Nov 072013
 

“All plots tend to move deathward. This is the nature of plots.” ~ Don DeLillo

To try and describe the effect of Simone Schmidt’s voice is to commit yourself to an ill-fated plot. Though she uses prose, guitars, voice–all the usual weaponry of the music we talk about here–she succumbs to none of their standards. Her work lives on a different dimension. It is so slowed down that as it oozes through time and space, it seeps into every dimensional crevice in its path–it could pass through glass, it could saturate wood, it could come from 1974, it’s traveling to your funeral to wait for you. It’ll take up as much space as you give it–between your ears or your side of the Mississippi. It’s pop music for atoms and waves. George Jones taking Neil Young’s drugs. Zombie spirituals. Elemental Listening.

Instead you take the “passive” plot of experiencing Schmidt’s voice. But when your storyteller is as strong as she is, this is no less visceral. She will have your knees buckling in-time to drum machines, your intestines singing “Home on the Range.” The last song is called “Undertaker;” there is, indeed, a deathward trajectory to this thing; if you lose the plot, the plot will find you; still, a passive trajectory that ain’t.

Fiver – Dayton
Fiver – Lonesome In This Grave
Fiver – Smoke & Steam

Find Lost the Plot at Triple Crown Audio Recordings of Canada, at iTunes. Check out Fiver’s original 7″ at their Bandcamp and Indoor Shoes Records. Follow Fiver on Facebook and bookmark Ms. Schmidt’s blog Entropic Forces for news of all her bands (Fiver, One Hundred Dollars, The Highest Order).

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

Sep 172011
 

It was a really busy week here on ninebullets and we’re hoping that will be the new norm with all the new writers so I thought I’d start posting a weekly recap on the weekend (good idea?). So let’s get into it:

Sep 122011
 

One Hundred Dollars is led by the sultry baladeering of Simone Schmidt and Ian Russell’s sharp guitar. They hail from Toronto and Songs of Man is their second full-length album. As soon as I downloaded Songs of Man, it started pouring rain, which was great news for me for two reasons: 1 – The thunderstorm scared my roommate’s girlfriend’s amp-chewing schmuck of a dog that I’m sitting into the corner and finally got him to calm down. Two – It cast the perfect setting for a One Hundred Dollars listen on the porch.

Schmidt’s got one of the sexiest voices since Chrissy Hinde, because, like Hinde, she doesn’t ham-it up. Her voice owns it’s smokiness the way the South owns it’s clay–it’s native, it’s not put-on or shipped-in, it’s got truth to tell you. That’s what makes a sexy voice. That, and lyrics like:

Run your fingers through my hair,
don’t let your heart’s hope be your hand’s despair…
Time moves quicker with a softer touch.
Love me while you’re waiting on another. Love me a while.
- from “Waiting on Another”

By that point in the listen, the dog had been rendered completely docile and affectionate (by the music or the thunder or some combination), and we’d successfully learned a waltz. Miracles abounded. For instance, if you listen closely to “Powdered Confessions,” you’ll hear Ian Russell echo  Neil Young’s guitar riff from “Unknown Legend.” There are so many more distinctive moments on the album that you won’t even mind the slight rip-off. However, I think that guitar lick is critical to understanding the origins of this album. I have a theory, stick with me:

In 1992–that torrid time, that sweltering summer–the world bore witness to two harbingers of hell: the landfall of Category 5 Hurricane Andrew and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton making lip-love to a saxophone on late night TV. Rather than wait around for the third and final sign of the times (which everybody mistakenly thought was the Church of England’s vote to allow women to serve as priests), the Canadian government decided to take action to save their cultural currency (because in Canada, the people demand that the government actually acknowledge their own art). What those brave Canadian minds did was lock two of 1992′s best albums in time capsule and set them to play on infinite repeat. Those albums were Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Leonard Cohen’s The Future, selected because together they embodied the best of the sex of the North Country, the pulse of their terrain and the weight of their even more massive sky. Nineteen years and no judgment later, those albums had done something more than repeat, they had reproduced, and the doom-raised, teenage offspring that emerged in summer 2011 is One Hundred Dollars’ Songs of Man. It makes sense to me.

After that, the dog just tore-up a whole box of Famous Amos and my wallet. I think he got a throat-ful of pennies. And this indictment from Schmidt:

Your mother was a flame of mine, gave meaning to the word.
And I a lonely woodchopper, seeking out what I could as I would with time to burn.
For every time you thought that I did not love you,
for every time you thought that I did not care, well
I handled my axe, made my way through the forest, cleaved a tree
toward the kindling for the fires of regret.
- from “Fires of Regret

Songs of Man is golden–a modern roots heavyweight, pitted full of vivid characters. One Hundred Dollars earns the auspicious honor of busting my Essential Listening cherry. They’re sure to knock you out in a way much more pleasurable than the way in which I would like to knock out this dog.

One Hundred Dollars – Ties That Bind
One Hundred Dollars – Waiting On Another
One Hundred Dollars – Where The Sparrow Drops

One Hundred Dollars Official Site, One Hundred Dollars on Facebook, Buy Songs of Man