Phil Lee – I Like Everything


I Like Everything

A simple little tune that harkens back to my early early days in the biz. That would be the mid-to-late ’60s. It’s a straight ahead ditty with me going on about a person I like. A lot. It’s a good ending song (we don’t want to go, but we GOTTA go.) I keep thinking Tom Jones would absolutely kill this song. If you see him, please tell him so and give him my number.

Bo Diddley – Hey Bo Diddley


He only had a few hits in the 1950s and early ’60s, but as Bo Diddley sang, “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” You can’t judge an artist by his chart success, either, and Diddley produced greater and more influential music than all but a handful of the best early rockers. The Bo Diddley beat — bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp — is one of rock & roll’s bedrock rhythms, showing up in the work of Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, and even pop-garage knock-offs like the Strangeloves’ 1965 hit “I Want Candy.” Diddley’s hypnotic rhythmic attack and declamatory, boasting vocals stretched back as far as Africa for their roots, and looked as far into the future as rap. His trademark otherworldly vibrating, fuzzy guitar style did much to expand the instrument’s power and range. But even more important, Bo’s bounce was fun and irresistibly rocking, with a wisecracking, jiving tone that epitomized rock & roll at its most humorously outlandish and freewheeling.

The Walkmen – Many Rivers to Cross


“Pussy Cats” Starring the Walkmen, often referred to as just Pussy Cats, is a cover album by The Walkmen, released in 2006 (see 2006 in music). The album is a song-for-song cover of the 1974 Harry Nilsson album Pussy Cats which was produced by John Lennon. The decision to cover the Pussy Cats album, which is a band favourite, started off as a joke that evolved into a full-fledged album released only 5 months after their previous record, A Hundred Miles Off.The album also served as a last project for the band’s studio, Marcata Recording. Marcata, which band members Matt Barrick, Paul Maroon and Walter Martin built in 1999, was located in a building owned by Columbia University, which took the property back in 2006. The making of the album, which took “about ten days,” was filmed by Norman “Rockwell” Coady and the footage was made into the documentary In Loving Recognition, included on the album’s accompanying DVD.

The Baptist Generals – Fly Candy Harvest


On The Baptist Generals’ sophomore album, the word “heart” repeats eight*** times. The Denton, TX band, known for its haunting, claustrophobic take on drunken folk, needed ten full years to bare its hearts—one of which is in the album title, Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, a name that songwriter Chris Flemmons conjured shortly after he recorded, and then trashed, the album’s first attempt in 2005.

Flemmons goes so far as to call this his “love album,” and it’s an apt description—though love through The Baptist Generals’ eyes is plenty complicated. Jackleg‘s hearts don’t resemble valentines. No smooth curls into a final point. The band’s vibraphones, guitarrons and ambient feedback combine like a mess of ventricles, aortas and veins—not to mention, from the sound of it, all of the blood spilled while Jackleg lurched for years toward an eventual finish line.

Leo Rondeau – No Friend to Louisiann


Rondeau’s unique brand of country music is energetic but subtle, much like his presence. In Rondeau’s live performance, the lyrics take center stage, supplemented by the full sound of five-piece band (upright bass and steel guitar included). Rondeau’s tunes tell simple stories with a hint of humor that isn’t lost among melodies that make people want to dance, even at midnight on a Monday.

Apache Dropout – Don’t Trust Banks


Shortly after collecting the ashes of perennial bar darlings, John Wilkes Booze, and noise thrashers, Hot Fighter 1, Bloomington’s Apache Dropout traded in garage grease for a seat on the Donovan and Vashti Bunyan cross-country caravan vision quest– all while participating in some light prophesying of #occupy. Though the oft-lauded soul-imbued boogie punk of Bubblegum Graveyard captured the attention of the blogerati, their under-the-radar early cassette releases showcase a mercurial and mystery-laden cosmic outfit, convenientlly collected on Magnetic Heads. Evocative of the murky outsider folk of Alexander Skip Spence and Holy Modal Rounders, Magnetic Heads conjures the cultish flavor of outsider psychedelia that’s equal parts intimate and unsettling – without taking itself too seriously. Ignore the goofy album art that could almost pass for a NOFX poster and take a trip, tune out, and flip off the institution that got us in this danged mess in the first place with “Don’t Trust Banks.” The rerelase Magnetic Heads jumps from tape to limited edition vinyl via Family Vinyard February 5– The Decibel Tolls

Brennen Leigh – If I Ever Get Married Again


Brennen Leigh represents what is best about American music. If you call it Americana, then she is someone who embodies it in her music and her life. She has been born and raised into the roots, trees and musical branches many others sketch out of their own imagination and admiration for the music of our common history. Brennen Leigh lives it through her life and love for delta blues, authentic honky-tonk, country-gospel, bluegrass and the shaped notes of the Sacred Harp.