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  • Monday, February 16, 2009
    PPR is on hiatus until March 2, 2009, as Joseph is dealing with the loss of his mother. Updates will return at that time.
    posted by joseph kyle @ 5:52 PM  
    Robbie Fulks 13 Hillbilly Greats
    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Recording a record of covers is always a hit-or-miss, but Robbie Fulks really did it right. His 2001 album, 13 Hillbilly Giants, is, as you would imagine, a baker's dozen of mostly obscure songs from Hillbilly and Country & Western artists. Recorded in a slapdash two-day session with Steve Albini, this record is as fresh and as vibrant as many of the original versions. The songs run the gamut, too; some songs are about drinking, about not drinking because of paternal responsibilities, loving one's wife; one song, "Knot Hole," is an ode to the joy of voyeurism! Then there's "Jeannie's Afraid of the Dark," an utterly depressing and totally obscure weepie about a dead child, written by Dolly Parton. I'm also fond of "Family Man," a minor hit for Frankie Miller, about not being a carouser because there are babies at home. It's a nice sentiment, and Fulks has me convinced that it's his song. That's when you know a cover is effective; if you make the listener feel the words deep inside. Good show, sir, good show!

    Listen To: Family Man

    13 Hillbilly Giants was released with love back in 2001 by Bloodshot Records

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 6:00 AM   0 comments
    Bon Iver Blood Bank
    Thursday, February 5, 2009

    I'm probably the only person in the world who didn't find Bon Iver's debut For Emma, Forever Ago that impressive. I didn't understand what the fuss was about; I thought the story of Justin Vernon's writing of it wasn't that mythic, especially when the story started to eclipse the actual content of the record. Rule of thumb: details of a creation should never outweigh the finished product. A nice story doth not true talent make.

    But I'm a fair individual, and I must admit that my interest was subsequently piqued having heard the title track from the new EP, Blood Bank. It's a pretty interesting country-rocker that doesn't actually rock, but that's okay; it's still a catchy number, and Vernon's singing is both strong and engaging. It's a natural progression, especially since Bon Iver is now a BAND. The next song, "Beach Baby," isn't a cover of First Class, but it is a first class downbeat folk number, even if it fades out too early. "Babys" is minimalist piano playing one chord with some really gorgeous falsetto-ish singing. I like it. A lot. "Woods" is a vocoder-laden acappella song, and it's utterly beautiful; he goes all Beach Boys towards the end, and I'm like WOW, this is amazing stuff!

    So for those skeptics about the hype around their debut, Blood Bank is a wonderful little record that shows there's a real talent to be found here. Cynicism be damned.

    Listen To: "Blood Bank"

    Blood Bank is available now on Jagjaguwar

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 6:00 AM   0 comments
    The International Jetsetters Heart is Black
    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Say "featuring a member of Jesus and Mary Chain" and you'll pique my interest. Though they may be far gone and away (okay, reunion was two years ago, where's that album if they're 'back'?), they were one of the best bands of the late 20th Century, and I'm going to give the time of day to any project that carries that aforementioned tag. International Jetsetters may not feature a founding JaMC member, Loz Colbert is a collaborator, and vocalist Fi McFall sang with them once--and even this tenuous connection is enough for me!

    The comparisons really end there, though; on their debut Heart is Black, the five-piece explores a sound that is dark yet poppy, mellow yet oddly metaphysical. McFall has a beautiful voice, and Mark Crozer does, too; the splitting of vocal duties keeps the music interesting. "Inside Out" and "Inside Yourself" split the difference between bliss-pop and more traditional rock. The rest of the EP is a much mellower affair; the songs are beautiful in a Mazzy Star kind of way. Two versions of "Never Slows Down" appear here; a demo version that features Crozer on vocals, and a full-band version featuring McFall. Both are brilliant, and both are beautiful. I'm also love "Heart is Black," with Crozer sounding both menacing and melancholic. Even though the world may be overwhelmed with too many bands, International Jetsetters are definitely a necessity for this crazy world of ours.

    It goes without saying, then, that I'm eagerly awaiting their full-length debut.

    Listen To: Inside Out

    Heart is Black is out now on Planting Seeds Records

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 6:00 AM   0 comments
    The Brethren of the Free Spirit The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb
    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Brethren of the Free Spirit is the duo of instrumentalists James Blackshaw and Jozef an Wissem--two men known for making ancient melodies sound positively futuristic. Okay, so I hadn't heard of van Wissem until this record, but the man built and plays a custom-made Lute, so the assumption is made on solid evidence. Anyway, their debut record, The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb, is a collection of four gorgeous, heavenly instrumentals. At times the music is rustic, while other times the music is minimalist, if you're familiar with Blackshaw's work, then you know to expect beautiful experimental guitar picking. There's really no way to further describe this record, unless you want some sort of ethnomusicologist explanation--which I find interesting in general but boring in describing specific records. More important to me is the feel of the music--and I feel utterly relaxed by this record. This is some of the prettiest music I've heard this year.

    Listen To:Into the Dust of the Earth

    The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with the Lamb is available now on Important Records

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 6:00 AM   0 comments
    Kingsbury Lie to Me EP
    Monday, February 2, 2009

    "It ain't bragging if you can do it," they say. When you get an email from a band that states, "The difference between us and other bands is that we're actually good," it's hard to take them seriously. I admire the cheek, but at the same time, I've heard many a crap band say that exact same thing. Boredom prompted me to take the band Kingsbury up on downloading their EP Lie to Me after they issued the above challenge...and I have to say, they most certainly weren't lying to me when they said they were good!

    Lie to Me reminds me of Mute Records--the Mute Records that releases records by Nick Cave, and that released records by Crime and the City Solution, Anita Lane, Mick Harvey, and Barry Adamson. If you're following the drift, Kingsbury reminds me a lot of Nick Cave...except the singing. The music is an interesting combination of slow, sad music--like the Rachel's--and the mellower, melancholic tones of the aforementioned Mr. Cave and his Bad Seeds. They sound like they could have been associated with him in the 1980s and early 1990s. Though it starts with a haunting instrumental, "Armada," the music picks up significantly after that, though the pulse rate never rises above 100. It's all haunting and dark, but in a way that is totally their own.

    But overall, Lie to Me is a contemplative listen; I know little about the band other than their moxie and that this EP is available entirely for free at their website. Check it out!

    Listen To:"Lie to Me"

    Labels: ,

    posted by joseph kyle @ 6:00 AM   1 comments
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