catching up

Oh man, it’s been so long. Sorry about that. Let’s talk tunes.

‘Go Home’- Julien Baker
I have been listening to Julien Baker’s debut album Sprained Ankle on repeat for the better part of two weeks now. It’s an album of feelings and consequences and second chances and righting wrong choices and it’s one of my 2 or 3 favorite albums I’ve heard in 2015. ‘Go Home’ is the final track on the album and the one I’ve been stuck on most lately, and good lord, you guys, it’s a thing.

‘Been’- Boom Forest
Sorry, you just got pregnant. But, I mean, congrats? CONGRATS.

‘Death Row’- Jimi Charles Moody
We don’t know yet who exactly Jimi Charles Moody is, which is part of the charm (a friend guessed George Ezra, and that makes sense to my ear). This new one is great, same as the other 3 tunes we have from him have been.

‘Singing to Me’- David Wax Museum
Former top spot holder on my ‘songs I need a proper studio version of’ list. Very happy with how this turned out. Great songs are gonna be great, whether live in a video or all polished up in a studio.

‘Hurtling Through’- Tiny Ruins and Hamish Kilgour
Well, this is altogether lovely, isn’t it?

‘Memoir’- Villagers
Villagers quietly put out one of the most powerful albums of 2015 earlier this year in Darling Arithmetic and, well, Conor O’Brien is just gonna keep on putting out great stuff instead of resting, with the shifty, nervous ‘Memoir’ the first single from an album he/the group will release in January 2016.

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Monday Links

On Twitter and Facebook I share links each day to various stuff that I think is great and/or worth people’s time. But not everyone that comes here is on Twitter or Facebook, so I gather up the best of those links each Monday and post them here so everyone can get in on the fun. If you’ve missed any of the past Monday Links (or just want to waste some time), check out the archive here.

So yeah, this Donovan Woods tune is one of the finer things I’ve heard recently.

Gold Flake Paint posted a superb mix for fall the other week. You should really go listen to it.

Josh Ritter playing ‘The Stone’ on the front porch. Sure. I will watch that.

Nathaniel Rateliff playing a Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats tune without the Night Sweats. It’s still really damn good. Enjoy.

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Josh Ritter’s Sermon

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I’ve been on an extremely long journey the last few years, and Josh Ritter’s music has been a constant companion and soundtrack the whole time. Over the last week I’ve been thoroughly engrossed in his latest, the phenomenal, literate, fun Sermon On The Rocks, and was even lucky enough to catch him and his band with the Boulder Philharmonic this last weekend. I have a lot of words. I have a lot of feelings. They aren’t in order, but they are what I have kicking around my brain.

There are words about words and phrases, about those ones that cut deep or trigger vibrantly or lead to extended pondering or capture feelings so simply and perfectly it seems unfair. There are words about a man 8 albums and hundreds (thousands, probably) of shows in that still comes off as hungry and invested and willing to push himself to try this whole music making thing in different ways. There are thoughts about influences, about Petty and Simon and Springsteen, about how they are always there in Ritter’s writing but how the songs are always his, not pale imitations of theirs. And then there are are thoughts about how this feels like the proper follow-up to Historical Conquests, about how Sermon picks up where that left off, as though Ritter has dealt with those personal life demons that take over when you go through what he went through and he’s emerging happier, more content and ready to start moving his own (songwriting) story forward.

There are words and feelings and thoughts about how all of this applies to me and my life. There are words about life and salvaging things that used to matter in that old life and making them mean something in your new life. There are words about ghost ships carrying other lives we no longer live and all the memories and jokes and feelings and music that can and should only mean something on that ghost ship, and there are words about how sometimes you can find new life in a new love for those things you thought you lost forever. There are words about how long a year is, and how much can change in that time, about how little it all makes sense when you think hard about, and about how you wouldn’t have it any other way. There are words about love and personal wars and distance and a girl rescuing you and hearing old songs in new ways when holding her hand. There are words about new cities and new jobs and new homes and a new normal that makes you feel more alive than you ever have before, and how one man’s music has soundtracked it all, and how this new record of his will fit right in, playing in the background as your story pushes forward.

There are a lot of words. There are a lot of feelings.

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catching up

It’s been a good long while, huh?

‘I’m On Fire’ (Bruce Springsteen cover)- The Staves
Oh. Oh wow. This is really something.

‘T X T N’- Conner Youngblood
Still under the impression Conner Youngblood is going to be a star. The new EP he just put out does nothing to make me think otherwise.

‘Go Blue Blood Red’- Son Little
The Son Little album coming out on Friday is the most delightful surprise I’ve heard all year.

‘Doing The Right Thing’- Daughter
I think it’s great that Daughter’s album is coming out in the middle of January. I mean, that’s about the time it feels best to have your heart ripped right out of your chest, right?

‘Low Halo’- Lemolo
This upcoming Lemolo record (it comes out in the middle of November) is something you should be very, very excited about, guys and gals. It’s lovely and dreamy and exactly what you will want in your ears as the days get shorter.

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drive all night – a mix

Since reading that Steven Hyden piece about what makes a good driving song last week I’ve been working on cooking up my own mix. It started as two mixes at first- one for day, one for evening- but I soon realized that what I thought about when I thought about ‘driving music’ was music that sounded best during those golden hours as the sun rose and set, so that’s what I focused on. Below are 73 songs that work for those early morning or late night drives, songs to soundtrack some quality thinking time in the car, songs to potentially soundtrack a long drive from sunset to sunrise. Enjoy.

(click here to listen/subscribe to playlist on Spotify. yes, I get that it’s dumb to have something on a streaming service that might cut out when you lose service in your car, that you’re driving. I get it. whatever.)

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Monday Links

On Twitter and Facebook I share links each day to various stuff that I think is great and/or worth people’s time. But not everyone that comes here is on Twitter or Facebook, so I gather up the best of those links each Monday and post them here so everyone can get in on the fun. If you’ve missed any of the past Monday Links (or just want to waste some time), check out the archive here.

Thing you should be doing this morning (probably instead of reading this): streaming the new albums from both Josh Ritter and Son Little. Both are absolutely fantastic.

Speaking of Mr. Ritter, here he is playing an acoustic version of the first single he put out from that new album.

Lucy Rose is about as lovely as it gets.

More of Phil Cook playing old gospel songs, please.

Three pieces of writing form the last few weeks that are more than worth your time and attention: Welsey Morris on identity (and our obsession with it), Steven Hyden on what makes a good driving song (there’s probably  a playlist on this subject from yours truly in the works), and Shea Serrano on the best/most important hip-hop song of 2004 (which I had many, many drinks while listening to).

I would very much like to have Gregory Alan Isakov sing me to sleep every single night.

I’ve had this Villagers song on repeat for the last few weeks. It’s just so damn good, guys and girls. Enjoy.

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catching up

Less talk, more tunes.

‘Homecoming’- Josh Ritter
Won’t pretend otherwise: this is very likely my favorite song I’ve heard so far this year, a gorgeous, made-for-autumn tune, one that feels a bit like a continuation of the story being told in ‘Thunder Road,’ as my friend Jeff put it. The world is lucky to have Josh Ritter writing songs in it.

‘On The Nights You Stay Home’- Donovan Woods
There’s a new album on the way from Donovan Woods, you guys. Get your cardigan on and get ready to get sad. (I can’t wait.)

‘To Make It True’- Daniel Martin Moore
Daniel Martin Moore has a new album coming out next week. I listened to it all day today. It is absolutely tremendous.

‘Brittle Boned’- Julien Baker
Like Sharon Van Etten, but more heartbreaking. I love it.

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