Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Adams’

compilation #24, now on Mixpod…..


Florence + The Machine “Shake It Out”: unabashedly bombastic! Big ups for bringing it to my attention to my cousin Amber Caparas, a talented singer/songwriter in her own right (click HERE)

All Mankind “Simple Desire”: U2-influenced and lovely

Founds “Gypsy Horse”; Brisbane Australia sextet evokes Siouxsie And The Banshees by way of Taken By Trees

mailman john “Stop This Song”: just when the creepy tale get’s interesting, they “Stop This Song!!”

Mates of State “Maracas”: this band has gotten very slick in the 5 years since I first heard them….why it’s called “Maracas,” IDK…

Fallulah “Only Human”: yet another Scandinavian chanteuse, this one from Denmark. Has that hiccup that calls to mind Martha Davis of The Motels

Wild Flag “Romance”: a female indie supergroup, representing Sleater-Kinney, the Minders and Helium. 80’s-ish garage.

St. Vincent “Cruel”: much bouncier and more lively that her trippy “Surgeon,” which I also loved.

Remi Nicole “Rock N Roll”: an old one, from 2007, cuz it hit me just the right way…..

French Films “Convict”: quintet from Finland puts “French” in their name and sounds like California surf music.

Matt & Kim (w/ Soulja Boy and Andrew WK) “I’m a Goner”: you had me at Matt & Kim; now I have a fave Soulja Boy song and a favorite Andrew WK song!

ZakeE “Snakes”: he’s a DJ, so he “remixed” the ‘ish out of his own track. Give it a try or two.

Blitzen Trapper “Astronaut”: people think I’ve lost my mind; I didn’t like this 70’s country rock in the 70’s, but this Portland, OR six-piece soars.

Birdy “People Help The People”: a cover of a song I didn’t know with an angelic vocal by an unknown 15 year old. not unknown for long.

Gotye w/ Kimbra “Somebody That I used To Know”: this song tells a story like a movie, and now I want to see the movie! Kimbra triples an already great song.

Feist “How Come You Never Go There”: Feist. ’nuff said.

Ryan Adams “Chains of Love”: the most prolific recording artist of our time revisits his alt-folk/country origins…..

Cameras “Defeatist”: Joy Division -> Interpol -> Editors -> Cameras (from Australia)

Long Lost Sun “Right Light”: yet another boy/girl electronic duo, this one from South England. She sounds like Ellie Goulding, not a bad thing….

Feist “Metals” out 10/4/11; Ryan Adams “Ashes & Fire” out 10/11/11

Sometimes nice, quiet, gentle music is what hits the spot, and this month offers two terrific new CDs chock full of it.

Ryan Adams

Back around 1980, I remember saying “I like all kinds of music, except country and Irish.” Then Elvis Costello released “Different Finger” (and later the “Almost Blue” LP) and I could no longer rule out country music with a blanket decree (The Pogues soon did the same for Irish). Granted, any country you’ll find on my iPod is of the “alt-” category, like Brett Dennen or Ryan Adams. Adams originally won me over with “III/IV”, the massive set of only slightly country-flavored rock and roll he put out last year with his band The Cardinals. Only then did I go back and check out his awesome “New York, New York” which I had somehow missed during the 9/11 aftermath, when, I understand, it played in a fairly nonstop loop on MTV and VH1. That that song received a Grammy nomination in the rock category shows just how “country” he was, but he countrys it up a few notches on the soon to be released “Ashes & Fire.”

It’s a quiet, rainy day kind of album, appropriately starting with “Dirty Rain,” a melancholy tale of gunfire, broken glass and gasoline-fueled fire that somehow is still a pretty love ballad. I’ve read elsewhere that you’d think going home at night to Mandy Moore would cheer a guy up, but Ryan seems to focusing on the melancholy with “Come Home”, “Rocks”, and “Do I Wait”, all gorgeous tales of missing the one you love, supporting the one you love, and waiting for the one you love, respectively. There’s a generally sad but beautiful tone in all of them, even while their messages are pretty happy (though she’s “never coming back” by the end of “Do I Wait,” but he seems content to wait forever…then again, he may be rethinking that in the melancholy “Save Me” with “….by the morning, I will be gone.”) “Come Home” and “Save Me” feature background vocals by Norah Jones.

That tone is also evident in LP closer “I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say,” the title of which is a lie, since the lyrics more than say it profoundly. I predict this will be a favorite wedding “first dance” song throughout most of America’s heartland. “Invisible Riverside” would also make a fine choice in that regard, with lines like “I wanna lay my head forever on your shoulder, stay with me my love now and when we’re older, standing on the ocean we got nothing now but time.” “Kindness” (also featuring backing vocals by Jones) seems simultaneously an open letter to society (“If you’re so strong can you shelter the weak?”) and intimate love letter (“When it goes wrong, days come and gone, and it’s been said and been done, I will shelter you with my love and my forgiveness.”)
It’s nice to get an occasional break from serenades and soul searching, and the upbeat title track (in tone and tempo if not message) more than obliges, with honky-tonk piano and gee-tar twang. “Chains of Love” (no, it’s not an Erasure cover) is my favorite track and it’s pure pop, with lush strings and sparse piano notes. The lead single “Lucky Now”, released this summer, quickly becomes a breezy, strummy mid-tempo pleaser as well.


Leslie Feist may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I was a fan from the instant I heard her, which I’m sad to say was well into her career with 2007’s “The Reminder” (she had me at “one….”) Her newest,”Metals,” never gets as peppy as her biggest singles, but there are some gems in there along with plenty of that quiet, pensive stuff. “The Bad in Each Other” starts the LP off with kick drum and hand claps, and buzzes with minor-key drone that borders on creepy. Somehow it’s very pleasant nonetheless. “Graveyard” is, simply enough, an ode to cemeteries, and it’s surprisingly cheery, with “Dirt and grass, a shadow heart; the moon sails past” leading to “Whoa-ah-ah-ah ah-ah, bring ’em all back to life.” “Caught a Long Wind” is another pretty tune, with Feist evoking the freedom of a soaring bird. “How Come You Never Go There,” leaked this summer, is classic Feist: a smiley, peppy reading of a sad story: “The room is full of eyes and empty like your letters never sent me; words like a lasso, you’re an instrumental tune.” It’s my favorite track of the set.

“A Commotion” sounds like an action movie soundtrack, which makes it somewhat out of place with the rest of the LP. Still, the pounding chorus guarantees that it will find its way to indie radio playlists. She channels Kate Bush beautifully in “The Circle Married The Line,” the track you’ll want to put on repeat when you first listen. Aptly titled “Bittersweet Melodies” satisfies as well, with a beautiful multi-tracked harmony and a neo-Burt Bacharach quality. Don’t ask me what Feist is selling in “Anti-Pioneer” with “Start with colours, they always get away with attitude but they’ll try to convince you of your mood. What you want they’ll give it to you but it’s only therapy; that’s all they do” and “When the flag changes colours the language knows; when the month changes numbers it’s time to go” but I’m buying it. This twangy dirge of a song would not be out of place in a David Lynch film, and that’s high praise as I see it. She’s been performing it in concert for years (see below, Vancouver 2007) but this is it’s first studio version. I’m hoping my yoga instructor adds it to her mix.

“Undiscovered First” starts out tentative, almost as if it’s a take they should have tossed, but it chugs along to become like a New Orleans funeral march with tambourine that’s actually played, not just shaken. “Cicadas and Gulls” is a lovely ode to two of the most annoying creatures on earth if you ask me! A simply plucked lone guitar and the multi-layered, much reverbed vocal combine beautifully. “Comfort Me” starts with a haiku, then deviates as soon as she calls attention to that fact. Still, it’s poetic and melodic in a Regina Spektor-ish way. LP closer “Get It Wrong, Get It Right” leaves you wanting more with its sparse but polished beauty. “Wind on the fields blowing your hair weaving gold…hand to hold.” Another one for the yoga mix I hope!

New Adele, and why the heck hasn’t anyone turned me on to Ryan Adams???

Hey, I know I still owe you the details of volume 21, posted toward the end of twenty-ten, and I will get that up soon. For my first post of twenty-eleven though, let me start by sharing some blog stats. This will likely come as a surprise to the readers I know personally, who could (and have) all fit in my kitchen, but had 15,000 views in 2010! Given that there were only 15 posts, that’s a feat. My lovely wife would likely say that our gorgeous daughter viewed the site 14, 950 or so times, but she says that isn’t so.

Anyway, on to music…..I was listening to a local college radio station with a wonderfully eclectic playlist (WERS….click HERE to check it out: folk, rock, jazz, world, blues, soul, electronic and reggae is what they list on the website), when an unfamiliar song began. It sounded vaguely country-western which, not being my usual cup o’ tea, meant it might be new, might be old….who knows? About a minute in, it starts to sound like it could be a club anthem, at least with a remix, so I have one of those “driveway moments”, wherein I’ve reached my destination but remain car-bound till the DJ comes on to identify the song. Turns out it’s the new Adele.
Adele 21
Now, I don’t believe I’ve ever blogged about Adele, other than to refer to the “Amy/Duffy/Adele continuum”, but I was a huge fan of “Cold Shoulder” and “Chasing Pavements”, as was much of America, and I had included the former on a 2008 compilation. This new album, 21, is sure to find mainstream success here as well. Check the video for “Rolling In The Deep” here, and go buy the whole LP/CD on January 24th.

Another new tune that caught my ear is from the November 2010 release from Ryan Adams & The Cardinals titled Cardinals III/IV, his twelfth (!) studio album. The song, “No”, is laden with F-bombs and is sure to be the next big sensation sung along to by teenagers with more than their share of undirected angst. How I never heard of this guy is beyond me. Many of you, I’m sure, won’t need this little bare-bones primer:
Ryan Adams
“alt-country/rock singer-songwriter” drops out of 10th grade in 1990 or so to be in The Patty Duke Syndrome and form Whiskeytown, gets help on his first solo record (still country then) from Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch, among others, then follows that in 2001 with Gold, for which he initiall refuses to do videos or meet-and-greets. He reluctantly shoots a video for the single “New York, New York” on September 7, 2001, and the twin towers loom large in his loving shout-out to the greatest city in the world. By the time the video is released, it was a veritable time-capsuled memorial to the fallen towers. Me? I never saw it till last week:

Cool as that country tune is, this new stuff is pure, classic/garage American rock, and incredible. A two CD set with additional bonus downloads, there’s not a single stinker on it. The one I’ve chosen to share with you is aptly titled “My Favorite Song” ……

oh, and he’s married to Mandy Moore!
Mandy Moore