Song of the Day

LAND OF TALK
Quarry Hymns


DOWNLOAD: Quarry Hymns

The Montreal-based Land of Talk has a perfect song to kick off what looks like it’s gonna be a very nice week. Liz Powell’s easy-going vocals, the cool shoegazey vibe and the light and airy mood the song has put me in has almost convinced me blow off the mountain of work I have in front of me and spend the rest of the day up on the roof soaking in the sun. And even though the lyrics are profoundly sad, there is a sweet sexiness that is both uplifting and hopeful…

…And on days like these
I could take apart my window
So let down, I was so let down…

‘Quarry Hymns’ is off of Land Of Talk’s second album, Cloak & Cipher, that dropped last week. Check out their MySpace page for more information and be sure to check out this acoustic version that was recorded under a bridge…

Song of the Day

MATT ELLIS
Heart Of Mine


DOWNLOAD: Heart Of Mine

It often surprises me just how much stuff I pass on to The List that fits into the Alt Country category…God knows it’s been kinda folky in here recently…but even though I spent a lotta time growing up on the farm in Saskatchewan, I never really had much use for all the twang and slide guitars. Now for some reason I find myself listening to much more down-home, country-fried tunes than I used to. Maybe it’s an aging thing…or just me bein’ a bit more open-minded…or just maybe, the music has gotten so much better over time and the line between Folk Rock, Art Rock and Country Rock just gets fuzzier and fuzzier! Anyway, a couple of hours ago, Matt Ellis…an Australian Singer/Songwriter who’s living in the Country Music capital of Venice, California…sent me his latest album, Births, Deaths & Marriages, a collection of the above mentioned Alt Country warblers, soulful ballads and Delta roadhouse jams. I’ve listened through the entire thing twice already and Goddamn it if it ain’t shuffle-steppin’ it’s way into my heart. Matt’s lonesome lyrics and Sad Bastard vocals and a parade of guest musicians have crafted a tight little hoedown with haunting Pedal Steel work from Greg Leisz (who’s played with Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss) and guitars from Tim Young (Beck) and Nick Luca (Calexico). Go on and give him a look on MySpace or over on his Web Site

And for all you dog lovers, this video is gonna put a tear in your eye…..

Song of the Day

JOEY RYAN
Broken Headlights


DOWNLOAD: Broken Headlights

One of the perks of being in New York is being able to listen to new music every single night and last night Vienna Teng was doing her Farewell Tour at the Highline Ballroom and I was there…front row & center! Vienna is truly one of the most gifted artists I’ve heard in years and it rips my heart out to think she’s packing up her piano (at least until she gets her Masters from the University of Michigan) because even as talented as she is, it’s damned near impossible to survive in the music business…unless you shake your ass around like GaGa or Beyoncé! But this isn’t about Vienna…it’s about the guy who opened for her, a darkly funny Angeleno named Joey Ryan. Joey took the stage wearing a slightly ill-fitting tweedy suit, carrying nothing but a guitar that was ‘older than his parents’…and he went on to totally win over the crowd, most of whom had probably never heard of him! His folksy, self-deprecating banter between songs has a real Luka Bloom quality about it, except that where Luka would typically be moaning about how horrible life on the road is and that he misses Ireland terribly, Joey lamented about how life on road sucked and he missed the lack of weather back home in L.A.!!!

Joey’s gonna be playing a solo gig at the small room at Rockwood Music Hall this Friday and will back in New York on September 22nd, this time playing Stage 2 at Rockwood with Amber Rubarth. ‘Broken Headlights’ is off of his new EP, Kenter Canyon, and I strongly advise you all to head on over to his MySpace page and give him a look!

I Shoot Kaz…Kaz Shoots Me…..

A few weeks ago, the folks at Resource Magazine got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in contributing to a photo essay they’re doing on Photographers and their Assistants. The idea is for me to shoot a portrait of my assistant and then have the assistant shoot me. I thought it sounded like an OK way to spend a day, so on one of the hottest days of the year, Kaz and I trucked a few hundred pounds of gear up to the roof and I did one of my Artificial Portraits of him, then we went back to the air-conditioned comfort of my apartment where he did a particularly scary shot of me…

The story will be in the Fall issue which comes out in early October…I’ll let y’all know when it drops!

Song of the Day


LISSIE
In Sleep (Live)


DOWNLOAD: In Sleep (Live)

It’s been almost a year since I turned you guys on to Lissie Maurus when I leaked ‘Everywhere I Go’ from her stunning debut EP, but yesterday she dropped Catching A Tiger…her first full-length album…and it is a bit of a surprise. Where the EP was dark, blues-infused and introspective, the album is more upbeat, sunnier and filled with twangy country pop themes. The Rock Island, Illinois native calls L.A. home (and must hang with the cool kids ‘cuz she even sang at Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s wedding), but recently relocated to London to jump-start her career. In fact, the album has been out in Europe since early this summer and she’s deep into a tour of the continent and won’t get back to the States until later this Fall. This live version of ‘In Sleep’ isn’t on the album…it’s a little bonus for all you guys on The List! Enjoy, and then head over to MySpace and make friends with Lissie.

Song of the Day

ZOLA JESUS
Sea Talk


DOWNLOAD: Sea Talk

Growing up in rural Wisconsin must have made Nika Roza Danilova think her name isn’t quite unique enough, ‘cuz when she’s on stage she would prefer if you call her Zola Jesus. I stumbled across her new EP, Stridulum, the other day and being a fan of all things Goth, was immediately taken by her Siouxsie Sioux-like vocals and the sparse, haunting, industrial backing track. She’s getting lotsa notice overseas…in fact, she’s opening for Fever Ray all over Great Britain before she heads out on her own European tour in September…then back State-side where she’s criss-crossing the country, including a gig in NYC at the wonderfully creepy (and just a bit Goth!) United Palace Theater October 2nd! This is some really cool shit and I think you all should head over to MySpace and make friends!

Song of the Day

BEST COAST
Boyfriend


DOWNLOAD: Boyfriend

Bethany Cosentino does a killer homage to 60’s girl groups like The Shirelles, The Shangri-Las and The Chiffons with her sad, lo-fi ballad, ‘Boyfriend’, off of the just-released Best Coast album, Crazy For You. The song has a wonderfully retro, transistor radio/mono sound and is so wrapped up in treble-heavy guitars and cymbal crashes that you’d swear they let Phil Spector outta jail to produce the thing! Head on over to MySpace for more from Best Coast.