Friday, February 23, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 4

This week we stray from our usual roots-y path to bring you some great guitar music from other realms. Also, Superbowl cakes, bad opinions about Firefly, and why activism is important to Rachel.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats - “You Worry Me” (Tearing At The Seams)
Juliana Strangelove, “Bourbon Street” (Single)
The Urban Voodoo Machine, “January Blues,” January Blues
Kellen Of Troy - “Selfish Kind Of Love” (Posthumous Release)
Hardened and Tempered, “Hard Winds,” The Trailer Sessions
Amparo, “Lidkoeb,” Rains
Bark - “One Eyed Driving (Self Titled)
Movements - “Daylily” (Feel Something)
The Creature Comfort, “What We Want”, What We Want (Power Corruption Lies)
Samantha Crain - “Oh Dear Louis” (You Had Me At Goodbye)

And you can support the podcast via Patreon or Ko-Fi! Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hardened and Tempered -- The Trailer Sessions

What's left when you give of yourself day in and day out? Hardened and Tempered, a queer country duet out of Austin, sought to answer those questions in The Trailer Sessions. Drawn from their experiences working in an oncology ward (Carolyn Phillips) and as a public defender (Kristin Davidson), these songs are products of some of the most human work there is. They're the stories and reflections filed away and absorbed when connecting with others when they're at their lowest.

Phillips and Davidson balance each other perfectly in their harmonies and playing. The spirit of collaboration is a major theme throughout this album, both lyrically and in terms of the duo's practice. It's this lack of ego that certainly enabled them to do the work they've done in addition to their music. Just as it has elevated others, it elevates the songs here as well. The Trailer Sessions is, overall, a gentle album. None of the characters are presented as pathetic, but they're not in need of sympathy. The heartbreak, the losses, the uncertainty -- it's a part of life that we all eventually pass through.

Hardened and Tempered -- Official, Facebook, Store

Hardened and Tempered will be featured on tomorrow's podcast! You can support us by subscribing to our Patreon or dropping a one-time tip in our Ko-fi!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Amparo -- Rains

Ten minutes might seem like an odd runtime for an EP, but Amparo's Rains knows not to overstay its welcome. The three-track instrumental combines gentle, organic guitar work with electronic looping and modulation, creating something a little more than human. Rains is an apt title for this project, a calming cycle of music that want's to remind you its their without making too much of an impact on you.

I'm writing this as New York settles into a sudden 6 inches of snow that will then clear up to 70-degree weather later in the week. Rains will be perfect to have on loop for such a strange, ambiguous weekend. Overall, I get a sense of ambiguity as I listen to the music -- a little melancholy and bittersweet but overall, Rains is uplifting.

Amparo -- Official, Bandcamp

Thanks for reading! Amparo will be featured on Thursday's podcast! Help us help you find great music by subscribing to our Patreon or dropping a tip in our Ko-fi cup!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

VIDEO: Jeremy Squires -- The Gift

Jeremy Squires is surely about to release a stunner of an album. While Poem doesn't yet have a release date, he's released a number of singles that have me quite excited. In "Gift," Squires reckons with loss and nostalgia in a somber piece that insistently grabs your attention.

Jeremy Squires -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

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Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 3

Rachel and Von return to discuss aging, dental health, snakes on a seat, and how sometimes it’s not great to say yes to everything. Also, some excellent tunes.

1. Good Graces, “The First Girl”, Hummingbird 
2. Molly Parden - “Sail On The Water”
3. Jesus and His Judgemental Father, “Not My First Rodeo,” It Might Get Better 
4. JJ Woolbright & The Whiskey Road - “Rebecca,” Raising The Dead
5. Crys Matthews -- “We Must Be Free”, Battle Hymn For an Army of Lovers
6. Flood County, “That Old Famous Smile”, We’ll Be Fine
7. Quiet Hollers - “Funny Ways,” Amen Breaks
8. Eric Peter Schwartz, “Weight of the Girl,” Highway 45
9. Seth Glier - “Water On Fire,” Birds
10. Josh Warren, “Endless Memory”, Josh Warren and the Family Band

You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, and any of your favorite podcast apps, or listen to the episode directly here.

(Also, this is the blog's 1200th post!)

Aaaand you can support the podcast via Patreon or Ko-Fi! Thanks for listening!

Crys Matthews -- Battle Hymn For an Army of Lovers

I really love my job, but I am extremely jealous of whoever does the music placement for Democracy Now! (It's an independent news show, should you be curious. They're are very unapologetically left-leaning if that's your thing.) During commercial breaks, the music coordinator plays music relevant to the upcoming segment, though they often have a sense of humor about it. I use it to learn about a new music. The other day, a powerful protest song came on. I grabbed my phone to write down the artist's name, though it sounded familiar. Turns out it was Crys Matthews' "Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers," which has been sitting in my "to review" pile for a criminally long time.

Tracy Chapman may sound like a lazy comparison, but I think it's a valid one: Matthews shares her direct songwriting approach and delivery; her intricate guitar patterns bring to mind Ani DiFranco. Following in both songwriters' footsteps, Matthews' EP is a fantastic collection of protest music, sure to bring a balm to the hearts of everyone weary of the onslaught against minorities' rights under Our Dear Leader.

What strikes me most about Battle Hymn is that, in some ways, it's a pretty happy album. I think a lot of the time protest music comes from a place of anger and fear, which can be wearing. But Matthews' work -- I highly encourage you to listen to her other recent release, The Imagineers -- is imbued with love. Not squishy romantic love, but love in the radical sense: a deep belief in human goodness and a worldview that seeks to bring that goodness out of people. It's this love that elevates these songs that would, in lesser hands, sound cliche or insipid. Battle Hymn For an Army of Lovers is required listening for all of us.

Crys Matthews -- Official, Facebook, iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby

Crys Matthews will be featured on today's podcast! Thanks for listening and help Von and me help you find great music by contributing to our Patreon or Ko-fi!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Flood County -- We'll Be Fine

Things are a bit stressful right now, but Flood County will slow you down. These songs aren't happy by any means -- it's a classic country album, why would you think otherwise? But the mellow harmonies of Stewart Peck and Kate Meier-Peck, coupled with a beautifully recorded string section and lyrical pedal steel, call to mind the album's title. No matter what happens, things will turn out okay. Perhaps.

Flood Country brings their compassionate fatalism to songs like "World Come Undone":

it's the same old song
i sing about you
my arms ain't long enough
to wrap around you

it's all gone wrong
in a world come undone

find a hole and crawl inside
bring along some brandywine
to keep you warm 

And while you might feel you need to buckle in for this album, the warmth of the songs make the bitter medicine go down excessively easy. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for some sly humor, like we see on "Easter Monday":

after jesus died up on the cross
he turned around and took sunday off
met some friends and just headed home
sometime a man would rather be alone

monday morning finally rolls around
still in bed around a quarter to twelve
crown of thorns still laying on the floor
don’t seem so special to him any more

If you've been yearning for some truly classic country songs, Flood County are an important entrant into your collection. The lyrics read like poetry and are delivered with intimacy and -- that unicorn -- genuine emotion. Not only do you feel like Flood County has been down there with you, you'll feel you can find a stranger and waltz along.

Flood County -- Official, Bandcamp

Flood County will be featured on tomorrow's podcast! Help Von and me help you find great music and support our Patreon or drop a one-time tip in our Ko-fi cup! Thanks for reading!