Luke Rathborne: 2 New Mp3s

Luke Rathborne’s debut album, I Can Be One/Dog Years, is actually two EPs in one. His gentle, somewhat melancholy acoustic sound is sure to garner comparisons to Elliott Smith. “I Can Be One” is a little morose for my taste, but Luke’s soft voice does blend nicely with the melody. I like the slightly more buoyant arrangement of “Dog Years” much more. The differences in these tracks are representative of the two contrasting EPs that make up Luke’s debut. The I Can Be One EP – which features members of Antony and the Johnsons – is said to have a “somber, darker hue,” while the Dog Years EP is “effervescent, melancholic pop.”

Luke Rathborne – Dog Years (mp3)*

Luke Rathborne – I Can Be One (mp3)*

*mp3s hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s PR rep

The combined CD is not yet available for purchase, but you can download both EPs as mp3s at the links below…

Buy “I Can Be One” EP @ Amazon

Buy “Dog Years” EP @ Amazon

Buy CD @ Amazon (not yet available)

Luke Rathborne Official Site

Joan as Police Woman: New Mp3!

Joan as Police Woman (a.k.a. former Antony & The Johnsons singer Joan Wasser) is sharing a free, legal mp3 from her new album, The Deep Field. “The Magic” is familiar but welcome territory with Joan’s signature languid vocals and trippy beats.

Joan as Police Woman – The Magic (mp3)*

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s PR rep

BUY @ AMAZON

Joan as Police Woman Official Site

Muruch’s Best of the Decade: Albums

In addition to my usual year end lists, I’ve also compiled Best of the Decade lists. Following are my favorite albums that were released between 2000-2009…

Muruch’s Best of the Decade: Albums

25. Muse: The Resistance

This is one of those albums that has classic potential, and I expect to move its way up the list as the years go by. A quote from my review: “Integrating classical and opera music into their theatrical electro-rock sound, Muse have created one of the most exciting song cycles I’ve ever heard.”

Buy @ Amazon

24. Gaba Kulka: Hat, Rabbit

It was difficult to narrow how Gaba’s releases to just one, but I think her latest is her strongest to date. As I said when I named it #4 on my Top Albums list, it is “probably the most unusual and creative album” of 2009.

Buy @ Amazon

Buy @ Artist’s Site

23. Soundtrack: Once

The soundtrack to the Irish independent film Once features The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I said in my 2007 review that Hansard’s “lyrics are deeply poetic, his music is heart-wrenchingly lovely, and his beautifully raw voice conveys emotion as if the man were literally ripping his own chest open as he sings.”

Buy @ Amazon

22. Antony & The Johnsons: Antony & The Johnsons

Instead of a best of 2005 list, I deemed it The Year of the Bird and that post says everything about how Antony’s music made me feel when I first heard it. While I Am A Bird Now was their more popular release, I’ve always favored their self-titled 2000 album.

Buy @ Amazon

21. Pina: Quick Look

Pina sadly remains my best kept secret. I discovered her in the early aughts when a French pal shared mp3s of “I Loved the Way” and “Bring Me a Biscuit.” I also love Pina’s 2005 release Guess You Got It, but the rougher edges of Quick Look‘s production fit better with her “Gothic folk” style.

Buy @ Amazon

20. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Rattlin’ Bones

My 2008 review summed it up: “The flawless beauty of this album is almost beyond my comprehension.

Buy @ Amazon

19. Hem: Funnel Cloud

I like this album even more now than when I called it a “nearly perfect album” in my 2007 review.

Buy @ Amazon

18. Damien Dempsey: To Hell or Barbados

As I stated in my 2007 review, the album is a “genre-hop through folk, rock, electronica, and reggae…but the genre gymnastics still take a back seat to the stunning quality of Dempsey’s voice.”

Buy @ Amazon

17. Anais Mitchell: The Brightness

My 2007 review said: “Like the greatest of classic literature, the compositions on The Brightness are the kind that softly seep through your skin and slowly make their way into your heart and mind before exploding in dazzling display of amazement.”

Buy @ Amazon

14. Xavier Rudd: Dark Shades of Blue

Xavier has quickly become my favorite male artist in recent years, and as I said in my 2008 review: “the astounding quality of his songs make me wonder if future generations might consider Xavier Rudd to be the greatest artist of this era.”

Buy @ Amazon

15. Mavis Staples: Never Turn Back

I’m almost ashamed not to put this at #1, because in many ways this is the greatest album of the past two or three decades. I simply don’t listen to it often as the albums listed below. I suppose this is because the weighty subject matter requires a certain mood. But as I said when I reviewed it two years ago: “We’ll Never Turn Back is what music should be. Gut-wrenching blues, earth shaking beats, hip swaying rhythms, deeply moving lyrics, and a rich voice that defies description.

Buy @ Amazon

14. Luminescent Orchestrii: Too Hot to Sleep

I deemed 2005 “the year of the bird,” but that’s only because I didn’t hear Luminescent Orchestrii until 2007 when I said: “there’s a definite connection between their frenzied, violent approach to orchestral instruments and the punk cabaret of The Dresden Dolls, but neither description fully captures their unique and unearthly sound.

Buy @ Amazon

13. Flogging Molly: Swagger

This album ushered in the Celtic Punk craze of the decade. There’s no such thing as a bad Flogging Molly album, but this one was definitely their best.

Buy @ Amazon

12. Vienna Teng: Inland Territory

In my review I called Inland Territory a grand “display of Vienna Teng’s brilliance, grace, and talent.” I continue to fall more and more in love with this album with each listen.

Buy @ Amazon

11. Kurt Vonnegut & Dave Soldier: Ice-9 Ballads

My #1 album of 2009. As I said in my review: “I can’t imagine a more perfect score for my favorite novel of all time.”

Buy @ Amazon

10. Mary Timony: Mountains

I had never heard of former Helium singer Mary Timony until a friend sent me this album shortly after its 2000 release. Mary’s unusual mix of Medieval folk, chamber pop, and indie-rock was unlike anything I’d heard before, and it remains one of the most strangely beautiful recordings I’ve ever heard.

Buy @ Amazon

9. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: The Whole Fam Damnily

My #1 album of 2008. In my review, I called it an “inebriating concoction of swamp stomp and backwoods pluck.” But in subsequent listens I’ve found myself drawn more to The Rev’s lyrics, which accurately capture the perils of modern rural life.

Buy @ Amazon

8. Allison Crowe: Live at Wood Hall

Oh that voice! Still gives me chills. I’ve posted about Allison Crowe so many times over the years that I consider her Muruch’s musical mascot. As I said in my 2007 review: “there’s really no way to convey through mere words how much the music on Allison Crowe’s Live At Wood Hall moves me” Forget Susan Boyle, Allison sang the definitive cover of “I Dreamed a Dream.” (mp3)*

Buy @ Amazon

7. Soundtrack: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling

I always call it the “Buffy Musical” rather than its proper title Once More With Feeling.” Years before Dr. Horrible, Joss Whedon wrote a hilarious, poignant, and very catchy musical for an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I don’t know how well the songs translate if you never watched the Buffy series, but I still love singing along to the soundtrack. The album features vocals by actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Allison Hannigan, Michelle Trachtenberg, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters, and Anthony Stewart Head. This is an example of why file sharing works – I and several friends burned our own soundtracks from mp3s recorded directly from the televised episode long before the soundtrack was released, yet we all purchased the official album once it became available.

Buy @ Amazon

6. Xavier Rudd: White Moth

I could easily include all of Xavier Rudd’s albums on this list, but I tried to limit myself to just two. My 2008 review said: “Rudd deems the album his “proudest work” and it’s easy to understand why.” But it’s really only been with repeated listens over the past two years that I’ve grown to love and truly appreciate its magnificence. And nothing speaks to the greatness of an album like having a panic attack when you think you’ve lost it and knowing you must replace it immediately. Fortunately, I found my copy!

Buy @ Amazon

5. Damien Rice: O

Unlike most Americans, I heard and fell in love with O when it was originally released in Ireland in 2001. My clothbound first edition of the album is a collector’s item now, but I wouldn’t part with it for anything. Rice seems to have faced some post-hype backlash in recent years, but that doesn’t erase the brilliance of this album. Most remember it for Lisa Hannigan’s delicate harmonies, but Rice’s use of strings and opera music were also very unique at the time. And the album as a whole has withstood changing trends in music over the years.

Buy @ Amazon

4. Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine

This is another example of why file sharing can have a positive effect on album sales. Remember “Free Fiona”? If you don’t, Fiona recorded a version of this album with producer Jon Brion and her label initially refused to release it. Mp3s of the demos were leaked online, the fans loved them, and a huge campaign called “Free Fiona” was launched in hopes of getting the album released. It worked, though Fiona re-recorded most of the album for the official release. I was one of many who purchased the album even though I had the demo mp3s. My 2005 review also shifted the focus of this site from simply sharing music to encouraging people to purchase albums. It has since become one of my favorite albums ever, and I hope Fiona decides to grace us with another release in the near future.

Buy @ Amazon

3. Soundtrack: Hedwig & The Angry Inch

Among the 2000-04 archives of this site that have been lost were my reviewes of the movie Hedwig & The Angry Inch (which I saw in a double bill with The Anniversary Party at a local film festival) and its soundtrack. Whether or not you’re familiar with John Cameron Mitchell’s awesome musical about a German transgender rocker, the soundtrack is one of the best rock albums of all time. There are thunderous punk rock numbers like “Angry Inch” and heart-melting ballads like “Origin of Love.” Why Mitchell continues to act instead of record music is a mystery to me.

Buy @ Amazon

2. Old Crow Medicine Show: Big Iron World

In my November, 2006 review, I said “I don’t believe I’ve ever said this about an album before, but I think Old Crow Medicine Show’s Big Iron World is just about perfect.” I stand by that statement. I’ve played this album more than any other released in the past three years, and only one band could keep it from the number 1 spot…

Buy @ Amazon

1. The Dresden Dolls: The Dresden Dolls

Anyone who knows me or has been a longtime reader of this site knows that The Dresden Dolls are/were my favorite band. My posts about their self-titled debut (and the live A Is For Accident album that preceded it) were also lost with early archives of this site, but I’ve raved every other Dresden Dolls release since then. After “Over the Rainbow”, The Dresden Doll’s “Girl Anachronism” is my favorite song and this is possibly my all-time favorite album. Amanda Palmer proves without a doubt that – in the right hands – the piano is the most punk rock of all instruments.

Buy @ Amazon

*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist

let me sing you a waltz

Links have been fixed.

One of those lj fads going around…10 random songs & the memories they evoke:

Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby

This song reminds me of Jamie (see previous post), as he introduced me to Neko Case. I was so obsessed with this song when I first heard it that I played it on repeat for weeks, driving my boy mad. But it’s so haunting and unusual. I love how her voice soars on “all night, all I heeaaarrrr”.

Hole – Doll Parts

The early 90s, high school. One of those albums I played over and over in my little dark bedroom of angst. It also reminds me of Rickie on My So-Called Life for some reason. Ah now I remember, MTV had this video in it’s “Buzz Bin”, along with MSCL. Courtney Love may be nuts now, but she used to make damn good rock.


Faster Pussycat – Arizona Indian Doll

Another high school song. My best pal back then put this song on a mixtape for me in between songs by Guns N Roses, Alice N Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. Ah the 90s, how I miss you. This is an unusual hair band tune, with a nice jazzy melody.

Travis – Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

This song reminds me of walking down the long dirt road from my in-laws house to the nearest town in Ireland in 2000. My boy and I would sing this song as we walked because, well, it was Ireland and it was always raining on us. :p

Tori Amos – Beauty Queen/Horses

Yet another high school memory (I have a lot of memory mp3s:p). I first heard this song on NPR’s World Cafe a few months before Boys for Pele was released. They did a special preview show and Tori played this and a few other tunes from the album. That was back during my Tori-obsessed days so I was very excited. I stayed up into the wee hours listening to the show (as I often did back then), and wrote a long, strange epic of a poem. And I recorded it from the radio so I could listen to the songs over and over. This was one of Tori’s weirder songs as far as lyrics go, but the melody is pretty. Man it’s sad how bad her voice has gotten since then, she used to have a very pleasant lilt when she sang.

Flogging Molly – Light of a Fading Star

This was the second Flogging Molly song I heard (the first was “Devil’s Dance Floor”). All of their songs remind me of Ireland even though I didn’t hear them until we returned here. And driving, as I love listening to my all-Molly mixtape when I’m behind the wheel.

Julie Delpy – Waltz For a Night

In Before Sunset, Delpy sings this tune as her character, Celene, to Ethan Hawke’s character, Jesse. It’s a simple, pretty tune and reminds me both of the film and of my own serendipitous love.

Portishead – All Mine

A better memory, yay. I bought this cd when I first moved out of my mom’s house into my own apartment and it kept me company those first few months of being on my own. It reminds me of the strange, refreshing feeling of independence. And unpacking. ;p

Odetta – Goodnight Irene

I saw Odetta perform this at Mountain Stage a few years ago. She’s one of the most captivating performers, probably because she’s somewhat of a legend. She has a very commanding presence and a rich depth to her voice that makes the room vibrate.

Antony & The Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone

There’s probably not much I can say about this one that I haven’t already said before, as I’ve shared it many times on other forums. When I first heard about Antony last year, I downloaded this song and “Frankenstein” and listened to them with my boy because I just had to share the experience with someone who understood. Antony’s voice and the pounding of the piano toward the end stir up a lot of emotions that I don’t have the words to describe.

And here’s an extra that I uploaded for someone else. Bjork’s old band:
The Sugarcubes – Hit

Ps. Comfort Radio has a couple of new Shivaree tunes. I saw Shivaree in concert earlier this year and that Ambrosia chick is simply smoldering, as is their new album.