Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: 'Nashville' : 'Dear Brother'

Well, shucks, y'all.
This week on 'Nashville,' one of the characters doesn't survive the episode. Sadly, it's not Avery.

We open at the Green Hills mall in ritzy Green Hills, as Druggie Mom, Juliette and entourage shop. They say to themselves, should we throw a birthday party for Deacon? Why yes. We should. Party planning commences, but Druggie Mom's addiction counselor shows up for a session and Juliette is like, bro– busy planning a party, here. Later on, Juliette sits in her living room singing to a backing track while Addiction Counselor creepily watches. He then inquires why she does not seem to give a hoot. Meet me in four grafs for the rest.

Rayna asks Teddy if he's staying at Peggy's since he moved out, he tells her it's not really her business, and she's like think again. It becomes my business when our kid is overhearing your sordid little love convos. Keep your GF away from the girls. She then goes to Tandy's house to tell her about the divorce and for some reason, the "good sister" switch flips on and Tandy spends the rest of the episode playing protector. They go to Kroger with the girls where Maddie finds a tabloid flaunting Rayna and Teddy's divorce, and not just that but some rumors about Rayna cheating. Maddie is bummed that her mom seems to be as guilty as her weasel of a dad. After rushing the girls home, Tandy and Rayna try to explain to them that tabloids are money-sucking pieces of crap. Maddie is skeptical. Deacon then texts Rayna his disbelief that he had to find out about the divorce through a tabloid, vis-a-vis pic of said tabloid and one word poem of misery, "Seriously?" A little while later, Rayna and her manager meet with some type of image consultant person who asks if Rayna had slept with anyone, and if there's a sex tape.

Rayna declines to answer because NO. That evening, she and Tandy go to pick up the girls from a dance class and run into some Nosey Nelly from high school. The situation improves when the four Jaymes ladies get ambushed by the paparazzi on the way to the car.  So what to do with these feelings? Write a song, of course. Rayna tells Tandy that she just wants to hole up and wait for the whole mess to blow over. But will it ever really blow over? Rayna catches a press conference the next day in which Teddy first defends her and asks the press to back off, and then appoints Peggy Cantor to something. Just then, as if someone had said his name three times, Lamar pops up  in the kitchen. At first I thought he was sucking the youth from the younger daughter, but I think he just had his hand on her shoulder. Anyway, he apologizes for the sucky state of things and encourages Rayna to take legal action or something. Add in a stirring little speech that amounts to the haters can go to hell, and you start to wonder if it's all the mahogany exposure that makes him evil. JK. Lamar is evil. The night of Deacon's party, Rayna calls Watty and asks him to come by. Spoiler: They go to the party together. Ok. Meet me in three grafs.

Teddy continues to be disgusting this episode, in case you hadn't noticed from that bogus cabinet appointment. Lamar stops by to make some appointment suggestions of his own, and Teddy attempts to have a spine, but you can just tell that he doesn't have much to stand on. After all, 1) He's been Lamar's puppet from the get-go and 2) Lamar is not thrilled about how Teddy's treated his daughter. Teddy is on thin ice. You don't want to get on Lamar's dark side... not that he has any other side. Later on, Peggy comes into Teddy's office and closes the door behind her with her foot which is code for let's desecrate the Office of the Mayor of Nashville. Umm... Teddy then offers Coleman the Deputy Mayor spot.

Meanwhile at Chez Bluebird, Jason helps Scarlett unpack groceries and he and Gunnar become the Adora-bros whilst reminiscing about working in a grocery store once upon a time in Texas. They even put paper bags on their heads. Yeah. I know. Later, Scarlett is setting women's lib back a few decades by claiming that cleaning helps her through her writer's block. Does Jason have any laundry she can do for him? Gunnar grabs some article of clothing and the gun falls out on the floor. Gunnar gets hella pissed. He shoves it in the back of his pants like a gangsta. "You're not leaving the house with a loaded weapon," Scarlett yells. So he empties it with an unsettling familiarity and storms out to call a family meeting with Jason on a bridge. It gets nasty. Gunnar throws the gun in the water and Jason is like... You do not know what you just did! I have enemies! And then Jason tells Gunnar that he owes him a life. Families, right? That night, presumably, Scarlett is taking out the trash and Juliett pulls up with entourage to tell her to get Deacon to the Bluebird Monday night at 8 p.m. for the party. But, but, Deacon hates parties and typically stays in on his birthday and watches Old Yeller. Do it, Juliette says, then allowing Scarlett and Gunnar to sing at the party. So. Day of party, Scarlett brings Uncle Deacon a cupcake and asks him to come to the Bluebird's open mic night because she and Gunnar are going to perform.

Alright. Everybody get here alright? Cool. Scarlett and Gunnar wait for Deacon out side the Bluebird. The three walk in and SURPRISE WE GOT YOU DAN AUERBACH AND VINCE GILL!!! (And Kip Moore, whoever that is.) Three cheers for celebrity cameos. Scarlett and Gunnar perform and are good as usual. Juliette flits around being social.

During the toast, someone hands Druggie Mom some champaign and she takes a sip. And another. And mercy. Shotguns the whole damn glass. Rayna and Watty arrive at the party with paparazzi swarming. Her reward is getting to talk to Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys. Gunnar DJs until the fuzz comes looking for him and you're thinking THAT JERK JASON GOT GUNNAR IN TROUBLE. They give him the old, we're going to need you to come with us, line. He doesn't think to shoot a BRB text to Scarlett. Also unraveling is Druggie Mom. In the hall in the back, she's with Deacon, sobbing and somewhat drunk. Juliette has to take her home. As Juliette tucks Druggie Mom in bed, Druggie Mom apologizes for ruining Juliette's 9th birthday party. Shortly after, Addiction Counselor comes over and gets Juliette to tell him about how Druggie Mom had rented out an ice cream parlor but then blew the money on drugs. Juliette took off for a few hours and came back to find her mom passed out with a lit cigarette, just starting to burn the carpet, and for a few seconds, considered leaving again. Ha. Kids.

Meanwhile back at the party, Rayna sings a song she wrote for Deacon and apparently it goes a long way to mending things. When the party ends, they talk and he gets teary eyed, and she says she just wants to do right by him. Not sure what that means. (IS DEACON PREGNANT??) The next morning, Deacon receives the world's most beautiful golden retriever puppy from Juliette. That night, Scarlett waits pensively for Gunnar. He's been gone since he disappeared from the party. Won't answer his phone. And those cops? Contrary to what you assumed about Gunnar maybe getting arrested for harboring a fugitive, they'd actually brought Gunnar to the morgue to identify Jason's body. They'd found him dead in an alley, beaten to death. Oh man. I know. You feel guilty, Gunnar feels guilty, Scarlett feels horny.

She climbs on his lap and before you know it the clothes are coming off and you start to reflect on Freud's theories about the relationship between eros and thanatos and then... wait. Nope. Still weird.

Anyhoodle, what about that cute puppy, right? So cute. We'll see you next week.

Stray Observations:
+ Plenty of tight shots on Auerbach, Gill, and Moore. Plenty.
+ The best part was Avery randomly trying to get into the regular Bluebird open mic night and being denied access, only to peer into the blinds and see Scarlett and Gunnar sining. Burn.
+ I enjoyed Rayna asking a paparazzo if the Tennessean had stopped paying him. Prolly. Not sure anyone still works there anymore.
+ But really. The puppy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Travelling Band Release EP

I've been following Manchester's The Travelling Band for a few years now (wishing the whole time they'd tour in the US) and I'm happy to recommend their new EP Hands UP, available today via Bandcamp. You can get it for free or name your price. As always, it's great. Wonderful harmonies, strong songwriting. They make music you need in your life.

At the moment, the group is running up to their third full length album through Pledge Music. Check them out above.

The National Announce New Album

Smoke is rising from The National camp. This morning the band announced that we should expect a new album this May. No word yet on a track listing or name, but hey. It's about time we got something new from these guys, amma right? This album will follow 2010's High Violet.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hands by Matt Pond

Now that Matt Pond has dropped the "PA" from his name, everything's different. Not really. Check out  my write up.

Read the review...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Voyage of the Damned: Bands and Cruise Ships

In a sad corner of my mind, I envisioned stepping out of my cabin on the Carnival cruise ship Imagine at the same time as the person across the hall. As I pull the door shut behind me, I turn and lock eyes with a middle-aged guy in an old pair of swim trunks, no shirt, unshaven, with a dingy beach towel over his shoulder. We look at each other for a second. I know that he knows that I know who he is. By the look on his face, he's either resigned to the inevitable exchange, or silently daring me to say something. But I nod, and he nods and we deliberately walk in the opposite direction down the hall.

This guy is Rob Thomas and I've stupidly booked a ticket on the "Matchbox Twenty Cruise" to Nassau, Dec. 6-9. I then wake up screaming.

That was the scene I concocted after getting a press release about the latest in a rash of 90s bands taking to the high seas with the promise of the most exciting, intimate fan-band experience anyone who grew up in the last decade of the century could imagine.

For nearly $1000, you can sail from Miami, Fla. to Nassau and get in on Matchbox Twenty performances, photo-ops, Q&A sessions, evening deck parties, and I suppose the thrill of reaching for the same bagel as drummer Paul Doucette.

A few weeks back, The AV Club wrote up a similar announcement for cruises featuring Sugar Ray, the Spin Doctors, Smash Mouth, and others. I can't shake the weird sad feeling I got reading about it because whether or not playing cruise ships is becoming an increasing viable or profitable option for bands, the concept is still imbued with the same tragic stink as landing a guest spot on The Love Boat. Washed up old acts turn up on the cruise ship circuit, right? So how weird is it when the bands that soundtracked middle school (or high school) are setting sail on the musical equivalent of a Viking funeral? I thought we had at least another decade.

A certain father of mine suggested that maybe the bum association with playing cruise ships might be fading. If Matchbox Twenty can pack a cruise ship with the same loyal fans who pushed their September release North to the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 200, who cares? Maybe it's not sad and weird. I have no idea. I did dig up an item from Carnival's archive of press releases that described a partnership with Maroon 5 where the band played a concert before the maiden voyage of the Carnival cruise ship Magic... but it doesn't seem like they actually got on the boat. In 2008, John Mayer played the Carnival cruise ship Victory with Colbie Caillet and Dave Barnes, and then did it again about a year later with other acts. But if I remember correctly, that was mostly chalked up to 'John Mayer doing something weird again.'

To this point, I'm unconvinced as to where exactly to file "cruise ship gig" in any given artist's career highs and lows. As much as I still have a great amount of affinity for MB20– they were my first concert, after all–  I'm going to avert my eyes from whatever this thing winds up being.

Then again, money earned from both land and sea is still green. And hey, a cruise could be fun, right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Give Me All You Got by Carrie Rodriguez

Apparently a month's worth of my reviews are getting posted this week. Yay? Check out my write up of Carrie Rodriguez's fifth album Give Me All You Got.

Read the review...

The History of Music in 7 Minutes

The Internet has given us many things– Google Reader, Texts From Hillary, eye strain. Today I pass along the latest of its sweet fruits in the form of dry erase board stop motion animation chronicling the history of music, packed into just under 7 minutes.

The cartoonist starts all the way back at the pyramids and doodles his way through the modern era using some pretty stellar renderings of famous figures in music. While the few words used are written in Spanish, it's nothing you shouldn't be able to figure out (3 guesses which movement "romaniticismo" is), plus the steady stream of audio clips makes it easy to follow. Side note: Something that's worth noticing is how once the video hits Jazz, 20th century music progresses at a break-neck speed. Check it out above.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Blackfeet Braves by Blackfeet Braves

Wherein I try not to be a jerk, but can't fight down the impulse to say that this has been done before... and better.

Read the review...

New Single from Phoenix

New single from Phoenix, today. Check out the lyric video for "Entertainment" above. The song is unmistakably Phoenix. I'll say that. Looking forward to Bankrupt!'s April 23 release date.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chevrolet Learns to Cha Cha Cha

I don't think I've paid attention to a car commercial since Mistubishi used "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas back in 2002 to promote the "Eclipse."

That said, let me present a Chevrolet commercial that aired during the Super Bowl featuring "Cha Cha Cha" by Jimmy Luxury and the Tommy Rome Orchestra.

The commercial itself is ok. (Why is the dog a robot?) Mostly I was intrigued by the song that starts up when the kid hits the play button on her tablet, the afore mentioned "Cha Cha Cha." Couldn't find much info on the group. Apparently it's a duo from Massachusetts that raps over records from the 50s. They put out three albums from 1999 to 2007. Check out the full song below.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: 'Nashville' | 'There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight

What is this dance move that's happening here??
There was more than one moment in tonight's episode of ABC's 'Nashville' that was uncomfortable. Whether the feeling of your intestines slithering around will be worth it long term, we'll just have to see.

As the episode opens, Rayna is getting ready for a press junket and she's pretty out of it, replaying Teddy's divorce request in her head. Her manager, in a moment of foreshadowing or something, asks her "Ready for all this?" Rayna affirms she is the badass we all know she is. Not long after, she runs into lovable scamp Liam in the hotel lobby and she doesn't seem nearly as pissed at him as she should be considering his dirty dealing. Right before her show that night, Teddy calls her and they talk more about the divorce. She'd rather wait a hot second, but he wants to tell the girls the next night in case something leaks. Afterall, they are da daaa PUBLIC FIGURES. Anyway, according to ABC's crazy ass editing in the previews, Rayna has an all out melt down and collapses on stage. No. What really happens is this:  Muddy sound. Lens flare. Rayna looks around at the audience like... buh? And then the crew is like... buh? Deacon says "In 20 years, I've never seen her miss a cue." Well. Now you have. Two missed cues and she pulls it together, concluding the world's most low-key meltdown. I've had more Earth-shaking moments during Pre-Cal exams. At the after party, everyone is treading lightly, like R U OK? Liam crashes the party and Rayna tells him, "Well, look who shows up and I don't have my rifle." I love Rayna. Deacon pulls her aside. She tells him that she wants to talk to him, but if she goes there right now, she'll lose her shit. No good. Talk later. Liam continues to lurk. It's not weird that he's back in this episode. What is weird is that from the get-go, he seems to be on a crusade to get Rayna into bed, which is odd because their relationship has mostly been buddy-buddy (What would Harry and Sally say??). But yes, he drops many awkward hints at her, like how they need to step away to 1) drink 2) dance 3).... well. Liam figures you know what he's thinking. Rayna caves and they head to a bar where they do shots and she swipes his hat the way flirty high school girls do. Liam continues to drop hints and also tries to get her to tell him why she's mopey. She does. My world is crumbling! I am a hot mess! You imagine Liam likes 'em that way. They leave the bar. Outside his hotelroom, he kisses her and after some serious saliva swapping, she pulls away asking herself, "What am I doing?" Good question, Rayna. Good question. PS, this will be the beginning of an excruciatingly awkward wooing sequence. Rayna follows him into his room. Once inside the room, they bust into the mini bar. Side note: I can't understand how Rayna is not utterly blasted after so many shots. They sit across from each other. He looks at her. She looks at him. He sort of climbs on top of her on the couch while she's still sitting. I'm willing to put down money that there have been smoother hook ups attempted by 10th graders. It's just not pleasant. After a moment, though, Rayna steps into the bathroom for some lipgloss and a good cry. She just looks old and sad painting up her face in the mirror. I feel intense discomfort because EMOTIONS as she sits on the toilet crying. Quick cut to me on my couch:

Liam stands outside the door thinking, did not see this coming... and tells her "You think I've never been messed up on somebody's bathroom floor?" I don't want to know. They wind up sitting on the floor together, talking about her sadness over how much the girls are going to cry. He talks about his folks a bit. "Not going to lie to you," he says using my least favorite over abused phrase, "tomorrow is going to suck." Somehow they cheer up a bit and reforge the artist/producer bond. "We have half an album. We're practically married," he says. Sure.

On the other half of the tour, Juliette is on crack planning how she can tweak the show to work in her new material. She tells the crew they're like family. Manager man, whose name is apparently Glen, fights her on it and what's more, goes behind her back to tell the crew that everything needs to go through him, not her. Deacon, who was on purpose left out of the meeting, finds out about it anyway and confronts Glen. Glen pulls the douche card and is all I created her! Juliette nabs Deacon for a songwriting sesh and he sorta tells her what he found about about Glen, at which point she storms out into the hotel hallway, wakes up the entire crew and is all YOU WORK FOR ME, which sucks because the problem isn't the crew, it's Glen. Glen quits. The next morning, Deacon catches Juliette in the elevator because that's like his confessional booth, and sets her straight about her behavior. Don't think he (or anyone else) won't walk if she talks to him like that. Out in the lobby, he catches Rayna giving Liam his hat back. Suspicion.  On the sidewalk: "You have good night??" Deacon acuses. She tells him she and Liam are friends. "What do you want from me?" she asks. "Not a damn thing," he says. Glad we got that cleared up. Back at Juliette's house, she calls Druggie Mom and asks her to move in when she gets out of rehab.

Back in Nashville at Scarlett and Gunnar's, the show writers want to mess with your head, so Gunnar walks into the kitchen in a gradually slipping towel post-shower. The pair discuss the towel until Scarlett gets a call from Watty about Rayna wanting to sign them. Gunnar nearly loses his towel. We remain bored out of our minds. Later, Jason shows up at the Bluebird. Gunnar is like WTF. Sit down. Don't talk to anyone. But hey man, Jason just wants a second chance with his little bro.

Scarlett perceptively asks, is this your brother? Why is he not in Texas? Gunnar asks her if he can crash with them. She's like...

Anyway, Gunnar finally tells her his dirty little past, about how Jason took the wrap, yadda, yadda, yadda. She's like you were a kid, not your fault. Still, she allows him to stay one night. It's awkward back at the house. Jason thanks her. She tells him to take off his boots. I cannot blame her. But the next morning, he makes Gunnar's favorite breakfast and tells Scarlett about how he raised Gunnar. Ugh. Guilt. In fact, more guilt when he joins Gunnar and Scarlett on guitar while they work on a song to play for Rayna. It's a bummer because Jason is a music martyr. That Gibson was originally Jason's. Go ahead and cry. This is a safe place. After the song, Scarlett tells Gunnar that Jason can stay a few more days. But wait! Unbeknownst to Gunnar, Jason still has that gun in his duffle bag.

Meanwhile downtown, while walking into the Capitol building, Tandy sees that Peggy is calling Teddy. (Whadda cute trio of names, amma right?) She asks about it and her tells her to butt out. She calls Rayna to ask if everything's ok. Rayna tells her to butt out. Later, the girls make Rayna a cake because she's coming home. It is sad. Maddie overhears Teddy talking to Peggy on the phone about he only feels like himself when he's with her. Squirm. After Rayna comes home and she and Teddy deliver the bad news to the girls, Maddie tells her about the phone call. Rayna had no idea Peggy was involved.

Some stuff happened with Avery this week too, but I don't care and I figure you don't either.

Stray observations:

+ Seriously, could not care less about Avery. It's almost startling.
+ I just need Rayna and Deacon to get it together.
+ They say you should always do bullets in odd numbers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Phoenix Release 'Bankrupt!' Details

New details today about Phoenix's forthcoming album Bankrupt!. The French band released the album artwork (it's downright peachy!) and the track listing. Bankrupt! is due out April 23.

Track listing:

01 : Entertainment
02 : The Real Thing
03 : S.O.S. In Bel Air
04 : Trying To Be Cool
05 : Bankrupt!
06 : Drakkar Noir
07 : Chloroform
08 : Don’t
09 : Bourgeois
10 : Oblique City

Matchbox Twenty Make Fun of 'Smooth'

God love Matchbox Twenty. They may have no cultural currency left, but at least they can have a good laugh at themselves. The 90's rock band teamed up with Funny or Die to make a spoof trailer for a cop show built around Thomas's 1999 Grammy-winning collaboration with Carlos Santana, "Smooth." Highlights of the video include Thomas channeling David Caruso while delivering lyrics from the song with a straight face, and bassist Brian Yale cranking out 26 scripts under threat of getting booted from the band. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best of the 2013 Grammys

I was mostly impressed fun. didn't get electrocuted. 
I usually approach the Grammy Awards with a certain amount of dread because I know I'll regret wasting three hours watching the show. I even stopped writing about them on this blog. Still, every year I keep coming back in hopes of seeing something really great. This was the first year in a long time that I've felt like my time investment was worth it on account of three* great performances.

Despite a mediocre start– Taylor Swift and LL Cool J's ambiguous and rambling opening remarks– fun. delivered some early satisfaction with their performance of "Carry On." Having followed the band since 2009's Aim and Ignite, it always makes me unspeakably happy to see a much-loved band get such a huge audience. Plus, it was kind of awesome when it started raining on stage. 

After fun., I was fading. The Bob Marley tribute was ok... but really I was waiting for Jack White. Holy Smokes. White played "Love Interruption" and "Freedom at 21"and generated just an incredible amount of power. You watch that and you've just got to be converted to the cult of rock. I mean. My God. And then in some final blast of lights, he was just gone. Dude might as well have dropped the mic. How could anyone dare take the stage?

Let me follow that up by saying: Mavis Staples, Mumford and Sons, and Brittany Howard. Apart from when The Apache Relay joined Simone Felice at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville this August to play tribute to the late great Levon Helm, this Grammys performance was the best nod to Levon I've seen. There's something powerful in the way that artists seem to be at their best while tipping their hats to Helm. 

With special regard to the last two acts, I felt that it said something about where you can find great and honest music. It's always going to be at the roots. Jack White played straight up rock and roll, and The Band sit at the very heart of what we know today as Americana. Forget Taylor Swift in a top hat, or even Justin Timberlake prepackaged as a legend. The good stuff is the pure stuff. 

*The Black Keys with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band should be included in this post, but man, am I tired. Good night. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Single from Dawes : "From A Window Seat"

Welcome back to your one stop shop for Dawes news. The band released its new single "From a Window Seat" today via Rolling Stone. They played the song while touring Nothing is Wrong this summer. When I caught the band at the Cannery Ballroom in August, frontman Taylor Goldsmith told the audience the song was about "getting the fear" on an airplane. He goes further in the Rolling Stone article to describe how his escalating fear of flying yielded a certain amount of absurdity, and he wrote about it.

I'd like to think he's talking about the part in the song where likens the safety demonstration to some kind of tribal dance in tribute to the gods. Love it. I also love this line: "The hero in the song that I am writing doesn't know he's just an image of myself." That's meta, dude.

Stories Don't End hits shelves April 9.

Avett Bros Release 'February Seven' Trailer

I guess we make trailers for music videos now. Ok! I'll roll with that. Check out the Avett Brothers' video on the making of their upcoming music video for "February Seven" from last fall's The Carpenter. They shot the video at an antique store Scott and Seth went to as kids. Will the video be a masterpiece, as Seth Avett posits? Maybe. Just Maybe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: 'Nashville' Episode Twelve

Tis been a fortnight since we last lighted in Nashvilleland, so it's probably fitting somehow that the episode starts off in Chicago (?) where the Red Lips and White Lies tour has set up shop. As the tour folks walk into some kind of ritzy hotel, Deacon makes the first of several digs at Juliette and the scale of the tour. After all, he says, Johnny Cash only toured with three other people. Juliette makes an insecure twisty face. Deacon then gets into the elevator for the first of several times with Rayna and it's awkward and mostly silent. That night at the show, Deacon wanders around backstage like he's never been with a large tour before, and definitely not within the last couple episodes. He digs Juliette about "all the glitter," which makes me want to ask him, did you not know what her schtick was? Really? But still. He's getting into Juliette's head, especially as she sings a song that touts girls' apparently innate ability to get free rinks by flipping their hair and dance in five inch heels. All night. Not exactly a feminist anthem, you know? Yeah. She does too. Her manager dude does his best to keep her on a leash as she asks about the future of her brand after the show. Also after the show, Rayna makes another attempt to casually talk to Deacon. It's a no-go. Rayna does grab lunch with Watty, though, which is great because we were wondering where they'd put him. She exposits for the sake of the audience that Marshall will give her her own label if she signs of new acts... like those two crazy kids from that phone call in the first episode... oh wait, what? That was Scarlett? Deacon's Scarlett? Well shoot. Gonna have to talk to Deacon. Again, it's a no-go in the elevator. Anyway, Juliette continues her soul searching, griping to Deacon that she doesn't want to be a singing Barbie anymore... but what if that's all her fans want? He dishes out some advice that she should do what she feels, but the important thing is the doing. Whelp, next show she turns up all dressed down and explains to the audience that she wants to do something different blah blah blah and brings Deacon up to sing a song they wrote together. Everyone is like oh hey, cool.

That is, except for some critic from the Chicago Tribune who tweets that he wants his money back and other mean things. Manager man scolds Juliette and she is not unreasonably bummed.

Thanks for making music critics look like heartless jerks, Nashville. Anyway, while Juliette is brooding, her humble assistant begs an audience with the queen and says that she loved the song, and apparently others on the Internets did too. A new hope is born. However, manager man goes to the bar to rip Deacon a new one about trying to turn Juliette into Rayna and how Deacon is one to talk since he doesn't do much doing himself. So. Back to the elevator! Rayna is of course lurking there, and when she poses the question, what are you doing on this tour, he kisses her. And hey, before you get your judgmental knickers in a twist, let me just tell you what Teddy's been up to back in Nashville. Long story short, he sleeps with Peggy, who is split from her hubby. He's pissy about Deacon being on tour, as if it's Rayna's fault, and after some squinty glances at Peggy, BAM. They're in bed. She asks him, "What are we doing?" Well, hon, when a morally unsound man loves an emotionally unstable woman...Whatever. Back in Chicago, Rayna texts Deacon what I assume is a booty call (but I am unsure) and in a sweet bit of editing, we see Deacon grab his keys and walk out of his room. Someone knocks on Rayna's door. She answers it. And it's Teddy. Bummer. Even bigger bummer? He asks her for a divorce. End of episode.

But wait, we've got some things to tie up with the Bluebird crew. Gunnar is repairing Scarlett's garbage disposal– no, that's not a euphemism– when her landlord shows up asking for money. She's short this month because Avery is a jerk. We also start learning of a very thin premise that Gunnar is living with some frat-tastic d-bags for roommates. More on that later. You'll never guess what happens. Anyway, they show up at a show that the former Avery Barkley band is playing. The audience is not interested. The roommates bring an air horn. Charming. The band does not make enough for Scarlett to make rent. Gunnar says he'd give her the money if he had it himself. Meanwhile in Marilyn Maneater's lair, Avery  is sulky as she tells him of new prospects which include playing at Belmont again in the Spring for more money (I see you shining out there, Bob Fisher!) and shooting a segment for some show about his hometown. Said segment takes them infront of Scarlett's house and she comes out like what the hell are you doing, and I need your rent money. He's a jerk– did I mention that? And of course he won't be giving her any money. "You're pathetic," she tells him through her usual mouth full of marbles.  Later on at the Bluebird, Scarlett approaches Gunnar, who is grumpy about his roommates, about moving in with her. It'd be great! She even promises not to play banjo in the shower.

This is a great idea, them moving in together. They've definitely never going to sleep together. Not at all a thin plot device. Gunnar agrees and moves in the night that Avery happens to drop by with rent money, an apology about earlier, and a little humility... until Gunnar walks out of the back room and Avery gets pissy. You're taking my band, my girl, just remember I was there first. Gunnar responds you're lonely and you hate yourself. Avery punches him and Gunnar is all:

One! Two! Three! Four! In the span of four punches in a second and a half, Avery is bleeding on the floor while Scarlett basically kicks him out the door. Gunnar is a ninja. We'll see you next week.

Stray Observations:

+ Marilyn describes their relationship as "purely recreational." LULZ
+ Not sad about Teddy, though I expect Deacon will be mopey about having caught Teddy standing in Rayna's doorway unexpectedly.

Dawes Tweet Album Art

via @dawestheband
You're going to think I spend my day watching Dawes's Twitter profile. I do not. However, I do have another album update to report. They tweeted the album artwork for Stories Don't End, out April 9th. All I can say is, looks like a pretty good time. My posse and I had a similarly awesome fire in the backyard some months back. Anyhoodle, so now we've got the album title, release date, track listing, trailer, and artwork. I can only assume tour dates will follow... first single... a music video or two. 

I suddenly feel the need to go outside. Stay tuned. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Seth Avett Designs Martin Guitar

You know, if I had $4k lying around. Maybe. That's the price tag on the brand new Martin D-35 Seth Avett Custom Signature Edition guitar. Martin gave the Avett bro the chance to design a D-35 because that's the type of guitar he's been playing for a solid decade and hey, why the hell not?

Even if the descriptions of various type of woods (East Indian Rosewood!) and inlays (copper snowflakes!) don't make your mouth water like the menu at an out-of-your-league restaurant, you can still appreciate some of Avett's back story described in the pdf of the catalog pages. For instance, Avett has a solo project called Timothy Seth Avett as Darling that used to be exclusively sold at Avett shows.  And now you know.

Above is a video Guitar World Magazine shot at NAMM recently. The guy working the Martin booth gives a pretty good tour of the guitar, if you're interested.

Paste Festival Sessions Available Through NoiseTrade

Here's a heads up on a compilation you'll want to grab from NoiseTrade when you get a chance. Paste Magazine released 15 songs recorded live by various artists through festival season. Among the standout tracks, there's "Like Janis," by Rodriguez, "Keys to Paradise" by Trampled by Turtles and possibly the saddest version of "So Well" by Dawes you've ever heard. No joke. Get ready to climb into bed and weep for the rest of the afternoon. But it's good! Anyway, it's a solid mix of songs. (Did I mention "A Good Girl's Hard to Find" by Preservation Hall Jazz Band?) Have at it. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

"Have to Pretend" : The Cave Singers

This came rolling through my inbox the other day. It's a single from Seattle, WA. band The Cave Singers. "Have to Pretend" comes to us off their upcoming release Naomi, due out March 5.  It's a pretty good groove. I'm not overly familiar with the group beyond the name, but I really like the strong bass line and frontman Peter Quirk's vocals. They're kind of late 60s-early 70s awesome. Anyhoodle, there's that. And for what it's worth, The Cave Singers will be playing Nashville on April, 3 at the Basement.

Review: Give in by ON AN ON

Here's another album I wrote up for Consequence of Sound. It's a record called Give In by a group called ON AN ON. They're basically the remaining three members of the now defunct Scattered Trees. I really enjoyed spending a week with this album, so even if you don't bother to read the review, definitely take the album for a spin.