Thursday, May 28, 2020

New from Mill Pond Falls

Never Needed, the new song from Mill Pond Falls, is a quiet instigator of sorts, marrying the worlds of Americana and indie rock over a raw, bleak landscape. This one feels timeless - and it easily could have come out of a different decade but it's difficult to remove it from the backdrop of self-isolation and reflection that have emerged as a part of the quarantine for the Covid-19 pandemic.

We know Joe McMahon, the heart behind the MPF story, from his many years of exquisite recording and live support on stage with some of the region's top music acts. He's become one of the most reliable and visible players in the city's music scene. The Mill Ponds Falls stage name accompanied the McMahon curated songs from his debut EP back in 2016 and we're excited to see it carried forward so strongly here.

And while standing in front of a bleak news cycle, McMahon remains positive. On the new track he calms the defeated listener assuring that "this too shall pass" and "put yourself at ease." Let's just hope Joe's right. Never Needed was written and recorded via social distancing in home studios. Players include Joe McMahon vocals, Tom Polce guitars, Ed Valauskas bass, and Eric Edmonston drums.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

The new trailer for Christopher Nolan's Tenet (July 17)

Christopher Nolan on the set of 1917

  Melinda Sue Gordon photo

an insane fan-filmed NIN concert

Let us not forget: Artists are music fans too! Never was that made more clear than yesterday when Trent Reznor, front man for Nine Inch Nails, sent an email blast letting fans know he was excited to locate a cool new fan-made video from 2018. It appears the footage, which is impressive, uses fan-powered photo and video stitching technology.  

The footage from the Cold and Black and Infinite fan video is mostly black and white and contains only muted colors. (Based on having witnessed the tour, I have to believe that decision was made due to the amount of strobe effects used in the sets.) And while this is certainly not the best NIN setlist I've seen, it contains some great performances and the footage is downright exceptional. Somebody worked hard to get this right:

00:28 Branches/Bones
02:19 Wish
05:58 Less Than
09:36 March of the Pigs
14:04 This Isn’t the Place
19:11 Reptile
25:40 Sin
29:56 The Perfect Drug
35:36 Shit Mirror
38:42 Ahead of Ourselves
42:13 God Break Down the Door
47:34 I Can't Give Everything Away (David Bowie cover)
52:41 Subterraneans (David Bowie cover with Bad Witch lyrics)
56:58 The Frail
58:10 Help Me I Am In Hell
01:00:37 Happiness In Slavery
01:05:35 Head Like a Hole
01:10:44 All the Love In the World
01:15:55 And All that Could Have Been
01:22:15 Hurt

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Archers of Loaf cover the Rolling Stones

One of the thousands of bands who saw their Tour Plans blown to bits by the Covid-19 Pandemic was Chapel Hill rockers Archers of Loaf, who saw their slowly expanding 2020 city tour called on account of the virus. Now the band is releasing singles, B-sides and covers. 

This creative arch is welcome and long overdue. It's been years since the Merge Records backed band has produced a full length album. Where there's smoke there's usually fire. Let's hope there's more Street Fighting left in this band. Archers of Loaf is Eric Bachmann, Matt Gentling, Eric Johnson and Mark Price.

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Kishi Bashi - This Must Be The Place

This week's Sunday Song is a cover of a Talking Heads favorite. Anthens multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi is pretty new to me but in my limited research, this is definitely an act you need to know. Bashi has a wide breadth of music to draw from. I was torn on whether to share the Paul Simon cover I found today or this one from David Byrne and company. 

Talking Heads win out. "Naive Melody" is a game-changer of a track, demonstrating a depth of songwriting perspective to match the quirky arrangements of the band. And Bashi's version of This Must Be The Place features Bashi and a string quartet. It's just lovely and most worthy of the Sunday Song spotlight.

Kishi Bashi's has a new album is called Omoiyari, which you can stream or buy on bandcamp. Consider yourself informed!

Kishi Bashi
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Saturday, May 09, 2020

Climb from Blondfire

This week Erica Driscoll of Blondfire unveiled her first new song in about two years and it's a beautiful banger! Blondfire tracks are uplifting, life affirming energy givers and it's been about two years since we've had something new to celebrate.  Climb is trademark Blondfire; singer Erica Driscoll's sultry lyrics broadcast over pure sunshine and impossibly catchy arrangements. 

The days are weighing heavily on us all. Many have lost people they love. About 15% of America is out of work. And the mental strain, the stress and fear are palpable. The Universe has sent new Blondfire to save us.

"That's how the song I sent you came about," wrote Erica to me in her pre-release chat last week. "I was just feeling a real heaviness about the world and kind of trapped. I picked up my guitar and it was like the song was just waiting for me to tune into. It's about escaping and rising above the bad."

 We're all feeling this weight right now Erica. Thank you for this. Please send more!

Climb / Web / Fb / Tw / Insta

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Hold On by Tom Waits

They hung a sign up in our town
"If you live it up, you won't live it down"
So she left Monte Rio, son
Just like a bullet leaves a gun
With her charcoal eyes and Monroe hips
She went and took that California trip
Oh, the moon was gold, her hair like wind
Said, "don't look back, just come on, Jim"

Oh, you got to hold on, hold on
You gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here, you gotta hold on

Well, he gave her a dimestore watch
And a ring made from a spoon
Everyone's looking for someone to blame
When you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You don't meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said, "baby, I still love you"
Sometimes there's nothin' left to do

Oh, but you got to hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on and take my…

Tom Waits
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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Chadley Kolb - 1822 (debut) Outlaw Roadshow Radio

I'm deep in mid-pandemic cleaning up in here! Walking down memory lane and found this cool Chadley Kolb appearance on Outlaw Roadshow radio. And found it a good opportunity to support a friend with new music. This recording was locked in Mr. Kolb's post Coyote Kolb solo efforts. This recording was made post Coyote Kolb and pre-vision quest era Chadley Kolb. No matter where you find yourself on the music spectrum, the man is a joy. 

After you watch the video step out and listen to his new album, Soundscapes & Instrumentals for something very different and just as special.

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Sunday, May 03, 2020

Repeat After Me: Rogue One is the Greatest Star Wars film

The Best STAR WARS movie was released in 2016.
There were no sequels. 

Happy May The Fourth everybody. I'm going to get down to it. I've grown up in the STAR WARS universe like so many others reading this. And now that I'm an adult, I can finally admit the truth: the greatest film of the STAR WARS universe was released in the 21st century and there isn't a Skywalker protagonist. The one and done Rogue One cast and it's shoe-horned story line is the top of the pile of films in the franchise. Like it or not, them's the facts.

Rogue One being #1 is so clearly true when you pull back on the camera every so slightly..  Let's add up the facts: STAR WARS universe - check! Lots of ships, lots of uniforms, tons of majestic backdrops; check! check! check! Expansion on a concept, not just riding it out - check! Explanation of "the sacrifices made" for the Death Star plans (foreshadowing some three-plus decades in the plot) - check! Lots of actually really interesting characters developed solely for storytelling and not as props - check! (The anti-hero Orson Krennic, played so well by Ben Mendelsohn, is one of my favorite character performances in the franchise.)

What else is there to love? A few pokes and prods at the "hokey religion of The Force" and only a single lightsaber (in perhaps the finest intimidation scene in the franchise.) Win. Win. Win. No directorial cheesiness (yes I wrote that) - check! A proper drama. A story not for the kids (despite Disney's best attempts) because hey [spoiler alert] everybody dies. That's storyline resolution you cannot find anywhere else in this Universe. It all adds up to the undeniable fact which The Mandalorian recently also provided.. a well executed side story is truly better storytelling than watching endless "Skywalker" films.

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso leads a magnificent cast in the best STAR WARS movie.

and then there's this.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Jenee Halstead - I'll Be your Man

New Music of the Week. Wow, this kicks some major tail. Jenee Halstead has teamed up with sound mage Dave Brophy to craft another-worldly pop song to listen to while you drive through empty streets this Quarantine. The new song is "I'll Be Your Man."

Video Directed By Armen Varadian

NEW THIS WEEK - "I'll Be Your Man" is an early release track for Halstead's fifth album, Disposable Love to be released this September. {from Jenee's website: "work with producer Dave Brophy- whom she describes as her “musical soul brother”- has sent her sound on a bigger and pop driven trajectory. The songs hold up a mirror to our current societal challenges, reflecting some of the biggest issues we are facing: artificial intelligence, climate change and rapid technological advancement in a post moral world."} Brophy is a wizard and he works with only the best. I'm really looking forward to this record. 

Ciao for now. Jenee is definitely someone you need to know.

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