Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
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Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream will serve as a blog for me to share my thoughts and musings, with a special emphasis on music. The music that will appear in this blog is for evaluation/sampling purposes only, and is designed to promote up and coming bands. Remember, if you like the artist(s), buy the CD! If you are the owner of a sound file and would like it removed, please contact us and we will kindly take it down.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The clouds come rolling in
billows of white and gray smoke
warning the purple sun
of the impending darkness

The silver ladder whose peak
reaches the silver lining
is two tone now
and is liquid like the water nearby

The tall pines exude more
than their usual red and green-
purple becomes part of
their palette.

And then I look at myself
clad in white
a canvas on which
God’s majesty is displayed
my body an easel for the
sun and the clouds and the
water to make their mark

But the art is changing
a simulated interpretation of

The sun hits the horizon
and disappears
The ladder becomes a silhouette
I fade into it
with just my soul glowing
with the painted canvas of life

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ring My Ollabelle

Today, I want to tell you all about a New York based band called Ollabelle. The quintet features musicians from varied musical backgrounds and it shows clearly on their sophomore release, Riverside Battle Songs. Ollabelle is named after the great Ola Belle Reed, and much of their music seems influenced by the rural songstress. Ollabelle's style is a fusion of gospel, bluegrass, folk, and rock, feature multiple-part harmonies to boot.

According to Ollabelle, Riverside Battle Songs contains "an undercurrent of reckoning with loss and adversity....They're all battle songs. Life isn't easy, and the good things in life are truly worth fighting for. The tricky part is that these big battles happen within every person, not across the street or across the ocean. At the end of the day, we will all wind up by that river and will have to reckon with our own truths. And I think the title of the album reflects an admiration for those people that have had the courage to write and sing about those truths." (

It's truly a record of which to be proud. It's a marvelous reinterpretation of old gospel melodies ("Riverside") but the record also maintains a sense of innovation and originality that can only stem from a group concentrated on making great music. "See Line Woman" has this funky, 'bluegrassy' feel that beautifully starts off the record, while its strength is carried through by tracks like "Reach For Love" and "Fall Back". I've been listening to the album since it arrived in the mail and I haven't stopped.
Check out the album.

Listen to "See Line Woman".

Listen to "Fall Back".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving Present

Hiking at Dawn in the Israeli Desert

At CSVMAD, we are thankful for lots of things. But especially music. So, it is only fitting that on this day that is the day of turkeys and stuffing and cranberry sauce and meatballs (?)...yea, meatballs.
Well, I've got 10 smokin' fresh meatball samplings for you in the shape of an .mp3 file. Peter Griffin would be proud. You can access the link here.

Contents of CSVMAD Volume 2:
1. South San Gabriel - I am Six Pounds of Dynamite
2. Josh Rouse - Slaveship
3. Ollabelle - See Line Woman
4. The Damnwells - I Am a Leaver
5. Josh Rouse-Comeback (Light Therapy)
6. Cassius - La Notte
7. The Kooks - Naive
8. My Morning Jacket - Gideon
9. The Zutons - Hello Conscience
10. Nitin Sawhney - Sunset

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2 Posts and a Mystical City

We're going to try something new at CSVMAD. As you may have noticed, photography is one of my favorite hobbies. That being the case, I've decided that I'm going to post some of my favorite photographs every once in a while (how concrete of me). If you click on the photograph, it will open up huge in your browser so you can take a better look at it. I'd love comments if you have them.
Also, shameless plug for my friend Ron who has created a website: Photodef. It's a photograph-based dictionary and it's really cool and original idea. Check it out. Most 'Def' (pun intended).

Just to give a little briefing on the picture: This was taken in the historically mystical village of Tzfat (known as Safed) in the northern part of Israel. The city has retained much of its richness and "oldness". It's a very traditional place, complete with religious graffiti and clouds billowing from the valley below. Tzfat is the city where the now-famous Kabbalah is believed to have originated.
It's definitely one of my more favorite places to go in Israel: it is so vibrant with a spiritual energy that cannot be described. Whenever I walk the cobblestone streets, I can't help but feel a greater being at work.

Be sure to check the post below this one--it actually has music to read about/listen.


Hark, my friends! We're going back to Sweden for this post--as you know, I'm a big fan of Nordic Rock. Today, I want to tell you about The Ark.

The Ark is basically a glam-rock group, that creates addicting 80's pop-hooks with heavy use of the falsetto. Their most recent release The State of the Ark dates back to 2004, but I don't care--I still want to tell my readers about it. The State of the Ark is pure fun. Whether its the whistling and percussions on "Hey Kwanongoma!" or the delectable chorus on the Billy-Joel-like "One of us is Gonna Die Young", The Ark exudes fun and they make that clear on nearly every track. Other highlights include "This Piece of Poetry is Meant to do Harm", whose Stereo-Mcs-like beginning explodes into an amazing song--if only for the title, this song is awesome.

Definitely check out The Ark.
Listen to "Hey Kwanongoma!".
Listen to "Rock City Wankers".

Lake Michigan in the morning

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

As Promised: Denison Witmer

I promised a later post about Denison Witmer.

And so I deliver.

Denison Witmer is a Philadelphia based singer songwriter, although he doesn't fall under the typical male voice and guitar routine that seems so common. As much as I like John Mayer, I can only take so many copycats...Witmer has remained relatively unknown in many music circles, despite that he has been recording music for nearly a decade. The reason why is still a mystery to me.

Witmer perfectly blends his mostly acoustic sound with incredibly personal and poignant lyrics that often have the listener reflecting long after his songs are over. His songs have a unique sensitivity to them that is hard to place. Maybe it's in the tone of his voice, the pace of his songs or the softness of the guitar. Whatever it is, I like it.

Witmer's most recent album is titled Are You A Dreamer? and it is surely his best release to date. His sound really comes together on the album, and the listener can tell that Witmer is sincere with every note.

I mentioned yesterday about the charity "drive" of sorts that he's doing. Make sure you go to his website where he is giving away 33 free songs without any hitch. All he asks is for donations to two worthy causes.

I'm going to link to two or three that I think are some of his best:
Listen to "Are You a Dreamer?"
Listen to "Everything But Sleep"
Listen to "East from West"

Monday, November 13, 2006

CSVMAD on Best Week Ever/Denison Witmer

Yep. We here at CSVMAD are finally getting some mainstream recognition, as seen by the reference to CSVMAD by VH1's Best Week Ever website. I still think the last two The Strokes' albums are pretty much shit.
But hey, if it means getting more traffic, that's fine by me.

What I'd really like to post about though is the Philadelphia songwriter Denison Witmer. I'm sure I'll have a more extensive post about him later on, but I chanced upon something the other day that I've been waiting to tell you all about. So Denison Witmer is an awesome guy. Friend of Sufjan-and hence, friend of CSVMAD-Witmer has got the folky sound of The Weepies with the diary-like lyrical quality.
Sometimes comforting, sometimes haunting, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes nostalgia-inducing, Witmer manages to bring together that indie-folk-singer-songwriter mix that seems to be my siren song. You should definitely check out his albums here, especially Are You a Dreamer?. But what I'd really like to turn you to is an awesome charity that Witmer is doing.
WAIT! Keep reading! For his 30th birthday, Denison Witmer decided to give his fans 33 free acoustic tracks. What's the catch? How about donating to worthy causes?

Anyway, Witmer is awesome, and I have yet to download and listen to all the tracks. Check it out here: Happy Birthday Denison.

Albert Hammond, Jr.

Remember when The Strokes were deemed the saviors of rock? Remember when they proceeded to dish out two - dare I say - shit albums? Well, former Strokes followers--do not fear. Albert Hammond, Jr. has released a new album. The album The Strokes should have released. Hammond is the lead guitarist of The Strokes, but he has decided to release his own album for what I believe to be more creative control.

All the catchy lo-fi-ish pop hooks that you loved with Is This It? from The Strokes is here, packed with a more developed sound. His album is titled Yours to Keep, and is currently only in the UK, but you can find imports on Amazon. In Yours to Keep, Hammond, Jr. flirts with a sound that goes down smoothly but still retains a sense of abrasiveness that makes the music so much more interesting for me. It seems that Hammond made a conscious effort to make this his own album, and not another The Strokes album. For one, his lyrics show a more concerted effort to put out a quality lyrical message. As for his abilities on the ol' guitar, he is certainly one of the more talented musicians of today. It also helps when you summon the help of the likes of Sean Lennon (yea, that's one of John's son), Ben Kweller, among others.

What I find most skillful on the album is Hammond's ability to avoid the noise crescendo that his bandmates seem to make in their songs. Sometimes, the dissonance works. Most times, it doesn't do it for me. In "Hard to Live (In the City)", just as Hammond seems to be building to a noisy, he breaks out into a funky trumpet ditty that just fits the song so perfectly. In "Back to the 101", you get that catchy chorus in your head and you can't let go.

Overall, the album is fantastic. It probably won't save rock, but if anything, it proves that rock doesn't really need saving.

Listen to "Back to the 101". Thanks to brugo for the track.

Listen to "Hard to Live (In the City)". Thanks to poptart.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Heaven Bent

I love downtempo, electronic music. Don't ask why, I just do...and for good reason. The music coming out of this genre always seem to make music and its history more important. You hear sounds you don't normally hear, and many times you find uses for instrumentation that are simply down-right original. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I stopped keeping up-to-date with a lot of these bands that I like, switching to more independent rock-based music. While I find a lot of similarities between these two "genres", nearly all of them are rooted in the fact that the motives and means by which the music is made is incredibly similar. Many of the more elite (at least elite in my mind) electronic bands are able to play with your preconceived notions of music. But, perhaps even more important, I think that many good electronic bands strive very hard to use as many real instruments as possible. That is, avoiding the computer when able.

This is why I love Bent.

They have a strong emphasis on the aesthetic of their music: not too clean, but certainly easy-listening. What separates Bent from the pack is their vocals. Instrumentals can only take a band so far on an album, and Bent understands that. The vocals are really what impart the mood and most of the meaning to the songs, and often times make-or-break them.

And so, my friends, Bent has a new album, Intercept!. Chock full of groovy hooks and both haunting and cheery vocals, Bent's sound matures before the listener's ears. The track "Exercise 7" is reminiscent of "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, while "After All the Love" has got the one of the catchiest vocals I've heard in a long time. And who doesn't like a little harmonica?
But my favorite on the album is "The Handbrake" which is a Belle-and-Sebastian-like groovy ditty that comes off as a playful song that retains a certain depth. Definitely check it out.

Listen to "The Handbrake" (highly recommended)
Listen to "After All the Love" (also sweet)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tohu Vavohu

It means chaos. But I'd rather talk about K-os. K-os is one of the more interesting acts to come out of Canada over the past few years. K-os blends fresh hip-hop beats with a distinctive Michael Jackson sound. His versatile voice drives his music in a soulful direction, but he skillfully manages to harness his talent to create foot-stomping, finger-tapping, and intellectually stimulating music. You see, K-os is more a philosopher than a socially conscious rapper. His music is refreshing from that respect. It's an idea that hasn't often be pursued by many rappers. So the question is whether or not K-os a novelty act. The question still remains to be answered, but for now, it's best to just listen to his music.

Go and get yourself of a copy of his third album Atlantis-Hymns for a Disco.

Have a listen to Born to Run.

Have a listen to The Ballad of Noah.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I want to take you on a little adventure to a world of music that is probably far different than to what you know and love. It's a land of prairie grass that grows so high, you can just barely see Pink Floyd and if you squint just enough, there is Phish in the back, way back.

This world is that of the Chicago band Califone. Well in to their career, Califone takes a slight venture from their previous albums to create a more mainstream sound. That said, this mainstream sound is still quite eccentric. Roots and Crowns is an experimental album, where so many interesting clicks and clacks show up, that I'm not even sure I know what I'm listening to. Perhaps most intriguing about he band is there ability to jam-it's so incredibly fluid and natural, much like their music as a whole.

I'm not promising that you're going to love this album. I don't know if you'll even like it. But it's certainly worth a listen.

Like the songs? Buy the album.

Listen to Black Metal Valentine. Thanks to Badminton Stamps for this track.
Listen to Sunday Noises. Thanks to Nerd Litter for this track.