Posts tagged ‘Dawes’

August 29, 2012

August Mix: And We Glowed In The Moonlight

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of the moon. It’s just up there in the sky, being all big and fascinating, and at night it’s lit up like a giant bulb. Many a short story I’ve written has begun with some mention of the moon or the night sky in general (if you think I love the moon, just wait until the day I tell you how much I love stars!). So it’s no wonder that this month I’m rolling out a mix about that celestial body looming out in space, because August 2012 has two (count ’em: 2!) full moons. August 1 brought us the Full Sturgeon Moon, and look up in the sky the evening of August 31 to see the first Blue Moon since March 2010.

Of course, we all know I love to celebrate anything with a sweet mix. And BOY do I have a lot of moon songs. So I selected the ones I thought most appropriate for this particular month of moons. Hope you all have a wonderful Blue Moon!

Download:August Mix: And We Glowed In The Moonlight

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January 2, 2012

Middle Brother’s ‘Someday’ Provides An Anthem For The Commitmentphone In Us All

My name is Amber Valentine and I am a professional commitment-phobe.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until recently when I found myself flying into a panic over the word “date” and its sudden emergence in my life. Nothing scares me more than the idea of someone falling in love with me — and that horrific series of events all starts with a date. Sure, to the male involved it was just going to be time spent with a pretty girl who’d probably make out with him but, to me, that date was a death sentence for my soul. In my mind, my consenting to that date meant giving up my identity. I never realized it until recently but after years spent as the ultimate bachelorette, being single has become such a huge part of my life and of who I am. I like my life. And I like who I am. So why would I want to change that?

I fell in love with Middle Brother‘s self-titled debut before it even came out. It was impossible for me not to love the band. See, Middle Brother is an indie rock supergroup consisting of the frontmen from three tried-and-true Amber favorites (and Daytrotter Barnstormer alums), Deer TickDelta Spirit, and Dawes. I expected, however, to more love the project for the men involved rather than for the music itself. I can’t help but have ill feelings toward most supergroups. I think Monsters of Folk soured me. My problem with most supergroups is the fact that the artists involved always seem to use their material that they’ve deemed not “good enough” for their main band or solo career. With Middle Brother, however, that wasn’t the case. In fact, I’m willing to say that some of Delta Spirit lead singer Matt Vasquez’s best work to date was with Middle Brother and the highlight of that record for me is “Someday.”

Middle Brother – Someday

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December 24, 2011

Top Ten Of 2011: Amber’s Picks

2011 was a weird year for me. It was odd in general but it was especially strange when it came to music. If you’d have asked me eleven months ago what I thought my favorite records of the year would be, I would answer you with the utmost confidence, rattling off a list of records in what I assumed would be the order I would eventually rate them. Out of those ten albums, however, only four made my final list. This year was full of surprises, both good (Hey, O’Death! Pleased to make your acquaintance!) and not so good (I really did expect that Okkervil River disc to be the best thing I’d ever heard…) and above all else, it was certainly not what I thought it’d be.

1. Chris Bathgate – Salt Year

The moment I heard Salt Year, the latest album by Michigan native Chris Bathgate, I knew it was my favorite album of the year. Granted, that isn’t a huge compliment because I said the same thing about three other records (all of which appear on this list!) but when it came down to the wire, Bathgate’s won the battle royale for the affections of Amber Valentine. Why? Because Salt Year is a masterpiece, from the opening distorted notes of “Eliza (Hue)” to the fiddle that marks the close of “Everything (Overture)”. Salt Year is harsh. It’s brutal and cathartic and it perfectly encapsulates the misery of lost love years later, but don’t think that the album’s a downer. Everything on Salt Year is deliberately crafted, from the gentle horns on the heartbreakingly perfect title track to the washboard backbone of “No Silver.” The best part? I’m not the only one who has deemed Salt Year a masterpiece! Everyone from NPR to Paste has been raving about Bathgate which means that one of the best kept secrets in folk music won’t stay that way for long.

Chris Bathgate – No Silver

2. Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On

The moment I found out that Timber Timbre, my favorite exports from the north, were releasing their fourth album this year, I was obsessed. From the instantly quotable refrain of first single “Black Water” (All I need is some sunshine too, you guys!) to the tongue-in-cheek humor of title track “Creep On Creepin’ On,” Timber Timbre’s latest is everything you’d expect from the creepy Canadians, and so much more. Without turning a cold shoulder on their minimalist macabre past, Creep On Creepin’ On plays out deftly and seductively. Think Leonard Cohen sings Sam Cooke songs on Halloween … Only better.

Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual

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December 23, 2011

Abbytron’s Top 20 Albums of 2011

Chances are you’ve already seen tons of Best of 2011 lists already, but as a music blogger, I of course have to throw in my two cents. As usual, it’s been a phenomenal year for music lovers like myself, and I’ve spent all of 2011 digging into new releases like it’s going outta style. While I certainly didn’t hear it all, I heard enough to have a pretty good idea of what stands out ahead of the pack. So this is just a rundown of the 10 frontrunners (plus 10 more that vied hardily for those positions) that I believe should absolutely not go overlooked.

1. Noah Gundersen – Family
Okay, so technically this is an EP. But it’s seven songs long, which to me qualifies as full enough to make my list. I mean, as you can see, I’m ranking it No. 1, and if I had to acknowledge it as an EP, then I wouldn’t be able to include it on this list at all. And that, my friends, would be a monumental shame because Noah Gundersen’s music sounds like it was made by angels. So, I said screw it, this is my list and I’m leaving it on. The Seattle musician has a little masterpiece on his hands with Family — at times cleanly rootsy and others softly dulcet. He’s a young man, but his songwriting chops (not to mention his lyrics) are some of the most seasoned and professional I’ve ever witnessed.

Nashville – Noah Gundersen

2. Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On
I don’t know what I can say about this album that I didn’t already say in my review earlier this year. Basically, if you’ve heard Timber Timbre before (especially the trio’s 2009 self-titled album), then you can rest assured that Creep On Creepin’ On is more of what you already know and love. As you can tell, Timber Timbre continues to grow and change yet still hold onto its brooding exterior through all its subtle evolutions from one album to the next.

Too Old to Die Young – Timber Timbre

3. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
I’d heard of the Rural Alberta Advantage before, but it was this year that I fell in love with them. A lot of people have seemed unimpressed with Departing, the folk-rock band’s sophomore album. But it’s brought me nothing but joy, despite the tragic tales set forth by the pained vocals of Nils Edenloff. The fact is, these singable melodies about the darker sides of life and love have been occupying my ears nearly all year, and I’ve found I still can’t get enough.

Coldest Days – The Rural Alberta Advantage

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December 2, 2011

Unsubstantiated Rumor Alert: Jonny Corndawg + Dawes = Corndawes

When someone puts something on Twitter, there’s a huge chance that it’s of very little interest or completely based in not-factual information. Just like in real life, however, there are people who exist on Twitter that I trust and listen to. Whether it’s Mike from Play B-Sides recommending a record or Hearingade’s own Abby sending me a Bandcamp link, Twitter has proven itself an invaluable resource for discovering music. Recently, my friends over at the Madison-based blog Rock Of The Arts informed the Twitterverse that a rumor is going around about a possible Jonny Corndawg collaboration with one of my favorite bands of the past five years, Dawes. And it was basically the best rumor ever.

Middle Brother featuring Jonny Corndawg – Middle Brother (Live at Daytrotter)

So the word is that the Corndawes collab might be recorded as soon as this winter, maybe even in my old ‘hood by team Daytrotter. I don’t know what’s more exciting: The prospect of this album, the prospect of this album being recorded by my homies at DT, or the prospect of this album actually being called “Corndawes.” Just say it with me for a moment: Corndawes. Corndawes. Corndawes. Fun, isn’t it?!

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November 24, 2011

November Mix: Songs To Soothe The Ailing Glutton

It is Thanksgiving, which means you’re about to embark on an epic journey into the glorious land of vittles only to find yourself wasted on the couch, wallowing in a combination of sedate satisfaction and self hatred. While you wait for your holiday indiscretion to run its course, you probably won’t be up for much carousing.

Look familiar, fatty?

You’ve just devoured a big plate of food — well, let’s be honest, two plates of food— plus a slice of pie. And even then, you’re still eating black olives off your fingertips, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU? Have you no shame?! While you’re fantasizing about the bomb-ass leftovers sandwich you’ll be making tomorrow (okay, later this evening) you may need some relaxing tunes to help rest off the carb high and ward off an impending food coma. All you gotta do is lie back and enjoy … and for the love of cats, PUT DOWN THAT CHEESE & CRACKERS PLATE.

Stuffed – Jaill

Calm Down – Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers

Go Easy On Me – Goldfinch

Lost On the Ohio – Jacob Jones

As a Matter of Fact – Vandaveer

Those Little Things – Carla Bruni

After It Ends – John Vanderslice

Evening Kitchen – Band of Horses

Through the Winter – The Woodlands

So Well – Dawes

See the Sky About to Rain – Neil Young

Us – Nosaj Thing

Too Late – M83

All There Is – Chrome Sparks (featuring Steffaloo)

Congratulations – MGMT