Favorite Albums of 2014 (6-10)

Today is the 3rd entry in my Favorite Albums of 2014 list which will detail albums ranked 6 to 10. If you missed the following two entries, read them right here.

6. Sharon Van Etten Are We There - What a celebration of painful moments, yet with the clarity afforded by time, it never truly feels like the miserable downer it could be. Sharon's warm voice and wonderful composition roadmaps an aching heart for all those unlucky in love. I saw her in Nashville as a fringe fan, now, both feet on the bandwagon, even walked away with a setlist.

Essential tracks:

'Afraid of Nothing', 'Our Love', 'Every Time the Sun Comes Up', 'Your Love is Killing Me'

7. Lydia Loveless Somewhere Else - Some people work things out with pen, paper, and a guitar pick. Then toss in a bottle or two of cheap wine to get the some real truths on paper, and that's where we find Lydia at her finest. She buries past loves, but not before a quick verbal skewer, and for now, one last late night tease, or hook up, depends on who's doing the talking. 'To Love Somebody' reeled me in, but 'Verlaine Shot Rimbaud' is the star of the album. After missing her a handful of times this summer, I bought tickets for her Valentine's Day show in Nashville, and I can't wait.

Essential tracks:

'To Love Somebody', 'Really Wanna See You', 'Verlaine Shot Rimbaud', 'They Don't Know'

8. Caroline Says 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong - This selection is a serious dark horse, but I knew it would be included here the instant I heard it. I happened across her album by accident, and became mesmerized by her made for a Wes Anderson movie sounds. Breathy vocals, soft acoustics, and a few keys tinkling here and there make this album an absolute dreamy joy.

Essential tracks:

'Winter is Cold', 'God Knows', 'I Think I'm Alone Now', 'Funeral Potatoes'

9. Honeyblood Honeyblood - Glaswegian 2-piece somehow made 12 bitter skewerings of past loves sound fun. Perhaps it's the spot on vocal harmonies, or the vintage melodies, or that it's entirely relatable, but the truth is that it's all over far too quickly. It's all acceptance and moving on, but not without one last verbal jab as the door slams.

Essential tracks:

'Biro', 'Killer Bangs', 'Bud', 'Super Rat'

10. Hookworms The Hum - I've owned this album for a week now, and it's my first experience with the 5-piece Leeds pysch-rock outfit. For three days, I couldn't get past the 2nd song, 'On Leaving'. And that was only because I kept replaying it. If I had to guess, 20 times. When I ventured forward, I ran into the same problem again, this time with 'Radio Tokyo'. It reminds me so much of many of the late 60's and early 70's sounds I heard from my Mother's turntable as a child.

Essential tracks:

'On Leaving', 'Radio Tokyo', 'Off Screen'

Song of the Day - Your Love Is Killing Me

Of all the gigs I attended this year, Sharon Van Etten's Exit/In performance might have just been the most satisfying. From the intimacy of her set, her stage presence, and the fact that her music is all sorts of fantastic, she made me a big fan. At the end of the month, I'll start compiling my favorite tracks and albums for some sort of end of the year lists, and 'Are We There' will be there, most likely in the top 10, and a few songs are likely to make appearances as well.  

I was in London in June 5th when she performed at Koko, but was unable to get accommodations sorted out in time to make it to the show. My travel companions weren't too keen on the gig anyway as we'd just gotten into town hurriedly on two wheels. She'll be back in London April 29th, and I just might be able to make that show. Still sorting out travel dates, but want to see her again.

Anyway, Sharon released the video to the stunning track, 'Your Love Is Killing Me' last week, and now I'm featuring it as my Song of the Day. Watch it below.

For more information on Sharon Van Etten:




Fall shows

Did a bit of scouring of many of the local venues and found a few shows I'm planning to attend, and hopefully cover/photograph. By local, I mean nothing in my hometown which seemingly has little live music that I like -- Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Nashville and Birmingham are somewhat okay for weekday shows, but they are tough on my body, especially when the alarm clock goes off at 5:30 the following morning. However, there are some that I'm considering. Anything farther than those 90 minute to 2 hour drives will have to be a weekend show before I can truly consider it.

So far, for the fall, I've purchased tickets for Drowners and Bully in Atlanta October 18th, and Benjamin Booker in Birmingham October 17th. And in just a few minutes, I'll be picking up tickets to my first country music show in over 20 years, Sturgill Simpson at Workplay Theater in Birmingham November 9th.

Here are a few other shows that are being strongly considered:

Bass Drum of Death Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham September 12th (Friday)

Lydia Loveless The Nick in Birmingham September 18th (Thursday)

Warpaint Atlanta Variety Playhouse October 19th (Sunday)

Interpol Marathon Music works in Nashville November 11th (Tuesday)

Angel Olsen Mercy Lounge in Nashville November 12th (Wednesday)

Potty Mouth Stone Fox in Nashville September 9th (Tuesday)

We Were Promised Jetpacks with Twilight Sad Workplay Theater in Birmingham November 15th (Saturday)

Then, there are a few maybes, mostly because of date/location.

Catfish and the Bottlemen Exit/In in Nashville October 7th (Tuesday)

Sharon Van Etten The Earl in Atlanta October 20th (Monday)

Polica Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham October 7th (Tuesday)

Sturgill Simpson Terminal West in Atlanta October 10th (Friday)

Rick Springfield Iron City in Birmingham September 21st (Sunday)

Better Than Ezra Iron City in Birmingham November 23rd (Sunday)

Benjamin Booker The High Watt in Nashville September 25th (Thursday)

The Dirty Guvnahs Cannery Ballroom in Nashville November 29 Saturday

FKA Twigs Mercy Lounge in Nashville December 1st (Monday)

Chvrches Minglewood Hall in Memphis October 1st (Wednesday)

Interpol Minglewood Hall in Memphis October 9th (Thursday)



Honeyblood releases video for Super Rat

Around my house, yes I know I use that phrase too much, a few artists/bands have been getting a lot of love lately.  The PINS, Bully, Sharon Van Etten, Ides, and Honeyblood all are keeping my ears pleasantly occupied, and even, at times, converting an unawares wife into a fan.  Well, Honeyblood released their debut album last week in the US, this week in the UK, and has been in the hacienda rotation since.  Now they've gone and done a video for Super Rat.  Love the song, and naturally love the video.