Monthly Archives: October 2008

“Everything is banal and jejune”


Nick Cave Superstar

Nick Cave Superstar

 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “We Call Upon The Author” from Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! [2008]

I saw Nick Cave and Co. live a few weeks ago, and they really tore it up onstage.  The band is a severn-piece ensemble, featuring (among others), Warren Ellis, who is also 1/3 of the Dirty Three.  I single out Mr. Ellis because, aside from Mr. Cave himself, Mr. Ellis was the most interesting to watch.  When he wasn’t playing his Fender Mandocaster or strumming his viola like a guitar, he was on the floor, coaxing all manner of sounds from his effects pedals, looking like a hobo all the while, with long hair an and unkempt beard.

At any rate, this is a standout track from the Bad Seeds’ latest effort.

Dig the Bad Seeds

Posted by Adam


Filed under 2000s, Rock

“And we’re following the will of the one”

Blind Guardian – “Into the Storm” from Nightfall in Middle Earth [1998]
Blind Guardian – “Mirror Mirror” from Nightfall in Middle Earth [1998]

My coworker and I were singing metal to each other today and I remembered how much ass this album kicks.  I haven’t listened to this album in probably two years, so it was hard for me to pick just one song.  Thus, you get your face melted twice.

Blind Guardian is a German power-metal band.  This album is based on Tolkein’s The Silmarillion.  What else do you need to know?

Buy Blind Guardian/Melt your face

Posted by Phil


Filed under 1990s, Prog Rock, Rock

I went to New Orleans and all I got was this awesome song (and the chance to drink some excellent absinthe)

Darondo – “Didn’t I” from Let My People Go (1973)

My pal Ben introduced me to this incredible soul classic when I was down in the Crescent City recently. Darondo sounds like Al Green except somehow…better. Apparently John Mayer likes it, but so will you.

Here’s a bitchin’ video of some dude dancing to this song:

Learn more about Darondo

Buy it here

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Soul

“And the feeling remains”

Ester Drang – “How Good Is Good Enough” from Goldenwest [2001]

The funny thing about Oklahoma’s Ester Drang is that they get progressively less interesting and ambitious with every release.  This, however, is a standout track from their standout album, a shoegaze/space-rock inferno.  One of my favorites, good for weird weather days, great for summer driving, best for giant gray clouds.

Even if you want to, some days you can’t start over.  I listen to this song on these days.

Buy Ester Drang’s spacerock

Posted by Phil

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Filed under 2000s, Rock, Space rock

“There’s one in every crowd/for cryin’ out loud”

Waylon Jennings – “Honky Tonk Heroes” from Honky Tonk Heroes (1973)

The exploration of country music has been a recurring theme on this blog (as well as on some of our favorite brother-blogs such as Setting the Woods on Fire and The Rising Storm).  For me, this exploration has been largely defined by seeing past the stigmatization of the faux, good-ole-bro sentiment of modern country to a rich tradition of creativity and rebellion embodied in artists like Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle.

During this time, I have particularly identified with Waylon Jennings’ Honky Tonk Heroes.  It is the ideal crossover album for country-curious rock and rollers.  But this is no mere cosmic American hybrid.  Billy Joe Shaver’s songs are braced firmly in the country genre while Waylon and the band plow through them with the ferocity of any contemporary rock band minus the extensive, wanker guitar solos of the era.

Good times.

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Country, Rock

Moses come ridin’ up on a quasar: A Somewhat Brief Primer To ’70s Live Dead

The Grateful Dead – “Greatest Story Ever Told” from Steppin’ Out With The Grateful Dead: England 1972
The Grateful Dead – “Not Fade Away > Playing In The Band” from Dick’s Picks Vol 10: Winterland, 12/29/1977
The Grateful Dead – “Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain” from Barton Hall, Cornell University, 5/8/1977
The Grateful Dead – “Friend of the Devil” from American Beauty (1972)

A few weeks back, my pal (and excellent poet) Ryland burned me two discs of the very best of the Grateful Dead, live in the ’70s. As my brother says, “It’s good to have a Deadhead friend, to seperate the wheat from the chaff.” Or the leaves from the stems and seeds, as it were. Here are a few excerpts for all SWR-heads.

“Greatest Story” is good-time boogie rock. “Not Fade Away” is a frantic Buddy Holly cover that segues into (the separate mp3) “Playing in the Band,” in this iteration an ambient groove. (A glance at that night’s setlist shows that versions of “Playing” were scattered throughout the set.) “Scarlet > Fire” is (I’m told) the classic version from a classic show. And “Friend of the Devil” for all y’all who don’t like 20 minute noodle-fests. There’s certainly more Dead to be heard (just trying googling, good god), but these tracks represent the pinnacle of what I’ve listened to, so far.

Buy the Dead

Download the Dead

Or check out setlists here

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Americana, Folk, Live, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock

Harriet Beecher Stowe – The May EP

Jeff always played sideways.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Waltz” from The May EP [2004]
Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Firebird One” from The May EP [2004]
Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Oceansandsky” from The May EP [2004]

Under the advisement of other SWR personnel, I am making available to the world the unreleased three-song EP by Harriet Beecher Stowe, my band from college.  Featuring the inimitable Jeff Wheeler on the Bass git-box, the irrepressible Mike Kopchick on the drum boxes, and the incontovertible myself on the git-fiddle, these songs are a decent representation of where the band might have gone if we hadn’t split up to do whatever people do after college.  Many thanks due to Ryan Wert for being awesome at putting sounds onto computers.

“Firebird One” also contains the most lyrics HBS ever had in a song, sung through a telephone.

Hope you enjoy.

It’s free you don’t have to buy it.

Posted by Phil


Filed under 2000s, Instrumental, Post-rock, Rock

“Eatin’ spam and Oreos and drinkin’ Thunderbird”

Baby Huey and the Babysitters – “Hard Times (LP version)” from The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (1970)

This song was born to be a hip-hop sample; it’s funky, catchy, and socially conscious.

Baby Huey transcended his era.  Like the music of his contemporaries Demon Fuzz, his work with the Babysitters seemed quite progressive in 1970.  The intro to their cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Hard Times” particularly exemplifies this anachronism. Fascinating.

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Funk

“I don’t need those words to say what I mean”

The Avett Brothers – “Tear Down The House” from The Second Gleam (2008)

I can’t stop listening to this song. Too bad their Greensboro show next week is sold out.

Buy it here

Posted by Glenn

1 Comment

Filed under 2000s, Acoustic, Folk

“Everybody’s comin’ home for lunch these days”

Camper Van Beethoven – “Take The Skinheads Bowling” from Telephone Free Landslide Victory (1985)

No home should be without this slacker classic. My team, the Bowl Weevils, is dead last in our league.

Pray to Jah

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1980s, Rock

Country Blues

Hank Williams – “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” (1950)
Hank Williams – “Weary Blues From Waitin’” (recorded ca. 1951)

Weary. Lonesome. Long Gone. This is the sound of stately anguish. Like all the greats, Hank Williams creates a world with his music, a world that intersects with this one but also takes you a million miles away; a world that, for a few minutes at a time, renders other music unthinkable.

Paul over at Setting The Woods On Fire knows way, way more about Hank than we ever could. Check out his excellent blog for more.

Buy Hank here

Posted by Glenn

1 Comment

Filed under 1950s, Acoustic, Country

Favorite Song to Play, Part IV

The Beatles – “Helter Skelter” from The Beatles [The White Album] (1968)

I play the drums. I could never get the fingers on my right hand (I’m left-handed) to move independently enough to play any stringed instrument, although I’ve recently been thinking about taking up the hurdy-gurdy. I love playing this song because it’s loud and raucous. I hate to sound like a stereotypical drummer, but it’s fun to just beat the hell out of the skins every now and again, and this song makes that possible.

The song’s title comes from the British amusement park ride pictured above.  One climbs up the tower on the inside and then slides down round the outside.  Knowing this, the lyrics make perfect sense.

Honorable mention goes to Revolution Blues for much the same reasons.

Get blisters on yer fingers

Posted by Adam


Filed under 1960s, Rock

Favorite Song to Play, Part III

Dave Holland – “Conference of the Birds” from Conference of the Birds (1972)

I spent a few years (almost) exclusively playing jazz bass. One of my favorite tunes to play with a jazz group is this repetitive jam, the title track off my favorite ever free jazz album. Take a listen, and you’ll understand why: a simple chord progression and beautifully spartan melody allows for plenty of noodling. The recording features Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers on saxophones, Barry Altschul on percussion, and the impeccable Dave Holland on bass.

I like to play this one, too.

Attend the Conference of the Birds

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Instrumental, Jazz

Favorite Song to Play, Part II

Emmylou Harris – “Goin’ Back to Harlan” from Wrecking Ball [1995]

Wrecking Ball is a perfect album.  There is no other to compare it to.  Combine the production of Lanois with the additional production sensibilities of like-minded Malcolm Burn (one of my favorite producers), bring them to Emmylou Harris and you get a genre-bending masterpiece.

This song was penned by Anna McGarrigle, whose debut album I have yet to obtain, although I plan to sometime in the very near future.  I like to play this song most often on an electric guitar and a Shure SM-57, looping some vocal beats and finger-picking the rest out.  It’s a damn good time, and spooky as sin.

I go crazy in the head when I hear this song.

Tabs for those who need them

I can’t believe you don’t own this album.  Honestly.  Buy it yesterday.

Posted by Phil


Filed under 1990s, Americana, Country

Favorite song to play, Part I

Play music with your friends!

We here at SWR are not merely avid appreciators of music, we are also practitioners though probably of varying proficiencies.  So, we introduce this newest segment of songs we most enjoy playing, either alone or in ensemble.  You, our readers, are encouraged to suggest your favorite songs as well (and perhaps a link to some decent tab).

Neil Young – “Out on the Weekend” from Harvest (1972)

I cut my teeth on Neil Young tunes.  They are often composed of simple chord progressions under not-too-perfect vocals which make them perfect for the earnest beginner.  The even strumming patterns and slow tempo of this song made it a favorite for me when I first started playing guitar.  And the recurring Bm and C#m really helped me nail down the Em-shape barre chords.

And I still love playing this song, mostly because of the gently whining vocals which are well within my limited range.

Check out the tab at the incomparable HyperRust site.

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Rock