You may have noticed it’s been a little quite here over at The Music Moms. I wanted to first off apologize. I took a bit of a break to have a baby aka I unplugged to spend quality time with the little ones. It’s been a nice “vacation” but don’t fear; we are not going anywhere.
I thought I would be blogging away during this time but instead I spent time refocusing and with the family. I know we’ve missed a lot of great music but we’ll try to catch you up to speed with all the good stuff.
For the follow up to 2011’s Dirty Radio, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outsidetweaked their formula just enough. They still are playing blues fused indie rock, but with Untamed Beast they lean more towards the indie rock side of things.
It’s fairly ironic that their last album was called Dirty Radio when that one comes across as much more polished while Untamed Beast is dirtier indie-blues. The album’s opener, “They Told Me,” would sound just as at home on Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s later work. “Addicted” is one of the groovier tracks, with what sounds to be the world’s slowest pick scrape running throughout. “Shivers” and “Roll Around” bring it back to the pure blues sound, while “Devil” is a pure rockabilly romp. The music might be dirtier, but it still has the same pop sensibilities as their debut album, even if Sallie Ford has a bit more snarl and aggression this time around.
Since Dirty Radio was one of my favorite albums of 2011, I can happily say that Untamed Beast beats and surpasses all expectations. I always have a bit of a hesitation before listening to the follow up to a beloved debut album. That hesitation was completely unneeded. Check out the video for “Party Kids” below, go to the band’s website here , and see their tour with Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.
Paul Williams: Still Alive doesn’t just follow the traditional rock doc format popularized by VH1’s Behind the Music (rise to fame, being on top of the world, fall/substance abuse, where are they now). It also follows the perspective of director Stephen Kessler (Vegas Vacation) as he shamelessly tries to get his childhood hero to like him and be his friend.
I’ll be honest. Until recently I had no idea who Paul Williams was. I’m willing to bet most of our readers don’t, either. He’s written some of the most well known songs of the ‘70s: The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun,” Barbara Streisand’s “Evergreen,” and, in my opinion, one of the greatest songs ever written, “Rainbow Connection.” He’s acted in Smokey and the Bandit and The Love Boat along with regular appearances on Hollywood Squares, The Gong Show, and 50 appearances on The Tonight Show. He’s won multiple Grammys and an Oscar. But most people in our generation don’t know who he is.
The great thing about this film is you don’t need to know Paul Williams to love it. Kessler’s unabashed enthusiasm for meeting Paul is contagious. You can’t help but root for him as he gushes over his idol hoping to be taken seriously as an artist, and his desire to truly become his friend. You feel his pain as he gets brushed off for interview time and crosses a line with an interview question. It’s the true life version of William Miller trying to interview Russell Hammond in Almost Famous. Paul Williams: Still Alive is one of the most charming films you will see all year, and a must for any music fan who still obsesses over childhood idols.
Paul Williams: Still Alive is available on DVD now. You can also download it at the film’s official website . Check out the trailer for it below, along with Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection,” just because I can.
Wooden Wand, aka James Jackson Toth, has been around for quite some time, recording under not only Wooden Wand, but also James Jackson Toth and Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice. His style is hard to pin down, but he’s usually associated with the New Weird America movement along with artists like Devendra Banhart and other “freak folk” acts.
Blood Oaths of the New Blues is the first great album of 2013. Gone are the 10+ minute tracks of bizarre flute noises you would hear on 2004’s Xiao, although the opening track, “No Bed for Beatle Wand – Days This Long,” does clock in at an epic 12 minutes. This is Wooden Wand’s most straightforward album to date, which still leaves plenty of room for the weird. It’s most like filtering the raw, unflinching heartbreak of Vic Chesnutt through Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. The all instrumental “Dome Community People (Are Good People)” is the closest you truly get to the typical “freak folk” of a Wooden Wand album, with its 1:30 burst of guitar ambience. It’s the perfect album for M Ward fans who aren’t quite ready to move into Devendra Banhart.
Check out Wooden Wand’s website . Also, below you’ll find a video for “Supermoon” and a download of “Southern Colorado Song.”
Recently released on DVD (and nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature), Searching for Sugar Mantells the impossibly true story of Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a folk singer in the early 70s discovered in his native Detroit and signed to a record deal. His first album, Cold Facts, was such a commercial disaster that he disappeared completely from the recording industry, never to be heard from again.
Except, a single copy of Cold Facts found its way into South Africa and spread its way around for 30 years by way of bootlegs and “official” releases. The music of Rodriguez struck a chord with the youth of South Africa and had lyrics that resonated with the anti-apartheid movement. With no actual knowledge of his back story, rumors surfaced of his death. The most spectacular of these involves his suicide by lighting himself on fire. On stage. It wasn’t until 30 years after the release, and flop, of Cold Facts that one South African reporter dug around to find out the truth about Rodriguez that he discovered Rodriguez was alive and still living in Detroit.
Far from being a standard talking heads music documentary, Searching for Sugar Man truly shows the passion Rodriguez’s fans have for his music. The first half of the film shows how the legend of Rodriguez grew in South Africa through some of the most passionate and loyal music fans I have ever seen. The second half starts out with what Rodriguez has been up to for the past 30 years, followed by his triumphant first tour of South Africa in the late 90s. This story is almost impossible to believe, and it’s 100% true. With all the social networking available to artists today, it’s hard to remember that musicians could fade into complete obscurity and never be heard from again. It’s one of the most heartwarming comeback stories of all time.
You can find Searching for Sugar Man on Amazon or your preferred movie rental option. Check out the trailer below, as well Rodriguez’s upcoming concert dates.
Monday, April 29 The Depot Salt Lake City, UT, US
Tuesday, April 30 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO, US
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 PRIMAVERA SOUND BARCELONA 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013 PRIMAVERA SOUND BARCELONA 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013 PRIMAVERA SOUND BARCELONA 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013 PRIMAVERA SOUND BARCELONA 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013 PRIMAVERA SOUND BARCELONA 2013
It’s already time to start thinking about the Newport Folk Festival. Earlier this week, Early Bird tickets went on sale for the 2013 Newport Folk Festival and almost immediately sold out. Currently 3 day passes are also sold out (?!?!), leaving Saturday/Sunday passes and individual day tickets. This is all before a single band has been announced. What I’m basically saying is buy your tickets ASAP before they completely sell out. This year the festival runs July 26-28 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. 2 day tickets are $149, Friday tickets are $49, and Saturday and Sunday tickets are $80. Kids 2 and under are free. For kids 3-12, 2 day passes are $30 and individual day tickets are $15. For more information, check out the festival’s website and check out full sets from last year on NPR’s website . I’m also including some pictures from last year, courtesy of Melody Lauginiger.
If you made it last year, we’d love to hear your feedback and tips in the comments section. Hope to see you this year!
Live albums are a strange thing nowadays. I remember back in my teens, no trip to Hampton Beach was complete without a visit to the head shop to check out their selection of bootleg cassettes. I used to pay upwards of $25 each for “import” cds that swore to be official releases, just European only official releases. In the internet age, that kind of purchase seems completely archaic. With just the click of a mouse, I can have pretty much every show bootleg friendly bands have ever played. There are even websites that specialize in recording shows (NYC Taper, Southern Shelter, etc) and usually get soundboard access to record, all for free. So why would anyone ever pay for a live recording in 2012?
It would have to be an early recording of Sonic Youth. Recorded in 1985, Smart Bar Chicago 1985 has early versions of classic Sonic Youth songs such as “Expressway to Yr Skull” and “Death Valley ’69.” It shows a band just as they make the switch from their earlier post-punk days to when they discovered what their sound would truly become. It also features “Kat N Hat,” which was only ever released on cassette in 1985. It’s such a rare song it was only performed for roughly two months during that summer. That track alone makes Smart Bar Chicago 1985 a must have for any Sonic Youth die hards.
Smart Bar Chicago 1985 is out now in digital, cd, and vinyl on the band’s own Goofin’ Records. Check out the track list below, and also check out “Intro/Brave Men Run (In My Family):
Death Valley ’69
Intro/Brave Men Run (In My Family)
I Love Her All The Time
Kat ‘N’ Hat
Kill Yr Idols
The Burning Spear
Expressway To Yr Skull
Making The Nature Scene
For his first solo album, Drive-By Trucker’s Mike Cooley made an interesting choice. Where most artists branching out from their band will release a collection of new songs that make you wonder why they even bothered with a solo album, Cooley’s solo album (The Fool On Every Corner) is a live album consisting of mostly Drive-By Truckers songs. The familiar, classic Drive-By Truckers songs are stripped down to a point of being almost unrecognizable. Songs like “Cottonseed,” “3 Dimes Down,” and “Shut Up and Get On the Plane” are brought down to their complete bare bones without the great big rock show of DBT behind them. Even the arrangements have been changed, so it’s more like a whole new song than just Unplugged versions of the hits. It really gives Cooley a chance to shine on his own. The best (and possibly worst) part of DBT is the fact that they have two of the greatest rock songwriters around today in Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, and sometimes Cooley can get relegated to sidekick status to Hood. There’s even one local Boston writer that goes out of his way to mention his disdain for Cooley’s songs whenever DBT comes through town. This solo album shows that Cooley can stand on his own as a songwriter and performer.
Below you’ll find a current list of Mike Cooley solo dates as well as a video for “3 Dimes Down” and “One of These Days.” To purchase The Fool On Every Corner or any Drive-By Truckers related product, check out their website .
Fri Feb 08 Nashville TN The High Watt
Sat Feb 09 Nashville TN The High Watt
Sat Feb 16 Los Angeles CA Hotel Café
Sun Feb 17 Santa Monica CA McCabes Guitar Shop
Mon Feb 18 San Francisco CA The Chapel
Wed Feb 20 Portland OR Doug Fir Lounge
Thu Feb 21 SeattleWA Tractor Tavern
Sat Feb 23 Denver CO Larimer Lounge