Cloud Cult – Meet Me Where You’re Going

Cloud Cult (From left to right) Shannon Frid, Arlen Peiffer, Connie Minowa, Shawn Neary (In the back), Craig Minowa (Front and Center), Sarah Elhardt, Scott West, Not sure who the cellist is.

I’ve decided that I like listening to Cloud Cult an album at a time, rather than song by song. I just listened through the new release, Love, and I would describe it as fun, uplifting and dynamic. An aspect of Cloud Cult’s music that I really enjoy is how organic the music is, yet how they always have the gang-style vocals and versatility with instruments that gives them the arena rock feel at times.

The band will be back home April 27 and 28 for a couple shows at First Ave and I think it will be a very cool show.

I chose to highlight Meet Me Where You’re Going here, but you can preview the whole album here: http://www.cloudcult.com/love.cfm

This song has a folk feel with some sweet harmonies, beautiful strings, and a nice whimsical, yet sacrificial message.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVuv8Ruzq3g

Meet Me Where You’re Going

Meet me where you’re going, cuz I wanna be going where you are. Teach me what you’re knowing,

cuz I wanna be knowing who you are.

Run away with me, yeah, let’s get married.
Will you be the rest of my life?
Every day with you I say “I do”,
and it means so much more each time.

I love you and how.
Won’t leave you alone.
Will you be my home now?
And I’ll be your home.

Pray God protect us.
Pray God for guidance.
Make us selfless and rich in soul.

Cuz when we grow old, Love,
I’ll just love you more, Love,
through the sunshine and through the cold.

I’m not afraid, come fire, come rain,
with you here by my side.
I found boundless love for you
when I lost my foolish pride.

Thank you for patience.
Thank you for-giveness.
Thank you for spending this time with me.
Meet me where you’re going,
cuz I wanna be going wherever you’ll be.

Run away with me, yeah, let’s get married.
Will you be the rest of my life?
Every day with you I say “I do”,
and it means so much more each time.

Aimee Mann and James Mercer – Living a Lie

Aimee Mann and James Mercer of The Shins

When I heard this song on The Current my ears immediately perked up at James Mercer’s voice. If you are not familiar with James Mercer – he is the front-man for The Shins and an amazing songwriter and singer. I’ve been exploring Aimee Mann’s other music and it’s pretty decent, but I don’t enjoy it to the same degree as this duet. The song features some great light-rock harmonies, some cool electric piano parts, and Aimee herself holds down the rhythm guitar.

You can see yourself in the side mirror
tossing your hair
if no one is there
why do you care
Though I let you think there was no witness to
all of your crimes
I knew what you were:
a climber who climbs

I’m living a lie
you’re living it too
cause I live it with you
I’m living a lie
a lie I can’t tell
so we wait for a crack in the shell

No one bears a grudge like a boy genius
Just past his prime
Gilding his cage
One bar at a time
For every open arm there’s a cold shoulder
Waiting to turn
People to blame
Bridges to burn

I’m living a lie
you’re living it too
cause I live it with you
I’m living a lie
a lie I can’t tell
so we wait for a crack in the shell

A girl comes around at a time when your ground
is as shaky as leaves on a tree
creating for you a persona or two
or an out-and-out mythology
Now there’s too many cooks but you like how it looks
when they’re bowing and calling you “boss”
but the powers that were, were invested in her
and now winning means taking a loss

I’m living a lie
you’re living it too
cause I live it with you
I’m living a lie
a lie I can’t tell
so we wait for a crack in the shell

Ryan Bingham – Weary Kind

Ryan Bingham

Alright readers, this time I’m coming through for you. I am actually featuring an artist before he performs in Minneapolis. Ryan Bingham is a little bit rock and more than a little bit country. Although he routinely ranks higher on the country music charts than he does on rock or indie charts, a voice like worn sandpaper (seriously, you just want him to clear his throat, but you know that would spoil everything) and an eclectic repertoire has helped him elude being pigeonholed in any single genre of music. In 2010, Bingham won Grammy, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe for his work on the Crazy Heart soundtrack, but he is not afraid to shake up his established style. His newest record Tomorrowland takes a fairly dramatic shift from the country to the rock & roll side of the music spectrum. I’m going to be honest and say it is not his best album and, like Bob Dylan when he decided to switch from acoustic folk to electric rock, I am comfortable saying that Ryan Bingham will likely lose fans over this transition, but I think he’ll come through it and continue to develop his musical style.

In order to show this music shift, I am going to post two videos. The first is The Weary Kind, his biggest hit and the reason behind his Academy Award and Artist of the Year Grammy. I think it is representative of much of his older music and his country roots with maybe a little more singer/songwriter feel to it than some of his other stuff. The second is Heart of Rhythm off of his newest album from last fall. I’m sure you’ll hear the difference, so I don’t feel a need to explain it further. I’m sure you can guess which Bingham I prefer, but I want to know what you, valued readers, think. Especially if this is your first time hearing him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwwkqABItLA

Catch Ryan Bingham live at First Ave. on March 17th.

Pickering Pick – Standing Stone

Sam Pickering Pick

Originally from England, Sam Pickering Pick now lives in Sacramento, California.

It’s difficult to find much information on him (And where a name like Sam Pickering Pick comes from) but this mystery can often make an artist that much more appealing. There is a great interview with him on The Mad Mackerel.

This track has a melancholy feel (which I always love) and sounds as if he’s alone in a big empty room with a piano. His tone and range on this song remind me a little of Tracy Chapman. You might be wondering, “Isn’t Tracy Chapman a woman?” The answer is yes. But compare Fast Car to Standing Stone (or any of the songs on Tropic) and tell me you don’t hear the similarities. I recommend checking out all Pickering Pick’s music at his website: http://pickeringpick.com/

As always, we’d love to hear from you – so share your thoughts below!

Wake Owl – Gold

Alright readers, it’s been awhile, but I am back and excited to introduce you to Wake Owl, Vancouver’s most recent gift to the music world. Vaguely reminiscent of Great Lake Swimmers (another great Canadian band you need to check out), but more melodic, their songs are the musical incarnations of birch trees and large bodies of fresh water (if that isn’t a good review, I don’t know what is). If after listening, you feel an overwhelming desire to pick up and move to the Northwoods, don’t blame me and remember that this is a normal reaction. Once again, dear readers, I have failed you when it comes to the possibility of seeing this band live. They played at the 7th Street Entry ten days ago and I missed it and you probably missed it (if you didn’t let me know how it was) and their return to Minneapolis, the city of great music, is yet unscheduled. Next time I promise to introduce you to a band that you will actually have the opportunity to see.

However, thanks to the miracle of audio and video recording, you don’t have to see them live to hear their music! You don’t even need to rely the the good taste of a radio station (because you’d be waiting forever on that). You can sit right where you are, on your bear skin rug next to that raging fire on your hearth with a bottle of home brewed mead, flip open your laptop or smartphone and be inundated with the wilderness music of Wake Owl (unless you in Appalachia, because I swear they don’t even have 3G their, but then if you are in Appalachia you probably don’t need me to bring you great music.) So, here is Gold (as in the color of your honey mead), a track off Wake Owl’s recently released debut EP Wild Country (Jan 29, 2013). It is a little bit more mellow than the other four tracks they have released, but this way it will only add to the reverie caused by the gently falling snow outside your hunting cabin in the forest. Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Lyrics:

So, didn’t you find love or salvation in what they do,
a heart is built of gold, they fairies they are too, its in the hands you hold,
how long can we ignore, we build a little more, and then we break our truth

oooooo

I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
I said I’d taken it all in to make the good life,
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light

But I cannot turn around, the angels hear me now, go where i’m bound,
you smile like you know the new world has been found

oooooo

I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
I said I’d taken it all in to make the good life,
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light
I don’t feel like I’m falling, I’m up against the sky,
let’s grab the heart of the world and turn into the light

Jim James – State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

Jim James

Jim James of My Morning Jacket released his first solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, just a couple weeks ago.

This definitely has a funkier feel than his music with My Morning Jacket, but I’ve always felt the band was pretty eclectic. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far.

I was trying to pin point what State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.) reminds me of and couldn’t quite get there. With the simple piano anchoring the song, Jim James’ classic sonorous vocals and even a little bit of a funk drum beat and bass line. Then, about 2/3 of the way through, a nice little guitar riff joins in and, finally, a synth pad and this adds a finishing touch on the layering of the instruments.

Take a listen and share your thoughts below! (The audio quality isn’t the greatest, so I recommend checking the song out on Spotify or iTunes)

If you like what you hear, Jim James will be at First Avenue on April 21.

Andrew Bird – Three White Horses

Andrew Bird in a familiar pose with his violin

It’s interesting to note that Andrew Bird is from Chicago, because to me, he looks and sounds European. It’s probably a combination of his wardrobe and his clear, melodic voice that is often emphasize with vibrato. I am starting to hear some similarities between Bird and Rufus Wainwright, not only their voices, but they both seem to have classical and Broadway influences in their music.

The song Three White Horses is from his latest album, Hands of Glory. The song has some some elements that sound like Country Western (Think Southwestern), but Bird’s crooning voice gives it a ballad feel and there’s the interesting pitch modulation technique used on the lead guitar parts. There’s an interesting contrast with some of the other songs on this album like Spirograph, which also has a bit of an old country feel to it, but I would say it is more melodic than Three White Horses. When That Helicopter Comes has a little bit of a 50’s rock sound to it. I’m really enjoying the exploration of this latest album.

It looks like he’s on a South American tour currently and will be coming back to America, but not anywhere close to us poor Minnesotans in the near future.

There’ll be three white horses
All in a line
There’ll be three white horses
In a line

Three white horses
When you go on that way
You will need somebody when you come to die

Don’t dismiss it like it’s easy
Tell me what’s so easy
Bout comin’ to say goodbye
You’re gonna miss her in the evenin’
You know all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

There’ll be three white horses in a line
There’ll be three white horses in a line

There’ll be three white horses
When you go on that way
You will need somebody when you come to die

It’s not desperation that we’re breedin’
It’s just a need we’re feedin’
Before we say goodbye

You’re gonna miss me in the evenin’s
You know all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

Yeah all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

The Vaccines – Teenage Icon

 

Hailing from West London, the Vaccines just passed though Minneapolis last Saturday on their first headlining US tour. Their second album came out last September and hit #1 on the UK album charts. They are a great mix of 80’s pop and the modern indie rock movement. Think Tears for Fears meets Noah and the Whale. Unfortunately we have no idea when they’ll be back state side, but we’ll keep our ears open. In the mean time take a look at the music video for their song Teenage Icon, a song that would not be out of place in The Breakfast Club. I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this song except that I really love how they did the music video.

Let us know what you think.

Southwire – Live on The Current

Southwire, from Duluth, MN consists of Jerree Small, Ben Larson, Matt Mobley and Sean Elmquist. They performed three songs live on The Current’s Local Show the other day and The Current describes them well when they say the band has a “gorgeous blend of folk and heavy atmospherics.” If I had to categorize it I would say it’s folk with some old soul mixed in.

Jerree Small’s voice reminds me a little of Feist, especially on Gone Astray  and the band produces a soothing, ambient sound throughout all their music. If you listen to the live recording you’ll also hear them talk about their church and that Charlie Parr is also a part of it.

You can listen to the entire live session here.

If you like what you hear, Southwire will be performing at 7th Street Entry on Friday, April 19.

 

 

Ben Kyle – The Dark

Ben Kyle

Ben Kyle’s birthplace of Belfast, Northern Ireland, to me, explains his immense talent. The city is also the birthplace of Van Morrison, C.S. Lewis, and Amy Carmichael, to name a few extraordinary individuals. But what’s even more amazing to us proud Minnesotans is that Kyle has lived here in Minneapolis since the age of 13. His band, Romantica, is currently on a hiatus as Kyle and some of the other members pursue different projects.

Kyle’s sound reminded me a bit of Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown when I first heard him, but this song, The Dark, in particular really had a Ryan Adams feel to it. It came as no surprise, then, when I discovered that Ben Kyle has not only collaborated with Ryan Adams, but Adams sang backing vocals with Kyle on The Dark on tour. (You can download this live performance free on NoiseTrade)

I have to say this is really my favorite type of music. Americana (Or Irish-Americana in this case), alt-country, folk-rock; whatever you want to call it is such a soothing, beautiful and sometimes sad style of music. I attribute much of this to the chilling harmonies and the unique sound of the pedal steel; which is one of my favorite instruments and is very prevalent in Ben Kyle’s music.

I don’t wanna go out tonight, if you’re staying at home
I don’t wanna go out in the dark of the night and leave you alone

The air is getting heavy, I feel like a rolling stone
Weighing me down like the memory of a Minnesota winter when I’m far from home
The dark is getting deeper, I feel so far from home
Pulling me in like the memory of the feeling of the fear of being all alone

I don’t wanna go out tonight, if you’re staying at home
I don’t wanna go out in the dark of the night and leave you alone

The rain is getting heavy, falling like a waterfall
Filling my shoes with the memories of me and you in Belfast in the fall
The rain is beating harder, here comes a cannonball
Flooding my veins, but the feeling is the same, being without you after all

I don’t wanna go out tonight, if you’re staying at home
I don’t wanna go out in the dark of the night and leave you alone

If I gotta be alone tonight, I’ll be praying for the morning light
I don’t wanna be a moon in the sky where the sun don’t shine
And the rain ain’t nothing but the tears we cry tonight