Oh yeah. I was blathering on and on about music, and you all were pretending interest. Now I remember!
Sorry for the absence; I was busier than I figured I’d be, and then I figured few of you would care to hear me yakking away about the Steelers (woohoo!) or my Mizzou Tigers (woohoo!) or similar sporty bits. Not that I’ve been idle–2009 is shaping up as an amazing year for music, and I’ve been listening to a ton of great, great stuff. Meant to share too…
….so let me start things off by musing about how one of my favorite ways to discover new music is to just sort of wander down the paths a riff or a song can take you, and speaking mainly about how a song I heard coming home from work on Wednesday has me rocking to something completely different on Saturday.
For some reason I got on a Guided By Voices kick over last weekend. Nothing odd or wrong with that, obviously; GbV rocks. One of my favorite GbV songs is “I Am A Tree” from the album Mag Earwhig, an amazing song distinguished by being one of the few songs in the GbV catalogue not written by Robert Pollard or Tobin Sprout. The song was penned by former Cobra Verde and latecoming-but-in-for-the-long-haul GbV guitarist Doug Gillard.
And so I’m rocking out to “Tree” and thinking “Hey, I think I remembered seeing that Doug Gillard has some solo stuff out there. I should check that out when I get home.” Sure enough, Gillard had a solo album out in 2004 or so, and just released a digital album called Call From Restricted that came out in 2008, with an actual CD release of that disc coming just last week. Restricted sounds great, and I recommend it very strongly. Gillard’s strength is a Pollard-like ability to right an aurally appealing song that doesn’t sound like run of the mill pop twaddle; even when Gillard is laying out a fairly standard riff on his songs, there’s still interesting stuff going on, usually with his spectacularly flash guitar playing.
But we’re not finishing the trip with Doug Gillard. Not hardly! I noticed from Doug’s myspace page that he recently did a weeklong tour of Japan with a band called Valley Lodge. Hmm. Wonder what Valley Lodge sounds like….
…and Valley Lodge sounds terrific too! Composed of former Walt Mink guitarist John Kimbrough and indie pop underground gadabout Dave Hill (Cobra Verde, Uptown Sinclair) along with Phil Costello and Rob Pfeiffer, these fellows have a new disc out in May, but they *also* put out a killer album back in 2005, and that record is loaded with Sloan-y, Adam Schmitt-y wonderfulness to the point that you wonder why a record this full of radio-ready hits never got wider exposure. Ah well, that’s how it goes sometimes.
At any rate, have a taste:
…and some Valley Lodge, with the song “All My Loving” (no, not a cover) with a pretty awesome cut-n-paste video: