Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Ceremony

Just back from an Old Ceremony show at the Cats Cradle, and I am truly inspired. This is the first time I've heard them live, and this band is VERY impressive. Although I'm not an expert critic, to me, their sound seems really tight, confident, and innovative.

I seriously felt like their songs could have been part of a Broadway play, they were so solid. Yet the sound was quirky and grassroots enough to speak to me in a bar. The xylophone in particular was an incredible addition to Django Haskins' already impressive guitar riffs.

The lyrics were as clear and impressive as the sound. This band's songs spoke to me. They were sincere, challenging, and meaningful. Django Haskins' words exhibit leadership. Their band's songs address the core issues of my life and, I would argue, of our time. How do I create a world of love, peace, and happiness? How do I negotiate and try to resurrect politics in a world where corruption is the only way to win? How do I overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles...and how do I do so with courage, hope, and tenacity?

I was inspired tonight not just by the Old Ceremony's sound, but by their musical thoughts on these questions. I think we should all listen. I showed up to the show with little cash, or I would have walked away with an album. I'll buy one anyway, and we can share.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Don't blame me

When you also become addicted to this band: Great Lake Swimmers. I've listened to 3 of their albums, the most recent Ongiara is the real gem, in my opinion. The track "Your Rocky Spine" carries a crisp banjo tune, as do most of the other tracks, but that got my attention to begin with. The shuffling drums and guitar that accompany it paint a slightly sadder background, and Tony Dekker's vocals also have a slightly dour tone, leading to obvious comparisons with M. Ward with fewer pack-years. Ongiara overall is a strong, cohesive album. Their sound is well established and well represented on that album. Other standouts on the album are "Passenger Song" and "Where In The World Are You " which carries a similar theme of allegory and love. I've also enjoyed Bodies and Minds, the album released prior to Ongiara, particularly the song "Various Stages." The first album, Moving Pictures Silent Films, a) lacks a banjo and b) lacks some of the musical cohesiveness of the later albums. Admittedly, I haven't listened to it too much to get a real feel for it. It has potential.

Also - here's a good thing to do for bands you love: Vote for NPR's best CD's of 2007. It's also a great reference for music we need to hear for ourselves.

We'll try to get parlour #2 set up before Christmas, keep an eye out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Transition day!

I'm still making good with Jacquelyn's graduation gift from last May - a hefty CD Alley gift certificate, truly a gift that keeps on giving. I keep it in my back pocket for a monthly reward as I stumble through residency rotations. Today being my transition between the Emergency Department and Labor & Delivery, here's what I wanted and here's what I found:

Hoping to find:
The Foxymorons, Hesitation Eyes - I stumbled onto these folks with a Pandora "Wilco" or "Band of Horses" entry - can't remember which. I like 'em.

Harbours, Second Story Maker - Maybe another Pandora find, but I think it's divine intervention. They hail from the Mission, my favorite "place in the world where I don't live" and they add the "u" in their name like Sara did for our nifty blog.

Woulda bought:
Rilo Kiley - the first of two good tips from Sara, maybe a little too polished for me? They do have a tight, late 70s pop sound that my ears want more of.

Great Lake Swimmers, Onigiara - this sounds great - nice and laid back, but then Sara told me I should pick something local, which reminded me of what I saw at the Carrboro Music Festival...

Too impatient to place an order for the above, so I bought:
Kingsbury Manx, Aztec Discipline - these guys rocked the Farmer's Market stage back in September. I initially held off on a purchase because Ryan, the drummer, owns CD Alley and for some reason that would be weird at the register. Hope they'll play again soon.

Big Star, #1Record/Radio City - out of Stax in the early 70's and something that I should have bought a long time ago. Crisp and clean and a whole lotta soul. It was a tough call between this and the Live CD - there's always next time.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Session #1

Out first Music Parlour was a huge success if not in quantity, then definitely by quality. Our inaugural compilation includes the following songs, and their contributor.

Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home (KJ)

The Boy Least Likely To – Rock Upon a Porch With You (Jacquelyn)

Brian Jonestown Massacre – Open Heart Surgery (Dave)

Tyler Ramsey - Ships (Sara)

Alela Diane – My Tired Feet (Jimmy)

Edit 11/26/07: Compilation #1, now available in .zip

Looking ahead - we'll have our next session at KJ and Dave's place, probably the first or second week in December. Details will be posted here.


Welcome to the Music Parlour, a group of music aficionados in Carrboro, NC. We'll use this blog to discuss new and old music, and we'll also hold monthly meetings to eat, drink and discuss music.

Parlour, from the french "parler," denotes a room or audience chamber for the discussion of current events, past events, or simply intelligent dialogue. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre used to sit down for examinations on life in such a parlour setting.

What I am proposing is far less existential, but I think we should develop a sort of weekly/monthly music parlour. Cooler than a book club, it will invite the notable music minds (eg. us) of Carrboro/Chapel Hill to come prepared with music, new or old, that they feel other people simply must hear. Inevitably, it will result in the free exchange of great music, heads up on shows in the area, maybe even films about great music. We could rotate locations, the only requisite is a fairly decent stereo such that the music can be enjoyed by all.