Friday, December 28, 2007

Cover of the Week: Oasis does The Rolling Stones

Here's a nice version of a Stones classic performed by the boys in Oasis. Enjoy.
Oasis - "Street Fighting Man"
Buy Oasis music here.


Check out previous Cover Of The Week posts by clicking the "Cover Of The Week" label below and the link on the right side of the page under "Return To Oblivion".

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

B-Side Of The Week: Juliana Hatfield

This song was featured in the (now) old TV show My So-Called Life when Juliana Hatfield made a guest appearance as a homeless girl. The episode was a "Christmas" episode, and this melancholy but uplifting tune just seems appropriate for this time of year. The acoustic guitar solo at the end lifts this song to a high level, but it's Hatfield's haunting vocals that make the song extra special.
Juliana Hatfield - "Make It Home"
Buy the soundtrack here and Hatfield's music here.


Check out the archived B-Side Of The Week posts by clicking the label "B-Side Of The Week" below and the link on the right side of the page under 'Return To Oblivion'.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Best of 2007

What a fantastic year for music! There were so many great releases from a slew of old and new friends, but without a doubt, the album of the year was the soundtrack to the movie Once.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the "guy" and "girl" from the film, created one of the more moving, engaging collections of songs I've heard in a while. And it's hard for me to separate the way I feel about the music from the way I feel about the film itself because the two exist in beautiful symbiosis. The emotional ride I got from the movie will forever influence the way I hear the songs, and each time I see the film I enjoy the songs in a slightly different way. Who can hear "Falling Slowly" without reliving the goosebump-inducing scene at the piano in the music store? When "If You Want Me" starts, it's impossible not to see Marketa strolling the streets of Dublin at night in her slippers. And the build up in "When Your Mind's Made Up" is like a tidal wave crashing to the shore - such sweet release, with visions of Glen and the band making their record over the course of one triumphant weekend in the studio.

I could go on and on, track by track, scene by scene. The film and its soundtrack somehow managed to capture the passion, heartache, indecision, frustration and joy that goes into making music, while telling an honest, genuinely touching love story along the way. I can't recommend Once more highly to anyone who loves music.

Now that you've heard about the best of the best, here's the rest of the best, in the form of the requisite "best of" list that's every blogger's pseudo-obligation. Like last year, I've included the annual mix that I make for friends and family at the end of the post. If you like some of the music I've posted on this blog then chances are you'll find something you like on the mix. And away we go...

Sweet Oblivion's Essential Albums From 2007
(Alphabetical by arti

Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger

The prolific Adams made a concise musical statement for once, and this may be his strongest album yet. All the good stuff we love in his songs without any wasted space. (Oh, and by the way, he released an EP too. It was outstanding as well.) Buy it here.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81

BRMC put together a tour de force in Baby 81, managing to combine the sounds of their first three records into something awesome and new. A cohesive musical statement with a plethora of single-worthy tunes to boot. Buy it here.

Brandi Carlile - The Story

Last year's "little singer that could" is now a full blown star, and her sophomore effort is simply stunning. I can't get enough of her voice, and if this record is any indication of the depth of talent this young woman has, then she's in for a long, impressive career. Buy it here.

The Frames - The Cost

Irish rockers The Frames produced a fantastic album in The Cost, successfully riding the wave of singer Glen Hansard's current creative epoch. If you were taken by Once's music, this album will treat you right. Buy it here.

Matthew Good - Hospital Music

It's a challenging listen, but it's emotional darkness and brutal honesty are right up this listener's alley. Matthew Good continues to make compelling music year after year, and it still amazes me that he's not as famous on this side of the US-Candian border as he is in his home country. Buy it here.

Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once (OST)

I've said it all above, but in case you missed the memo - go buy this album and see this film!!!

Idlewild - Make Another World

These Scottish rockers continue to do what they do, and each time they do it it gets better and better. Some of the most interesting music of the band's career. Buy it here.

Jason Isbell - Sirens Of The Ditch

Isbell was always my favorite songwriter in The Drive-By Truckers, and now he's made the DBT album I've always wanted to hear. Heartfelt, soulful southern rock. Buy it here.

Matt Nathanson - Some Mad Hope

I've been a longtime fan of Matt Nathanson's concerts, but his studio work has never been consistent enough for me to supersede his live show. With Some Mad Hope he's made a great pop rock record that begs for repeated listens. Finally! Buy it here.

Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall...It's The Way You Land

Absurdly long title aside, this is an awesome album. It may be unusual, dark and moody, but Mark Lanegan sings the songs. Need I say more? It's a more fully realized "Lanegan album" than 2004's Bubblegum. Buy it here.

Stereophonics - Pull The Pin

I couldn't put together a best-of list without including at least one import-only release. I'd all but written off the Stereophonics, thinking they'd lost the plot after their third LP, 2001's stellar JEEP. With Pull The Pin it feels like they've regained the form they had back in the good ol' days. It's worth the extra coin to order this one from overseas. Buy it here.

Noticeably absent (at least to me) from this list is Radiohead's In Rainbows. I've made an executive decision to claim that one for 2008, when it's been released to the masses on CD. However, I will say that the limited edition box set that I finally have in my grimy little hands is one of the sweetest packages a collector could hope for. Grab one now before they're sold out.

In terms of the other artists on the mix below, Turin Brakes are finally back on track with Dark On Fire, although the companion EP, Something Out Of Nothing, is a more concise and impressive piece of work. A few other old standbys like Steve Earle, Wilco, Centro-Matic, Foo Fighters and Son Volt all made good albums. Though Chris Cornell's second solo effort just doesn't sit that well with me as a whole, his live shows this year were simply unbelievable. Buffalo Tom came out of retirement to make a solid record with a few outstanding songs on it. Feist's second record is good stuff too. Eddie Vedder's music for the film Into The Wild is really compelling - his voice seems the perfect complement to the visuals in the movie. Charmparticles and Dala are my "little secret discoveries", the former from a couple years ago and the latter from this year. And I've finally come around to the Manic Street Preachers. Their new one is a solid, rocking set of tunes.

Sweet Oblivion's Best of 2007 Mix
(in multiple parts due to Savefile's size restrictions)


Volume I
Jason Isbell - "Brand New Kind Of Actress"
The Frames - "When Your Mind's Made Up"
Brandi Carlile - "The Story"
Buffalo Tom - "Bottom Of The Rain"
Ryan Adams - "Two"
Chris Cornell - "No Such Thing"
Son Volt - "Action"
Idlewild - "Finished It Remains"
Matthew Good - "The Boy Come Home"
Soulsavers - "Paper Money"
Eddie Vedder - "Hard Sun"
Matt Nathanson - "Bulletproof Weeks"
BRMC - "All You Do Is Talk"

Volume II
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly"
Manic Street Preachers - "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough"
Stereophonics - "It Means Nothing"
Turin Brakes - "Brave New World"
Feist - "1 2 3 4"
Charmparticles - "Rarest Numbers"
Ryan Adams - "My Love For You Is Real"
Dala - "Marilyn Monroe"
Wilco - "What Light"
Centro-Matic - "Operation Motorcide"
Foo Fighers - "But, Honestly"
Steve Earle - "Come Home To Me"

Bonus Tracks:
"Missed in '06"

8 songs that I didn't get into until 2006 had passed us by.
Download the mix here.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cover of the Week: Soul Asylum does Victoria Williams

The Sweet Relief benefit album released in 1993 to help singer/songwriter Victoria Williams after she was diagnosed with MS is full of fantastic cover versions. Soul Asylum's tune is the lead-off track, and has a title that seems like a perfect pick-me-up on this gray, rainy winter day in Philly.
Soul Asylum - "Summer of Drugs"
Buy the tribute album here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

BRMC: Spain 07-22-2007

Here's a little live Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to darken up your Thursday evening. The show was recorded off the radio in Spain over the summer, and though there's some annoying DJ talk over a bunch of the song intros, it's a decent capture of their 2007 tour supporting Baby 81. Plus, they played the b-side "The Show Is About To Begin".
Benicassim, Spain

Spread Your Love
The Show Is About To Begin
Six Barrel Shotgun
Ain't No Easy Way
Weapon Of Choice
Whatever Happened...
Need Some Air
American X
All You Do Is Talk

Download the show here.
Buy BRMC's music here.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

B-Side of the Week: Chris Cornell

The soundtrack to the Cameron Crowe movie Singles was basically the soundtrack to my freshmen year in college. Hearing the songs on the disc brings back a flood of memories, both good and bad, in the way only music can do. This Chris Cornell song, recorded by himself in his house, wasn't really supposed to see the light of day until Cameron Crowe asked Cornell to contribute some music to the film he was making in Seattle. It's since become a song Cornell fans yearn to hear live - he never performed it with Soundgarden, though it would be a few years after "Seasons" was recorded before Soundgarden called it quits.

I remember seeing Cornell on his first solo tour seven or eight years ago, and the incredible thrill it was to hear the opening strums of "Seasons" fill the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. The crowd of Cornell disciples went crazy, and I could hardly contain my geeky excitement as the band actually played this song I figured would always be a "studio only" favorite of mine. (The crowd also went nuts for the set-opener, "Sunshower", another rarity at the time.) On his most recent solo tours, "Seasons" is a regular in the setlist, but there's still nothing like hearing the original for me. Most Cornell fans probably have this song already, but just in case there are a few of you out there that don't, enjoy.
Chris Cornell - "Seasons"
Buy the soundtrack here and Cornell's music here.


Check out the archived B-Side Of The Week posts by clicking the label "B-Side Of The Week" below and the link on the right side of the page under 'Return To Oblivion'.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cover of the Week: The Watson Twins do Neil Young

The good folks at American Laundromat Records just released a CD of female artists covering Neil Young tunes for charity called Cinnamon Girl. This week's cover, a chilled out, beautiful version of "Powderfinger" as performed by The Watson Twins, comes from this fantastic release.
The Watson Twins - "Powderfinger"
Buy the record here.


Check out previous Cover Of The Week posts by clicking the "Cover Of The Week" label below and the link on the right side of the page under "Return To Oblivion".

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Twilight Singers: Acoustic Tunes

These live acoustic gems are up on The Twilight Singers MySpace page. They come from gigs in Seattle back in October.
Twilight Singers
Live Acoustic 10/2007

Candy Cane Crawl
Down The Line

Download the tunes here.
Buy Twilight Singers music here.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

B-Side of the Week: Coldplay

This week's feature is a song Coldplay's Chris Martin wrote and loved but could only convince his label to "like". So it was relegated to b-side status. British rockers Embrace heard the song and were quite taken by it, so Martin let them have it. It became a hit for Embrace. Doh!

Coldplay's version is less rocking and radio friendly, but it's got a beautiful atmospheric quality to it. Listen at night with a good set of headphones.
Coldplay - Gravity
Buy Coldplay's music here.


Check out the archived B-Side Of The Week posts by clicking the label "B-Side Of The Week" below and the link on the right side of the page under 'Return To Oblivion'.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Foo Fighters - Nissan Live Set

This Foo Fighters set is airing regularly on the MHD channel on TV, so I finally grabbed the audio. As is usually the case with shows that air on TV, the complete show didn't make the broadcast. So I had to capture a stream off the net to fill in the remaining tracks from the set. The audio quality isn't on par with the digital TV grab, but having the whole set makes it worthwhile. The set-closing rendition of "Home" off Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace is stellar.
Foo Fighters
Nissan Live Set

The Pretender
Long Road To Ruin
My Hero
Cheer Up Boys...
Skin And Bones
All My Life

Download the set here.
Buy Foo Fighters music here.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Ryan Adams - Letterman 2007

Went through my DVR and burned a few random TV performances. Here's Ryan Adams and the Cardinals playing a smoking version of "Everybody Knows" on Letterman this year.
Ryan Adams - Everybody Knows (Letterman)
Buy Ryan Adams music here.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Cover of the Week: The Swell Season does Dylan

From the soundtrack for the film I'm Not There here's Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's (a.k.a The Swell Season) studio version of the Dylan song that they play regularly in their live show.
The Swell Season - "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
Buy The Swell Season's music here. Get the soundtrack here.


Check out previous Cover Of The Week posts by clicking the "Cover Of The Week" label below and the link on the right side of the page under "Return To Oblivion".

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Soulsavers: 07-11-2007 Paris

Had a dream come true when I caught Soulsavers play the tiny little North Star Bar in Philly last week. Mark Lanegan was touring with the band to support their stellar new release, It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land, on which he sings most of the songs. While I was making a call on the street outside the venue before the gig, a white van pulled up and out popped the band. Lanegan stood right next to me while he waited for his bandmates to unload, while I stood starstruck and dumbfounded, stuttering to my friend on the phone that MARK LANEGAN was hanging out right next to me. I couldn't come up with any pithy comments to say to him, so I just stood there trying not to stare. Pathetic, I know, but it will still be filed away as one of my favorite "brushes with fame".

The show itself was awesome, although the band's set was too short for my liking. Lanegan's vocals were absurdly deep, gravelly and resonant in the small club, and the band totally rocked tunes from their new album. They even threw in a few choice covers, like CCR's "Effigy" and "Feel So Good" by The Brian Jonestown Massacre (I think...). A little video clip courtesy of YouTube:

Here's the only Soulsavers gig I could find online, and it's an audience recording to boot. If anyone out there knows where I can find a higher quality show from these guys I'd love to hear about it.
Soulsavers (w/ Mark Lanegan)
Paris, France

Ask the Dust
Ghosts of You and Me
All Night Long
Paper Money
Kingdoms of Pain
I Belong
Jesus of Nothing
Cabin Fever
Devils on the Run
Midnight Special

Download the show here.
While you're waiting for the download to finish, go pick up Soulsavers new record here.

Labels: ,

B-Side of the Week: Idlewild

This b-side is from the sessions for Idlewild's latest, Make Another World. The album is top notch, and it should come as no surprise that a track from the record will likely appear on my end-of-year 'essentials' mix. This is my favorite b-side from this record's sessions, and it could've almost fit on the album.
Idlewild - "Hidden Ways"
Buy Idlewild's music here.


Check out the archived B-Side Of The Week posts by clicking the label "B-Side Of The Week" below and the link on the right side of the page under 'Return To Oblivion'.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chris Cornell: 05-20-07 Berlin

I saw Chris Cornell play in Allentown in early November, and he totally blew the roof off the little venue. Though his new album isn't sitting that well with me, his live performances during this tour are fantastic. The set drew from his entire career, so I heard Soundgarden, Audioslave, solo material and a few covers. The highlight for me was the band's set closing, thunderous rendition of "Slaves And Bulldozers" which segued nicely into "4th Of July" and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love". Good times. Here's a show from Berlin back in May that aired on the radio.
Chris Cornell
05-20-2007 Berlin

Spoonman (Soundgarden)
Outshined (Soundgarden)
Show Me How To Live (Audioslave)
You Know My Name
Arms Around Your Love
Hunger Strike (Temple Of The Dog)
What You Are (Audioslave)
Rusty Cage (Soundgarden)
Be Yourself (Audioslave)
I Am The Highway (Audioslave)
Scar On The Sky
Can’t Change Me
Wide Awake (Audioslave)
Doesn't Remind Me (Audioslave)
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
Zero Chance (Soundgarden)
My Wave (Soundgarden)
Jesus Christ Pose (Soundgarden)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Say Hello To Heaven (Temple Of The Dog)

Download the show here.
Buy Chris Cornell's music here.


Monday, December 03, 2007

The Swell Season: 07-26-07 9:30 Club

I've seen a number of fantastic live shows during the past couple of months. One of my favorites was The Swell Season at the Beacon Theater in NYC on November 19th. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, joined by a cellist, violinist (from The Frames) and a bassist, had the sold out Beacon in the palm of their collective hands. Hansard started the gig by singing "Say It To Me Now", the song he sung in the film when the two main characters first met, solo and unamplified from the front of the stage. The duo and their solid backing musicians proceeded to bring the house down with more tunes from Once and their 2006 collaboration, along with some Frames tunes and a few covers. It was a stellar show that left me with goosebumps too many times to count. I've already sung the praises of the film Once here in cyberspace, but to hear the stars perform the songs live in a beautiful old theater was something else.

I haven't yet found a recording of the gig I saw at the Beacon, but NPR aired a Swell Season show earlier this year that was recorded at the 9:30 Club in DC. Enjoy.
The Swell Season
9:30 Club

When Your Mind's Made Up
All the Way Down
Drown Out
This Low
If You Want Me
Fantasy Man
Falling Slowly
Say It To Me Now
Cactus (Pixies cover)
Pavement Tune (I Want My Life to Make More Sense to Me)
Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover)
Star Star
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan cover)

Download the show here.
Buy The Swell Season's music here.

Labels: , ,