To promote Suburbs, Arcade Fire created an interactive video which made use of Google Earth to make it seem like a music video was made in your neighborhood.
Easily found in America
This time they formed a ‘new’ band, The Reflektors, and went on a mini-tour of ‘secret’ appearances to promote their new album, not co-incidentally called Reflektor. Last week Reflektors Will and Win Butler appeared on The Colbert Report. “We’re Canadian but we lean more towards BTO than Arcade Fire,” they said. “They are a bit pretentious,” Colbert suggested. “Yeah,” Win nodded.
The Reflektors then ‘covered’ new Arcade Fire song Normal Person – abig, bold, crunchy Neil Young-style grunge rocker (It tends to overpower the album, but whatever)
Quality songwriters easily spot each other, so Lori McKenna is long-admired in Nashville and on the folk circuit. But this new 12-song set about being a modern wife, mother and woman wasn’t written for the pros.
They are songs for Everywoman (and a lot of men), crafted with such skill you forget as you join in that she doesn’t actually live next door. (Close enough though; a small suburban Massachusetts city with a hubby and five kids.)
There’s what-if-we-split-up songs, fear of him dying songs, and ‘on reflection we’re doing not to badly considering’ songs…and ends with a farewell to a kid who has come of age.
Every home needs a copy.
FOOTNOTE: How much do you know about Lori? How much should you?More
There’s no arguing that young Kasey Musgraves has raised the bar exponentially for sharp rhyming in country songwriting. Pithy is in. Trite is out.
Nashville/roots veteran Kim Richey can still find safety in cliche on her latest, but also proves up to the new writing standard; Something More‘s “I’m sitting in the middle of the wrong place/with a drink in my hand and a long face” is a couplet for the ages, and London Town approaches Roger Miller sharp.
Sharper yet is the playing. It is organic-fruit delicious; ripe with soulful, nuanced and inventive playing from a skilled and patient crew. It is mellow, bluesy, mournfully country, with hints of jazz and even a trumpet (London Town). Not a dud performance or producer decision in the lot.
Richey, who has always refused to be constrained by a ‘country’ tag, has nonetheless just raised the musical bar for Nashville. Over to you Kasey, et al.
The mid-life-crisis wanderlust on Dan Abraham‘s debut will come as no surprise to his friends; he spent last year planning to sell off non-essentials and use a leave from his gardening job to go winter walkabout. And in January he did just that, leaving Annapolis, Maryland for two months of tents, couches and gigs as they come.
The 6-song EP, about what he expected from his journey, is sharply written and played, earwormy, earnest and astute. This man should only garden by choice.
The#tincanlandYouTube playlist of noteworthy #CXCW performances evolves and grows as I listen – which could take weeks at this rate
The third annual online music festival Couch by Couchwest (CXCW, a take on SXSW) is music the way it is meant to be played and listened to; no airs, just for the love of it. You’ll see informal, original video performances from pros (well established and emerging) and a few gifted amateurs, and most importantly, we all get to come together on posts at the CXCW site and social media.
HARDER THAN hammered hell soil is almost impossible to plant through… and Gibbs’ metaphor for these hard times on a periodically meandering album. While Springsteen rouses us to raise fists in protest at what is (Wrecking Ball), which feels good at the time, that isn’t as practical as a good hard look at what could be.
Just because life can be harsh doesn’t mean we have to give up, says Gibbs, using the language of recovery to warn against the easy solace of booze, drugs and anger. [He declined an interview to talk about this.]
Gibbs has proudly planted trees in tough conditions and prefers to speak directly to his fans to bypass critics’ “filters” and the inevitable comparisons to the likes of Steve Earle, Billy Bragg and Woody Guthrie. So here is the link to his website. (Check out where he goes back to see what happened to the 5,000th tree he planted).
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.