Saturday, June 30, 2012
Two Cow Garage: No Shame
Two Cow Garage is a rock band from Columbus, Ohio, that inserts elements of punk and country into their music. My friends tell me that they are one of the best live rock bands going these days, but unfortunately, I have yet to see them in the flesh. This song is off of their 2007 album III (not surprisingly, their third album), which is one of my favorite records from the last decade.
The song "No Shame" is essentially about quitting the band and getting a 9-to-5 day job.
Well now there's a guitar that's leaning on my wall,
the instrument of my ultimate downfall.
And notebooks scattered all over my floor.
Six hundred pages all filled with regret,
and hundreds of songs that I ain't finished yet,
and a job application getting harder to ignore.
I spent the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 unemployed, and this song became my theme song as I pondered changing careers. Fortunately, I did not have to change careers, and neither did Two Cow Garage. They are currently working on their sixth album (not entitled VI).
(Sorry this post is so short. Heat wave + no A/C = no brainpower for Aimz.)
Eddie From Ohio: Twenty Thousand Hearts
It's been over three years since we last saw Virginia folk foursome Eddie From Ohio on these pages, and a couple of years since they last headlined at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, a heady camping-and-more extravaganza on the NY/MA border where several of my fellow Starmakers are known to congregate the last weekend in July, and where, though they're known better, perhaps, for more wry, upbeat twirl-along tracks from a sweet series of albums, this quiet favorite, especially, has been known to echo off the hills beautifully, reminding us how well the band plays tender, too.
But Edheads, rejoice: I'm happy to announce that juliemikeeddie&robbie will once again be returning to the hills of Hillsdale, for their usual mainstage madness and - most especially - to host the Sunday Morning Gospel Workshop. I'll be there - and so, I suspect, will fellow FRFF/SMM regulars FiL and Susan. Feel free to stop in, folks; we're in the kid-friendly campsite with the white picket fence around it, with a full cooler to share.
Bonus video, taken live and on site at Falcon Ridge - can you believe it's been almost a decade since this set?
Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
First Aid Kit: Emmylou
So what if I told you that the best Americana you'd heard in years didn't hail from somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, but rather from a little suburb of Stockholm called Enskede? And what if I then told you that it was being made by two young sisters, aged 21 and 19 respectively, who despite their ages and geographical dislocation had somehow managed to tap directly into the vein of hickory-infused Blues and Soul that most modern Country acts search in vain ever to even locate, let alone access? And on top of all that, what if I told you that they were possessed of the assurance to conjure up the image of the titular Country legend, as well as the ghosts of Gram Parsons, June Carter and the Man in Black himself, inviting them to acquiesce to their effortless ascension to a pantheon most could only dream of emulating? Kind of unlikely, no?
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Janne Da Arc: Gaia
Acid Black Cherry: Ai no Baka! (Stupid Love)
It's been a month since I lost every song and image I've ever posted here. While part of me expected the hammer to fall, internet times being what they are, part of me is still in mourning the loss. What's worse is that I now lack the tools to continue a streamlined method of posting here.
Janne Da Arc was not actually named after Joan of Arc but rather a Devilman manga character. Janne da Arc is a visual kei band from Osaka that formed in 1996, and they're still going strong. The lead singer, Yasu, has also spun off a successful solo band, Acid Black Cherry (hey, another trinomial name I've linked, w00t!)
In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War, Freda Payne sang one of the great anti-war songs, “Bring The Boys Home” and had a surprise hit with it, taking the composition by General Johnson, Gregory S Perry and Angelo Bond to #12 in the US charts.
Posted by Any Major Dude at 4:40 PM
Electric Light Orchestra: Sweet Talking Woman
Monday, June 25, 2012
I was first introduced to Dead Men’s Hollow in 2005 with their debut album called “Forever True.” About a year later, they released their album called “Two-Timin’.” The band from Virginia, Maryland and D.C. plays Acoustic Americana, roughly defined as old-time, bluegrass, southern gospel and country blues fronted by three-part female harmony vocals and backed by acoustic stringed instruments.
Founded in Arlington, Va., they take their name from an area near there that was dominated by saloons, pawn shops and houses of ill repute in the aftermath of the Civil War. Today, that area is known as Rosslyn, but back then it was called “Dead Men’s Hollow.” To pass through safely, law-abiding citizens traveled in well-armed groups.
On a hot, humid summer day in 2001, Dead Men’s Hollow began as an impromptu backyard jam session. Upon hearing some real potential with their three-part harmonies, the friends decided to form a band. Original members Belinda Hardesty, Caryn Fox and Mike Clayberg enlisted bass-player Bob Peirce in the fall of 2003. Amy Nazarov (vocals) and Marcy Cochran (fiddle) joined in late-2003, and the band then began seriously gigging.
Nazarov grew up singing madrigals with her folks, on stage and in church choirs, and supplying backup vocals for friends. Peirce has played for 30 years, including stints in classic rock and blues bands. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Hardesty holds a music degree and teaches school. Cochran is a longtime folk music fan. From New York, Fox is a classically-trained soprano who writes and sings country heartbreakers. Clayberg (guitar, Dobro, mandolin, tenor banjo) played punk rock for 20 years before returning to his Virginia old-time country roots. In true collaborative fashion, each member brings things to the table that make for a convincing, cohesive musical presentation. Their instrumental work isn't flashy, but it has whimsical and expressive folksy charm.
Besides their spirited instrumentation, Dead Men’s Hollow has a harmony-laden signature sound that has built them a legion of fans. They emphasize their charm, effort and playfulness. The band’s vocal harmonies are of special note -- warm, friendly, and a perfect showcase for their earthier side. No doubt influenced by the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” phenomenon, the band clearly has a lot of fun.
On the sampled 2006 album, guest banjo-player Dan Mazer joins them on "Grandma was a Cropduster," "A Tale of the Week," and "Glory Land." The former, written by Bob Peirce, is an imaginative fictional account of a high-flying woman. It enlists the support of Ron Goad on backing vocals.
Since the release of their “Two-Timin’” album, Peirce has apparently moved on to other endeavors, and Jared Creason now fills the shoes on bass. He holds a B.A. with a minor in music from Indiana State University. In September 2010, Dead Men’s Hollow released a new album called “Angels’ Share.”
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Three Dog Night: Shambala
Everyone is lucky, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambhala
One (written by Harry Nilsson),
Momma Told Me Not to Come
Joy to the World
Easy to be Hard
Go Betty Go: You're Your Worst Enemy
Since I’ve started contributing to this blog, I seem to have written a great deal about my son, and not so much about my daughter. That is probably in part because my son and I have more similar tastes, and in part because by the time she was interested in going to concerts, her older brother could chaperone her. But we do have some good stories.
In 2004, my son wanted to go to Warped Tour. He was 14 and was in a punky phase. If you don’t know what Warped Tour is, it is a full day, multi-stage outdoor festival that is targeted at teens, and usually focused on punk, emo and other permutations of the style (screamo, ska, metal, etc.). It is also a great marketing event, with tons of sponsors and merch booths. I agreed to take him and a few of his friends to the show, which was held at Randall’s Island off of Manhattan. As it turned out, it was a great day. A rare August day that was warm, but not hot, with no humidity. We saw some great bands, including NOFX, Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Coheed & Cambria, Bad Religion, Sugarcult and Tiger Army. Because so many of the kids were in their early and mid-teens, there were lots of parents and there was a dedicated parents’ tent for all of the chaperones who wanted some air conditioning and a place to sit, but I never needed it. I had a blast.
Flash forward a year. My daughter is now almost 12, and she wants to go to Warped Tour. The lineup isn’t as good, but I had so much fun, I agree to take her, my son and a friend of his. This year, however, it is 100+ degrees. The hottest day in New York in years. Something that didn’t really register the year before is that there is almost no shade, and whatever shade there is, is filled with people and their trash. We do see some good bands, including The Transplants, Dropkick Murphys, My Chemical Romance, the Fear Nuttin’ Band and Motion City Soundtrack, but there are too many damned emo bands that sound alike. It is so hot, that I, a 44 year old lawyer with two kids, find myself lying in the dirt trying to stay cool. Luckily, the promoters provide free water trucks, or there would have been even more people passing out than we saw (they did have good medical support, though). And the line to the parents’ tent is incredibly long, so I don’t even try to get in.
At one point, my daughter and I are not interested in the bands playing on the main stages and head off to check out the smaller stages. Although there are girls at Warped Tour, the audience is mostly boys, and the bands are mostly male. We stumble upon a stage featuring an all-female band, rocking out. They are Go Betty Go, and they are great. The singer, Nicolette Vilar, has an incredible punk voice. Her sister Aixa is a muscular, powerful drummer, Michelle Rangel is a strong bass player, and the guitarist, Betty Cisneros, rocks. We enjoy the hell out of the set, and we buy their CD at the merch table. I was glad that there was at least one female role model for my daughter, who is a singer. Although her repertoire skews more toward singer/songwriter and soul these days, I’d like to think that seeing Go Betty Go reinforced to her that girls can rock.
At about 4, there is a brief rain shower that is welcome because it cooled everything down and kept some of the dust out of the air. Although Warped Tour 2 wasn’t the great experience of Warped Tour 1, I still had a great time, got some great stories, and shared some musical memories with my daughter.
In 2006, Warped Tour moved to The Nassau Coliseum parking lot, and we didn’t follow.
This song, “You're Your Worst Enemy,” is from the EP that we bought at the show. It is the first track, and is pretty much what you will get from the band. Tight playing, some harmonies and great hooks. The next year, Go Betty Go released a very good full length album, but canceled the end of the supporting tour apparently due to dissention in the band. Singer Nicolette Vilar left and ultimately was replaced by a singer who later was on American Idol. From all reports, the band is basically defunct, which is too bad.