Our song of the week is the first track off of The Orwells new album Disgraceland. Southern Comfort kicks off a very good sophomore album by The Orwells. This song is everything you want a young rock and roll band to be playing; high energy with playful, sexually charged lyrics. “Give me a smile then take off your pants”. Sounds like our motto for the summer. Turn it up and crack open a cold one. The Orwells will get you going for whatever you’re doing.
Throughout life there are times when music is there for you. Few other mediums in life can encapsulate or build upon a certain emotion or moment like music. Ultimately it is what makes music so important to us. Whether it be the bad breakup, a moment of triumph, or just a song that captures your spirit and mood at a given time, it acts as our real life soundtrack. Who hasn’t been driving along when a song comes on the radio that brings you back to that special moment?
This week the BOTC family has experienced one of those special life events being punctuated with a song. The soundtrack to their moment is Conor Oberst’s beautiful new song “You Are Your Mother’s Child” off his new album Upside Down Mountain. This song coincides with the birth of the newest member of the BOTC family Quinn. Hard to find a more appropriate song for this moment!
As mother and father celebrate their new precious gift to their family we welcome you to take a listen and share in their joy.
“Life’s a roller coaster keep your arms inside” – Conor Oberst
Conor Oberst has always had a special place in every sequence of my life.
“Lua” is basically the theme to my young adulthood, ‘First Day of My Life” is my wedding song, and my son’s name is Conor. I own every single album he has touched (From all of Bright Eyes, to the lackluster Monsters of Folk). I even know every word and hook to the Bright Eyes Christmas Album. So you may say, I am a bit obsessive. That is only because Oberst is one of the premiere lyricists of my generation. As with any amazing lyricist, you feel like you know and relate. Like you have been with them every step of the way. This is a complete falsity I might add. We probably couldn’t be any different. However, that inevitable feeling is just natural when it comes to music. That’s part of the beauty of it.
The bottom line is this: Oberst last few efforts have been incredibly disappointing. From the unsuccessful Monsters of Folk, to the uninspiring Bright Eyes album The People’s Key, Oberst was completely changed, both musically and lyrically. In a direction that seemed to be freefalling into an irrelevant artist that even his most dedicated fan base couldn’t back. In fact, you can go as far back as Cassadenga to say Oberst hasn’t put out a significant piece of music since 2007.
That has changed in 2014. Upside Down Mountain is a very good, almost great, album
In typical Oberst fashion, Upside Down Mountain speaks volumes of life, love, freedom, and death. The album starts with “Time Forgot”. In a second, we forget the unrecognizable Oberst as the acoustic strums, and Oberst of old is resurrected. So much of the lyrical genius we have grown to love here is displayed.
“I’m gonna work for my sanity, give it everything I got. Tough, so far I have cheated death, I know someday I’ll get caught. Just living”
It’s a message to all of us. The song does tend to be a bit overproduced, shying away from acoustic sound to a more bombastic array, which is definitely a negative here. It is made up for instantaneously with the Neil Youngish “ Zigzagging Toward the Light”
The album continues its intricacies, with acoustic treats such as “Artifact#1”, and “Lonely at the Top”. In “Artifact”, Oberst is searching for memories as if they are Artifacts, claiming “
“I keep looking back for artifacts, To prove that you were here. The sound that’s been keeps echoing, It never disappears”
Some of his fans prior to this album were probably saying the same thing.
“Double Life” and “Night at Lake Unknown” include First Aid Kit, provoking a gorgeous background to unforgettable choruses. In between is the track “Kick” on which Kathleen Kennedy’s self indulgent lifestyle is related to by Oberst. Guitars here flair with beauty in indifferent ways, as it’s the most eccentric, upbeat song on the album.
Finally, two of Conor Oberst’s best songs of all time close out the album. “You Are Your Mother’s Child” is a beautiful rendition of a father chronicling his son’s life. As a father, the song hit home.
“I remember the day you appeared on this earth, with eyes like the ocean, got blood on my shirt. From my camera angle it looked like it hurt. But your mama had a big old smile”
The song displays pure emotion, and paints a complete picture of love and family. “Common Knowledge” provokes a theme from the album that life, love and freedom are not synergetic, with usual Oberst flair.
Call it luck or you can call it fate. But either way it’s how it happens, not the way that you imagined, or just go out with a bang like Hemingway. Some will say you’re brave. Some will say you ain’t”
Upside Down Mountain is a return to form for Conor Oberst. Some missteps in production, and the mediocre “Hundreds of Ways” are the only things standing in the way of inking this as perfection.
That’s good news to music in general. With Oberst at 34 years young, let’s hope the scene doesn’t have to wait another 7 years to feel this sort of impact from one of the best singer/songwriters of a generation.
In what seems a lifetime ago, Oasis or the business entity that is now the band, re-issued the all time classic debut by the Gallagher Brothers. Definitely Maybe became the anthem for a generation and took the world by storm, making the band a headlining act instantaneously. Noel’s song writing has often been critiqued and criticized for borrowing or stealing from other bands, most notably the Beatles and Stone Roses. But there is no arguing whatever influences helped Noel and the rest of Oasis make this record, it is an all time classic and one of the greatest debut albums ever made.
The ability to capture a given moment in time and perfectly connect to millions of people is a once in a generation quality that few bands ever come close to attaining. The working class attitude and timeless lyrics make it seem as fresh and relevant as it was 20 years ago. I mean is it really worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there’s nothing worth working for???
Oasis brought Britpop to a whole new level and in essence, ended the grunge era. The wave of Britpop acts that would dominate the radio waves for the next few years undoubtedly can be directly linked to the success of Oasis and this album.
Oasis vowed to be bigger then the Beatles during this time. After epic performances at Glastonbury and a follow up album that cemented their place in Rock history, the band seemed to be living up to their promise. As the years moved on, it became quite evident that Oasis would not live up to their bold prediction. Although they would still make good music, nothing would come close to their early achieved success.
Although currently in separate factions the Gallagher Brothers still hold on to some relevance in the music landscape with their respective new bands. It is with great nostalgia that we listen to Definitely Maybe and remember the first time we heard the heavy drums kicking off the beginning
of Live Forever. Classic album, classic tunes, classic band. 20 years later we are still mad fer it!
One thing we must praise Woods on, is the fact they put together consistently good music, year after year. Nowadays, that’s an accomplishment in of its self. One of the negatives of this, is that its almost to become expected. Therefore when With Light and With Love hit stores in April, needless to say, we were excited. Unfortunately the album didn’t quite hit the mark with us, but was, again, a very good album (“Moving to the Left” is sure to be one of our top tracks of the year).
Obviously with Woods extensive catalog, we were highly excited for the show at Bowery Ballroom last Friday night. Extensive catalogs, we have seen in the past, can sometimes lead to disappointment due to set choices, etc. We understood that going in and came out agreeing with that notion.
As expected, Woods dedicated most of the night to the new album. A key highlight was the title track, pouring down emotion in the ending 3-4 minute breakdown. The band hit on all marks effectively establishing their connection with the record. Furthermore, “Moving to the Left”, although lacking the same punch it did on the album, gave us a familiar landscape to the night.
What the show was missing was some of the subtleties of what make Woods such a good band. Where was the “It Ain’t Easy”? , the country twang of “Get Back”?, or my personal favorite “Time Fading Lines”? These songs were what was missing for an otherwise entertaining show. Lead singer Jeremy Earl’s emotion to some of the songs seemed lacking. It would have been great to see him connect with the audience in a stripped down acoustic fashion. Doesn’t appear to be his personality though, and that is perfectly o.k.
Listen, its hard to argue to with consistently good music, from a consistently good band, dishing out consistently good sound. Selfishly, we are consistently hoping Woods puts out a new album next year. History says chances are pretty good.
Lead singer Joseph D’Agostino’s loss of a dear friend is the focus of the bands upcoming 3rd LP, LOSE. The lead track, and first single, “Jackson” is a beautifully constructed song that reminisces about time of old at an amusement part in south Jersey (Jackson, NJ) it appears with his beloved friend. Album is due out August 26th, 2014. Here is a statement from the band about the upcoming record:
“LOSE is a very apropos title because it refers not only to losing Ben, but also it’s about a sort of nostalgia, a longing for a time when music meant everything to you and your friends, and it seemed like one great rock record could change everyone’s life the way it changed yours. It’s about being in mourning for your long-held belief that music could literally change the world. That’s the contradiction at the heart of LOSE… You’re disillusioned, but somehow you can do nothing else but rail against that feeling mightily and try, once again, to make a record that makes you and everyone else “wake up wanting to listen to records.”
Tomorrow nights show with @woodsist at Bowery Ballroom will let us reminisce of all their albums. Woods is one of the few bands out
there who shell out consistently good albums. It seems a year without a new Woods album isn’t a complete year. (Cue 2008, 2013).
Excited for them to jam out a few new tunes off last months With Light and Love. In honor of them, I remember the album Songs of Shame We’ll keep our fingers crossed they play a couple of these puppies too!
See you at the show, we’ll be in the back. Probably at the bar.
As Hozier took the stage to a sold out Bowery Ballroom, it would complete a storybook day for the young Irishman. Andrew better known by part of his last name Hozier, started his morning at VH1 studios followed by performing on David Letterman and then by mesmerizing the crowd at the Bowery Ballroom. As he was about to take the stage the main conversations in the young, mixed crowd circled around how to pronounce his name and girls wondering aloud if he was single.
Hozier took the stage with a band consisting of 4 musicians playing cello, bass, keyboards and drums. Hozier sauntered onto the stage looking like some mythical Celtic giant with a guitar as big as him. Hozier opened with “Like Real People Do” and immediately silenced the crowd as everyone seemed to be hanging on to every word. Hozier was at his best during these seemingly intimate moments.
Hozier followed with more up tempo songs “Angel of Small Death” and a new song “Someone New.” “Someone New” hinted of Van Morrison influence and made me want to blast this in my car as I drove along the beach, windows down with a warm breeze in my face. Take a quick listen here:
During these early up tempo songs the crowd seemed somewhat reluctant to fully lose themselves in the moment and dance/clap along with songs that were most worthy of some crowd participation. The crowd almost seemed like they were in Hozier’s house and worried about waking the neighbors or breaking something. The band played a mediocre, if uninspired Led Zeppelin cover of “Whole Lotta Love” that seemed out of place and not necessary for the night. This was definitely the bathroom/grab a beer song, you always need one.
Hozier really shined and put his talent on display once the band departed and left the Irishman alone on stage to transform the night from a run of the mill Tuesday night concert to something very special. The tunes “Cherry Wine” and “To Be Alone” completely entranced the audience. The crowd fully realized they were seeing something special.
Alone on stage, guitar in hand, Hozier owned the night. For a sold out crowd during these songs it felt as intimate as the Sidewalk Cafe. During the bluesy “To Be Alone” after a few whoo hoo’s from the crowd and excellent guitar work by Hozier, someone yelled “Ridiculous!!!” People seemed to be in agreement, Hozier was taking over the Bowery Ballroom and everyone was in on the secret, he is really, really good. You sensed that you were discovering a new star and couldn’t wait to tell a friend about it. In the opening line of “To Be Alone”, Hozier sings “Never felt too good in crowds” but at the Bowery Ballroom he seemed completely in his element. His intricate guitar play coupled with echo induced vocals created a magical atmosphere. Watching Hozier performing alone in a spotlight covered in smoke was a truly mesmerizing sight. The smoke and subtle lighting seemed to transport you to a misty Irish hillside, silhouetted in moonlight as Hozier played haunted ballads and bluesy tunes, truly spectacular.
As the band rejoined him the crowd seemed to be warmed up to “Hozier’s house” and not afraid to mess up the rugs and wake the neighbors. Throughout the night Hozier spoke in a soft voice telling small stories about his journey and giving background in to some of the songs. His best moment was telling the crowd about his hometown Wicklow, which is about 30 miles south of Dublin. In describing Wicklow, Hozier stated “Usually in a sentence Wicklow; is before or after, a body was found”. Full Irish charm working, he followed his one liner with “But it’s beautiful you must go.” Maybe Letterman was giving comedic advice to him earlier.
As the night winded down Hozier played his most well known song “Take Me to Church”. Probably playing the song for the third time that day it still got everyone singing “Amen!!” and gave the venue a church revival feel. Hozier announced he would not partake in any fake exits from the stage for an encore and continued to play a couple more songs. He ended the night with “From Eden”. Surprisingly this was the most raucous reaction from the crowd all night. Not sure if it was the realization that Hozier was closing his home to us but everyone really engaged in all facets of this beautifully crafted song. The band stood together, took a few bows, and with that Hozier bopped off the stage for a well due rest.
And so ended the storybook day for Andrew from Wicklow, Ireland. Well played Hozier, look forward to seeing you again.
Upon seeing Tuneyards performance on Jimmy Fallon there was no way we could leave this alone. Tuneyards took performance rock to a whole new level. Any band that places Pee Wee Herman-esque furniture on their stage for a performance is opening themselves to the question: really?? This would be our take on their performance.
The Fonz most definitely jumped the shark on this performance. Bizarre lyrics, terrible makeup and the overall feeling of someone trying way too hard, the Tuneyards are sure to be a flash in the music landscape that when looked back upon will be nothing more then a bad example of what Arcade Fire was doing at the time.
With that being said we don’t see the genius in Tuneyards and see them as a complete joke. We aren’t drinking the Kool Aid and definitely not drinking from the water fountain. Enjoy your 5 minutes Tuneyards.
See for yourself: