Apr 212014
 
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Sometime in the fall of 1994 I was sixteen years old with a job at McDonald’s, a hand-me-down 1981 Honda Accord and a healthy addiction to music. There was a fairly new radio station out of Atlanta, the early wave of X stations, that started playing an acoustic  song. It reminded me of Tom Petty but this song was funny. It took a couple of times on the radio for me o learn it was a guy named Todd Snider and the song was called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues.” Needless to say, this song spoke to me and I wanted to spend some of my McDonald’s money on that album.
We had a Blockbuster Music in Athens in those days and they had recently added the listening station to the store. This was revolutionary. You could walk into the store, pick out a CD and they would open it up and let you listen to it. I’m certain I annoyed more than my fair share of Blockbuster Music employees. (But look at me now)
 For reasons I can’t explain, I remember walking into BBM to find the Todd Snider CD. The employee was a short, skinny guy with thin black hair and glasses, I’m pretty sure he had helped me before. I found the CD but didn’t recognize the song title on the back. I asked the guy if I could listen to it. I sat there on the blue, vinyl-lined barstool and skimmed each song on Songs From The Daily Planet. Nothing. I told the guy I had heard a song by that guy on the radio but it wasn’t on the CD. I might not have known the title at this point. He didn’t know what I was talking about and he looked up on his pre-internet computer and saw that Todd Snider had no previous CDs. It was a mystery and I left the store unsatisfied.
Later, I was listening to the same X station and the DJ played the song and mentioned it was a hidden track on Songs From The Daily Planet. Of course. I took some of my McDonald’s money back to Blockbuster Music and bought the CD from the same employee. I don’t know if he remembered me and asked or if I volunteered that I had been in before. I told him that the song was a hidden track. We both agreed that kind of thing was a pain in the ass.
But I promised you Todd Snider was a prophet and so far all I’ve talked about is my childhood. On the song “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” Todd talks about being an alternative band to the steady stream of alternative bands. He claimed to be in the only band that never played a note. They didn’t receive much commercial success until they told record labels that they were from Seattle. Suddenly the band was a hit and got asked to play MTV Unplugged. Haha, the 90′s were fun.
Then, a few weeks ago I was listening to NPR (see the trend) and they talked to a band that recorded an album of silence and put it on Spotify. The band is called Vulfpeck and the album is called Sleepify. They recorded thirty second clips of silence and asked their fans to stream it on Spotify on repeat over and over again. Their idea was to generate enough funds to go on tour and play shows for free. Now, this seems like a great and noble idea, when I read this interview in Rolling Stone it seems that the band isn’t that bright about the realities of touring. Apparently, they have generated about five grand but asked their agent if that was enough to get a bus, or something like that.
I’m not sure if that’s what Todd Snider was talking about 20 years ago (Jesus, has it been that long) but if Todd suggests marching to the end of the earth I’m going to consider his directive very carefully.
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

Mar 302012
 

This playlist features every band that was featured on ninebullets in the month of March that was also on Spotify. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, pass it along to some friends. Like I keep saying, every new pair of ears these bands reach is a potential fan/head at show.

This month’s playlist is a little short due to us taking a week off but still features: Cuff the Duke, Willie Tea Taylor, Arliss Nancy, Greenland Is Melting, Todd snider and a few others. So, when you’ve got an hour to kill, give this a listen:

The Ninebullets.net March 2012 Spotify Playlist

Some other music streams we produce:
The Ninebullets.net Podcast (published monthly(ish))
Ninebullets Radio Archive (airs weekly on Thursday nights on 88.5 WMNF Tampa)

Mar 282012
 

Allow me to share a story that will hopefully establish enough Todd Snider cred that you’ll read the rest of this review. I was in high school and 99X out of Atlanta started playing this crazy acoustic song that made fun of grunge and all that was Seattle. I loved it and finally heard a DJ say it was Todd Snider. So I drove my 81 green Honda over to Blockbuster Music. At the time they had the listening stations set up where you could take a CD over and they would play it for you. I did this and after scanning every song I didn’t find the song I had heard on the radio. I asked the guy at the store about it and he didn’t know shit. I went home with nothing. This is before the internet so there was no real way to figure out where the song was.

Later, I heard a DJ say it was a hidden track on the album that I had listened to so I drove my 81 green Honda back to the Blockbuster Music and bought the CD from the same guy and told him where the song was. We both agreed that we hated it when they did that kind of shit.

Seeing Todd Snider live for the first time was one of the strangest shows I’ve ever seen. It was shortly after I bought that CD on the University of Georgia campus. They had the chairs lined up in some big room and a stage. It was free so we waited in line a while, went in and sat down. All the chairs filled up with asses and then some people sat on the floor up front. Then Todd Snider & The Nervous Wrecks came out. (it was the earliest version of the Wrecks, go look up who was it that) People clapped, they played a bunch of songs and between everyone people clapped. No one ever stood up. It was similar to a lecture with a guitar. There was a rock’n’roll band and people just stood there. Then they finished and they hadn’t played that one song that everyone knew. It was strange. Todd told a friend of mine that he didn’t have the right harmonica to play that song. I’m thinking he was bullshitting my friend.

Anyway, Todd was ‘from’ Memphis and I’m ‘from’ Georgia, but I was listening to him early on. So I’m good to write this review, right? Cred enough?

Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is somewhere around the tenth studio album for Todd Snider. That’s a shit ton of songs for one guy to write and without a doubt this one is Essential Listening. What stands out the most for me on this effort is the instrumentation and production, it’s probably his best as far as that is concerned. On several songs he’s joined by Amanda Shires pretty violin and pretty voice and Jason Isbell plays some guitar. Sonically it sounds like a cousin of Steve Earle’s Train A Coming.

If you’ve listened to any Todd Snider you know he’s a witty son of a bitch. Sometimes he’s too witty for his own good, or at least I think so. He’s always had songs that in their wittiness were easy for new fans to latch on to. “Ballad Of The Kingsmen,” “Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request,” “Vinyl Records,” “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,” etc. After two or three listens I really can’t stand those songs especially because Snider’s sideways worldview and wiliness to poke at things his own way is so good that I don’t need the gimmicks. What’s awesome about Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is that there are none of these songs. The only downside is that there aren’t any super amazing songs. (The bar for super amazing is set high for Snider because I think “Play A Train Song” and “Looking For A Job” are two of the best contemporary Singer/Songwriter songs out there.)

But there are three songs right here that you can listen to and make up your own mind. And there’s a great interview with Todd at Salon where he talks about being friends with Rahm Emmanuel and how he helped him write a song.

Todd Snider – New York Banker
Todd Snider – West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown
Todd Snider – In Between Jobs

Official Site, Todd on Facebook, Todd on Spotify, Buy Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

Mar 162012
 

How does brand new Tim Barry, Shooter Jennings, Joe Pug, Justin Townes Earle, McDougall, Todd Snider and Lucero sound to you? If that sounds like an hours worth of music you wanna hear the last night’s episode of Ninebullets Radio is here to cater to your sonic needs. So check it out the archived stream of the show.

Line of the night comes from Tim Barry’s new song, “Music should sound like escape not rent.”

Below is the playlist for March 15, 2012

01. McDougall – Ready, Begin
02. Tim Barry – 40 MileR
03. Poor Man’s Poison – Jump That Train
04. Have Gun Will Travel – Ol’ Death Rattle
05. Joe Pug – Hymn #76
06. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Roebuck Parkway
07. Glossary – Shaking Like a Flame
08. Grand Tetons – Quiet, All Of You, They’re Approaching the Tyrannosaur Paddock
09. Todd Snider – In Between Jobs
10. Justin Townes Earle – Memphis in the rain
11. Shooter Jennings – The Real Me
12. American Anodyne – The Anniversary
13. Amanda Shires – Detriot or Buffalo
14. Lucero – It May Be Too Late
15. The Parlor Soldiers – Lawless
16. Cam Penner – No Consequences

Bold = Request

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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 63: aired 03.15.2012