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These are posts from people who are not regular contributors to ninebullets. You think you have a good idea for a ninebullets post? Hit me up and we’ll discuss it: autopsy4@gmail.com

Aug 112011
 

Autopsy IV note: A couple of nights back I posted a help wanted post on the site in an effort to find some additional (and consistent) contributors. For the time being I am gonna post their posts as guest posts for a little while as we nail down the site since the great spam hack of 2011 and as they prove who will be consistent and who’s gonna decide this bloggery isn’t for them.

This post comes from 9B contributor pledge Old Sad Bastard. Lemme know what you guys think.

I know shamefully little about South Dakota, beyond recollections of a family trip when I was about four. And while I haven’t done too much to rectify the situation, other than scoping out google images of National Parks, I have had the pleasure of enjoying some new music from one of the state’s finest songwriters.

You may have heard Jami Lynn’s “Sweet Thing” as the opening cut of the latest 9B podcast. The song is also the first track on her new album Sodbusters, which she is self releasing. Lynn previously released an album (2008’s Dreamer) as Jami Lynn and the Aquila Band. She is accompanied on this “solo” album by her former bandmate Josh Rieck. Lynn’s voice shifts easily from indie rock croon to a full bodied gospel to a traditional folk storyteller, making each song unique, even when the arrangements, mostly banjo and guitar, are similar. The playing is good, and the spare instrumentation allows Lynn’s voice, along with Rieck’s harmonies, to carry the songs through. However, the haunting old-world acappella “The Falling of the Pine” is a standout track for me as is really lets her voice speak for itself. Her website identifies it as a song she discovered while researching her thesis on American folk music, and describes it as “a ballad from the time when “square timber logging” was popular during the Golden Age of Lumbering in northern Minnesota.” It conjures Frank Turner’s forays into old English folk music, and she clearly shares his interest and pride in the history of her music.

The album mellows a bit after the midway point, trading banjo licks for more guitar finger picking. Now, a few years ago, I’ll admit that I would have lost interest at this point. I wandered into Americana, like many punks who started looking for something new after turning 22, over a bottle of whiskey and memories of the stuff my dad listens to. It took some time time for me to understand where softer, more, eh, nuanced music fit into life. Now, however, the more music I hear, the more I come to appreciate musicians like Jami Lynn who don’t go trying to re-invent the wheel, but don’t settle for the same tired standards either. So even if the last quarter of the album is too soft for your taste, don’t drift off: the closer, “Don’t Let Her Love Go”, is another great vocal song, accompanied only by percussion, leaving you to walk away from the album with the tight harmonies in your head and a solid Americana album under your belt.

Jami Lynn – The Lame Soldier
Jami Lynn – The Falling of the Pine
Jami Lynn – Don’t Let Her Love Go

Jami Lynn’s Official Site, Jami Lynn on Facebook, Buy Sodbusters

Aug 042011
 

Autopsy IV note: A couple of weeks back I posted a help wanted post on the site in an effort to find some additional (and consistent) contributors. For the time being I am gonna post their posts as guest posts for a little while as we nail down the site since the great spam hack of 2011 and as they prove who will be consistent and who’s gonna decide this bloggery isn’t for them.

This post comes from 9B contributor pledge Charles Hale. Lemme know what you guys think.

You know how new music can sneak up on you and sink in you like the venom from a rattlesnake? The Cave Singers’ third album No Witch is sneaky like that. The venom’s like you heard them for the first time while catching a ride with a girl you had met a few days before. Your car was in the shop, you needed a ride to work at the warehouse where you moved piles of boxes into other piles of boxes and you’d asked her for the ride the night before while sitting at the bar with her and some mutual friends. You’d done this a few nights before while the two of you put the stools on top of the bar at closing time and she’d said something like “wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody exactly like you” and you said “me, I’m the lucky one. Bourbon drinks and late night quiet, see you soon.” and she told you that’s what she meant.

No Witch was playing in her fairly old Chevrolet when she picked you up and you thought it was Iron & Wine on a shit ton of espresso for a minute but you finally had to ask. She told you who it was while turning up the volume. When “Black Leaf” started she was banging on the steering wheel like you figured your heart would be thumping later, when you’d see her after work at the bar and she’d drive you home and you’d lean in for the kiss.

Each song was rhythmic and charged with memorable guitar work and hauntingly effervescent lyrical delivery. Traffic was terrible and the ride to work was taking longer than normal but it didn’t matter to you because of the girl and The Cave Singers and by the time “Haystacks” played you thought that if things went as you were hoping; No Witch would be a great album to play next week when she stayed over at your house for the first time. You imagined moving with her to these songs that despite being rustic and grimy had heapings of soul to them.

You were so confident and engrossed that between songs you hit the power button and asked her if she would meet you at the bar later. “I want to get out tonight,” she said. “But I have to pick my boyfriend up from the airport and I don’t know what he’ll be up for.” You were crushed and pissed at your friends. They could have given you a heads up and you hit the power button again. The somber tones of the singer’s voice wrapping around you like the hoodie you wished it was cold enough to be wearing right now so you could cover and hide. Clearly you had read something wrong and you wondered if she could feel your face blushing. Suddenly you were reminded of how long of a shift it would be today.

Or, maybe you were just sitting at home on a Friday night watching music videos on Youtube because you hadn’t met the girl you asked to drive you to work one day even when you didn’t need the ride. One band leading to another and another till you found yourself listening to “No Prosecution If We Bail” four times in a row and your hair tingling a bit each time the singer howled. So you opened more beers and found more songs by these Cave Singers and ordered the album hoping you’d meet a girl interesting enough to play No Witch for in her fairly old Chevrolet.

And maybe she’d be wearing glasses and have two paperback books stuffed in her glove box.

Either way, No Witch is Essential Listening.

The Cave Singers – Black Leaf
The Cave Singers – Haystacks
The Cave Singers – No Prosecution If We Bail

The Cave Singers Official Site, The Cave Singers on Facebook, Buy No Witch

Jul 212011
 

Autopsy IV note: A while back I posted a help wanted post on the site in an effort to find some additional (and consistent) contributors. For the time being I am gonna post their posts as guest posts as we nail down and fix the site since the great spam hack of 2011 and as they prove who will be consistent and who’s gonna decide this bloggery isn’t for them.

This post comes from our 9B Norwegian correspondent Rune Letrud. Lemme know what you guys think.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Egil Olsen!

Egil Olsen, singer/songwriter from Ørsta. Egil Olsen from Norway. Egil Olsen, who is too big for China!

Egil Olsen, who easily have made one of the fines albums that this year will bring.

A couple of years ago, when Olsen turned 30, his wife surprised him by getting a number of highly prolific musician friends to play at his big birthday party and they even made a tribute album filled with his wonderful subtle songs.

After only two published records, one’s own tribute album isn’t something that happens to everyone. But then, it’s not just two everyday records he has released to date. I am a singer / songwriter from 2007 and Nothing like the love I have for you from 2009 are both pillars in their own right in any record collection with respect for itself.

The road leading to this album has been long and tortuous for Egil. Right from the days of his first band Uncle Institution, through his solo “success” with songs like “Santa Claus Is Gay” and “Walkie Talk To Me” – before he disillusioned he ended up in Hollywood, where many of the songs on I am a singer / songwriter were written and recorded. Despite the success and critical acclaim he received for Singer/Songwriter and it’s follow-up, Olsen was left far from satisfied.

In his own words:

“I often say that I found myself in Hollywood when I made “I am a singer / songwriter” And I did. I also found love with “Nothing like the love I have for you”. However, still on a high from love and the success with my new album, I felt a great need for more. I was more restless than ever, and found myself daydreaming and trying to escape. Greener grass, etc. To find myself in Hollywood was not enough, so I went back for more “

And found he did. Not only himself but along the way he also found Jonathan “Butch” Norton; former drummer from the Eels as well as session musician for everyone from Rufus Wainwright to Tracy Chapman – not to mention the drummer in Lucinda Williams band.

Together they recorded a batch of songs in the Hobby Shop in LA – before life, again, brought Olsen home to known shores in Norway. Back to Sunnmøre and the phenomenal Ocean Sound Studios at Giske before the album was subsequently completed in Egil Olsen’s own home studio – and here it is in all its glory for us to listen to and treasure.

There is nothing on this album that gets in the way of anything else, everything that enters the soundscape is building up to something concrete in the melody or the text. Some had to actually take their ears to work the day this was screwed together

It’s one thing how the sweet melodies wind their way into the listeners ears and never completely disappear from your head, but his greatest strength is the charmingly naive and at times very direct lyrics he writes. Lyrics that really enhance the product, far above similar albums that I’ve listened to lately.

In most cases he writes about what has happened to him in a way that’s universal enough that you won’t have to have come from the non-urban areas in Norway to feel at home. Take, for instance, the fantastic song “In the middle of Norway”:

“14th of April 1980
I was a brand new born baby
but this seemed like such a lonely place to be
born in the middle of Norway
… …
Cold – gray
Nothing was ever more than ok
in the middle of norway
… …
I’m not that brave, I’m Just Afraid
two give up and go home
get a life and a loan
and get stuck in the middle of Norway “

Another shining example is “Do It Yourself” where Olsen gives us a
broad range of invaluable advice along the way:

“If you’re bored and nothin’ happens
do it yourself
If you perform and nobody’s clappin’
do it yourself”.

We also hear a little about his frustration over living in the capital city of Oslo (where he previously vowed that he would never live) in comparison with his stay in LA where he elegantly boils it all down to the fact that it is easiest to have your home with you in your head all the time, then no matter where you are, you’re always home.

“Location location location
gotta do something soon
but as for now
I’ll just instead
live in my head “

I could go on because this album does not have one single weak moment. Not a weak point. Melodically, production or lyrically. It’s much easier that YOU go out and buy this album. YOU have deserved it, and Egil has deserved it. Even if you don’t like music, just buy it for the fantastic drawings on the cover, also done by Egil Olsen.

Egil Olsen – Location, Location, Location
Egil Olsen – In The Middle Of Norway

Egil Olsen’s Official Site, Egil Olsen on Facebook, Buy Keep Movin-Keep Dreaming

Jul 132011
 

Autopsy IV note: A couple of weeks back I posted a help wanted post on the site in an effort to find some additional (and consistent) contributors. For the time being I am gonna post their posts as guest posts for a little while as we nail down the site since the great spam hack of 2011 and as they prove who will be consistent and who’s gonna decide this bloggery isn’t for them.

This post comes from 9B contributor prospect John Allman. Lemme know what you guys think.

There’s a timeless feeling that comes with listening to John Paul Keith’s latest disc, The Man That Time Forgot.

It crosses so many styles but never feels anything less than cohesive. And the songs, whoa buddy, the songs really catch your ear.

Speaking of buddy, there’s a good chance that if you blindfolded a friend and made them listen to the first three songs on the disc, without telling them the artist, they would think that you had unearthed some long lost Buddy Holly record.

The jangly guitars, falsetto crooning and driving backbeat has all the hallmarks of Holly and the Crickets, and that my friends, is a good, good thing.

I was amazed at how familiar the songs felt, even upon first listen. They’re comfortable in a way that is comforting, not in an uninspired, same old same fashion. This is just solid song craftsmanship with catchy hooks and smart lyrics, everything that you want to make you hit repeat on the stereo instead of digging through a bunch of discs for something else to play.

The first part of the disc sounds like the soundtrack to a classic film chronicling the lives of young lovers and students trying to get by in the 1950s. Tracks like “You Devil You,” “Bad Luck Baby” or the standout “Anyone Can Do It,” were made for summer days driving to the beach with the convertible top down.

There are several top-notch rockabilly rave-ups that would be right at home in a drive-in exploitation film like “High School Confidential!” starring Mamie Van Doren. Songs like “Dry County” or “I Work At Night” would be perfect playing while all the tough guys and bad girls are driving out to the quarry to drink and get wild and let hands wander up under Angora sweaters or down the front of gabardine jeans.

Keith slows things down with two plaintive ballads, “Song For Sale” and the title track, “The Man That Time Forgot,” which also comes highly recommended. The dark and somber lyrics creep under your skin: “Everything we were is everything we’re not/Here I am/The man that time forgot”

Oddly, one of the best songs is the only song that seems out of place. “The Last Last Call” plays like a classic 1970s country radio staple sung by Conway Twitty or George Jones. Thematically, it doesn’t fit with the 11 songs before it, but musically, it’s a stellar track, a true ‘tears in your beer’ lament sung spoken-word style like a poor drunk’s sober up sermon to the world.

John Paul Keith – Anyone Can Do It
John Paul Keith – Dry County
John Paul Keith – The Last Last Call

John Paul Keith’s Official Site, John Paul Keith on Facebook, Buy The Man That Time Forgot

Jul 112011
 

Autopsy IV note: A couple of weeks back I posted a help wanted post on the site in an effort to find some additional (and consistent) contributors. For the time being I am gonna post their posts as guest posts for a little while as we nail down the site since the great spam hack of 2011 and as they prove who will be consistent and who’s gonna decide this bloggery isn’t for them.

This post comes from 9B contributor pledge Mike Ostrov. Lemme know what you guys think.

I had heard one Ryan Sheffield song in my life, but it got me really excited, and coincidentally he was coming to Gainesville just a few weeks after I’d heard about him. So I twiddled my thumbs until his date came, went to work that day, came home, watched The Simpsons, passed out. I woke up at exactly the right time I needed to leave by to see the show at a venue and in a town that are notoriously late-starters. But, lo, when I got there, the local girl was just starting her set and thanked Ryan Sheffield and another band, Waller, for coming on down and letting her use their guitar. Woe was me, I missed them, but I bought their CDs because they obviously killed it and were a stand-up group of guys and gals. So here’s the super special double review of the recorded efforts of bands from the show I never saw:

Ryan Sheffield & the Highhills – Head for the Coast (Buy)

Ryan Sheffield is from Asheville, NC and he was helped out on this album by multi-instrumentalist and producer Bryan Highhill. Sheffield has much in common with current folk bands like Defiance, Ohio and The Wild—they share a life-is-worth-living-even-if-it’s-just-because-of-your-loving-friends songwriting ethos. But Head for the Coast is set apart by Highhill’s contributions: the trumpet, melodica, and flugelhorn.

What this album does:

  • Gets a massive production value out of two main players and a couple contributors.
  • Sheds some reassuring light on a dank folk scene. It might be the perfect foil of a Kill Country album.

What this album doesn’t do:

  • Let the minor wealth of instrumentation detract from the front porch feeling.
  • Induce vomit from too much happy-go-lucky-ing. The uplifting parts all come from convincingly downtrodden places.

Ryan Sheffield & the Highhills – One For The East Bay

Waller – My Poor Queen (Buy)

The real treat in the whole non-story of that show was coming was the Atlanta-based group Waller. My Poor Queen is a mighty seven-song mini-album. Vocalists Jason Waller and Tiffany Leigh Blalock trade-off leads like a co-ed Freakwater. The album goes from dry to wet–crisp bluegrass-infused country songs blend into a few swampy, even gospel-y, grooves. Standard, but rich, instrumentation from harmonica, banjo, and upright bass fills in the sound while allowing the songs some breathing room. The strength of the album is in the singers. Waller and Blalock harmonize wonderfully and wail just as good on their own. The album feels a lot like Georgia—it reeks of mesquite and red clay. There’s certainly some Steve Earle influence to be found in there, his respectful levity in dealing with bluegrass; also some of Gillian Welch‘s sparsity. My Poor Queen is up on Waller’s bandcamp for less than a tank of gas, so listen to the whole thing there, and I highly recommend picking it up.

Waller – Attleboro Drive
Waller – Hurricane Pills