Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

26 Dec 2009 00:41


Music: Vic Chesnutt dies: Singer-songwriter noted for fighting adversity

  • I’ve flirted with death my whole life. Even as a young kid I was sick and almost died a few times. … Sometimes I’d be angry that they revived me. I’d be like, ‘How dare you?’…But of course as the hours and days wear on, you realize, well, there is joy to be had.
  • Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt • Who died yesterday after being in a coma this week. Chesnutt, 45, has had a long, sad history which often showed up in his well-regarded music. Wheelchair-bound by a car accident at 18, Chesnutt was discovered by R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and later gained a huge following, best shown in the 1996 compilation “Sweet Relief II,” which featured alternative rock stars covering his tunes. Chesnutt, even in the tough times, was prolific – he released two albums this year alone – but the sadness around his life has now been accented by a Christmas death. Awful. source

19 Jul 2009 14:04


Music: Tune Test: Trevor Giuliani’s a bit all over the map (in a good way)


Who: Trevor Giuliani

What: "Subcontrario (In Stereo)"

Release: July 21, 2009

Listen: "Wasting Your Town"

Snap judgment: Trevor's a folk-popster in the vein of Josh Rouse (though with vocals that have a lot in common with early Pedro the Lion). The production, at times simple and expansive, stands out – it never settles on a single sound, most notably on "Van Singing" and "Big Decisions." "Wasting Your Town" is the straightest pop number here, while the percussive "Nubian Forest" has the most surprises.

Physical: Buy the CD

Digital: Buy the MP3s

11 Jul 2009 17:00


Music: Our Saturday Mixtape gives into our mopey strummer addiction

  • 1. Before Paul Simon got countermelodies and drum backing, he was a busker in England who happened to find himself in a recording studio, doing lo-fi versions of songs that everyone now knows by heart, such as this ragged version of “Kathy’s Song.”
    2. Jandek will never be as successful as Jeff Tweedy. He spent three decades hiding from the world, releasing rickety avant-strangeness and getting mentioned in the same sentences as Roky Erickson and The Shaggs, only to finally play in public in the last couple of years. Jeff Tweedy, whose band’s most recent album debuted in the Billboard 200’s top five, does us a favor and makes “Crack a Smile” pretty and palatable.
    3. After posting about Leonard Cohen yesterday, it got us to thinking – which song of his would never get covered on “American Idol”? “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” fits the bill: It’s pretty, but about sordid hotel room encounters with famous singers like Janis Joplin.
    4. You can’t have a list of mopey strummers without Elliott Smith. You just can’t. His early albums use their lo-fi setting to focus directly on the darkness in the words. “Condor Ave.,” off “Roman Candle,” set Smith’s template.
    5. The Tallest Man on Earth pretty much kills this song. The Swede wails at his guitar, putting everything he has into being the best Bob Dylan acolyte he can, and gets closer than most, especially on “This Wind.”source

16 Apr 2009 09:35


Culture, Music: Ben Folds gives into the a cappella craze a little too much

  • Music education has been atrophying. And yet, at any given school, any number of a cappella groups are getting together a few times a week to rehearse and perform. What’s more is they’re really good.
  • Ben Folds • Who will be releasing an album of a cappella groups from around the nation singing his songs, “University A Cappella.” No offense, Ben, but do we really want to encourage this trend? • source

05 Apr 2009 11:31


Music: M. Ward on making music that’s implicitly political

  • I’m not that interested in getting anything too heavy off my chest or complaining in some monumental way. I’m more interested in telling stories where people can make their own implicit connections.
  • M. Ward • The singer-songwriter whose profile has shot up in recent years in part due to his collaboration with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him. Since 2000, Ward has been making albums, but his most recent, “Hold Time,” is the first one he’s made outside of the era of George W. Bush. While his music doesn’t hint at his politics, he uses his songs to capture the political mood, he says. • source

19 Mar 2009 10:50


Culture, Offbeat: Bob Dylan’s outhouse is really stinking up the neighborhood

  • It started in September. I’d go into the frontyard and get nauseous. I couldn’t figure out at first where the smell was coming from.
  • Cindy Emminger • A neighbor of Bob Dylan’s in Malibu, Calif., on the smell coming from a port-a-potty on the famous singer-songwriter’s property. There are many puns to be made here – “Tangled Up In Poo,” “Blowin’ In The Wind” – but don’t expect us to make any of them. Oh wait. • source

09 Mar 2009 10:29


Music: Speaking of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle’s got a tribute in the can

  • This may be one of the best records I’ve ever made. That hurts a singer-songwriter’s feelings.
  • Steve Earle • On his Townes Van Zandt tribute album, “Townes,” which will be out in May. Earle, who named his son Justin Townes Earle in honor of his hero and contemporary, has said many nice things about Townes before. • source

21 Feb 2009 12:10


Music: A music legend with a bad voice, back on the road

Leonard Cohen’s going on his first U.S. tour in 16 years. Sincerely, ShortFormBlog. source

17 Feb 2009 10:42


Music: Pitchfork is lukewarm on the new M. Ward album

  • Hold Time is an enjoyable, well-constructed album, and as good a place as any for newcomers to start – it just doesn’t hold many surprises.
  • Marc Hogan • In his 6.8 review of “Hold Time,” the latest by singer-songwriter M. Ward, who’s become pretty popular over the last decade or so. This could be his mainstream ticket, kids. • source