Tag: over the rhine

We need a New Redemption Song.

$_57I have been thinking about the crash in Glasgow yesterday. also previously, I have been thinking and working on something for easter saturday, a day traditionally of no liturgy, a day of no hope, a day dominated by the absence of light. How can the people who live in the now and not yet of faith, engage with the absence of hope? of feelings of distinct and constant blackness. I am not sure I have any sort of answer, but I have heard a song in a new way. It is a christmas songs but gets near to some of the feelings I think are appropriate, anyway it’s here.

A New Redemption Song – Over the Rhine, from the album Snow Angels. (you can hear this song by clicking on my jam to the top right of the screen.)

Lord we need a new redemption song
Lord we’ve tried
It just seems to come out wrong
Won’t you help us please
Help us just to sing along
A new redemption song

Lord we need
A new redemption day
All our worries
Keep getting in the way

Won’t you help us please
Help us find the words to pray
To bring redemption day

The Long List – Best Album of 2014

A list containing some of the best sounds which have informed my year, namely the long list of the best albums of 2014. As always all musical albums I heard for the first time in 2014 are eligible for consideration and the selection decision is my own.

Decision Timescale :-
Short list issued before christmas.
Winners sometime after christmas and before new year.

The 2014 long list. (artist (inc weblink), title of album)

Smoke Fairies – Ghosts
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Field Mouse – Hold Still life
Gungor – I am Mountain
Nostalgia 77 – A Journey To Far
July Talk – July Talk
Joe Henry – Invisible Hour
Jeremy Fisher – The Lemon Squeeze
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended with Gold
Waterdeep – Moment
Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments to an Elegy
Beck – Morning Phase
FanFarlo – Let’s Go Extinct
Natalie Merchant – Natalie Merchant
The Twilight Sad – Nobody wants to Be Here and Nobody wants to leave
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Only Run
The Raveonettes – Pea’s
Sondre Lerche – PLease
A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent
Maplewood Lane -Sweetheart of the Radio Master
Pete Molinari – Theosophy
Yumi Zouma] – Yumi Zouma
Danielson – The Best of Gloucester County
Over the Rhine – Blood Oranges In the Snow
Linnea Olsson – Breaking and Shaking
Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son – (Double album version)
At The Close of Every Day – Darkness Travels Light
Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil – Goliath
Meaghan Smith – Have a Heart
Mogwai -Rave Tapes
Jad Fair & Danielson – Solid Gold Heart
Ibibio Sound Machine – Ibibio Sound Machine

other year end lists can be found
here – The Guardian’s top 10 records of the Year
here – album of the year aggregate site

#indyref Song 2 – If a song could be President by Over the Rhine

(This is a small blog series using songs to ask questions about the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Not intended as anything beyond lighthearted.)

Song 2 – If a Song could be President by Over the Rhine
What’s the song about?
It’s about what life could be like if instead of voting for a politician with their agendas and manifestos, we voted for songs and their writers. How would life be changed.

What questions are similar around the referendum?
It asks what qualities we look for in the people we vote for? How would we seek out the song which connects with the highest number of people? Is it about melody, truth or intimacy.

What conclusions can we draw about the independence referendum vote?
Well this system is great for people who like the music I like. unfortunately we would see a succession of X-factor winners being elected to the major offices of state, Steve Brookstein to Prime Minister/First Minister, David Sneddon to the Treasury/Finance minister, One Direction to well any office as they are clearly amazing. perhaps this isn’t actually the safest policy then.


Music I like, from 2013.

I know its already month 2 of 2014, but I guess its time to work out my favourite music of 2013. (Yes I was deleting the 2013 playlist that gathers all the new music i heard in 2013 so i can start a new on for 2014.)

I find I listen to less music than I used too. I am also slightly less generous with music as a result. I want more quality, less filler. I am unwilling to spend too much time with something which my initial reaction is no. I think i am reasonably open to new music, and hearing things that I haven’t heard before. And I did find some great music last year. But when it comes to trying to get a top 3 albums it is strange how a couple of artists seem able to consistantly hit a sweet spot in my ears, or in case of the number one album my soul, instantly becoming part of my unconscious soundtrack. Adding to the songs which come to mind when I am just being. Anyway heres some thoughts/recommendations…

The rules.
All music is in unless I have heard it before (a brief radio soundbite doesnt count!). So if the album was released in 1956, but I have never heard it, that album is eligable for the 2013 competition.

The notable runners up

The Beast In Its Tracks by Josh Ritter
If You Leave by Daughter
New Siberia by Anje Duvekot
Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
All good records, but not in the top 3 of this year. For various reasons.

Joint 3rd place.
CandDThat’s What Happens by chas & dave
Chas and Dave’s new album features a roster of star name playing with them, and their trademark harmonies and displays an knowledge of the history of british music, (thesong Lonnie D is a tribute to Lonnie Donegan and his role in brining rock and roll music to the UK). Unlike alot of Chas and Dave music, this album doesn’t allow them to be too far into normal Chas & Dave territory. Part of this has to be due to the part producer Joe Henry played in the making of the album. it is warm, familiar while also showing restraint and a striped down accoustic feel which allows the voices to do alot more of the work. It is a great album.

VVThe Future will destroy you by Viva Voce The Future will destroy you is a magnificent album of modern rock songs. Anita and Kevin Robinson, the husband and wife Duo who make up the band, have an uncanny knack for creating songs which are at once modern yet classic. I had lost track of them since their 2009 album Rose City on Barsuk Records. Concious of this this year i did an “I wonder what they are doing” internet search, discovering this delight of an album from 2011. Its a great rock album with a strong set of songs. I really like it album.

2nd place
The NationalTrouble will Find Me by The National
well what can I say about “Trouble Will Find Me”? On first listen I wondered why it seemed restrained and calmer than the earlier albums. They are a band on the cusp of becoming a stadium-filling act and en route to the top 5, why produce an album of non anthemic, non stadium music. I am not sure I have answered that question yet. But I find it interesting that on the bands next tour on the UK this summer, their next gig in Scotland will be at the Usher hall. not the Hydro or the SECC. I have seen then twice live now and, thanks to the popularity of youtube, I have seen a couple of live concert performances since this albums been released. The new songs sound unlike tradional stadium rock, but they stand up to the large crowd experience. They draw the crowd in and provide a set of songs which a set can be built upon and accessorized with material from earlier albums. Its a brilliant album in many ways, and one that get under the skin, with seeming anthemic feel to almost all the songs. I think this album will live long in my subconcious. It is very good.

1st Place
otRMeet Me At The Edge Of The World by Over The Rhine. Lets get it out of the way. Over the Rhine are my favourite band currently. They seem like they speak to me even though I doubt the albums are written with me in mind. This album is awesome. It is the second album they have done with producer Joe Henry (yes, he has two albums in my top 3!), and the same stripped back sound, that I found with Chas & Dave, is also in effect here. The songs are georgous and beautiful.
Its number one because last year it solidified with place one evening when I had a cold. I went to bed early. I fired up my bedside radio which can connect to my NAS device. I scanned my music collection and settled on this. as I lay there and dozed and woke up, and slept this album was well perfect. it was intimate, it was overwhelming in delightfulness. In that hazy time getting the music right is a real struggle. get it wrong and it will bug you and put you off an album for life. make it right, and well, you have an album for life. This is the best album that I heard in 2013 without a doubt. Great work.

Best album of 2007 (marking 10 years of music)

As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod and what not. so what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 2007 and a top 3 with some witterings on why i like things you will probably not like!

From 2007 the year that was “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All”, the year Gordon brown became UK prime Minister, and the year of minority government at the Scottish Parliament.
the contenders in alphabetical order;

  • Alphabeat – This Is Alphabeat
  • Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
  • Björk – Volta
  • Burial – Untrue
  • Emilie Simon – L’Olympia
  • Fiest – The Reminder
  • Mark Ronson – Version
  • Martyn Joseph- Vegas
  • The National – Boxer
  • Okkervil River – The Stage Names
  • Over The Rhine – The Trumpet Child
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • Rilo Kiley – Under The Backlight
  • St Vincent – Marry Me
  • Steve Earle – Washington Square Blues
  • Using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are

    number 3
    Over The Rhine – The Trumpet Child
    This is Over the Rhine’s third appearance in albums i liked from the 2000’s. and this one is again full of consistently great tunes and wonderful lyrics. another quietly wonderful album.
    seek out – “Desperate for Love”, “Trouble”, “If A Song Could Be President” & “Don’t Wait For Tom”

    number 2
    Steve Earle – Washington Square Blues
    A great album from Mr Earle, Recorded in New York where he had moved and influenced by the sounds of new york this album mixes up folk and country with hip hop beats and urban production. But it does this without messing with the songwriting, or the key folkiness of the album. It is a good album to listen too, but every so often some of lyrics will catch you provoke and challenge, i like that.
    seek out – “Satellite Radio”, “City of Immigrants”, “Sparkle and Shine” & “Oxycontin Blues”

    number 1
    Radiohead – In Rainbows
    Radiohead, narrowly edge out The National’s “Boxer”, with “In Rainbows”. What a great album. First thing to notice is that it is only ten songs, ten great songs, everyone is individually noticeable and integral to the album. secondly, it rocks. It really does. “15 step” is great, “Bodysnatchers” sounds wonderful, “weird fishes/arpeggi” is as clean a rock song as Radiohead have ever done.and on it goes. one song highlights this for me “House of Cards”, so simple, deep, emotional, yet simple. it doesn’t seem the longest song on the album yet it is. Lovely album. and in all the coverage about the pay what you want thing, i think the lovelyness of this album got lost somehow.
    seek out – The whole album. It lovelyness in musical form.

    Best album of 2003 (marking 10 years of music)

    As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod and what not. so what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 200 and a top 3 with some witterings on why i like things you will probably not like!

    From 2003 the year London introduced its congestion charge, and the end of Channel 4’s Brookside and Supersonic aircraft Concorde.
    the contenders are in alphabetical order;

      Barenaked Ladies – Everything to Everyone
      Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress
      British Sea Power – The Decline of British Sea Power
      Bruce Cockburn – You’ve Never Seen Everything
      Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
      Eddi Reader – Sings The Songs of Robert Burns
      Martyn Joseph – Whoever it was that brought me here will have to take me home
      OutKast – Speakerboxx / The Love Below
      Over the Rhine – Ohio
      Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
      Rufus Wainwright – Want One
      The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
      The Violet Burning – This Is The Moment
      Zwan – Mary Star of The Seas

    using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are
    please note this year was extremely good for music and a real tough decision!

    number 3
    e2eBarenaked Ladies – Everything to Everyone.
    in my humble opinion probably the best record Barenaked Ladies have made. off kilter, gorgeous pop with a rock underbelly. lyrics to die for and a pop sensibility which belies the seeming simplicity of the album, it took me a while to click with, but now the album is welded in my subconscious, with twists and turns which are as familiar as old friends and sometimes as surprising as friends are.
    seek out – “Another Postcard”, “Shopping” & “War on Drugs”

    number 2
    wantoneRufus Wainwright – Want One
    I remember buying this CD then giving a lift to someone in my car, and saying “You must listen to this album. it is wonderful, it mixes classical pop, beauty and wonder. it is as operatic as it is pop, it is just wonderful”. then I turned it up loud and sang along completely convinced it’s beauty would work wonders.
    what an album. If it wasn’t for number 1 it would easily have been album of the year.
    seek out – the whole album. it is easily one of the top ten albums of this decade.

    number 1
    OhioOver the Rhine – Ohio
    I don’t know how 2 albums into a 4 album deal Over the Rhine persuaded Virgin records to allow them to release a double album, but frankly it is a move of backing artists vision which was rewarded by one of the best albums i have ever heard.
    It is moving, frank, honest, emotional, wonderful, dreamy, yet real, bitter sweet, an album of supreme skill craft, songwriting and beauty, just wonderful. absolutely wonderful.
    seek out – ensure you have this album. If you don’t have it ask I will buy it for you. (really this is a real offer)

    Best album of 2001 (marking 10 years in music)

    As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod or not. So what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 2001 and a top 3 with some witterings on why I like things you will probably not like!

    From 2001 the year that the twin towers were destroyed and pyres of foot and mouth cattle were lit across the British countryside.
    the contenders (in alphabetical order)

  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – B.R.M.C.
  • Buddie & Julie Miller – Buddie & Julie Miller
  • Cowboy Junkies – Open
  • Eddi Reader – Live
  • Lost Dogs – Real Men Cry
  • Over the Rhine – Films for Radio
  • R.E.M. – Reveal
  • Radiohead – Amnesiac
  • using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are

    brmcBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club – B.R.M.C.
    what a great album, i first head of it from Pip Wilson’s blog, and what a good little rock’n’roll album it is all fuzzy guitars, thumping drums and almost distorting bass lines, and a brooding sense of something happening. I think this album is ace. but then after putting Smashing Pumpkins and At The Drive In in my top 3 from 2000 is that any surprise?
    seek out ‘Spread You Love’ & ‘Love Burns’

    ffrOver the Rhine – Films for Radio
    good classy record. it marked a change in direction for the band, after being signed to IRS, and being a four peice band making pretty straight pop rock, the band had self recorded and released (the unbelievaby fantastic album) Good Dog Bad Dog, Ric (guitars) and Brian (drums) had left the band, this left the band more focused on linford’s writing and Karen’s voice.
    the resulting album is very good indeed. With a new guitarist and producer in tow, Films For Radio, has a dreamy wonderfulness quality to it. The songs have the feel of a bond theme about them, and perhaps hinting at the change leading to a change of direction but possibly even more fantastic music to come. still pop / rock wbut with hints of country and perhaps a jump forward in production quality.
    Seek out – ‘I radio heaven’, ‘If nothing else”

    buddy-and-julieBuddy & Julie Miller – Buddy & Julie Miller
    I love this album, I guess loving Country/americana music can be hard to do but with this album it is easy, an album jam packed with great songs and great harmonies. Buddy and Julie have been called the first couple of americana, and looking at the list of who they have and contiue to work with is a who’s who of country /americana music.
    This album is delivered with class. It was the first album I got from Buddy & Julie and it is great music for driving to! you should really be listening to this album. seriously, you should!
    seek out ‘Keep Your Distance’ & ‘The Rivers Gonna Run’

    Desperate for Love?

    I love this song, video’s not bad either.

    Are you feelin’
    A little desperate
    Get on your knees
    And confess it
    Honey please
    Don’t second guess it
    You’re desperate
    For love

    Is this just
    A little fling
    Or is it about
    A little bling bling
    Either way
    You feel the sting sting
    You’re desperate
    For love

    It might only take a kiss
    For the plot to take a twist
    That you hadn’t counted on

    Just a tiny little minute
    But eternity will be in it
    If you turn me on

    Red wine on my lips
    Got this black silk slip on my hips
    The kitchen faucet just drips and drips
    You’re desperate for love