Kelly Haigh – Post-Apocalyptic Valentines – 2015

kellyhaigh

Kelly Haigh’s work gives structure to freewheeling moments of cruelty and beauty. In her paintings, trees morph into smokestacks; pink dolphins stalk the desert on spider legs; dogs become surrogate mothers. Her songs have less of those specific images, but still enact battles of glamour and decay; the musical equivalent of Debbie Reynolds cascading down an MGM staircase with a nosebleed; tombstones poking up in the background of a soft-focus Dolly and Porter TV duet.

Post-Apocalyptic Valentines is Haigh’s second collection. It begins with a sort of mission statement, sweetly sung to a clip-clopping melody:

If I looked out the window and found / times were now post-apocalyptic / all I’d have to do is think about you / and the world will still be / just as beautiful as it was / as it ever will be.

For every romantic impulse you could infer from those concise lyrics, there’s a sadness immediately tempering it. Later on, a man asks a drowning woman “Don’t you think if we touched each other / it would feel like a parade of soft things happening?”

Haigh is a classicist not unlike Ben Nichols or Zooey Deschanel. She actively examines retro pleasures rather than neutrally reproducing them, lacing them with barbed images of the apocalypse. Covers of Porter & Dolly’s “Just Someone I Used to Know” and “I Love You So Much it Hurts” (sung by Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, and others), then, can afford to be faithful renditions; in the post-apocalyptic (or post-breakup or post-…) context, these covers are perhaps the bittersweetest valentines–remnants of all that’s gone and can’t come back.

Haigh’s straightforward song structures are the perfect vessels for her slipperily precise lyrics; and they make what melodic diversions there are, such as the Carolyn Mark guest spot and the low-blow coda to “Imaginary Love” all the more affecting.

The physical version of this album comes with a book of Haigh’s illustrations and paintings. I haven’t seen this book, but knowing her work, I have no doubt it’s a doozy.

Download the album from Haigh’s bandcamp (for a donation) and pick up the CD-Book combo there, as well. Haigh’s website and portfolio. Her Facebook.

TOP FIVE — SONGS ABOUT FOOD

Or at least tangentially about food. And like all good lists this one goes, in alphabetical order, to 11.
  1. The Band – “Home Cookin'” from A Musical History. A 1976 outtake, this is Rick Danko near his vulnerable best.
  2. Carolyn Mark & the New Best Friends – “Yanksgiving” from The Pros and Cons of Collaboration. Cooking to this song is tons of fun, but also guaranteed to make you wish that you were at Carolyn Mark’s party instead.
  3. Descendents – “Weinerschnitzel” from Fat EP. Good advice re: bull sperm.
  4. Guy Clark – “Texas Cookin'” from Texas Cookin’. He also wrote “Home Grown Tomatoes,” which is going to be the anthem of my forthcoming Summer of the Caprese Salad.
  5. John Mellencamp – “Hot Dogs and Hamburgers” from The Lonesome Jubilee. The American version of Leatherface’s “Baked Potato” (see below).
  6. Leatherface – “Baked Potato” from Mush. The British version of John Mellencamp’s “Hot Dogs and Hamburgers” (see above).
  7. Parallel 5th – “Carrots and Peas” from The Living Room Compilation. They were a Rhode Island new wave band that hardly mattered, but this song is funny and takes the place of The Beach Boys’ “Vegetables” which is on every other list of best food songs on the interwebs.
  8. Patty Griffin – “Making Pies” from 1000 Kisses. This is the best written song on this list. And Guy Clark is on this list. Good god, this song.
  9. Robert Earl Keen & Lyle Lovett – “Front Porch Song” from Keen’s No Kinda Dancer and Lovett’s Lyle Lovett. In addition to the much acknowledged steaming greasy plates of enchiladas, also consider the pimento cheese sandwiches that inspired the fourth verse.
  10. Steve Goodman – “The Vegetable Song” from Somebody Else’s Troubles. Most underrated songwriter on this list. And Guy Clark is on this list.
  11. Tom Waits – “Eggs and Sausage (in a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” from Nighthawks at the Diner. *rhythmic snap*

We’re well aware that this site takes its name from a song on an album called Pizza Deliverance and offers sporadic taco recipes, and know you know that I, personally, am always starving. What do y’all got in the pantry? Food songs! Deliver them.

OSTROV'S BEST OF 2012

There were so many good albums this year that I couldn’t make the decision to rank them, and I know that’s not the most important decision anyway, so this year’s best-of list is in groups with no internal order. This is the art I spent my cherished/wasted time consuming this year. Hope everybody’s upcoming year is full of growth.

Albums, Best of the Best:

Albums, Rest of the Best:

EPs, 7″s, Demos:

Reissues, Lost Albums

  • Tony FlaminioThe Grim Repair – from the head of the Failures’ Union, reissue of 2003 cd-R
  • Karen Dalton – 1966 – haunting voice and banjo recorded over porches and kitchen tables at her cabin in Boulder CO
  • Michael Hurley – Back Home with Drifting Woods – unreleased 1964 sessions from the freak folker and gorgeous yodeler
  • Jawbreaker – Bivouac – the glory
Books

  • Padgett Powell – You & Me – nothing has to be as shitty as everything is; read this for energy
Reasons to Stay Alive Next Year
  • Drag the River, Lenny Lashley, Billy Bragg, Sebadoh,Tin Armor, and Failures’ Union full-lengths. Freakwater playing shows again.
Stay free,
Mike

 

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 07.28.11

Ninebullets Radio is a radio extension of the blog ninebullets.net that airs every Thursday night in Tampa, Florida on WMNF 88.5 FM at 10pm Eastern. The show is archived for one week after it’s original air date and is available for streaming here. Also, don’t forget to head over to Facebook and like the Ninebullets Radio page.

Below is the playlist for July 28, 2011.

01. Greenland Is Melting – No More Sorry Songs
02. Nikki Lane – Gone, Gone, Gone
03. Eilen Jewell – Bang, Bang, Bang
04. Carolyn Mark – 2 Days Smug & Sober
05. Kaleigh Baker – Train Gone By
06. Damion Sumi – Ghost
07. Have Gun Will Travel – Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothes
08. Seryn – Of Ded Moroz
09. Lauris Vidal – Better Part
10. Nervous Turkey – Too Late For Romance
11. The Semis – Library Book
12. The Broken Inn – All In Your Head
13. Kaleigh Baker – Sheister
14. Chuck Ragan – Nomad By Fate

Bold = Request

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.

CLEARING OUT THE 2009 CLOSET: SOME QUICK HITS: PETE BERNHARD, BETTY SOO, DIANE BIRCH, CAM PENNER, SEVEN MARY THREE & CAROLYN MARK W/NQ ARBUCKLE

Much like Kasey’s two sentence reviews, I thought I’d bang out a couple of pieces that have been floating around in my Google Docs account in various forms of incompletion and combine them into one post instead of just deleting them. Sometimes it’s hard to find something to say about every. single. cd you like, but I’ll usually at least give it a shot. These are those shots:

PETE BERNHARD – STRAIGHT LINE

Pete Bernhard is one third of the phenomenal ‘country meets punk in a ragtime bar’ trio, The Devil Makes Three. While the lineup is a little different, more of a traditional arrangement, the sound is pretty much the same. This begs the question: Why do this outside of the DM3 umbrella? Apparently Pete feels that these songs don’t fit with the DM3 sound/feel but I don’t hear why. That said, the cd (like the entire Devil Makes Three discography) is fantastic.

Pete Bernhard – Straight Line

BETTY SOO – HEAT SIN WATER SKIN

Coming out of Austin (and to my attention, thanks to A Truer Sound) this singer made what could have easily been the follow-up to Edie Brickell’s Picture Perfect Morning. The album was produced by Gurf Morlix and if that ain’t a seal of approval, then I don’t know what is.

Betty Soo – Never Knew No Love

DIANE BIRCH – BIBLE BELT

Her voice sounds like something my mother would like. Her music sounds like Carly Simon or something. This album is a rarity in that the more the role of “background” music it plays in my day, the more I like it so I’m unable to just discard the album all together. Perhaps it’s one of those cds that has to bounce in and out of your consciousness for a year or so before you decide you like it. Time will tell. I suppose.

Diane Birch – Don’t Wait Up

SEVEN MARY THREE – BACKBOOTH

Seven Mary Three is a largely forgotten (and unfortunately labeled) band from the late 90’s grunge era. Backbooth is a little venue in the band’s hometown of Orlando, Florida and Backbooth is a recording of an acoustic show the band did at the club. It serves as a fine companion to Day&NightDriving, but I would advise getting the latter first.

Seven Mary Three – Upside Down

CAM PENNER – TROUBLE AND MERCY

Cam Penner came out of Calgary to take the americana blogging community by storm last month. I had intended to be a part of said storm but managed to miss it all together. Cam wrote Trouble and Mercy while on the road searching through the underbelly of the American dream for something shiny. The process birthed two of my favorite songs of 2009, “13” and “Tired of This Town”. Please don’t let my failure to feature this album on ninebullets act as a commentary on it’s quality, ’cause I can assure you it’s about to pop up on my year end list.

Cam Penner – Tired Of This Town

CAROLYN MARK & NQ ARBUCKLE – LET’S JUST STAY HERE

Put two solo artists that I love together and the sum will be greater than the parts….right? With Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle’s collaboration Let’s Just Stay Here, the answer at least for me is: not really. It’s a good cd mind you, but ultimately listening to it too closely just makes me wanna listen to their solo discs. That said, there are moments of sheer magic on this album that have never allowed me to just scratch it off my “to write about” list.

Carolyn Mark & NQ Arbuckle – All Time Low

Carolyn Mark – Nothing is Free

I am still really new to the phenomena that is Carolyn Mark. Having heard her the first time in the soundtrack of a movie I was watching, I became addicted to the tracks I had almost immediately. So, while I can not pretend to really know too much about Mrs. Mark, I can make certain deductions from listening to her music, like, if you know her in person, I imagine you always know where you stand with her. Also, I bet she would be an absolute riot to get shitty drunk with and, as frequent readers of this blog know, that’s a good thing in my so-called life.

Well, she recently released her sixth album, Nothing is Free, on Mint Records. The album continues the trend of songs about the down-and-out lifestyle, with an unapologetic ‘damned the torpedoes’ attitude, in lieu of wallowing in it, feel. Mrs. Mark has crafted a fine album of emotion, with an air of indifferent disconnect. It is that very feel that makes Mark’s music cut to the bone. While it isn’t worn on the sleeve on Nothing is Free as much as her previous releases, it is still my reason for loving her, and one won’t need to dig to deep to find its essence.

Carolyn Mark – The 1 That Got Away (With It)
Carolyn Mark – 1 Thing
Carolyn Mark – Pirate and Shotgun

The song that started it all for me: 2 Days Smug & Sober

Carolyn Mark’s Official Site, Carolyn Mark on myspace, Buy Nothing is Free

Who in the world is Carolyn Mark?

Note: Yesterday I was stranded out in the world with no internet connectivity at all. At first, it was nice and I was really productive at work. Then the boredom set in (engineering is a very boring occupation) and the frustration about not being able to do any reef tank research turned to irritability which became depression. By the time I was back home and with internets I was despondent and listless and thus did not post anything yesterday. Fortunatly all of my problems can be cured by my good friend Jim Beam and today is a new day. Let’s get on with it shall we.

The other night the wife and I were watching this documentary, Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling. The soundtrack to the documentary was awesome, and I wish I would have written down all of the songs when the credits rolled, but I did catch the one I was most interested in. It was the song “2 Days Smug and Sober” by a singer named Carolyn Mark. I downloaded it the next day, and according to my last.fm profile I listened to it 10 times in 2 days. I have since ordered a few of her cds and am currently waiting for the mail like a kid at Christmas. Until I get them and post reviews, I’ll offer you these songs that I’ve been listening to daily. For those of you that jumped all over the Holly Golightly material you should give these a listen.

Carolyn Mark – 2 Days Smug and Sober
Carolyn Mark – You’re Not a Whore if No Ones Paying
Carolyn Mark – Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad

Until now I had never heard of Carolyn…turns out she is the “other corn sister”. I had heard of The Corn Sisters, but not being a big Neko Case fan, I never bothered to check them out. If the 2 cds I ordered pan out to be as likable as I am anticipating, I’ll have to get that Corn Sisters cd, as well. Other than that, all I know about her I learned from her bio and her Wiki entry:

Carolyn Mark is a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter. She has recorded both as a solo artist and as a member of the duo The Corn Sisters with American colleague Neko Case. Previous bands she has been in also include the Vinaigrettes, Showbusiness Giants, the Fixin’s, and the Metronome Cowboys. She has also provided backing vocals on recordings by The Buttless Chaps, Greenfield Main, Neko Case and Frog Eyes. She is known for her onstage antics and powerful voice.