The Impound has been organizing its music archives, and we hit upon the idea of sharing tunes we dig in an alphabetical way. So, for the next few months we’ll be working our way from A-Z with a choice baker’s dozen or so installment each week that includes bands/artists from a single letter.
Our “G” assortment includes double shots from two underdogs that deserve your thorough investigation (Thea Gilmore and Goose Creek Symphony) along with classics from Grand Funk Railroad and the Grateful Dead swimming with fresh sweet meat from Great American Taxi and Ghosts of Jupiter. This one’s got a bit of swing to it, so don’t resist if you get the urge to shuffle in your stocking feet, kids.
Listen to this mix HERE (8tracks embeds still not working properly. Sigh). Track listing below.
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In the winter of 2001, shocked and bummed out beyond belief by the 9/11 attacks and subsequent actions by my country and recently laid off for the first time in my life, I found myself adrift, a man on unknown tides tangled up in blue. Nothing made much sense and kindness and compassion seemed in terrifically short supply. Broke and bewildered, I wondered what tiny good I might do for others, what little thing I could mold with my hands that might raise a smile or prod a little contemplation from an increasingly numb populace. Thus was born the Seasonal Mix Series, an inquiry in song about where we stand as the weather changes and the calendar pages leaf by.
The goal has never been to lard these mixes with specific references to sun, snow, etc. but rather to snag the vibe of a new season, and more broadly, remind myself and others that things change and where we find ourselves today isn’t where we’ll be tomorrow. There are usually some oblique references to current events – very sadly, war and death have been near-constant subtexts – along with a few chuckles, choice covers, and more than anything, an attempt to be emotionally honest about the state of things.
Up until this point, the Seasonal Mixes have been a personal gift to friends and random strangers who seemed to need a fresh melody, a CD passed with a warm smile and a hug. Starting with this 11th winter offering, I’ll be sharing this series on Dirty Impound. Perhaps it will be a chance for the community gathering around this labor of love to pause, reflect and maybe even rejoice a bit together with folks they’ll likely never meet but share this beautiful world with – an infinitesimally small nudge towards some greater good. Comments are heartily encouraged. Tell us about where you stand, what these songs stir up, whatever. The space is open to all.
This installment is partially inspired by my recent nighttime walks around my suburban neighborhood in Northern California, drinking in the Christmas lights and cool air while stumbling across stray bits of wonder and remembering what this season felt like as a child (and how that slipped away with the years). It has a bang-up Journey cover from Clem Snide, a pair of wistful heart-tuggers from a pair of singer-songwriters you really should know (Greg Humphreys, Kiyoshi Foster), one from a master musician that deserves FAR more credit than he often gets (Papa Mali), and a couple songs that have haunted me in the finest ways all year from The Barr Brothers and Greensky Bluegrass. Finally, I dedicate the Paul Simon tune here to my lovely wife Sara, who built this website for her writer husband and never ceases to support his dreaming out loud. It’s no lie, cliché that is is, I loved her the first time I saw her. Now, let’s go make some snow angels and look up at the drifting clouds.
If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.
The 2011 edition of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, an annual free music festival in Golden Gate Park, drew an estimated 600,000-800,000 people. Most of them weren’t likely able to get as close to the action as lensman Scott Dudelson, who brings us this healthy sampling of the talent that gathered in 2011.
Zigaboo Modeliste @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
GillianWelch & David Rawlings @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Bill Kirchin @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Del McCoury @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
John Prine @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Luther Dickinson @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Charlie Musselwhite @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Ricky Skaggs @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Buddy Miller @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Steve Earle @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Thurston Moore @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Otis Clay @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Greensky Bluegrass @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Ryan Bingham @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Joe Ely @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Robert Plant @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Chris Isaak @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Southern Culture on the Skids @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Ruthie Foster @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Jolie Holland @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Merle Haggard &Kris Kristofferson @ HSB 2011 by Scott Dudelson
Once a month, the Impound will serve up a consciously gentle assortment to soundtrack the weekend waking of our readers. This inaugural edition includes two old songs that seem eerily timely from John Hartford and Gerry Rafferty, one of Elton John’s best moments, sweet covers of CSN (Cosmic Rough Riders) and Dolly Parton (Ida) and other tunes handpicked to ease you into the sunrise. Coffee’s on. It’s going to be a wonderful day…
If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.
Dirty Impound is stepping in to help y’all with the seemingly endless barrage of bands vying for your attention this year. We’ve sifted through the tea leaves to bring you a quick gloss and a nibble from eleven acts sure to enrich the listening life of any thinking rock ‘n’ roller in the months ahead.
With a name that fits wonderfully around the shifting, vibrant hues and striking, slightly giddy feel of the cheekily titled My ___ Is Pink (arriving May 10), this quartet begs comparisons with early Beta Band (as in the magic band that made those first three EPs) and contemporaries Yeasayer and TV On The Radio. Except Oklahoma-based Colourmusic seems to be having more fun than their peers, perhaps having sipped from the same pool that’s made Wayne Coyne such a blast in the past decade. One feels animated and charged up listening to Colourmusic, whose latest is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.
While there’s plenty o’ twang to Greensky, the band has increasingly shown a depth and heightened insight to the human condition that moves them a good few degrees away from their string band beginnings and much closer to The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show, i.e. folkies and pickers capable of touching a much larger nerve in society. Greensky’s forthcoming new album, Handguns, lingers profoundly but doesn’t come off as heavy, preachy or anything of the sort. It’s the sound of a band coming into their own, ready for a lot more people to take them into their heart. No one will be sorry if they do.
Austin, TX is lousy with bands but few possess the variety, spiky chops or tunesmithing savvy of White Denim. On May 24th, they release one of the liveliest, most thoroughly enjoyable albums to hit the Impound’s ears in 2011. D bobs and weaves along, tough and tickling, a child of the psychedelic revolution but free of the subset’s often muddy sonics, preferring instead punk’s whiplash sensibilities and pop’s come hither vibe. D pushes out one catchy, clever, unpredictable number after another, making one wonder that one band has made all these neat sounds. Anyone with a soft spot for Apollo Sunshine or Dr. Dog should take notice right away.
Murder The Mountains (released April 12) is only the second album from this Portland, OR quartet but it’s already obvious to any serious hard rock fan that these guys are on the pathway that brought us the likes of Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age. However, Red Fang is a bit more Pabst Blue Ribbon ready than these kindred touchstones, and in some ways that makes their heavy duty music a bit more baldly enjoyable. Listening to new ones like “Wires” and “Throw Up” one can tell they’re hunting after big game but they never totally lose hold of a boogie spirit inside their addictively listenable music.
At first this Seattle band brought us back to vintage Funkadelic but the longer we listen the more cool ancestors kick up – Springsteen & E Street, MC5, Temptations, The Clash. And while their first two albums were pleasurable rides, their third long-player, Jungle Cat (arriving mid-May but available for pre-order now), tightens and builds upon all the good things exhibited previously, cutting back on the chuckles in favor of a rollicking, sly dissertation on what it means to survive in 21st century America. Vocally, they’ve got most of the competition skunked, and the three-piece instrumental core makes WAY too much great noise for so few guys. This year, Staxx is all business and business is VERY good.
This Vancouver, Canada group oozes classic rock attitude and style but evades nostalgia with songs that leap with urgency and timeless solidity. It’s been a couple years since their awesome self-titled debut (peep review here), so they’ve been woodshedding new material for a while. The demos they’ve let the Impound check out remind us of Southern Harmony And Musical Companion-era Black Crowes and the band themselves suggest it’s “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club playing Waylon Jennings.” Both work for us, and frankly we’re excited as hell to hear the sophomore salvo from these real rock upstarts – a band with the rugged fortitude to be a new millennial answer to The Faces if they play their cards right.
It’s nigh impossible to say too many nice things about Rubblebucket. They continually justify one’s enthusiasm with washes of talent and imagination that sweep one up quickly and joyfully. With hints of Talking Heads, Pere Ubu, Tricky, dub reggae and 70s Nigerian funk, Rubblebucket are a goddamn blast and a half, both on record and in the flesh. Lead singer Kalmia Traver is one of the most potent female vocalists to hit modern rock since Karen O first told us to hitch up our britches, and the fluctuating, brightly etched music around her keeps the conversation equally interesting. The band is giving away their new album, Omega La La, for free right now (details here) in an effort to shake hands with a wider audience. Don’t refuse them or we’ll come over and kick you in a sore spot for your laziness.
Ethan Miller and co. have been working on the follow-up to 2008’s Magnificent Fiend for three years. Uber-producer Rick Rubin is involved in the witchcraft, and there’s a lot of pressure to nail down something significant, big, etc. with this one. The Rain needn’t worry since they already have most rock bands outstripped on the talent and originality fronts, not to mention the sheer driving mojo that tumbles out of every track, even the slow burns. There’s a nifty three-cut EP, The Good Life (released February 11), to tide us over, but it really leaves us no less anxious (in a good way) for what this thinking man’s psychedelic unit will lay on us in the fall.
The Slits, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and early PJ Harvey & Patti Smith all leap to mind when one presses play on Sin Sin Sin, the terrific, befuzzed debut from Los Angeles-by-way-of-Guadalajara, Mexico’s Le Butcherettes (arriving May 10). But these references quickly fade to footnotes once one digs into their gutsy, bile-rich music – all skinned knuckles, dented hearts and battered instruments. Produced by The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Sin Sin Sin is a nitro fueled update of riot grrrl ways that drips sex, violence and pure fucking rock ‘n’ roll.
While Ryan Adams is off doing whatever he’s doing – we’re not ones to judge – the field of thoughtful, pop-wise American roots music is wide open to a young, capable contender like Caleb Caudle. This kid and his diligently improving, tough little band give off the hungry whiff of early Petty and the Heartbreakers with some of Ryan’s softness. Their last album, 2010’s Snake River Canyon, announced the group’s ascent, and they’ve steadily knocked out solid steps forward since, including a Valentine’s single with Adams’ old Whiskeytown foil Caitlin Cary and a new EP that does nothing but increase the warming glow of this band.
Haale Gafori and Matt Kilmer don’t make casual music. Spiritual, whip smart and intense, The Mast is full-bodied yet intoxicating like a wondrous scent caught at random on a strong wind. It’s hard to say where it came from but one must follow it just the same. This is music for lovers and fractals, dreamers and supplicants, rockers with questioning souls and children of all ages. Original, refreshingly sincere and strong as a tree, The Mast is working on their debut album for release later in 2011. For more on this pair, here’s a conversation with Haale and Matt that Dennis had a couple years back.