Thursday, April 24, 2014

Odds and Ends - The End Men's Pivot Point

Okay - regular readers... we are back again after another unintentional extended break. Soon, soon, soon, I hope to have #E2TG back on it's usual schedule and better than ever.  I'm certainly keeping my ears to the ground and "discovering" some awesome music to bring your way.  Luring me back this time, is the impending release of Odds and Ends the new collection from Brooklyn-based The End Men*. As the album title implies, this is not a cohesive album like 2013's Play With Your Toys.  This collection shows off the depth and diversity of the band's signature style, and as such serves as both a great access point for the uninitiated and a delightful sonic treat for the long time fan.  To me, it also shows a band reaching for the potential of what their name implies and a tantalizing glimpse into what we can expect down the line.

The album opens with three familiar tracks reworked for this collection:  "Wolves" is one of my favorite songs - a snarling aggressive rocker that was first introduced via their entry in this year's Couch by Couchwest festival,  "Work" was their Fall 2013 single with accompanying video which casts Drummer Livia Ranalli and Guitarist/Vocalist Matthew Hendershot as mean and nasty 1%ers, and "A Storm is Coming" is an awesome bluesy rocker written as Hurricane Irene bore down on NYC amid dire, alarmist warnings of impending doom.  Then things start to get really interesting. The fourth track, "Salute", begins with a sultry piano and violin intro which is then joined by the rich vocals of Andrea Parodi which creates an atmospheric gypsy carnival type sound, and just when I was about to check my device to make sure of what I hearing, Matthew Hendershot's familiar Waits gargles sandpaper made of silk vocals join the mix, and yes this is The End Men after all, and they've just exploded all expectations while expanding my mind to what they are all about.

The surprises don't stop there.  The next track "War" features an appropriately martial-esque sound and the brilliant spoken/sung voice of London-based Dion Freewheelin  Troubadour Power.  "Whiskey Rain" is a gloriously expansive and rocking collaboration with Singer/Songwriter Ben Arthur.  The End Men then take us full circle to what I believe to be one of the oldest songs on the collection and which features the pre-2012 The End Men line-up when they were a three-piece.

What you need to do:

If you in or near New York City at the end of this month (April 30 specifically), you need to get yourself down to the Mercury Lounge for an album release, tour kick off celebration.  Details to be found HERE  and HERE.  Matthew and Livia will be pulling double duty as The End Men and also part of Matt King's backing band Killing Streets.

If you are going to the Europe between May 10 and May 31, keep and eye and an ear out for The End Men who will be embarking on a European Tour.

Also, they are playing Some Kind of Jam 9 in Pennsylvania Friday.  So get your camping gear packed if you are nearby.

Follow them on  Facebook or bookmark their website and when it's out - make a quick purchase of Odds and Ends.
Listen, you've put it off far too long... come join me on The End Men express train... it's guaranteed to be a wild ride, but you are also guaranteed to have a blast and meet a lot of cool people along the way.

*2013 E2TG Band of the Year.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Another Random Mix of Great Music - April 4 Edition

Friday 4/4/2014

Still irregularly posting, but working hard a number of fronts.

Here's my latest collection of music that has crossed my ears and/or mind since we last visited.

No rhyme or reason... never that...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Music on my Mind - maybe a #tbt post????

The other day, I posted a rag tag collection of music called Fine, Fine Music.  I kind of liked that so I decided to do it again. Song sometimes enter my head - either through hearing an old song on the radio, reading a mention, or just a random, unexplained earworm.  Over the past few days, I have been collecting some of these as they pass through, and I created the video playlist which will be posted below.

I was going to just post without comment, but well, you know me (or you don't...) so... just quick, self-indulgent observations:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 25, 2014 - The Basement - Nashville

One is tempted to draw conclusions....

I don't get out to see live music as often as I would like.  So lacking adequate empirical evidence, I can only offer anecdotal proof of my theorem that on any given night at any given venue in Nashville (and probably elsewhere, but I don't even have first hand anecdotal evidence of that), there is a ton of great music to be had - played by people you've heard of and people you are hearing for the first time.

Case in point:  The Basement New Faces Night - Tuesday March 25, 2014. 

I went out to see my friends and E2TG faves, Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray make a triumphant return to The Basement, celebrate their recent nuptials, and celebrate the release of their brand spanking new and awesome album Lean Into the Wind.

There were six artists on the bill, and each brought a unique and ultimately satisfying set of music to the stage.

I wish I had time for a full review, but I've created a handy You Tube playlist of all the artists.

Included:  Owen Danoff of Washington DC, Regan Lorraine from Nashville by way of Indiana, Kyle Adem from Knoxville, Geoff Koch from Nashville by way of St. Louis (which I must point out in my head I am pronouncing like the French do), Keelan Donovan from Nashville by way of Portland Maine, and the aforementioned Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray from California and DC. 

Just a couple of notes in lieu of a full review:

Owen Danoff sounded like he was going to start of with a cover of John Mayer's "The Real World" and then actually said, "This is not a John Mayer song", and it wasn't.  Combining a variety of styles into a sound that his own - a bit a of trivia - Danoff is the son of the writer(s) of "Afternoon Delight" and "Take Me Home Country Roads".

Regan Lorraine was joined by Jason Goforth, whose name was so familiar I had to look him up, and I saw where he played with Angel Snow - so I'm thinking that's where I heard of him.  For the last song, Regan spent a lot of time tuning her guitar (and imploring the audience to talk while she did it).  The tuning was worth it as the song sounded amazing and Goforth played a harmonica through a modified old telephone receiver (forgive my ignorance if this is a common thing) which sounded otherworldly and amazing.

Kyle Adem writes really great songs and has a unique and very listenable voice.  I wanted to hear more.

Geoff Koch I really liked a lot and only wish I had something cool to say. Good songs, nice sound. It's not faint praise, I'm just lacking an interesting factoid.  Maybe if he had fallen of the stage.... but I'm glad he didn't. Oh yeah! He closed with and epic song that was really cool!

Keelan Donovan was backed by a great sounding band, has a great charming stage presence, and he writes some evocative and at times humorous and human lyrics. It sounds like music you will be hearing everywhere sometime soon.  I will definitely keep my eye out for other shows around town.

Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray.  What to say?  With awesome change of pace songs, powerful in both the quieter stanzas and when they blow out your eardrums and the walls. They are true road warriors and the near constant touring has served coalesced this bi-coastal band into a tight unit.  Ace drummer Ben Tufts and bassist Derek Evry (a talented singer-songwriter in his own right) provide the rhythm for newlyweds Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray (Erin and Chris) who play and sing with power, passion, and purpose.   They are also two really kind and generous people, and I'm glad I've gotten the chance to get to know them.  They are touring and if (when) they come to your town, I urge (nay implore) you to go and see them.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fine, Fine Music (Cavalcade into Spring)

Just a cavalcade of Fine, Fine music (some old and some new) - (heroes, friends, madmen, geniuses, and the like) - to herald the beginning of spring!



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#E2TG is not at SXSW (This is a CXCW plug by the way)

If, like me, you are not at the South by Southwest confab (conflag?) (whatever), you probably have some good reasons.  Can't get off work, lack of funds, the beer is too expensive, too many damn hipsters, it involves putting on shoes --- the list goes on.

For the last four years, there has been a great alternative to SXSW.  I hope by now, you are familiar with Couch by Couchwest -where the beer is cheap and the only hipster is you.  CXCW is an on-line music festival featuring a staggering number and variety of talented folks who submitted specially made videos specifically for the festival. Often, the videos feature couches. Often they don't. They may be filmed in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, on front or back porches, or in wide-open fields.  Jonny Fritz when he still went by Jonny Corndawg recorded one from the inside of a drainage pipe.

The atmosphere around Couch by Couchwest is low-key, laid back, and light-hearted.  Tacos are a popular food, beer is the drink of choice (often), and most importantly, the music is mind-blowing. 

If you are a regular Ear to the Ground reader you probably already know about CXCW and I hope you've been keeping up.  The festival is on day four, and if you haven't tuned it yet, you have some catching up to do.  Go now to

Ear to the Ground favorites like:

The Foresters

Sci-Fi Romance


Tim Lee 3

The Imperial Rooster

Tipi Valley

Todd Farrell, Jr.

Jeanette Lynne

(And probably some I'm forgetting (sorry!))

have already made an CXCW'14 appearance. Plus - we've been introduced to some amazingly talented folks who will more than likely grace our pages soon. 

We expect to see The End Men, Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray, and much, much more the before the festival wraps up. 

Among the most buzz-worthy moments so far has been Jamie Painter's cover of Jason Isbell's Cover Me Up which has earned a recommendation from Mr. Isbell himself.  Oh and Two Mule Blues set shit on fire

So, in conclusion, I get why you're not at South by Southwest. I'm not there with you, but why the heck aren't you at Couch by Couchwest?  Shoes are optional and probably not encouraged.