Lenten Listen #11: Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) March 4, 2012Posted by Matt in Lent.
Tags: Gillian Welch, Lent, Time (The Revelator)
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Didn’t get around to posting this yesterday, so here’s Saturday’s listen.
I was a few years late getting around to this one, but once I heard it I instantly fell in love with Gillian Welch’s sound. The title song is slow and sleepy, but the words ooze a Springsteen-like yearning to escape the confines of a small town.
Up in the morning, up and on the line
Drive into Corning, and all the spindles whine
And every day it’s getting straighter
Time’s the revelator
Ten for Tuesday: 2001 July 19, 2011Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: 2001, best albums, Bob Dylan, drive-by truckers, Gillian Welch, Jay Farrar, Jay-Z, Radiohead, Spoon, The Shins, The Strokes, The White Stripes
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It has been some time since we last stepped foot in our top ten time machine, so today seems like an appropriate one to take another look back. This time we will set the course for ten years ago, the year 2001. So, without further ado, here are my top ten albums of 2001.
10. Jay Farrar – Sebastopol
Whether in groundbreaking alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, his longstanding group Son Volt, or in his solo recordings, Jay Farrar’s voice remains one of my favorite in the music world. It has an organic, broken-down quality that pierces right to your soul and, though this release differs from his bands in sound, it is still quite good. Download: Barstow, Feed Kill Chain
9. The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
On their debut as The Shins, the band crafted one of the seminal works of indie pop for the early 21st century. The music didn’t really enter the public consciousness, though, until Natalie Portman told Zach Braff in the wonderful 2004 film Garden State to listen to the band and it will “change your life.” We did and it did, for the better. Download: Caring is Creepy, New Slang
9. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
Welch’s third release (not counting her work on the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack), is an incredibly beautiful work of folk music that sure deserved the praise heaped upon it over the years. It’s dark and real and wonderful, with her backwoods voice blending with banjos and guitars perfectly and wonderfully. Download: Revelator, Red Clay Halo
7. Radiohead – Amnesiac
In 2000 Radiohead slammed the music world with a proverbial curveball when they released the incredible Kid A, an album that deviated so wildly from their earlier works that it left many past fans scratching their heads, and this album continued in that same direction. Their experiments with ambient sounds, electronica, and jazz probably turned off some listeners, but those who stuck around were rewarded well. Download: I Might Be Wrong, Knives Out
6. Spoon – Girls Can Tell
Austin’s Spoon creates some of the most fun and danceable tunes you’ll hear anywhere and this, their third release, is no exception to that rule. Britt Daniel’s band comes out strong with an 80’s inspired guitar riff in “Everything Hits at Once,” and never let up for the remainder of the album. Seriously try to listen to this and not at least nod your head. It’s impossible. Download: Everything Hits at Once, Me and the Bean
5. Jay-Z – The Blueprint
In case you ever wonder what the big deal is about hip hop artist Jay-Z, just pop in a copy of The Blueprint. With plentiful soulful samples and Jay-Z’s swaggering rhymes, this stands as one of the greatest works to ever come from the rap community. Check it out and I bet you’ll agree. Download: Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Girls, Girls, Girls
4. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells
The blues-based indie rock duo of Jack and Meg White had been around for a few years when White Blood Cells was released, but for many this was their first exposure to the group’s roof-blowing sound. Together, the Stripes blast through genres with great aplomb, from the aforementioned blues to country (Hotel Yorba) to the almost punkish “Fell In Love with a Girl.” Download: Hotel Yorba, Fell in Love with a Girl, I Can’t Wait
3. The Strokes – Is This It
The do-it-yourself garage rock ethic of the early 2000’s can be, in large part, traced back to this earth-shattering gem. Julian Casablancas’s lyrics were spot on for those of us in our mid-20’s, recent college graduates, coming to grips with a pasture that wasn’t quite as green as we had hoped. If the early part of the decade had a soundtrack, The Strokes would hold a prominent spot on it. Download: The Modern Age, Someday
2. Bob Dylan – Love and Theft
If 1997’s Time Out of Mind was a powerful, late career surge in creativity for the legendary artist, Love and Theft was the amazing continuance of that wave into the new millennium. This entry no doubt deserves a prominent spot in Dylan’s canon as a definite high point in the last chapters of his lifetime in the music business. Download: Mississippi, High Water (For Charley Patton), Moonlight
1. Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera
Could there be any doubt that the best album from my favorite band of the past decade would be at the top of the list? If there is one thing you can say for Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and the others, it is that they are ambitious. The fact that they released a double concept album revolving around the dual story of growing up in the South in the 1970’s and the rise and demise of Lynyrd Skynyrd, should be proof enough of that. But the band isn’t just ambitious, they are awfully good, one of the best musical ventures to come out of the South in years. Download: Zip City (one of my favorite songs ever), Let There Be Rock, The Southern Thing, Guitar Man Upstairs
Ten for Tuesday – Women of Music October 20, 2009Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: Allison Krauss, Amy Winehouse, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, music, neko case, Portishead, She & Him, Sinead O'Connor, top ten, women
I have a confession to make.
As a teen and young adult in the 1990’s, my large music collection was notoriously sexist. Now, I don’t think I ever had an overt disdain toward female artists, but for some reason I never really paid them any attention. This glaring omission may have been from the mistaken belief that women couldn’t rock like most of the testosterone-fueled artists I did enjoy or from lumping all female artists into the same pop diva music box, but for whatever reason, my CD case stayed almost exclusively male-dominated.
I’ve grown up a good bit over the past decade, though, and the contributions of female artists have become much more important to me. Today my music collection is quite expansive and women performers have become an integral part of my regular listening. So, for this installment of Ten for Tuesday, I wanted to give you ten of my favorite female-dominated albums from the past decade. Many of these additions have come since I joined emusic in 2006, so it is weighted to the last few years, but there are some that I picked up prior to that. Let me know of any others that you think should be added.
10. She & Him – Volume One
When this album was released in 2008, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the collaboration between actress Zooey Deschanel and retro folk artist M. Ward, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Deschanel’s voice fits very well in the simple, old-style mold that M. Ward helps to craft. Like many of his other recordings, this sounds like something you might listen to on an old transistor radio and that’s a good thing.
9. Portishead – Third
Though the comeback album of this seminal trip-hop outfit may not be to the level of 1994’s classic Dummy, it is still pretty good and it was especially nice to hear the familiar sound of Beth Gibbon’s voice after more than a decade. I am really looking forward to hearing what else the band has in store for the future.
8. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey
Little Honey was a wonderful return to form for one of the best known voices of the alt-country movement. The album is a rollicking tour-de-force that proves that women over 50 can still contribute great things to the world of music.
7. Emmylou Harris/Mark Knopfler – All the Roadrunning
Though folk legend Harris shares the spotlight with Knopfler, the guitar maestro behind Dire Straits and several excellent solo releases, she still shines brightly as one of the most distinctive voices of the past few decades. Their voices meld wonderfully throughout this gem of an album.
6. Allison Krauss/Robert Plant – Raising Sand
Though rock legend Robert Plant is given equal billing on this album, this work is more of a Krauss album with Plant singing backup. The songs are mostly downbeat and drowsy, but not in a way that tires the listener. Instead, Plant and bluegrass queen Krauss turns this into a seminar of how two very different halves can make one beautiful whole.
5. Sinead O’Connor – Theology
By the time this album came out, I had pretty much forgotten about O’Connor. Sure, I remembered her tirade on Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s when she tore up a picture of the pope, but I had lost track of any music that she had recorded over the years. I first heard of this album from my friend Scott and thought that he must be kidding – really, Sinead O’Connor? But then I listened to this collection of gospel numbers and was immediately drawn into it, especially the CD (this is a 2 disc set) of the more sparsely accompanied songs. In her voice was something beautiful and heartfelt and spiritual that puts the entire CCM industry to shame.
4. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
With this album (and the two preceding it), Welch proved herself to be one of the most important voices in the neo-traditional folk movement. Her style draws from bluegrass and folk genres, melding the old forms into something relevant in today’s fast-paced 21st century and it is a sound that deserves to be heard by everyone.
3. Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose
In 2004, an unlikely pairing emerged in the world of music – country music legend Loretta Lynn, age 69 at the time, and indie rock star Jack White of the White stripes, age 28. I imagine that the seeming strangeness of this collaboration must have raised some eyebrows, but somehow it worked perfectly. The duet of Lynn and White on the song “Portland, Oregon” is especially great and helped to make this one of the better albums of the entire decade.
2. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Look, I know she’s a crackhead and I know that my giving this much credence to her work doesn’t help her on the path to self-destruction, but I really love this album and have for quite sometime. I think of her raunchy jazz/soul sound as the anti-Norah Jones, the type of music you would never hear on an elevator. She has one of those retro smoky voices, which I’m sure was probably self-inflicted, that just blows me away.
1. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
What brought the idea for this list on? The fact that I’m about to purchase a ticket to see Neko Case in just a matter of weeks here in Memphis. I fell in love with her powerful voice in 2007 when I purchased this album and I have been a devoted follower ever since. I could listen to this every day of my life and never get tired of it.
What else should have made the list?