Thursday, July 31, 2008

Now: Carolina Chocolate Drops

It's part II of Now and Later with My Friend Matt with the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

So, fair is fair. Matt actually heard about the Carolina Chocolate Drops from a co-worker who attended last weeks Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, CO while I was romping and stomping in North Park, Colorado and Encampment, Wyoming. But, I give credit where credit is due and it was dear Matt who told me I HAD to check out this band. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are African-American musicians out of the Carolina Piedmont region. Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, both on the 5-string banjo and fiddle hail from North Carolina while Dom Flemons (4-string banjo, guitar, jug, harmonica, kazoo, snare drum, bones) came from Arizona. Yes, you read it correct, he does play the jug and bones (see video below). According to their site bio, their goal is to continue the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music in Carolina's’ Piedmont. It doesn't hurt that their supervisor (of sorts) is Joe Thompson, considered the last black traditional string band player. Unfortunately I missed their Colorado appearance last week. But, they are still on national tour and those of you lucky enough to be in Nashville in the fall can watch the Carolina Chocolate Drops play with Old Crow Medicine Show at the famous Ryman Auditorium.
I learned a bit of history concerning the differences between what I consider traditional bluegrass/banjo and fiddle music and the style specific to the Piedmont region. Here's what their site had to say:
When most of people think of fiddle and banjo music, they think of the southern Appalachian Mountains as the source of this music. While the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina are great strongholds of traditional music today, they are certainly not the source.

The nuances of Piedmont stringband music stem from the demographics of the Piedmont and thereby its focus on the banjo as the lead instrument. Among black ensembles, the banjo often set the pace and if a fiddle was present and it often was not, it served as accompaniment and not as the lead instrument as is more common in the Appalachian tradition. A guitar or mandolin would have been rare, but not unheard of, in these bands but the foundation of this tradition lies rooted in the antebellum combination of fiddle and banjo. -
And, now you know.

Without further ado, here are the Carolina Chocolate Drops, definitely not to be confused with Zonday's Chocolate Rain.

Carolina Chocolate Drops-Short Life of Trouble

Here's quick in-studio video where you can see Dom on the bones and jug. But, if you want to see a full concert, the Fab Channel is a click away.
Cornbread and Butterbeans

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Later: Grateful Dead?
No, it's Grateful Dawg, thank God.

I went fly-fishing last weekend with my father in the remote and rather untouched areas of Colorado and Wyoming where we encountered dozens of elk, deer, fish, moose (one mama and one calf WAY too close for comfort), Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles and Great Gray Owls. Our guide on the Encampment River was a big Grateful Dead fan and knows most of their stuff. Aside from a few of their hits, I wouldn't consider myself a Grateful Dead fan and therefore, couldn't provide a suitable present for our guide. However, it struck me as I headed up to Encampment, Wyoming, that my homeslice Matt (and his fiancee) introduced me to Grateful Dawg back in college, a project that many of today's tye-dye wearing, Birkenstock stomping, high school yuppie, "I've been there" stoners aren't aware of. 1 point for me. As I guessed, our Dead Head guide (he was no hippie) had not heard of this documentary-slash-side project of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, so I felt compelled to introduce him. Again, I AM NOT a Grateful Dead fan. But, this is a soundtrack I suggest you track down and you have my friend Matt (and Sally) to thank for it. It's the missing ingredient when you have iced tea, a lot of sun, a porch, friends, and a dog day afternoon. Take their version of Jimmy Cliff's made popular classic...

Sitting Here In Limbo - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman

Gillian Grisman produced and directed this documentary in 2000 exploring the timeline of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman from their very beginnings as bluegrassers, to Old & In the Way, and through their stardom as Grateful Dead. Grateful Dawg, the documentary, includes rare live performances, jam sessions, recording sessions and interviews among friends and family. Little did I know that Garcia and Grisman influenced much of the bluegrass and porch-style music that I enjoy today through their marriage of rag-time, porch-pickin', bluegrass-infused style that they named "dawg" music.

Sweet Sunny South - Jerry Garcia & David Grisman

Click here to see the Grateful Dawg trailer, should you need a kick-start to run to the video rental store.

"Now," or Part II will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Kings of Leon

The Followill's and Kings of Leon are back again and offering a free download from their new album via their homepage...or you boost my self esteem and pretend that I offered you the download (below) before anyone else! Deriving a first impression from their new single alone is a bit unfair, but it's safe to say that the Followill family hasn't put out an album to date that didn't serve as a magnet to applause. Nonetheless, at least on this song, you can actually understand Caleb's lyrics* without consulting their lyrics sheet! "Crawl," the first release from Kings of Leon's upcoming album Only By The Night is set to be released on September 22/23 (pending your source) from RCA Records.

Kings of Leon - Crawl

"And Knowing is Half The Battle"
Kings of Leon are comprised of three brothers (Caleb Followill - lead vocals/guitar, Jared Followill - bass, Nathan Followill - drums) and a first cousin (Matthew Followill - guitar). The three Followills spent their earlier days traveling weeks at a time through the southern states while their father preached at Pentecostal churches and religious tent revivals that probably compare to Steve Martin's 1992 movie, Leap of Faith. Their mother taught them on the road and the boys often were invited to bang on drums and assist in the musical aspects of the sermons. In 1997, following their father's divorce and resigning from the church, the Followill boys situated in Nashville, recruited their cousin to join, and began delving into the rock music world. In fact, both Caleb and Nathan (students at Christian Life Academy) sang at rodeos and were pursuing a career in country music before diving in to rock and roll (see, there is a God!). Taking their name from their father and grandfather, who were both Leon, the boys officially formed Kings of Leon in 2000 and were signed by RCA one year later. And, now you know.

* Here are my two favorites from KOL(both off of Because of the Times), with "Fans" edging out "Arizona" by a kitten's whisker. Seek out the lyrics and you'll find that some stuff that Caleb mumbles was pretty much what you thought he was saying. Even "die-hard" fans argue online about the lyrics to the other he saying "Ragoo" or "right moves" or "rye boob"?

Example #1 - a playlist "essential"
Kings of Leon - Fans

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tom Thumb isn't THAT small

Indianapolis Part 2 will have to wait. I've been digging and replaying and adding Tom Thumb to friends' mix CDs since I stumbled across his sound at The My Old Kentucky Blog this fall. Perusing his current influences of Spoon, Wilco and My Morning Jacket, you may be tempted to stereotype his music as a cacophony of organized loud sounds lost in a world of drunken fuzz maybe reminiscent of Wilco's Heavy Metal Drummer, Spoon's controlled feedback without losing pop rock fans and My Morning Jacket's earlier unpolished perfection. Don't forget Spoon's "E. Vittorio" or a Jim James acoustic set in an big hall and Wilco's lighter Americana base. Andy Arch is right there taking you with his shuttering vocals, fluttering banjo and seductive backup vocals courtesy of some vixen. It takes some guts to cover to the Boss properly and Arch and Co. get my nod.

Tom Thumb - Atlantic City

Hailing out of Cape Code, Mass., Andy Arch keeps a fairly low profile though the blogs haven't quite allowed him to completely slip off of the radar. Don't let me misguide you completely...Tom Thumb has recently been on tour and played with Jens Lenkman, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Dr. Dog. I've been speaking with him a bit lately for an upcoming film and though very cordial, I easily hear his despondent voice and care-free mentality giving me the notion that he may be content with going through an entire career unnoticed. It almost irks me until I realize he is an artist first and foremost and that his goal is not to play show after show after show. Rather, his intentions are to assist the other artist (filmmaker) I'm working for by supplying his art, with no attention paid to profit.

site and pick up a copy for yourself. The beats he builds coupled with simple guitar and banjo melodies only become heightened by his wallowing voice and a beautiful female backup vocal. Andy Arch capitalizes on my favorite aspect of beautiful simplicity can wrangle any listener.

Tom Thumb - Lord, Release Me

Friday, July 25, 2008

Indianapolis - Part 1:
Josh Garrels

Is it gospel? It's preachy and he definitely has vocal chords that aren't afraid to venture. I definitely hear a bit of Tracy Chapman-meets-testosterone. Wait, there's some John Butler, Harper, Alexi Murdoch...and then I heard some free-style via white man preaching women and freedom and livin'. No, it's not Xavier Rudd...this guy speaks through his songs, not right-wing bash sessions between songs.

So it's time I post on Indianapolis-based Josh Garrels. I know a few of you have told me about him in the past and I may have sluffed you off. Last week, my compadre Johnny Utah out West re-alerted me to him. After finding out he's associated with my pal Trace Bundy and Braddigan (of Dispatch), I decided to give him a further nod. I'm not convinced I love half of his material yet; although the few songs I've liked, I've REALLY liked.

I'm sure you'll be hearing some of Josh Garrels in some of the soundtracks I'm currently working on as his style and anxious crescendos really seem to fit in on the stories I'm working with. Plus, when has a simple guitar rhythm backed by a nice kick drum and beats not worked? (Rhetorical, mind you). Here's one song that you can download for free via Garrels' site that's been swooning my speakers lately:

Josh Garrels - Sleeper

Josh has a new album in August that you can pre-order from his website which is also full of audio samples and art from he and his wife. Once I started grooving to his beats and motioning voice, it didn't take me too long to start bobbing my head, tapping my toe and realizing I needed a nice porch and cool summer sky to accompany the mood he set.

**I never condone Dredlock Holiday doing a hippie-infused/marionette doll dance on stage like seen above. I do condone Josh Garrels.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the donner party

Day 2.

Quick note:
I went through a thousand dangers to make it to the stretch of soccer fields on Sunday. I mean there was brunch, mimosas, bloodies and then there was my "group", moving at a glacial pace toward the venue. And the sun, Christ, it was something to behold.

So, I went to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, but only remember flashes of it as I was in a recovery position looking like a member of the Donner party. This is what ill say, "she killed". She casts a wide net with her vocal range, stands proudly in the great tradition of female rockers and best of all, wields a flying V guitar. Say no more. Go see it.

Grace Potter - Ah Mary

Colbie Callait:
Aside from the hilarity of watching her deal with a misguided wardrobe choice, short summer dress on windy day, you could hear the same thing I heard if you turn on FM radio RIGHT NOW. Only, you'll be more comfortable in an air-conditioned office space than I was in midst of sorority super-fans. Good spot if you're single and interested in introducing a woman to "good" music. Possible pick up line, "Have you ever heard of Feist?"

Rodrigo y Gabriela:
The man who commands this blog introduced me to this duo at the boulder theatre on an otherwise quiet Wednesday evening. Gregory Allan Isakov opened. It was a delight to witness them. However, as I gathered my music fest comrades and we headed over to the main stage to see them there was, within me, a thumping sound that I will refer to as: dread. How will this band translate to the main stage, let alone a music festival? Answer: they don’t. It's a guy, a girl, two guitars and some serious Latin passion. However, lets be honest with ourselves, to keep the interest of thousands, with this alone, is an immensely improbable feat. Gabriela is the exchange student you would have married and Rodrigo is the friend you wished you’d always had, and both their personas are bared gloriously during their intimate stands at our local venues, but hid behind the blasting sun at 4pm on a Sunday, they are as dry as a Colorado lawn in august, (which is fucking dry). Confine this dueling guitar duo to their habitat, a dark intimate club, where the rhythmic thud of their fingers pounds your chest, and may I suggest, your loins....?

John Mayer:
OK. There are two John Mayers'. Alpha male John Mayer spins out hit singles with the ease of the Beatles. He assesses the market, scribbles down some lyrics, sets them to some major chords and prints it. (Watch bank account accrue benjamins fast). Then, there is, culture snob, sarcastic, self-hating John Mayer; the one that has landed himself in the arms of Jennifer Aniston, Dave Chappelle and Kanye west. His winning, biting, intellect navigates the media like a soft-power sage. What’s more, he forms a band called the John Mayer trio, and turns the six string guitar into his bitch. Now, at MHMF we saw a bit of both personas. His tattoo sleeve that wrapped over his newly sculpted physique evidenced his US Magazine disposition, but he stuttered over conversational interludes between songs. Assessment? He's still the dorky Jewish kid that can play the guitar like a mutha... endure the radio hits, relish the white-hot flashes of boy genius. Hold tight, it may be John that is garnering the headliner purse 20 years from now...

The Roots:
HOLY FUCK!!!!! Anything I write will not do them justice. You either know or you don’t. And if you don’t, its time to go see them.

The Black Crowes:
If one were needing to introduce someone to rock 'n' roll for the very first time (I have no idea why this would happen, but for the sake of argument...let’s pretend), there is probably a short list of singers that would be devilishly good examples of the genre. Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon when pushing the limits of his lungs give the impression that he was arguing about his bar tab till 3am, or Mick Jagger, circa Exile on Main Street, has a timeshare on all of rock crooners. Chris Robinson, in my mind joins this list with his unmistakable tenor. At the outset of their career his voice sounded as though it was created solely for the medium. Sadly, the bands live set and frankly their albums have begun to feel like six guys doing their day job. Everything happens when it’s supposed to; even the guitar solos have a tired quality. I believe its time for this band to tumble into turmoil, maybe then, there live set will sound less rehearsed and more spontaneous...

Dave Matthews:
While I'm on the subject of tired material lets discuss Dave Matthews. Despite my greatest efforts to hang on, high school disappeared behind me as I, unwillingly, careened into the trials of adulthood. So to should Matthews. The man has released what seems like dozens of live performance tapes, saturating the market with the "magic" of his lives shows. He is simply out of tricks. We’ve heard it before. What's more, he knows he's out of tricks. His show looks like a reunion tour in which bygone era artists desperately try to dust off their old moves. But, we have the fans to blame for that. We’re encouraging it. The summer concert tour is never short of 30-somethings wanting to be momentarily transported back to their misguided days of yore. So, Matthews gives 'em what they want to the tune of $50, $60 a ticket. Stop this vicious cycle. Stop the goddamn ants from marching...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

errr. dispatch: commerce city

For those of you who didn't read my intro to The Mountain Tempo's new contributor, please read the post from yesterday. If you're too lazy, let me say that since this blog was imagined, I've wanted this dear sir to be involved...because in a way, he already has. Apart my job in the industry of receiving new tunes on a daily basis, Sam is by far the most influential component of my musical spectrum. To explain would take me multiple posts. And, he is the only person to make what I deem the 'best mix ever.' Ladies and gentlemen, the Mountain Tempo is proud to introduce the first of many installments by samuel hayes CAPS, mind you.

dispatch: commerce city
mile high music fest day 1:
arriving in my office this morning, i half expected my banker to call me. the conversation i imagined went something like this:

banker: sam, uh, hey. its jeff. listen um, an identity theft alert popped up on my computer here, it appears you, ah, or someone pretending to be you, pulled out quite a lot of money from ATM's at the mile high festival over the weekend....

sam: ummm, no, yea, no, right. that was me.

banker: (silence)

sam: (clears throat).......the beers were eight dol...

banker: (interrupting) sam, you pulled out several hundred dollars!

sam: really!?

banker: look, sam, i like tom petty as much as the next middle class laborer, but 200 hundred dollars in bud light bills is just bad form.

sam: how'd you know i was drinking bud light..?

banker: (rolling eyes) lucky guess, look, were gonna need to move some money around, these ATM fees are killing you, couldn't’t you have swung by a gas station on your way in, jesus man!

sam: (silence) i...

(long pregnant pause)

banker: ....well, was it a good show at least?

sam: .......yes?
I choose a question mark at the end of my imagined conversation with severe purpose. The Mile High Music Fest (MHMF) is like a boys weekend in Vegas, you feel invincible at the time, but as the weekend winds down, in this case as Dave Mathews marched out his typical line-up of late-nineties familiars, you begin to feel a deep and aching sense of loss. Specifically, economic loss. You probably shouldn't have purchased those 7 dollar won-tons and why, oh why were you drinking 8 dollar Bud Lights hand over fist. It’s not like we are in a robust market right now. The ability to enjoy the raspy tones of Spoon frontman Britt Daniel or the sweaty, hands-in-air-get-down under The Roots tent, is relatively hindered.

However, despite all this, there were certainly good times to be had in the wilds of Commerce City, CO.

Josh Ritter:
Expertly outfitted in thin fitting suits, overhand mustaches and derby hats, Ritter’s band looked like a collision between the set of There will be Blood and Darjeeling Limited. Ritter often bothered me with his calculated recordings and over-thought lyrics but his live show feels far more lived in. The songs take on a great identity that his studio work feels stripped of. It appears that looking out over a crowd affirms for him that he is loved and that, yes, we all know his lyrics and that he can be a bit spontaneous. This is a good bet for a third date as its easy, approachable but edgy enough to prove that your reading up on your music blogs. B+

Andrew Bird:
I couldn't hide my pleasure in seeing Mr. Bird on the lineup at MHMF. Perhaps better suited for Monolith, Bird drew a good crowd of visor wearing, as-yet-to-be-converted and left them all thinking, "I don't know what to call it but....its great!". Andrew Bird is like a rare collectible you find in an antique store - curious and odd but ultimately one of your secret loves. Go. Listen. Smile. Incidentally, you'll never find a more impressive whistler. Yes, whistler. A-

J.J. Grey, the Jacksonville, Florida native with the delicious southern drawl, spent the entire show wielding the unmistakable red cup, or "traveller" , as he covered Otis Redding standards and hammered away on the Hammond. While a touch reminiscent of the jam-band/horns heavy late nineties, Mofro knows how to make you wish you were down south at a craw fish boil knee deep in Mint Juleps. While Mofro isn't new, its a rugged soul sound reminiscent of a late sixties Whiskey-A-Go-Go show that will not disappoint. Best if seen outside with alcohol. B+

Mofro - Lazy Fo Acre

Let me preface this by saying i love Spoon in a special thank-you-for-saving-rock kind of way. Their songwriting is a proud re-invention of the rock genre that is at once unmistakable and surprising. But, they did not command any more power live than on their albums. Perhaps it was the 90+ degrees weather (although they're from Austin) or perhaps the charm of Denver's thin air was not so winning, whatever the case, they themselves seemed thin. Frontman, Britt Daniel hit every note in his falsetto handbag, but appeared almost bored with himself. Nevertheless, Don't Make Me A Target rang out proudly with his perfectly pitched, realist lyrics. Buy the records, but be prepared for a louder, less insistent live performance.
*strong marks given since a mediocre Spoon still murders its competition.

Spoon - Don't Make Me A Target

Tom Petty:
Get some beer. Throw down a blanket and ask nothing more from a man who has carved out a spot in all of our hearts, somewhere. Perhaps small, it’s in there if you look hard enough. I could have done without the Steve Winwood guest appearance, but that’s probably because he brings flashbacks of tight-rolled pants or something equally upsetting. Petty sounds good, but unless your into the stadium mass rock audience, he is simply a pleasant finish to a long festival day. Good show to get the parents out of the house.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where is The Mountain Tempo?
search: "Under The Weather"

Folks, sorry about the delayed post today but I promise to make it up to you. Although the inaugural Mile High Music Festival was phenomenal, I would like to offer some advice: The line to get a Chipotle burrito at the food court in the festival was long for a reason. The line to get a french dip sandwich was non-existent for a reason. Because I deemed seeing Spoon a priority, I opted not to wait in line for 25+ minutes for a scrumptious Chipotle burrito which my stomach could easily handle. Instead, I chose to go to a shack with no line and head to the show. That was Mistake #1. Mistake #2 was swallowing the bites to follow. That was all she wrote.

So, let's cut the middle part of the story out and I'll tell you two things:
1. I'm getting better and whether you attended or not, I know you deserve a complete wrap-up of The Mile High Music Festival which is why I have summoned a Mountain Tempo guide/friend/ambassador to offer us his perspective. Who is this masked enigma? Take the looks of Brad Pitt, the wit of some Colbert with a splash of Hornby and Sedaris, sprinkle on some Wall Street Journal clippings and then take a bit of's database, three scoops of Wes Anderson movies and soundtracks and five ounces of Spinal Tap...don't forget some Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, RJD2, Ray Lamontagne, J. Crew, Bill Withers, and the 18 artists you haven't heard of yet this year, and THEN you can begin to realize who this Mountain Tempo contributor really is. (sorry ladies (and gents), he is taken at this moment). Keep your eyes peeled in the days to come because he will be providing a concise conclusion for The Mile High Music Festival and what was a fantastic weekend for Colorado music. In addition, he will be providing the Tempo with more sporadic posts to come, lighting your horizon and furthering your exploration into the world of music. I'm already excited for his first post after the coming MHMF review!

2. I'm getting better and though I'm having hot flashes like a 58 year-old woman and sweating like a prostitute in church, I know I'm overcoming the wrath of the Mile High Music Festival Buffalo French Dip Sandwich with pure grace. As bad as I feel, keep in mind I look nothing as horrible as Keith Richards on a good day. In the meantime, I will leave you with videos that can cheer up the sick over-heated.

Until Tomorrow,
The (stormy) Mountain Tempo

I don't know what IT is, but he's got IT.

The Office (Original)- Flash Dance with M.C. Hammer

"looks like somebody's been down here with the ugly stick"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bon Iver :
"I tell my love to wreck it all
cut out all the ropes and let me fall"

It's a late winter arrival here at work on a hot July summer day. I've been lazy and stubborn and was just about to give-in and buy an album since For Emma, Forever Ago was never shipped to us back in February when it was originally released by Jagjaguwar. Better late than never right? The single off of the album, "Skinny Love" has been out for quite some time though the resonating applause surrounding the single via blogs, music conversations, indie radio stations, and live performances popping up over the Internet have not quieted in the least.

After the breakup of his longtime band, Justin Vernon left Eau Claire and headed to a cabin in the remote woods of Northwestern Wisconsin just before the harsh winter set in. He spent three months living a life of solace and filling his days by chopping wood, hunting deer, and spending up to 12 hours a day recording songs. Nine songs erupted from his winter of writing and recording along with Vernon's new project/"band" titled Bon Iver, meaning "good winter" in French (bon hiver). Though he often travels with additional musicians, comprising the band Bon Iver, the songs seem best when stripped naked where Vernon's pain seems most visible. Trudge through the introduction and you'll easily see what I mean during Vernon's performance of "Skinny Love" on Later With Jools Holland:


Vernon created For Emma, Forever Ago with aged recording equipment, a guitar, kick drum, and a few microphones in his cabin. It's been available since February and you have to thank the laziness of either the label and/or ME for not introducing this song to you earlier. If you're a fan of simplistic, yet achingly beautiful singer-songwriters, such as Ray Lamontagne, Damien Rice, Jeff Buckley, you'll enjoy the entire album. You can download Bon Iver's single for free, courtesy of Jagjaguwar, here:
Bon Iver - Skinny Love

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's Your Summersong?

I'm going to put this out there and if you like, take it. And if you don't, you can send it right back: By the looks of it, I'm guessing no school or parent would let any member of the band Eels near their children. Looks are only skin deep, but I think their skin is pretty thick.

I was asked at work the other day what my summersong was and Eels' "Fresh Feeling" was the first thing that popped to mind. Why? This song seems to pop up almost daily during my 4-mile morning bike ride to work, creating the perfect soundtrack to the rolling fields, streams, llamas, horses, sheep, cows and bridges I pass each day en route to my music industry job in Boulder.

Birds singing a song,
old pain is peeling,
this is that fresh
that fresh feeling.
Words can't be that strong,
my heart is real,
this is that fresh,
that fresh feeling.

Without taking the time to write-out, ponder and second guess a list of my top 5 Summersongs, here they are in no particular order apart from #1:
1. Eels - Fresh Feeling
2. Apostle of Hustle - My Sword Hand's Anger
3. Delta Spirit - People, Turn Around
4. Josh Ritter & Hilary Hahn - Girl In the War (live)
5. Frightened Rabbit - Backwards Walk

Why else do I love this song?
1. A friend recently put this on a mix and though I'd heard it before, this seemed to be one of the songs that needed a re-introduction to my playlist.
2. Yet another song originally introduced to me by Braff and Scrubs

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I think I love you. I think I'll wreck you. Oh no.

This blog is a direct result of spying on the MySpace of Mountain Tempo's dear friend whose name "rhymes with 'lasagna'" - her words. She even blogged about KaiserCartel and posted a nice video that is definitely worth checking out...which may have started my obsession with this emerging band. Needless to say, a recent string in me was plucked and when I found out I actually had the whole album, I was blown away by several more KaiserCartel songs. One day later and I think I've logged over two dozen plays of their lead track, "Oh No." Despite the ironic reasons that allowed the song to infiltrate my head, I also dug the building choir-like harmonies and Courtney's voice that has hints of Zoey Deschanel (She & Him, Elf), Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley), and maybe Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies singing "Sweet Jane").

KaiserCartel - Oh No

Let's get it straight so the picture up top doesn't throw you off. Brooklyn's couple,KaiserCartel, has no relevance (that I'm aware of) to an actual Kaiser or a cartel. Currently, Benjamin Cartel is an elementary art teacher while Courtney Kaiser is an elementary music teacher. I'm curious if the parents of Cartel's and Kaiser's students realize one used to be a backup singer for John Mellencamp and that they have a kick-ass band touring the entire nation during the summer?

KaiserCartel has an album out now from Bluhammock Music titled March Forth. I highly suggest you hike to your local music store and get a copy of your's very rare now-a-days that I can listen to an entire album without my forefinger anxious to skip a song here and there. Plus, with lyrics like "Along the way, the headphones play, I can hear you. You're my favorite song, I wanna sing it again..." how you could you skip it?

KaiserCartel - Favorite Song

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Fab Channel

I can't keep a hidden gem from you for too long, it wouldn't be fair. Now let's keep in mind that I don't condone pushing traffic away from my blog. Rather, let's just say you keep checking in every day and when you're busy at work and you need some music in your background besides Pandora or iTunes, I'm giving you another option.

The Fab Channel is an online concert archive featuring over 900 live concerts from artists of all sizes and from genres across the board. With a team of 25+ producers, directors, camera people (only PC here at The Mountain Tempo), interns, editors and (I'm assuming) a great legal/licensing brain, Fab Channel have been allowed to capture full-length shows from the famous venues, Paradiso and Melkweg Amsterdam.

Among showcasing rising hip hop stars, punk, R&B, electronic, and indie rock from around the world, they have been given permission to film some of my favorites, including Damien Rice, Iron & Wine, Bright Eyes and Josh Ritter. Not only can a viewer pick and choose which song to watch from the setlist, Fab Channel, like Pandora, recommends similar artists, provides a brief bio on each artist and allows you to build a playlist of songs from multiple artists/concerts.

So, take a listen/look at Fab Channel or watch my favorite two shows Iron & Wine || Josh Ritter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

John Mayer covers Tom Petty

John Mayer just released a live album on July 1 featuring selections from his performance at The Nokia Theatre in L.A. Admit it, the first time you heard "Your Body Is A Wonderland," you thought it was a catchy make out song from the "guy who sure sounds a lot like Dave Matthews." Then, the onslaught of 15 year-old girls caught on to his talent and liking him turned into an embarrassing chore. OK, maybe it was just me. Since then, I have come to appreciate Mayer and the other oddities and talents that surround him. Case in point:

1. He dressed like Borat on his cruise boat. He also is not foreign to the comedy stand-up scene...seriously.

2. He looks like
Edward Scissorhands/Johnny Depp a bit.

3. The guy really does know blues and Chappelle wasn't afraid to call him out on it.

4. Hilarious viral videos:

and the best one here

5. A cover of Tom Petty's All-American, California-skateboarding, Jerry McGuire-yelling, pop song. Mayer's 22-track live album, Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles, is available now off of Sony. With both in attendance, fans at the Mile High Music Festival in Denver this weekend may be lucky enough to see Petty and Mayer perform this together.

John Mayer - Free Fallin' (live from the Nokia Theatre)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Whitey Ford Sings the Folsom Prison Blues

I'm guessing if you're in love with the Man in Black's original styles and traditional sound, half of you will absolutely despise this post. The other half will get a kick out of churning projects featuring artists putting new spins on Johnny Cash staples.

Rumor has it that Snoop Dogg is contributing to the album Johnny Cash Remixed with a version of "I Walk The Line," to be released October 14th. In the meantime, Everlast, Grammy winner and former House of Pain front man, just released the video for his upcoming single covering Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." As a huge fan of Johnny Cash, I'm going to take the side of "change" and say that I think Everlast did a uniquely crisp cover of this song. Cash certainly doesn't need more publicity or mainstream coverage to solidify his stature as a music legend, but it's fun to watch classic songs re-emerge and transgress different genres. Regardless of your opinion on Everlast's take on the song, it proves once again that Cash is still completely relevant in today's music scene.

Without further ado, I'll let you take a listen to Everlast covering the Man In Black. This version of "Folsom Prison Blues" features accompanying rhythm from "Insane In The Brain" by Cypress Hill and will be released in September on Everlast's new album, Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford on his own label, Martyr Inc.

Everlast - Folsom Prison Blues

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sneak Peek for Monday...

(Scroll down a bit for today's official post on Spoon)

I just got a new song in today that I will discuss on Monday's post and am a bit excited because it's a unique project. I wanted to drop a hint and forewarn you so that you check back to The Mountain Tempo on Monday, mid-morning.'s the hint:

Better Late Than Never with Spoon

I've heard the album before, I've heard all* the tracks and I'm a fan of the group. How did I not hear the last track? At times it's frustrating or embarrassing but at other times, it's a pleasant surprise to discover a "new" song that's been out for several years from a band you know.

I was climbing with Matt early yesterday morning before work and unfortunately for him, the second he got on the wall, loud techno music would play which isn't necessarily his cup of tea to say the least. Each time I roped up, a soundtrack full of indie-alt music would begin. Despite the climbing soundtrack, he still managed to monkey up the wall more efficiently and effortlessly...maybe due to the animosity the techno built up inside of him. I digress...As I was starting a new route, a song came on with a familiar voice but then the tempo abnormally slowed down as a voice that was similar to Robert Plant's began a crescendo with the beats. Embarrassed as I asked the gym DJ who it was, I found out the voice was Britt Daniel and Eric Harvey of Spoon.

Austin-based Spoon has been on the scene for several years now and recently stepped into the spotlight by providing the bulk of the soundtrack for Will Ferrell's Stranger Than Fiction. You may have seen them recently on SNL or on any of the Late Shows due to their recent album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. If you're in Denver in two weeks, they'll be a main act at The Mile High Music Festival on Saturday. This "new" song is the last track on their 2002 release, Kill The Moonlight, from Merge Records.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sigur Rós is speaking gobbledigook and I like it

Sigur Rós is back with another album and I think their lyrics are as meaningful and deep as I could've imagined. In addition, their use of innuendos and metaphors are so hilariously deep and provokingly political, dating back to the rise of the Roman Empire and transgress all the way through the Bush Administration. OK, because some of you don't know Sigur Rós that well, you may not understand my sarcasm there.

You see, Sigur Rós sings all of their songs either in Icelandic, Volenska/Hopelandic (a type of constructed gibberish of nonsense syllables that the band made up) or usually, a combination of the languages. In fact, it's rare that people from Iceland even know what they say due to the falsetto yammering of the lead singer in combination with their mysterious self-built language. We do know that the band name comes from one of their sisters, Sigurrós, which means "Victory Rose" when translated to English. Apart from that, a visit to their site will fill you in a bit more as to their language, pronunciations, and definitions. Good luck.

Sigur Rós recently released their 5th album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (ummm...yeah, good luck saying that one) from EMI and XL Recordings. Though it finally revelas their first song in engligh (barely), the albumas a whole has a bit more tempo and energy to it than many of their previous ones. However, if you do like their older dreamy and symphonic-filled songs, you will not be disappointed.

Sigur Rós - Ára Bátur

Sigur Rós - Suð Í Eyrum

Their single that's being pushed is a slightly more indie-sounding rock song that is definately filled with more energy than I've heard from Sigur Rós before. Here's the video for "Gobbledigook" though I should warn you there is not much cotton or poly-pro involved with the video shoot so if you're not over 18, don't click play.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Paul McCartney to Death Cab For Cutie

Long before you listened to Postal Service or Death Cab For Cutie there was Monty Python. Before Monty Python, a character named Apollo C. Vermouth produced a top 5 single for a band called Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and even let them appear in his groups film. Apollo C. Vermouth was Paul McCartney's pseudonym.

The Bonzo Dog Dada Band were a rock-comedy band that emerged from the minds of British art college students in the 60's. After renaming themselves to The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and eventually settling on The Bonzo Dog Band, they caught a break when they were allowed to open up for the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. Paul McCartney went on to produce the single "I'm The Urban Spaceman" for the group which landed a top five spot in 1968 in Britain.

After a few comical albums, people realized that besides constant sarcasm and dark-comedy, the Bonzo Dog Band actually had music talent. Fast forward a few years and one musically-focused album that wasn't received by the public too well, the Bonzo Dog Band broke up. In their wake, they not only spent time with the Beatles, The Who, and the Kinks, but they also performed a song in each episode of the British children's television program, Do Not Adjust Your Set. The show was full of emerging actors who credit The Bonzo Dog Band as a major influence for their eventual project, Monty Python. Oh yeah, a band from Bellingham, Washington took their name from a Bonzo Dog Band song too...

The Bonzo Dog Band - Death Cab For Cutie

The Bonzo Dog Band's performance of "Death Cab For Cutie" from the Magical Mystery Tour: