Jan 092013
 

16.Cory Branan – Mutt

It seems like every review of Mutt talks about there being this style, then this style, then another, and what they never say is that every song on Mutt is incredibly well written.  Every song on Mutt is incredibly well written, I said it twice to make up for other’s neglect.

Badman

15.The Sparklers – Crying At The Low Bar

The review of this album generated a good bit of positive feedback.  I was surprised people liked it as much as they did.  It’s a really good record and because of the reaction I ended up listening to it more than I probably would have otherwise.  Thanks y’all.

Weren’t For Bars

14. Justin Townes Earle- Nothing Can Change The Way You Feel About Me Now

This record has grown on me over the course of the year.  Earle has talent and he’s not afraid to mix things up.  I don’t think this record has as much Memphis on it as most people do but it’s damn fine nonetheless.

Movin’ On

13. David Wax Museum – Knock Knock Get Up

The songwriting seemed to take a bit of a backseat on this release, compared to the two previous DWM records, but the sounds and the rhythms are top notch.  The band has seemed to receive a ton of recognition from this record and I’m confident they deserve every word written.

A Dog In This Fight

12. Todd Snider – Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

One of the nice things on this record is that because Todd plays a lot of electric guitar his bitter venom on a couple of songs is more deadly than usual.  It’s a rough record by design and I’d march up the pyramids with Todd if he told me to.

In Between Jobs

11.Dinero – Sheep

I’m listening to this record as I type this, for the gazillionth time, and it’s still strange and beautiful and kind of makes me feel the way last year’s Cave Singers record made me feel.  Word is there is a shortish LP coming from Dinero coming in the early part of 2013.

Daddy’s Money

10.Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Live In Alabama

Yes it’s a live record and without any new originals but it’s so damn good.  I feel like I just wrote the review of this record a week ago so I don’t have any new thoughts.  Just listen to it and find the video from their appearance on Letterman, old David was pretty pumped up it.

Heart On A String

9.John Fullbright – From The Ground Up

The more I listen to this record the more I dig it.  Fullbright is young to be composing music the way he is.  He isn’t afraid to be understated and restrained but there’s plenty of punch on this Grammy nominated album.

Me Wanting You

8.4H Royalty – Where UFOs Go To Die

Their sophomore effort is such a huge step up from album one and word from the 4H Royalty headquarters in Byers CO is that another record is nearly finished and songs are being written for the follow up to that one.  When listening to UFOs pay attention to the subject matter, nobody is writing songs about the kinds of things these guys are writing about.

Virtues, Spices, & Liquor

7.Andrew Combs – Worried Man

Another debut album on my list.  His four song EP was such a teaser and Worried Man lived up.  Combs is another one of those songwriter who is compared to Guy Clarke but he’s better than all the others being compared to Clarke.  I truly hope he’s a prolific writer and that this album has found enough success that more albums come on a yearly basis.  If they do I suspect Andrew Combs will be on my best of list for years to come.

Take It From Me

6.Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

I firmly believe that these kids can make a record that can be much higher on my list.  They are so damn good already, hopefully all the success they’ve had helps them make a great record, and not the other way around.  I’m ready for whatever’s next.

Heartbreaker

5.Lucero – Women & Work

Women & Work is Lucero’s most danceable record.  It’s just fun, damn it.  It’ll never be my favorite release from them but it’s the best album they’ve made for dancing with women instead of moaning about them.

It May Be Too Late

4.Patterson Hood – Heat Lightening Rumbles In The Distance

Long gone are Patterson’s days of writing brash in your face rockers.  He’s developed into a literary rocker unafraid to present his work in calm and understated recordings.  I dig it so much because my listening preferences have happened to shift with his output.  God, I need to own this vinyl.

Better Than The Truth

3.American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die

I often think of AA as the little band that could.  When I first saw them The Bible & The Bottle was fresh out and three studio albums later they’ve put out their best yet.  Does Jason Isbell turning the knobs help?  Probably, but more importantly the band has gotten tighter and tighter as the years have passed and BJ’s songwriting gets more and more consistent.  Most likely you’ve heard about AA but if you haven’t picked up Burn.Flicker.Die you’re late to the party so drink fast.

Saturday Nights

2.McDougall – A Few Towns More

I heard about this record in the Nine Bullet offices for a while before I listened to it.  Holy shit I’m glad I did.  This record is what Nine Bullets is all about.  Here’s a guy making phenomenal music that not enough people know about.  It’s not that the whole world knows about him now, but if it wasn’t for Nine Bullets I wouldn’t know about him.  Do yourself a favor.

Ask That Pretty Girl To Be My Wife

1.Spirit Family Reunion – No Separation

Their first full length is rugged but uplifting. Their songs are delivered with such fervor and unrestrained joy.  If you still believe music can make a bad day good then check out their Tiny Desk Concert. I love it, love it, love it.

I Am Following The Sound

Jan 072013
 

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

 

Jun 082012
 

In the interest of full disclosure I consider Cory a pretty good friend. He’s someone who has slept on my couch, watched Max Headroom with me until dawn, played my older daughter’s birthday party and so on. I thought long and hard about letting someone else write this review so no one could claim that there was nepotism involved. I thought about it. Then I said “fuck that” I’ll write about what I want to write about.

As anyone who has ever spent more than 10 minutes in his company can confirm, Cory Branan is a hot mess! There is no doubt about that. He is all over the map all the time. No two shows are ever the same and his albums even more so, or less so depending on your perspective. Mutt is no exception to this and like everything else Cory does it’s a all over the map but hits all the right destinations. When you take in to account the songs we’ve been hearing at shows for years and the stuff that was sort held back until this release you end up with a crazy trip through Cory’s talent.

Take a look at “Survivor Blues”, both versions, and you’ll see what I mean. The closing version is closest to the live version we’ve heard already and then there’s the Thin Lizzy tribute version. I’ll be honest the Thin Lizzy version took me some time to get used to and even longer to like but it grew on me, slowly but surely, and now I couldn’t tell you which version I like more. I can say that my favorite line from that one changes depending on which version I head last. To me that really demonstrates Cory’s ability.

Now I have to admit I always feel a little guilty when I get a Cory album in my hands because I know that no matter how good it is that I’ll prefer the live version to what he’s laid down for the record. However this Mutt showed me that I shouldn’t assume shit about Mr. Branan! “Snowman” is a track that I don’t hear any differently than it is on the album. I don’t want an acoustic only version. I want to lose myself in that Tom-Waits-esque vibe and let the darkness of the lyrics wash over me and take to me places I usually don’t let my head take me to. Of course I am falling in to the same trap I opened this paragraph with and I am likely to be put in my place when I hear it played live but for now I am a stubborn bastard who doesn’t mind contradicting myself.

I hate saying that someone’s writing has matured and honestly I couldn’t say that with a straight face about this one even if I was inclined to do so. What I can say is that overall it’s a little darker than 12 Songs which is one of the reasons I like it so much. I like a little darkness with escape and this one delivers that very well. My all time favorite from Cory has always been “Whiskey Grove” (yeah, you try getting him to play it live) but I think it’s been usurped by “Lily”, quite possibly because of one single line: Lily I guess the best trick/is to see the magic/once you’ve seen then wires. If I don’t stop now I am likely to ramble on for way too long so I’ll wrap this up and let you get to the actual music…

Overall Mutt is a damn fine showcase for Cory’s writing and good vehicle for MPD style of musical arrangement. Even if you aren’t a fan of Cory’s studio stuff you need to check this one out. I am willing to lay odds that there is at least one track here that will grab your attention. It goes without saying that this is Essential Listening (and the album cover has boobies!). I kinda sorta have permission to give you a stream of Mutt for a couple of weeks but it’s sort of unofficial. So I am going with “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” since I didn’t get the final confirmation before the European tour kicked off.

Album stream available (with Cory’s permission) for a limited time:

Cory Branan’s Official Site, Cory Branan on Facebook, Cory Branan on Spotify, Buy Mutt

Apr 132012
 

Last night’s show was the marathon show and Ninebullets Radio fell incredibly short of it’s goal. At the end of the show we were still $435 short of our $1600 goal. It’s always nice to meet the goal while on the air but it’s not too late. If you want to help close the gap please follow this link and contribute to the show. Every little bit helps and right now, we need your help.

On another marathon note….Ninebullets Radio did raise $1165 dollars last night and, at least to a poor man like me, that’s nothing to scoff at. I wanna thank everyone who called in or contributed to the show via the web. It’s because of people like you that community radio survives and (at times) thrives in the cultural wasteland that is the airwaves.

It may have been marathon and there may have been a shit ton of talking but stuck in between all those words and worries was some pretty damn good music. We’re talking brand new songs from Will Quinlan, Cory Branan, Tim Barry, Joe Pug and Alone At 3AM. Not to shabby for a marathon show if I do say so myself so you’ll probably wanna check out that archived stream of the show.

Below is the playlist for April 12, 2012

01. Todd Farrell – Ninebullets Radio Intro
02. The Drive-By Truckers – Where The Devil Don’t Say
03. Will Quinlan – Willow
04. The James Low Western Front – Whiskey Farmer
05. Cory Branan – Badman
06. Alone At 3AM – Wolf In The Woods
07. Kasey Anderson – Some Depression
08. Tim Barry – Fine Foods Market
09. Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire
10. The Haunted Windchimes – Out With The Crow
11. Joe Pug – Neither Do I Need A Witness

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 67: aired 04.12.2012

Dec 282011
 

Top 10 Albums:

25. J. Mascis – Several Shades of Why

24. Ruby Coast – Whatever This Is: They made their first EPs while still in high school, but their first LP is mature, polished, and a blast to dance or drive to. (free music alert)

23. Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Files: Rips off Cap’n Jazz the way Colossal ripped off American Football. The first midwestern emo analogy on ninebullets? I dunno.

22. Tin Armor – Life of Abundance: Smiths meets Big Star, a gorgeous and fun album that fans of Frank Turner will love.

Tin Armor – Plain Limbs

21. Bomb the Music Industry! – Vacation: How do you like your Brian Wilson worship–from tip-toeing nerds like Animal Collective or from the endlessly savvy band geeks of BTMI who actually have something to say? (free music alert).

20. Elway – Delusions: Rock from Fort Collins CO, think Arliss Nancy played for punx in basements instead of drunx in bars.

19. The Underground Railroad to Candyland – Knows Your Sins: Horrible band name, amazing sound. What a “teenage symphony to god” sounds like these days.

18. The Decemberists – The King is Dead: Without changing all that much, they expanded their appeal to a whole different kind of pretentious people. Those swayed by this album, check out Meloy’s flawed-but-lovely college country band, Tarkio.

17. Tommy Stinson – One Man Mutiny

16. Austin Lucas – A New Home In the Old World

Austin Lucas – Darkness Out Of Me

15. Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground

Chuck Ragan – Wish On The Moon

14. Joey Cape’s Bad Loud – S/T Demo

13. Sharks – The Joys of Living 2008-2010: They’ve toured with Ragan. For fans of Gaslight, Social D, Psychedelic Furs.

12. Jon Snodgrass & Friends – Tri-State Record, or Five-State Record, depending on where you live or how much you like imports

Jon Snodgrass & Friends – Campaign

11. Josh Small – Josh Small’s Juke

Josh Small – Everyone’s Daughter

10. Laura Stevenson & the Cans – Sit Resist: Brilliant pop that swings between indie and roots rock. Glorious voice.

9. Matt Woods – The Matt Woods Manifesto: A better album than Steve Earle’s.

Matt Woods – Port St. Lucie

8. Shane Sweeney – Shane Sweeney – The Finding Time

Some Hope, Somewhere

7. Guy Clark – Songs and Stories (Live): Document of how great his recent songs really are. How does a band still have this much fun 30 years into the game, after they’ve already mastered it? This could be what Lucero sounds like in 20.

6. One Hundred Dollars – Songs of Man

5. Wild Flag - Wild Flag: Two of the best guitarists in the world and, by far, the best drummer.

Wild Flag – Something Came Over Me

4. P.S. Eliot – Sadie: Alabama lo-fi college rock. They’ll be broken up by the time you read this. Seriously. I’m sad. (free music alert)

3. State Champion – Deep Shit

State Champion – Bottom Of The Bleak

2. Madeline – Black Velvet

1. Glossary – Long Live All of Us

Top 10 Lyrics:

8. “This is why we fight, this is why we lie awake…” ~ Colin Meloy/The Decemberists, “Why We Fight“: Because he didn’t finish the line with “at night.” The whole album is a textbook on restraint, which is so much more exhilarating than excess.

7. “My sister lost a friend over something like an invitation.” ~ State Champion, “Old Green Room”

6. “My heart aches, but only on the third beat.” ~ Madeline, “Hurry Up, Pronto

5. “Like a Roman, you lived it.” ~ Jon Snodgrass, “Weighing in on St. Michael“: Simple and beautiful and never sung before.

4. “Never trust a hotel clock!” ~ Joey Cape, “Montreal“: That’s how you make a road song relatable. Take note, touring bands writing only about touring.

3. “I know your pain and share your pain, let’s have soup together.” ~ The Pack a.d., “8

The Pack AD – 8

2. “If there’s two things that I hate, it’s having to cook and trying to date. Busting ass all day to play hurry-up and wait.” ~ Jason Isbell, “Codeine“: A response to the Pack a.d. line.

Jason Isbell – Codeine

1. “I cannot even do one sit-up, sit-ups are so bourgeoisie.” ~ Stephen Malkmus, “No One Is (As I Are Be)

Top 10 Daytrotter Sessions (pony up):

5. Cheap Girls

4. Naughty By Nature

3. Sharks

2. Frank Turner

1. Caitlin Rose

Top 10 Books (that I haven’t read yet):

3. Diane Keaton – Then Again

2. Bob Mould – See A Little Light

1. Chris Bachelder – Abbot Awaits

Top 10 Web-Comic Strips (of the handful that I follow):

2. Liz Prince – Alone Forever #42:Aloneth Forever

1. Mitch Clem – Nothing Nice to Say #450: “Jaded Asshole!

♥. Liz Prince – “I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye

Top 10 Guitar Hooks:

1. Oh No Oh My – “Again Again

Top 10 Things Ever:

1. Drag the River name-your-own-price digital store. Finally hearing the b-side of the out-of-print Gabba Gabba Hey Buddies!

Top 10 Things Coming Next Year:

8. New albums from Gaslight Anthem, Cheap Girls, Sharks, Menzingers, Hot Water Music, Magnetic Fields, John K. Samson (of the Weakerthans), Teenage Bottlerocket….

7. The Promise Ring reunites and releases rarities album.

6. Tim Barry left Suburban Home, but if he had to go somewhere else, Chunksaah Records, run by The Bouncing Souls, is the sweetest destination. Barry’s first album on his new label is due next year. The Bouncing Souls themselves are going into the studio with Bill Stevenson and should have a record out in 2012, as well.

5. This year, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady shacked-up in Austin, listened to some Nick Lowe, saw Alejandro Escovedo live (a Texas rite), and recorded. So his solo album next year has a chance to be incredible or just the same.

Craig Finn – Rented Room

4. The DTR full-band album that was supposed to be built off the 2010 DEMOnS sessions?

3. The long-homeless Cory Branan album to “drrrrrop this Spring?”

2. Lucero – Women and Work

1. Franz Nicolay – Do the Struggle: Prepare for the next Sign ☮ the Times