoid Christmas music -- even snarky Christmas songs. In fact,  "Chinese Restaurant on Christmas" only the third Christmas song I've posted here in the 8 years this blog has run. There's a reason for that.

You see, as a New York Jew, it is a time-honored tradition to spend Christmas in a Chinese restaurant. However, as a New York Jew who can trace their New York lineage to the early 1800s, however, my family actually does celebrate Christmas with a tree and presents, etc. (Hurray assimilationism!) However, my mom didn't want to deal this year, so we are, indeed, catching a movie and ordering in Chinese food.

Hopefully, our holiday observation will be more fun than Jeremy's. The song is a delightful throwback to early rock'n'roll, with Jeremy's voice hitching in all of Buddy Holly's favorite spots. The song woefully relates the sad scene of a Christmas breakup, but the band brings an irresistible irreverence to the proceedings.

The video, brilliantly shot on a lazy susan in the kind of Chinese restaurant I didn't know still existed, elevates the song's sly humor to absurdist heights.  

You can find "Chinese Restaurant on Christmas" on the A-side of the band's Christmas single, Christmas Special

Jeremy and the Harlequins -- Official, Facebook

Friday, November 15, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Whitacre -- "Peach"

Come for the banjo, stay for the attitude. That's the ethos behind Denver-based Whitacre's "mountain rock." It's a fitting title for this hard-driving music -- think Tyler Childers with more craft beer and less cocaine. The three-piece, made up of Paul Whitacre on lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Chase Perry on banjo; and Mark Cunningham on drums, released a five-song EP, Within The Mountains’ Shadows in 2018.

With a half-million streams on Spotify, sold-out shows with Mt. Joy, Wild Child and Birdtalker and 100+ other performances under their belt, Whitacre is one of Denver’s fastest rising rock bands. They've toured with with Family and Friends, Wilderado and Wild Rivers, which led to a performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The band's new album, Seasons, was produced by Joe Richmond (Tennis, Churchill) and mixed by Yuuki Matthews (The Shins) and will be released in the spring of 2020.

“Peach,” the first song off the band's new album Seasons, is a love song. It’s about the ups and downs of a relationship, and the promise of holding on no matter what. “Prodigal” brings it all full-circle, as a conclusion to the running away, and a return to home, and what is right and true.

Whitacre formed after Paul borrowed a tuner from Chase Perry backstage -- a fateful decision that ultimately lead to a band with a mission: “We have a burning desire to tell a story that isn’t often told in the music industry today,” Perry says. “One of redemption and restoration.”

“So many people are hurting these days and it’s all just barely under the surface,” he continues. “We want to go there. We want to reassure the broken-hearted that there is hope, we want to show the invisible that we see them and that they matter. That it’s okay to be hurting. We believe that doesn’t only happen in lyrics but in a melody as well. We believe in the power of music and that it is used to soften and heal hearts.” ​

That sensitivity is evident on "Peach." While the song has a distinctively aggressive approach, the lyrics suggest something more vulnerable. As the trio delivers pitch-perfect harmonies, it becomes apparent that this isn't just a couple of dudes getting their aggression out. More importantly, it's not a song that frames love as an act of dependency or heroism. Instead, "Peach" expresses a deep appreciation for the narrator's partner. It's an important reframing of a dynamic that is often repeated over and over again in Americana (and everywhere else.) 

Seasons will be released in Spring 2020.

Whitacre - Official, Facebook

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 88

Rachel learns secretssss about her grandmother. She also experiments with a longer format -- let her know what you think!
  1. Timothy Charles Holehouse -- “Aveiro” (Come)
  2. Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers — “Songs I Won’t Remember” (Puppets With My Heart)
  3. Mikaela Finne — “Stay” (Mikaela Finne)
  4. Little Bandit -- “Money” (Breakfast Alone)
  5. Eric Peter Schwartz — “Heaven in Disrepair” (The Unraveling Man)
  6. She/Her/Hers -- “Kill the Boy Band” (Kill the Boy Band)
  7. Daniel Khan — “Paper Soldier” (Bulat Blues feat. Vanya Zhuk)
  8. Andrew Thiriot -- “Say I’m Home” (Single)
  9. Sam Weber -- “Blackout” (Everything Comes True)
  10. Abigail Lapell -- “Leningrad” (Getaway)
  11. Vigilantes of Love — “Extreme North of the Compass” (Audible Sigh)
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Thursday, November 14, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Signe Marie Rustad -- "Something Easier"

Those of us who have been following the indie country scene for sometime know that Americana is, in fact, a global phenomenon. The Norwegian scene has been growing over the past few years and many folks on the scene are starting to venture to these shores. Signe Murie Rustad, whose mother hails from Golden, Colorado, is one of the latest troubadours to test the waters here with her new album When Words Flew Freely.

 Born and raised on a farm in central Norway, Rustad's music is heavily influenced by the moments when the forest, river and fields filled her with a deep calmness and never-ending restlessness. As a result, many of her songs carry within them a search for a balance between these elements.

On "Something Easier," Rustad launches us into an initially stark composition, calling to mind most of my experience with Scandinavian pop music. Rustad's mellow voice carries the tune, until suddenly the band kicks in and we're washed away in a flood of country music. The tension between silence and richness gives "Something Easier" a distinct and epic dynamic.

When Words Flew Freely was released on November 1st and is available anywhere you get your music.

Signe Marie Rustad -- Official, Facebook

Monday, November 11, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Hannah Connolly -- "From Where You Are" and "House/Home"

What is it that makes some singers stand out from the rest? For me, it's that chemistry of a compelling voice, lyrics that dig deep, and sincerity. Based on Hannah Connolly's first two singles, that chemistry is going to lead to a stunning first album.

Since I've been remiss in my blogging on here, today's a double-header with "From Where You Are" as the lead-off single. (Released some time ago, but better late than never!) The song recounts the harrowing experience of Connolly losing her brother, Cullen.

"This was one of the first songs written for the album and it speaks to how I felt in the days and months after losing Cullen," she writes. "In the midst of shock and disbelief, life felt like a strange dream. The whole world was turned upside down and none of it made sense. One of the most vivid memories I have from that time was standing in the desert and looking up at the stars."

On "House/Home," Connolly confronts a major transition with grace. "This song is about the feeling of losing home, and how home can be anywhere with the people you love, but it can also feel like nowhere will ever be home again when they are gone," she writes.

Hannah Connolly -- Facebook

Friday, November 8, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 87

Opera and riot grrl just don’t mix. Don’t worry — I don’t experiment with that here, just wanted you to share my pain. 
 This episode features much, much better music with:
  1. Jerry Leger -- “Read Between the Lines” (Time Out for Tomorrow)
  2. The Restoration -- “I’ll Never Leave You” (West)
  3. Sarah Elizabeth Haines — “Losing Game” (Pretending to Sleep)
  4. Austin Lucas -- “Alone in Memphis” (No One Is Immortal!)
  5. Little Teeth -- “Amphetamine” AND “Thinning Out” (Redefining Home)
  6. Tanya Ransom — “Armour” (Single)
  7. True Dreams -- “The Scum” (No. 1)
  8. Joan Armatrading -- “Love and Affection” (Love and Affection)
  9. Katie Pruitt -- “Expectations” (Single)
  10. Nellen Dryden — “Tullahoma” (Single)

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 86

World Series bandwagoning, CD players are still king, and a little anarchist history with your traditional country music!
FEEDBACK NEEDED: Do you think there should be more songs per episode?
Also, I have a Kickstarter! Contribute here!
  1. Ags Connolly -- “Sad Songs Forever” (Wrong Again)
  2. Suitcase Sam -- “Growing Up” (Goodnight Riverdale Park)
  3. Blind Adam and the Federal League -- “How Do They Sleep at Night” (Blind Adam and the Federal League)
  4. Sayed Sabrina -- “Into the Mouth of the Serpent” (Thou Art That)
  5. Young Mister -- “Best” (Sudden Swoon)
  6. Split Rail -- “MY TRUTH” (Axe to Grind)
  7. Songs:Ohia -- “Lioness” (The Lioness)
  8. John Burnette -- “Mercy Mercy” (Parlor One)
  9. Hollier -- “Wrestle My Heart” (Wild Eyes)

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