Monday, November 28, 2005 


An "alt-country tinged, instrumental group," Japancakes takes drone, chamber pop, and lilting country riffs to new heights. I came to their music through hearing John Neff (man-about-town in Athens: See: DBT, Bloodkin, The Chasers, etc., etc.) who plays pedal steel in the group.
How far can you take one chord? That's the question that this collective of musicians asks with each piece - creating a tapestry of sound everytime. Short Mile is a track from their first album, "If I Could See Dallas". The pedal steel is up front in the mix here, although its not always so highly featured in their tunes.

Released in 2001, their atmostpheric album "The Sleepy Strange" got me through studying for my first year in law school. No one should have to endure hour after hour of the Rule against Perpituities or the Fertile Octagenarian without listening to music....and that was just Real Property.

Although Kindercore Records had released most of their earlier records, that label fell on some hard times. That label's output could/should be the subject of a future post. Darla released Belmondo in 2002, while 2004 saw the release of Japancakes' "Waking Hours" on Warm Records.

Emusic has several of their albums for download.
They have a live track from Austin, TX's KVRX streaming on their myspace page.
Buy Japancakes records from

On a sidenote, more folks should be (and are) blogging about athens' music. See also:

Thursday, November 24, 2005 

things to be grateful for: indie-rock darlings

Cat Power is great. Memphis is great. Chan Marshall's new record made in Memphis is great.
Folks have been talking about the first song and title track of the album;it is great. Here's last song on the album; it's also great.

Download Cat Power - "The Greatest"
Download Cat Power - "Love & Communication"

Pre-order an import of the new record. Matador has the new single on sale for a buck.

Now it's time to talk turkey....

Friday, November 18, 2005 

lovin' the natch'l bluez

It's early 2001 and I've decided to shop at the only record shop in Americus. (Music Mart for those playing the home game). I've heard the bluegrass stylings of Leftover Salmon before. They're a Colorado jam-band and/but they've got some significant musical abilities....and apparently they know how to "pick" cover songs. I'd enjoyed their high-energy take on traditional tunes and when I saw a copy of their album they'd done a few years prior in Nashville with some significant guests. I plunk down the cash for the cd. Little did I know how much this cd and at least one song would be a constant fixture in my life.

The cd was "The Nashville Sessions" and it's just a fanatastic example of what acoustic music can be. Very Power, Happy, and Jubilent. Some of the bluegrass greats are on this record. Sam Bush, The McCoury family (Del and Ronnie), Sally Van Meter, Jerry Douglas and Bela Fleck. Also Lucinda Williams, Waylon Jennings, and Taj Mahal .

The song "Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes" was the second song on the Nashville cd. It starts with Taj's directions to Leftover on how to treat the song, its rhythm and its rhyme. The picking is up-beat and consistent and Taj sings it in a positive tone. He's got the girl and he's reflecting on that and sharing his love. Singing her praises to the world. The rest of the cd is fantastic and well worth tracking down. Download Leftover Salmon with Taj Mahal - "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes". Buy The Nashville Sessions from Leftover or

The original track by Taj was on his Phantom Blues cd and its somewhat different from the later cover version. It's slower. More methodical. It's like he hasn't got the girl yet but he's singing, dreaming, like he has, like he WILL get it. More yearning. MORE powerful. Perhaps, he knows her. He has pictures. There's some sort of relationship, but they're apart....for now, if there's ever been a connection, but he believes in a lasting 'thing' between them that he's gonna reminence upon. Download Taj Mahal's "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes". Buy Phantom Blues from Amazon.

Taj's record company(s) thinks just as highly as I do about the track because it's featured on several recent "greatest hits" type compilations which can and probably should be sought out. It was also used cinematically, a topic which will be covered in the near future (hopefully).

In 2004, Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon used some downtime from his regular gig and made a trek down south to play some solo shows with Georgia band Moonshine Still, out of Maconga. Vince played the song once during the tour and played it with the full band in Athens at the Georgia Theatre (a spot where one should never buy draft beer unless horrific hangovers are exactly what's desired - note to the bar/theater owners - Clean the Taps!) Download Moonshine Still w/ Vince Herman - Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes (11/13/04).

There's a site on the interweb that has concert records for lots of independent rock and jam bands and a recording of the entire MSS/VH show is available there.

Taj Mahal is a fantastic philanthropist and real supporter of roots music. He can also cook better than your mother. He deserves to be heard. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005 

fledgling indie-rock

The band Joe Christmas came out of the Atlanta-area and signed to Tooth and Nail records in the mid-90s to get some exposure - which their record "North to the Future" deserves. They toured with a lot of the Elephant 6 crew (Neutral Milk Hotel, et al.)

Some in the band later became Summer Hymns, an Athens-based outfit, who hasn't put out a proper record since 2003. Summer Hymns does have some mp3s available from their record label, Misra, who hosts several talented bands, like the most recently heavily-blogged-about Great Lake Swimmers and The Mendoza Line.

But back to the original intention of this post -Joe Christmas. They had a song on a T&N Compilation that I bought for $5 in 1996. The song "I'll Bet You Do" was worth the price of admission. Catchy hooks from fuzzy guitars and a slightly cocky attitude with the lyrics - total teenage fun. It's Pavement-esque.

Download Joe Christmas - I'll Bet You Do.

Buy North to the Future from T&N records (a steal at $3).

Friday, November 11, 2005 

the gospel

The setup: I didn't listen to much music until this song. I had finished 8th grade and went to some church-related mega-conference Jesus-extravaganza concert-experience of the early 1990s. I got a tape compilation of some of the bands and musicians who played. This song was on that tape. I don't know what else was on that tape, and I really don't care. This song started my love affair with "pop music." This song mixes the Beatles and Motown and just the best of pop music. Half of it is a's just good.

The payoff: PFR - Wait for the Sun. from the 1993 album "Goldie's Last Day".


obligatory test post

if it wasn't this, it would be something else.