Promoting quality music in Knoxville … by any means necessary.
Fans of Knoxville music, we told you we would be back this week. And you know we wouldn’t lie to you. So Free Music Friday returns after our ‘Spring Break’ last week with 8 stellar tunes. Love it, hate it, it’s all good. It’s FREE, people! It doesn’t really matter!
And if you enjoy Free Music, you will no doubt enjoy our previous offerings. Check out all of our previous Free Music Fridays right here!
So without further adu, enjoy this week’s Free Music Friday!
Japandroids say, ‘Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em’
The House That Heaven Built by Japandroids – Ladies and gentlemen, fans of knoxmusictoday.com, we trust Jenny Eliscu. And who is Jenny Eliscu, you ask? Excellent question! She is a DJ on XM radio’s XMU station and we follow her on The Twitter. Here is what Jenny tweeted about this song -
“Oh jeez. This new Japandroids tune is so up my street it should open its own bodega and gimme a line of credit.”
As you know, we are total SUCKAS for a hook line that repeats something like, ‘Oh Oh o Oh o o o Oh’, over and over. And youbetcha, that is EXACTLY what this song has. Japandroids is Brian King on guitar and vocals and David Prowse on drums and vocals. The duo hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s in Canadia, people. You know Vancouver. Home of the Sedin twins, or as they like to say in Boston -
OK, hockey joke. Regardless, this song has some serious bounce. And if the hook isn’t good enough for you, try this -
And if they try to slow you down
Tell them all, to go to hell.
Am I clear about that? Yes. Crystal.
Father John Misty may have some real problems
Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings by Father John Misty – OK, so we are playing big hooks to start off our Free Music Friday this week. And here’s another. Father John Misty is J. Tillman, former drummer for the band Fleet Foxes. His debut album as Father John Misty will be called Fear Fun and it is slated for release on May 1. Here is a bit about this song by Leah Pickett at popstache.com -
“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” is the standout single: a dark and dizzying rock opus that stands out from its Americana counterparts. “Jesus Christ girl,” Tillman laments with sneering perversity, “Tracing the expanse of your American back/With Adderall and weed in my veins.” As the drums pound and the guitar moans, the lyrics become increasingly more depraved in their description of sex in a graveyard—“You kissed on me/But we should let this dead guy sleep … picking out an island and a tomb for you at the Hollywood Cemetery.” With its ghostly themes of haunting and resurrection, this song symbolizes the exorcism of Tillman’s old self and the embrace of his new alter ego—less mopey and more subversive.
We like the bizarre video for this song, too. Although we would prefer a good car chase…and a few explosions -
Andrew Bird, you’re gonna need a bigger house
Eyeoneye by Andrew Bird – First of all, Andrew Bird is NOT Larry Bird’s son. Let’s just get that out of the way. OK, now on to the truth. Mr. Bird, err…Andrew, is a multi-instrumentalist from Chicago. He has a degree in violin performance from Northwestern University. He performed The Whistling Caruso for the The Muppets: Original Soundtrack. He is 38 years old and appears to be in good physical health. Enough? Here is a bit about his new album by drewmalmuth at prettymuchamazing.com -
Andrew Bird could fall down the stairs and the resulting sounds would be worth listening to. I wouldn’t wish that on him but, nonetheless, I would imagine that the thumps and yelps would start soft, drawing the listener in, and then crescendo into a raucous and poetic chorus. Such is his innate ability to craft melodic and heartfelt music; it seems he does it without even trying. Bird, now on his seventh solo studio album, is an elder statesman of the indie music scene. His releases are always discussed but how good they are doesn’t necessarily make headlines because, well, what else would you expect? “Andrew Bird Makes Another Good Album”. Yea, no s**t. And so it is with his newest release, Break It Yourself. Bird has once again sequestered himself in his barn in western Illinois and come out with a collection of beautifully crafted, thought provoking tunes.
From album to album Bird’s style is unmistakable but, at the same time, each offering reveals a new element of his craft. His early solo albums, Weather Systems and The Mysterious Production of Eggs, were quirky, violin heavy romps that felt like a blossoming artist experimenting with this sound. Armchair Apocrypha and 2009’s Noble Beast were more settled. The forming introducing more lush guitar melodies and the latter developing Bird’s penchant for calypso rhythms and country chord progressions. Although all of these releases had a certain mature quality to them, Break It Yourself feels like the adult of the group. On first listen the songs are immediately enjoyable but also straightforward and lacking some of the flare of his early work. However, each subsequent listen reveals that Bird, now at the wise old age of 38, manifests his creativity in subtler ways that are ultimately more rewarding.
The Heartess Bastards may need to mow the lawn
Parted Ways by Heartless Bastards – In 2005, a relatively unknown group (at least to us) from Cincinnati, Ohio blew us away at Bonnaroo. That group was the Heartless Bastards. Over the course of the last seven years, the band has undergone several lineup and record label changes. What remains constant is the talent of frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom. Along with Jesse Ebaugh (bass), Dave Colvin (drums), and Mark Nathan (guitar), Wennerstrom and the band released their fourth full-length album, Arrows, in February 2012. So how did the band get the name Heartless Bastards? Well, as you know, at knoxmusictoday.com, we educate as well as entertain. Here is a portion of a 2005 interview with Erika by Steve Inskeep at NPR –
NPR: Why did you call the group the Heartless Bastards?
Ms. ERIKA WENNERSTROM (Heartless Bastards): Well, Mike and I were at a bar in Dayton years ago…
NPR: Mike Lamping, your bassist.
Ms. WENNERSTROM: Yes. And we were playing one of those trivia games, and it asked what Tom Petty’s backing band was, and, `Tom Petty and the Heartless Bastards’ was one of the multiple choice questions–answers. So we just–we thought it was really funny.
And there you go. This song is the backbone of our Free Music Friday this week. And we like it. A lot.
Ben Kweller loves babies
Full Circle by Ben Kweller – I had a Ben Kweller once. Hurt like hell. OK, old joke. Not very funny. Ben Kweller, the musician, is from Greenville, Texas. His initial band, Radish, had some success when he was still a teenager and he has since embarked on a solo career. Here is a bit about his latest album, Go Fly a Kite, by Charlie Duerr for Consequenceofsound.net -
Kweller—who was something of a cult figure due to the success he had at a very young age with his band Radish in the 1990’s—made four solo records over the last decade that garnered him some critical acclaim, some backlash, some modest hits (see “Wasted and Ready” from 2001’s Sha Sha), and some appearances on late night television. All in all he has enjoyed a pretty nice under-the-radar career as a musician who turns out obviously derivative, but equally endearing takes on pop, garage rock, folk, and country. And where his music has always been good and his songwriting adept, he’s the type of artist that just doesn’t ever seem to generate much excitement, which is more a critique on the listener than the artist.
“Don’t regret anything I ever did, because I always knew where I was coming from,” is a hard lyric to ignore on “Mean to Me”, the opening track of Go Fly a Kite—the 30-year-old Kweller’s fifth album under his own name. It’s the record’s best song with its gritty guitar riff, pumping power chords, and an attitude that says “F you if you don’t like me.” He knows you’ve heard this chord progression before, but he doesn’t care.
Dr. Dog is anything but old news
That Old Black Hole by Dr. Dog – Our headliners this week, Dr. Dog, are from Philadelphia, PA. That should be enough for you. But wait, there’s more! The band played a show last fall at the Bijou Theatre, which we caught during our November Challenge and featured as one of our Best Bets. And the band was recently featured in a fine article by Tom Moon for Relix Magazine. Here is a portion of the article about the recording of the band’s most recent album, Be The Void -
Then the band went back out to finish the tour. After a few days away from the studio, both Leaman and the band’s other songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Scott McMicken, had the same thought: Things were just a bit too easy, too settled. “We started debating what to do,” Leaman recalls, “and after a few minutes, it just came out: ‘Why work with anybody?’ We’d branched out with [2010’s] Shame Shame [which was partially produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith)] and learned a lot. We didn’t know what we might be capable of doing. We both realized we wanted to find out.”
“At the time, it felt like a dick move, to be honest,” McMicken says. “Of course, we didn’t want to create weirdness with Ben and we felt insecure about telling our manager and the label. But as soon as the idea was out there, it was instantly clear this was what we had to do. Very quickly it went from doubt to ‘we got this.’”
And then, just as quickly, the band repaired to its own studio, in a converted loft on an industrial-wasteland street in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Two months later, Dr. Dog had pretty much completed work on Be the Void, at once the most irreverently catchy and most deliriously weird set of songs that they have released to date.
Moon Taxi is looking SHARP!
Pennies by Moon Taxi – Nashville, Tennessee is the home base for the band Moon Taxi. Everyone’s definition of a moon taxi is different.
Some may think a moon taxi looks like this -
Here is one thing that it is not -
Goodness, gracious. What is that? Regardless, this band has opened for such heavyweights as Gov’t Mule, Umphrey’s McGee, Matisyahu, and The New Mastersounds and will open for knoxmusictoday.com favorites Galactic and Perpetual Groove in 2012. That’s some good company. Without the pedaling.
Dear Mr. Fantasy by Traffic with Jerry Garcia – As you know, we prefer to finish our Free Music Friday selections with an Anthem. This classic song from the 1967 album Mr. Fantasy by Traffic fits that bill nicely. The album lineup for Mr. Fantasy featured Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Dave Mason. This live version was recorded 27 years after the original and features the playing of Jerry Garcia. People, you really have something here. Something . Very . Special.
And the video, from 1994 is also very fun -