Monday, August 24, 2009

More Music - End of August 2009

As promised, with the new system in place, I'm bringing the music to you faster (at least I am starting to get caught up... maybe by the end of September). All of these bands have been spinning since the weekend. Also included in the lastest update are: Some covers from the Cowboy Junkies, yet another version of "Alone Again or" from Calexico, a couple from the first 2 Rachel Sweet CDs, some music from Woodstock, songs from Sea Wolf, and tunes from Warren Zevon's "Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School". Hope you are enjoying all of the music. Thanks for listening to The Promise.

Sound of the Blue Heart - Wind of Change (2009)
Earlier this year I talked a bit about their previous release, which I loved. They are back with a new CD and this is even better than the last. I believe I compared Johnny Indovina's voice to Bowie, but I really believe it is closer to David Sylvian from the band Japan. If you are familiar with that music, think a more accessible, more pop sound and you've got it. This is going to go down as one of my favorite indie releases this year. Do check them out at
N.E.D. - No Evidence of Disease (2009)
It sounds like a bad idea: Let's get a group of doctors (not just any doctors but exclusively gynecologic oncology surgeons) together and make a rock and roll album. But, the CD is actually pretty darn good. From mid-tempo songs to hard rockers and then back to modern folk, this six song CD covers lots of ground and is very enjoyable. The production is nice and clean, the vocals (both male and female leads taking turns) are capable and solid. You might want to buy this CD not even knowing that it is a benefit for a cancer foundation. So how can you resist? The CD goes on sale September 8th. You can find out more about the CD, the Facebook page and the organization behind at:
Son Volt - American Central Dust (2009)
There is something calming about knowing that the feel of a Son Volt CD doesn't change. Jay Farrar's unique vocals over crashing guitars, walking on the fence between rock and country like no one else, with maybe the exception of Wilco. I love their sound. This IS Americana at its best.
Wilco - Wilco (The Album) (2009)
And speaking of Wilco... What can I say about Wilco that hasn't already been said by just about every music magazine and blog. Their new CD continues with the beautiful melodies and sonic experimentation; leaning more on the melodies this time. Another great CD from one of America's best.
Tom Morello The Nightwatchman - The Fabled City (2008)
I saw Tom perform a few times with Springsteen, but was blown away when I saw him do his own solo set at a tribute show not long ago. And the one song that really stuck was, "The Lights are on in Spidertown". There are some really good songs on this CD and Tom, sounding more like Dylan than Rage, does a great job putting it all together.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More New Music for August

Okay, let's see if I can get caught up on the rest of these CDs now playing on The Promise...

Bob Dylan - Together Through Life (2009)
Well, he certainly has that swamp boogie/old man blues thing going. He may not be the most relevant performer today, but he is an artist with a vision. I really enjoyed his latest.
Pete Yorn - Back & Forth (2009)
Pete has always had a way with melodies and arrangements. Sometimes I'm not sure about his lyrics, but that is always overshadowed by the pure joy of listening to his CDs. Another good one for Pete.
Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (2009)
This time Elvis moves into the bluegrass world and conquers it. So what's new? He brings his art to every genre and we are all better for it. Loved this CD a lot... Maybe not as much as his rockers, but still a great listen.
Nils Lofgrin - The Loner (2009)
Nils does Neal (Young that is) and you can't help but enjoy it. This is a laid back enjoyable spin, with Nils picking his favorites, not necessarily the biggest hits. His guitar work is, as always, exquisite, and his vocals generally convey the pain and joy that Neal first brought to the songs; but in Nils own style.
Gary Jules - Bird (2009)
Another beautiful CD form Gary. If you haven't gotten past his great remake of "Mad World", do yourself a favor and check out any one of his excellent CDs.
Death Cab For Cutie - The Open Door EP (2009)
I believe these were leftover songs from the last CD, "Narrow Stairs". I loved that CD and love these 5 new songs. Although they are very similar in feel to that last CD, they easily stand on their own. Another half a dozen songs and you have an excellent CD.
Bat for Lashes - Two Suns (2009)
I bought this CD because people kept comparing it to the music of Kate Bush. And... she may well be the heir to that thrown. This is a heavily percussion driven band with Natasha Kahn leading the way using her unique voice that can only be compared to Kate. You're either going to love this CD or hate it, but you won't be able to ignore it.
Gomez - A New Tide (2009)
How come you don't know who Gomez is? Great melodies. Great rhythms. Vocals that are unique yet feel oh so familiar. Intelligent arrangements. Did I mention great melodies. I love Gomez. You should too.
The Smithereens - Play Tommy (2009)
I picked this up, just because... I had to. How unusual is this going to be? Can they make it work? I just had to listen. Is this going to be a train wreck or wonderful surprise? Well, it was the later; especially when you can hear the Smithereens coming through. Played with expertise (the drumming is potent and hard to ignore), they do a nice job of recreating the original. It was a fun listen.
Various Artists - The 2009 Believer Music Issue (2009)
Pick up this magazine, while it is still available, and you get this really cool compilation of music. I bought it for the Sam Phillips song, but enjoyed almost every song. And there are some really good music articles in the magazine as well.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Music August 9, 2009

I'm still playing catchup after installing the new software and I've got lots of new music now playing. So click on the link to your left and listen in. Meanwhile, here are short descriptions of what I've added this week:

KJ Walker - Count Me In
A nice solid indie CD with a solid rock base and lots of country/folk fringes. Or is it a solid country/folk base with lots of rock fringes. Check it out for yourself.
Catherine MacLellan - Water in the Ground (2009)
Her voice is as pure as kd Lang's. The music is from our neighbors to the north, and the evidence just keeps growing that Canada is the place to find new music these days. This is a 2 disc CD with the first being a mix of folk, country and light bluesy efforts. On it's own, the first CD is worth picking this up. The second disc, which is called "Dark Dream Midight" reminds me a lot of Shawn Colvin. Again, you can pick up this CD just for this disc. All of the songs on both discs are lightly arranged, with just the right backing to give style to the music without distracting from Catherine's beautiful voice and lyrics. This is going into my best of list at year's end.
Melissa McClelland - Victoria Day 2009
Canadian number two is Melissa McClelland who takes a huge right turn on her latest CD. The music on "Victoria Day" has moved from overtly pop to obviously not. It's 40's style jazz, some bluesy numbers but overall it is just a fun CD to listen to.
Luke Doucet and the White Falcon - Blood's Too Rich (2008)
Canadian number three is Melissa's producer and husband (I believe). There is no way Luke can compete with his amazing break up CD, "Broken", and it appears that Luke and Melissa (who I understand replaced the woman who was the focus of that CD) seem to be very happy these days. So there's little chance we are going to hear heart wrenching and angry attacks from this, his latest CD. Still, this is another excellent CD from Luke who takes a little country some rockabilly and plenty of rock and roll and gives it a strong personal feel.
Bruce Cockburn - Slice O Life - Live Solo (2009)
And our final Canadian on the list is the amazing Bruce Cockburn. If you have never seen him do a solo live show, you are missing one of the great acoustic guitarists in popular music, let alone one of the finest singer/songwriters. If you like any of his hits, you will love this CD that so accurately represents his live solo shows.
Shawn Colvin - Live (2009)
And speaking of live, Shawn Colvin is another artist who brings it in concert. Like Bruce she is an excellent guitar player and has a great voice. It may be her covers that set her apart from so many singer/songwriters. She somehow can make songs sound like they were hers; even a classic Talking Heads song. And you just have to hear her version of Crazy.
Buddy & Julie Miller - Written In Chalk (2009)
All the gals love Buddy, but Buddy saves his best work for his wife Julie. This beautiful, rocking, potent CD is everything that is the country/folk/rock sound. Lots of guests from Patty Griffin to Robert Plant show up to help out. "Gasoline and Matches" is near the top of my list for favorite songs of the year and this CD is there too.
Cracker - Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey (2009)
And speaking of songs of the year, the early leader is Cracker's "Turn On, Tune In, Drop out with me". If you are a fan of Cracker's earlier works, you will love this CD. Lots of good tracks to choose from.
Rachael Yamagata - Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart (2008)
Not sure why I didn't pick this up when it first came out. Another 2 disc set, the first disc feels so personal, it sounds like Rachael has trouble even getting the words out of her mouth; very passionate, sad and beautiful. Disc 2, is short but it is a rockin', with 5 loud, hard edged songs that seem to proclaim that she is not the sweet innocent she was just a few years ago. This would have made it onto my best of list last year.
Willie Nile - House of A Thousand Guitars (2009)
It's been a few years since Willie's last studio release. This is a strong follow up to "Streets of New York". Lots of great songs, plenty of cool riffs and classic melodies. Willie is a working class hero that deserves your attention.
The Emitt Rhodes Recordings [1969-1973] (2009)
He was a rising start while with the Merry-Go-Round, penning great songs like "Live" (covered by the Bangles years later) and "You're a Very Lovely Woman" (included in this collection). He was probably the first artist to be called the next Paul McCartney. But pressure from the record company and sickness, caused him to drop out of site after only 4 albums. All of that music has been brought back together in this wonderful collection. All four discs and an extra single are on this 2 disc collection. If you love 70's pop, you should
grab this before it goes out of print (this is a limited addition).

And I'm not done. But that's all I have time for right now.

Music Hall Link - Alejandro Escovedo listen