The Joy of Painting, in addition to being a classic PBS series hosted by the late Bob Ross, is a Nashville band who we've been digging on for a year or so. They have a brand new album called Tender Age, and today we have the catchy and generally just awesome "Back to Romance".
Back in the day, I completely fell head over heels for "Walk in the Woods" and subsequently all of Peter Case's self-titled solo debut. There was something clear and authentic and true about that album. When the follow up to that album was released, needless to say I had some pretty high expectation which Mr. Case met and exceeded many times over. The Man with Blue Post Modern Fragmented Neo-Tradionalist Guitar contains so many enduring songs (Traveling Light, Entella Hotel, Two Angels and This Town's a Riot to name just a few). "Poor Old Tom" is for me a stand out on an album of stand outs. A heart-breaking song, it is loaded with some amazing lines. "He fought for freedom, never took a free breath". "The night wind's free to blow wherever it pleases, Tom's free to walk until the cold daybreak." "The worse disease in the world is to be unwanted, to be used up and cast away". In just under four minutes, the listener is drawn into this broken, tragic life... it's nothing short of brilliant. The other night, I decided to add some older songs into the current mix - just to shake things up a bit. I don't know how many times I've listened to this song in the 24 years since it's release, but I never grow tired of it.
Moving on... Ghost and Goblin are a New York band who first came to our attention in a shout of from The End Men. They released an album called SUPERHORRORCASTLELAND back in April or so, and we've featured several songs from that record. "Look at the Clouds" is perhaps one of my favorites. A uncharacteristically breezy melody kicks into a more characteristic menacing hook. The album is out there on Bandcamp - check it out.
The Michigan band Decades are three kids who grew up on punk, ska and metal and then discovered the smooth pop songwriting of the 70s and 80s and the alternative radio rock of the 90s. The result is something surprising. Their music rocks and the punk/ska spirit still sits at the bottom of what they do, but layered on top is a focus on great pop songwriting and a genuine love of the music. "Popping Veins" from their album Deep Deep Pink Sessions is a good place to start.
Earlier this week, June 10 to be precise, was the 103 anniversary of the birth of Chester Arthur Burnett. You may know Mr. Burnett better as Howlin' Wolf and stone-cold authentic Mississippi Blues Man. "Smokestack Lightning" is one of his earlier songs and draws upon several earlier blues songs.
We've been covering a lot of music by the Vegas band Coastwest Unrest. Today we have the song "Empty Handed Painter" from the most recent release High Times on Lowly Streets which came out back in April. I sure hope you've checked out this band by now. If not, do it!
SHUFFLE BEGINS NOW... JUMP!
Of the many ways I come to the music featured on Ear to the Ground, the more random ways are my favorite. I get alerts on my phone the Bandsintown app. A few weeks ago, I got this alert that Flobots had a announced a show in town, and as I began clicking links and searching around, I saw where Wheelchair Sports Camp was opening up some shows this summer for Flobots and the name intrigued me. I've written at length in earlier posts about the band, so I'll just say, I'm continuing to love this music.
We've featured Joshua Worden quite a bit, too. This silky smooth Atlanta RnB Pop artist came to us via a publicist - which is another way we find out of about music.
The Sydney band Monks of Mellonwah are another band that came to us (a year or so ago) from a publicist. They are getting ready to release a new EP called Ghost Stories, and we got an early listen. So far, I'm impressed by the melodic power of this record. You can check out their earlier releases where you usually get music. The songs featured here will appear on the band's full-length album Turn the People which will be released later this year. Regardless of how I come to find out about a band, one of my stated goals of Ear to the Ground is to keep my mind and my ears open. The press release touts many of the band's music industry achievements. If you want to know that stuff just ask, and I will send you what I received. For me, though, it's about the music, and this music is very good.
- "Told You So" by Human Face from The Waiting Game (Part One) (2012)
Human Face came to us the "old-fashioned" way - i.e. the way we first had to discover new music when the blog was too new for publicists to even know about us. They followed me on Twitter and I checked them out. What impresses me about Human Face is the incredible melodies, the modern take on some music of an earlier era. For reasons unclear to me, I am reminded of 70s-80s UK band Squeeze. Human Face does not sound like Squeeze, but like that incredible band, they combine strong songwriting, a contemporary sensibility and healthy does of Motown soul.