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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

VH1: I Love The 1990s (they're a band)

The Band: A high-energy, three-piece outfit from Glasgow, Scotland, signed on their sixth gig by Rough Trade Records (The Decemberists, The Long Blondes). With a good amount of UK touring, and a trip to NYC, under their belts, they are set to release their full-length record, Cookies, on May 5th.

The Sound: Their sound resembles Franz Ferdinand (who worked with them in the band the Yummy Furs), sometimes The Hives, and even a less quirky rendition of some Liars' tracks. I even hear a touch of OKGO with their dance-disco feel and "Hey!" interjections.

The Pros: The record is consistently fun. They exude a sense of controlled playfulness that is sure to have you smiling (even laughing) at times.

The Cons: Their sound is a bit too timid. The one longer, more developed, song, "Situation" shows they have the ability to do more than 3-minute bursts of happily-ever-after, playful rock -n roll. They also have the easily curable disease that many young bands have: that is, "don't know how to end songs syndrome."

The Verdict: Their talents are not refined enough to blow people away, and they aren't goofy or raw enough to gather the kind of support that The Hives of the Liars got. That said, their easy going sound, and catchy hooks, make them a great springtime / summer pick.

Check out their website
Head on over to the Rough Trade site
Give 'em a shoutout on their myspace
And of course, buy the record!

Listen to: "Risque Pictures" (4.2/5) and "Arcade Precinct" (3.47/5)


Thursday, April 26, 2007

10,000+ (Collaborative Post)

When I started this blog back in the beginning of last June, I never really intended it to garner many readers. I always meant it to be something to do for fun, and I thank the heavens that I haven't gotten tired of it yet. That said, CSV is going to celebrate its one year anniversary in nearly a month, but today is a momentous occasion as well--today marks the surpassing of 10,000 visitors to the blog.

The purpose of this post is twofold: one is to reward our loyal readers for their continued support throughout the past year, and the other is to encourage you to keep on coming back. We want you to know that we are incredibly grateful for your support and readership and we only hope that you continue to like what you see.

And so, enough beating around the bush. Let's get to the mixes that Patrick and I have prepared for y'all. The rules are that there must be 10 tracks for each mix, no artist or band can appear twice, and they must be songs whose albums have not been featured on CSV. And so here they are:

Benji's 10,000+ Playlist:
1. Kyle Andrews - Amos in Ohio
2. Richard Swift - The Songs of National Freedom
3. Apples in Stereo - Same Old Drag
4. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - Jackie Blue
5. Josh Rouse - The Last Train
6. Doris Days and Zero 7 - To Ulrike M.
7. Of Montreal - Gronlandic Edit
8. Thief - Somewhere
9. So Called (feat. Matisyahu) - 3rd Cup (Yahu)
10. Honeycut - Shadows

Patrick's 10,000+ Playlist:
1. The Hold Steady - You Can Make Him Like You
2. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Weight of the World
3. Amy Milan - Skinny Boy
4. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - The Hardest Part
5. Simone White - I Didn't Have a Summer Romance
6. Willy Mason - Gotta Keep Walking
7. Lily Allen - Friday Night
8. Bloc Party - Hunting for Witches
9. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
10. Ben Kweller - On my Way

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Meet your Clientele

Maybe it's just the spring weather and its radio-of-old feel, but I just can't get out of this retro band genre. I'm talking about UK band The Clientele, and their new release God Save the Clientele. Full of the trippiness of CSNY, the exuberance of a child, and harmonies to be envied, God Save the Clientele is a finely crafted album. The vocals are simply delectable, as they skitter across the jangly guitars and the modest bass. I'm amazed by the quality of the album, despite the fact that it is 14 tracks long--a rarity for bands these days.

On GStC, The Clientele effortlessly move from track to track, as they touch on lullaby ballads to toned down versions of 60's and 70's folkpop. It seems as though the album was written from the hip, a stream of consciousness, but with each note carefully plucked. This delightful collection of songs is truly a seratonin riser. Every so often, I'll fall in love with an album that is just so irresistible that it cannot be put down. Indeed, I'm in love.

Highlights from GStC, and there are many, include the wonderfully hoppy "Here Comes the Phantom", a smart pop arrangement complete with strings. Have a listen to the more downtempo "The Queen of Seville" or the bass-filled upbeat "Carnival on 7th Street"--all are sure to please.

So go on and buy God Save the Clientele (out May 8th in US).
Listen to "Here Comes the Phantom" (4.89/5)
Listen to "Bookshop Cassanova" (4.6/5)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ain't No Easy follow up Howl

With 2005's Howl, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club showed a polished, daring sound not heard on their two previous records. Howl was a mellower collection of songs, focusing on harmonies, tinged with a perfect blend of folk and gospel. They departed briefly from the heavier garage-rock and focused on a skin-deep rendition of Americana at its best. On Baby 81, their second release with RCA (Echo in the UK), they return to the sound that first implanted them into the new rock revolution, with the likes of the Strokes, The Vines, and Kings of Leon.

The new record is musically concise, politically-charged, and an overall good rock record. There is plenty of solid guitar work from Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been, and the overall vocal quality (shared by both Hayes and Been) solidify their place as two of the better vocalists in "the scene." Some tracks that stick out include "Weapon of Choice," "Need Some Air," and "Lien on Your Dreams;" all of which have a driving rhythm, tasteful guitar work, and catchy, raw lyrics.

I'll continue to argue that Howl is by far one of the best releases of its year, and one of the better records in its genre. If you don't have it pick it up NOW! Nevertheless, BRMC prove their consistency with Baby 81. I like it more with each listen and I'm not getting tired of it. I think the band will continue to put out great records and hopefully test their limits, and expand their sound in future records.

Check the band's upcoming tour dates here
Preorder the album (released May 1, 2007) here

Listen to:
"Lien on Your Dreams" (4.2/5)
"Need Some Air" (4/5)
"Weapon of Choice" (4/5)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Greyboy Allstars

I suppose this post can again be considered one about a retro-groove band, that is intent on bringing back the feeling of a time not too long ago. The Greyboy Allstars make delightful music that finds itself somewhere between funk, blues, and doo-wop. Kids-break out your clarinets and saxophones, bring the bassist along, don't forget the drummer, and don't even think about taking this trip without some funky guitars and vocals. I know, you'll need a pretty big car to bring all that along, but believe me, it's worth it.

Their newest album, What Happened to Television, doesn't really fit into any one genre--instead, it effortlessly floats from one to the next, doing considerable justice to each. Something that we here at CSV love is when you can tell that bands are having fun making their music. It's a sign that it means something to them, that they don't take themselves too seriously. And so, that's why What Happened to Television is so enjoyable. The smooth jazz tracks like "Left Coast Bungaloo" may not necessarily be the most original, but songs like "Pigeons Under Water" have got a pretty solid bassline that combine jazz and some keyboard funk that make for a good time. My personal favorites are "Give the Drummer Some More", which features a role playing game of sorts between the different instruments, and "How Glad I Am", which is a doo-woppy, delicious ditty that can only be described as incredibly cute.

So go and get What Happened to Television.
Listen to "How Glad I Am" (4.86/5)
Listen to "Give the Drummer Some More" (4.63/5)

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Weekend Activity

One of our favorite activities here at CSV is making mixes. It started with the more complicated tapemix and has evolved to the ever-so-simple playlist. Mixes are a great way to dig up some jams that you forgot were in your itunes, and they remain one of the best home-made gifts you can give your crush or significant other. For some general advice in crafting the perfect mix refer to one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity. There's nothing wrong with just making a mix of songs you really like, but it can be more fun to make, and listen, to a themed mix. There are even several clubs you can get involved in where members take turns making mixes and sending them out. Check craigslist if you're interested. Here are 25 mix ideas that I've come up with--feel free to use one or send us one of your ideas! Many are self-explanatory, others I thought could use a brief explanation. Also, I've added songs about making mixes--The Promise Ring song is especially great!

  1. Battle of the sexes - alternate between songs sung by a man and those sung by a woman
  2. Wake me up
  3. Big, bad love
  4. Don’t tell my friends
  5. Throwbacks
  6. Goodnight
  7. Captain Hooks - songs with great hooks and catchy lines
  8. Up and coming
  9. A family affair - songs the whole family can enjoy--even the dysfunctional ones!
  10. Young at heart - songs you grew up with and are too mature to listen to now
  11. Remember that?
  12. Party it up
  13. Where’s the beat?
  14. Atlas - songs about cities, places, etc. And no, you can't just use one of Sufjan's cds.
  15. I’m cool…really - Refer to pitchfork
  16. Bands I should like - those songs/bands you know you ought to like
  17. Dream Festival Lineup
  18. Who wrote that? - Use some of those songs you always hear, but never can remember who wrote them
  19. What is he/she saying?
  20. It’s all about the bass
  21. Pick me up (before you go) - for the times you're down
  22. Shh, no talking - Instrumentals
  23. Women who rock
  24. Family tree - for each song make sure you have another performed by a family member. ie. Bob and Jakob Dylan
  25. The art of a single - songs that have aspects that are commonly found in singles
And if you don't like any of my ideas check our previous post on music ip mixer

The Promise Ring - Make me a mix tape
Band New - Mix Tape
Stephanie D'Abruzzo, John Tartaglia (Avenue Q) - Mix Tape

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Monday, April 16, 2007

The High Llamas

Lately, I've been chilling with my good ol' buddies The High Llamas. No, not personally, but rather through the speakers of my computer.
The London-based hipsters are the creators behind some retro-tastic music that will have you imagining you're on Route 66 back in the 50s. Not that I know what that's like, but let's assume I do.

Their newest album Can Cladders is an amalgam of songs that range from lounge revivalist to Bossa Nova. Despite borrowing from older styles and genres, what makes this album unique is the fact that it combines these in a manner that hasn't been done before. shows a diverse musical palette on behalf of lead band member Sean O'Hagan, and the songs therein are simply a delight. Every song is a new adventure, a new trip to a psychadelic (yep, you read correctly) world of lillies and daisies--it's almost comical to a certain point. Can Cladders doesn't try to mask its fun nature by pretending to be something it is not. No false advertising.

Although The High Llamas are guilty of missing on some tracks of this album, there are certainly plenty of highlights to go around. "Clarion Union Hall" is a foot-tapping, head bobbing good ol' time that could only be better if you could actually see the background singers bopping along themselves. Of take a listen to "Rollin", which is certainly the most delightful song on the album, complete with one of the great choruses I've heard. The varied instruments are really my favorite part of the albums--at any one point, I may not be sure what I'm listening to, but I know it's damn good. I'm sure you'll feel the same way too.

So c'mon, and buy Can Cladders.
Listen to "Rollin" (4.78/5)
Listen to "Clarion Union Hall" (4.44/5)

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The John Butler Trio

Australian outfit The John Butler Trio released their sophomore album Grand National, and I've been infatuated with it since then. Some might classify their music as roots or jam, and although the core definitions seem appropriate, the connotations are not. A jam band implies a lack of lyrical talent, or at least a serious lack of attention to detail. For JBT, this simply is not the case.

Sonically, Grand National is exceptional. It contains some of the best guitarmanship I've heard in quite a while, from the jangly to the trippy to the straight up nasty (the good nasty). Indeed, the guitar takes center stage in the songs, showcasing everything from quieter ballads (see "Losing You") to cranking out some pounding riffs ("Gov' Did Nothin'"). And that's not to disparage the vocals that are present on this album--while their content is nothing exceptional or incredibly profound, it would be shameful to disregard them. They certain add a positive element to the tracks. On "Gov' Did Nothin'", the vocals get you started and then the strings take over with some fantastic 4 minute bridge of soloing. Or have a listen to "Fire in the Sky", which just flirts with your ears until you succumb to its infectious hooks. And if I could see them play "Funky Tonight", with its fingerlickin' pluckings and all, surely it would be a sight to see.

So stop reading. Go and get Grand National.
Listen to "Gov' Did Nothin'" (5/5)
Listen to "Funky Tonight" (4.6/5)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lollapalooza 2007

It's getting close to the official announcement of Lollapalooza 2007, to be held again in Chicago's beautiful Grant Park (shown in a picture I took at Loallapalooza 2006--can you guess who's playing on the far stage?!). In case you can't wait for the offical announcement, here's some leakage; or you can try this one. A lot of the bands seem very credible, and I'm sure several others will be announced (like Ted Leo...). While you're at it, check out the CSVMD archives for music and information about a lot of the bands.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Sunny Day in Glasgow

Brother and sister trio A Sunny Day in Glasgow write beautiful dreampop that surrounds the listener in a pulsingly ethereal blanket of sounds. Note: their debut album, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, is not a chill album--it isn't something you just pop in and listen to on a Sunday morning. This is introspective music, music with which to empty yourself (as Darl might say) of the extraneous parts going on around you.

Upon first listen, one might be prompted to shout a prominent "huh? I don't get it." In fact, that was my first impression. And then I listened closer. Play your speakers loud. Pick out the different parts. There's a lot going on here, and it would be a shame to miss out on it. Take a listen to "5:15 Train" and listen for the background vocals--it's other worldly in the good way. Or queue up "No. 6 Von Karman Street" which is perhaps the most intoxicating of all the tracks with its icy synth pop feel.

So go and check out Scribble Music Comic Journal.
Have a listen to "No. 6 Von Karman Street" (4.5/5)
"The Best Summer Ever"

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

M. Ward plays with the Boston Pops!

Thanks to my brother, Nate, for this one. M. Ward is playing two shows with the Boston Pops on June 26th and June 27th. Tickets range from $18-$85. The picture is of the first row seats. Just imagine M. Ward's beads of sweat getting in your eye--it will be glorious! Should be a great way to kick off the summer and spend some quality time in Boston.

Listen to M. Ward "To Go Home".
And if that hasn't convinced you...
"Chinese Translation"

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Jesse Malin

Jesse Malin is gradually making his way to the forefront of the indie, singer-songwriter scene. His latest record, "Glitter in the Gutter," is a 13-song collection of up-tempo rockers and alt-country jems. Packed, too, with guest artists like Ryan Adams (who produced his first solo effort and played in The Fingers with Malin), Jakob Dylan, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, and Springsteen. Check out an article NME did on the April 5th Springsteen tribute event here. Malin performed "Hungry Heart" with Ronnie Spector. Other performers included The Hold Steady (check out Malin's myspace for a cover of his Hold Steady cover, "You can make him like you"), Badly Drawn Boy, Patti Smith, and Joseph Arthur. He has some upcoming dates in Virginia, Philly, Boston, and New York--go see him if you can!

I especially like the orchestration and harmonies of these two tunes...enjoy!

"Broken Radio (with springsteen)" (4.5/5)
"Aftermath" (4/5)

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lucky Soul

British collective Lucky Soul has certainly made quite a raucous in my iTunes over the past week. I'm sure you'll fall in love with them too once you hear their retro-doo-wop oldies style. Lucky Soul 's debut album The Great Unwanted is nothing that is sonically original, but that's not to disparage what they've put forth.

The Great Unwanted is like digitally remastered versions of oldies songs that were never written. The songs are carefully constructed and thoughtfully performed, that it's hard not to appreciate the result. The lead songstress, Ali Howard, has one of the most enchanting, sweet, and entrancing voices I've heard. It's not quite "cute", as it retains this sense of power and fortitude. But certainly the songs achieve much of their depth from the vocals. The Great Unwanted is really just a fun album--not necessarily based on its content but rather on the feeling that the arrangements themselves exude. One listen to the piano-trippy, foot-tapping inducing "Get Outta Town!" and you can't help but sing along. Or you might instantly fall in love with the Grease-like "Struck Dumb". Really, this album can't miss.

What are you waiting for? Buy The Great Unwanted.
Listen to "Get Outta Town!" (4.85/5)
Listen to "Add Your Light to Mine, Baby" (4.5/5)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Laura Veirs: Saltbreakers

Live blogging has been all the rage in the blogosphere, so I've decided that I'm going to live blog the new album Saltbreakers by Laura Veirs (out in Europe already, due out April 10th in US).

[Queuing up the compact disc]

"Pink Light" (Track 1):
She's got an interesting voice, can't quite put my finger on it. The beat is kicking in now, and with some pretty awesome rhythms. I can't resist the subtle clapping, and the guitar riff paints this under-the-stars image. Okay, she's got me hooked..........

"Don't Lose Yourself" (Track 3):
A trippy drum beat with a grandiose piano background. It sounds like she's singing with herself--as if she laced two vocal tracks. I'm not as impressed with this track as the first, but at least there's a consistent sound. Not to say it's all the same, but there's something to latch on to.....

"Wandering Kind" (Track 5):
I automatically think Air upon the first chords of this song. The verses seem to be building to a pretty heavy chorus, but let's see. Yep, I was right. The chorus really gives some life to this track. I've noticed that there is a ton of nature imagery in Veirs' songs. I wonder if that's on purpose. Certainly a catchy one....

"To the Country" (Track 8):
Alright, she's bringing the strings out on this one. Oh, and now an angelic choir is kicking in. And her voice sounds transformed in this song--enhanced, as if she's really feeling it. This track is certainly more downtempo than the previous ones, but it's the most captivating and mesmerizing. Now we've got some neat drum rhythms and clapping again....Wow, this song can really only be described as magical. Oooohs and Ahhhhs for nearly two minutes--I feel like I'm swaying back and forth with choir. I want more....

"Cast a Hook" (Track 9):
Back to a faster-paced track, I think I have heard this song before in a compilation The Sound the Hare Heard. Let me check that...yea, that's right. This song is also 'hooking' me in as well, another mesmerizing track. These songs really fill up space nicely-they're nice and roomy.

Okay, so that's it. You'll have to buy Saltbreakers if you want to know more.
Listen to "To the Country" (5.2/5). Sorry, it broke the scale.
Listen to "Pink Light" (4.6/5)

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