The Woods are Calling

I am very interested in where a band or singer comes from. I think that they are ambassadors of their home, but also I think it at times can show in their music. From the more blatant (The Killers) to a more subtle approach (Trampled by Turtles). When I first listened to The Pines  I could sense their home in the music. They are from small town Iowa, but spent some time in southern Arizona before settling as a band in Minneapolis. Listening to the music its easy to pick up on the feeling of open spaces and small towns. This music feels like the north woods of the upper midwest, but also the desert expanses of the southwest. There is a melancholy in the music, and a sadness, but there is also hope.

Over the last two weeks, I think I’ve listened to their most recent album of original material, 2016’s Above The Prairie at least a few dozen times. It is difficult to not listen to the entire album in one sitting its a compelling progression of songs. There are three songs off this record that I cannot get enough of. The first is also the first song on the album “Aerial Ocean”. I love the mix of the very “country” sounding slide guitar, and the very ethereal synthesizer.

The next song is the second song off the album, “There in Spirit”. The song is haunting and reeks of a realistic despair.

The final song is the last song on the album, “Time Dreams”, which features the words and voice of John Trudell, a Native American activist, writer, and actor. There is so much beauty in this song.

 

I have listened to the other Pines albums on Spotify, but they definitely do not strike me like this one does. That is not to say that they aren’t also amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

The Year of the Monkey

“We must let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” – Joseph Campbell

I will go with a quote and some music inspiration for this evening’s post. Which is also the first of the year. Which is terrible. @Begt and I have been slacking something fierce.

I’ve noticed that I have a new rotation of songs about every two months. I still keep some of the old ones in the mix, but, I feel like I get 3-4 bands I am obsessing over each few months. What am I going to do about that? Well, dear reader, I am going to share that music with you. This is a music blog after all.

The band that I’ve listened to the most in 2016 is not, shockingly enough, the band who I saw for my first show of 2016, The National Parks. The band I’ve listened to the most so far is the Toronto based folkpop group, The Strumbellas (sweet name, right?). I was hooked after listening to We Still Move on the Dance floors (their second release), and am eagerly awaiting their upcoming album. Here is “Spirits”, the first single (I am madly in love with this song and video).

Continuing with the folk vibes (because why the hell not?) is The Native Sibling, a sister and brother duo from Santa Cruz. I am pretty sure that The National Parks radio station on Spotify lead me to these two…and I am so glad that it did! Here is “Darkest of the Night Skies” from their release Letters Kept to Ourselves.

Because it is America and I like my folkpop, the next song is my #RepeatOne so far in February 2016. I do not know why it has taken the Lumineers this long to come out with their first single of their second album, Cleopatra, and I’ll be honest, after hearing “Ophelia”, I really do not care. This song was totally worth the wait. I do hope that by the time she reads this, @Begt will actually have listened to the song.

The next song isn’t new. But the band who is responsible for it just came out with a new record. So that counts. I am sure that I’ve never sung this next song at the top of my lungs in my car today (or really any day in the last month or so…I promise). Charlottesville, VA based bluegrass/newgrass band The Infamous Stringdusters pack a punch with “Where the Rivers Run Cold” off of their 2014 release Let it Go. The only thing missing is a mandolin. But, I will take a dobro in a song anytime its offered to me.

Switching up genres a bit for Brightside a Venice based “California Roots Rock” band. I was fortunate to see them open up for Brett Dennen late last year. As soon as they started playing their beach-vibe rock I was hooked. “Home” from West of Lincoln is definitely one of my favorites.

Going back to the folky Americana vibe, and the final song of this post, we have John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, with a song called “Simple Song” from a compilation entitled Southern Family. I dearly miss the Civil Wars, but am happy that JPW is continuing to write and sing.

Well, there you have it. My first post of 2016. Enjoy the music. And to bastardize one of my favorite quotes from Maurice Moss, I’ve come here to write my first post of 2016 and drink some Scotch, and I’ve just published my post.