Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paul Thomas Saunders - Appointment in Samarra

Maybe it's because I heard it at 4am, but holy crap, I was blown away by Paul Thomas Saunders from Leeds. That voice could cut through the most stoic of people. The song is from his recently released album, Lilac and Wisteria, which you can stream/buy on bandcamp. Sign up for his mailing list and get a free download. You absolutely must watch the very well done live video as well, and I never tell you to watch a video. I apologize for my lack of sleep contributing to my inability to express my thoughts.

  Appointment In Samarra by paulthomassaunders

Appointment in Samarra official live video from Paul Thomas Saunders on Vimeo.

David J Roch - Dew

David J Roch will be releasing his debut album August 22nd on Dram Records. His song "Dew" is promising for those craving something dark. His voice sounds like he's been broken into pieces and is now borderline menacing. I'm sure the word "haunting" will be used numerous times to describe this debut. What comes through in his songs more than anything is raw emotion. It sounds ready to soundtrack the climatic ends of prime time TV shows, which I mean in the best possible way. People will be all over this.

  David J Roch - Dew by David J. Roch

  David J Roch - Skin & Bones by David J. Roch

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bands Rec'ing Bands

I love when bands I like, recommend bands they like. It's really a very simple thing, and if you follow the ones that are on twitter to interact, you are likely to run across these types of recommendations. When I see those tweets I star them, email them to myself, or whatever I have to do so that I remember to check them out. If you're looking for some fresh additions to your music library, this tactic is highly recommended. Last night Hip Hatchet mentioned a favorite band from Portland, OR called Quiet Life who has a video out for a song that makes me want to pack up my car and start anew. Naturally, I love it. More recommendations and songs after the jump.

Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps - Tanktop

Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps of Minneapolis could be categorized as indie folk/pop. However, Caroline's voice is what will grab your attention which would put her in a category of female singers you likely know and love. Names like Feist, Laura Veirs, Regina Spektor, and Cat Power come to mind. Her songs reveal a youthful exuberance combined with a head full of doubt, which is the epitome of what it's like to be in the midst of your 20s. The sophomore LP, Little Wind, has depth as it starts with indie rock with a bit of grit and finishes with a sweet ukulele pop song, and cohesively showcases everything that falls in between those two poles. Little Wind will be released on September 20th. I'd put that date on my calender if I were you, you don't want to miss this album, it's truly beautiful.

Newport Folk Fest Preview and Playlists

This will be my first time at the legendary Newport Folk Fest and since the day the bands were announced I've marveled at how lucky everyone is to see this eclectic group of bands at one festival. Earl Scruggs will be at the festival for the first time since the festival first took place in 1959, please take a moment and wrap your head around that. At the other end of the spectrum Middle Brother, the one LP indie-rock supergroup of sorts, could be playing one of their last shows here as they alluded to in an interview earlier this month.

This is the first time in the impressive 50 year history that the festival sold out in advance. 10,000 people will be attending this year's Newport Folk Festival. The reasons seem to be clear, in that they did a tremendous job with booking as well as using social media more effectively than any other music festival I've followed. They've even had a Newport Folk Fest room since the early days of turntable and it always has a sizable group avidly using the chat box, giddily discussing all thinks Newport Folk Fest related. As for the booking, they gathered groups that appeal to all age groups with a healthy balance of indie credence and tried and true folk and bluegrass bands. Here are two playlists, one has everybody playing on Saturday (minus PS22) and one for everyone playing on Sunday. Every band is represented by one song, with the exception of Wanda Jackson getting two songs because she covers Bob Dylan's "Thunder on the Mountain", which seemed fitting.
Saturday                                                                Sunday
Note: the playlists might not load for you if you're using Chrome or a mobile device, but you can use these direct links: Saturday PlaylistSunday Playlist. There is also a bigger Spotify playlist with 2 or more songs from every NFF artist that can be found here. For optimal listening, play on shuffle.
For people looking for younger indie bands there's: Tegan & Sara, Delta Spirit, Freelance Whales, Typhoon, River City Extension, M. Ward, Middle Brother, Head & The Heart, The Cave Singers, and Mountain Man.

For people looking for the folk and bluegrass sounds: Justin Townes Earle, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Trampled by Turtles, The Secret Sisters, Brown Bird, Ramblin' Jack, Earl Scrugs, Gillian Welch, The Devil Makes Three, The Wailin' Jennys, Emmylou Harris, Pokey Lafarge, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Felice Brothers.

Then there's everything else that doesn't clearly fit into those categories: The Decemberists, Mavis Staples, Gogol Bordello, Sallie Ford, PS22 Chorus, The Civil Wars, Elvis Costello, Amos Lee, Wanda Jackson, and David Wax Museum.

I only grouped them this way to show how diversified and perfectly curated the line up is. I am positive that many people headed to Newport this weekend will be looking forward to seeing bands from each category.
Potential Scheduling Conflicts
Saturday's schedule is an easy one to plan ahead for with the only issues occurring at:
12:35-1:30 slot: Felice Brothers - River City Extension - Typhoon all play at the same time

Sunday's schedule is slightly more nerve racking
3:00 - 4:25pm slot: Amos Lee - Justin Townes Earle - Chris Thile & Michael Daves.
4:20 - 5:20 slot: Elvis Costello - Middle Brother - The Head and the Heart.
Useful Links 
Festival -
               Follow @newportfolkfest on twitter
Newport -
Must-have free iphone app - itunes
Folk Fest Twitter List - Stay on top of all the madness with this curated list of bands in attendance, music bloggers, press, and other important people that know what's up. (coming soon)

Music Bloggers (not published press) in attendance: 
follow their tweets if you enjoy being jealous
New Music Co @newmusicco
RSL Blog @theRSL
Music Vagabond @musicvagabond  & @jpage
Music Savage @musicsavage
Visible Voice @visiblevoice
The Wild Honeypie @wildhoneypie
Sleepover Shows @sleepovershows
& many others...

After Party Concerts: 
7/30 The Newport Nightcap ft. Vikesh Kapoor, Kingsley Flood, Swear & Shake, Pearl & the Beard // At Gas Lamp Grille // $5 at the door, starts at 7pm

7/30 Deer Tick & Friends at Newport Blues Cafe $10
7/31 Coyote Kolb at  Perro Salado // 9pm  Free
More to be added...

Other Newport Folk Festival Previews: 
NPR - Newport folk and jazz festival preview
Boston Phoenix - Newport Folk Festival Expands its Scope
The Wild Honeypie - Newport Folk Festival Guide and Interview with Jay Sweet
The Washington Post - Newport Stays Relevant at 52
Music Savage - Newport Folk Fest Mixtape for downloading
Visible Voice - 8 track mixtape of Newport Folk Festival artists

Hope everyone has a folkin' good weekend. I'll leave you with my favorite music festival song.
"To all the people out there: 
travel safe and take good care... 
...get some sunshine on your souls."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NMC Name Change

For a very long time I've hoped to redo this entire site. Anybody that has any ounce of web knowledge knows how stupid it is for me to change everything at this point. My SEO will go out the window, but I've never been here for hits, just the music. Along with the name change, there will be a complete redesign and I'll finally get a real URL.

The thing is, when I started this blog it was just for friends and I picked a name in about one minute, but now it's just a terrible and inaccurate descriptor of what this site is about. I want something unique with fewer creative boundaries. For instance, something I can utter in a noisy concert venue that people will remember and know how to spell. The whole process before me feels like Pinocchio when he finally gets to be a real boy, except I'll be turning this into a "real blog" and I'm excited about it. Here are the choices:

The Enamored Whale

  • PROS: This is a play on my last name, and is fitting in more ways than I'll list. Whales spend time just swimming along singing songs to each other. Everyone knows whales are the coolest mammals out there. I know how to draw whales.
  • CONS: I didn't know about this until I had already come up with the name and started searching for "The Enamored Whale" but an established and professional artist already has a series of artwork out there with the same name. Could cause issues? TEW is an ugly abbreviation.

Crack In The Cloud

  • PROS: It comes from lyrics in a Traffic song that has also served as my twitter bio for the past few months. It's a bit magical. "Climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the cloud, to a place where happiness reigned all year round & music played ever so loudly." Don't we all want to fly through that crack in the cloud? I imagine it's something like this but with music.
  • CONS: Not many people know of Traffic, a band from the 70s. The song isn't the type of music I post about often. It's a long name. 
  • PROS: Easy short name. I have the twitter handle.
  • CONS: It's cheesy and really dumb, pretend this isn't here.

New Music Collaborative
  • PROS: I've had it for 1.5 years
  • CONS: Nobody remembers what the "Co" is. It's not representative/explanatory of the site. Lame sauce. URLs with this name are tricky. But if you think I should keep it, I will.
If you took the time to read this, thank you a million times. If you could do me a huge favor and vote it will play a big part (but not necessarily a definitive part) in my decision. If you have any suggestions feel free to let me know. Thanks to all the readers, twitter friends, facebook followers, and the kindness of strangers who have kept it/me going this far, without you this wouldn't be nearly as much fun. I can't wait to become a real blog.

Also, if you think all my choices suck, please let me know, I won't be offended. Suggest anything.

The Earth is a Man - Soft Reset

Craving some instrumental post-rock? The Earth is a Man is for you then. I almost let this one pass by but then the third song on the album, "Soft Reset", jumped out at me. This one song was the more melodic hook I was looking for to get into this. The guitar intricacies are purposeful and not just thrown in to show off skills (which they clearly have lots of), and is the driving force behind the album. It might not be music you can enjoy passively, but if you pay attention and give it the time it deserves you will be rewarded. The album can be found at bandcamp on a name your price basis.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Buried in Bandcamp: Jesse Futerman

Found while browsing the "Toronto" tag, I settled right into this fully developed six song EP. The music uses samples but infuses a good deal of funk, jazz, soul, and plenty of vinyl pops and crackles and it gets smoothed right out into one crisp package. It reminds me of the lounge music I would encounter on a daily basis in europe with its cool and chilled out mystique. However not being much of a lounge person myself, I find that it's the perfect music to put on after a long day at work. It makes you want to throw your stuff down, sink into a comfortable couch, and let out a deep sigh, the one you've been holding in all day long. It's ultra relaxing. The album is a free download on bandcamp. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bluegrass for Beginners

While every other blogger is busy posting the new Girls track (which is awesome even though I'm not a huge fan their last album) or the M83 song (less than awesome), and whatever else is generating a buzz, all I can think about and listen to at the moment are bluegrass tunes. If Bluegrass was a season, it'd be summer. It is best enjoyed outside, preferably near a river and a campfire. Recently, I've been voluntarily taking heavy aural doses of mandolin and banjo. I had a hard time resisting doing a jig while waiting for a train when my favorite Trampled by Turtles song came up on shuffle. What I'm poorly trying to say is that this weather/music combo is perfection. Not to mention the summer always brings multitudes of cheap (as in free) and enjoyable folk/bluegrass festivals. I happen to have fond memories from childhood of my mom dragging my sister and I to some local festivals. Sure, it was the first time I saw women with armpit hair, but it was a healthy dose of something new and different and some of the first live music I ever saw which might explain my obsession with the combination of fiddle, mandolin, and banjo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family of the Year - Let's Go Down

Tracks of the week? Yeah, I think so. I'd love quote all of Family of the Year's lyrics because they couldn't be more fitting for the middle of a hot summer. Get their first full length (which is where "Let's Go Down" comes from) from 2009 on a name your price basis on their website. If you sign up for their mailing list they'll send you the link to download "Summer Girl" as well.

Let's get the hell outta here before we drive ourselves insane 
Let's go to the river, Let's go to the creek 
Let's go down in the water to wash off this dirty week 

 Summer Girl by Family of the Year

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Buried in Bandcamp: Derek James & The Lovely Fools

Derek James & The Lovely Fools is music that you would wrap in a bear hug if you could. It's so easily lovable and self described as "mama blushin' old-school bubble-gum rock", which sounds about right. The 16 song debut album is set to release September 13th, but if you're like me and can't wait that long you'll have to be satisfied with streaming it from bandcamp. My favorite tracks have been "Take You Out Dancing", "Dear Dove", and "Slow Go".

Ambassadors - Unconsolable

Ambassadors's track "Unconsolable" is the first single off their new album and is one of those where I reach the end of it and immediately need to hear it again. I first saw it posted on Music Vagabond and played it about 10 times that first day. Just press play and you'll see what I'm talking about. But if you need more goading, the beginning of the song is nothing but drum sticks and a slow pulsing deep bass and Sam Harris's powerful voice. Then the horns come in and you should be hooked by that point.
  Unconsolable by Ambassadors

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lyrically Linked: Tracing Your Outlines

I love making playlists with strong themes, but sometimes 3-5 songs fit together in the most perfect ways when it comes to the lyrics. Lyrically Linked is a recurring feature that shares these flawless matches. Let me know if I've missed anything by leaving a comment.

Recently, when organizing songs for a playlist a few of them lined up way too perfectly and I was astounded by the lyrical similarities. Usually I do this on purpose, but this time the songs just happened to play in the right order to make me realize that each song was about the intimate touch of another. The first three songs are about tracing a hand down someone's back. Check out the songs below to figure out what the hell I'm talking about.

Frazey Ford - Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Mmm hmm love some Frazey Ford, who was one part of the now defunct band Be Good Tanyas. She covers Bruce Cockburn's 1984 classic hit and turns it upside down, making it a tumultuous and moving song with her sultry voice, something the original was not. Her phenomenal debut album from last year is one you should be familiar with, it won't let you down.

Don't the hours go shorter as the days go by 
                                                 We never get to stop and open our eyes 
One minute your waiting for the sky to fall 
The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all 

Frazey Ford - Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Buried in Bandcamp: Red Shoe Diaries

Just another day spent browsing the "indiepop" tag at bandcamp. Red Shoe Diaries, from Nottingham, England, soar when it comes to their male/female harmonies and handclaps (especially on "Snowbird (Talk to Me)"), two of my favorite things. On their bandcamp page they claim to write "pop songs for messed-up grown-ups", works for me. The first three songs off their just released EP are my favorites. Definitely check out everything else Fika Recordings has put out as well.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pregnant - Letter to a Friend

Pregnant's "Letter to a Friend" popped up on soundcloud and without knowing anything about the band was instantly drawn to the combination of harp and cymbal and the . Considering that I drank a coffee that has me acting like a five year old who just ate a whole package of pixie stixs, this calming song couldn't have been more necessary in my life right now. Upon further inspection, "Letter to a Friend" can be found on Pregnant's (the moniker of Daniel Trudeau) 4th LP. You can find more of his music on his website. The collage of sounds that make up this song are the perfect compliment to his soothing voice. I urge you to enjoy this song outdoors.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ben Glover - Trick of the Light

Sometimes slow and easy is what you need to get through your Monday and Ben Glover's "Trick of the Light" gives you just that. Glover grew up in Ireland but relocated to Nashville in '08, which provides an interesting new landscape for his songs. Somehow this song feels as calming as enjoying a beer on a patio at dusk. You can buy his music here.

 Trick Of The Light by Ben Glover by GoodSeedPR

Cataldo - Rock of Calvary

Cataldo, otherwise known as Eric Anderson and a rotating group of friends, has finally given us a peek at the new album due out in September. I've been asking every Seattle person I know for news on Cataldo's progress, and I'm very excited to finally be able to share some new tracks. For the past two years I've been coming back to Cataldo's 2008 album, Signal Flare, because it just feels so fitting all too often. I keep that album in my car and it always makes forgetting my ipod a welcome pleasure. On one of my favorite songs, "Five Years Coming", he sings It’s been five years coming and one thing I can attest: that the simple songs of hope I wrote have always been my best.” and on these two new songs that Cataldo is sharing off the new album, Prison Boxing, I think it's safe to say he stuck to that formula. You can use the bandcamp link to download the songs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune

The flannel clad Canadian, with an irresistible boyish smile, played  to about 25 people in Boston nearly a year ago. It was instantly one of the best concerts I saw in 2010 and thinking about it brings a smile to my face, just like his music, which has been in constant rotation. The official announcement of Dan Mangan's third album came today and is set for September 27th via Arts & Crafts. Along with this announcement came this new song which deviates slightly from what we expect from Dan Mangan. It's noisier and is more rock than folk but his voice still cuts through and goes straight to your heart. Mangan himself has said that this album will be "hugely different", from the sound of this first track I have no doubts that he will pull it off magnificently.
"Oh fortune, bring fortune to spare/ Time's passing and we're worsen for wear."
 Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune by killbeat music
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