Now Playing: April 12th, 2010

It’s months like this that I’m really thankful for all the excellent music blogs out there that keep me well-stocked with new and interesting things.  From Slowcoustic to The Yellow Stereo, Stereogum to Gorilla vs. Bear, I really am spoiled for choice.  I’m also still digging my way through those excellent shows over at KEXP and Wolfgang’s Concert Vault.  All in all, it’s been a great couple of weeks for music!  And so, in this slightly shorter edition of “Now Playing,” I’ll pass on some of the great things that have come my way.  Let’s begin!

Providence’s Deer Tick are entirely new to me – thanks to Stereogum.   Digging through their music on myspace, I find that all the conflicting labels (“grunge,” “blues,” “country”) seem to fit.  A testament, surely, to its originality. To hear them tell it: “Basically we play all sorts of music, and are heavily influenced by legend status songwriters and performers, like Tom Petty and Sammy Davis, Jr.  We consider ourselves a rock n roll band. Our live shows sometimes tend to go a bit haywire. We like to put on memorable shows, the kind of shows that you don’t see very often. If you don’t want to get covered in beer or confetti at one of our shows, I’d suggest not standing up in the front.”  In any case, it’s catchy and it seems to have, um, dug its way under my skin.  Here you go:

[audio:|titles=Deer Tick – 20 Miles]  Download


This week also brought the first single – “Fixed” – from Stars‘ upcoming album The Five Ghosts.  The track is lush, bright, and lovely, and features a very energetic vocal from singer Amy Millan.  I’ve had this one locked on heavy rotation since Tuesday, and I don’t expect it will burn out before it makes the journey from computer to midsummer driving mix.  It’s a perfect dose of sugar and electricity, and you should definitely have a listen:

Don’t worry.  I downloaded it fine, and the sky did not fall.


Stereogum’s archives also offered this excellent countrified, Amy Millan cover of Death Cab for Cutie‘s “I Will Follow You into the Dark.”  Not much to say except that I absolutely love it, and I’m eager to get my hands on the album!  (Which, incidentally, you can listen to in its entirety over on her site!)

[audio:|titles=Amy Millan – I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Death Cab For Cutie Cover)]  Download
Over on her Twitter feed, Lissie took a moment out of her ongoing U.K. tour to announce that she had recorded a new track with friend, and fellow musician, George Stanford.  We’ve looked at Lissie here before, and it’s great to have something new and different from her so soon.  I’m particularly interested in the fact that this is the first, full-on duet that I’ve heard from Lissie.  And man, does it sound great!  Have a listen, and get out to see her if you can:
[audio:|titles=Don’tbetheOne]  Download
This one’s from Slowcoustic, and it’s just amazing!  My initial reaction was: “So, that’s what happens when you enter the alternate timeline and find that Björk is actually from Germany!”  But I think Sandy puts it better (and, you know, less dorkier):
The songs are as if they are soundtracks to old black and white movies – the type that had no sound in the first place.  There is a lot of piano, her great pixie voice delivery and a collection of atmospheric sound samples and instruments.  Was that a small service bell?  Wait, accordion?  Was that the old movie sample I had stuck in my mind that I didn’t know existed?  I often have conversations with myself on new albums…I will be conversing into the wee hours with this album…

You and me both!  The track is equal parts alien and mystery, and I love its powerful stillness.  So, grab a copy of “Hold Them” from her label, then dive right in.  You can also hear more on her myspace page.  After that, stay here for the “On the Quiet” video:

MOHNA “On The Quiet” from MOHNA on Vimeo



Another recommendation, this week, from All Songs Considered’s “Spring Music Preview” is Portland’s own Horse Feathers.  In one of those great twists of fate,’s free downloads section had “Curs in the Weeds” from Horse Feathers‘ most recent album House With No Home.   The song is perfect for a dusky twilight, or a sleepy Sunday afternoon.  It’s music that you’d expect to stumble across in the deep woods, or high up on a mountain, and it rolls gently over you like an Autumn mist.  Have a listen to “Curs in the Weeds,” and then go hear more on their myspace page.  You will most certainly be relaxed and contented afterward!

[audio:|titles=Curs in the Weeds]  Download

And here’s a great Tiny Desk Concert from nprmusic:


And that’s about it for this time!  As always, if you’ve got suggestions for upcoming posts, or just comments in general, you can leave them below or send them to jon at  Have a great week!

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