For those of you who haven’t heard, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals have parted ways for now and he has started a new band that he is calling Relentless7. Ben says it is a name that he has been tossing around in his mind for a while now and has just been waiting for the chance to attach it to a group of musicians. The new album White Lies for Dark Times is due out in May on Virgin Records. The new outfit features Harper playing slide guitar and backed by guitarist Jason Mozersky, drummer Jordan Richardson and bassist Jesse Ingalls, the latter two of the Los Angeles band Oliver Future. These guys first recorded with Harper on the track “Serve Your Soul,” off of the 2006 double-disc album, Both Sides of the Gun. If you head on over to their myspace page, you can hear the album version of that song along with a rockin’ cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” and a surprisingly great rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” I am thinking this might be a good change for Harper.
This is a big year for the Boss. Not only did he just win a Golden Globe for Best Original Song with his song “The Wrestler” that he wrote for the film of the same name, but he is releasing his 15th studio album later this month and is then playing the half-time show for the most viewed sporting event of the year just five days later. Which by the way, it is stinkin’ awesome that for several years in a row now they have actually chosen artists with some talent to perform the half-time show. I haven’t had the chance to preview the whole album, but the few tracks I have heard are pretty great. I mean it’s one thing for an artist to have a year like this, but to turn sixty during the same year is quite an accomplishment. He is just proving to us that he is and always will be worthy of being referred to as “The Boss.”
Here is the official video for the 2nd track off of Working on a Dream, “My Lucky Day.” Head over here to pre-order the album.
14. A.C. Newman
Get Guilty – 1/20
The front man for one of my favorite indie pop acts, The New Pornographers, A.C. Newman releases his second solo effort today. Their last several albums have each just blown me away. Newman has written some of the best pop songs of 21st century. If it weren’t for Sufjan Stevens, “Sing Me Spanish Techno” probably would’ve been my favorite track of 2005, it might still be (the jury is still out). And the more I listen to Challengers, the more I love it. This is all to say that I am excited to hear what Newman has for us yet. Now I can’t image that it will be as good without Neko and the rest of the band backing him, but it will still be good. Listen and see that I’m right.
Not much info is out right now regarding the new Morrissey album. I have this bizarre cover art and I know that the oddly titled Years of Refusal is out 2/16 via Lost Highway. And I’ve managed to scrounge up a few tracks that are all fairly enjoyable. And then most of you have probably heard “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” for it can be found streaming on several web-sites including Stereogum. Now I really like this cheerfully depressing tune upon first listen. But then the video almost ruined it for me. I mean seriously? What is up with all the cheesy parading around the room? And the tambourine catch? And why are there little dogs walking through the screen at random moments. Maybe I am being unrealistic in what I expect from Morrissey, you tell me. Regardless, I think I’ve given you plenty of reason to look forward to this album.
Okay, enough with that schtick. I thought about writing an entire post in slow motion, but I hardly made it through one sentence without wanting to punch myself in the face. I can only imagine how painful, and confusing, that would have been to read.
And wanting to punch myself is often the response I have when watching a music video in slow motion. I am not sure why, but there seems to be a large influx of directors using this technique in their music videos. Heck, even I am guilty of it (more on that later). I can only guess the reason for the rise in this technique is because digital video cameras are becoming much more sophisticated and can mimic films ability to “overcrank” the footage. I would try and explain what that means, but as is the case with most of the things I want to say, wikipedia does a much better job (read this article if you give a crap).
Anyhow, this video, brought to you by Left Eye Blind does a fantastic job of utilizing “overcrank” and “time-remapping” techniques. Also, do yourself a favor and click the icon in the upper right hand corner to turn the “HD on”. It is well worth the extra couple of seconds of streaming time.
And finally, there are some exciting changes coming to the Music Video of the Week section. I’ll just say that starting next week things are going to start getting more “visual”. Until then, I hope your ears (and eyes) bleed.
January isn’t over and I am already excited about what a great year 2009 is going to be for music. Now I have no idea what all we are going to see get released beyond the month of June, but the releases I am aware of for the first half of the year have gotten me real excited. So I thought I would let you all share in this excitement with me. Now this list is numbered, but please keep in mind that I spent maybe 2 minutes on the order, in case some of these seem way out of wack to you.
20.Dave Matthews Band
Right now I don’t know much about this one, except that a new album is due out April 14th. The records is still unnamed and even unheard as they just dropped into the studio last week to begin recording. I know that DMB doesn’t really fit with a lot of the music we cover, but we’re all crossing our fingers, hoping that he will take us back to our middle school days and shock the music world by proving that he still has the chops to write a great record. I have a feeling that after losing their saxophonist Leroi Moore to an ATV accident this summer that they will all be really inspired to do something great in his name. And I don’t think that their music will suffer too much from his loss. Don’t get me wrong, he was pretty incredible. But the guy they have replacing him, Jeff Coffin, of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is no slouch. All this to say, that I do not believe myself foolish to expect great things from these guys once again.
On the 20th of this month, Antony and the Johnsons will release their 3rd full-length studio album, The Crying Light. The extremely creepy album art accompanying these new songs features a 1977 portrait of renowned Butoh dancer, Kazuo Ohno. “He is kind of like my art parent,” says Hegarty abotu the great dancer he has dedicated the new album to. He is definitely a strange one, but boy does he have an incredible voice. I continue to be impressed with both his songwriting and his vocal abilities. After sampling two tracks from the forthcoming album, I doubt he will disapoint any time soon.
From all that I have read and heard, this album will have more in common with last year’s Another World EP than featuring the same subject on the cover. Musically it is supposed to sound similar to and build upon their most previous work. Which sounds great to me, because I thought Another World had some of the best work yet.
Here is the tracklist for The Crying Light:
01 “Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground”
02 “Epilepsy Is Dancing”
03 “One Dove”
04 “Kiss My Name”
05 “The Crying Light”
06 “Another World”
07 “Daylight And The Sun”
09 “Dust and Water”
So we all new that when Nickel Creek was laid in the grave, that wouldn’t be the last we heard of those great musicians. Thile was first to strike when he released Punch in early 2008 with his new bluegrass collective The Punch Brothers. And now Sean has beaten his sister Sara with his new project with Switchfoot frontman, Jon Foreman. I’ve only heard the one single, but I’m already a fan. I’ve loved Foreman’s voice and songwriting for a while now. But I have been pretty disappointed with the direction that Switchfoot has gone on the past two records. But I have a feeling I will like what a collaboration with Watkins will produce. His best stuff has been just his voice and a guitar, so hopefully two voices and two guitars will be twice as good. Look for the record in stores this Tuesday (1/20) or order it online now.
Merriweather Post Pavilion, the eighth studio album AC has delivered in as many years, is set to see its official US release later this month. Never been a huge fan of these guys, but with all the buzz this album is receiving before its official release on the 20th. Everyone and their mom is talking about it. They have been the most blogged artist on hype machine for a couple of weeks now. Paste gave them 91 rating, which puts them in the category of phenomenal and is quite possibly the highest rating I’ve seen since they switched to this numerical system. I’ve listened to a few of the tracks and personally, I don’t see what all the buzz is about. Fortunately for you, one of our writers does. Check out Brady’s complete review of the album.
According to a blog post from Adams himself on cardinology.com, the man who brought us 10 albums in less than 10 years (not counting his unofficial releases) is apparently done with music. Now he could just be saying that he and The Cardinals are done. He was sort of vague. But he seemed to hint at the idea of not writing music at all anymore. Now not for a second do I think he will never make another album. If that were the case, I would add some teardrops in with this post. But even if we don’t hear from him for the next ten years, he has left us with plenty of music to digest. I have five of his albums and have even begun to exhaust them. Hopefully this will just give me some time to catch up, while giving him a chance to experience life beyond drugs, alcohol, and rock n’ roll. Check out some of my favorite tracks from the albums I do own, and check out his painfully long farewell speech that he has already deleted from the blog (thank you stereogum). And I’d encourage you to get some tickets for his current tour with the Cardinals while they are still available. For I am sure that after this, each and every one of those shows will sell out.
me- 34-a non smoker and happy, for the first time in my life.. i am excited to finish this wonderful time i have had with the cardinals and whatever new adventures may come after march. atlanta will be my last venture with the band and i am grateful for the time we have had and maybe someday we will have more stories to tell together. i am however ready for quieter times as i think it is very evident i am struggling with some balance and hearing issues.
also, no drama or anything but i am okay to step back from all of this right now and i think i did enough manic blogging when i felt alone and isolated during the last few years of travel. these last few years were the hardest i can remember and the most rewarding but i have loved ones to care for now and i am lucky i have been given a chance to turn around and see just what i am capable of as a friend and as someone who is not gone forever every year- it rendered me incapable of things i needed to be to myself and others- and my schedule sometimes never ended when the shows did- and some of that was my doing. and i lost someone i loved, and i lost myself.
that changed. i got to know just who i am in this little spell of time here recently. and change is the nature of the world and i naturally embrace that.
i won’t be blogging here anymore either- but not for effect- it just is not being kind to myself- i need a life that is mine- i need to grow up and grow in to who i have subtly been working back towards since i stopped all that nonsense and i know also no matter what i choose to do in the music world, because i chose to do things my way and never lie i will always be viewed as an “asshole” ( i hear and have seen things in the past) and i am not, and i know the truth and i know who i am.
also it is kind of ridiculous to blog as i am a musician and anything i say here just gets reprinted at some point out of context. i say NOT FAIR but it doesn’t matter what i say anymore or what is fair anymore really does it- the 21st century media has it’s own rules about what is true and what is not. it is not a life- not one i want to live anyway and i don’t really care to participate in narcissistic over-indulgent behavior anymore- that was never my intention- i just wanted to fight for my right to make music and to be given the benefit of the doubt. now, because i have stood up for myself and fought for myself i am labeled all kinds of awful things. well, i will walk away now and it will not matter what anyone say’s. there are other things i can do in this life, other ways to be creative and to try and help others and be expressive without being demonized for attempting to gain the same things any other human being desires- love- friendship- understanding- and being able to express yourself without constant fear of being mistreated for speaking up
i have friends to make, brand new books coming (two of em’ not counting that one already printed and on it’s way out there and i LOVE writing….yay!) and a whole lot of living and learning to do.
i am excited to step away. i lost more than anyone will ever know (hearing, someone i loved, my sense of dignity, a never ending losing battle with stage fright and now my hearing and balance due to an inner ear issue- people accusing me of not being sober when i am suffering tremendous pain and nausea from my inner ear symptoms- people accusing me of theft (THEFT- ….awful) and this is not much of a life, not glamorous like those ridiculous video’s a long time ago television played and no it is not monetarily as rewarding as people would like you to believe and yes, it is soul destroying. especially when you spend your life trying to write about the really difficult stuff and you stand there losing your way and people yell at you like you were in a circus. when it was your dream to matter and you realize one day, it never mattered- i mean, i am a punch-line and a footnote in what is worse to yell at someone besides “free-bird”. i mean, i lost. and it’s okay because i seriously snuck some pretty neat idea’s in there in the work when i was making those mistakes or they were being made by others. this business is no science.
andf you know, whatever this is- it’s not my dream. and it is a punishing thing to endure when you are getting worse and worse- it’s not my dream, my dream was to try and tap into that energy i saw watching Minutemen vcr tapes when i was just a little shit in NC of mike watt’s crazy shaking leg and his electric fingers- or how sonic youth droned into beautiful clouds those guitars shaking, kim and steve rattling the pulsing lines into feverish thudding imaginary subway cars racing through my heart- and how it felt to just let go and static up a riff and find the sweet spot- but getting yelled at for just being a songwriter- to be called so many horrid things because i chose to love music so much, and also to look for peace and balance in my life- that is not kindness and just not my thing. at least not now.
and i loved somebody. and i let others decided if that was okay and that was wrong and i was wrong and no one should deny themselves or others love or understanding because people don’t get it. that was an awful mistake. i always make big mistakes. it’s like i let myself learn that because that was a role, a niche’ i filled that make sense to a loud voice of strangers who would never really play a real part in my life.
never become that if you choose this path- if you go this route with your art. never listen to those loud dissatisfied bystanders who only want to see you fail because that will be entertaining for that moment. hold fast to your dreams, hold faster to your heart and never step out of the light of that love that made you whole. i did. and i know better now. and better late than never i suppose.
but i am okay now. i see a peaceful way to better days now. i am healing. and most importantly i feel loved and i have learned to treat myself with that same curiosity and lover that i have been lucky enough to feel and to learn to let guide my life. love is the great teacher and i am happy to be learning now. happy to be listening to that over this never ending painful ringing. this is the great lesson of my life. for once i want to be dignified in my study and in one place long enough to hear and understand without my pride or my lack of faith in myself leading me further away from things i need to know once and for all.
this is the real work now. the rest is something else entirely.
quitting smoking was a good step and i am happy i also am just now beginning to understand how important it is i take better care of myself in every way right now. hell i am even beginning to sleep a little and i can feel the things good and bad that i did not have time to feel when i was running towards a new oblivion of work, hoping somehow someday what i did would be accepted and maybe that would make me feel loved. how foolish.
that is not love. love is being accepted for who you are. love is taking care of yourself and caring for others and dreaming out loud when it matters. not chasing rainbows. not hoping for some eventual collective sigh of approval which will never come. how did i ever think in those terms? i always knew better. thank goodness i know now how to be honest with myself.
anyway, enjoy these shows ( i will enjoy them immensely and i will miss them just as much) and know that i am not abandoning anyone, not the cardinals and not the fans, this is just something i need to do now, and that i loved playing music in the cardinals and hell, even before i was in a place to try and learn to be well, music was my life source- and cardinals was such a heavy crush and a real dream…i honor it too much to have any regrets right now, i am just proud.
maybe we will play again sometime and maybe i will work my way back into some kind of music situation but this is the time for me to step back now, to reel it in and i wish everyone peace and happiness and if music is your dream, or if just dreaming is your dream, may you find your way through the rough patch with ease and i hope you let go and it takes you all the way there-