29 November, 2009

fresh tracks

isn't this new music world overwhelming? there is so much to listen to! as a rule, i don't read music magazines or look at taste-maker blogs. for me, they're a recipe for a disasterous bout of jealousy. since i work in the music industry, i prefer to hear about new music from non-industry types.

ahem erin, you say, you've painted yourself into a metaphorical corner.

ok, ok, so i don't really know how i find out about music, but like everyone else, at any given time there are a few records that are spinning heavily in my subconscious. for the final episode in this week's series, i'll share with you what i like these days.

"gospel legends" / "goodbye babylon" box set:
a month or so ago, i had an afternoon alone in a hotel room. as i was switching channels, i became mesmerized by an info-mercial for a compilation called "gospel legends". recorded live, it is a document of the convergence of 30+ contemporary gospel artists backed by a full-on choir and house-band. i ordered it on the spot, and i've been loving it alot lately. which also reminds me of another favorite gospel collection of mine: goodbye babylon. this 6 disc set collects obscure performances by both white and black gospel artists from the 20s and 30s. it's scratchy but more punk rock than any music being made today.

"erik deutsch's hush money":
full disclosure, erik deutsch is a close friend and one of my favorite musicians. he's made a name for himself with charlie hunter, norah jones, and a whole fistful of other talented people. his playing is bright and shiny without ever being cloying or cheesy. his usual band includes piano, bass, drums, guitar, oboe and saxophone. his newest, "hush money" adds a little grit, grime, and groove to his clear sound. my favorite song is called "dirty osso bucco". enough said. http://www.hammerandstring.com

"ocote soul sounds / coconut rock":
ocote is one of the many irons in the fire of musician martin perna. he's best known as one of the founders of antibalas, the seminal brooklyn afrobeat band, but his talent can't be contained in just one group. this record has all my favorite things: warmth, groove, and space sounds. check out "the revolt of the cockroach people".

"heartless bastards / the mountain":
a few years ago, i was setting up for soundcheck at one of my favorite venues, the tractor tavern in seattle. the soundguy had a record on that caught my ear. it was the heartless bastards first release, "stairs and elevators". i've been a big fan ever since. the first time i saw them live, i was worried that they couldn't match the energy and heft of their albums, but match it they did. the fact that they didn't excede their recorded sound is more a tribute to the brilliance of their records than a slam on their live show prow-ess. their newest, "the mountain", continues to scale the rock everest.

"regina spektor / far":
i don't have a lot to say about regina except that she is brilliant, and i love her. and the more i listen to "laughing with", the more i hear. did i already say, brilliant!

so, philadelphia, i'll see you tomorrow night at world cafe live. my friend jill sobule and i are gonna make you a show, and we've got a band to back us up. thanks for reading this week, and see you soon!


  1. okay, i'm a non-industry type. you didn't ask for recommendations, but i'll test out this whole internets thing and give you some anyway.

    there's a label called candyrat records that works with an ton of fingerstyle guitarists. two of my favorites from that list are andy mckee and antoine dufour. i saw andy mckee at southgate house in newport, kentucky, and he gave great show and seemed like a really sweet guy, plus he's amazingly talented.

  2. Brilliant stuff - the guys is a genius