Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October event...

Upcoming in Backstreet Saint John:

Monday October 5th:

Free instore performance w/


Go time is Lunch time... which is when you have lunch... or when he has lunch... just call the store for more details, ok?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ten to recommend

Here is a quickie featuring ten albums from the last couple of months you may have missed... but that you should not continue to miss... if you can help it.

01) Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle (Drag City)

Second effort under his own name after retiring the Smog pseudomnym. This is a little more sedate and tuneful affair with strings and brass and the whole shmear. Like most of Callahan's albums what's going on takes a few listens to sink in... I think it's mostly about loss and spirit guides, but it could just be about a walk in the woods. You be the judges.

02) Rick White Album - 137 (Blue Fog)

Another gentleman whose been using his own name, instead of the Eric's Trip or Elevator variations. Like the previous couple on Blue Fog it slides back and forth across the many heavy psychedelic sounds from the repertoire.

03) Bowerbirds - Upper Air (Dead Oceans)

Second album from the guitar, accordion and bass drum trio. It's more assured and deeper lyrically but with all the sweet melodies you demand. Fans of Decemberists who found the last albums too "conceptual" take note... but shame on you, though.

04) Desolation Wilderness - New Universe (K)

Because you can never have too much Beach Boys, Velvet Underground or Damon & Naomi these young men have seen fit to combine all three and save you countless listening hours.

05) Helado Negro - Awe Owe (Asthmatic Kitty)

Savath and Savalas / Prefuse 73 collaborator Roberto Carlos Lange drops his first indie Tropacalia album... and it's a good one. It's got the historical Os Mutantes and Antonio Carlos Jobim touches with little bits of tasteful electronics to get modernistic with it. Helado Negro = Black Ice Cream.

06) Lightning Dust - Infinite Light (Jagjaguwar)

Second side project album by Joshua and Amber from Black Mountain. Sounds are more varied and less mournful, though gray clouds persist at the horizon.

07) Throw Me the Statue - Creaturesque (Secretly Canadian)

I know there was an odd spike in local popularity for TMTS when their debut came... and this follow-up does not disappoint. Nothing that worked last time has been discarded, only polished a little and with hints of Weezer and Joe Jackson to keep all the sad sacks happy. Problematically.

08) Ramona Falls - Intuit (Barsuk)

The three guys in Menomena are all infuriatingly talented and multi-instrumental. This first side project from Brent Knopt is rife with guests and therefore sounds not so much like his parent band and more like all the good things about the 80s that most bands trying to sound 80s-ish miss.

09) Ohbijou - Beacons (Last Gang)

It's just as cute as their last one, but ten times more ass-kicking. Get it in prep for their late October appearence w/ The Acorn at The Charlotte St. Art Centre.

10) Years - S/T (Arts and Crafts)

Where Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning hogged all the Broken Social Scene side project attention last year... this year Charles Spearin and now Ohad Benchetrit (both also of Do Make Say Think) have cool and intriguingly left field albums. Ohad is Years and his instrumental album is the sort of acoustic vs. electronic mixdown that you'd normally get from more high brow labels like H├Ąpna or Type... isn't it nice when you can buy domestic, though?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Damien Jurado

OK... so it's autumn... school's back in session. September and October are traditionally chock full of hot new releases to coincide with band's fall tours and festival season. And I'll get to what's been hot-slash-cool over the last couple of months and what's coming up... soon.

But first, one of my new pet projects is to start spotlighting artists that are favourites of mine... especially ones that seem to always be drifting just under the radar.

First up Damien Jurado

From his debut, Waters Ave. S. on Sub Pop in 1997 to last year's Caught in the Trees on Secretly Canadian, Jurado has released eight full length albums and more than a handful of cool singles and e.p.s. Waters Ave. S. was a mostly gentle and downbeat singer/songwriter affair that sat easily alongside Elliott Smith with it's easy lyricism and hushed heart-on-sleeve delivery. A couple of albums later, with I Break Chairs (Sub Pop, 2002), he amped things up with a full band and rocked out in a Springteen/Nebraska kinda way. Switching over to Secretly Canadian in 2003, he released Where Shall You Take Me?, probably the most generic of his albums. From that point on the next three albums have been incredibly solid and and moving. There is a small town Midwest feel to his songwriting that often focuses on the after effects of violence and identifies with the villains and their fated lives. His band crystallized to it's current three piece incarnation over these last three albums as well. Eric Fisher has been a longtime collaborator and brings a great arranger's ear (there is a powerfully understated use of both organ and guitar drone to create tension on most of his albums). Jenna Conrad on bass and backing vocals has been a strong presence for some time, but especially on last year's Caught in the Trees where her vocals are under almost all of Jurado's, giving an extra layer of richness and warmth.

Here is a short four track mix of songs from albums now available instore... and for special order if we happen to run out:

.mp3 15 minutes, 12 seconds
20.9 MB

(1) What Were the Chances from And Now That I'm in Your Shadow (2006)

(2) Like Titanic from I Break Chairs (2002)

(3) I Am the Mountain from On My Way to Absence (2005)

(4) Last Rights from Caught in the Trees (2008)