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Derek Webb ‘Ctrl’

11th Jul 12 (Wed) Leave a comment

8/13/12 update… nah, it’s not really an electronic album.  Singer-songwriter fare… good stuff, though, as usual from Derek.

So, perhaps Derek Webb is turning into an electronic artist?  OK.  Fine with me, I loved that progression from acoustic singer-songwriter on Stockholm Syndrome.

He’s putting out his newest album, Ctrl, on August 21, 2012 (online) / September 4, 2012 (physical).  Here’s all the relevant press for the album and Square Tour

Ctrl will be available for early/direct sale at 12:01AM on August 21, 2012 exclusively at derekwebb.com for two weeks before it goes on sale everywhere on September 4, 2012.

On August 23, Derek will also be launching THE SQUARE TOUR in support of Ctrl. Backed by a full band (including Ctrl co-producer Josh Moore), THE SQUARE TOUR promises to be the most musically and technologically ambitious live production of Derek Webb’s career. Every show on THE SQUARE TOUR will take place in a surprising, unconventional venue specifically selected to accommodate a unique four-sided stage and lighting/production rig designed and built exclusively for THE SQUARE TOUR.

Opening for Derek Webb on THE SQUARE TOUR is the band Page CXVI (which features SOLA-MI vocalist Latifah Phillips). All shows on THE SQUARE TOUR will also include a very special performance by SOLA-MI.  All tickets will be sold directly from derekwebb.com, and are AVAILABLE NOW. Follow @derekwebb on Twitter for additional cities as they’re added.

~Dan – np: Sigur RósValtari

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #9

13th Dec 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “Falling Slowly” by The Swell Season. It starts out not as expected, a little more rough around the edges compared to the original.  I love this song, though – and I think Derek does it justice.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson (traditional hymn) – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You *a personal fave*
  • April: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • May: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
  • June: U2 – One
  • July: Dallán Forgaill (traditional hymn) – Be Thou My Vision
  • August: Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • September: The Beatles – Revolution *a personal fave*
  • October: Rich Mullins – Creed
  • November: The Swell Season – Falling Slowly

~Dan – np: Childish Gambino Camp

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #7

3rd Oct 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “Revolution” by The Beatles. I love the fuzzy intro and backwards-seeming vocal edits throughout.  Nice job, Derek.  I still think his fans tend to be less adventurous (doubling down again), but Derek turned out a great tribute song.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson (traditional hymn) – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You *a personal fave*
  • April: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • May: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
  • June: U2 – One
  • July: Dallán Forgaill (traditional hymn) – Be Thou My Vision
  • August: Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • September: The Beatles – Revolution *a personal fave*

~Dan – np: Laswell/Nauseef/Mori/Parker Near Nadir

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #6

5th Sep 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel (posted on 9/5). Good job by Derek, but I’m definitely disappointed in the populace who voted.  I mean, how boring are you guys?  Doubling down on U2, various hymns, and Simon & Garfunkel?  Where is your adventurous spirit, Democracy Volume 2 voters?  I love Derek.  I fear his fans are generally boring, though.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson (traditional hymn) – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You *a personal fave*
  • April: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • May: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
  • June: U2 – One
  • July: Dallán Forgaill (traditional hymn) – Be Thou My Vision
  • August: Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

~Dan – np: Tegan & Sara Sainthood

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #4

5th Jul 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “One” by U2 (posted on 7/1).  Derek has a long affinity for these Irish gents.  My guess is that when this one came up in the vote winners pile, he paired it with this past weekend’s Nashville U2 covers show and then seeing U2 at VU/Nashville (#U2360NAS).

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You *a personal fave*
  • April: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • May: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
  • June: U2 – One

~Dan – np: Secret Chiefs 3 Eyes of Flesh :: Eyes of Flame

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb & Sandra McCracken – TN EP

27th Jun 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

The follow-up to 2008’s Ampersand, husband & wife duo Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken released TN EP at midnight CST (10pm PST).  It includes five original songs as well as interesting and entertaining covers of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Time After Time” and Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Sound of Silence.”


http://tn-ep.com/

options: various download formats $5,
CD+download $7

~Dan – np: CelldwellerWish Upon a Blackstar 04

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #3

7th Jun 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

If you came here for the U2 Seattle review, GO HERE.

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. I generally hate/hate/hate this song… I blame Jonatha Brooke & Jars of Clay’s more schmaltzy versions.  I’m digging Derek’s more layered version.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You
  • April: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
  • May: The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Also, Derek & his wife Sandra McCracken are hitting the road in the Fall for a house concert / living room show tour for their upcoming TN EP.  GO HERE if you can host.

~Dan – np: PuyaAreyto

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #2

5th May 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi. I’m at work; so I haven’t had a chance to listen yet… but I’m looking forward to it!

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year. The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied. Here’s what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 to date (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • January 2011: off
  • February: off
  • March: Cee-Lo Green – F**k You

Fans of Derek may also want to check out his contribution (amongst other great covers) of Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans. The tribute album put out by On Joyful Wings is called Seven Swans Reimagined. Derek does “In Devil’s Territory.” Other musicians include some Asthmatic Kitty favorites, and some newbies to the fold – including the Gregory Brothers (autotune the news) and Inlets.

~Dan – np: Porcupine TreeDeadwing

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2 #1

29th Mar 11 (Tue) 3 comments

One a month, from March to December 2011…

Derek Webb’s Democracy Vol 2… This month, it is “F**k You” by Cee-Lo Green (from Gnarls Barkley).  I’m at work; so I haven’t had a chance to listen yet… but I’m looking forward to it! Part of me thinks Derek is solely doing this for the “Christian singer-songwriter singing ‘Fuck You’” aspect of it, but whatever… that aspect has no bearing on my views.  I like Cee-Lo’s unconventional pop song, and I like Derek Webb.  The combo should prove interesting – even if he recently tweeted that he muted the F-word, since he couldn’t sing an asterisk.

If Derek covers the song live on his current tour with Jars of Clay… well, that would be excellent…  but unlikely.

Update: listening to it now… personal preference would be for it to not be self-censored.  Vocals also sound kinda muddy, weirdly buried in the mix.  Keyboards don’t seem synched up with the guitars & drums. I applaud his moxy, just perhaps not the execution.  Still enjoyable, though – all things considered.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 2 is a continuation of the covers project Derek started last year.  The fans get to nominate songs and then vote once the nominations are tallied.  Here’s what he did back in 2010 (you can still go back and buy this volume):

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Fans of Derek may also want to check out his contribution (amongst other great covers) of Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans.  The tribute album put out by On Joyful Wings is called Seven Swans Reimagined.  Derek does In Devil’s Territory.  Other musicians include some Asthmatic Kitty favorites, and some newbies to the fold – including the Gregory Brothers (autotune the news) and Inlets.

~Dan – np: On Joyful Wings (various artists) – Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans Reimagined

Democracy Vol. 2 is a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 10. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 10 months (March to December). Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 2

21st Feb 11 (Mon) 6 comments

Enrollment / voting for Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 2 goes live today.  Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Want Derek to record Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Megadeth, Slayer, or Mary Poppins?  Well, sign up and vote…

Price for 2011’s volume is only $5 for 10 songs, one cover song each month from March through December 2011.  You can still by the 2010 version (the 12 songs in Democracy Volume 1) for $8, or buy it bundled with Democracy Volume 2 for $12 – a steal for 22 songs. Nominations are immediate with Volume 2 upon purchase (after clicking through the purchase).  Voting for Democracy nominations ends March 1st.

http://derekwebb.com/store/democracy

My nominations: Tori Amos “Crucify,” Lady Gaga “Telephone,” and Alice in Chains “Would?” – not favorite songs ever, but I’d be curious to hear Derek’s take on them.  For a taste, here’s what he covered for us last year:

  • January 2010: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Per Derek, he has a few rules imposed on himself…

  1. I do no preparation.  A few of last years songs I had never heard before the morning I recorded them.
  2. I play all the instruments and do all the recording/mixing myself, in my studio.
  3. I only allow myself 24 hours from the start to the finish of each song.

~Dan – np: EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

REVIEW: Derek Webb @ WOW Hall (Eugene, OR – 1/20/11)

22nd Jan 11 (Sat) 3 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

I’ve been a fan of Derek Webb ever since seeing him in Caedmon’s Call in the mid-90s.  His voice and lyricism is something I connect with, regardless of my now-differing beliefs.  He’s a genuine artist & thinker, and I think he’s a Christian that I think really “gets it”… or is at least trying to “get it” (we’re all a work in progress)…

His last two albums, 2009’s Stockholm Syndrome and 2010’s instrumental Feedback, have some of the best material he’s put out, in my opinion.  Since I went into a long-ish discussion about my connection and thoughts about Webb & Christianity in my review of the Jennifer Knapp tour in the Spring 2010 and my thoughts about Feedback, I’ll keep this review shorter and sweeter…

We showed up a little after the early start time… I got a chuckle out of Derek’s tweet about it being a “Christian seated show” (with photo) and took in the last half of opener Anna Gilbert‘s set…

Anna is an Oregonian, went to the University of Oregon, lives in Portland, and has a handful of delightfully sonic pop albums.  Her third CD, Your Love My Medicine, was produced by none other than knob-wizard Charlie Peacock (his wiki).  Anna’s sound… poppy, singer-songwriter.  Nice positive songs.

After a short break and a beer, Derek hit the stage at 8pm…

Great set, a mix of songs from his solo albums, a couple of Caedmon’s tunes… and one lonely cover song.  Based on my prior experience with Derek, and his recent Democracy covers series (now heading into Volume 2), I figured he’d hit us with another cover or two.

The acoustic version of the mostly electronic Stockholm Syndrome songs worked well.  “What Matters More” is a favorite, and while the studio version is full of electronics, the stripped down version still remained one of my favorites from the night.  For other Derek fans (or Derek himself), have the Stockholm songs ever been played out live with keyboards and/or a full band (Joshua Moore, etc)?  That would kick ass.

Setlist: about 90 mins

  1. The End / The Very End
  2. The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum
  3. New Law
  4. I Hate Everything (But You)
  5. Freddie, Please
  6. A Love That’s Stronger Than Our Fears
  7. I Love/Hate You
  8. God’s Hometown [Caedmon’s Call]
  9. I Just Don’t Want Coffee [Caedmon’s Call]
  10. Wedding Dress
  11. Heaven
  12. What Matters More
  13. She Must And Shall Go Free
  14. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding [Nick Lowe]

“Spirit vs. Kick Drum,” “Love/Hate,” and the Caedmon’s “Coffee” were some other favorite selections from the night.  His banter was charming as usual.  I was surprised he didn’t talk about Shawn Colvin being on his flight to Eugene… alas, perhaps he was distracted by Delta not being as gentle with his guitar as he’d have liked… assuming his guitar makes it back to Nashville with him, he needs to get a few things checked out (loose screw or something).

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

He’s playing Seattle, WA, tonight (1/22 @ the Q Cafe).  Check out more tour dates at http://derekwebb.com/.

Next concert for me… Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp-Muhl’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger on 1/28.

~Dan – np: No-ManReturning Jesus

DEREK WEBB PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Derek Webb – 1/20 Eugene setlist (full review by Sat)

21st Jan 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

Derek Webb last night at the WOW Hall in Eugene, Oregon… Update: GO HERE FOR FULL REVIEW

Setlist: about 90 mins

  1. The End / The Very End
  2. The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum
  3. New Law
  4. I Hate Everything (But You)
  5. Freddie, Please
  6. A Love That’s Stronger Than Our Fears
  7. I Love/Hate You
  8. God’s Hometown [Caedmon’s Call]
  9. I Just Don’t Want Coffee [Caedmon’s Call]
  10. Wedding Dress
  11. Heaven
  12. What Matters More
  13. She Must And Shall Go Free
  14. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding [Nick Lowe]

Full review & more photos posted by Saturday… GO HERE FOR FULL REVIEW.

~Dan – np: No-ManSpeak

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 1 #12

5th Jan 11 (Wed) Leave a comment

One a month in 2010… finally wrapped.

Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 1… This month, it is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” a hymn by 18th Century Robert Robinson.  While hymns don’t do it for me… I like Derek’s take on this hymn’s recording.  Nice keyboards and vocals (sounds like he’s singing in a large space like a choir loft).

Oh, and if you missed it, Derek Webb put out his instrumental album Feedback on November 2nd. Check out my review of it HERE.  I’ll also be reviewing his upcoming Eugene Oregon show (Jan 20th @ WOW Hall).  Check back for that.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 1 was part of the Stockholm Syndrome pre-order package, but it is now a stand-alone item over at the DW store. Only $6 (USD) and you get the following for 2010:

  • January: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago *a personal fave*
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby *a personal fave*
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police *a personal fave*
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: Robert Robinson – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

 Volume 2? You decide!!!  Details to come out soon.  It will be a 10 issue volume (starting in March 2011) with a slightly lower entry price (per DW’s recent tweets).  Voting on songs to be in February.

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine (soundtrack to Küçük Kıyamet) 

Democracy Vol. 1 is the first in a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 12. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 12 months. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb (for Volume 2)!

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2010 *

30th Dec 10 (Thu) 3 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Beats Antique & Tin Hat CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: The Album Leaf‘s A Chorus of Storytellers, For a Minor Reflection‘s Höldum Í Átt Að Óreiðu, Yuka Honda‘s Heart Chamber Phantoms, Medeski Martin & Wood‘s The Stone Issue Four (great NFP/charity live release), and Jamie Saft‘s A Bag of Shells

Boy Eats Drum Machine20 Beats (self) :: OK, due to its title, 20 Beats had to come in at #20, right?  Regardless of wherever it hit, it’s a great album.  I first saw Boy Eats Drum Machine (aka Jon Ragel) open for That1Guy in Eugene.  I loved his turntablism, his sax playing, and his trippy sounds.  He’s a Portlander, too; so I’ve had a chance to see him twice this year.  Hopefully more in the near future…


John ZornFilmworks XXIV: The Nobel Peace Prize / In Search of the Miraculous / Interzone (Tzadik) :: John Zorn put out a ton of stuff in 2010.  Some of it didn’t make this list.  Some of it was great (these 3), and some of it was stupendous (some others higher up on the list). Filmworks XXIV is a more genteel offering. It is performed by the Rob Burger trio (and it’s a film score… duh). In Search of the Miraculous is in Zorn’s spiritual / “magick” subcategory (which has been hit or miss to me).  This album seems like a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo.  Quite delightful. Interzone is a return to Zorn’s “filecard” system and a tribute to William Burroughs. Some people on the Zornlist have raved about it… I find it good, but not amazing. Too much filler in the long-tracks… moments of brilliance, but also moments of meh-ness.  I’d rank it definitely better than “for the completist,” but lower than “legendary.”  All in all… solid experimental record.  The players are the usual fantastic Tzadik studio players: Medeski, Baptista, Dunn, Mori, Ribot, Wollesen and Zorn.
Mostly Other People Do the KillingForty Fort (Hot Cup) :: So, I’m a fan of composer Moppa Elliott and trumpet player Peter Evans. Peter’s solo show in Eugene a couple of years ago was an avant-garde delight. MOPDTK is a little more straight forward than Peter’s solo stuff. It’s a fun jazz group… very similar in feel and youthful, party jazz energy as Reptet (up in Seattle). This is their second album that I’ve heard but their fourth released. My favorite tracks are “Nanticoke Coke” and the title track “Forty Fort.” I’m looking forward to more from this killer band ensemble.
Masada String Trio plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two, Volume 16: Haborym (Tzadik) :: Greg Cohen, Mark Feldman, and Erik Friedlander are fantastic players, and their contribution to the Masada Book Two series is an essential release.  One of the best of the series, and the Trio’s first studio recording in five years (last one was 2005’s Azazel #5).  Masada Book Two Sidenote: Cohen was actually in the original Masada quartet, but all of the members of the String Trio have also shown up on other MBT releases – Cohen (Astaroth #1, Lucifer #10, Stolas #12 and Baal #15), Friedlander (Volac #8, #10 and the upcoming Caym #17), and Feldman (Malphas #3 & #10).
John ZornThe Goddess (Tzadik) :: The Goddess is a continuation of In Search of the Miraculous, but I fancy it far more.  It is also a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo, quite lyrical and melodic.  As the title suggests, it is dedicated to the feminine.  It also features some harp work from Carol Emanuel – who unbeknownst to me until now has been on quite a bit of Zorn’s releases.
Derek WebbFeedback (INO) :: From my original writeup: Feedback is a self-proclaimed “worship album.” I also love the general aesthetics of it. It’s definitely got some electronic elements, but it has a more sweeping feel as well. Some of it feels like a mix of a happier ambiance of Amiina/Sigur Rós meets an acoustic-electronic bridge in a Sufjan Stevens song meets a gentle Ric Hordinski lyrical guitar solo (I am in a Monk mood). It’s a great quality instrumental album from a man who I loved via his witty voice from the get go. It’s nice to see him expand outside his comfort zone. As an atheist, I take it as a conduit into introspection and the worship of the divine as I see it – music.
Secret Chiefs 3Satellite Supersonic Vol 1 (Web of Mimicry) :: A new format release of the 7″ vinyl singles that SC3 put out in the Spring of 2007.  Nothing majorly new, but still nice to have in this format.  Secret Chiefs 3 fans are still waiting on Book of Souls, the follow-up to 2004’s Book of Horizons.  Who knows if we’ll ever get it… but this compilation is a great “tweener” – especially if you weren’t able to get the limited 7″ vinyls or didn’t have a record player.
John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (with Marc Ribot) – Ipsissimus (Tzadik) :: The Moonchild Trio is one of the more experimental / scary groups.  It’s a highly composed, but seemingly improvisational group made up of Mike Patton on voice (not lyrical), Trevor Dunn on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. Ipsissimus is the fifth in the series, and includes Marc Ribot’s guitar and John Zorn’s sax for more than just one tune (like on The Crucible).  This release is not for the faint of heart.  Purely energetic, glossolaliac noise metal.
AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club (Tzadik) :: I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom. The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.” Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it. I’m glad I did.  Utterly fantastic klez-jazz-rock blend.
Tin HatForeign Legion (BAG) :: The Bay Area acoustic group is no longer a trio.  They are currently made up of Carla Kihlstedt on violin & voice, Mark Orton on guitar & dobro, Ben Goldberg on clarinets, Rob Reich on accordion & piano, and Zeena Parkins on harp.  It also features Willie Nelson on guest vocals on a track.  The album is part European explorer, part cinematic, part chamber group, part tango.  I generally by anything Carla Kihlstedt is involved in.  So far, I haven’t been steered wrong…
Beats AntiqueBlind Threshold (self) :: I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour. She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate. Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area. Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music. “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.
Anakronic Electro OrkestraSpeak With Ghosts (Balagan Box) :: One of my favorite EPs of 2009 was Anakronic Electro Orkestra’s The Yiddish Part. My only complaint with the EP? It was too short. Well, in mid-November 2010, unbeknown to me at the time, they came out with their debut full-length Speak With Ghosts. AEO hail from Toulouse, France, and crank out a mighty fine mixture of drum & bass mixed with Eastern European-fused klezmer. This album is a 40+ minute shuffle through a modern klezmer forest – including one song featuring David Krakaeur (another favorite musician of mine). I think AEO is also great for fans of Beats Antique and Balkan Beat Box.
Loose GripLooking Glass (Fabrikant) :: Loose Grip is a fantastic Edinburgh-based jazz quartet led by drummer Chris Wallace. This guitar and tenor sax infused contemporary jazz band is great for fans of Chris Potter and Joe Lovano on the sax angle, great for fans of the guitar jazz like John Scofield, etc. It’s a well made record, and clearly stands out amongst the many jazz records that came out this year.
John Zorn’s The Dreamers play Masada Book Two, Volume 14: Ipos (Tzadik) :: Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits. Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others). The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.
Charlie HunterGentlemen, I Neglect to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (Spire Artist) :: One of the most amazing things from this past year was watching Charlie play live (twice). His seeming ease at which he plays bass and guitar on one instrument is stunning (and curse-worthy for the guitar aficionado in the crowd). If you weren’t watching the stage, you’d easily be fooled that it was a quartet and not a trio. It’s quite an amazing thing to see and hear. He’s so unassuming about it, too… a showman without the show-off attitude. Gentlemen came out in early 2010, and is a great melodic romp.  For prior fans of Charlie, you won’t be disappointed.  For people who aren’t yet fans… you will be.
Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being (boxset) (Greenleaf) :: Dave and his fusion group Keystone were busy with this 3-CD boxset. All three releases were inspired by Douglas’ recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison on the new multi-media project Spark of Being. The first release is the soundtrack to the film.  Two additional releases, Expand and Burst, feature Douglas and Keystone exploring and interpreting the themes of the film. Expand was also available on vinyl (a first for Dave’s Greenleaf label).
Dave HollandPathways (Dare2) :: I got into Dave Holland around the same time as a lot of other jazz. I got into jazz through the backdoor (John Zorn) and then slowly moved into the more straight ahead jazz. I think I can officially blame Ken Laster and his In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond podcast for playing a lot of Dave Holland. Anyway, shortly after hearing Holland, I picked up Extended Play: Live at Birdland and Critical Mass. Both are great, but the latter is quite fetching. Pathways is a superb combo and features some amazing playing by some other favorites of mine: saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Nate Smith.  Outside of Joey Baron (Masada, etc), I think Nate Smith is one of the most entertaining drummers to see play.  I love how Dave Holland surrounds himiself with amazing players.  Great band, great record!
Holy FuckLatin (Young Turks) :: Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement. Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010. To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right). The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes. Only 900,000 views are from me.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2011.

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

2011 anticipated albums

30th Dec 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

So, the year end recaps are in process (instrumental list maybe later today or Friday) … I needed something to fill the gap… here are some artists who are expecting to release new material in 2011 (some are carryovers from 2010’s anticipation), all of which I’m looking forward to…





Kevin Moore‘s Shine (digital out now, CDs en route), dredg has one due at the end of March, Over the Rhine‘s The Long Surrender, Earth‘s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (in February), Iron & Wine‘s Kiss Each Other Clean, Mogwai‘s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, Reptet‘s At the Cabin, My Brightest Diamond‘s as of yet untitled (she’s in the studio), a bunch of new stuff from John ZornDerek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 2 (10 cover songs for 2011), maybe the Secret Chiefs 3 will finally release Book of Souls (it’s their “Chinese Democracy”), Eisley‘s The Valley, Jelly Jam with Ty Tabor of King’s X/John Myung of Dream Theater/Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs, Goddamn Electric Bill‘s Jazz, A.N.M. featuring Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Ken Andrew and Co’s Digital Noise Academy (maybe), Silverchair are working on one (didn’t hit in 2010), Radiohead have put in studio time in 2010 (maybe something out by year’s end), Glen Phillips likely has a few in the hopper (RemoteTreeChildren #2?  new Toad?  new WPA?  new solo?), Opeth is in the studio, Steven Wilson with Mike Portnoy & Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) too, Sufjan Stevens tribute album (due out in March), more chapters from Celldweller‘s Wish Upon a Blackstar, new tracks from Billy & Maynard’s A Perfect Circle, Mike Patton‘s electronic Fantômas or Peeping Tom #2, and… Ani DiFranco – I mean, it’s inevitable… right?  Well, not always, she totally missed 2010 (as of now, no studio albums out in 821 days / 257 since a live EP on Record Store Day 2010).

Plus many more great albums due out in 2011, I’m sure.

~Dan – np: Kevin SmithRed State of the Union (podcast)

* Favorite Vocal Albums of 2010 *

29th Dec 10 (Wed) 7 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. For that reason, the favorite vocal albums list goes first this go ’round. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: Finger Eleven‘s Life Turns Electric, Gnashing of Teeth‘s Walking the Appian Way, Kaki King‘s Junior, Kim Taylor‘s Little Miracle (out late Dec ’09 digitally), and That1Guy & the Magic Pipe‘s Packs A Wallop!

The WeepiesBe My Thrill (Nettwerk) :: Lush singer-songwriter husband/wife duo from Northern California. Syrup-y sweet & poppy, but regardless of my penchant normally against those types of things – The Weepies do it up right. A superb piece of well-crafted pop.
Chali 2NaFish Market Part 2 (Decon) :: Another great solo outing from my favorite rapper from Jurassic 5. This is Chali’s 3rd solo album, and while the sound and vibe hasn’t changed much – his consistency is most what I like about him. Hard hitting, booming voice, witting lyricism, and generally moving into more positive territory (he’s not a “bitches and hoes”-type of rapper).
Caedmon’s CallRaising the Dead (INO) :: I’ve been a fan of Caedmon’s Call for going on fifteen years. I’ve stuck with them through some (personal opinion) lackluster lyricism after the departure of my favorite Caedmon’s songwriter – Derek Webb. He came back to produce and be in the band for this one; and quite frankly, I think this is their best record since 40 Acres. Lyrically, it still has a religious bent; but being in a minority of “non-Christian Caedmon’s Call fans,” I still didn’t find it cringe-worthy like most “contemporary Christian music.”
RedbirdLive at Café Carpe (Signature Sounds) :: Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault, Kris Delmhorst and David “Goody” Goodrich put out a great studio album of covers and originals in 2003. At the recent Mulvey/Foucault live shows this fall, they announced this new release. This new release is the live equivalent of the debut seven years ago (but different material) – a great mix of covers of people that influenced them, as well as a few of their own originals. Vocal duties split between Mulvey, Foucault & Delmhorst. I hope they are able to tour behind this in 2011.
Ty TaborSomething’s Coming (Molken) :: I’m a big fan of King’s X. As a trio, they put out a wall of sound, and a big component of their brilliance is Ty Tabor’s stellar guitar-work. His solo work also features his Beatles-esque vocals on top of his southern-grungy-rock sound. 2010 also saw the release of Ty’s Trip Magnet side solo project, Jelly Jam’s Additives bonus material, and the studio time with Jelly Jam (with John Myung & Rod Morgenstein) for their upcoming 3rd record. Whew, he’s been busy.
Ben Folds & Nick HornbyLonely Avenue (Nonesuch) :: I’m ambivalent about Ben Folds. I never know if I’ll like it; so I put off getting it. Then I get it and love it. This record was a collaboration between Ben and author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, etc). The lyrics are a little jumpier to me (Nick’s style versus Ben’s style), but it still feels very much like a Ben Folds record. They also feature a bonus song (iTunes version) with “video song” heroes Pomplamoose.
Jeanne CherhalCharade (Barclay FR) :: I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004. Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot). I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.
S (Jenn Ghetto)I’m Not As Good At It As You (Own Records) :: Carissa’s Wierd [sic] front woman promised this 3rd ‘S’ record back in… oh, 2007?? It was worth the wait. Haunting lyrics and vocals, simple yet complex acoustic guitar (that hearkens back to Elliott Smith). Bright emo and depressing pop music. Carissa’s Wierd also put out a retrospective (with a couple new tunes) and a small handful of West coast dates. Who knows – maybe they’ll get active again in the near future? I could dig it…
Greydon SquareThe Kardashev Scale (self) :: A little more mature in lyricism compared to The CPT Theorem. Perhaps it’s due to putting some of the ‘Rational Response Squad’ fighting behind him. Greydon, the foremost atheist rapper, made his 3rd record into what I think to be his most consistent. It’s solid, smart and superlative-worthy.
Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian) :: I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan). While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music. Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre. At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did. That’s a testament to his craft.
ClogsThe Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland) :: I first saw Clogs at MusicNow 2007 (in Cincinnati). Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner (of The National) know how to make some interesting chamber pop. The album (as with the live premiere in 2007) features Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). It’s quite a lush record – as the title suggests.
Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People (Asthmatic Kitty) :: Two albums in 2010, Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” hit us first. Beautiful and haunting in “The Owl and the Tanager” and primarily experimental and adventurous throughout, especially compared to his older material. Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month. I’m bummed Sufjan nixed future “State” albums, but I’m still glad with his 2010 output.
George HrabTrebuchet (self) :: George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast. It’s not about geology. It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA. He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well. Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint. One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar. I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song). Bravo!
Damien & Drake JuradoHoquiam (St. Ives) :: Short and sweet and beautiful. My only gripe with this record… well, it wasn’t made available on CD, and the vinyl didn’t include a free download code for the mp3’s. Industry standard practice aside, the Jurado brothers put out some fantastic music. I borrowed a vinyl-to-mp3 device from my friend; so I could enjoy it on my iPod as well. So, my gripes have been abated.
ElleryThis Isn’t Over Yet (Set Adrift) :: Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face). Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame). This album, they switched it up with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).
Nellie McKayHome Sweet Mobile Home (Verve) :: Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her. They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next. HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her. The album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune. The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future. She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late. This is greatly welcomed.
JónsiGo (XL) :: Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions). Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancellation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow). This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.
Sarah Kirkland Snider & Shara WordenPenelope (New Amsterdam) :: Chamber pop featuring Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) is a theme this year (see #10). Quite frankly, I think Shara Worden has one of the best voices in indie rock. Period. Sarah Kirkland Snider is a new musical force for me… she originally wrote Penelope as music for a theater piece and then debuted it as a song cycle with Signal in May 2009. When Shara came aboard, Sarah revised and expanded the songs yet again, tailoring them to Shara’s talents and arranging them for a 25-person orchestra of strings, harp, percussion, drums, electric guitar and bass, and electronics (with sound design by Michael Hammond). It is gorgeous.
Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty) :: His second album of the year, The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly. At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album. For those previously familiar with Sufjan, this album may not fit easily in with his prior albums – but I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.
Mike PattonMondo Cane (Ipecac) :: Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare. With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records. Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs. He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo. The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous. This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.

Top 20 instrumental albums coming up later this week…

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 1 #11

30th Nov 10 (Tue) 1 comment

One a month in 2010…

Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 1 is rolling along… This month, it is “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.  Interesting sounds coming through my speakers… sounds vintage (guitar & keyboard tones and recording).  Looking forward to listening to this on better-than-my-work-PC-speakers.  The high-end is too much for this PC, methinks.  I dig it, though.  Nice pacing, and different than a Martin Sexton (or other singer-songwriter) version.

Oh, and if you missed it, Derek Webb put out his instrumental album Feedback on November 2nd. Check out my take on it HERE.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 1 was part of the Stockholm Syndrome pre-order package, but it is now a stand-alone item over at the DW store. Only $6 (USD) and you get the following (plus future releases):

  • January: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police
  • November: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
  • December: TBD
    Volume 2? You decide!!!

~Dan – np: MúmLoksins Erum Við Engin

Democracy Vol. 1 is the first in a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 12. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 12 months. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 1 #10

4th Nov 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

One a month in 2010…

Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 1 is rolling along… This month, it is “Karma Police” by Radiohead.  Nice organ-y version, seems a little bit odd tempo’d… or maybe that’s my brain interpreting Derek’s tonal affectations of Thom Yorke.

Oh, and if you missed it, Derek Webb put out his instrumental album Feedback on Tuesday (11/2).  Check out my take on it HERE.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 1 was part of the Stockholm Syndrome pre-order package, but it is now a stand-alone item over at the DW store.  Only $6 (USD) and you get the following (plus future releases):

  • January: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence
  • October: Radiohead – Karma Police
  • November: TBD
  • December: TBD
    Volume 2?  You decide!!!

~Dan – np: Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners

Democracy Vol. 1 is the first in a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 12. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 12 months. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

Derek Webb’s worship album – FEEDBACK (an atheist’s perspective)

2nd Nov 10 (Tue) 11 comments

So, overnight (midnight CST), Derek Webb put out his new album Feedback.  I’ve been a fan of Derek Webb since I first got into his band Caedmon’s Call back in 1996.  They’re a christian band… and I’ve since “left the church,” as it were.  I mentioned this in my review of his show in Portland this past spring… even as an atheist, I find his music to be well conceived and well executed.  He’s not a discriminatingly judgmental person.  If he writes a judging lyric, it’s usually full of fingers a-blazin’ at himself first.

He also tackles many issues that I think are relevant and important to everyone (not just christians).  “What Matters More” from 2009’s Stockholm Syndrome is one of my most favorite songs he’s put out (that album was stellar all around)…

Anyway… back to his new album FeedbackFeedback is a self-proclaimed “worship album.”  I first heard about that moniker and was worried.  I mean, what does an atheist desire to hear in a “worship” album?  Not much, that’s what. I’ve heard many since leaving the church (Jars of Clay, Leigh Nash from Sixpence, other miscellaneous compilations with Derek and/or Caedmon’s Call), and… no offense is meant when I say this, but they really make me cringe.  It’s the “subject matter,” and I know it’s not intended for me… so I move on.  No harm, no foul.


Well,when I found out it was an instrumental worship album, well, again… no offense is meant, but it made me really happy.  I’ve listened to the album in full by now (10pm PST on Nov 1st is midnight CST on Nov 2nd), and I dig it.  It’s an “instrumental album based on the Lord’s Prayer.”

Worship is a complicated idea. Arguably, it’s what we all do, 24 hours a day (regardless of what we’re worshipping). And I’m aware of a lot of “worship product” in the marketplace I sometimes occupy. So I was cautious when I first started receiving the coordinates that would lead me to make ‘Feedback’. It was immediately conceptual and ambitious, so much so that I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do it. But this seemed to be the perfect posture in which to create something worthy of being called a “worshipful” piece of art. So I studied, meditated, struggled and prayed my way through this creative process, and it’s easily the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career. But I believe it’s been worth it, even just for the ways it’s stretched both my creative process and my faith as a follower of the Way. –Derek Webb

I could definitely see this being created (and used by listeners) in a worshipful manner.  I also love the general aesthetics of it.  It’s definitely got some electronic elements, but it has a more sweeping feel as well.  Some of it feels like a mix of a happier ambiance of Amiina/Sigur Rós meets an acoustic-electronic bridge in a Sufjan Stevens song meets a gentle Ric Hordinski lyrical guitar solo (I am in a Monk mood).  It’s a great quality instrumental album from a man who I loved via his witty voice from the get go.  It’s nice to see him expand outside his comfort zone.

While I don’t want to make a big deal about the christian and atheist thing… the slant of the record’s purpose (worship) makes me look at it from that angle.  I don’t think it needs to be that way.  But in the way the album is framed from a songwriting, production, and marketing point of view… yes, I definitely see this album as a conduit for worship.  As an atheist, I take it as a conduit into introspection and the worship of the divine as I see it – music.

Here’s a trailer for the short films that accompany the album:

Find out more at:
http://www.derekwebb.com/

Oh, today is also November 2nd – aka Election Day.  Regardless of who you vote for… don’t forget to do just that… VOTE.  It’s important.

~Dan – np: Monk (Ric Hordinski) – Quiver

Derek Webb – Democracy Vol 1 #9

30th Sep 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

One a month in 2010…

Derek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 1 is rolling along… This month, it is “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, featuring Derek’s wife Sandra McCracken.

For those not in the know, Democracy Vol 1 was part of the Stockholm Syndrome pre-order package, but you can still join in over at the DW store and get the following (plus future releases):

  • January: The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • February: Coldplay – Fix You
  • March: Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
  • April: Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
  • May: Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
  • June: U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
  • July: Huey Lewis & the News – Power of Love
  • August: The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
  • September: Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence

~Dan – np: Misha Mengelberg – Four in One

Democracy Vol. 1 is the first in a series of subscription based albums of cover songs that Derek will be recording annually, starting January 2010. Those who participate will not only receive the exclusive album, but will democratically decide what songs Derek will record.

Ever wished you could hear Derek cover your favorite Beatles song? Or Backstreet Boys song? Or even re-record your favorite old Caedmon’s Call song? Here’s your chance. Songs will be nominated and voted down to 12. Derek will record them (demo quality) and deliver them digitally (320kbps MP3s), one song per month for 12 months. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this unique collaborative project with Derek Webb!

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