I May Be a Lazy Sod, But Happy Days Are Ahead

Ok, I realize that I haven’t posted much in recent weeks. There just hasn’t been any time, and the energy has also been lacking. First there was the post-Minneapolis travels malaise – I had looked forward to those concerts for so long that life was a major letdown after they were over. Then there was the whole Christmas season – finding time to put together my end of year disc, the shopping, and the pomp and circumstance of the actual holiday.

So the New Year begins, and guess what happens? I come down with pneumonia. I had been plagued with a cough for quite a few weeks…hell, I had a terrible cold way back in October. After a week of no sleep thanks to a nasty cough, and chest congestion that had become so loud that I had to drown it out with television to get through the night, the family convinced me that I should probably take a trip to the doctor. A week of antibiotics later, and I finally started to improve.

Life is finally back to normal, or as normal as it can be in my horrific life. Actually, things are looking up. First off, there was finally some new music this week. Low, And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Supersuckers, Marianne Faithful, and a live DVD by the Old 97’s were some of the great finds yesterday. But the highlights would have to be the two albums by 24 year-old Nebraska cover-boy Conor Orbst’s Bright Eyes. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning is the album garnering critical accolades; sort of a country-ish folk album that features Emmylou Harris on a couple of tracks. “First Day of My Life” is the track that caught my ear. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn’s more electronic sound is just a step below the quality of Wide Awake, but is still worth owning.

Three great shows were also announced this week. Stereotyprider hails from Arizona, and formed in 1995 after the dissolution of two other bands, Mandingo and Adam’s Alcoholics. As their website bio states, “two members of each band decided that it was time to create something new and started writing innovative new songs integrated with a power and heaviness to distinguish them from other melodic bands”. They just released a new album, Prolonging the Inevitable, but they first caught my eye earlier last year with Under the Influence, a seven song EP of songs by The Cure, Archers of Loaf, Fugazi, The Pixies, Seaweed, The Descendents, and Quicksand. They’re playing February 1 at the Urban Hermit.

Word also came out yesterday that one of my idols is making a surprise appearance in town. Elvis – the real Elvis (at least in my life) – Costello will be at the Pavilion April 15. Obviously, I don’t need to recite Costello’s bio on this page; if you’re checking out my blog it’s safe to say that you probably own at least one of his albums. His latest, The Delivery Man, may be his best album in over a decade, and one of the highlights is “There’s a Story in Your Voice”, featuring additional vocals by the great Lucinda Williams.

And finally, I took the plunge earlier today and bought tickets to see God, AKA Paul Westerberg, at the Emporium in Kansas City on March 4. I was bummed when he first announced shows on the West Coast, and started to check out Kathy’s fan page (see link to the right) when he started adding Midwestern dates. To celebrate, here’s a solo version of “My Dad” that he recorded for AOL last fall.

One last note – there’s a noteworthy omission from my list of 2004’s best releases. If I was to make that list today, I would have to include Arcade Fire’s debut album. Funeral was recorded under duress; three members of the band lost loved ones during the early stages of the band, although on a happier note co-leaders Win Butler and Regime Chassagne were married. The resulting album has been slowly gaining notice by critics and music lovers; here’s “Neighborhood #1 – Tunnels” for your listening pleasure.


Luci said…
I've been considering getting the new Bright Eyes cds, I've already listened to their old stuff too much if it's possible, but cash is low. Which one is better?
Scott said…
Get I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. They're both good, but that one is possibly their best album ever.

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