2.20.2009

making up for lost time

okay guys, i'm back! here are some new hits that i've discovered... i've done 10 instead of 5 since i've been gone for a month or so.

1. Erin McCarley, Love, Save the Empty
sounds like: Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Callait
listen here

Okay, well i'm pretty sure that Erin's about to become huge. I can't describe her any better than the two artists I've listed above. Her songs are a little polished, but she's got the kind of voice that is surely awesome live. I just acquired the entire CD, but "Pony (It's Okay)" and the title track are pretty good listens.

2. Eric James and the New Century, The City Lights- EP
sounds like: The Fray (music)
listen here

Unfortunately for all of us, this band is broken up. All that's available in the meantime is their EP. While not life changing, I really enjoy the rhythmic piano, underlying guitar... the usual stuff I fall for.

3. Sean Watkins, Blinders On
sounds like: Nickel Creek (duh), a little bluegrass, Ben Folds-type voice, country type music.
listen here

Sean Watkins, besides being lead singer of Nickel Creek, and just debuting an album as one half of Fiction Family, apparently also has a solo career. I'll admit, I'm not a great fan of the whole CD but I find Watkins' style refreshing and different. It's not polished at all. "Runaway girl" is pretty much just a guitar, Watkins and some violins. "No Lighted Windows" is my personal favorite, due to the fiddle and refreshing lightness.

4. Ben Jelen, Give It All
sounds like: Howie Day, Ryan Cabrera
listen here

Well, to start with the negatives, I have to agree with Jelen's reviews on iTunes. It seems as though Jelen could be his own type of singer songwriter if some commercial producer hadn't decided to overproduce this record and make it too poppy. He's got a breathy sort of voice, but it's almost hidden beneath all the synthesizers and background orchestra. Usually I like that stuff too. But before I dissuade you from clicking on him at all, remember, I liked him enough to put him on here. He'll probably be in Top 40s within the next few years. I recommend "She'll Hear You" and "Every Step".

5. Matt Hires, Live from Hotel Cafe (EP)
sounds like: Death Cab for Cutie (acoustic), Matt Wertz, Matt Nathanson (live)
listen here

Ahhh- the classic singer songwriter. Maybe it's just because this is a live record. But if Matt polishes this act up on a record he is destined for big things. Especially Mr. John "I win Grammys for songs i write just to make money" Mayer handpicked him to play on his Mayercraft tour in late March. Matt is young, and laidback, and his lyrics reflect some young love... ohhh so cute. My favorites are "Honey, let me sing you a song" and "Oh Sunrise".

6. Mike Dunn and the Kings of New England, P is for Panda: Mix Tape I
sounds like: The Weakerthans, Mae (?)
listen here

And now for something completely different. This band comes off a lot harder than I think they really are- I think it may be the electric guitar dominating the music tracks- but the sound is soft enough for me. I personally enjoy "The Queen", but the other songs up there are also good.

7. Lucy Kaplansky, Over the Hills
sounds like: Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks, Antje Duvekot
listen here

for those who enjoy the female folk singer. Lucy is just on the line of too folky for me. I really enjoy her insightful lyrics, especially those of "Manhattan Moon". Apparently she has a really interesting life story, involving a mid life PhD in psychology.

8. Long-view, Mercury
sounds like:
listen here

Let's be honest: I found them on pandora today. Regardless, what I like about them is, surprise surprise, the acoustic guitar but mixed with electric, etc. Not life changing, but a good listen.

9. Emerson Hart, Cigarettes & Gasoline
sounds like: Gavin Degraw
listen here

Hart is not new to me, I was introduced to him via Pat McGee's blog about a year ago. But I figure you probably haven't heard of him. Although he does sound like Gavin, he's way more dark and brooding. "I Wish the Best For You" and "If You're Gonna Leave" are both so sad- good for a heartache.

10. Daphne Willis, Matter of Time- EP
sounds like: Jack Johnson, Tristan Prettyman
listen here

Daphne Willis is also not new to me. "My Shoes" is an amazing song that I love, and if you've ever received a mix from me, it's probably been on it. But I invite you to check out her other works. Apparently she has a new EP that was out in September 08. Her voice is unique, her lyrics quirky and witty, and her music laid back and easy.

Enjoy.

2.07.2009

10 things

just for fun: the last 10 songs to come up on shuffle (it's a good day):

1. Cellophane Girl- Graham Colton Band
2. Mend Your Heart- William Fitzsimmons
3. If You Have to Go- Stephen Kellogg (and Deb Talan)
4. Warm Whispers- Missy Higgins
5. Spit on a Stranger- Nickel Creek
6. Barrel of a Gun - Guster (throwback!)
7. Starve Them to Death- Sean Watkins
8. I Still Ain't Over You- Augustana
9. Oh! - Eric Hutchinson
10. Free Fallin' - John Mayer (covering Petty. amazing.)

links coming soon.

2.04.2009

keeping secrets.

oh hey people. although I have MUCHO MUCHO new-to-me music to share, I really need to give out some mixes, and I don't want to spoil the surprise. So this week I'm going to preview some not new to me stuff. it's possible you could have gotten a little of it on a mix if I've made one for you. but maybe not. either way, these are tried and true favorites, so check them out.


1. Marc Broussard, Carencro
sounds like: Josh Kelley, bluesy pop, Marvin Gaye
listen here

Louisiana-born Marc Broussard's sophomore release (2004), is little bit of pop and acoustic mixed together- polished, but not too polished. Think maybe John Mayer and Marvin Gaye, in the South, but in a studio. Marc's voice has a certain raw but jazz sound that he plays up in his later records. My personal favorites are "The Wanderer", "Save Me", and "Where You Are".

2. Steve Tannen, Big Senorita
sounds like: howie day? hard to say.
listen here

As of yet I have not found anyone who shares my love for Steve Tannen. He's got this dark quality to his music, mysterious and speaking of hardship (see "Brother Uptown", for example). He also has amazing, ingenious lyrics that inspire me in the same way Jason Mraz's do... but completely different. They speak of lonliness that Tannen describes as only coming from "living alone with a one year old baby".
My absolute favorite Tannen song, and currently ranking number 6 all time in my iTunes... "San Francisco".

Note: if you want more Steve (and he does have another solo album)- you'll have to refer to The Weepies, a very well known indie band made up of Steve and his wife Deb Talan (oh, also, you should check her out.) If desperate, check out Steve's brother Greg.

3. Antje Duvekot, Big Dream Boulevard
listen here
sounds like: Ellis Paul, Indigo Girls

If you've ever gotten a mix cd from me, without a doubt there has probably been some Antje on it. Her songs are mystical and dark but also soul lifting- almost impossible to describe. "Dandelion" is a great song for anyone ever been rejected; "Long Way" for anyone who wants to take a roadtrip but doesn't have the time. Best of all, none of her songs are over polished- she is all about live, raw acoustic quality. Just Antje and the guitar.
(Thanks, BT)

4. The Wailin Jennys, 40 Days
sounds like: Indigo Girls
listen here

If you're looking for harmonies, you've found the right spot. The Wailin Jennys are a perfect blend of folk (but not too folk), Simon and Garfunkel, and the Indigo Girls. I often listen to "This is Where" and "Heaven when We're Home" when I'm having a bad day- their harmonies and insightful lyrics are very uplifting.

5. Howie Day, Australia
sounds like: Tyler Hilton with PMS
listen here
(note: the songs are all mixed up in order on this site, so you'll have to read my description to understand which CD is which.)

Okay, I know what you're thinking. If you listened to top 40's radio at ALL in 2005 you definitely heard Howie Day's song "Collide", which many middle schoolers made out to and also rocketed Day up in the we-can-almost-call-him-a-one-hit-wonder Hall of Fame. HOWEVER, this CD is the precursor to Day's popular Stop All the World Now. The difference? Much more acoustic, much darker. Day's voice is so raw it's done so much more justice with the raw, acoustic sound. "Ghost" is one of the best breakup songs maybe ever. Day also took "She Says"- very acoustic and raw on Australia- and polished it up, added some synthesizers, and put it on Stop All the World Now. If you must, listen to both, they're both good.

6. Ari Hest, Someone to Tell
sounds like: Matt Nathanson, acoustic Josh Kelley
listen here

Yeah, Ari Hest is starting to be popular now too. That's okay I guess, he deserves it- although Hest's lyrics are typical of the male singer songwriter- crooning about lost love and other stuff that make guys with guitars get girls- his voice is so rich and deep and emotion-ridden that it's hard not to pay attention. Let's be honest: some of the songs are sort of sappy ("Strangers Again"), but I'm a big fan of "Aberdeen" and "Holding On" regardless.