“Heaven Go Easy on Me” The Head and the Heart – “The Head and the Heart” (2010)

Apr 28
Posted by admin Filed in Pacific Northwest

A big day, tomorrow is. I’m going to see The Head and the Heart for the third time, and the UK gets a new queen-in-waiting. What to make of all of this royal wedding stuff? The latest polls show that our Brit friends by and large aren’t all that interested, or so they say. Something like 73% of those polled said something between “well of course, who doesn’t enjoy fish and chips being paired in perfect harmony on Fridays” to “Bloody hell, they should just bugger off to a rent-a-chapel in Vegas.”

Personally, although I won’t be getting up at four in the morning to watch, I think the whole thing is pretty cool. My sources (Wikipedia and TMZ) haven’t told me anything to make me believe that they’re not nice people. I’m going to guess that a sizable faction of the “indifferent” or “give me a break” people who were polled are people who like to judge, hate, and/or wish that they were the one getting all of the attention tomorrow. It is a little over the top, obviously but this is one of those big moments that a lot of people live for. We go around doing our day to day, taking care of business, trying to stay healthy, happy, and wise (that’s called life), and do all of this in between the grand fireworks finales, and grim last good byes that are the peaks and valleys that “life” leads us towards. For all of the royal wedding eye rollers, think for a second what life would look like if we took out all of the big stuff and just lived in the flat lands that take up the majority of our time. At some point we wouldn’t even realize that we are alive anymore.

Soak it all in tomorrow night. Raise a toast to the royals or dent each others PBR cans at The Head and the Heart. Just find something to be happy about.


The Lucky Number 7

Feb 6
Posted by admin Filed in Rewind, Singer Songwriter

I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan since I was 7 years old. I don’t live in Pittsburgh – in fact I live in Seattle where the American football team hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have been almost as unpopular as Clay Bennett and Al Qaeda since the Steelers beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Since I am a Steelers fan on every day except for when they play the Seahawks, I admit that I was bitter too. Time healed though, and unlike the rest of my Emerald City co-inhabitants, I was able to distinguish incompetent zebras from hard working football players and hold no ill will towards the Steelers for denying Seattle their first world championship.

So, when I went looking for a good Super Bowl Sunday tune (OMGoodness, this morning I’ve got about ten other things that I want to post from Das Rachist to Tennis, maybe Common, Belle & Sebastian, etc.) I had a few options to think about. I previously offered my take on the possible disaster that could happen at halftime today (see November 26th). I could offer up something from a Pittsburgh native; Christina Aguilera is from Pittsburgh, and is also singing the anthem today…. Hmmm, there’s a new angle to work with for you conspiract theorists. Or, I could post something that charted well when I was 7 and the Steelers were helping create the most famous play in NFL history, The Immaculate Reception.

“American Pie” was at the top of the charts in 1972. That seems pretty fitting for Super Bowl Sunday, don’t ya’ think? It’s also a timeless song but I kind of want a performer who has managed to stay relevant and productive for the last 4+ decades. That’s not easy to do obviously but I’ve found our man. Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” was a top five single in 1972. I really do love this song, and I thought about posting it about a week ago after John Richards played it on KEXP. So here it is to sort of tie together my little sports, childhood memories, Americana thread.

Wave those towels, Steelers fans! Today seems like a good day to win the lucky number seventh Super Bowl.

“Heart of Gold” – Neil Young – “Harvest” (1972)


“Basket” – Dan Mangan – “Nice, Nice, Very Nice” (2010)

Jan 8
Posted by admin Filed in Canadian

After posting “No Way” yesterday I found myself having a major Pearl jam craving and thought that a repeat was a strong possibility this morning. Then, I started my yearly, post-Christmas ritual of assembly the massive jigsaw puzzle that I always get a stocking stuffer. I fired up the Zune, then decided to switch to Sirius, just in time to hear most of Dan Mangan’s studio session. Anyone who’s been following this blog for awhile knows that I love the album that Mangan put out last year. If you like this song, or the tone of Mangan’s voice, buy the whole album, it’s solid throughout.


“Thistle and Weeds” – Mumford & Sons – “Sigh No More” (2009)

Jan 4
Posted by admin Filed in UK

What a huge year 2010 was for Mumford & Sons. Their hugely successful debut was released in October of 2009, quickly gained legs, attracted people to their concerts which left fans begging for more, and lead to virtually every live show being a sell out. Band namesake Marcus Mumford has the combination of charisma, connection to his fans, youth, and romantic spirit that in the narrowest scope attracts a loyal cult following, or quite possibly broadens making him and his band a voice of his generation.

Some kid from Ontario is probably going to walk away with Best New Artist at the upcoming Grammys. I’m okay with that and I wouldn’t be a lick surprised if two bands that I love: Florence and The Machine, and Mumford & Sons won’t lose any sleep if the nomination doesn’t turn into hardware. They won’t be re-thinking wardrobes, and looking for more spots to work the word “baby” into songs in order to up sales. I hope not at least. There was a little band from Dublin making their way up the charts in the late 1970’s playing a nice little brand of post-punk who ended up making it in a pretty big way. If will be fun to follow Mumford & Sons as their ascension gains momentum.


“The Dreamer” – The Tallest Man on Earth – “Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird (EP)” (2010)

Nov 30
Posted by admin Filed in Singer Songwriter

Every time that I listen to a Tallest Man on Earth song, I hear traces of other great vocalists. I hear Deer Tick’s John McCauley. I get hints of Jeff Buckley at times. And, I even hear a skosh of Willie Nelson in some songs. Hailing from Dalarna, Sweden Kristian Mattson has been at it for a few years now as a solo artist.

The EP that bears today’s song is a real treasure. There are five perfect songs here to plug into your head, relax and/or contemplate life – yours or everyone’s. There are a lot of questions, some eloquent observations, and flinching hopefulness crammed into less than 20 minutes of music. Do yourself a favor, and listen to the whole thing two or three times in a row.


“40 Day Dream” – Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes – “Up from Below” (2009)

Aug 28
Posted by admin Filed in Indie

I’ve stepped away for a few minutes from the album that has been getting the heaviest rotation in my head phones for the last couple of weeks, that being Dan Mangan’s “Nice, Nice, Very Nice.” I love that album start to finish and haven’t been able to put it away. But, it might have to share top billing with the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes debut full length album.

The album is fresh and full of energy but at the same time feels like it could have been lifted right out of the Summer of Love. There are a handful of songs ready for you to listen to which as good or better than “Home” which you’ve doubtless heard a bunch of times.