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.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ryan Adams

With Ryan Adams' latest album, Easy Tiger, he picks up right where he left off with 2005's Jacksonville City Nights, his second album with The Cardinals, and arguably his best since his solo debut in 2000. Easy Tiger is Ryan and the band at their best, mixing just enough rock, just enough bluegrass / country, and just enough 'average joe' lyricism to put a smile on your face. The album contrasts plugged-in, guitar driven rockers nicely with stripped-down, acoustic melodies. "Haloweenhead" is reminiscent of "Do Miss America" and a few other of the better tracks on Rock N Roll--a textbook rock song, with a crunching riff and a short but tasty guitar solo. "Oh my God, Whatever, Etc," which barely clocks in at over two and a half minutes, is a beautiful arrangement of acoustic guitar, piano, and vocals. The song, like many of Ryan's best, is a simple vignette focusing on personal, specific details that carry over easily into out own lives. Adams is still cranking the albums out like ipod Nanos, but luckily quality has not been sacrificed for quality. Easy Tiger doesn't quite match up to Cold Roses or Jacksonville City Nights in terms of the overall mood it creates, but it is one of his strongest releases as well as a pleasant reminder that the Ryan Adams vault is still full (and may even be gaining some interest).

The Report Card
Vocals: A (30%)
Lyrics: B (30%)
Instruments: B+ (30%)
Album art/Packaging: C (10%)
Easy Tiger: B+

Buy Easy Tiger for under 10 bucs
Listen to "Halloweenhead" (4/5)
Listen to "Oh my God, Whatever, Etc." (4/5)

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Coconut Records

It's a coconut banger's ball, as Will Ferrel would say, and the soundtrack is Nighttiming, the debut solo record from Coconut Records, the pen name of one Jason Schwartzman. This is friendly indie pop that, admittedly, isn't anything incredibly unique. But it's really a record made for summer, and its timely release only makes the album sound better. The title track "Nighttiming" is a discopop-charged track that is excellently executed, while "West Coast" is a radio friendly ditty that is built ready made for ears.
Go and get Nighttiming (online only) and listen to:
"Nighttiming" (4.75/8)
"West Coast" (4.5/5)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Getting Down to The Basics

With Gotye solo artist Willy De Backer behind the drums for The Basics, this Australian outfit plays some 60s and 70s derivative music that will remind you of UK favorites Razorlight, but perhaps a little more Beatles-esque. I featured Gotye earlier on the blog, and if you remember what his Like Drawing Blood sounded like, then you've got a pretty good idea of the The Basics' sound. Their newest effort Stand Out/Fit In, is full of delightful pop harmonies and psuedo-reggae influences, which combine to create a cheery selection of songs that succeed at being what we call infectiously catchy.
Go to iTunes to buy Stand Out/Fit In (iTunes will open if you click this link).
Listen to "Hey There!" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Rattle My Chain" (4.6/5)

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Free Live Track of the Day: 6.25.07

Check out the famous "Look Who Got a Website," (-5/5) by NYC's toughest rapper, Ryan Adams. Technically it's not a "live" track, so here's one of the best live versions of "Firecracker." (4.7/5)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Joan Armatrading

Continuing with the blues theme this week, Joan Armatrading comes as sort of a surprising delight. Don't make the same mistake I did, and come with the preconceived notion that women don't know how to play the blues--cause Armatrading sure as hell does. Her latest album Into The Blues is aptly titled, as it is a rather accessible pop-oriented blues album with lots of great electric guitar riffs and some nifty drum rhythms. "A Woman in Love" is perhaps one of the best (yes, quote me) songs of the year that I've heard to date. But the rest of the album isn't too shabby either, as Armatrading puts a solid effort in, all the way through "Something Gonna Blow", the last track on the album. Other highlights include the jazzy "Play the Blues" and the hoppy "D.N.A". So what are you waiting for? Give Ms. Armatrading some love.

Go and get your self a copy of Into The Blues.
Listen to "A Woman In Love" (5/5)
Listen to "D.N.A" (4.4/5)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Free Live Track of the Day: 6.21.07

Jose Gonzalez

Check out two tracks from a CSV favorite, Jose Gonzalez. He's doing an international tour this summer--head over to his website to see if he's hitting your area.

We dig "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Stay in the Shade"


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quick: Feist. Blair.

Check out a recent NPR feature (article and audio stream) on Feist. I've yet to listen to it, but your standard life sums up the topics discussed: "indie crowd vs Starbucks crowd, starting out in a punkrock band, damaged vocal chords, the birds in downtownToronto, learning guitar."

I've been listening to Blair (via herspace), "the musical meeting of Dolly Parton and Radiohead," non-stop since I heard about her and just ordered her EP. She's got one of those voices that draws you in and doesn't let go. Plus, she's a fantastic song writer.

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The 5 Worst Ryan Adams Songs

I wanted to do this post as the resident ryanadamsaholic here at CSV to prove that (1) I'm not disillusioned and am still fit to make discerning musical judgments, and (2) Ryan Adams, or let's just say The Label, has made a few bad musical decisions.

5. "Tennessee Sucks" - Tennessee may suck "in the summer," but this tune off Demolition sucks any season. I know a lot of people like this song--at the last RA show I went to the guy behind me kept saying, "Boy, I sure hope he plays 'Tennessee Sucks'"! Good for me, bad for that guy, the song was not played. I will say, however, that this live version aint too bad. .

4. "Enemy Fire" - Despite a great guitar solo at the end of this song, the first three minutes are so bad you can never get to it without skipping ahead. This song has drunken mistake written all over it and could probably be used as enemy fire by playing it over and over.

3. "The Sadness" - This song is just too long--it would certainly work as background music in a Clint Eastwood western movie, but I almost always skip over it when I listen to 29.

2. "Nuclear" - This song is plagued by unoriginal writing, both musically and lyrically. Perhaps the lyrics are just too deep for me to understand--all I pick up on is something about buring Porches and the Yankees losing to the Braves. It is nice the Yankees lost, though.

1. "1974" - This is hands down my least favorite Adams song, complete with a dreadfully uncreative chorus. On the bright side, we will never forget the "[year] he was born."

I had a hard time writing this post, mostly because any less than stellar RA songs are easily overshadowed by his exhaustive library of alt-country classics. On that note, keep checking back this week for more RA features leading up to the June 26th release of Easy Tiger.

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JJ Grey & Mofro

A self-professed "front porch soul" music collective, Jacksonville-product JJ Grey & Mofro is sure to strike a chord in that funky space in your heart. They write sincere, socially conscious tunes that are of the folk-blues-funk fusion type that seems to be real popular these days (see Ollabelle, Greyboy Allstars, and even The Duhks). The band's debut album Country Ghetto features the stylings of JJ Grey's unique raspy version of Tony Joe White (compare Polk Salad Annie to "Country Ghetto). "On Palastine" is a fantastic slow soul number that blends perfectly into well-strung "Footsteps". Be sure to check out the Ray LaMontagne-like "Tragic" as well.

Check out Country Ghetto.
Listen to "Tragic" (4.8/5)
Listen to "On Palastine" (4.85/5)

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Thoughtful Musing

We were trying to think of how one would spell the sound that plays when you start up a mac. We're thinking it's "zwhoon"? Anyone have a different idea?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vivek Shraya

I got an e-mail the other day from an independent Canadian musician Vivek Shraya who has just recently released his debut album If We're Not Talking. I was duly impressed with the tracks that I've heard thus far, and it seems to me that Shraya has got a sound that can take him to the top of the charts. The song "Fevered" sounds vocally like an excellent Apples in Stereo song that's got somehow got mixed in a blender with Of Montreal's catchy 60's pop rhythms. "Chemistry" is a little more on the electronic side, with a pounding beat and some kitchy guitars. Be sure to check out his myspace here, and buy If We're Not Talking.

Listen to "Fevered" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Chemistry" (4.5/5)


Free Live Track of the Day: 6.19.07

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins

Perhaps better known for her work with Rilo Kiley, and even for her collaboration with the Postal Service, today's tracks are from Jenny's solo work with the Watson Twins.

First, listen to "Fernando," taken from her performance on Conan...(4.38/5)
Then, take a trip to "Paradise," as performed in Somerville, Massachusetts...(5+/5)
Finally, "Handle with Care," as she teams up with Ben Gibbard in Malmo, Sweden...(4.265/5)


Monday, June 18, 2007

Live Track of the Day: 6.18.07

Today's tracks are from Belle and Sebastian performing at the Hollywood Bowl

"Sukie in the Graveyard"
"Dear Catastrophe Waitress"

Not much happening with the band this summer but we still love 'em
Check out a review from the show these tracks are taken from


Zombie Dance Parties

We had some request for the full article on the zombie dance parties. Check it out here. While we're at it why don't we watch the "Thriller" video also?

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dragonette: What pop music should be

It is just a matter of time before electropop supergroup, Dragonette, blows up somewhere, whether in Canada, the UK, the US, the blog world, at trashy high school dance parties, or at least at zombie dance parties. The band has already established relentless credibility with the pop music blog Popjustice. It seems the band is mentioned every other day and the blog has deemed Dragonette their "favourite new pop act of the last four years." Hmm...what about Gareth Gates? I'll keep backin' Gareth with you Simon--how's that comeback album coming?

The band, whose first full-length album Galore is due to release in the UK this August, has had moderate success with the first singles "Jesus doesn't love me" and "I get around." The band has just released its third single, "Take it like a man," which includes a sultry video based on 'Boogie Nights.' Galore is a masterful collection of edgy pop tunes that are suitable for the rock club, the dance floor, or the bedroom. Vocally, Dragonette's frontwoman Martina Sorbara bares some resemblance to Gwen Stefani, and seems to be an even bigger badass than Lily Allen. She says "yes when [she] oughta say no" and, as she proclaims in the harmlessly trashy "Black Limousine," she's a "woman with taste and a girl with true ambition."

Check out the video for the promiscuous, infectiously catchy "I get around" (not to be confused with soft-core porn)

Dragonette is fun, sexy, and damn talented. Galore will be in your head for days. You may get some strange looks for unconsciously singing, "I’m a natural catch for a chap to be sat / In the back of a black limousine," while on your lunch break, but don't worry because it's just a matter of time before everyone will be hummin' the Dragonette tune. The zombie dancers already are...

Yep, they have a myspace
And a website too!

Listen to "Take it like a Man" (4.4/5)
Listen to "Get Lucky" (4.2/5)
Listen to "Black Limousine" (4.3/5)

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Pacha Massive

Brooklyn-Latino duo Pacha Massive has just released their debut album All Good Things, and I guarantee you will be impressed. Pacha Massive melds the best of electronic basslines, salsa rhythms, and silky smooth vocals to get you out of your chair and onto the dancefloor. These are sexy, mysterious beats that recall the Bossa Nova of Joao Gilberto and evoke comparisons to Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack (coincidence I guess). All Good Things is more of an niche album, as it probably won't find its way to the blogosphere (it hasn't yet at least). For some reason, latino-based music never really seems to sell big in the US--I don't think there's a stigma of anything towards it, but that just seems to be the trend. Well don't be a bumbling fool and ignore Pacha Massive.
Go and check out their myspace here from some tracks, and then buy the album here.

Listen to "Oye Mira" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Drive" (4.6/5)

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Free Live Track of the Day: 6.15.07

calexico does arcade fire


I'm really glad I stumbled across Arcade Fire's "Intervention EP," which includes an amazing live rendition of "Ocean of Noise" performed by everyone's favorite border town rockers, Calexico. Certainly one of the best songs on Neon Bible, "Ocean of Noise" fits well into the characteristic southwestern sound of Calexico. While the somber mood originally set by Arcade Fire remains in Calexico's rendition, the band adds some of their own flare utilizing vibraphone, trumpet, and mariachi style guitar work at the end. The only question, then, is who does Arcade Fire better? Arcade Fire...or Calexico?

Listen to "Ocean of Noise" Calexico Style (4.9/5)
Listen to Arcade Fire's "Ocean of Noise" live at Judson Memorial Church NYC on 2.16.06 (5/5)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007


Out of Reykjavik, Iceland come a trio backed by Sindri Sigfoessen that write mellowed pop songs laced over gentle strings and Beirut-like trumpets. Their debut album The Ghost That Carried Us Away is really a case-and-point for lo-fi folk that avoids over production that often clutters arrangements that are written to be bare. The end result is a band with an identity that straddles between Air's vocals, Andrew Bird's violin, and Beirut's trumpets. This sensitive outpouring is a delightful album, although it seems that at times it fails to be diverse enough. Both bookends of the album are well-crafted and stand on their own, but the middle tracks ('Sailor Blue' and 'Lost Watch') seem to just get lost in the mix. However, tracks like 'Libraries' impress with their more prevalent drum rhythms that lend to a more upbeat approach to the folk song. Or take a listen to 'I Sing I Swim', a twangy piano jingle that is sure to be in your head for days.

Go to their myspace for more tracks.
Listen to "I Sing I Swim" (4.7/5)
Listen to "Owl Waltz" (4.75/5)

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Live Track of the Day: 6.14.07

Andrew Bird!!!

First, listen to him live on your computer as he twangs it up with a Charley Patton song, "I'm goin' home" (4.37/5)
Tonight, watch (and listen) to him live on your t.v. as he performs on Conan O'brien
Also, check out the CSV archives on Andrew Bird:
- Listen to the mp3 of his Dr. Stringz performance
- Read the album review of Armchair Apocrypha
- Read about and see pictures from his performance at Northwestern University (plus hear "11:11" live)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Live Track of the Day: 6.13.07

Today, check out Peter Bjorn and John, now known in some remote parts of North Dakota simply as:

Today's tracks are from their performance at NYC's Bowery Ballroom on 1.30.07. Another notable act who has performed at Bowery is:

Unfortunately, no recordings of Ms. Love's undoubtedly epic performance at Bowery are available. This picture will have to suffice.

Listen to "Objects of my Affection" (4.1/5) and then "Teen Love" (4.13/5)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Video Must See: The Dresden Dolls

Check out The Dresden Dolls' newest video for "The Shores of California." Features cameos by Margaret Cho and Liam Sullivan, as well as the disturbingly catchy line, "all around the nation the girls are crying and the boys are masturbating." Check it out:

Like what you see? Check out a live video here


Free Live Track of the Day: 6.12.07

We are really spoiling you today--kind of like when you get your significant other a gift for the first time and you are so nervous s/he won't like what you picked out so you do one of those variety pack kind of gifts so s/he is bound to like something. Okay, well we're not really spoiling you that much, but we are giving you two songs today. Both are Feist songs--"Sally's Song" (now "1 2 3 4") and "So Sorry"-- and are from a Chicago show on 1.26.06.

Listen to "1 2 3 4" (4.2/5)
Listen to "So Sorry" (5/5)

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The Rosebuds Blossom

The Rosebuds are a husband-and-wife duo out of North Carolina that have just released their third LP (their first record with Merge). According to them, they wanted to make a "dark, sexy, danceable, nuanced, and sublime record," and I would be a fool to say that they didn't succeed. Night of the Furies is an adorable collection of song, that ranges from moody, melodic tracks to somewhat more voluminous songs that really expand your ears. It is almost as if there's a constant soft synth in the background, that just lies there until it explodes into a chorus of 'Oh's' (see Silja Line) or it may break out into a string-filled delight. Indeed, this record might be considered lighter and fluffier than the norm, but don't take that to mean that it's got no substance. Night of the Furies is an excellent effort that is sure to lead to some more fantastic records from The Rosebuds.

Want to purchase Night of the Furies?
Listen to "Night of the Furies" (4.9/5)
Listen to "Get Up Get Out" (4.4/5)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Gifts of Summer: Free live music everyday

There's no better way to spend a summer than by watching live music. And with all the summer festivals, the opening of outdoor venues, and the free concerts, there is just no excuse for not going to shows. For my money it just doesn't get better than sitting on the lawn, drinking a Natural Light, while watching the Police try to remember how "Message in a Bottle" goes.

In the spirit of summer shows, CSV will be posting one live mp3 each weekday during the month of June. We will draw songs from live albums, bootlegs, and some we have recorded ourselves. Be sure to check back each day!

We start the month of live gifts off with a happy-go-lucky reminder of Ben Kweller's performance at Lollapalooza 2006. Listen to his opener, "Run."

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Year of the (White) Rabbits

The critics have been giving mixed reviews to the White Rabbits. One student in Mrs. Doyle's 8th grade class described two songs off the new album:

A real student-musician, however, had a more positive review:

Head over to the press section of the band's websites to read some more of these mostly unflattering reviews. Now for my take on things:

the band:
I first heard about this band back in February when a friend of mine told me that they rocked a mostly empty house while opening for Peter Bjorn and John in NYC. Their debut, Fort Nightly, was released on May 22 and the 'Rabbits have been gaining a tremendous amount of buzz ever since. Hailing from NYC, this high-energy sextet is sure to be one of this summer's best bets.

the sound:
The White Rabbits use a well-portioned blend of vintage-rock and calypso grooves, while paying greater attention to details than many other concise garage rockers. They are akin to The Walkmen, but the music is less dense and the vocals less edgy.

the pros:
They have what many similar bands lack: variety and subtly. They make full use of all six members, delivering especially well with their great harmonies and driving rhythm section.

the cons:
Their recorded sound is a bit too confined to really set them apart from similar bands. At times it seems as though they should have given one more rub to the lucky rabbit foot in order to assure their status as indie rock allstars.

the verdict:
This record will surely be one of the strongest releases of the summer. With a mainstage-worthy live show they are sure to be met with welcoming arms and pumping fists after a pitcher of margaritas.

it's no facebook, but it is a myspace

Listen to "the kid on my shoulders" (4/5)
Still not convinced? Listen to "navy wives" (4/5)
Also, check out a video segment on the band called "Practice Space"

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pick up Six

Here are some tracks/videos that are sure to peak your interest:

Sufjan Stevens - In The Words of The Governor
Could this really be Sufjan? Really? Well, I'll be honest then--this doesn't sound like something I'll want to be listening to on his next album. I hope there's no complacency on Stevens' part, because as of now, he could shit out a song right now and still have it be no. 1 on

The New Pornographers - My Right Vs. Yours
Solid track from indie darlings.

Akon is idiot.

Spoon - The Underdog
Everyone has been going Ga Ga Ga Ga for these guys, as their newest album is a great follow up to Gimme Fiction.

Beirut - Venice
Another solid, but intelligible track from Zach Condon. Can anyone understand what he's saying?

Fujiya & Miyagi - Ankle Injuries
This gives me an idea. I'm gonna throw one of our readers into the stands....maybe not.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

For your viewing pleasure

For something a little off beat, here's the Family Guy Episode "E. Peterbus Enum".

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Yankee Hotel Voxtrot

Fact: I will not be talking about Wilco today, despite the deceiving title.

After releasing critically-acclaimed EPs, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives and Your Biggest Fan, Voxtrot had big expectations to fulfill. I had taken Voxtrot's previous efforts as better than average--it wasn't necessarily that I was impressed so much by their EPs, but more so of what I thought they were capable of doing. And with the first proper LP, Voxtrot, I am duly impressed. Voxtrot is slightly more produced than their previous work, which suits well their rather clean sound. It's a lot easier to hear the different elements of each song from this burgeoning quintet. Voxtrot has got that sensitive indie rock feel to them, but with a good deal of edge that allows them to make catchy, infectious pop songs.

Comparisons have been made to Belle and Sebastian, and this seems logical on songs like "Kid Gloves". But the record seems to be slightly more story-like, with lyrics written like any good novel--an introduction, a plot, and a resolution. Beginning with the words 'Open your eyes, and stretch your hands', "Introduction" slowly builds into a string-filled rock song, that leads beautifully into the high-charged "Kid Gloves" and seagull-like "Ghost". The album then slows down a little bit to make room for the lighter "Stephen" and "Future, Pt. 1". By the time the last track "Blood Red Blood" comes through, the album takes on this completeness that would make any author (or listener) proud.

So go and get Voxtrot.
Listen to "Introduction" (4.8/5)
Listen to "Ghost" (4.9/5)
P.S. Happy Birthday Stephen!!


Friday, June 01, 2007

Carl Turns One!!!

It's absolute, my friends. CSVMAD has turned one year old! The past year has been chock full of great music, and I have to say that although I was hesitant at first about even starting a music blog, I've had such a delight doing it. Call me over-enthusiastic, but there's something about embellishing in another's music that makes me feel as though I somehow had something to do with it. Each Sufjan lyric, each Andrew Bird pluck of the violin, each chilling note of a Nick Drake masterpiece--these are the things that we all help create. These are the reasons why we listen in the first place.

Here's to another fantastic year,

What would this celebration be without a mix? Here's one song for each month, each having to deal with the number one.

Carl Turns One Playlist:
1. Feist - 1 2 3 4
2. J. Ralph - One Million Miles Away
3. Wilco - One By One (Live)
4. Phoenix - One Time Too Many
5. Tina Dico - One
6. Three Dog Night - One is the Loneliest Number
7. Annie - Me Plus One
8. David Gray - The One I Love
9. Doves - One of These Days
10. Coldplay - Square One
11. Feist - One Evening (VW Mix)
12. Nick Drake - One of These Things First

Keep on reading!!

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