Jul 6 2011

Currently Digging: Rave On Buddy Holly

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows where I spent my undergrad years (Lubbock) that, when a compilation celebrating the late great Buddy Holly came around, I would be all over it.  Especially if that collection of tunes were by modern indie greats like She & Him, the Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, and Modest Mouse.  There was much ado leading up to this album, and now that it’s out, the results, while sometimes not as interesting, are wholehearted and endearing.

As with most compilations, the listener is encouraged not to take the album in as a whole, but rather pick and choose from their favorites, as there is a lot of diverse talent here (with the exception of Kid Rock.)  Julian Casablancas does a slacker take on “Rave On,” while Karen Elson’s “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” is a stripped-down, beautiful affair true to the original.  Paul McCartney throws a curveball with the dirty-sounding “It’s So Easy,” and Patti Smith will turn heads with her ambitious cover of “Words of Love.”  Legends of many genres sing alongside current hit-makers for an impressive tribute to a talent lost too soon.

Modest Mouse – That’ll Be the Day

Karen Elson – Crying, Waiting, Hoping

The Detroit Cobras – Heartbeat

May 4 2011

News Roundup 5/4/11

The Obama Administration has (wisely) decided not to release a photo of the body of Osama Bin Laden.

A slew of artists came together for a badass upcoming tribute album to Buddy Holly. Listen to the Black Keys’ contribution here.

In what will hopefully be a shakedown to reform for college football, the Justice Department is demanding the NCAA explain the good of the BCS system.

Jun 16 2010

Ain’t Nothing Like Texas, Y’all

Up until about a month ago, I lived in the blue part of that “map” up there – I recently transferred to deep in the red, but I have been a Texan my whole life.  And there’s no place like it.  Anyone visiting will tell you: there’s something about the Lone Star State, a vibe, a sense of pride you can’t find anywhere else in the Union, or the world for that matter.  And I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

One of the best things about Texas is the music – from the country background of our capital to the rock and roll roots of the South Plains, to the Dirty South “Screwston” scene, to the metal movement based in DFW.  Harlem, Willie, Buddy, Pantera, Paul Wall, we’ve got it all.  I invite you to listen to the new mix Subservient Experiment has posted featuring only the finest in the state’s indie rock offerings.  It’s an awesome sampling of great tunes from such a huge land mass, and it has inspired me to make my own mix.

So enjoy a helping of tracks from the friendliest region on the planet.  I think you’ll agree: everything’s bigger in Texas, even the sounds.

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Jun 1 2010

Ode to Lubbock

“Lubbock has this way of, while you’re there, making you feel like it’s the most normal place in the world; not until you go away and start comparing your experience there to the outside world do you realize that Lubbock is really one of the strangest places anywhere.” — Joe Ely

“Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell.  The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth.  And you should save it for someone you love.”—Butch Hancock

You either go crazy or play music in Lubbock. There’s not a hell of a lot to do.” – Delbert McClinton

There was this thing about the horizon in that flat country. When you were out playing, you loved to look and say “Oh, yeah, the earth is round.” And you would be right in the middle of it. I’ve always thought that being in that spot gave you this feeling that you were the center of the universe, that you were really special, and at the same time you were just a speck of absolute nothing.” – Jo Harvey Allen

Lubbock was just a tiny town, a little oasis in a big old nothingness, and I spent every bit of my waking time just trying to figure out ways of getting out of there.  But I really loved all that sky. You gotta fill it up with something, and music is a pretty good thing to fill up emptiness with.” – Joe Ely

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Mar 30 2010

Review: One Wolf – One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf

One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf by One Wolf (unsigned, 2010)

Two years ago, when Daniel Markham split from Waiting to Derail, he changed direction completely.  He formed One Wolf, making a remarkable transformation from Whiskeytown alt-country to REM-influenced, Western-tinged rock.  Much like the local peers in Thrift Store Cowboys, Markham had come into his own, producing what could only be described as the sound of Lubbock.  Markham’s skill in pop craftsmanship was honed, but the lyrics were more introspective, the songs slower, sadder, and slightly more rock and roll than country.  It was an audible representation of West Texas; Buddy Holly would’ve been proud.

And now, with One Wolf’s sophomore release, Markham and the boys have done a 180…..again.

I spoke with Markham many months ago during a podcast interview for the now-defunct KTXT-FM.  Some favorite influences of his at the time were Nirvana, REM, Deadsy, and Starflyer 59.  So what’s the new One Wolf record sound like?  All of the above, and more.  In a word, it’s a lot LOUDER.

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