Friday, October 12, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 34

Watch out: Rachel’s on the road! Also, we mourn the death of Wide Open Country and get into the foundations of the patriarchy. Oddly enough, we also play a supermajority of women on this episode.
  1. Larry And His Flask “This Remedy” (This Remedy)
  2. Super Doppler - “Edge Off” (Super Secret Singles Club)
  3. The National Reserve- “No More” (Motel La Grange)
  4. Ever More Nest -- “So Low ” (The Place That You Call Home)
  5. Atlantis Aquarius - “Full Moon” (Niberian Sun EP)
  6. Catherine the Great -- “prefabricated” (personhood)
  7. Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters - “Diamond In The Rough” (Self Titled)
  8. Whitney Shay - “Ain’t No Weak Woman” (A Woman Rules the World)
  9. CBDB - “Patterns” (Out Of Line)



Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Songs of the Week!

I've got too much music to fit on the podcast and more time to write about it now that I'm not longer doing the Wide Open Country thing. So let's dig in to some tasty Americana, folk, and punk snacks!

Mia and Jonah -- "Sugarbones


Let's kick it off with something a little out of our wheelhouse. Mia and Jonah's "Sugarbones" definitely has that Americana something, though I appreciate the trippy spaciness that is surely inspired by the band's San Francisco stomping grounds. The band's new album Spin as One reflects the birth of Mia Matari and Jonah Blumstein's first child. "Sugarbones" feels like a lullaby and an invitation to take part in all the exciting things the world has to offer.

S.K. Wellington -- "Moment's Bliss"



Canadian singer Sarah Wellington (formerly of the Wellington Folk) has struck out on her own with her new LP. "Moment's Bliss" has that kind of desperate punk sound that makes my heart sing. "Moment's Bliss" contemplates happiness but isn't complacent -- a rare feat.

Grover Anderson -- "The Good"


 

 Grover Anderson has gotten some love on here before, and I was very excited to see more of his music land on my inbox. Grover's the kind of person with a relentless sense of optimism (hence the title of his 2014 album) who also has his shoes on the ground. "The Good" is a witty reminder to remember that even when things are at their toughest, there's reprieve around the corner.


Rare Americans -- "I Vs. I"



Canadian punk band Rare Americans (huh) brings a ton of energy to "I Vs I," a thrasher of a song that seems to be about the fear of becoming intimate with another person. The band describes themselves as "Crooked in the sense that we see the world a little crooked." That's certainly true of this song -- and it's also definitely catchy as heck.

Edward and Jane 


 

I thought I'd send us out on Edward and Jane , a six-piece"folkicana" band from Chattanooga, TN led by husband-and-wife duo Timothy Edward Carpenter (guitar/vocals) and Emilie Jane Carpenter (mandolin/vocals). "Hold Your Own" is redolent with gorgeous harmonies and anthemic hooks that all of our heavy hearts could use right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Little Miss -- American Dream

When you've got a voice like Hayley Johnson's, you had better do something with it. I don't mean pursue a singing career; I mean pursue a career that counts. Thompson, performing under the name The Little Miss, is doing just that. On her new EP American Dream (released in August), The Little Miss interrogates the mythos that surrounds Americana.



The Little Miss' singing invokes power pop singers like Florence Welch but the earthy acoustic guitars and lonesome whistling keep us tethered to this mortal plane. The title track, "American Dream," sets the tone. The Little Miss invokes common symbols of American culture -- blue jeans, cherry pie -- to list all of the things we love but concludes that list with the thing we need: freedom. This sensibility carries through in "A Ride Along the Mountain Valley" and "Red, White, & True": the music invokes simpler times, but it also questions if those times were truly so simple. American Dream is a reminder that political music doesn't have to be angry or pointed: it just needs to hit home by being as direct as possible. Above all else, American Dream, is a beautiful album with important songwriting -- and the Little Miss is only going to fly higher.

The Little Miss -- Official, Facebook, Purchase on iTunes

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 33

It’s another live episode! Rachel is great at weddings, but Von skips them and cuts straight to the party. Also, Rachel divulges some family secrets. Von spills a few secrets, too -- about the Power Rangers. Also, Is Von drunk?! Short answer - no*.
*Long answer - Von is slurring his speech because he keeps getting his own audio delayed in his headphones during this live recording. Even though he could have been drinking as well.
  1. The Hold Steady - “Eureka” (Eureka w/Esther)
  2. Juliana Strangelove, “Far From Moscow (Single)
  3. Town Mountain - “Life And Debt” (New Freedom Blues)
  4. Perry Serpa, “Dirty Dishes” (w. Laura Cantrell) (Wherefore Art Thou?)
  5. Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room - “My Human Being” (Party Adjacent)
  6. Tender Glue, “Rudy” (Closet Leftovers)
  7. William Elliott Whitmore - “Don’t Pray On Me [Bad Religion cover] (Kilonova)
  8. JP Harris “Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing” (Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing)
  9. Joe McMahon - “It All Went Black” (Another Life)
  10. Marcus: The Apex Predator!, “What Say You?” (The Fury of Almost)

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Friday, September 28, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 32

Is Von real? Is he who he truly who he says he is?! Or is he “good friends” with Tim Tracker? Also, tourists and busses are just the worst combo. Lastly, the knockout game. Also, heres Von’s interview with Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets from a few years ago!
  1. Jeremy & The Harlequins - “Remember This” (Remember This)
  2. Sean Ardoin -- “In It For a Minute” (Kreole Rock and Soul)
  3. Whitehorse - “Who’s Been Talking” (The Northern South Vol. 2)
  4. Paul Cook and the Chronicles, “Stop” (Single) (SH)
  5. Anderson East - “Surrender” (Encore)
  6. The Lost Wages, “Southern Accent” (Southern Accent)
  7. Bottle Rockets - “Human Perfection” (Bit Logic)
  8. Herbert Bail Orchestra, “Chains” (History’s Made at Night)
  9. Birdtalker - “Free Like A Broken Heart” (One)

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

PREMIERE: Greg Hawks -- I Hope I Never Know

Greg Hawks has been playing music for 30 years. That's a long time to be doing anything, obviously, and at this point you'd hope to be good at it. It certainly shows on Hawks' latest album, I Think It's Time. The album is in part a reaction to the Trump administration -- but it also takes Hawks back to his early musical passions for rock'n'roll and retro country. On "I Hope I Never Know," Hawks channels '60s folk rock and early rock'n'roll to process one of the most hardest leave-takings of all. Hawks has a lot to say about the song and the unglamorous realities of the modern working musician, so I'll let him take it from here.


Photo: York Wilson
 What is this song about?  Did something happen that was the spark that made you write it?

I don't think it was one specific event that triggered the inspiration to write this song. The song started with the idea of how easy it is to lose perspective on the things that matter the most in our relationships with the people we know and love the deepest. We've all been there—at least anyone who’s old enough to have had a long-term relationship. You find yourself in a fight that goes around in a circle to the point where you can't even remember how the silly dance even started. Things sometimes descend into ugly, emotional places where you say things that you don't even mean, just to inflict pain. Then when the dust clears and the claws go back in, you find yourself in calm moment of regret. Most of the time, if we're honest with ourselves, it usually has something to do with fear or insecurity about ourselves—not with the person we love. When you get hurt, you want to hurt back. It's human. But you have to be careful, because words are powerful weapons and sometimes damage can be done that can take a long time to repair. This song is about the sobering thought of what life would be like if the person you love the most ceased to be in your life. And that's where the line and title originate: “That's a day I hope I never know.” It's about putting the petty, short-term things in proper perspective. The song is a meditation and reminder to myself (and hopefully the listener) to stop making mountains out of molehills. All we have is right now, and that's really everything.

Did you have an idea of what you wanted this song to sound like before you went into the studio?  If so, how does the final version compare to what you imagined in your head?

Yes, I did. I was going through a phase where I was really enjoying some of my favorite pop music over the years. I was revisiting the great ‘60s folk rock period of The Byrds, The Hollies, and The Zombies ("Odyssey and Oracle"). I also returned to my old XTC records. I'd always loved their approach to pop music and their appreciation of jangly '60s folk-rock I love so much, especially the albums from "English Settlement" on. I'd forgotten how great "Nonsuch" was! Something else always present in all this music besides chiming guitars was incredible harmony singing, which I love dearly. So all of this informed the sonic direction of the song. Then when Tom Petty passed away, it hit me hard. I started to reflect on how long and how much of an influence and inspiration he had been for me over the decades. So much great music, so many great records. I also admired him for the way he carried himself and the unwavering integrity, originality, and character he maintained for his entire career. So as I went back through all of his music, which fits right in with the aforementioned jangly folk rock, it reinvigorated me and strengthened my musical vision. I definitely wanted this tune to be my tribute and nod of thanks to Tom.




How was it working with Chris Stamey again?

Working with Chris again was fantastic! He has helped me so much in making these last two records, not just with his brilliant mixing but with many valuable recommendations on how to make the most of a limited home studio space. He advised on miking techniques, on getting the best vocal sounds, and recommendations on essential gear for best results. His work flow and schedule fit perfectly with mine. Both of my last two albums were done the same way. I wrote and recorded and built each song from the ground up, one by one, here at my home studio, and then when it felt finished, I would send the files over to Chris. Sometimes he might be busy on tour or on another project which worked great because I would be working on the next tune, so by the time he had time in his studio to work on my stuff, he would have two or three songs waiting in his inbox, ready to mix. As an independent artist, this process has worked great for my schedule and budget.

What does he bring to the table as a mixer, and what made you want to work with him a second time?

Chris has an incredible ear for dialing in crisp, clear, and beautiful sonic clarity to everything. There's a timeless quality to his mixes I like a lot. He manages to get a state-of-the-art, modern-sounding mix that ages well. It never sounds dated. Chris always finds the right combination to bring out what's best for the song. The vocals and the lyrics are of utmost importance over everything else. He gets amazing vocal sounds, and I love that that is his first priority. Chris is an aggressive mixer in that he won't hesitate to eliminate an entire track if he does not think it contributes to the betterment of the song. This can be hard for me sometimes, and there have been some cases where I've insisted on putting something back in or to putting more of this or that in the mix. More often than not, his call is the correct one. He has seen so much in his years of experience as a songwriter, musician, band leader, arranger, as well as a recording producer and a sound and mixing engineer. Chris is a true artist in all regards. He has a true empathy for the person who is creating the work because he has seen and knows in great detail all sides of it himself through experience.

How was it producing the record yourself and playing most of the instruments? What were the hardest and easiest aspects of doing most of it yourself?


Producing my own music is always interesting, but I am much more drawn to the creative side of writing and playing music than I am with the technical side of recording or engineering. It's like anything else, I guess: the more you work at it, the better you get. You just can't be afraid to make mistakes because it's the only way to learn and develop your own touch. I think I'm getting better at it. I sure hope so! It's always thrilling when things start to come together, and it starts to feel like the song has a life of its own, directing you instead of the other way around.

At this stage, I view it as a necessary part of releasing your own music. In the age of Spotify and other streaming services where most folks expect music to be free or incredibly cheap, you have to cut costs wherever you can. That is the main reason I started doing everything myself. As far as playing all the instruments, it can be a challenge, obviously, but I find it easier to get the best parts for the song when I do most of it myself. I am not at all afraid to be brutally honest with myself when something isn't quite hitting the mark. There have been many times when I've recorded something that took a long time to create and record and seemed to be dead-on perfect at the end of the session. And then after listening to it the next day, I realize what I’ve just done gets in the way of the song, or I just don't like the way it fits with everything else. So I am willing to go back however many times it takes. That way I know I've tried everything and I've gotten my very best effort and performance for that particular part. I could never ask another musician to subject themselves to that type of time-consuming scrutiny. I couldn't afford it, either! So in some ways I consider that to be quite a luxury to have that time to listen to something repeatedly and have the freedom to go back and edit something or re-record it. 

I would say the hardest part of the process is the technical troubleshooting that goes along with digital recording. Sometimes files disappear mysteriously. Once the power went out here before I remembered to save a session and I lost hours of work. Since I do record at my house there are many other obstacles to overcome as well. Neighbors with chainsaws, neighbors who hate drum kits, helicopters and low-flying planes, loud construction projects, and barking dogs have all shut down part or all of a recording session. I’ve researched and set up all kinds of soundproofing, which has more or less helped, but it’s amazing what can still cut through. You just have to tell yourself sometimes, “Well, this session ain't happening right now," because it's clearly not meant to be.

The easiest part would be the flexibility of the scheduling. It's great when an idea might hit me at an odd time and within a short amount of time I can make it a reality. Us musicians all have unusual and very busy schedules, so it can take weeks or even months to get someone booked for a session. My inspiration space is right down the hall.

 I Think It's Time will be out on October 12th. You can learn more about Greg Hawks here.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 31

Von and Rachel talk spiritual experiences, though Von’s was at Disney World. As always, though, there’s lots of music to listen to and it’s all great.
  1. Jack Ellis - “The Barrel Of Your Gun” (Out Of Luck)
  2. Lauren Balthrop, “Down” (This Time Around)
  3. Will Hoge - “Stupid Kids” (My American Dream)
  4. Rob Kayes - “Never Giving Up On You” (The Long Shot)
  5. Lea Kalisch and Julia Ostrov, “You Were Strangers” (REVIVAL)
  6. Color Picture Book - “This Time Around” (This Time Around/Amsterdam 7”)
  7. Charlie Treat, “Lonely Believer” (Charlie Treat)
  8. Conn Raney - “Simple Man” (Single)
  9. Randy Steele, “Mabbit Springs” (Moccasin Bender)




Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops