It’s NANOWRIMO time, and of course my fledgling novel is developing a strained, ill-advised, could-be romance between a couple characters, and of course one of those characters is the one I initially identified with most closely. Ill-advised love affairs, whether actualized or just fantasized, can be a bit nice when they are in that ambiguous stage where it is not entirely clear what might come of them. Well, if I can manage it, I suppose I ought to try to keep this ambiguousness going quite a while longer, since it seems I am far more loquacious in this state. For those dear readers who liked these posts better when they weren’t so long, though, I must add that chances are pretty decent that whenever the ambiguousness goes away in this one, it won’t be replaced by full-blown romance in any form. So, soon enough, these posts should go back to their normal sparseness and oft-exaggerated brevity.
1. Robert Vincent (The Bomb EP)- “November” – This is an artist I came across through Darrell Coyle, who if I am remembering correctly played a show for which Robert Vincent was the headliner. His music reminds me of some of Justin Roth’s songs, with a heavy dose of Bob Dylan and the edgy ballad-style songwriting I expect from Ross Crean. I have been waiting months for it to be November so I could post this song in a playlist.
2. Patti Fiasco (Small Town Lights)– “Bless My Heart” – I had a chance to catch up briefly with one of the fellows from this band, who assured me that while Alysia Kraft, the lead singer for Patti Fiasco, is heading off to Texas for the winter, this is not to his knowledge a permanent move, nor is this excellent Americana/Country/Rock band disbanding. I have heard enough rumors lately about their Halloween show having been their last, that I figured it was a good time to add one of their songs to this playlist and dispel a few rumors. Patti Fiasco will in fact have another show in Fort Collins in December, too, so if you missed them at the Swing Station this past week, you can catch them here next month.
3. Attic Wolves (Carry Us On)- “The Balladeer” – I heard these guys live before I heard their album, and loved their live show- they remind me very much of Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy, and since Attic Wolves are from Kansas City, Missouri, they are not so far from Wichita that these two bands couldn’t play some shows together (a grand idea in my book). Their studio recordings are also fantastic, but in studio these guys remind me more of the Dunwells or Winchester Holiday. The last part of this song especially sounds like something I’d expect from Winchester Holiday or maybe from A Brother’s Fountain, and I always am reminded of the Dunwells’ “I Could Be a King” when I listen to the whole Attic Wolves album.
4. Gillian Welch (Hell Among the Yearlings)- “Miner’s Refrain” – I had the dubious pleasure of singing a song in a bluegrass jam this past week (it was great fun, but I have perhaps unrealistic expectations for myself that I won’t forget lyrics to songs I know, and I totally screwed up the second verse and forgot all the later verses entirely). Well, most of the songs the fellows at this weekly jam play have no good female vocal parts, but Gillian Welch has quite a few songs that the other musicians in the circle would love to learn or already know. I am not sure who all knows this one, but it would fit with the aesthetics of the group, I think, and it would be fun to sing a few more songs sometime.
5. Wilson Phillips (Wilson Phillips)- “Hold On” – This is one of those songs that is great to spoof, and one of my favorite covers of it is by the all-male Americana band Constitution, who performs this one with all their best harmony vocals and great instrumentals. It comes across as super cheesy and silly, and absolutely hilarious. But the original song, while a bit too saccharin at times, is also a pretty decent piece of music. there is a reason it has stuck around to be parodied so much.
6. Tyler T. (A World to Wander)- “Zion” – I’ll be running out of Tyler T. songs soon to post from his currently available album, but thankfully he is working on a new album, which I am told will be recorded at Fort Collins’ favorite newer studio, Stout Studio, the same studio Mama Lenny & the Remedy, Patti Fiasco, and many of my other favorite bands and artists have used to create their excellent albums.
7. Brown Bird (Salt for Salt)- “Nothing Left” – These guys are on my shortlist of acts I really hope turn up at a venue I cover in the next year or so, so I can get some photos for my collection and meet the band. Considering how many bands and artists I have met in the course of my work as a music blogger, I am keeping my fingers crossed. This song has a particularly cool rhythm that reminds me a bit of some of what the Littlest Birds (who I have met) played at their live show here not too long ago. Brown Bird also reminds me very much of Colorado band the Haunted Windchimes.
8. Post Paradise (The New Normal)- “Sex Panther” – In their live shows this song always starts with a super-dramatic light-scheme that looks even cooler now that Amy is playing a sexy electric cello. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again- if Post Paradise comes to a city near you, you must see them live. Their music is fantastic anyway, but their shows incorporate a bunch of fancy lights that make their concerts a visual treat as well as great live music. No video could quite do them justice.
9. The Stranglers (The UA Singles 1977-1982) – “(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)” – Usually when I hear music like this live, it is far too loud for me to be up at the speaker-line taking photos, even with earplugs, but at open mics we occasionally get solo artists whose music would be the quieter version of stuff like this. Actually I saw a whole hard rock instrumental set for Halloween this past week that was so well balanced that it retained its full power while the volume was actually no louder than what I expect from a good bluegrass show. I don’t recall who was at the sound board, but even the lads from that band noticed that the sound was particularly well done that night, without the usual cheap fix of raising the volume to cover up imbalances.
10. Sting (25 Years)- “Sister Moon” – There are some artists that have no cognates that I know of, or at least not many. There are of course a few artists in Fort Collins who could do a decent cover of some of Sting’s songs, but I don’t know anyone who is creating new music quite on par with this man’s work. I’m sure they are out there- there are more great musicians in just Colorado alone than any music blogger is likely to know- but so far to my knowledge Sting remains unrivaled by Fort Collins artists.
11. Katherine Jenkins (The 50 Greatest Romantic Pieces by Katherine Jenkins)- “Carmen, Act I: “Pres des Ramparts de Seville” – One of my favorite things about hanging out with musicians is that they know lots of music, not just in the genres they play. Many of the guitarists, drummers, bassists and vocalists in good rock bands started out learning music by playing classical instruments like piano, violin or cello, and while they play different music professionally, they still appreciate the stuff they cut their musical teeth on. I’ve heard a few bits of Carmen slip their way into shows over just the past few weeks, along with bits of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, but it’s been a while since I heard the whole song for some of these popular classical themes.
12. Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi Greatest Hits)- “Bad Medicine” – The perfect song for a soundtrack to an ill-advised but inescapable crush or love affair (not that I would be at all inclined to try such things, ever).
13. Shook Twins (Window)- “Long Time” – I photographed a Shook Twins show finally (I missed their show here earlier this year at the GNU Gallery), but spent too much time chatting with the fellows from the Attic Wolves and managed to not meet any of the band or the Shook Twins themselves. They played a brilliant show though, and I love all their more unusual instruments- the silver phone microphone, and especially the giant golden egg. Their set was easily among my favorites for this season, and I’ve seen a lot of live sets from a lot of bands this season.
14. Cutting Crew (The Best of Cutting Crew)- “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” – My Halloween costume, by the time we got to actual Halloween (Halloween went on forever this year since the holiday itself was on a midweek work-night), was “80’s TV sitcom extra/ Punky Brewster fan” so I had all the crazy bright fuscia and bright blue clothes, in all the right color combinations, plus the ‘fountain’ ponytail that all the coolest kids wore when I was growing up in the early-mid 80’s. I looked ridiculous, of course, but in a Halloween-good way, and it was a recognizable look that lots of folks seemed to enjoy as a chance to reminisce about the good ol’ days. Whenever I had my computer along, I made sure I had spotify up and a playlist of all the cheesy-best 80’s hits that someone dressed like that might have been listening to back then. So, a lot of 80’s songs turned up on this week’s list.
15. Paula Abdul (Forever Your Girl)- “Straight Up” – Ok, maybe Cutting Crew was stretching my Halloween character’s image a bit, but this song and album would have gone over really well with that character, even though it came along a bit late relative to the peak popularity of those fountain ponytails.
16. Go West (Aces and Kings … The Best of Go West)- “The King of Wishful Thinking” – Another song for that ill-advised love affair’s soundtrack. This one would also be popular with the teenage version of the character I was dressed up as for Halloween, though this song is from a 90’s band, not an 80’s band. Incidentally, this turned out to be one of the most challenging bands to locate a webpage for online. They are still active, and are currently on tour throughout Britain, and they will actually be doing one show date with Cutting Crew in London in about a week. Go West also has a new album “3D” from which they have gradually been releasing singles this year.
17. Fierce Bad Rabbit (Spools of Thread)- “Move It Along” – This band just finished doing some new recordings at a studio in Boulder, and every one of their band-members who I’ve spoken to since those recording sessions is stoked about their new music and can’t wait to be able to share it with all the fans. So, stay tuned for great new music coming from Fierce Bad Rabbit.
18. Murray Head (Broadway’s Greatest Leading Men)- “One Night in Bangkok” – Many have tried to cover this song, but this so far remains the benchmark against which all others must compete. Murray Head also has done a lot more than just this one song most people know him for. He in fact released a new album last year “My Back Pages”, and had several shows booked in France this past summer.
19. Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy (Hatchetations)– “Promised Land” – I still wish these guys were located here in Fort Collins so they’d play here more often, but at least they seem to like it here enough to include us on their tours as much as possible. In the meantime, I’ve decided our closest cognate here is the Widow’s Bane, a very cool gypsy rock band that performs in zombie facepaint every show (they were still in their usual face paint for their Halloween show, and were dressed up in costumes, 4 of them in the YMCA outfits). Anyway, I’d love to see Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy and Widow’s Bane do a show together one of these days.
20. Dierks Bentley (Long Trip Alone)– “Long Trip Alone” – I remember the first time I heard this song, while I was at my friend Miki’s house and trying to develop at least a tolerance for country music. I ‘hated’ country as a genre all my life up to that point, but I was working at a summer camp where many people listened only to country radio, and I lived in a bunkhouse with a bunch of other ladies who were decidedly country fans. I needed to at least try to like country music, just to not stick out too painfully for the rest of the summer. Well, this was among the first videos I saw on CMT that one day in 2006, and I was hooked. If this was what country music had become I couldn’t imagine what I disliked it for, and this Dierks Bentley album was one of the first CDs I bought when a few months later I decided I needed some new albums for my media collection.
- #AREA941 New Music Show Playlist: Nov 3rd, 2013 (mix941fm.cbslocal.com)
- Motivational music – Where would we be without it? (epicahealth.com)
- Crows | Personal Playlist (sexbeatlondon.com)
- Weekly 20 Songs Playlist: September 22 (ravenmount.com)
- Weekly 20 Song Playlist: Oct 5 (ravenmount.com)