Kingston: Look At Me

Hi, class. Let's talk about St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica:

Home to Trench Town. Birthplace of reggae, the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Beenie Man etc. etc.

Home to Kingston's Tuff Gong International record label founded by The Wailers in 1965 and recording location for a sometimes shocking roster of musicians, many simply hoping to tie their name to the legendary studio. You can scope Wikipedia or go straight to Tuff Gong to learn more but - spoiler alert - Sinead O'Conner makes an appearance.

Home to Gyptian. Born in St. Andrew's Parish. Reborn daily as he's blasted from the windows of many a car in Brooklyn since "Hold Yuh" released (and subsequent billboard climb) in 2010. Not a song to play your mother if she's got a knack for deciphering a thick Jamaican accent. Dad might be into it, though.

Lastly, meeting place of Major Lazer, the collaboration of DJs Diplo and Switch (American and British, respectively) whose first album Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do was recorded Tuff Gong Studios. Clearly, Major Lazer didn't exactly start from nothing. Introduced while working with MIA, the list of guest appearances on their first album is an absurdly powerful list of people. Even then, by the time Diplo met MIA and Switch, he'd made more than a name for himself in dance music. Today, Diplo's liner notes are like a quiet (or not-so-quiet) music takeover. He's co-written, produced and otherwise collaborated with a some of the biggest performers to date (MIA, Kid Cudi, Britney Spears, the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg). 

I'll be first one to say that Major Lazer's videos can be boring (oh, SICK! hot chicks in cheekies blowing SMOKE! - Look out, Terry Richardson!). But this video, shot in Kingston, is perfect. Just try to tell me I'm wrong:

The point is this: These two songs share roots in a place where, arguably, much of today's most influential musicians originated, recorded or just pretended to be affiliated. 

Honey, I'm Home!

I wrote out all of the opening lines that start with "The last time I-" and end with names of places used to live. I thought that I might tell you where I've been, about Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Prospect Park or how I've been writing lately but still find that a little embarrassing to say out loud. I guess I wanted to ask you where you've been, too.

But then I thought, forget it. Forget it! Who cares that it's been two years? I made this playlist for you. Let's get beautiful.

Timber Tibre : Creep On Creepin' On

"Woman" from the new album Creep On Creepin' On

Timber Timbre's new album, Creep On Creepin' On was released 3 days ago on the famed Canadian label Arts & Crafts. Founded with the 2002 release of Broken Social Scene's You Forget It In People, A&C has basically been a goldmine ever since: Fiest, Stars, Los Campesinos!, M Ward, Phoenix, and on and on. I say this in almost every post, but good grief. Canada kills it again.

There's a lot of talk of blues influences in Timber Timbre's music. Kirk tends to back out of the suggestion with modesty instead of denial. When I first heard the track "Like A Mountain" I immediately thought of Cab Calloway's 1933 "Old Man of the Mountain" (as seen/heard in the Betty Boop film of that year). It is, in my opinion, an enormous compliment to any musician today to hear an honest influence from someone like Cab. Especially because Taylor Kirk probably knows it.

"When I listen to blues-era recordings, it sounds to me like the purest form of musical expression. I couldn't even tell you about any current blues musicians. I'm mostly listening to the old recordings now, like Son House, Leroy Carr and various Blind Willies.'' 
Timber Timbre is mainly the project of Taylor Kirk, with the help of  Mika Posen, and Simon Trottier . Kirk and Trottier sometimes produce other artist's music, including the two tracks for Tasseomancy (formerly Ghost Bees) on their Myspace. Also: I highly recommend checking out the Take Away Show video posted on the same site. 

Conclusions: Creepy music is underrated, and has a tendency to come in the form of siblings (I'm looking at you, CocoRosie).

Alan Jensen. No - Ghostclatter. No - Airglow Picture Show. Whatever you call it, you're going to like it.

Guys, a few days ago I knew next to nothing about Alan Jensen. If Alan Jensen and What I Know About Him had been walking down the street, they would have been walking in opposite directions and never spoken. What I Know About Him would have gone home feeling unfulfilled and a bit stupid for not trying. So What I Know About Him and I got to talking and decided to go for it. 

a) Alan Jensen has three names
    2. (

b) the man with three names is an Undergraduate filmmaker (and part time graphic designer) at University of New Mexico.

c) he was born in 1991.

d) that is all this humble publication knows, however, we feel the below video will be enough to convince you to root for and follow him right into Pitchfork's (or whatever the measure of success is these days) arms.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland : Chains, Chains, Chains

I tried to think of something else to say but only wound up saying it reminds me of us, the way that something will remind you of a place you lived or a person you knew. Something already gone. Something so far off, now, that you need to be reminded and are taken aback when it happens. A smell, a feeling that used to be everything and but now just seems like recalling a time when you were very hungry.

James Irwin : Blue Dust

"James writes twice a day—songs, poems and stories, first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon, always with a coffee. He is working on a book of poems, and a book of stories. He goes on stage after a whiskey, in a red sweater, with a freshly shaven face. He sings sadly and speaks funny" 

James Irwin is Canadian of course (this is fast becoming a blog about Canadian music  with no small emphasis on Montreal). He has previously played with the Montreal band My People Sleeping, Coal Choir from 2007-2009, co-wrote the folk opera Olivia and toured "playing piano and getting drunk in The Milwaukee's Best Band". 

Can I just ask you a rhetorical question, internet? Thanks. Does A Story Told Well  ever let us down?
They do not. ASTW have more beautiful videos from James Irwin and pretty much everyone else you ever wanted to see testing physics on a broken down pier or nesting like a deer in the middle of the woods. Which brings me to another question : to be a respected folk musician, do you have to know just the right spot to bring roving, blogging camera crews when they come knocking?

Mission #1 for the summer: find one such spot in each state I visit while crossing the country (just in case).

Oh Oh! And please check out Bad Panda for a nice write up and interview with Mr. Irwin.

Dry the River: Updates!

Hi Friends.
I haven't posted in a while and I'm feeling lazy but wanted to share some new Dry the River tracks and some album versions I didn't post with the videos last time. I will get motivated again soon, I promise.
In the mean time, enjoy!

New Ceremony by Dry the River
Deadheads by Dry the River
Family Tree by Dry the River
History Book by Dry the River