Archive for the 'Daytrotter' Category

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown Wraps Up The Year Bringing Sawdust Collective to CSPS, Friday 12/1

Friday night (12/1) Pieta Brown is returning to CSPS in Cedar Rapids. It’s her last live show of the year and she’s bringing Bo Ramsey and Marty Christensen as “Sawdust Collective.” Pieta’s shows at CSPS are a rare magical combination of artist, audience and venue and are some of the best shows I’ve seen of hers.

Her latest album, Postcards is a collection of long distance collaborations with artists like Mark Knopfler, Calexico, David Lindley, The Pines, and others– “musical postcards.” In my interview with her for Little Village Magazine earlier this year, she said this about it:

It just came together really seamlessly and it just happened. I started reaching out to some people — kind of wishful thinking people I would want to record with. You know I was really touched and honestly really inspired and kind of encouraged by getting the energy and the super-willingness right back at a time when I was struggling to figure out how to even afford to move forward and make another album. So, it was cool timing. And, it was really neat to do it here and I had never really recorded like that either. Which is to say that all of my other recordings have been recorded in a few days in a row with a live band, with everybody playing together. Maybe rehearse the songs one at a time or maybe have a day of rehearsal and then go in and cut the songs. Very experimental and not a lot of room for getting it exactly right so to speak. [laughs] One thing that was cool was just singing by myself with my guitar — I just have never really recorded that way except for a track here or there.

Pieta and Bo did a Daytrotter session earlier this year focusing on songs from Postcards.

Pieta Brown with Sawdust Collective will be at CSPS tonight. Doors will be at 7PM and the show will be at 8PM. Tickets are $17 in advance and $21 at the door.

Tickets and information are at the Legion Arts website HERE.

Expressions Trace A Template of Loss in Kalispell’s Printer’s Son

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Kalispell on the turntable, as The Multiple Cat looks on.

Kalispell is the side-project from Shane Leonard who, among other projects, is part of Field Report. He just released his second album under the Kalispell band name on Davenport, IA label Cartouche Records — home of recent releases by The Multiple Cat, Land of Blood and Sunshine, Brooks Strause, J.E. Sunde, and Daytrotter.com illustrator Johnnie Cluney’s band Bedroom Shrine. Fantastic releases all, and you should check them out, and be on the lookout from releases by Devin Frank (of Poison Control Center) and Chrash in July.

Printer’s Son is one of those rare records that is so completely imagined and executed that when you first listen to it, it seems to drop unexpectedly out of the ether. It’s a record that defies any convenient genre classification. Elements of ambience and folk and jazz come together to help deliver a grippingly emotional and personal album. The album reminds me another album that slips from the grasp of genre: David Sylvian’s 1987 landmark solo record Secrets of the Beehive. For his second release Sylvian took another step away from the New Wave-ish synthpop of his band Japan. He enlisted some Jazz artists including Ryuki Sakamoto and Mark Isham which gave that album a delicate ambience. Printer’s Son carries a similar jazz folk vibe. Additionally, the dry production of Leonard’s vocals suit the intimacy of the album.

Printer’s Son owes some of its woody atmospherics to the fact that it was partially recorded at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios and was engineered and co-produced by Brian Joseph, who was on the boards for Bon Iver’s 2012 Grammy-winning album. Bon Iver is another album that similarly made beautiful soundscapes out of impressionistic personal stories and accounts. Leonard takes recent painful events and uses them as the basis for Printer’s Son. He talks about this on The Current show Radio Heartland:

I had this wildly unforseen year of just this radical change. I thought I had my path pretty set– music was going well and I was living in Chicago. All within this year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and his passing forced me– ultimately I think in a really important and helpful way even though very difficult– to reconsider a lot of assumptions I had. And, right after he passed our family dog died and then my dad’s father also passed. It was all at the same time and I was moving and also moving away from a relationship that I had been in a long time. So, it was like the world got turned over and then I just started thinking differently as a symptom of that.

Some albums have stories that we can identify with.  On Printer’s Son, I feel the sentiments, the memories, the connections. Leonard tells his stories and like a good book or film, they become part of the listener’s own fabric. I can picture that canyon climb with the banded walls in “Windfall.” I feel the ghost itch from the overgrowth scratching skin on the fading road in “Parting Ground.”

David Sylvian’s Secrets of the Beehive has become part of my permanent soundtrack. I feel that Kalispell’s timeless tapestry of folk and jazz in Printer’s Son is destined to be another album that I will hold onto.

Listen to Printer’s Son below and be sure to order yourself a copy from Cartouche.

TWINS Cover “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” Bonus B-Side For Square America

Photo by Michael Roeder

Photo by Michael Roeder

It’s no secret that the guys in Cedar Falls band TWINS are fans of Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds and owe a little of their guitar pop swagger to the groundwork Lowe and Edmunds laid down in their various projects as solo artists, together in Rockpile and their production work for just about everyone in the late 70’s and early 80’s (Lowe’s work with Elvis Costello is my favorite period of his).

As a tribute, TWINS have recorded a cover of “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” a song that has been a part of every wedding reception I’ve ever attended. This cover is a bonus download for anyone who pre-orders the new TWINS album Square America which drops on July 1st! Be sure to catch TWINS with Volcano Boys at The Mill on 7/1 for the Square America release show! $8 Cover. Deets HERE.

You can read my review of Square America at Little Village Magazine.

A bit of trivia: Nick Lowe wrote “I Knew The Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll)” and the version we usually hear is his 1984 recording. That studio version has Huey Lewis and the News as the backing band, with Mr. Lewis providing the distinctive harmonica honking. The version that TWINS have done is closer to the sped-up one that Dave Edmunds recorded in 1977.

CHECK IT OUT:

Pre-order Square America at Maximum Ames!

Check out TWINS first Daytrotter Session. There will be a new one coming!

(Upcoming Show) Play B-Sides “Top 20” Artist Charlie Parr at Daytrotter Studios Grand Opening – Saturday 1/23

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As part of the week of Grand Opening celebrations for the Brand Spankin’ New Daytrotter HQ in Davenport, Duluth, MN country blues aficionado Charlie Parr is playing a “Four O’Clock Rock” matinee show! Parr’s new album Stumpjumper made my list of “Top 20 of 2015.” Produced by another of my Top 20 recipients Phil Cook, it gives Parr’s signature boogie a much-deserved fleshing out.

The new digs for Daytrotter are a big upgrade over the old location in Rock Island– with its climate control issues and its control and live room dating back to its original use as a TV studio– but that was part of its charm, certainly. The expanded facility now has a live venue in it and I’m sure they brought some of the mojo from the old location with them. I bet that minifridge stocked with PBR is somewhere in the new space.

Charlie will be hitting the stage at 4PM– doors are at 3PM– on Saturday, January 23rd. Tickets are a reasonable $8, and while you’re there you can try out their selection of Daytrotter Pale Ale beer brewed by Exile Brewery. The new location is at Renwick Building at 324 Brady St. next to the Davenport Public Library.

Get your presale tickets HERE.

Listen to Charlie Parr’s latest Daytrotter.com session, which includes songs from Stumpjumping.

Here is Charlie Parr performing my favorite song “Over The Red Cedar” from Stumpjumping.

(Upcoming Release) Red House Records to Release Charlie Parr 7″ for Record Store Day

Charlie Parr - RSD 7B

Although not on the Official RSD list for this month, Red House Records has announced a special release to coincide with Record Store Day (which is Saturday, April 18th this year).

In celebration for their newest label signee, Duluth, MN resident Charlie Parr and the release of his lucky 13th albumStumpjumper, Red House Records is pressing a limited-to-3000 7″ of album track “Over the Red Cedar” b/w his take on the folk standard “Delia.” The B-Side is available on the CD and download, but didn’t fit on the vinyl LP, so if you want “Delia” on vinyl, you need to get yourself one of these!

According to Red House, they will be distributing the singles to record stores to use as a free giveaway (likely with store purchase as other RSD promos have been in the past). It’s a given that the great record stores in Minnesota will carry these, but if you want to get one, you may want to reach out to your favorite store and see if they will be getting these.

BTW: The Current in the Twin Cities featured the A-side of this single back in February. I absolutely LOVE this song– that great hook in the line “it’s outlasting you.” Here’s a solo performance from The White Wall Sessions:

Stumpjumper is coming out on April 28th and will be available via all your favorite ways to get digital downloads and CD/LP’s. I’ve been listening to it for a couple of weeks and in my opinion is the most polished album in his catalog and has some of my favorite songs of his already! Phil Cook of Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger helped produce the record.

The fine folks at Daytrotter recorded a session with Charlie and had the sense to press it up on vinyl with labelmate Dale Watson’s session. Click the picture:

Charlie Parr Daytrotter

(Upcoming Show) PHOX and Har-di-Har at CSPS 11/24/13 – Lots of links to audio and video

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Back in June, Wisconsin six-piece band PHOX opened up for six-piece Seattle band Hey Marseilles at CSPS. Hey Marseilles was gaining some critical attention at the time and were on a run of dates in support of their new album Lines We Trace which included the great single “Heart Beats.” The band asked PHOX to open for this run of shows and the show I saw at CSPS had me enthralled– lead singer Monica Martin has a beautiful voice and the whole band has an astonishing amount of talent and skill. Monica is just getting her bearings as a frontwoman, but her stage banter with the audience the band was funny and heartfelt. It’s great to see this band getting more attention and it is clear it hasn’t gone to their heads.

Since PHOX played in Cedar Rapids, they have had some high-visibility gigs including a wonderful Daytrotter session (a vinyl LP of which has Hey Marseilles on the flip) and playing the iTunes Festival in London opening for The Lumineers.

 

You should watch this really great session PHOX did at Audiotree.tv, too!

Har-di-Har

We are really lucky to get PHOX back at CSPS– this time as the headliner with former Cedar Falls, IA-now-Twin Cities husband and wife duo Har-di-Har— another favorite band of 2013 for me.  Julie and Andrew Thoreen have put together what amounts to a full band by sharing the percussion duties with a split trap kit while they take on guitar, keyboards and bass duties as well as vocals. And, what vocals they are! Very tight harmonies sounding a lot like British Folk from the 60’s and 70’s.  I reviewed their three EP’s over the last year for Little Village including their latest Hard Parent/Thick Child:

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Words of Whim/Feudal Kind EP’s

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Hard Parent/Thick Child EP

Har-di-Har also did a wonderful Daytrotter Session, too!

This not-to-miss show will be on Sunday, November 24th at 7PM. Tickets are a VERY REASONABLE $9 in advance and $13 at the door. Get the details at the Legion Arts Website.

B-Sides in the Bins #59 – Moondog Music and Mail Orders Week of 9/21/2013

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these. I guess it’s because I tend to post about individual albums via other social media outlets like my Instagram which cross-posts to Twitter and Facebook. But, this week had a lot of new additions to the collection, so I thought I’d collect them for the blog.

I was in Dubuque yesterday helping with some wireless network issues at the family business so I thought I’d run over to one of my favorite record stores, Moondog Music. I had intended to pick up the new sophomore release from Justin Vernon’s (Bon Iver) collaboration band with members of Collections of Colonies of Bees Volcano Choir. Titled Repave, it’s a more cohesive release than their first album. Even though Vernon is the frontman in this band, it isn’t exactly Bon Iver part 2. More direct rock on this album and less vocoder falsetto vocals. I was also hoping that the vinyl version of Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots would maybe be in the bins ahead of this Tuesday’s release.

Moondog had Repave for $19.99, but they didn’t have Wise Up Ghost on LP (they did have the CD). I had Volcano Choir in hand and was going to buy it until I started digging through the used and came up with a few surprises!

The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs (2 LP, Sire Records, 1987) ($19.98) WOW! On my wish list for YEARS. Really nice and clean copy of this album, which is probably my favorite Smiths album even though it’s technically a compilation of non-album singles. Initially, this was a US-only release used as a way to bring these tracks stateside. The UK had a couple of singles comps on Rough Trade– The World Won’t Listen and Hatful of Hollow— and Louder than Bombs was the vehicle to bring some of those tracks here. UK Smiths fans being what they are, they started importing this release to the UK, so Rough Trade ended up releasing this over there which solidified its position as a regular catalog release.

My friend Julie in college turned me on to both the Smiths and Depeche Mode letting me borrow The Queen Is Dead and Black Celebration— bands very different from my jangly guitar preferences at the time. I distinctly remember buying Louder Than Bombs and Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the same day on cassette. Odd to think that these albums are both from 1987!

The Smiths – Rank (LP, Sire Records, 1988) ($14.98) And, as soon as I get into the band, they break up… Bombs was released in March of 1987, the Smiths’ final studio album Strangeways Here We Come was released in September, 1987 and by that time the band had officially split up. I have the entire studio releases of the Smiths on cassette and CD plus Bombs on cassette and CD and Hatful of Hollow on CD (it was in a used bin otherwise I wouldn’t have picked this up as I consider it to be redundant). When Rank came out in September of 1988, I had pretty much moved on as far as paying attention to new releases and I didn’t think a live album was essential. I still haven’t listened to it, but will. The recording is a distillation from a BBC-1 live concert from 1986. The album was released as a contractural obligation. I decided to buy this because it is rare to find any Smiths in used bins around here and the new 180g Rhino reissues of the Smiths catalog are $35 which is pretty steep for my budget, so I’ll continue to keep an eye on the bins to complete my Smiths collection.

Gift of Gab – Escape 2 Mars (LP, Cornerstone Recording Arts Society/Quannum, 2009)($16.98) An unexpected find– the R&B and Hip-Hop selection at Moondog is usually very thin. I’ve been building my Quannum/Solesides vinyl collection lately– lots of gaps since I had really been focusing on CD’s up until five years ago. That said, I didn’t have this on CD either. Gift of Gab is more recognized as the MC for Blackalicious– his effort with producer Chief Xcel,  but has had a run of solo work that is notable. We listen to 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up quite a bit in the house, so I imagine that this release will be as good– I totally slept on this release so it will be good to get caught up.

Spoon – Transference (LP, Merge Records, 2010)($9.98) While I was digging through the used section I saw a whole bunch of nearly-new indie releases. Looked like they were opened and maybe played once? Some Sundazed releases, a few Sub Pop releases all for under $10. I didn’t find out what the story was on those, but I picked a couple of great ones including this one from Spoon. Transference wasn’t as good as Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but still pretty great. I remember listening to this a lot in the car in early Winter 2010. We had a major car breakdown that had Sherry and I commuting together in one car for a few weeks– she was getting her Professional Makeup training so I’d drop her off in the morning and pick her up at night.

Sebadoh – Bakesale (LP, Sub Pop Records, 1994/2011 Remaster)($7.98) Another of the mysterious “new” LP’s in the used bins at Moondog. A grey marbled vinyl release as part of the reissue campaign for the Sebadoh catalog. I loved this album when it came out– I listened to it repeatedly. In 1994, I was working in Dubuque at the time and I think living with my parents following a failed cohabitiation with a girlfriend. I was on the road installing computer systems in the Midwest and East, with a lot of road time, so my CD’s were constant companions. Brilliantly flawed but accessible album. At the time I definately thought that Sebadoh was a better band than Dinosaur Jr was (the band that Lou Barlow used to be in with J Macsis). I’m really happy to have this in my collection– I need to pick up the Harmacy reissue as well.

A really great haul from Moondog Music! While I was there they were playing the new album from Iggy Pop and the Stooges titled Ready to Die which sounded pretty good, may need to check that out.

In the mail this week:

Calexico – Ancienne Belgique Vol. 2 (2 LP, Our Soil, Our Strength, ) OSOS9, 2013)($20 + shipping) 2012 and 2013 has been a year of many releases from Calexico— the brilliant Algiers came out in September of 2011 which included a live album titled Spiritoso if you ordered the box set. This eventually came out as a numbered release for Record Store Day in April in the US. Soon after that the band put out a 2 LP live sequel to Ancienne Belgique (which got the vinyl treatment as part of the Road Atlas box set as well).  Then they announced a Europe tour-only 5-track EP of covers titled Maybe on Monday.  My copy of Ancienne Belgique Vol. 2 delivered this week. I had pre-ordered it in June (I think). They were supposed to have copies of this on tour, but they weren’t done in time for the Iowa City show. (I was out of town and missed that show anyway). Another really nice addition to my growing Calexico collection.

Arcade Fire (as The Reflecktors) – Reflektor 12″ (12″, Sono Vox/Merge Records, MRG484, 2013) ($8.99, free shipping) Merge put some copies of Arcade Fire’s mysterious “Reflektor” single in their online store. Released under the pseudonym The Reflektors, it was timed with the announcement of the album and single of the same name on September 9th at 9PM (9/9/9). Lots of speculation and rumor about the announcement leading up to the time and an accurate leak of the song the day before. The 45 RPM 12″ has the full version of the song and an instrumental version on the flipside. The song was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and features guest vocals by none other than David Bowie. It’s a pretty decent song and apparently points to the direction of the new album due out October 29th as being, in the words of Win Butler as a “mashup of Studio 54 and Haitian Voodoo.” (S.I.C.)

I also received four of the Daytrotter split LP’s this week, including the amazing Gary Clark Jr. split with Son House, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. We’re up to 13 of 14 of the preorders shipped (still waiting on the Maine one which is #13) I got the PHOX one ordered and will order the Tegan and Sara one in the next couple of weeks.

(Upcoming Show) John Reilly and Friends at Codfish Hollow Barn on June 21st

John Reilly and Friends at Codfish Hollow Barn Poster

Continuing the trend of jaw-droppingly awesome shows at Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, this Friday, June 21st,  it will play host to actor John C. Reilly’s non-film music endeavor John Reilly and Friends.

For the past few years Reilly has been working with some musician friends of his to bring a revue of old country and folk music  of the likes of the Stanley Brothers, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Claude Ely and the Delmore Brothers to name a few. With regular “Friends” sidekicks Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Tom Brosseau (solo and of Les Shelleys) Reilly cut two 7-inch singles on Jack White’s Third Man Records.

The band is doing a run of dates through the Midwest from June 13th to June 22nd, with a stop at the wonderful Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, IA– home of many Daytrotter.com Barnstormer shows as well as a few shows put on by the Biehls themselves. Joining Reilly, Stark and Brosseau will be Mt. Vernon, IA native Dan Bern (who headlined his own show in May), Willie Watson— formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show (OCMS’s “Wagon Wheel” has been covered by Darius Rucker and climbing the charts currently), and Sebastian Steinburg– formerly of Soul Coughing and these days a go-to bass sideman (Marc Ribot, Dixie Chicks, k. d. lang). That’ s one hell of a lineup with lots of varing backgrounds, so you can count on some pretty inspired performances!

According to Brosseau’s website, there will be copies of the Third Man Records 7-inches as well as “the official John Reilly and Friends teeshirt” at the merchandise table. Tiffany Biehl also told me about exclusive stickers with art done by Dan Bern and limited-edition posters done by the Biehl’s and sent me images of those:

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John Reilly and Friends Codfish Hollow Barn Sticker

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John Reilly and Friends Limited Edition Codfish Hollow Poster available at the show.

Opening the show will be Andru Bemis from New Mexico.

As usual, there will be camping available (with no service hookups), food vendors with soft beverages and just good old fashioned great times with other people who are there for the music. Coolers are welcome. Here is a list of what food will be available onsite:

Grilled chicken sandwiches
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
All beef hotdogs
Brats and sauerkraut
Veggie dogs/brats
Nachos and cheese
Beef taco nachos
Chicken/pork nachos
Vegetarian bean nachos
Chips
Candy bars
POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite
Water

YUM!

At the time of this writing there are still tickets left, but you should expect that this show will sell out this week. Doors are at 6:30PM with the bands hitting the stage at 8PM. The tickets are $25 in advance (plus some minimal service charges).

Click Here for the Facebook Event and RSVP!

Click http://johnreillyandfriends.eventbrite.com/ to order your tickets!

I was interviewed in The Cedar Rapids Gazette Arts and Entertainment magazine Hoopla– click here!

Click Here to visit the Third Man Records page on John C. Reilly and purchase his two singles.

Tour Dates:

15 June 13: The Assembly at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis: Minneapolis
16 June 13: Miller Caves: Milwaukee
17 June 13: Muskegon Unity Church: Muskegon MI
18 June 13: Ramsdell Theater: Manistee MI
19 June 13: The Magic Bag: Ferndale MI
20 June 13: Radio Radio: Indianapolis
21 June 13: Codfish Hollow Barnstormers: Maquoketa
22 June 13: Old Town School of Folk: Chicago

 

Codfish Hollow Kicks off the 2013 Season with Bern in the Barn on May 4th

Bern in the Barn

The winter had overstayed its welcome in Eastern Iowa this year and with the frost finally succeeding and the bulbs pushing their greens up in anticipation of flowering, we can finally (hopefully) start looking forward to Spring and Summer and to the recent announcement by Codfish Hollow of the first show in the barn this year!

Last year we saw two really amazing events in the Codfish Hollow Barn stage even without an official Daytrotter Barnstormer show. July 4th brought  a mind-melting and body-dehydrating appearance by Counting Crows and their touring Outlaw Roadshow lineup for what would certainly be for the 650 people who saw it the best show they’ve ever seen. The laid-back and mellow atmosphere seemed to coax a normally grouchy Duritz to hang out with people outside the venue and pose for pictures and pause for autographs. The show inside the barn was electric and even with the failure of the stage electric fans the bands sweated their way through their sets and Counting Crows put forth an unprecedented 3 hours on stage! Codfish Hollow then put all their political chips on support of the Democratic Party with a chilly October show featuring a lineup headlined by Pieta Brown and Dave Zollo and the Body Electric.

On May 4th (May the Fourth Be With You!) Codfish Hollow returns with a show featuring Dan Bern! Called amusingly enough, “Bern in the Barn” the lineup also features Outlaw Roadshow veteran Field Report as a solo performance by Christopher Porterfield, 2013 Outlaw Roadshow act Daniel and the Lion, Cincinnati band Pomegranates, Athens, GA band Twin Tigers who have a sound somewhere between Lou Reed and Sonic Youth and maybe Barnstormer alums Suckers, and Iowa City guitar popsters Chasing Shade. You should check out Chasing Shade’s song “Sunburned Bones,” BTW.

So, click on all those links above to find out what these bands are about– but it’s looking like a wonderful evening of music for a very resonable $18 in advance. There will be the regular lineup of food vendors onsite, and the scattering of fire rings to keep warm– this barn is down in a hollow for gosh’s sakes, and the sun quickly ascends the road out of there in the evening, and 10 degree temp drops are not uncommon– so pack a sweater, kids!

These shows at Codfish Hollow are always wonderful and are special shows for bands and fans alike and are really a must-see for anyone who can make it. Much  love, respect and gratitude is due Tiff and Shawn Biehl for continually bringing the magic to their barn.

The food vendors will be providing Grilled chicken sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, Hot dogs, Veggie dogs, Nachos and cheese, Chicken/pork nachos, Vegetarian Bean Nachos, Chips, Giant Dill pickles, Candy bars, POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite, Bottled water, Coolers are welcome. That means bring your own booze if you want it!

For more information, you can follow the Codfish Hollow Facebook page, and the Facebook event invitation.

To order tickets for Bern in the Barn, you can go to the Eventbrite ticket ordering page— tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the day of the show.

It’s Time to Play B-Sides Top 20 Albums of 2012

Here we are again at the end of another year. 2012 was the 6th year of existence for this little blog. Looking back, it’s been kind of a year of recovery for me. Lots of fallout from being unemployed in 2011 finally came to rest in 2012 and I’m finally getting into the swing of a new home, job and direction.

From a music perspective, for me anyway, 2012 was a year of next-releases from a lot of my favorite bands– possibly signaling some confidence and support for the hard-working and long-touring truly independent bands out there.

Here are my 20 favorite releases from 2012 in no particular order:

The Right NowGets Over You – On my “12 Releases I’m looking Forward to in 2012” post– Chicago R&B powerhouse The Right Now delivered their sophomore release this year. A bit of a disclaimer– these guys are my friends and I helped them put out the vinyl version of their debut album Carry Me Home. The band traveled to L.A. to work with Sergio Rios of Orgone in his studio. The resulting record has a great tape-compressed and raw feel. This band gets better every release.

The Pines Dark So GoldA release I was looking forward to. It’s hard to believe that this is the fourth release for The Pines. Again produced by Bo Ramsey, we see the band really falling into their stride. Same formula, but more refined. Brilliant record from beginning to end. Check out their two Daytrotter sessions here and here.

Samuel Locke Ward – Double Nightmare – Iowa City’s most prolific home taper Sam Locke Ward put out an album that was a few years in the making. I was assigned the duty of reviewing this epic release for Little Village Magazine and I loved it. Recommended if you dig Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Dead Milkmen.

Red River Dialectawellupontheway – I found out about this band/artist through MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, who played a show with him in the UK. He did an indiegogo to fund the release of this album. More British Folk, with a bit of Smiths thrown in for good measure.

Jack WhiteBlunderbuss – A release that is probably on a lot of lists for 2012. Jack White proves he doesn’t need Meg. This album is better than any single album The White Stripes ever put out, though not better than some of the high points in The White Stripes output. But really damn good.

The Surf ZombiesLust for Rust – Local guitar hero Brook Hoover returns with the third surf instrumental album as The Surf Zombies. This time be brings in a couple of bratty punks resulting in the edgiest Zombies album to date. I reviewed the release for Little Village.

Har-di-Harword(s) of whim/Feudal Kind EP’s – Husband and wife band from Cedar Falls, IA manages to create some really amazing Choral Vocals layered on spare instrumentals. I reviewed for the January 2013 issue of Little Village coming up. A surprise Dark Horse addition to this list. Recommended if you like Renaissance, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, and Trip Shakespeare.

Gold MotelGold Motel – Greta Morgan and band returned with a 2nd slice of sunny pop goodness. Saw them play in a barn in Maquoketa a couple of years ago and still carry a pretty big torch for this band. They did a really great Daytrotter session in 2011.

Gary Clark Jr Blak and Blu – It seems like this debut release has been coming for a long time. We’ve been hearing live performances for a while anyway. Brilliant album, though some might argue that it doesn’t stay in one style for very long– is it a straight up blues album or is it an R&B album? He did an amazing Daytrotter session that I had the opportunity to hear streaming live while they taped it.

DynorideWhat You Wanted – Quad Cities band brings the sound of the 90’s best noisy energetic punk. I’m not the only blogger who included this on their top list for 2012. I reviewed this for Little Village. It’s free stupid. Listen to it.

Cheyenne Marie MizeWe Don’t Need EP – I had the chance to see Cheyenne at the Mill in Iowa City a few years ago when she was touring for Before Lately. She did a few songs at that show which showed up on this EP. This was a release I was looking forward to.  Check out her two Daytrotter sessions here and here.

Solid GoldEat Your Young – After I heard Solid Gold at the Gayngs Affiliyated showcase, I was really looking forward to hearing the next album from them. It took them a couple of years to get this release out the door, but what a release it is! Solid Gold still holds on to their 80’s New Wave roots (think later Talk Talk), but I think that the time spent in Gayngs may have helped refine their art, as Eat Your Young is the most consistent release to date. I look for them to get snagged by a larger label.

Polica Give You The Ghost – This was on my releases I was looking forward to, but it was kind of a cheat since the band pre-released this album in December of last year. Another band related to Gayngs. Ryan Olson has the Midas touch, I think. Polica moved from his label to Mom+Pop this year and they opened for Bon Iver’s big show in NYC before I got to see them in Dubuque. They played new songs at that show, so I’m hopeful for another album! Check out Polica’s Daytrotter session here.

Calexico Algiers – With the breakdown of Quarterstick records, I was afraid of the fate of Calexico. Fortunately, they have been picked up by Anti- Records and the band recorded in the flood zone of post Hurricane New Orleans (“Algiers” is a section of the city). Great record– lots of diehard fans are bitching because the album is closer to Garden Ruin than Hot Rail.

Jeff Parker TrioBright Light in Winter – On my releases I’m looking forward to. The main guitarist from Tortoise returns for his third-ish solo album on the mighty Jazz and Blues label Delmark Records from Chicago.  This one spent a lot of time in rotation. Jeff’s a busy guy between all of the projects he participates, in so it’s cool that he returned to his own. I could listen to album opener “Mainz” on repeat forever.

Hiss Golden MessengerLord I Love The Rain – I mentioned this in the releases I was looking forward to for 2012. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I already heard parts of this release. MC Taylor decided to rejigger the “bonus” LP of outtakes that came with the preorders of Poor Moon called Lord I Love The Rain. He removed a track and added some and resequenced to make Lord I Love The Rain an album that could stand on its own. Check out the Hiss Golden Messenger Daytrotter session here.

The Sea and Cake – Runner – With the four-year gap between One Bedroom and Everybody, I’m always a bit nervous that The Sea and Cake will disappear again. But, since 2007, The Sea and Cake have enjoyed a very fruitful and creative period releasing four albums and one split single in five years. A really great follow up to Moonlight Butterfly— in fact they kind of act as bookends to each other. Check out their Daytrotter session here.

Kopecky Family BandKids Raising Kids – The debut album for Nashville chamber-pop band Kopecky Family Band follows two really great EP’s. The band has enjoyed a lot of critical praise and some big festival appearances at SXSW and Bonnaroo. Though this album was released in 2012, It looks like 2013 is when it will get some real traction and buzz. Check the Kopecky Family Daytrotter session here.

Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet – Stellar Pulsations – Mazurek is back with a new release on Delmark with a kind of expanded version of his Starlicker lineup. Nice, kind of subdued album (for Mazurek anyway) really focuses on his playing more than any of his other releases. I love “Magic Saturn”– sounds like a modern Jazz classic to me.

Various Artists – Iowa City Song Project – Compilation of Iowa City artists commissioned by the Englert who was celebrating 100 years ( and, to an extent, The Mill which was celebrating its 50th). Bo Ramsey, Pieta Brown, Greg Brown, Sam Locke Ward, Brooks Strauss, Milk and Eggs, Dave Zollo, Emporer’s Club, and many, many more all lay down tracks inspired by Iowa City. I reviewed the album for Little Village.

Stay tuned for my list of releases I’m looking forward to in 2013!

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