Category: touring

Tyler Ramsey “The Valley Wind” out today!

Tyler Ramsey has a formidable presence. Though outwardly regal and composed, when he sings, all the tiny and beautiful creatures come pouring out of him, amongst their stories, and wind their way out from behind the mane of chestnut curls which swing freely across his face while he plays. His arrangements are humbly alive, even the softest notes are electric, the absence of sound is heavy and substantial.

Ramsey has a singular sound, somewhere between Jason Molina and Mark Kozalek, and is able to hit notes on the higher end of the spectrum that could sound labored when sung by a less-resonant voice. Ramsey’s vocal mutability is characteristic of a seasoned musician who exercises his strengths while challenging his weaknesses. His Americana-infused finger-picking walks the line between delicate and complex, mathematical and fluid. The more complex his composition, the more effortless it seems, and yet, when playing the simplest of notes, there’s a strained beauty, a haunting quality to the sustained notes.

The Valley Wind proves Ramsey’s skill at arranging sparse yet effective compositions to accent his uncanny ability to tell stories through suggestion. The title track features a heart-beat courtesy of Seth Kauffman, and the cascade which mirrors this rhythm feeds the image of long road-trips and borders on anthemic, while “Nightbird,”** with it’s layered tracks of increasingly incandescent guitars is monumental in it’s subtlety: “is it the ocean, the ocean or the sky that you are seeing, I know sometimes our eyes can be deceiving. Is there a reason for these disconnected feelings you are feeling? Everybody knows you should be sleeping.. you should be sleeping.”

 The Valley Wind is out today.

Buy at iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-valley-wind/id460610452

Buy at Amazon: http://amzn.to/qt92Cc

Buy at Fat Possum Web Store: http://fatpossum.com/products/the-valley-wind

or at any stops on his forthcoming tour, dates can be found at tylerramsey.com or on facebook

Here are a few shots from the Tyler Ramsey show in Asheville on November 18th 2010.

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler Ramsey

Tyler RamseyTyler Ramsey

**(“Nightbird,” is particularly resonant for me as I heard it the last time I visited Asheville, sitting in Tyler & Joti’s kitchen. The morning I left to drive back up North, we listened to the beginnings of this record, just after Tyler had shared a few of the newer songs at a show at the Grey Eagle a few nights prior, and for some reason this one stuck in so many ways. And now, eight months later, he is releasing the record as I am flying into Ashevile.. “fly home, everybody’s waiting.”)

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365 day 202 – HOWLIES!

hump-day download: I was only trying to

from None of These Songs are About You or Anyone You Know by Lonesome Ghost

High school and “the Golden Rule.”
I played the games, and I played the fool.
Then, I got caught looking at what I can’t have,
and wasted so much time just to make you laugh…

Where have all my good thoughts gone?
Have I chased them away or have they moved along?
Yeah, well, I never got the chance to say:
I love it when you wear your hair that way.

But, when the winter’s winds have died,
and all the leaves go green on the trees again,
you’ll find that I was only trying to catch you
like the falling star
you are, to me.

Set me free from this net I’m in.
Yeah, cut the ties and let me swim.
I got caught looking at what I can’t have
And not a day goes by where I don’t look back
and say…

When the winter’s winds have died,
and all the leaves go green on the trees again,
you’ll find that I was only trying to catch you
like the falling star
you are, to me.

None of These Songs are About You or Anyone You Know,

track released 20 December 2010

baby’s breath on a mirror

Bill Callahan’s new record, Apocalypse, came out on my friend’s birthday, and the next night we stayed up late and listened to low-fi recordings of Jason Molina and Will Oldham. It didn’t occur to me before how much these three musicians have been permanent fixtures in my auditory landscape, and later made room for Kurt Vile and Mark Kozelek and a bunch of other awkward, beautiful men.

Download Bill Callahan’s “baby’s breath” below:

“A couple of years ago,” [Bill Callahan] explains, “I realised that I was an entertainer” – he pauses for a moment, as if waiting for an unseen drummer to round off a punchline – “and that helped me immensely. From the first time you can look in the paper and you accept that you’re the entertainment for some people that night,” he continues, “it becomes so much more enjoyable to play live. Before that I was always wondering, ‘What am I?'”

Callahan’s moment of clarity has benefited both audience and performer. First, he abandoned the wilfully off-putting stage name Smog (on the characteristically gnomic grounds that “hanging on to it any longer didn’t seem healthy”). Then 2009’s Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle – the second album released under his own name, and one of his most accessible records to date – struck a chord with a wider audience. -[The Guardian]

There grows a weed, looks like a flower
Looks like baby’s breath on a mirror

My girl and I rushed atop the altar
The sacrifice was made
It was not easy undertaking
The roots gripped soft like a living grave

Oh young girl at the wedding
Baby’s breath in her hair
A crowning lace above her face
That will last a day
Before it turns to hay

Good plans are made by hand
I’d cut a clearing in the land
And for a little bed
For her to cry comfortable in

And each day I looked out on the lawn
And I wondered what all was gone
Until I saw it was lucky old me
How could I run without losing anything?
How could I run without becoming lean?
It was agreed, it was agreed
It was me tearing out the baby’s breath

Oh I am a helpless man, so help me
I’m on my knees gardening
It was not a weed, it was a flower
My baby’s gone, oh where has my baby gone?
And she was not a weed, she was a flower

And now I know you must reap what you sow, or sing

p.s. Bill Callahan’s tour schedule:

04-10 Austin, TX – Book People (book reading)
05-02 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
05-05 Dublin, Ireland – Academy *
05-06 Manchester, England – Central Methodist Hall *
05-07 Glasgow, Scotland – School of Art *
05-09 London, England – Barbican *
05-10 Bristol, England – Bristol Trinity *
05-12 Cologne, Germany – Stadt Garten *
05-13 Frankfurt, Germany – Brotfabrik *
05-14 Hamburg, Germany – Cafe Keese *
05-15 Berlin, Germany – Astra Kulturhaus *
05-18 Amsterdam, Netherlands – De Duif *
05-19 Lille, France – Aeronef *
05-20 Paris, France – La Cafe de la Danse *
05-21 San Sebastian, Spain – Teatro Principal *
05-23 Barcelona, Spain – Bikini *
05-24 Madrid, Spain – Sala Heineken *
06-14 Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad
06-15 Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room
06-16 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
06-17 Santa Barbara, CA – Soho
06-18 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
06-19 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library
06-22 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
06-27 Denver, CO – High Dive
07-01 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
07-03 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
07-08 Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
07-10 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
07-11 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
07-12 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
08-05-06 Portland, OR – Pickathon
* with Sophia Knapp

Mount Peru – My Sweetheart the Destroyer

I love Mount Peru. I love their style, their pop-americana sensibilities, and their borderline psychedelic-indie sound.

And what I think I love about them the most is that each song on their album My Sweetheart the Destroyer sounds different. Now, to be completely honest, I have criticized bands in the past for doing just that, and I believe it requires a particularly stylized sound and production value to achieve the desired effect: a bunch of different types of songs played articulately without seeming too much of an unfocused collage.

Is it wrong for me to bring up Ween’s Chocolate & Cheese? I mean talk about the quasi-ultimate varietal album. Those guys are playing to a selective audience, I know, and I’m speaking more from a figurative than stylistically similar type of position, here, but the effect of crafting an album that runs the gamut.. everything from pop-ish (“Roses are Free”) to 90’s low-fi-indie (“Baby Bitch”) to Spanish-folk (“Buenas Tardes Amigo”)..

Now Sweetheart isn’t nearly as crazy as Chocolate, but Mount Peru seem to be comfortable in a wide range of composition, and highlights, for me, include the “weirder” tracks on the record. “”I Ain’t Gonna Kill Myself No More” feels like Ryan Adams & Uncle Tupelo, then “Hospital” has more of a Band of Horses meets old Magnetic Fields. “Modern Lover” comes out of an arena-rock left field with hints of Queen and Led Zeppelin: soaring guitars, fabulous trumpet punches, spectacular vocals. On top of these specific sounds, they maintain an underlying 90’s grit, reminiscent of the shoegazey side of the Pumpkins and the americana sounds of early Black Crowes but pared down, sweeter..  specifically “Psalm” and “What You Did in the War,” the last two tracks on the record.

Quite a lovely record. I’ve had it on hyper-play for about a week now and haven’t gotten sick of it yet, one of the pros of recording an album with such variety. It leaves you wanting more. Thoughts?

365 day 88 – ellen page

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – “Morning Thought”

Detroit duo Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott are collectively Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

They’re set to release an lp follw-up to 2010’s Horse Power ep, and have shared a track from it on soundcloud:

I feel like this track incorporates the perfect amount of analog and digital sound, and reminds me of OK Go’s “This too shall pass” with a little Sufjan Stephens “I walked” and Deerhunter’s “Helicopter.”

They’ve had me smitten since Horse Power and their Daytrotter session, both of which included the song “Simple Girl.”

“Simple Girl” was the first song that Daniel and I worked on together. It was a song that had been around for a little while, and the workflow between us was so easy and natural that it really opened up our lines of artistic communication.  It also laid the foundation for what would become the sound of our EP, which was organic drums, mixed with electronic ones.”

– Daytrotter Interview

I became obsessed with that song, and shared it with a  friend, who then letterpressed this card:

(read Trev’s post about the letterpress workshop during which he made this card)