Song of the Day

ktsos_2013

KATE TUCKER & THE SONS OF SWEDEN
Hangover


DOWNLOAD: Hangover

It should come as no surprise to long-time SOTD listeners that with me being back in the groove of kickin’ out free music for you guys, a new song from Kate Tucker wouldn’t be long in coming. Since ditching all her of dear, dear friends in New York for Nashville a couple of years ago, Ms. Tucker has been bouncing between her solo work and the K+NIKKU project with Nic Danielson, but she recently decided to reform The Sons of Sweden with a new group of Sons…Matthew Thompson on bass, Wes Chandler playing guitar and Ethan Place on drums. Kate and the Sons have been recording new material for a while and have just launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help them release “The Shape, The Color, The Feel”, described as a collaborative audio/visual venture to record the album, release it on vinyl, complete with music videos or short films accompanying each song. ‘Hangover’ is the little tease she’s dropping to get you interested, so give it a listen, head on over to the Sons of Sweden Facebook page and hit the ‘LIKE’ button, and if you have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket, don’t waste it on a Powerball ticket…why not help them out on the Kickstarter campaign?

Click HERE and donate until your wallet is empty!

Song of the Day

KATE TUCKER
Get You Over


DOWNLOAD: Get You Over

January is almost over and we’ve been so damned busy here at Damn Ugly (we’re havin’ a record-setting month, thanks for asking!) that we have yet to put out a single new Song of the Day this year! I’m gonna rectify that by offering up a song off of Kate Tucker’s beautiful new EP and also send you guys a link to where for a limited time you can download the entire EP for free. Ghost of Something New includes songs she recorded with her former Sons of Sweden bandmates and other collaborators in Seattle, Brooklyn, and Nashville. The deluxe version will be released March 13 with some exclusive songs, but like I said, for the time being she’s giving it away (don’t be a cheap-ass…you can still tip her a few bucks!) over on www.noisetrade.com and you can follow Ms. Tucker over on her facebook page.

The Songs of the Year 2011

The other day, a friend pointed out that this past year the usual high output of songs that got put up on The List was decidedly less than past years, to which I replied, yes…the necessity to work from time to time had certainly put a crimp in my ability to give away my usual amount of free music, but what did get tossed up was of such high quality as they more than made up for the diminished quantity. And with that in mind, here are the best of the best…the Songs of the Year…

#1. LOW ROAR
Give Up


DOWNLOAD: Give Up

Ryan Karazija didn’t just come up with the best song this past year, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t also have the best album, too. I could have put any one of the twelve tracks from the album on the annual list…they are all that good…and it’s only a coincidence that ‘Give Up’ is the first track on the album. I’ve already yelled at you guys enough to BUY THIS RECORD, but if you haven’t, do it now! And mark your calenders kids, cuz Ryan’s gonna be taking a flight from Iceland over to New York to play a gig at Piano’s January 19 and MilkBoy in Philly on January 22nd.

#2. CAMERAS
Polarise


DOWNLOAD: Polarise

If not for Low Roar, Cameras would have certainly been sitting on the top of the heap this year. I’ve played ‘Polarise’ so often, I’m pretty sure even Camille is getting sick of it! Nothing like a wall of hard-to-understand, harmonic, atmospheric, shoegazey melodies to win my heart.

#3. WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS
Act On Impulse


DOWNLOAD: Act On Impulse

We all should have a dose of sweaty, angst-ridden rock to wake us up from time to time. They’re almost unheard of over here, but these four Scottish lads are burning up the clubs in Great Britain. Powerful, lotsa fun and yes…very sweaty!

#4. BIRD CALL
The Ballad Of New York


DOWNLOAD: The Ballad Of New York
I swear Chiara Angelicola may have been plucked out of a Jazz Club from the 50′s and transported to the Here & Now to remind us what real music is like. She’s got a voice that can drop so low it will rattle your bones…and then outta nowhere she’ll crack a high note that will give you goosebumps. The Ballad Of New York is going to be on her next album, but in the meantime she’s got a lot more sitting over at iTunes just waiting for you to enjoy.

#5. CASS McCOMBS
The Same Thing


DOWNLOAD: The Same Thing

There’s just something so comfortably reassuring about the way Cass McCombs sings. From the very first time I heard ‘The Same Thing’ I was won over. The melody, the slightly syncopated vocal style, the sad/lazy way it made me feel…it all works.

#6. WYE OAK
Civilian


DOWNLOAD: Civilian

Another strong contender for my favorite album this year was Civilian by the Baltimore duo, Wye Oak. It’s a noisy mashup filled with masterful guitar work, shoegazey distortion, wonderful storytelling and Jenn Wasner’s languid voice holding it all together. It’s another record that you should seriously consider buying!

#7. GABRIELLE AIMEE
Have You Ever


DOWNLOAD: Have You Ever

We’ve been friends for quite a while and I even shot her album cover earlier this year, but when Gabrielle Aimée sent me ‘Have You Ever’ I was knocked out. I had never heard her slide into such a bluesy place and be so damned sexy on a song before, and the vibrato from the Farfisa-like organ transported me back in time.

#8. K+NIKKU
The Search


DOWNLOAD: The Search

Kate Tucker has been a staple on The List from the moment we first heard her with the Sons of Sweden and since then we’ve followed her from Seattle to Ohio to New York and now to Nashville, so when she recorded an EP with Nic Danielson as K+Nikku we were on board. I’ve been goofin’ on her…calling her Katemau5…because of the slightly electronic edge to the EP, but she knows I love her…

#9. THE PACK A.D.
Sirens


DOWNLOAD: Sirens

The Pack A.D. is Becky Black & Maya Miller and they’re a hard-hitting garage duo outta Vancouver B.C. that has released four albums of stripped-down, pissed-off, dirty punk rock…and they’re bloody great! ‘Sirens’ is off of their latest release, Unpersons.

#10. SHERLOCK’S DAUGHTER
Reprise


DOWNLOAD: Reprise

Going from the grungy goodness of The Pack A.D. to Sherlock’s Daughter shoegazing their way through ‘Reprise’ might be a bit jarring, but I’ve had their EP near the top of my iTunes folder all year and there was no chance it wasn’t making it on this list. Call it nonsensical aural wallpaper if you must, but Tanya Horo’s voice always has a calming effect on me…like a neural tranquilizer…I can feel any tension I’m feeling fall away as soon as she whispers in my ear…

#11. THE BOOZE
Hit Me Where It Hurts


DOWNLOAD: Hit Me Where It Hurts

We’ve come to the end, but I’ve turned it up to “11″ and hearing Chaz Tolliver channel Mick Jagger one more time seems like a perfect way to close out this years Best Of List. The Booze play boogie-rock that can’t help but make you think of the early Stones and The Kinks, and Tolliver seems to have mastered the fine art of Jagger-esque posing…in a good way!

Song of the Day

photo ©2011 Marshall Burnette

K+NIKKU
The Search


DOWNLOAD: The Search

When Kate Tucker and Nic Danielson were little kids, they lived down the street from each other in middle-of-nowhere Ohio. Nic played the piano and Kate sang songs, but they were just far enough away that they never heard each other. They both dreamed of being rockstars, but Nic left Ohio before they could ever meet and form a plan. However, in a wonderful bit of cosmic kismet they found each other years later in far-away Seattle, when they both rented an apartment in the same building. Kate had teamed up with three local guys and formed Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden and for five years Nic was the driving force behind The Kindness Kind. And even when Kate moved to Nashville and cut off her hair and Nic folded up the tents on The Kindness Kind earlier this year, there was still a burning need to work together, so for the past months they have been collaborating remotely on new music. This week they released a few new songs as K+Nikku. The music has decidedly more electronic touches than anything Kate has ever done and it’s more Pop-driven than Nic’s work with TKK, but it perfectly showcases their songwriting abilities, along with Kate’s sweet, high-register vocals and Nic’s musical mastery. They call the new collection of songs ‘Antarctica’ and you can download all four for free over on their website…then head on over to their facebook friends and hit the ‘LIKE’ button.

Short Film of the Day



KATE TUCKER
Bullet Train


DOWNLOAD: Bullet Train

The temporarily Nashville-based Kate Tucker and her favorite video director, Miriam Bennett, have just released a short film based on one-time Song of the Day, ‘Bullet Train’, off the White Horses album. The film features Kate and Cleveland actor Darryl Dickenson and was shot over the course of a year in Akron, Ohio. If you look closely, you’ll also see members of the Akron pop group, Dolson, chewing up the scenery. You can follow Kate…and maybe find out where she’ll be living next…over on her website. And if ya happen to be in Nashville next week (August 8th), Kate will be playing with Johanna and the Dusty Floor and Bird Call as they make their way across America on tour…I predict a very cool show!

Song of the Day

KATE TUCKER
Roman Candles


DOWNLOAD: Roman Candles

I think this must be the third time I’ve put up Kate Tucker’s Roman Candles as a Song of the Day. The first was way back when she gave me the Ball Of Wax compilation CD where it first appeared and I was still firing off email versions of the SOTD before it morphed into the blog you’re mired in. The second was about a year ago after I saw her rock it at her release party for White Horses at Spike Hill, and today I get an email telling me she’s gone and released a new version…recorded with Patrick Boyle (Lead Guitar), Andy Dolson (Keys), Michael Shepard (Backing Vocals), Andrew Cushman (Bass), Eric Baltrinic (Drums) and dedicated it to yours truly…and is offering it as a free download over on Bandcamp. And she even put together a little DIY video to accompany the latest version, too. You can listen & download more of Kate’s music over at Bandcamp and head on over to either her MySpace or Facebook pages and say hello!


Roman Candles
Recorded December 20, 2010 in Alliance, Ohio
Released 03 June 2011

Where o where can my true love be
Is she running circles away from me
In the morning she’s sailing in
With her gold and silver
In the palm of her hand

Tell me tell me you’re telling lies
I can see through circles into your eyes
You say haven’t we had the finest times
And there’s no one like us
There’s no one under the sun

Lay your head down just lay your head down
There’s no surprises with these disguises
Lay your head down just lay your head down for me

Baby one day I’m gone for good
They will never find me they never could
You’ll remember our finest times
How there’s no one like me
There’s no one under the sun

Lay your head down just lay your head down
There’s no surprises with these disguises
Lay your head down just lay your head down
These highway vandals shoot roman candles
Lay your head down just lay your head down for me

Song of the Day

KATE TUCKER
I’m On Fire


DOWNLOAD: I’m On Fire

This time of year it gets pretty damned hard to find anything new to put up on The List, so I was happy when Kate sent me this one the other day…

This is at least the second time Kate Tucker has covered Bruce Spingsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’…the first was when her and The Sons of Sweden did it for ‘Sweetheart’, a Starbucks Valentine’s Day Compilation of covers. I liked it enough to put it up on The List way back in February of ’09…you can listen to it HERE…but that version, with it’s up-tempo country feel high-register vocal…pales in comparison to this much more somber version she recorded for Gary Benz, one of her benefactors who helped sponsor her Kickstarter campaign to release White Horses earlier this year. Quiet and haunting, with no production tricks getting in the way of her voice, it’s a much more fitting homage to Bruce’s original.

Check out more of Kate on her MySpace page or over on her website

How’d You Do That?!!

Click on Any Image for Full-Size
______________________________

Ever since I posted THIS Song of the Day last week, I’ve been getting e-mails from photo geeks around the World asking me about the shot of Kate Tucker in that field. I’ve had more theories tossed my way than I ever could have imagined, from the type of lighting…did I use an HMI spotlight or studio strobes or small, battery-powered flash units…to whether or not Kate was even in the field…a lot of you actually are convinced she was shot in the studio and stripped into a stock field shot! All of this speculation knocked me out, especially since the truth is that it was a kind of a throwaway that neither Kate or I thought was working, so we bailed on it and moved on to another idea after only five or six frames!

So…for your photo-geeky viewing enjoyment…here’s a breakdown of the shot and the post-processing steps involved in making it look the way it does…

We shot this on the Hasselblad H1 with the Leaf Aptus 75 back which gave us this very normal, if a little flat, RAW file. To keep the lighting dramatic, the only light I used is that Profoto beauty dish (with a grid) you see above her head. It was powered by a Profoto 7B at about half power which nicely darkened the mid-day ambient light down to mimic twilight…

Next, I had to do a bit of cosmetic retouching and obviously the light boom and sandbag had to go, but since I grey-balanced the shot heavy on the blue side, I had to bring back the vivid red of the dress and yellow tone of the guitar. I also lowered the contrast and added a bit of shadow detail using the ‘Shadow/Highlights’ adjustment because I knew that a few steps down the line I would be amping up the levels and contrast a lot…

Now came some color correction. Leaf RAW files are inherently flat and need a lotta help to get the kind of color I like in my final images, and in this case, because of that very blue white-balance I did, I inserted a Color Adjustment Layer and added 20 Red to the shadows and 20 Cyan to the highlights…

…then I added a Selective Color Adjustment Layer and really increased the Blue and Cyan levels…

Next, I pumped up the contrast in the Curves and Levels Adjustment Layers…

…and the contrast went up even more when I duplicated the image layer, converted it to ‘Soft Light’ and applied a healthy dose of the High Pass filter set at a radius of 150 pixels…

With the higher contrast, the High Pass layer added a lot of drama, but I still felt I had to draw more attention to Kate, so in a final step I created a new Overlay Layer (filled with 50% grey) and I ‘burned’ down the horizon line, the grass on either side of her and a bit of the sky, then I dodged the grass directly around her to make more of a spotlight effect…

That’s it…a simple photo in only seven steps!!! And here are all of those steps…side-by-side…one final time…

Song of the Day/Show of the Night

KATE TUCKER
Roman Candles


DOWNLOAD: Roman Candles

Before I get outta here, I’m dropping a rare Saturday song ‘cuz I went to see Kate play Spike Hill in Brooklyn last night as she kicked off her latest solo release, White Horses. The show was great, the crowd was stoked and to cap it off she did a totally rocked-out version of ‘Roman Candles’, one of my favorite songs and one I’ve been trying to get her to include on the set list more often! And for all you New York types who haven’t fled the city for the beaches this weekend, she’s playing a set tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, so if you’re just sitting around wondering when the heat wave is gonna break, get off your ass and head downtown for a bit of fun!

You can follow Kate on her MySpace Page

The NYTimes & Kickstarter…

Just last week, Kate Tucker put out a call on Kickstarter to help her fund the release of ‘White Horses’, her next album, and now The New York Times has a story about websites like Kickstarter, SellaBand and PledgeMusic and how indie acts are using them to get their projects off the ground.

So if you haven’t checked out Kate’s video yet, follow THIS LINK and toss her a few bucks. In less than a week she’s already pulled in $2150.00 of her $5000.00 target, but we gotta keep this going. I know some of you have already kicked in a few bucks, and I’m gonna try my best to not get all Public-Access-Pledge-Drive on you and hold any feet to the fire, but I know how many people are reading this and I also know a lot of you could dip into your mocha latte budget and help out and it ain’t exactly gonna hurt your bottom line…

Song of the Day – Kate Tucker Sings for Her Supper!



DOWNLOAD: On The Radio

I’m tag-teaming a Song of the Day along with a bit of good, old fashioned log-rolling today. The song is a previously unreleased acoustic version of ‘On The Radio’ Kate Tucker and Mark Isakson layed down for Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival last year. The log-rolling is explained below…..

Kate has finished recording White Horses, her new solo album, but she need a bit of help. Being an indie artist often means little details like coming up with the last few bucks to press CD’s, promote the album and loading up the tour bus sometimes force her to employ extraordinary measures…in this case, hit up folks on the internet for whatever they might be able to contribute! Kate has put together a Kickstarter Funding Videocomplete with ‘prizes’…in order to raise the final $5000.00 she needs to put White Horses to bed. If you toss her a few measly bucks you can get a signed CD and a bit of good Karma…for 50 bones she’ll unlock the vault and give you her bootlegs from her first album, the out of print Eros Turannos, and a few more goodies…$500 and she’ll record an acoustic version of any of her songs, dedicate it to you, post it on YouTube, and send you an exclusive mp3…..and for you seriously High Rollers, a grand will get Kate to play a concert for you and 40 of your closest & dearest friends (!)…two grand and she’ll sing for you, and cook you dinner and get you drunk (!!)…and if somebody were to kick in the whole five grand…well, I think it goes without saying that if anybody hits that target, Kate’s gonna have a friend for life!!! (Or it means she sold herself into slavery…I’m not quite sure…..)

I’m asking all of the friends of The List to head over to ‘Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is! Kate Tucker Sings for Her Supper!’ and watch the Kickstarter video…and if you can, show her a little love. And then pass it along to a few friends. It’s a lot more interesting than those damned LOLCats videos that keep filling up my inbox! And let’s be honest…the more true artists like Kate out there might mean we have to endure less of Lady GaGa…!!!

Check out more of Kate Tucker on MySpace

Song of the Day

JOHANNA AND THE DUSTY FLOOR
Creature


DOWNLOAD: Creature

I met Johanna Cranitch in a club downtown last year where she was playing with Kate Tucker, and since then she’s become a really good friend. It’s undoubtedly that friendship…and need to see me more often…that’s made her decide to move back from God-Awful L.A. to the warm embrace of New York…and not just Johanna, but Kate is ditching Seattle and the two of them are planning a full-frontal assault on Brooklyn this Spring! Besides singing angelic backup vocals with Kate, Johanna has been working on the second Johanna And The Dusty Floor album, due out this summer. John Balicanta from Lola Ray is producing and also plays on the album, and you can hear more on Johanna’s Myspace page

Songs of the Year 2009

Another year is over and another decade done and all that’s left for me now is to cook down the music I’ve served up over the past twelve months into an easily digestible, playlist-sized morsel. God…even after all the years I’ve been doing this, it’s still not easy. With all of the inspiringly good music that came out this past year, the wrap-up could have easily been 30 songs long, so I’ll apologize up front if you felt Carbon Leaf or Blitzen Trapper or Wye Oak should have been recognized, but I had to swing the axe on something, otherwise why have an end-of-the-year list at all?!! Surprisingly, none of my faves showed up on lists compiled by Rolling Stone, Spin or any of the other ‘big’ name music mags. Well…NME did have The Horrors ‘Sea Within A Sea’ at #2…does that make me a little bit mainstream?!! And it might sound melodramatic, but many of these songs have become touchstones to my life…they jog my increasingly bad memory and remind me of how I was feeling, who I was with and what I was doing. As I sat here editing down the list and listening to these all again, it was as though I was watching the year musically speed past me…bringing it all back again as the melodies filled me up. So here they are…my favorites songs of 2009……

#1.
AUDRYE SESSIONS
Turn Me Off


DOWNLOAD: Turn Me Off

There was absolutely zero chance this wasn’t gonna be my number one song this year. From the first time I heard it leap outta my Sirius while listening to Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel I was sold. Ryan Karazija has been compared to everyone from Bono to Thom Yorke, but the simple fact is his voice is an amazing instrument all it’s own, his timing and phrasing are extraordinary and he’s backed up with three of the most talented young musicians I’ve seen in years! And the cherry on top was that I got to shoot them when they were in New York back in March! Their self-titled debut album came out in October and you can check them out on their MySpace page

#2.
GREAT NORTHERN
Houses


DOWNLOAD: Houses

The one thing that nobody should ever have to witness is me singing, but this is the one song this year that I find myself harmonizing with (horribly) whenever it plays! Rachel Stolte’s trembling, trilling yet powerful vocals send shivers up my spine and the wall of fuzzy noise that accompanies her gets me swaying from the jump. Great Northern dropped “Remind Me Where The Light Is” in April…check ‘em out on their MySpace page

great_northern

#3.
DINOSAUR PILE-UP
My Rock & Roll


DOWNLOAD: My Rock & Roll

Yup…those three goofballs from Leeds who studied the Nirvana songbook easily grabbed the #3 spot on The List with ‘My Rock & Roll’, certainly the most glorious rock anthem of the year. I found ‘em on MySpace…where else?!!

#4.
MOS DEF
Quiet Dog


DOWNLOAD: Quiet Dog

There’s a certain member of The List who has told me in no uncertain terms that if ‘Quiet Dog’ didn’t make the Songs of the Year List, I would no longer be welcome at her dinner table! Well…she didn’t hafta threaten holding back food to get me to put this thing on, ‘cuz when I saw Mos Def do ‘Quiet Dog’ on Letterman I was instantly maintainin’ the rock and I don’t stop! Mos Def is the King of Kool…and he’s on MySpace

Mos_Def

#5.
ANYA MARINA
Move You


DOWNLOAD: Move You

Just imagine…if it hadn’t been for me tossing and turning from a wicked case of insomnia and then switching on Kimmel I probably never would have known who Anya Marina was, but even in my sleep-deprived state I knew she was the real deal and in an incredibly short time she has rocketed to the top of the indie pile with the kitten-sexy ‘Move You’. In fact, she’s so damned good that she stole the show from headliner Emiliana Torrini when they played the Highline Ballroom this Summer! ‘Move You’ is off of her second album, Slow & Steady Seduction, Phase II and you can hear more on her MySpace Page

#6.
METRIC
Gimme Sympathy


DOWNLOAD: Gimme Sympathy

So what if Metric are electronically-driven popsters from Canada? Every time Emily Haines’ pleading, raspy vocal cries, “Gimme sympathy!”, it pulls at my heart! It’s just one of those perfectly hook-filled pop songs that I find myself humming long after it’s over and what can be wrong with that?!! Head on over to their MySpace page and listen to a bit more.

#7.
BAND OF SKULLS
Blood


DOWNLOAD: Blood

Few bands blew up as big as Band Of Skulls did this past year. Besides touring the World in the summer, they also killed it at the Lollapalooza festival and just when they thought things might die down a bit, one of their songs was featured in the blockbuster movie, ‘Twilight – New Moon’…not bad for a group who last year at this time were still playing skeevy clubs in London and only had a couple of EP’s under their belts! Hit ‘em on MySpace

#8.
FEVER RAY
Now’s The Only Time I Know


DOWNLOAD: Now’s The Only Time I Know

Karin Dreijer Andersson’s solo experiment, Fever Ray, caught even the most diehard fans of The Knife off guard. Where The Knife could wander off into an electronic miasma of utter weirdness, Andersson’s icy-cool vocals, haunting melodies and slickly-produced musical constructions created a surprisingly approachable, yet intensely primal, world of minimalism and harmony…while still remaining pretty damned weird! Hear more Fever Ray on their MySpace Page or over on the Official Website

#9.
KATE TUCKER
Bullet Train


DOWNLOAD: Bullet Train

Kate’s new album, White Horses, isn’t due out ’til next Spring, but I’ve been giving out tastes for most of the year! A document of heartache, lost love and rebirth, it’s an intensely personal diary that she presents with an anguish-filled urgency that you feel from the first few notes. Kate’s a friend of The List, and I’m expecting you all to pre-order a limited edition signed and numbered copy of White Horses (Release date: March 2010), and Kate will send you a free gift! Just go the the ‘NEWS’ section on Kate’s Website for details, and then check her out on MySpace

#10.
THE IDLE HANDS
Loaded


DOWNLOAD: Loaded

The Idle Hands were basically unknown, but they turned a lotta heads at SXSW this year when they debuted a bunch of the new stuff they’ve been working on, including this Nihilistically re-worked version of ‘Loaded’, for an as-yet unnamed new album. All you Emo Boys and Backpack Kids can check out more songs over on MySpace

The Idle Hands

#11.
THE HORRORS
Sea Within a Sea


DOWNLOAD: Sea Within a Sea

What’s a list without a bit of Goth?!! Sure, they wear a lotta eye makeup and they’re probably very full of themselves (I mean, just look at how they pose!), but so did Bauhaus and these guys are the closest thing to that late-great band there is! For those of us with a penchant for gloomy poetics, Faris Badwan’s vocals come across like the like the bastard-child of Peter Murphy and Ian Curtis…just the kinda thing you need to listen to as your life slips away from you…..visit their MySpace page or their website for more.

horrors

#12.
SAY HI
November Was White, December Was Grey


DOWNLOAD: November Was White, December Was Grey

This was the very first Song of the Day when I moved The List from the e-mail distribution to the blog and it has remained one of the most-played songs I’ve come across all year. Seattle-based Eric Elbogen performs as Say Hi, recording albums out of his home, playing a majority of the instruments and vocals. He is often compared to such disparate artists as Belle & Sebastian, The Beatles, The Strokes, Interpol and Gary Numan and since 2002 has put out a pretty damned impressive body of work…visit his MySpace page to hear more.

#13.
THE HAPPY HOLLOWS
Faces


DOWNLOAD: Faces

I’m always fascinated by Sarah Negahdari’s voice…at times it’s like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but then she’ll get all introspective and moody like Tanya Donelly from Belly and just when you think she can’t morph into something else, she’ll do a mash-up of Patty Smith and Yoko Ono!!! It’s her trilling, high-register vocals that drive this L.A.-based power trio like a buzz saw on steroids. Their new album, Spells, dropped October 6th, and you can head over and make friends on MySpace

#14.
SCANNERS
Salvation


DOWNLOAD: Salvation

Even more tough-girl vocals from Sarah Daly, the lead singer of London-based post punk pop band, Scanners. Daly’s femme fatale swagger…part Karen O, part Chrissie Hynde…fits in perfectly with the eerie vibe on ‘Salvation’, with it’s dark harmonies that overlay a haunting melody. They’re set to release their second album, Submarine, in February on Dim Mak, but for now, check ‘em out on MySpace

#15.
THE SUN
In Perfect Time


DOWNLOAD: In Perfect Time

It’s kinda fitting that we come to the end of a list of the year’s best songs with a band that doesn’t even exist any more. The Sun were a collective of crazy talented musicians from Columbus, Ohio who packed it in back in January, but before they left, they finished Don’t Let Your Baby Have All The Fun that you can download gratis over at their old label, Rock Proper. And if you like following dead bands, head over to their MySpace page and ask ‘em to get back together again, but to maybe come up with a better name!

The Sun

Well…that’s it for another year. I hope you’re all enjoying yourselves! As for me…Hell, I just wanna be a rock star…..!!!

Shooting Kate

Click on any image for full-size

I have taken a rather long time to talk about the two shoots I did with Kate when she was in New York back in October…partly because I was waiting for her to finish her new album, but now that ‘White Horses’ is in the can, I guess this is a good time to bring them up.

Kate was in town for CMJ and we knocked around some ideas for a cover shoot that involved horses…she was thinking of calling the new record ‘White Horses’…so we took a drive up to Connecticut to look for some horses…but the horses didn’t wanna cooperate and with the sun rapidly falling outta the sky, we had to change direction and came away with these shots…

A few days later, back in the city, we talked about doing something a bit edgier and since, like all rock stars, she was staying at the Chelsea Hotel, we thought we might try a commando-style shoot in the halls. Johanna Cranitch, of Johanna and the Dusty Floor, has been singing back-up with Kate and she joined in the fun. We managed to get off one shot in front of Harry Houdini’s eyes before a security guard kicked our asses back to Kate’s room…..

…but once we were in the room, the light pouring in through the windows gave me more than I needed……

Remember…Kate’s album comes out next Spring, but you can pre-order a limited-edition signed and numbered copy of White Horses and receive a free gift from Kate right now…just check out the ‘NEWS’ section on her Website for details.

Song of the Day


KATE TUCKER
Bullet Train


DOWNLOAD: Bullet Train

Fans of The List (and any of you who have been paying attention) surely know that Kate Tucker has been in the studio recording her first post-Sons of Sweden album, but what you don’t know is that I’ve had a finished copy in my grubby hands for a couple of weeks and today…with Kate’s blessing…even though it’s not due out until next Spring, you’re gonna get a taste of ‘White Horses’. Backing up Kate’s bluesy, Tanya Donelly-esque vocals is her Sons of Sweden bandmate, Ed ‘Potatoes’ O’Brien on bass, Casey Foubert on drums, Terrill Bailie on organ and Blake Wescott handling the production and also playing various guitars, a mean melotron and crooning a few background vocals. After 20 straight days in a Seattle studio working on the new songs, the resulting album is a dark, moving, anguish-filled novella sung from the heart. There are times when Kate’s voice strains with such pain that you can almost feel the ache within her.

“I wrote these songs as I was facing some serious questions I had buried along the way, questions about faith and love and the sustainability of relationships in a constantly changing landscape” says Kate. “There was a point, early on in the studio, where it hit me that this record is awfully heavy and I wasn’t sure I could carry it through to completion. I got scared and then I got tough. I talked myself out of the fear and into the story. Some songs came to me so quickly and so late in the process that I hadn’t had time to fully understand the depth of their sorrow…”. This is hardly an ‘easy’ record to listen to, but after having it at the top of my iTunes folder for the past few weeks I can’t get the songs outta my head.

You can pre-order a limited edition signed and numbered copy of White Horses (Release date: March 2010), and receive a free gift (and free shipping) from Kate in the meantime. Go the the ‘NEWS’ section on Kate’s Website for details, and to further follow Kate’s movements, check her out on MySpace

Song of the Day

THE BLACK HOLLIES
Gloomy Monday Morning


DOWNLOAD: Gloomy Monday Morning

I was off shooting Kate Tucker on Wednesday and missed The Black Hollies show at the Knitting Factory, but according to everything I read, they tore the place up! I gotta admit, I was hooked on this song as soon as it opened with that fuzzed out piano banging, thumpy bass line and clanging cymbal crashes…the whole thing has such a wonderfully late-60′s, nostalgic Paisley Underground vibe…and front man Justin Angelo Morey’s energetic, high-register vocals transport you back in time where you swear you’re in a psychedelic club and the Zombies just took the stage! ‘Gloomy Monday Morning’ is off of the Jersey City quartet’s third album, Softly Towards The Light, and you can hear more over on their MySpace page

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Song of the Day

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KATE TUCKER
New Orleans


DOWNLOAD: New Orleans

Kate Tucker is sorta becoming the Artist-in-Residence here at the Song of the Day. Since I first featured “Faster Than Cars Drive” back in November of 2007, she’s popped up no fewer than five times, ended up on the 2008 Songs of the Year and been in front of my camera twice. And she’s just spent 20 straight days in a Seattle studio working on 14 new songs for a solo album…meaning no Sons of Sweden, no Honeydove…just KaTe. The album is scheduled for a Winter 2010 release, but the big news of the day is she’s sent me some fresh produce…‘New Orleans’ is off of a 3-song EP she just sent me and you guys get to be among the first to hear it. I’ve been playing the EP all morning and can’t begin to tell you how much I like this. Blake Wescott, who also produced Damien Jurado’s ‘Rehearsals for Departure’), is producing and playing guitar, bgv’s, melotron and the album also features her Sons of Sweden bandmate Ed ‘Potatoes’ O’Brien on bass, Terrill Bailie on keyboards and Casey Foubert (who tours with Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift, and Dave Bazan) on drums.

Like I said…Kate’s gonna be in town for CMJ and will be playing a 7:30PM set at Googie’s Lounge Friday 10/23 where you can pick up Where Are You, the limited edition pre-release of the new songs. Check her out on her MySpace page where you can stream ‘Blue December’ and ‘Where Are You’, the other two cuts off of the EP.

Song of the Day

LEVI FULLER
Colossal


DOWNLOAD: Colossal

I first time I’d ever heard of Levi Fuller was when fellow Seattleite and Song of the Day good-luck charm, Kate Tucker, sent me one of his ‘Ball Of Wax’ compilation CD’s…a quarterly collection of obscure music that features some of Seattle’s bestest indie bands. BofW Number 17 was released last month, and if you haven’t jumped on the Ball of Wax bandwagon, I suggest you head on over to his site and pick up a few right now. And Levi’s got his own new album about to come out, too. ‘Colossal’ drops October 27th and you can learn more over on MySpace or on The Official Levi Fuller Website !!!

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Song of the Day

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HONEYDOVE
All My Love


DOWNLOAD: All My Love

Maybe it’s the recession, but the Song of the Day List’s #1 go-to girl, Kate Tucker, has pared down The Sons of Sweden and went to SXSW to debut a new side project…Honeydove. Featuring Son of Sweden Ed (Potatoes) O’Brien on guitar and Lucas Carlyle on drums, Kate says the new group will allow her to ‘explore darker themes and textures’…the first demo cut, ‘All My Love’, has an almost narcotic effect from the start with the slow-tempo, shimmering guitar and Kate’s poetic vocal imparting a sirenlike sensuality…the feeling of world-weariness and intense melancholy is a stark contrast to to her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’ for the recent Starbucks “Sweetheart” release that previously showed up on The List. I don’t know how far Kate is going with Honeydove, but why don’t you head on over to MySpace and make friends…