THE NINEBULLETS.NET ALBUM OF THE YEAR IS:

American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die.

We’ll get around to posting our individual best of lists in the coming week or so but last week we all conversed over email and it quickly became evident that American Aquarium’s brand new album, Burn.Flicker.Die, was gonna win the vote for album of the year and it’s largely agreed that the title track is the best song of the year.

So do yourself a favor and pick up Burn, Flicker, Die on vinyl and CD from Lone Star Music and Last Chance Records; buy the digital from iTunes or Amazon on August 28; keep up with AA’s website and Facebook because you’d better see them live (and until you do, you can check out their incredible 2012 live album).

American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die
American Aquarium – Cape Fear River
American Aquarium – Saint Mary’s

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 12.27.2012

This week’s show was basically just some of my favorite songs from the year that was 2012. So, naturally, the show turned out awesome. I also ran through my Top 10 albums of the year. So, if all that sounds like a good way to spend and hour; put your ears on the archived stream of the show.

Below is the playlist for December 27, 2012 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Fistful of Beard – 5th Ave. (Until We Know Better)
02. John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls – Low (Everything The Hard Way)
03. American Aquarium – Burn. Flicker. Die. (Burn. Flicker. Die.)
04. JKutchma – I’ll Survive (Pastorals)
05. White Buffalo – The Whistler (The Whistler Single)
06. Arliss Nancy – Failure (Simple Machines)
07. Alone At 3AM – Another Round (Midwest Mess)
08. Snakehealers – Easy Young, Easy Old (Cure All)
09. Joe Pug – Hymn #76 (The Great Despiser)
10. Andrew Combs – Too Stoned To Cry (Worried Man)
11. Otis Gibbs – Christ Number Three (Harder Than A Hammered Hell)
12. McDougall – Ready, Begin (A Few Towns More)
13. Brothers Of The Last Watch – Frank T. James (unreleased)
14. Kasey Anderson and The Honkies – Some Depression (Let The Bloody Moon Rise)
15. Counting Crows – A Long December (Recovering The Satellites)

Bold = Request

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You can download Ninebullets Radio here
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P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 104: aired 12.27.2012

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 12.20.2012

The obvious way to go with last night’s show was to make an “end of the world” theme show but I utterly despise theme shows. That said, I did figure that if Thursday night was one of the last days of Earth the last thing I’d wanna do it spend an hour of it moping around so last night’s episode has no slow sad songs in it at all. So, when you’re in the mood to rock, put your ears on the archived stream of the show.

Below is the playlist for December 20, 2012 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Otis Gibbs – Crap For Christmas (Once I Dreamed Of Christmas)
02. The Black Keys – Thick Freakness (Thickfreakness)
03. Left Lane Cruiser – Big Mama (Bring Yo Ass To The Table)
04. The Legendary Shack Shakers – County Of Graves (Believe)
05. Those Crosstown Rivals – Kentucky Woman (TCR/Arliss Split 7″)
06. The Whipsaws – Jessi Jane (60 Watt Ave)
07. Arliss Nancy – Both Got Old (TCR/Arliss Split 7″)
08. Frank Turner – The Road (Last Minutes & Lost Evenings)
09. The White Buffalo – The Pilot (Once Upon A Time In The West)
10. Drag The River – History with History (unreleased)
11. Have Gun Will Travel – To The Victor Go The Spoils (Mergers & Acquisitions)
12. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – She Has Her Moments (Catch The Presidents)
13. Possum Jenkins – Greasy Spoon (On Time)
14. JKutchma & The Five Fifths – Used To Believe (Pastorals)
15. Chris Knight – In the Mean Time (Little Victories)
16. Scott H. Biram – Judgement Day (Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 103: aired 12.20.2012

ROBERT CHILDS’ GUITAR: BJ BARHAM OF AMERICAN AQUARIUM

My dad built a guitar.
Shortly after finishing it he got really sick
and on December 02, 2012, he died.
You can read the whole story here.
Now, I try and get people to play the guitar.

Back in November BJ Barham of American Aquarium was kind enough to sit down play a song on my Dad’s guitar. You’re gonna love it as much as me, trust me.

BJ BARHAM – ROAD TO NOWHERE

Previous players:

ROBERT CHILDS’ GUITAR: POSSESSED BY PAUL JAMES

My dad built a guitar.
Shortly after finishing it he got really sick
and on December 02, 2012, he died.
Now, I try and get people to play the guitar.
You can read the whole story here.y

Back in October Konrad Wert of Possessed By Paul James was kind enough to sit down and record what is, too date, probably my favorite session with Dad’s guitar. It’s so authentic. Trust me. Press play.

POSSESSED BY PAUL JAMES – SHOULD’VE KNOWN BETTER

Previous players:

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM — HANDWRITTEN

The latest album by The Gaslight Anthem is a return to the glory of Sink or Swim and The ’59 Sound, which is a relief.

American Slang, the band’s 2010 release, was a good album, but it just didn’t capture the energy and passion that Brian Fallon & Co. exude so well on their most memorable tracks. There was no “We Came to Dance” or “Great Expectations.”

American Slang felt like a stab at mainstream acceptance. Handwritten feels like a defiant middle finger to the establishment and an acknowledgement to longtime fans that the boys won’t be compromising from here on out.

Handwritten kicks off fast with the stunning “45,” a quintessential Gaslight anthem, ahem, about conflicted angst and the eternal struggle to grow.

And much like Sink or Swim, the disc just keeps chugging, each track launching forth from the last, fueled by an urgent drumbeat and staccato blasts of guitar. The title track, “Handwritten,” is a definite keeper. “Here Comes My Man” and “Mulholland Drive” are slower-paced story songs that would fit perfectly with the best of The Horrible Crowes, Fallon’s side project.

The standout tracks, for me, are “Too Much Blood,” a deeply confessional take on artistic aspiration, and “Desire,” a worthy companion to the aforementioned “Great Expectations” on any best-of playlist.

Here’s the deal – The Gaslight Anthem has its detractors, sure, and the comparisons to Bruce Springsteen are as inevitable as the band’s fixation on girls, cars and a blue-collar aesthetic.

But I will take Gaslight all day, every day, over lukewarm wannabes like The Killers who simply ape the storytelling technique of a Springsteen or a Bob Dylan but never once sound like they’ve lived, much less believe, the words that are raging from their mouths.

There’s something about this band that just grabs me. It’s like the first time I heard The Old 97s. Some bands you just love from the first song on. Needless to say, for me this is Essential Listening.

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
The Gaslight Anthem – Mulholland Drive
The Gaslight Anthem – Desire

The Gaslight Anthem’s Official Site, The Gaslight Anthem on Facebook, The Gaslight Anthem on Spotify, Buy Handwritten

ROGER HOOVER & THE HURT – LAY MY RITUALS DOWN

I first heard Roger Hoover and The Whiskeyhounds way back in 2007 when a chance crossing with their album Panic Blues left me completely hooked. At the time I said they were writing songs that “would have fit right into the Capricorn Records catalog perfectly,” while comparing Roger’s vocal stylings to Marshall Tucker’s David Gray. It seemed like Roger and ninebullets were set for a long musical romance.

The came The Magpies.

Man. I just couldn’t ever get down with The Magpies no matter how much I wanted to and, over time, 9b and Mr. Hoover had to break up. He’d met new people, changed and left his nerdy friends behind.

Kick rocks.

Roll credits? Hell no. The story almost never ends there, and it certainly doesn’t in this music blogger romcom. No. See, no matter how cool the new kids are, you can’t cover up your nerdy roots, and eventually Roger tired of his Magpie-clique and found himself wondering what his old friends were up to (in a really cliche dramatic montage) and in act 3 our singer splits from his Magpies, forms The Hurt and returns to his Whiskeyhounds roots.

Has he been gone too long? Will his old friends accept him back into the fold or has the damage been done? These are the plot humps the typical romcom covers in the last 10 minutes of the movie, so I’m not gonna over stress the points here. I admit, I missed Roger but I’m also a little nervous he’s just gonna bail on me the next time the cool crowd gives him bedroom eyes. So, yes, he’s accepted back but it’s no Can’t Buy Me Love ending. More like fading to black, I put my arm around him as we’re walking away from the camera. Full of hope, while staying properly ambiguous.

As for whether or not he can pull it off? You tell me:

Roger Hoover and The Hurt – Lay My Rituals Down
Roger Hoover and The Hurt – Eastern Standard Time
Roger Hoover and The Hurt – First Bullet

Roger Hoover and The Hurt’s Official Site, Roger Hoover and The Hurt on Facebook, Buy Lay My Rituals Down (name your price)

JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – LIVE FROM ALABAMA

As the title states, Jason Isbell’s new record is a live one.  There are no new songs and only one new cover but it stands as a benchmark achievement and is without a doubt Essential Listening.

For those of us that were listening to DBT when Jason arrived in the band his writing was a most welcome addition.  I wouldn’t mention DBT in this review if Jason hadn’t included songs from that first record but I’m glad he did.  “Decoration Day” and “Outfit” are two of his finest songs and on Live From Alabama they are freshened up a bit.  Most importantly Live From Alabama provides us fans with an excellent retrospective from the new guy with a couple of good songs to bandleader and frontman with entire albums under his belt. When Decoration Day first appeared many fans certainly wondered what a full Jason Isbell album would be like and he lived up to that promise with last years’ Here We Rest.

I had at least one longtime DBT ask me if I thought Isbell would be able to carry a band all his own.  My friend was not questioning his ability as a writer or player but as a frontman.  I’ll admit that I’d never considered the question but I also never thought Isbell would front more than a bar band.  (There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a bar band)  But with Here We Rest Isbell proved he could write a collection of world class songs and with Live From Alabama he proves that he’s capable of capturing a large audience and holding them in his hands.

The tracklist on Live From Alabama includes songs from all three post DBT albums plus his first to records with DBT.  There’s also a Neil Young cover, which is great, but if I was choosing I’d ask for a new song or something else he’s written.  But that’s not me complaining.  And this wouldn’t be a proper review if I didn’t mention the 400 Unit.  They sound tight here, like they’ve spent years out on the road together.  And there’s also the addition of a three piece horn section on several songs.

Live From Alabama makes me want to see the band live, (I haven’t seen them since Sirens Of The Ditch tour) which seems like one of the goals of a live album.  It also makes me wonder if you consider his writing, playing, and singing skills, is there a more talented person in our little Americana scene.  Agree or disagree?

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – In A Razor Town
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Cigarettes And Wine
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – TVA

Official Site, On Facebook, On spotify, Buy Live From Alabama

Check out Jason’s performance of “Outfit” last week on Letterman:

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 12.13.2012

Brand new (full band) Drag The River. Brand new Joey Kneiser. Brand new Arliss Nancy. Brand new Samantha Crain. Need I say more? Didn’t think so. Put your ears on the archived stream of the show.

Below is the playlist for December 13, 2012 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Todd Farrell – Ninebullets Radio Theme
02. Scott H. Biram – Blood, Sweat & Murder (Dirty Ol’ One Man Band)
03. John Fullbright – Satan and St. Paul (From The Ground Up)
04. Roger Hoover & The Hurt – Eastern Standard Time (Lay My Rituals Down)
05. Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars – I’m Going To Nashville (Heart In A Mason Jar)
06. Samantha Crain – never going back (Kid Face)
07. White Buffalo – The Whistler (The Whistler Single)
08. Drag The River – History With History (Unreleased)
09. Arliss Nancy – Both Got Old (Arliss/TCR Split 7″)
10. Those Crosstown Rivals – Kentucky Woman (Arliss/TCR Split 7″)
11. Joey Kneiser – St. Christopher (Moonlight For The Graveyard Heart)
12. American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die. (Burn.Flicker.Die)
13. Snakehealers – Easy Young Easy Old (Cure All)
14. Frank Turner – I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous (Last Minutes & Lost Evenings)
15. McDougall – Ready, Begin (A Few Towns More)
16. Discount Guns – The Water (Odessa)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 102: aired 12.13.2012

JASON MOLINA – AUTUMN BIRD SONGS

Jason Molina has been off the grid since 2009, going through rehab and getting his life back on track. He has communicated with his fans through friends a couple of times, and in May we got this message (excerpt):

“For the time being I am doing well, still in recovery and still in treatment until probably the summer does its thing. I’ve been writing a lot of music and eagerly anticipate the new 10” with Will Schaff’s book, word is that end of May we might finally get them. It is slow going, but it is going. …. Treatment is good, getting to deal with a lot of things that even the music didn’t want to.
…. Finally, there are actually some musical projects on the distant radar screen, but for those who understand, I am taking this in much smaller steps than I’m used to. Keep the lamps trimmed and burning!”

And that 10” he mentions is the reason we’re here together at this moment in time. Because the book he mentions finally got funded through crowd funding, and was released this fall. And it is magnificent.

Backstory: Before Molina took time off to get well, he recorded a bunch of songs to accompany his friend William Schaffs book, which collects most of his cover-art for bands like Magnolia Electric Co. and Okkervil River.

The book itself is wonderful. The artwork is both haunting and fantastic, and I think John Darnielle from the Mountain Goats says it best in his introduction:

«When I look at these small things – dark spaces into which light sometimes leaks, now accidentally and in small chunks, now grandly and with sudden, disruptive force – I think of Max Ernst, whose influence seems obvious. But I think also, perhaps less obviously, of Andy Warhol, who seemed to hold in abeyance the joy and terror of reptetition.»

And he concludes:

«The figures want to say something, but do not quite know how. In their helplessness they tell me at least one thing about themselves: That they are human beings. This is their strength, and their resonance, and the source of their fascination. They do what they can. Sometimes it ends badly for them. When it does, they cry out. You can’t miss it, even if you can’t hear it. It sticks with you»

Schaff himself tells us the story on how he got to know Molina, and how they have exchanged art over the years. He talks about how he sent Molina an owl-skull, and how it inspired him.

At one point Scheff and Molina challenged each other. Scheff war challenged to draw Molina with a bird-skull for head, which has become somewhat of a trademark for Scheff. Scheff challenged Molina to record him a version of a coversong he once heard him play. Not only did he get the coversong, he got an entire tape of raw material that would end up as the album “Magnolia Electric Co.” – which Scheff consequently made the fantastic cover-art for.

The book (with the 10” enclosed) is available both digitally and physically. 10% of the proceeds goes to Jason Molinas medical fund.

But let’s get back to the music. “Autumn Bird Songs” holds 8 songs, and the recordings are pretty basic. I’m guessing mostly one microphone capturing both voice and guitar, perhaps two. It sounds like it’s done at home, and the way the final song ends makes it sound like it’s been recorded on a tape-recorder of sorts. At times the vocal clips, but no matter what – it WORKS.
The intensity in Molinas voice just goes beyond worries on technical quality, one just doesn’t care as soon as he starts singing.

This is the last songs he wrote and recorded before going into rehab, making touring and recording impossible. And it’s at times heartbreaking to hear how he must have struggled with his demons. Take a listen to “Enough Of A Stranger”:

A hand. A strong hand. A strangers hand.
All the world divides fire into fire.
A wreck into the wreck.
All the work divides waste into waste.
Eyes into a strangers eyes.

The albums strongest track is probably “No Hand Was At The Wheel”. A song about heartbreak and how you suddenly can lose control over your own life – complete with Molinas unique imaginery:

The darkest day of the year
and my heart is on the rails
The darkest day of the year
and who’s hand’s at the wheel?

Those 8 songs are quite intense, and the nature of the recording ensures that vocals and lyrics handles all the progress. At the same time that’s all you need. Molinas ability to convey the essence here, the intensity and dispair is so strong that you don’t need a band or any production to get the point across. Molina comes across more as a poet than ever, and the depths of that mans mind is staggering.
This is not the place to start if you’re just getting into Jason Molina, but if you’re a fan – this is essential to understand the man and his music. I recommend both the album and the book, they are both magnificent.

Jason Molina – Heart My Heart
Jason Molina – No Hand Was At The Wheel

Buy it as pdf & mp3 or as hardcover with a 10” rainbowcolored vinyl at Graveface. (VERY limited stock)