HoundmouthHoundmouth’s album “From the Hills Below the City” has been in my consistent rotation since it was recommended to me 5 months ago.  It’s a great first release for the band out of Louisville, Kentucky that skyrocketed them to the international stage in just a few months. But even all that heavy listening didn’t show me what these guys are truly capable of until I saw them live.

Their sound is agreeable and almost basic upon first listen – short, folky, southern rock ditties backed by a crunchy distorted guitar with themes of gypsy trains, drugs, running from the law, robbing, and getting robbed.  But the more you listen, the more Houndmouth’s talent radiates.  The vocal harmonies of all four band members, weaving melodic riffs, and the unassuming guitar mastery of Matt Myers elevate the band beyond, “Oh, this is sort of catchy” to something emotionally compelling and captivating. The result is a less bluesy Alabama Shakes mixed with a revival of The Band, served with a shot of Maker’s Mark.  It’s a killer combination that makes for a great easy listening (It also doesn’t hurt that Kate, the organist/lead vocalist is stunningly beautiful.)

Houndmouth – Penitentiary

I was fortunate enough to see Houndmouth at the mighty Lincoln Hall in Chicago last Friday – easily the best venue in the city for such a band – and their live performance was truly a sight to see.  Between instrument changes and pulls of whiskey, the band rocked the hall with songs from the new album as well as a few covers, including Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That”, a big highlight of the show for me.

If nothing else, it was worth it alone just to see Matt Myers play the guitar.  It’s rare to see a performer put that much emphasis into each note that he plays, truly as if the guitar was an extension of himself — a third arm.  I’ve seen only a few others who were able to command the instrument so effortlessly, and it had everyone around me in the audience raving about it between songs.  Check out the take away show below for more!  The acoustic version of Penitentiary really demonstrates how their vocal harmonies elevate the song to the next level.

@ 1:15 – Casino

@ 4:10 – Penitentiary

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Asaf Avidan

Happy 2014 all!  It seems that wenjam has already been filling you all in on my enigmatic roof/coconut incident – I’ve asked him to include a chapter in his novel about it so our dear listeners can read his full thoughts on the matter.

With a new year in full swing I’ve been listening to a generous heap of contemplative music that I’m excited to share. It’s a good time for resolutions, but also reflection, and Asaf Avidan’s live recording of his Reckoning Song below serves as some great brainfood.  His voice is odd, sharp, and almost off-putting on the first listen. But once I really gave my full attention to the song, I couldn’t help but think that Asaf is tapping into some higher power to emote the extreme and somewhat eerie melancholy of this performance.  There’s just no way that all of that raw power came from the skinny, suspender-clad guy pictured above.  Asaf, if you ever want to fill me on your secret, just hit me or wenjam up.  We’ll be waiting.

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13.01.14As I lie here in the dead of night, reclined in the warm envelopment of this frayed leather chair, City and Colour’s song Day Old Hate meanders into the Now Playing box of my iTunes and I am instantly engrossed in a maelstrom of thoughts that I can’t quite put words to. My elation and emotions ebb and flow with each strum of the guitar and poignant verses reverberating out of Dallas Green’s throat but I am not quite sure what or how i may share theses thoughts with you. Alas, I can only surmise the inspiration and stimulation inspired by the song; an unrelenting feeling deep down that I should be putting pen to paper and conjuring my literary magnum opus to which my blog posts constitute mere chicken scratches. Maybe it is time to start a novel.

In a way I suppose that is what constitutes amazing music: the capacity to inspire such raw emotions, to satisfy the mind’s voracity for aural stimulation and convert it into something greater. I’ve been sifting through City and Colour’s discography and there’s just something exceptional about his 2005 Sometimes; while I dote on Day Old Hate, there are plenty of other songs in this album which invokes the same impetus for grandiose thoughts as well as other introspections. While Sometimes remains my favourite album out of his body of work, I must also share the song which put me onto this amazing artist by the name of The Girl. To me they are very different songs but just different facets to an amazing artist’s idiom. Why are you reading my incessant 3am ramblings anyway? Go listen to the songs!

Now I might go chronicle Jobyn’s escapades with the fateful coconut.

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