Archive for November, 2008


New Spells songs

In the summer of ’99, Mary Timony of Helium and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney got together as The Spell’s for a single live performance and one-off four track EP of delightfully lo-fi guitar dueling under heartfelt plaintive vocals. Or so we though it was a one-off. Apparently the duo had planned a long playing follow-up but only managed to record four songs that have remained on the shelf for eight years.

Carrie’s finally sharing these tracks on Moniter Mix, her always-worth-stopping-by blog on NPR’s music site (two of them are available for download if you get over there within the next two weeks). I must have listened to “Viola” on repeat for an hour.

Here’s a taste of that first EP, The Age of Backwards:

Number One Fan

And one of the unreleased tracks from what Carrie & Mary are calling the Bat vs. Bird EP:


Click here to listen to the other three tracks and a discussion between Carria & Mary. The Bat vs. Bird EP features Rachel Carns (Kicking Giant, The Need, The King Cobra, TWIN) on drums.


Win of Montreal tickets on KALX tonight

Photo borrowed from Stereogum

of Montreal are playing at the Grand Ballroom at The REgency Center in SF this Friday. I’ll be giving away a pair of tickets between 8 & 9 PM tonight on my regular radio show on KALX in Berkeley. Tune in to 90.7 FM if you’re in the SF Bay Area. If you’re not click here.

Here are a couple of covers from a recent session on KUT in Austin. They come courtesy of You Ain’t No Picasso (home of the 50 song and counting of Montreal Cover Archive):

Instant Karma

Nowhere Man


New Music

There’s definately a spot for the new Crooked Fingers record on my best of 2008 list. Forfeit/Fortune sheds the freak folky Americana leanings of their past efforts in favor of a Blitzen Trapper type rock infused with Arcade Fire’s sense of drama (without their tiresome aura of self-importance) and tasteful doses of Latin and Eastern European flavor. Guests include Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews), Tom Hagerman (DeVotchKa) and Neko Case. This may be Eric Bachmann and his shifting brood’s best yet. Unfortunately I can’t bring myself to include the cover art (hey, we’re kid friendly ’round here)

Phony Revolutions

Your Control – featuring Neko Case

Forfeit/Fortune is available in a variety of formats at the Croked Fingers Online Store.

The Eagles Of Death Metal’s skuzzy brand of 70′s boogie-disco-glam rock just gets better and their third record, Heart On, kicks serious ass and takes every name. Starting as a one-off side project of Queens Of The Stoneage frontman Josh Homme (who forgoes the guitar/lead vocalist thing to display his drum chops) with longtime pal Jesse Hughes, the Eagles have been going on & off for over ten years now. To call this their most polished effort to date isn’t saying much but tempering the supercharged Rolling Stones/T. Rex send-ups of yore with a bit of maturity is a welcome step forward.

Anything ‘Cept The Truth

Wannabe In LA

More tunes and tour dates can be found on the Eagle’s myspace page.

Stephane Wrembel is a French guitarist based in Brooklyn who plays killer Django Reinhardt inspired acoustic jazz. For Gypsy Rumble, his first recording on local Amoeba Records, he’s augmented his regular trio with David Grisman, one of the greatest mandolin players around. Absolutely mind boggling musicianship and the most inspired playing I’ve heard from David in some time.

The Stephane Wrembel Trio with special guest David Grisman

China Boy

Swing 48

Check out Stephane’s website for live dates (if you happen to find yourself in Brooklyn in the next few weeks) and, bizarrly, gypsy jazz rythm guitar tracks you can play along to.


RIP: Mitch Mitchell – Voodoo Chile Sessions

Damn, they’re dropping like flies people. The last surviving member of The Jimi Hendrix Experience passed away Wednesday at the age of 61. The man sat behind Jimi at both the Monterey Pop Festival (of burning guitar fame) and Woodstock. Mitchell’s blending of jazz and rock elements into a lead drumming style was unprecedented in the mid to late sixties with Ginger Baker and Keith Moon on a very short list of peers.

In memory of Mitch here are some rehearsal sessions for Electric Ladyland where he’s playing like his hair’s on fire.

The Record Plant, NYC 5/2/68

Jimi Hendrix – Guitar & vocals, Mitch Mitchell – Drums, Jack Casady – Bass, Steve Winwood – Organ

Voodoo Chile (take 1)

Voodoo Chile (take 2)

Voodoo Chile (take 3)

Voodoo Chile (take 4)

The Record Plant, NYC 5/3/68

Jimi Hendrix – Guitar & vocals, Mitch Mitchell – Drums, Noel Redding – Bass

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 1)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 2)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 3)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 4)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 5)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 6)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 7)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 8)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 9)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 10)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 11)

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (take 12)

It all fits on a single CD. Here’s some art work: Voodoo Session Art


Happy Veteran’s Day

Merle Travis with Montgomery Clift on trumpet


RIP: Studs Terkel

During momentous occasions I’m sometimes struck by the thought of those no longer here to share them, like my mother who sadly will miss so many signposts in her grand-children’s lives. There are many people I’m sorry didn’t get the chance to see the election of our new president, particularly Barak Obama’s grandmother who only needed another twenty four hours to see the man she helped raise make history but I can’t think of many people who would have been more proud to see the first black president of the United States than Studs.

So in celebration of a life spent making the case for social justice and racial equality here’s an interview with Bob Dylan recorded on May 3rd, 1963, a mere three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday. Included is the earliest known recording of ‘Boots Of Spanish Leather,’ the as yet unreleased ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and ‘Who Killed Davey Moore?,’ a song that wouldn’t be released until 1991 on the first installment of the Bootleg Series. There’s also a song called ‘Farewell’ that doesn’t appear on any of Bob’s records (although the lyrics appear on his website with a 1963 copyright) that sounds curiously like the Irish standard ‘Leaving Of Liverpool.’

Studs Terkel with Bob Dylan on WFMT, Chicago, IL

WFMT introduction



A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall


Bob Dylan’s Dream


Boots Of Spanish Leather


John Brown


Who Killed Davey Moore?


Blowin’ In The Wind

Here’s the whole deal in a zip file (smaller mp3′s): Dylan And Studs

Catch me on KALX in Berkeley

I host the Cuppa Joe show on KALX in Berkeley every other Wednesday from 6 to 9 PM. You can tune at 90.7 or online by clicking HERE ------------------------------------------- NEXT SHOW: October 28 FUNDRAISER SHOW!! ------------------------------------------- Check out past playlists HERE
Got something I HAVE TO HEAR? Wanna send me free stuff? Email me at


Quick note about the tunes

The mp3s on this blog are to give folks a little taste. Imagine they're those little pouches on the bag your Sunday paper comes in. You know, the one's with a packet containing just enough toothpaste to brush your teeth once or twice. They are left up for a limited time. If you find something you like support the artists by dragging your friends to their shows and/or buying their CDs/records/schwag. If you are the artist (or their label/representative) and don't want an mp3 on here, please email me ( and I'll remove it posthaste.
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