First DNA Mix: Winter!

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I finished my first ever mix for this site last week but it was so warm that I couldn't bring myself to post it. However, today it turned. Most likely the first snow of the season will come down either tonight or tomorrow morning so this is the PERFECT time for this mix.

A lot of harmonies and swirling instrumental sections, this mix is gonna be great for the next few months.

01. The Avalanche - Sufjan Stevens
I've never really thought of the banjo as a wintery intrument, but when it is laid on a bed of flutes and pianos its stabs sound like ice falling from the old tree in your backyard. And I suppose that avalanches only happen in winter... Also, listen close for Shara Worden's backing vocals on this track - they're superb.

02. Igloo Glass - Holopaw
There's nothing that says winter like an igloo...at least if you're an eskimo or something... Holowpaw has been making unrecognized acoustic pop music since 2002. I recommend their 2002 self-titled disc. Note - Issac Brock, who worked with members of Holowpaw in Ugly Casanova, plays the mandolin and lays some backing vocals on this track.

03. She Paints Me Blue - Something Corporate
I don't know why I associate this with winter. But I do. And Andrew's piano work is in top form on this track.

04. Go or Go Ahead - Rufus Wainwright
The lyric "Got me writing lyrics on postcards/then in the evenings looking at stars" is one of my all time favorite lyrics. The way that they chorus swirls like snowflakes falling to the ground is almost unbearable to listen to with a broken heart.

05. The Man Who Sold the World - Nirvana
There's a cold ambience to the effect on the lead guitar on this most brilliant of covers. Frankly, the entire "MTV Unplugged" album sounds like its played in front of kids wearing scarfs and fuzzy hats while drinking hot chocolate. The longing and lonliness in Kurt's voice just adds to the feeling.

06. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead - Stars
Stars have SO many great winter songs! It was knock down drag out between this track and "What the Snowman Learned About Love". I think this one won out strictly for its lovely video.

07. Lover's Spit (Beehives Version) - Broken Social Scene
Although I like the original version of this song, Leslie's voice really brings something special into the mix. Her performance makes such a disgusting song sound downright beautiful and romantic.

08. Gone - Brandi Carlile
I think this song really evokes a feeling of a new start. Lyrics like "Gone like the darkness/at dawn and then they forget" could easily be viewed as trite if it weren't for Brandi's heartfelt delivery and the wonderful harmonies from the Hanseroth boys.

09. In The Aeroplane Over the Sea - Matt Pond PA
From the band's Ep "Winter Songs", this cover evokes an entirely different type of beauty than the original modern classic. The lyrics point to a far warmer time of year, but the mood is all winter.

10. I Was A Kaliedascope - Death Cab For Cutie
It's confession time. On the day of the first snow every year for the past few, I stay home and dance thru my living room with this song blaring in the background. It's a bit embarassing, but so darn much fun.

11. Newfound Mass (2000) - Get Up Kids
"These bridges and boundaries are bringing me closer to you." Matt Pryor's lyrics take on whatever meaning you need them to each time you listen to them. And James Dewees' piano strikes a chord. Get it! Piano! Chord!

12. Blizzard of '78 - Ida
This song features a power that is really different from the majority of Ida's previous work. Blizzards happen in winter. It's a known fact.

13. Snowbirds and Townies - Further Seems Forever
I'm losing the tiny little bit of any indie cred I had left with this track.

14. Embracing Winter - The Autumns
One morning I was at work listening to this song and when the guitar solo came in at about 3:03 into the song, I stopped to write this:
"This guitar isn't gently weeping. It's bawling like a 5 year old with a skinned knee...or...like a grown man who's had his heart stomped on one too many times"

15. Grow Old With Me - The Postal Service
Sit around the fire with someone special and listen to this one.

16. Until Next Time - The Rocking Horse Winner
Jolie's voice (which may sound familiar from several Dashboard Confessional recordings) really makes me thing of deer traipsing thru snowcovered plains. Or it could just be the artwork from their records...

17. Naked as We Came - Iron and Wine

18. So Long to the Holidays - Ugly Casanova
I'm smiling so much over being able to fit this into a mix. You really just don't know. The ambience provided by the keyboards makes this song drift along almost on a subconsious level. It's perfect for slowly drifting off into dreamland.

So, here's the link to the Zip File (which unfortunately is thru Sendspace...sorry 'bout that) at the bottom of the page:
DNA's Winter Mix (via Sendspace) (Zip File)

If you don't like a track or two, I recommend going here to get this wonderful recording of "Majesty Snowbird" by Sufjan. Or do whatever you want - its up to you.


How I Spent My Thurs. Night

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Wednesday afternoon I got a call from my dad and he asked me if I wanted to be in the halftime show at the Kansas City Cheifs games. I'd have been an idiot to say no.

John Fogerty, whom I've explained my love of before, was playing a four song set during halftime at Arrowhead and they wanted a crowd down on the field. So, Thursday night, after a load of waiting in buses and tunnels underneath the stadium, we finally got to run out on the field of Arrowhead, one of the greatest stadiums in the United States, and rock out with John Fogerty. He ripped thru all four songs in about 10 minutes (maybe less...) and then we ran back underneath the stadium again. Afterwards, they fed us a rockin' turkey dinner and gave us free t-shirts and we watched the game on a bigscreen in a tent just outside of the stadium (no tickets=no seats). It was loads of fun.

So here are the songs he played, as they appear on John's new live record, "The Long Road Home - In Concert":
Travellin' Band
Down on the Corner
Fortunate Son
Bad Moon Rising


Experimental Instrument Orchestra

Another great band coming out of Kansas City is Experimental Instrument Orchestra. The group comprised of Mark Smeltzer, J.Howell and Amy Farrard plays "junk". That's right - they use whatever junk they can find, including some dumpster diving, and make their own instruments. Supposedly practices can last as much as 6 hours because they first begin practice by making instruments, then learn how to play them and THEN they can finally play songs. You can swing by their Myspace Page to see pictures of some of the instruments they have built, including "pandolins" and one string fiddles.

The music comes out as kinda country, kinda avant garde, and kinda disturbing. The singing often times sounds more like chanting and their are loud crashes and bangs everywhere. No song is ever truly repeated and everything is always recorded.

You will never hear music quite like this again.

Here's a couple of tracks via E.I.O's myspace page:
You Don't Love Me
Eyes of the Steamboat... (Stupid Myspace cuts off track titles!)

I just sent the good folks of E.I.O. a message to ask where on earth we can buy their records so I'll let you good folks know as soon as I find out.


Mates of State Cover Bowie

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I've got a few posts that I've been working on including one to tell you all about what I did yesterday. I find it interesting. You probably won't. I'm gonna post it anyways.

In the meantime, I HAVE to share this track. From a concert back in 2004, the overly adorable Mates of State (who met and formed their "group" in Lawrence KS.) took on one of the strongest tracks from David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust". It's sounds pretty much exactly like what you would imagine it would. But that's not a bad thing.

Mates of State - Starman (Live) (David Bowie Cover)

Also, somehow I've been experiencing this sort of creative rush over the last couple of days. I'm writing music and poetry again and hopefully some of the rush will spill over into the site. I hope it does.

And just say no to christmas music!


New Covers Day!

My folder of covers for the site is getting full, so it's time to empty some out for a cover day!

Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka - Beatles Medley
Two banjos and a heap of Beatles songs. It's worth for the take on "Drive My Car" if nothing else.

Flaming Lips - Knives Out (Radiohead Cover)
Something about this cover is vaguely disturbing. I can't quite place it but it give me the willies every time.

Get Up Kids - Close to Me (Live) (The Cure Cover)
This cover was recorded at the Get Up Kids last ever show at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., which I drive past at least once a week. I'm still kicking myself for not getting tickets to this show - and I could have gotten 'em.

Isley Brothers - Summer Breeze (Seals and Crofts Cover)
Pure slinky funk. Ronald's voice just glides over the dirty guitar lick with the greatest of ease. It makes me feel fine. (How corny!)

Jesse Lacey (Of Brand New) - Two-Headed Boy (Neutral Milk Hotel Cover)
This seems like the perfect time to post this cover since Brand New's record drops next week (I think...). What I've heard of the record so far is not too bad. On this recording, tho, it sounds like no one in the crowd has any clue just what they're hearing.

Glen Phillips - Hide and Seek (Live) (Imogen Heap Cover)
It starts a bit rough, but GLen pulls it together and makes something oddly compelling in this bizarre cover. Also, the rest of the show contains some great covers by Elliott Smith, Neutral Milk Hotel and Randy Newman. And, of course, it ends with "Don't Need Anything".


Get Out of the Car Longhair!

For some reason I feel the need to share the fact that my hair has gotten very long...well, at least longer than it has ever been before but I think today is the day to go get my hair cut and remove this beard-like growth on my face.

So to commemorate, here is a surprisingly great b-side from Jason Mraz which features the lines:

I'm trying not to pull out my hair
I'm trying not to show it 'cause I'm far too shy to grow it back there
That's probably why I like wearing hats
There's no denying I'm deferring the facts

Even if you're not a Jason Mraz fan, you just might still dig this track.

Jason Mraz - Prettiest Friend


Stephen Brodsky

EDIT - I woke up yesterday afternoon to find this post that I don't even remember writing. So, ignore the words, but the music is still good.

Not much time to write today.

One of my favorite new albums is this weeks new release from Stephen Brodsky, entitled "Octave Museum". Its fun and upbeat but never corny. The guitars are steady but the choruses keep soaring.

Here's a great song from the record.
Stephen Brodsky - Kid Defender

And if you're interested into looking into Stephen's previous work with Cave In and his other related projects, this is the place to start:
Cave In Official Page

Stepehen Brodsky's Myspace Page

Order the record here.