Ben Kweller dropped by David Letterman’s show on Monday night to play “Fight”, a seriously country-infused tune off his upcoming release Changing Horses. Nice jump aboard the Americana bandwagon. Hey, it worked for Robert Plant and it works for Ben Kweller too. The hootenanny vibe is a really nice change of pace for Kweller, as the track comes across as half Nashville country and half Woody Guthrie folk anthem. Good stuff and befitting an artist who now calls Austin, Texas home.
The LA electropop duo Jupiter Rising may not be re-inventing the wheel with their club-friendly pop, but as Evan Sawdey noted back in 2007 “who needs to be revolutionary when you’re having so much fun?” The duo’s (Spencer Nezey and Jessica Payo) new record, The Quiet Hype drops on March 17th. In the meantime, here is their new video for “Falling Away” directed by Andrew Gura, who has previously worked with the likes of Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dogg.
Andrew Bird dropped by the David Letterman show Tuesday night to strum his guitar and whistle his way through this track off Noble Beast. Mehan Jayasuriya says of the song: “‘Fitz & Dizzyspells’ skews closer to the Armchair Apocrypha model [of Andrew Bird albums], favoring layered (though mostly acoustic) guitar lines and propulsive drums, though there’s a brief pizzicato coda at the one minute mark.
Swedish indie darling Loney Dear released his latest record, Dear John, this week on Polyvinyl. Look for the PopMatters review early next week. His US tour kicks off this evening in Northhampton, MA (tour dates below). Check out the new single and video, “Airport Surroundings”.
01/29 Northampton, MA Iron Horse
01/30 Boston, MA The Orpheum*
01/31 Brooklyn, NY Sound Fix In-Store 4pm
01/31 Brooklyn, NY Union Hall
02/02 Richmond, VA The National*
02/03 Washington, DC The 930 Club*
02/04 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse*
02/06 Orlando, FL The Plaza*
02/07 New Orleans, LA House of Blues*
02/09 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
02/10 Houston, TX Rudyard’s British Pub
02/11 Denton, TX Hailey’s
02/12 Austin, TX The Paramount Theater*
02/13 Albuquerque, NM The El Rey*
02/14 Tucson, AZ The Rialto*
02/15 San Diego, CA Soma San Diego*
02/17 Visalia, CA Howie and Son’s Pizza
02/18 Los Angeles, CA The Orpheum*
02/19 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
02/20 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
02/21 Portland, OR Roseland*
02/23 Seattle, WA The Moore*
02/24 Boise, ID The Knitting Factory*
02/25 Murray, UT The Murray*
02/26 Denver, CO The Ogden*
02/27 Omaha, NE Slowdown*
03/01 Chicago, IL Schubas
03/18 - 03/21 Austin, TX SXSW
Talk about an interesting backstory… Timothy Showalter the fellow who is Strand of Oaks was an an Indiana Mennonite before becoming a Pennsylvania Hebrew Dayschool teacher. He drives a bus too. Hey, we all gotta make a living in this brutal economy. Especially someone like Showalter, whose house burned down right after a relationship broke up. That’s a serious double whammy. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Strand of Oak’s music isn’t the perkiest sounding stuff on the planet. Still, all that drama lends Showalter a certain degree of gravity when confronting life’s unpleasantries in music. “End in Flames” is the lead-off song from his album Leave Ruin that released this week on La Société Expéditionnaire.