Once upon a time, I worked at a place called The Uptown Café in Bloomington, Indiana. James Combs worked there as well at the time, and I remember being a tad "starstruck" when I met him because I was 19 and he was in one of the best and most popular bands in town, Arson Garden. (I've posted a cover or two by AG in the past, remember?)
I always liked Arson Garden, but my love was nothing compared with that of a slew of my likewise young and dorky music-loving guy friends who were seriously obsessed with Arson Garden. Working with James increased my indie cred a lot. Gotta love when that happens.
Arson Garden is long defunct, of course, but James's solo career continues and, I'm happy to say, appears to be doing well. (Hell, his songs have been used in both Six Feet Under and Dexter, both of which are in my Top 5 TV shows.) Likewise, his new album to Know You is To Save You is really nice and recently hit No. 25 on KCRW's airplay charts. His stuff reminds me of Elliott Smith and Big Star and other awesomeness so if you're into that type of awesomeness, check it out. In fact, if you're in LA, you can see him tonight at 8 at Tangier. (Check his MySpace for other upcoming dates.)
Sorry of this is all a bit press release-y, but it makes me happy to see friendly talented people I know making good music. And I'd be remiss not to use whatever influence I have to promote it. You know?
Hell, while I'm talking (yet again) about Bloomington-based bands, please enjoy and become obsessed with the Impossible Shapes, which features members of lots of other great bands like Magnolia Electric Co., Normanoak, The Horns of Happiness, and more. I'm personally not friends with any of them, but I've mentioned before that my best pal Ryan knows Jason Groth of the Alien Lanes tribute fame, remember? So I feel connected. And even if I didn't, I'd still listen to the music 'cause it rules.
This comes from Lumley's Radiohead interpretations album She Talks in Maths. I have to admit, when I got the e-mail telling me about it that included this MP3, I was feeling bitter and angry about the proliferation of awful jazz interpretations and ignored it awhile. But a week or so later the sun came out and I felt more optimistic and now I can say, though jazz is really not my thing, I do like it a lot. I wish more of the coffee shops I stumble into would play stuff like this rather than anything by Diana Krall.
Man, the Ethel Merman "disco" album is one of the biggest mistakes ever made. Yet I wouldn't want to live in a world without it.
Mad props to the Vindictives for not switching the gender. I love cover that doesn't.
This is one of my favorite Bowie covers ever. There, I said it. So pretty.
Dear MBV: I love that you're touring. Please consider coming to the States. ASAP!!!
When I saw that a band I didn't know was covering this, I assumed it was a terrible band and that it would suck. Luckily, I never let my assumptions keep me from giving things a shot. This is a pleasant (inasmuch as dirge-like tracks can be) alt-country/chamber-folk revelation.
Speaking of depressing-but-pretty Americana tracks, this languid take on one of my favorite power-pop songs totally took me by surprise. Weird.