Last week’s post included a video from the movie “Another Day, Another Time”. Also performing in that movie was a group that somehow I’d overlooked all this time, the indie-folk duo The Milk Carton Kids.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan formed the group in 2011 and have released four albums, the third of which “The Ash & Clay” was nominated for a Grammy. Here they are rehearsing for the movie, playing their song “Snake Eyes” from that Grammy-nominated album. Chris Thile, Marcus Mumford (who wrote a song of the same name) and T Bone Burnett look on appreciatively. Ethan Coen tears up at the end. They’ve been compared to Simon and Garfunkel by some, and they have some deadpan fun with that.
For you Pink Floyd fans, here is a cover of a classic – Kids-style.
You may have picked up that Pattengale is a crazy good guitar picker, and this track from their Austin City Limits concert puts any doubt to rest.
If you’d like to see and hear a bit more, check out their NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance; a perfect setting for The Kids.
Elton John’s new album “Wonderful Crazy Night” will be released February 5th. It’s Sir Elton’s 32nd studio album (or 33rd depending on what internet page you believe). Long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin is still writing lyrics, and uber-producer T Bone Burnett is back after helping out on John’s 2013 album, “The Diving Board”. Here’s “Looking Up”, one of a few live-studio performance videos made for the new release.
On February 18th Lake Street Dive will release “Side Pony”, their first release with new label, Nonesuch Records. Nonesuch is a great label, being home to acts as diverse as The Black Keys, Wilco, Ry Cooder, Pat Metheny, and Emmylou Harris. Hopefully it will mean a new level of exposure for LSD. Unlike Elton’s new album, no cool videos have yet dropped for “Side Pony”, but the band previewed the track “Close to Me” at last year’s Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.
While I wasn’t planning a Glenn Frey tribute this week, I tripped across this Lake Street Dive cover of “Take It To The Limit”. Written by Frey, together with Don Henley and Randy Meisner, it was the only Eagles single on which Meisner sang lead. Here’s the song with Rachel Price singing lead.
Before we start, a couple of notes on last night’s Grammy Awards. Happy to see Roseanne Cash take home three in the American Roots categories for “The River & The Thread” (see our earlier post), Beck take home two for “Morning Phase” (see our earlier post), and Jack White score one for “Lazaretto”.
But that’s old musical news.
Björk (she of the infamous swan dress) is a unique and esoteric vocalist with an international following, putting out top selling solo albums since 1993. Her latest, “Vulnicura” (meaning “Cure for Wounds”), was to be released in March to coincide with an exhibit on her career opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But the album leaked on the internet in January, so the album dropped early. Lush with string arrangements, the album is a meditation on her breakup with American artist Matthew Barney. Spend a few minutes getting into the hypnotic feel of the album’s first track “Stonemilker”.
In a completely different vein, Rhiannon Giddens has been working with uber-producer T Bone Burnett on a few projects, including her first solo album “Tomorrow is My Turn”. The album includes covers of a number of great artists, features great backing musicians, and most of all introduces us to a great new singer. Listen to these covers of Patsy Kline and Joan Baez.
And in another completely different vein, Kandace Springs is a singer and pianist bringing a soul look and style that’s a little bit retro and a whole lot of fun. Check out “Love Got in the Way” from her eponymous debut EP. Then, to tie back to last night’s Grammy’s, listen to her cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” which won him Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Over the past few weeks, and continuing into the next couple of months, a host of big name rock and roll artists are releasing new albums. From Prince to the Foo Fighters, U2 to Weezer, and John Mellencamp to Jeff Tweedy, there is plenty already here or on the way.
A few days ago Robert Plant put out his first new album in four years, “lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar”. While there are official music videos out for a few tracks, Plant is at his most engaging on stage. Here are recent live performances of the album’s first two songs, “Little Maggie” and “Rainbow”.
In November Bob Dylan’s “The Basement Tapes Complete” will be released, apparently collecting every audible shred of material from the legendary 1967 sessions – a total of 138 tracks on 6 CDs. But possibly more interesting will be another November release, “Lost On The River – The New Basement Tapes”. In the fall of last year, producer T Bone Burnett received a stack of recently discovered, hand-written Dylan lyrics from Dylan’s publisher. They were written in 1967 during the time of the Basement Tape sessions but were never set to music. Burnett pulled together an all-star team including Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Grammy winning folk artist Rhiannon Giddens to write music for the lyrics and perform the songs for a new album. Of the album’s 20 tracks recorded in the space of only two weeks, videos for two have now been released, “Nothing to It” and “Married to My Hack”.
On October 14th Paul McCartney released his aptly titled album “New”, just a few weeks after Elton John released “The Diving Board”. McCartney’s Beatles and Elton John are the two top selling British artists of all time, with an estimated one billion albums sold between them.
McCartney serves up quite a mix of styles on “New”. The title track has a classic McCartney sound and was co-produced by Giles Martin, son of George Martin who produced many records for the quartet. “Appreciate” is something completely different. With the help of British uber-producer Paul Epworth, it seems more a modern take on the complex orchestrations that pushed the Beatles off the stage and into the studio in their later years.
Elton John returns to the style of his earliest albums on “The Diving Board”, delivering mostly piano-driven ballads with the help of American uber-producer T Bone Burnett. “Home Again” was the first track released from the CD a few months back. In a recent interview in Rolling Stone magazine, John says “What can I say, it’s a perfect song” of his early hit “Your Song”. So, let’s also recall some perfection, Elton John style.