New Band of Horses – “Laredo”

It’s mid-April, and though the whole album doesn’t release until May 18th, Ben and the boys at Band of Horses have bestowed upon us another track from Infinite Arms. “Laredo” doesn’t stray far from the Band of Horses “sound” (if you can call it that) – that mellow folk-rock vibe spearheaded by Ben Bridwell’s crystalline higher register voice.

The song is for sale on iTunes. Go git.

New Band of Horses – “Compliments”

I’ve been trying to keep my cool about this new Band of Horses album. But with just a handful of weeks to go, the anticipation is building. And with the leak (?) of “Compliments” yesterday, well, I’m giddy with ants-in-my-pantsness.

Infinite Arms will be released on May 18th. You can pre-order the album right here.

“Compliments” is posted at a number of sites, including Get Up Stay Down, Knox Road, This Mornin’ I Am Born Again, and The Mad Mackerel.


Courtney Jaye + Ben Bridwell

Where the voice of Ben Bridwell goeth, I shall follow.

And the boy has brains, apparently, because hubba bubba pow wow (sorry – that’s my reaction to the pic above). Ben (Band of Horses frontman) shows up on singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye‘s brand new record, The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye (out Jan 12). From the samples in iTunes, Courtney’s record sounds really promising – melodic, sunny, rootsy. And this duet with Ben leads the charge…

Courtney Jaye (w/ Ben Bridwell) Sometimes Always (mp3)

Buy: The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye

Visit: Courtney Jaye’s MySpace

The Friday Five: January 1, 2010

Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

Editors Note: For the first Friday Five of 2010, I’m taking a look back at five of my favorite records from the last decade. Placed in no particular order, these are the records that I found myself coming back to time and again. Happy New Year, to all of you.  – Michael

Amy Winehouse – “Tears Dry on Their Own” (from Back to Black, 2006)

Is there an artist that better embodies “The Noughties” than Amy Winehouse? The slight, awkward girl from Southgate, England with the voice that could topple buildings; yet it was her personal battles with drugs that the media focused on. An amalgam of classic soul, vocal jazz and ska, Back to Black earned Winehouse six Grammy nominations and five awards, and was the best selling record in 2007. The track “Tears Dry on Their Own,” for me, stands out above the rest; capturing the best of Winehouse’s powerful vocals.

The Gaslight Anthem – “Great Expectations” (from The ’59 Sound, 2008)

You can take the band out of New Jersey, but you cannot take the New Jersey out of the band. The Gaslight Anthem provided the end of the decade with a much-needed shot of straightforward rock & roll. The songs on The ’59 Sound are rife with stories of life in small town America; quoting everyone from Bon Jovi, Counting Crows and even The Boss himself, all while sounding fresh and vital. The record kicks off with the barnburner “Great Expectations,” which contains as many literary movements as you would expect from a song titled after the Charles Dickens classic.

Chromeo – “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys)” (from Fancy Footwork, 2008)

The self-described “only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture,” Chromeo is holding the torch for ’80s inspired electrofunk. Their album, Fancy Footwork, is one of the best dance records of the last decade. They also turned in one of the most memorable appearances on Daryl Hall’s web series, Live from Daryl’s House. Selecting a single track from the record proved nearly impossible, so I put my trust in the shuffle button, which served up the new jack swing of “Bonafied Lovin’ (Tough Guys).”

Band of Horses – “The First Song” (from Everything All the Time, 2006)

There is a certain understated majesty to the opening of the aptly titled “The First Song,” the lead track on Band of Horses 2006 debut Everything All the Time. Indie rock with a decidedly southern bend, the band — led by Ben Bridwell — caught flack for allowing their anthemic, “The Funeral,” to be used in marketing campaigns for Ford as well as in slew of movies and television programs.

Prince – “Call My Name” (from Musicology, 2004)

The last decade has been an uneven one for Prince. As a performer, he toured the world twice over, commanded a Las Vegas residency, 21 nights at London’s O2 stadium, and perhaps one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime performances; as a recording artist, he was hit or miss. However, the one exception was the incredibly funky Musicology, which rocketed Prince back into the spotlight. From funk to soul, his purple badness proved that he still had the juice to create a commercially viable, yet funky as hell record.

So tell me, what is soothing your aching head today?

Pete’s Favorite Albums of the 00’s

Quick Note: I didn’t want to bombard my Top 10 with Springsteen and Prince albums, so I chose my favorites of theirs from the 00’s. Did I spend more time with  M.I.A.’s Arular than with Bruce’s Magic or Prince’s Musicology?  No way.  Just so you know, I limited my picks to one album per artist.

And now, on to the completely subjective look at 10 of my favorite albums of the decade!

10. Prince – The Rainbow Children (2001)


Jazzy, funky, and dipping deeply into P’s then new-found life as a Jehovah’s Witness, this album connected with me more than any Prince album of the 00’s (and nope, no JW am I). As much as the 54 second “Wedding Feast” makes me cringe, the album makes up for it with great tracks like “Digital Garden”, “The Work, Pt. 1”, and “The Sensual Everafter”.

Favorite tune: “1+1+1 is 3” (mp3) – to me, easily the funkiest Prince song of the 00’s.

9. M.I.A. – Arular (2005)


I couldn’t leave the girls out! M.I.A. came out of nowhere halfway through the decade with her brand of world-influenced electronic hip-hop. I love her attitude, her style, her accent, and she ain’t so bad lookin’ either. I think this is one of those love it or hate it albums. My wife can’t stand it. But for me, songs like “Pull Up The People”, “Fire Fire”, and “Amazon” just, er, do it for me, okay?

Favorite tune: “Bucky Done Gun” – super sexy militant rappin’ time:

8. Steve Earle – Jerusalem (2002)


Steve had a lot to say about the state of our country after 9/11 and the ensuing conflicts overseas. Of course he was his controversial self with “John Walker’s Blues”. He was fierce as hell on “Ashes to Ashes” and “Amerika V. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)”. And he looked for a world of peace in the gentle album closer, “Jerusalem”. A great album top to bottom.

Favorite tune: “What’s a Simple Man To Do?” (mp3) – an organ-driven barnburner of a tune about a Mexican drug smuggler’s letter to his madre.

7. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)


Sure, some people think this is the obligatory best of the decade album – even if they think it doesn’t merit it. But guess what, it’s completely subjective, and certain albums connect with certain people. YHF was on constant rotation early in the decade. Wilco’s creativity and originality were through the roof in the late 90’s to early 00’s. The changes in direction between Being There, Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and A Ghost is Born are startling.

Favorite tune: The “War on War” and “Jesus, Etc.” combo special.

6. Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump (2000)


The brainchild of Jason Lytle, this futuristic, tech-themed album – with its gorgeous, sweeping electronic-based melodies – blew me away. Who would’ve guess I’d have such strong feelings about songs like “”Broken Household Appliance National Forest” and “Miner at the Dial-a-View”?

Favorite tune: “The Crystal Lake” and the beautiful “So You’ll Aim Toward the Sky” (YouTube).

5. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)


Win Butler and his merry troupe of noisemakers got my attention with “Old Flame” from their self-titled EP. And when I heard this album, I was hooked.

Favorite tune: “Wake Up” (YouTube) – especially after seeing them live at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. A sea of people singing “Whoooa-ooooa Whoooa-oooo-oooo-ooo”.

4. Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006)


When Bruce takes a break from the E Street Band, you never know what you’re gonna get. And with the Sessions record, it was a return to the roots of American folk music, and he brought along about 15-20 of his friends for the ride. This album provided countless hours of joy around our house. And the tour stop through Phoenix was an absolute thrill for me and my wife. Hey Bruce, bring back the Sessions Band!!

Favorite tune: “Pay Me My Money Down”. A family favorite. The kids still sing it.

3. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin (2008)


2. Band of Horses – Everything All the Time (2006)


Thank God these guys came along. Led by the gentle voice of Ben Bridwell, the first two Band of Horses albums are folk/indie masterpieces. There isn’t a bit of filler in either of these, and I look forward to following these guys for the rest of my lifetime.

Favorite tune: “Monsters” [mp3] (from EATT) and “Windows Blues” [mp3] (from CTB) – surprise, the slower tunes.

1. Marah – Kids in Philly (2000)


In 2000, when I was going through some “woe is me” / “whaddya mean I can’t get this girl back”-type stuff, this album picked me up, punched me in the nuts, and knocked me back over. I was living down by the new Tempe Town Lake, and I’d run around it a few nights a week – I’d start running as the opening banjo riff of “Faraway You” ignited the album, and I wouldn’t stop ’til the closing street harmonies of “This Town”. The album was super cathartic, and every time I listen to it, I think of that summer of 2000. August 2000 also included one of the best rock ‘n roll shows I’ve ever seen: Marah at Tempe’s now defunct Long Wong’s – a small, sweat-soaked bar. I’ll never forget the energy of Dave, Serge and the boys that night. The album and band encapsulate what stripped down rock ‘n roll is all about.

Favorite Tune: “Round Eye Blues” (mp3) – capturing the spirit of Motown and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, this is a vivid and beautiful song, sung in the perspective of a young man in Vietnam:

Fables tell of men who fell
With swords dangling from their chest
The old guys down at the taproom swear
The Japs could kill you best
But late at night I could still hear the cries
Of three black guys I seen take it in the face
I think about them sweet Motown girls they left behind
And the assholes that took their place

Goosebumps every time.

When all is said and done, this is the album that affected me most personally, and therefore must be crowned: Pete’s Album of the 00’s!

The Friday Five: November 20, 2009

Friday Five : ˈfrī-(ˌ)dā,-dē ˈfīv : On the sixth day of every week I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

Foo Fighters – “This Is a Call” (mp3) (from Foo Fighters, 1995)

From the “Fraiser” of spin-off bands, this single was the official death knell for Grunge and the launch of a wave of the radio-friendly post-grunge alternative music that still rules the airwaves today. The thing that gets most often overlooked is the fact that, outside of some small guitar parts by Afghan Whigs mastermind Greg Dulli, the entire record was written and performed by Dave Grohl himself.

Prince – “Temple House Dub (fade)” (from Thieves in the Temple, 1990)

Once upon a time Prince would release singles. These singles would include, at minimum, three to four remixes and alternate versions, not to mention b-sides. The b-sides were often as good (see: “Love or $”, “17 Days”) and oft times better (see: “Erotic City”, “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore”) than the single itself. By the early ‘90s he was swept up with the advent of the ‘CD Maxi Single’ and used the format to its fullest extent creating EP length masterpieces. I miss those singles.

Joan Osbourne – “Midnight Train to Georgia” (from Breakfast in Bed, 2007)

In his last installment of Chart Attack!, Jason Hare exposed the true inspiration behind the Motown classic. I’m a huge fan of the original and had the pleasure of seeing the Indigo Girls perform it with Spearhead and (ironically) Joan Osbourne as guests. This version, however, is far too mellow and feels forced and utterly lacking in the soul that is tied to the very fabric of the tune itself.

Gary Moore – “Still Got the Blues” (mp3) (from Still Got the Blues, 1990)

Okay, listen to this (Ex. 1). Now, listen to this (Ex. 2). Sounds a bit similar, no? I remember learning this song earlier on in my bedroom rock star days and thinking “how the hell did he get away with that?” And in researching the track for this post, it turns out that he didn’t. What’s worse is it wasn’t even Lionel that took him to court, rather an obscure German band who claimed – and won a settlement in 2008 – that their 1974 single “Nordrach” was the track that Moore allegedly plagiarized.

Band of Horses – “Our Swords” (from Everything All the Time, 2006)

As the hordes of decade end lists come pouring in – you can follow the action at largehearted boy – the one omission that I’m most consistently surprised by is the debut record by Band of Horses. Taking elements of country, folk, southern rock and an indie rock ethos the band were darlings of the music blogs in 2006, and their follow up Cease to Begin only cemented them as a band to watch in the coming years. Perhaps their upcoming release will bring them the mainstream success they so richly deserve.

That’s my five, what’s spinning you right ‘round this week?

Bruce Meets Band of Horses

Not only did Bonnaroo bring together two of my favorites in the form of a Phish-Springsteen collaboration, but, as it turned out, Bruce also found time to catch Sunday’s set by Band of Horses. And as you can see from some brand new pics posted to BoH’s blog, Bruce hung around to meet Ben Bridwell and the band afterward. Thanks and props to Christopher Wilson Photography for capturing the moment!

My musical universes continue to converge.

Check out Band of Horses Tour blog with more pics of the encounter, and a bunch of others from Bonnaroo.

By the way – if you’re a Boss fan wondering about Band of Horses, check out this Amoeba in-store video for a good intro.

Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson Photography

Band of Horses recording in Muscle Shoals

I can easily say that for me, Band of Horses has had the fastest trajectory from off-the-radar status to obsessive, can’t-get-enough status of any band in a long, long time. And they’re just getting started, with only two studio albums to date.

A couple weeks ago, the boys made the pilgrimage to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a legendary town in the music recording spectrum. They have holed up at Fame Recording Studios to record their third album.

Keep up with the band on their blog. They just updated it with some great pics from Saturday’s Bridge School Benefit concert.

Fame studios has hosted the likes of Duane Allman, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and a bunch of others. Hell, even the Backstreet Boys, Liza Minnelli and the Osmonds have recorded there.

Here’s a legendary track that came out of Fame Studios…

Wilson Pickett w/ Duane Allman – “Hey Jude”

Band of Horses on Morning Becomes Eclectic

Okay, yes, I am in a rather obsessive Band of Horses phase at the moment. And I feel the need to gather any embeddable BoH action and post it on my site so I can refer to it in 50 years when I’m an 88 year old geezer with a hankering to show my grandchildren one of my all time faves.

This is just over a year old, from KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Austin City Limits and a Band of Horses

I think I have enough energy to muster up an ACL post tonight. There’s so much to get transferred from brain to keyboard that it’s a little overwhelming. So I’m starting with baby steps, people.

First, who did I see? Well, it goes exactly like this:

Friday: The Jones Family Singers, Dan Dyer, Rodney Crowell, Yeasayers, Strange Boys, Vampire Weekend, Gogol Bordello, David Byrne, Antibalas, and Manu Chao.

Saturday: Old 97’s, the Fratellis, Back Door Slam, Erykah Badu, John Fogerty, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss

Sunday: Octopus Project, Against Me!, Blues Traveler, Band of Horses, Foo Fighters

I’ll give you a day by day breakdown later. Tonight, I focus my brainpower on the highlight of my weekend: Band of Horses.


Okay, anyone who knows the music geek in me is aware of my fondness for this band, and therefore won’t be surprised when I say BoH was the highlight of my trip to Austin. Until Sunday, I had never seen BoH live, and quite frankly, this set stood out since I first saw the ACL lineup earlier in the year. So my expectations were pretty damn high. And? Well, they jumped leaps and bounds beyond those expectations with their Sunday night set.

I managed to squeeze my old(er) butt down to the front of the stage, about four rows back. Yup, nuts to butts. I was looking straight on to center stage. I was primed.

Just after the sun set, the band strode out on stage, and singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell – shades on – squatted on the stool before his pedal steel. The first song of the night was, well, “The First Song”, from their debut Everything All The Time. That was all the sitting Ben would do for the set. He grabbed his guitar, launched into my 2 year old’s favorite tune, “Is There a Ghost”, and we were off…

For the next hour, the band showed us why they’re so great – building up and launching into those great guitar-driven crescendos on songs like “The Great Salt Lake”, “The Funeral”, and “No One’s Gonna Love You”, and slaying the crowd with the gorgeous, ethereal harmonies of Bridwell and keys-man Ryan Monroe on songs like “Marry Song” and the new ditty “Why You Never Get Older” (see the video below).

We got Bridwell banging away on his tambourine for the fun “The General Specific”. And we got great tunes like “Island on the Coast” and “Ode to LRC”. I don’t have the set list yet. If anyone can help me track it down (or a recording of the show), I’d appreciate it.

The final tune was a great one called “Am I A Good Man”, a cover by an R&B group called Them Two, who have no web presence at all, it seems. In the final moments, Ben jumped down among us, right in front of me (the person holding the camera in this picture probably took this video).

The live Band of Horse experience was everything I wanted, folks, and left me and the thousands and thousands of others fully satisfied. There’s something about their energy – and Bridwell’s voice in particular – that taps into my soul. Sounds about as corny as you can get, but it’s true.

We stumbled over to the Foo Fighters with smiles on our faces.

The Morning After: So the next morning, I guess it was about 10am, I was sitting at my gate at the Austin airport. I put my feet up on my carry on bag, and launched into ‘Cease to Begin’ (the second and latest Band of Horses album) on my iPhone. I think I was listening to “No One’s Gonna Love You”, having some great flashbacks to the night before, when who walks by? Ben Bridwell.

Have you ever been sitting around listening to one of your favorite artists, when he walks by right in front of you? It’s pretty cool, let me tell ya.

So, I decided not to be shy, and I followed Ben, his wife/girlfriend (?) and cute little infant over to the food stand. I walked up and asked politely – and rhetorically, I guess – “Excuse me, are you Ben Bridwell?” I told him there were some cosmic forces at work, and showed him my iPhone with the ‘Cease to Begin’ album cover, telling him how strange it was to watch him walk by as I listened to his music. He really could not have been cooler. He was very gracious and appreciative, and was kind enough to snap a photo with me (taken by his wife/girlfriend).

It was the morning after ACL, so you have to excuse our exhausted demeanors…

Lots more to come on ACL, just a few things here…

Check out some live vid-action I shot of their unreleased tune “Why You Never Get Older” (which I’m only assuming is the title).

Check out some more photos of their ACL set at Brooklyn Vegan.

For the love of all that is good in this world, buy these two albums if you don’t own them…


If you want a great video introduction to Band of Horses, watch their entire in-store performance at Amoeba Records in Hollywood from last year.

Visit their web site: Band of

Yes. I am a fan.

Oh, biggest regret of the weekend? Missing the Band of Horses surprise gig at the Parish on Saturday night – a club I walked by every night on my way back to the hotel! Bill Murray was there hanging out too (big BoH fan, I hear)…