OSTROV's TOP 10 OF '11

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

JOSH SMALL – JUKE

Like most people (I think), I had no expectations for Josh Small’s previous album, Tall, when I first heard it. One Spring, I was looking-up bands that were playing the first Harvest of Hope and Small’s name sounded promising; then I learned he was in Tim Barry’s band which upgraded him to Most-Promising. Since seeing Small play live then, and a bunch more times, and listening to that album on every long drive I’ve done the last few years, Tall has become one of my favorite albums. So, with that, and the fact that Tim Barry’s been running around telling everybody “Honestly, it’s the best album I’ve heard in years,” his follow-up, Juke, comes with much more expectation. Or, you know, as much expectation as an album by a woodsy folksinger blending nineteen-sixties-n-seventies Chicago soul music with eighteen-sixties-n-seventies Appalachian music can be. Which should be a lot!

Juke shrugs off every expectation, because it’s a different album than Tall. Whereas Tall is a Lose Weight Exercisey, throbbing, road-album, Juke is more tinny, frisky, and somehow a little more settled and mature. A good walking album. Without even getting into the music, one look at the album credits will tell you all you need to know about the character of this album. Instead of standard credits like “drums,” “vox,” “electric guitars,” some of Juke‘s include: boogie woogie guitars, schoals drums, space bomb guitar, wonkey guitar, resophonic disney jazz, popeye bass, bells and cool stuff, and Jonathan Vasser playing the role of “paul simon” on the track “Everyone’s Daughter.”

Getting into the actual music is easy: it’s The Shit. Would you doubt Tim Barry? (editor’s note: Doing so might catch you and ass whooping) Small’s a virtuoso, kicking ass on banjo, resonator guitar, and who knows how many other strings. His vocals are less dramatic and more dynamic than on Tall. The backing band pops and flips and somersaults. Liza Kate’s guest vocals on “Waterwings” are glorious. Small can write anything from freewheeling, tone-centric lyrics, to “coherent” story-songs. His diction, like Austin Lucas’, can be breathtaking when it hits. See: “Say atonal I love you, make the sound of a bruise.

Maybe it’s because the banjo, and many other instruments used in folk music, originated in Africa, but Juke stokes a noticeable African influence that goes beyond the blues. That understanding of the instruments is what makes this album so interesting to me—that Small can summon dixieland and ragtime grooves on “Everyone’s Daughter,” choirs and conga on “Sing Song,” straight picking on “Diver Down,” Curtis Mayfield on “15/20,” and bring them all to a head on the album’s closer, “Somebody’s Queen.” Juke earns it’s title. It sounds like what a carousel of American songs sound like.

Obviously, this one get’s filed under Essential Listening.

Josh Small – Everyone’s Daughter
Josh Small – Water Wings
Josh Small – Somebody’s Queen

Josh Small’s Official Site, Josh Small on Facebook, Buy Josh Small’s Juke

AMERICANA ROCK MIX: EPISODE 111 (FEATURING YOURS TRULY AS A GUEST HOST)

Last Friday I braved urban flood advisories, torrential rains, high winds and one big ass bridge to join Von for an episode of his podcast, Americana Rock Mix, and to drink all of his Maduro Brown Ale.

The episode is a retrospective of the Suburban Home Records catalog with lots of rambling between me and Von injected between songs. The entire thing clocks in at nearly 2 hours and can be heard here.

During the episode you’ll hear multiple songs from; I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch The House, Drag the River (duo and proper), Austin Lucas, Two Cow Garage, Tim Barry, Josh Small, The Takers, Micah Schnabel, Mike Damron as well as Arliss Nancy.

So WTF are you waiting for? Go listen now!

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 06.23.11

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 June 23, 2011.

01. Josh Small – Come Down
02. Matt Butcher – 301
03. Old Man Markley – Letterman
04. Will Quinlan & The Diviners – Remember The Beatitudes
05. Gillian Welch – Scarlett Town
06. Gillian Welch – The Way It Goes
07. Grayson Capps – Rock ‘n Roll
08. Glossary – Blood On The Knobs
09. Bonnie And The Beard – Mona
10. Damion Suomi – Ghost
11. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – Hey Stranger
12. The Gaslight Anthem – The Navesink Blues
13. Left Arm Tan – Gypsy Road

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.

PLAYLIST: NINEBULLETS RADIO 02.03.11

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. Below is the playlist for February 03, 2011.

  1. Old Crow Medicine Show – Down Home Girl
  2. The Cur Dogs – Kro-Bride
  3. Drive-By Truckers – Outfit
  4. Chris Knight – Enough Rope
  5. Michael Dean Damron – The Day Brian Piccolo Died
  6. Josh Small – Hakuna Matata
  7. Greenland Is Melting – No More Sorry Songs
  8. Michael Claytor & Friends – Hairpins
  9. The Takers – Friends In Bottles
  10. Two Cow Garage – My Great Gatsby
  11. Frank Turner – I Still Believe
  12. O’Death – Bugs
  13. The Builders and The Butchers – Raise Up You Weary Hands
  14. Otis Gibbs – Ballad of Johnny Crooked Tree

EXCLUSIVE: BRAND NEW JOSH SMALL SONG, HAKUNA MATATA


LOL. That “exclusive” shit is douchey as fuck ain’t it. I promise it was totally tongue in cheek.

Anyhow….

Two and change years ago, on a chilly rainy Saturday afternoon in Denver, a collection of people in town for the Suburban Home Anniversary Party sat in the front lobby of Suburban Home’s office watching the likes of Micah Schnabel, Austin Lucas, Tim Barry, Shane Sweeny and Devon Stuart pass around a single acoustic guitar, telling fish stories and singing songs. In the midst of all of this, this little guy takes the guitar, explains the inspiration behind the song and begins to sing. I was frozen. I wanted to pull out my camera and record the song for 9B but I didn’t wanna ruin my experience so others could watch shaky video.

That little guy was Josh Small. The song was, in my mind, from there on out called “The Barker Song.” I talked to him that afternoon and he said he was working on a new record. Once I got home I immediately bought his albums and started searching for “The Barker Song” which was nowhere to be found. Naturally, I assumed it was gonna be on his soon to be released new album.

Two and change years later we’re finally seeing said new album and yes “The Barker Song” is on the album only now, it’s named “Hakuna Matata” but it’s no less amazing.

I told you that entire story so you’d know that I’m posting this song cause I want to and I believe in it, not just to curry favor with a label. Josh’s new album, Juke, will be available on Suburban Home Records soon but today it is my distinct pleasure to be the first person to play “Hakuna Matata” for you.

Josh Small – Hakuna Matata