Category: Song of the Day

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:

Buy at Amazon:

Buy at Fat Possum Web Store:

or at any stops on his forthcoming tour, dates can be found at 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.”)

new band love – Dark Mean

I stumbled on this band on myoldkentuckyblog, and really was drawn to the sparseness of the banjo over the rest of the tracks. Even then the trumpet comes in, the banjo still dominates without being too much. I agree with the Wilco/Spoon sound, but I’m also hearing a Phosphorescent/Will Oldham squeaky-sweet in Dean’s voice, and an overall Calexico/Sun Kil Moon too.

It’s a really nice composition, thanks MOKB.

From MOKB:

Ontario’s Dark Mean have released a new video for Happy Banjo, a single from their upcoming, self-titled full-length which comes out June 14th 2011. Happy Banjo sounds exactly as you might you expect by the title, but add to that a driven, dreamy wall of sound that feels like it’s blithely floating through the ether; grounded only by the deeply personal lyrics. Dark Mean’s Mark Dean’s (see what they did there?) mellow, scratchy vocals bring to mind a Jeff Tweedy or a Britt Daniel, and the vast musical talents of himself and band mates Billy Holmes and Sandy Johnston seem to have a Wilco/Spoon-like proclivity for a wide variety of instrumentation (including glockenspiel!) and malleable styles which they magically fuse together to create a dark, pretty pop motif hard to pin the tail on. With Happy Banjo, you’ve got your jangling folk-rock guitar, poppin’ percussion, and of course, one happy banjo; but then the unexpectedly warm, melancholic horns come in, and this infectiously engaging tune swells into something far more stirring than the sum of its parts. Dark Mean began working on their debut back in 2007 with help of producer Michael Keire (Apostle of Hustle) and mastering by Brian Lucey (Black Keys). Judging by Happy Banjo, it’s an album worth the wait.

MP3 : Dark Mean – Happy Banjo

Post by Miss Dolly Mod

Marley Carroll: B-side Fridays!

(photos by lydia see, 9.24.09)

Introducing B-Side Fridays.

Every Friday, Marley Carroll will share a previously-unreleased track, accompanied by a photograph from Troy Lehman.  Some will be unfinished sketches, some will be old songs, and some will be fully-realized new tunes. We’ll even throw in the occasional remix or extended  DJ mix from time to time.

Stay tuned to the Marley Carroll Facebook page and YouTube channel for updates.  Every track will be available for free download on Soundcloud as soon as it is released. Also, don’t be too shy to comment or shoot us an e-mail and tell us what you want more of! And without further adieu…

4.8.11: B-Side Fridays – 03 “Caitlin, I Thought I Loved You”

3.24.11: B-Side Fridays 01 “Outside”

4.1.11 : B-Side Fridays 02 – “Sparky’s 78s”


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)

get it before anyone else knows: Yelle – Safari Disco Club

(my favorite part starts at 2:08)

via Alex Knowlton via

Yelle has a knack for making songs with banger beats with lyrics that can lean toward something more silly, including their biggest hit, 2008’s “Je Veux Te Voir”. #4 in their native France and an indie hit stateside, the track is racked in subtle feminist taunting, calling out French rap group TTC on their proclivities. If you aren’t a speaker of the language, the electro pop sounds too fun to be comparing, ahem, men parts to potatoes, but that’s what makes Yelle so great—ability to draw the uncanny in their lyrics without detracting from danceability. “Safari Disco Club” is about just that—a place for the the giraffes and elephants to get their groove on. It’s just as playful as “Je Veux Te Voir”, but a lot more whimsy and even tinged with a little bit of melancholia, yet still a heavy feet-mover. That’s the theme for their second album, Safari Disco Club—knowing that sometimes the dancefloor might also be a place to cry. Find it March 21 on V2.

Hump-Day Bonus – “Commercial Substance (Say What You Will)” Angi West

“Now my heart’s a careless bumbler.”

You should download this right now.


Images from Angi West opening for Gary Jules, Grey Eagle,  August 2009

PJ Harvey back with “Let England Shake”

PJ Harvey

“Written on the Forehead”


PJ Harvey has never been one to remain stylistically still, moving from gutted, grimy dreampop swirl to raging Albini scrape to elegantly cinematic post-blues torch songs in the space of her first three albums. But in a career that’s spanned nearly 20 years, she’s never sounded quite like she does on “Written on the Forehead”. Here, she ditches her doomsaying moan-roar for an upper-register coo, letting her voice peacefully float over a gently lilting beat and a spaced-out organ drone. A sample of Niney the Observer’s reggae classic “Blood and Fire” fills the background, with Harvey sometimes singing along, and the lyrics are all surreal end-of the-world scene-setting: “People throw belongings and lifetime’s earnings amongst the scattered rubbish, suitcases on the sidewalk.” It’s always hard to tell with Harvey, but the song seems to describe some sort of surreal Armageddon– not exactly out of character for her. But the mood isn’t fierce or vengeful. Instead, it’s calm, wistful, nostalgic– Harvey sounding like she’s leafing through an old photo album. She sounds gentler, more tender than she ever has before. It stands to reason: The world’s end would be the thing that brings out PJ Harvey’s soft side.

— Tom Breihan, December 2, 2010

[from Let England Shake; out 02/14/11 via Vagrant / Island]