When I originally wrote about Alela’s new album, Alela Diane & Wild Divine, I lamented the fact that, while being a good album, it was just too produced for my liking. At the time I said that, “I loved the sparse, vacant nature of Diane’s other albums. I loved hearing her sing through that vacancy and, save for the occasional moment, Alela Diane & Wild Divine just doesn’t have that.” Time hasn’t softened that stance, but it has brought this little bonus disc to light. From what I can tell, you can’t get these Home Recordings & B-Sides in America, but they’re definitely worth seeking out as it’s exactly what I was missing in the Alela Diane & Wild Divine album.
Anyone who reads ninebullets with any regularity knows how much I love Alela Diane’s music. I mean, over the years her albums have been immediate inclusions on the ninebullets.net essential listening list. Alela Diane & Wild Devine, I am sad to announce will not be cutting the essential listening mustard.
Don’t get me wrong. Alela Diane & Wild Devine is a really good record. However, for me, it’s my least favorite Alela Diane record to date and I think it basically boils down a personal taste issue. See, for me, Alela Diane & Wild Devine is just. so. produced. I loved the sparce vacant nature of Diane’s other albums. I loved hearing her sing through that vacancy and save for the occasional moment, Alela Diane & Wild Devine just doesn’t have that.
Now, I would like to say, I do like the album, I just don’t love the album. So you should check it out and make up your own mind.
Melaena Cadiz is a Kalamazoo, Michigan native currently taking refuge in Brooklyn and its amazingly large alt.country/folk music scene. Late last year she released Rattle The Windows, an album that dropped so quietly that even the king of the unheralded gems, songs:illinois, has no mention of the album. Well, it’s time for ninebullets to join slowcoustic in an effort to shine a light on this truly fantastic, albeit short, album.
Rattle The Windows is a collection of 8 original tracks which immediately brings the calm, bordering on melancholy coupling of music and vocal stylings of Alela Diane to mind. Hell, sometimes her delivery is even similar to Ms. Diane. I’m not trying to imply that she’s an Alela Diane clone, just trying to draw on someone y’all might be familiar with.
Be sure to check out Rattle The Windows, because even though it only checks in at 27 minutes, they’re 27 minutes of Essential Listening.
Well, here we are on our seventh podcast and I think I’ve gotten the swing of things. No longer do I feel too silly talking to myself in the middle of the night, and I think I’ve really figured out how to use Mixcraft. What does that mean for you? It means that the actual creation of them will be much easier, so a greater amount of attention can be paid to the overall mixing/leveling/mastering of them. All of this will be good. Now, let’s get on with the show.
This month’s got a good chunk of unreleased material on it. We’ve got tracks from upcoming cds by Lucero, Strawfoot and Micah Schnabel (Two Cow Garage) as well as new material from brand new cds by Drivin’ & Cryin’ and Chuck Ragan. The new Lucero album is coming out on October 6 and if you live in the Tampa/St. Pete area there will be a listening party at Vinyl Fever which features pizza courtesy of yours truly but more on that in October (editors note: this was supposed to be posted in Sept.). I dunno why but for some reason in the middle of this podcast I got a hair up my ass and decided to feature nothing but female fronted bands. Why I did it aside, there is some awesome material included on the back half of the podcast including a track from Betty-Soo, an artist I was introduced to via the excellent blog, A Truer Sound.
And that’s all I gots to say about this months podcast. It’s awesome. You should listen and post about it on your blog, facebook, myspace and livejournal site. You should play it when you have sex with your self/boy/girl/person i met an hour ago friend. And you MUST come back for the October podcast! Why? Let’s get into that….
The October podcast is gonna be the first themed podcast. See, back in August some folks and myself on Twitter came up with the idea that October should be a #beerpodcast and we started getting the word out. The idea is for folks to send me some of their regional brews and I sample them/comment on them during the podcast. I think this is a fantastic idea because…well, for one, I get free booze but also because Florida has CRAP for beer selection where as the rest of y’all get all these awesome craft brews that I want to drink. Everyone tells me that if I’d ever had ______________ then I’d think Fat Tire was shit but we don’t even get Fat Tire, much less ______________ here so how would I know? So, you have a favorite craft brew? Mail me a bottle (address on the about page) and I’ll try it and as a thank you one day I’ll mail you the bottle back full of some of my personal homebrew. It’s a win-win situation. I hope to start getting box upon box of beer on my doorstep but that’s not all…..NO! The October podcast is also gonna be musical themed…
Since October is all about Halloween then we’re gonna celebrate death with the October podcast. It’s gonna be nothing but murder ballads and devil songs. If you have a favorite murder ballad of devil song….email it to me. We’ll celebrate Halloween and irritate the devil dodgers.
Here is this month’s track listing:
- Adam’s House Cat – Nine Bullets
- Autopsy IV Commentary
- Glossary – Lonely is a Town
- Micah Schnabel – American Static
- Lucero – Mom
- Autopsy IV Commentary
- Strawfoot – Churchyard Cough
- Drivin’ & Cryin’ – I See Georgia
- Chuck Ragan – Glory
- Autopsy IV Commentary
- Dan Bern – Chick Singers
- Betty-Soo – Never Knew No Love
- Eilen Jewell – High Shelf Booze
- Jessica Lea Mayfield – Kiss Me Again
- Alela Diane & Alina Hardin – Amidst The Moment
- Autopsy IV Commentary
- Amanda Blank – Something Bigger, Something Better
- Kristeenyoung – Comfort Is Never A Goal
Man, since I posted the latest podcast my life went into fast forward. I bought a new bike in the form of a fully rigid, single-speed 29er. It’s a Motobocane and the price was right, so I can goof off without being too fiscally invested in the setup. And if I decide I hate it, I can throw slicks on it and call it a commuter. Then the wife and I bought a new car and on top of all that our puppy had surgery, so we had to babysit him all weekend. What does all of this mean to you? Well, nothing except that through all of that, the one thing that didn’t happen is finding time to commit to ninebullets. Hopefully we’ll get through the week, but there may be a little quiet time. Okay, enough about my life; let me tell y’all about a record.
This has been a pretty busy beginning of 2009 for Alela Diane. Back in March she released her fourth album, To Be Still, on Rough Trade Records (9b post here). Now, a mere month later, she’s on the verge of releasing a collaboration with Eddie Bezalel under the moniker of Headless Heroes. The album is a collection of covers of more obscure songs chosen in hopes of promoting further investigation into the original source.
For me if Alela Diane’s involved that pretty much makes it a must listen. She has one of the best voices in Americana music right now. The album comes out May 19, here are some samples:
Alela Diane was born in Nevada to musical parents. As she grew, she performed with her parents and in the school choir. She eventually taught herself to play guitar and began putting out albums in 2003 with the self-released Forest Parade. Alela now lives in Portland and has just released her fourth album, To Be Still, on Rough Trade Records.
If you looked at my iPod and cd collection you would assume that I would not like Alela Diane, and by all accounts you would normally be right, but there is something about Alela’s music/voice that totally captivates me. The calm, bordering on melancholy coupling of the music and vocals almost forces the listener to stop and pay attention; and pay attention I have.
To Be Still, like The Pirate’s Gospel, was pretty much a DIY effort. It was recorded and produced by her, her father, Tom Menig, and Dan Elkan. However, unlike her last, To Be Still has a lot of instruments on it. Inviting mandolins, banjos, fiddles and drums to the party does nothing to take away from the real star of the party, Alela’s voice. Instead, it adds the flavor that pushed To Be Still right onto my Essential Listening list. Check it out.
When left to my own vices I don’t listen to many bands fronted by women. No real reason for it. As Dan Bern says in Chick Singers, “it’s just guys I hear the most.” So, if a cd arrives that is by an unfamiliar female singer, it will get pushed aside in favor of other, male fronted bands. Such is the case with Portland, Oregon resident Alela Diane’s latest effort, The Pirate’s Gospel. The cd has been floating around my house for months, and had it not been for the title, I may never have given it a listen. As it turns out, I was looking for Buccaneer songs for a post one afternoon, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I knew I was gonna like Pirate’s Gospel about two minutes into the opening track. Musically the cd is a sparse acoustic guitar and Alela’s vocals. Her voice reminds me of someone who would have been singing in a prohibition era speak easy. Again, no real reason for it but when I put the headphones on and close my eyes, that’s where I imagine these songs have come from. There is the occasional Natalie Merchant feel to her delivery as well. There isn’t anything terribly distinctive about the music but her singing has me hook line and sinker and will keep me coming back for more.