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NEWS: R.I.P. R.E.M.

LINK: R.E.M. Breaks Up

Monster by R.E.M. was one of the first albums I ever listened to start to finish. Out of Time was one of the first CDs I ever owned. (And probably the only one I purchased in Jr. High school that I’m not now ashamed of.)

Good thing R.E.M. provided us with the perfect anthem to deal with the emotions we’re all dealing with right now.

Thanks guys.

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My Friday just got a whole lot better. Coldplay just released a new single- “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”. It’s upbeat and catchy, and I dig it. The word is that it will be part of an album produced (again) by Brian Eno, and will be released this Fall. Have a listen.

For kicks, here’s something that just popped up on my radar- Chris Martin singing with Faultline (David Kosten). It’s dark and haunting, and I dig it too.  It sort of brings balance to the force with the happy new single above.

mp3: Faultline feat. Chris Martin – Where Is My Boy
from the album Your Love Means Everything (buy it here)

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My first introduction to Cataldo was the brilliant “Black and Milds”, a song so good that I purchased the rest of the album, Signal Flare, without ever having heard more than just that one track. I was pleased to find that “Black and Milds” was not a fluke. Signal Flare is a beautiful synthesis of folk, rock, and pop. (Which is actually how I would define the increasingly useless and vague term “indie music”)(That discussion is for another time though)

But all of that was back in 2009 for me. And besides Cataldo tracks making appearances on various blogs, most notably I Am Fuel You Are Friends, I hadn’t heard anything new from Eric and crew.

Well now that its 2011, it seems only appropriate that I should learn about Eric’s new album Prison Boxing from Facebook. (Gotta love social media) However, it seems there is a bit of a catch with this latest album, namely, Cataldo has run out of money. So in an effort to get the necessary funds to get Prison Boxing out the door, Cataldo is asking for our help. (Its actually a pretty one-sided deal in our favor.)

Visit the ‘Kickstarter’ page to see the exact details of the project you would be backing, the great little incentives Eric is offering if you help, and hear a little teaser of what we can expect when Prison Boxing gets released.

Help Cataldo release Prison Boxing here

Also, Eric Anderson is from Idaho. Moscow, Idaho. So if you’re a fan of music, Idaho, or musicians from Moscow, ID…think about lending a hand.

mp3: Cataldo – Black and Milds
from the album Signal Flare (buy it here)

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I’m currently in ‘finals week isolation’ so this needs to be quick.

Record Store Day is fast approaching and we’ve finally received a full list of what will be available.

It is no exaggeration to say that last year, Record Store Day was really one of the best days of my life.

So in between the endless writing/editing process I’ll be pouring over this list, slowly winnowing my list down to a financially feasible reality. Meaning two or three items…*sigh*

pdf: Record Store Day Releases

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It’s no secret how much we love Josh Ritter around here – in fact, I can’t think of any other artist we plug more often or more emphatically than him. His record, So Runs The World Away, made the No. 2 spot in our Favorite Albums of 2010, and if we’d been writing this blog back in 2007, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter would have topped that year’s list as well. On top of all that, his 2006 masterpiece The Animal Years continues to be one of my all-time favorite records (now on vinyl!).

One of my favorite things about Ritter’s music is the remarkable stories he tells through his songs – whether they be about cursed mummies, romantic cowboys, or repressed missile-silo operators – so it only seems natural that the gifted songwriter would try his hand at a different form of storytelling. Josh Ritter will be releasing his first novel, Bright’s Passage, on June 28th via Random House/Dial Press. I don’t know much about the book yet, except that the story originally grew out of a song (naturally), and that it follows a World War I veteran, Henry Bright, and his infant son, as they trek through the wooded hills of West Virginia. Below is a brief note from Josh about the book, and a link to download the first chapter for free!

“Hey All!

Here’s the first chapter to my first novel, Bright’s Passage.  Wow!  It makes me very proud to write that!  Right now I’m sitting on the floor in Penn Station in New York, waiting for a train to Philadelphia where I’m to play a solo show.  There are so many places a story can be told.  Over the past year and a half, in airport bars and laundromats, tour busses and kitchens I’ve been telling myself the story of Henry Bright and his world.  A story that started as a song is now a world inhabited by characters that are still surprising to me.  I’m so happy to begin to present that world to others.  Great thanks goes, as ever, to my family and my music family, my new friends at the Dial Press, and all of those whose generosity of will made this book possible.

Finally, thank all of you for your continued belief in my writing, whatever form it may take.  I never forget who it is that makes all of this possible in the end.

As ever, rock on!
Josh

Pre-order the book at Amazon and IndieBound.

And here are some examples of Josh’s fantastic storytelling at work:

mp3: Josh Ritter – Wings
from the album Hello Starling (buy it here)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Lillian, Egypt
from the album The Animal Years (buy it here)

mp3: Josh Ritter – The Temptation Of Adam
from the album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter (buy it here)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Another New World
from the album So Runs The World Away (buy it here)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Galahad
from the EP To The Yet Unknowing World (buy it here)

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This is neat!

Yesterday Robin Pecknold (of Fleet Foxes) quietly released three new songs via his twitter (because it’s 2011 and why not release music via twitter?). In the past Mr. Pecknold’s released solo material under the White Antelope moniker, but these are just plain ol’ Robin Pecknold songs – all except for the first one, which is a plain ol’ Robin Pecknold song + a pinch of Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste, and yes it’s as pretty as you’d expect. Take a listen below, or download all three HERE.

mp3: Robin Pecknold – I’m Losing Myself (feat. Ed Droste)
from the EP Three Songs

mp3: Robin Pecknold – Derwentwater Stones
from the EP Three Songs

mp3: Robin Pecknold – Where Is My Wild Rose
from the EP Three Songs

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Well well well, looks like my Valentines Day this year won’t be solely remembered as the year I ate one of those heart-shaped pizzas from Papa Johns alone. Nope, it’ll also be the day we found out Radiohead is releasing their latest LP, The King of Limbs, this Saturday.

Yep, this Saturday. February 19th 2011.

The album will be available via download that day ($9 for mp3 format $14 for  wav. Nope, no more ‘create your own price’) or for the vinyl and collector junkies, you can order this.

Pre-order The King of Limbs here.

mp3: Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
from the album The King of Limbs (maybe?) (update: nope)

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It’s a cold and icy day here in Indianapolis. So cold and icy, in fact, that they’ve canceled just about everything there is to cancel, including my classes. So I’m just sitting around here at home, enjoying not having anything to do but slide around on the frozen sidewalks, play cribbage with my wife, and punch ice sheets off our second-story windows. It’s been a pretty great day so far.

Adding to that great day vibe is the news that Josh Ritter’s near-flawless 2006 album The Animal Years is (finally!) getting the reissue treatment on CD and LP, just like Golden Age of Radio and Hello Starling have in the past couple years. Like those reissues, both the CD and LP will include a bonus disc of Josh performing the entire record solo and acoustic, plus four unreleased songs. The CD hits stores Feb 15th (including most online retailers), but the LP is available right now on Josh’s website and at your local indie record store.

The Animal Years is beautifully written and constructed from start to finish, and continues to be one of my very favorite records of all time, even five years later. Honestly, when I have to pick my Top Five Of All Time, this is definitely always in it. (Any guesses on the other four?) And I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to listen to this beyond gorgeous album on my very own record player – I even asked Josh’s merch manager about it when we saw him in June, to which he said, “I KNOW! I’m working on it! I’ve even offered to do the design and layout!”

If you’ve forgotten how great this record is, here’s a couple highlights to refresh your memory, plus a link to download the new acoustic version of “Wolves”. Enjoy!

mp3: Josh Ritter – Wolves
from the album The Animal Years (buy it here)

mp3: Josh Ritter – Good Man
from the album The Animal Years (buy it here)

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My computer couldn’t have picked a better time to start functioning again. Just in time to stream The Decemberists’ The King is Dead. Well done little laptop, well done.

A full review is likely to follow the release of the album on January 18th, so in the meantime just sit back, listen, and maybe think about pledging a couple bucks to NPR. Gotta love those guys.

Stream The King is Dead here.

mp3: The Decemberists – Down by the Water
from the album The King is Dead (pre-order)

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For the last several years, the beginning of the Christmas season at our house has been marked by The Sounds of Sufjan. His Christmas EPs (released in 2006 in this fantastic box-set) are just about the perfect holiday accompaniment I could ever hope for: they’re at turns silly, hopeful, reverent, corny (in the good way), jubilant – you know, all the things that Christmas can be. So naturally, I’ve been waiting eagerly for any word about volumes 6, 7, 8, etc. etc… Well this year, CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY!

Gloria! Songs for Christmas, Vol. 6 (actually recorded some years ago) just saw the light of internet-day this morning! The 8 song set includes some help from the National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, as well as Arcade Fire’s Richard Perry – so that’s pretty fun. You can download two of the tracks over at Between hipsters and God there is Sufjan Stevens, or stream the whole thing below (via rawkblog). Merry Christmas ere’body!

UPDATE: It appears the songs are no longer available. It was fun while it lasted!

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First things first: we posted our Top 21 Albums of 2010 on Monday, but apparently it hasn’t shown up in some Readers -  so if you haven’t seen that yet, go ahead and do it now!

Second things second: Whale in a Cubicle is now SHUFFLABLE! That’s right. You might remember that we’re fans of shuffler.fm, well now we’re linked up so you can listen to WiAC’s own blog-station via shuffler.fm. To get there, just scroll down this page and click on the link below in the left sidebar:

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And third things thirdly: recently, John Darnielle (of The Mountain Goats) reached 5,000 followers on Twitter (whatever that is), and to celebrate he released a new song which will not be on his forth-coming album, All Eternals Deck. It’s great! Enjoy!

mp3: The Mountain Goats – Tyler Lambert’s Grave
from the album Twitter Reward Bonus!

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Well it’s been another grueling semester, but it’s over now, and I feel pretty good about that. So good that I could dance the salsa or something. This dog knows what I’m talking about. Yeah, that good.

To add to my good feelings this morning, Daytrotter recently put up a great set by Icarus Himself, who I posted on recently. They’ve only kept growing on me since, so you should probably check this out. And if you’re in Bloomington tomorrow night you should head to Rachael’s Cafe and hang out with them. Because they’ll be there. Playing music. UPDATE: The show starts at 8, and is just a $5 donation. You should go.

download: Icarus Himself Daytrotter session

mp3: Icarus Himself – Seen It Coming (Mexico)
from the Mexico EP (buy it here)

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