“Nobody to blame, and I’m already lost. For every good thing I’ve done, I’ve done another thing wrong.” – Hearts Wander
Augustana’s hit single, “Boston,” lit up the airwaves the year that I moved to Beantown, so they will always have a special place as far as I am concerned. I’ve listened to them for as long as I can remember, and I’ve shared them with anyone who had never heard of them, but with their newest, self-titled release, I get the feeling I won’t have to share too much longer. Much like NEEDTOBREATHE, the guys from Augustana have churned out two top notch albums, but their third is going to make the world notice those first two. All the Stars and Boulevards and Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt were both phenomenal and pushed Augustana to be one of my favorite bands, and I think I’ll have a lot of company on the Augustana band wagon with their newest release. A lot of bands struggle with their third album, but the opener “Steal Your Heart” lets you know that these guys mean business on this album. I dare you to not sing a long to lead singer Dan Layus’ perfectly imperfect vocals. It’s impossible. Songs like “Shot in the Dark” and “Wrong Side of Love” are equally as energetic while “Borrowed Time” and “Hurricane” slow things down a bit.All in all, it’s a great album and it makes me love this band that much more.
Steal Your Heart
“I never do what I’m supposed to do, hardly even know my name any more. When no one calls it out, it kind of vanishes away” - Alabama Pines
I’m not very good at hiding my love for Jason Isbell. He is hands down one of my favorite southern song writers. Saying that has two meanings actually, Isbell is an Alabama native which by all accounts makes him about as ‘southern’ as you can get. But Isbell also writes songs about the south, beautiful songs about growing up below the Mason-Dixon. I fell in love with Isbell’s songwriting when he was with Drive-By Truckers, but he’s churned out three solo albums since, and all are marvelous. His first solo release, 2007′s Sirens of the Ditch, is a perfect introduction, but the recently released Here We Rest really takes the best parts of the last two albums and improves on every detail. It’s a much more mellow release than the previous two and it feels like he’s just starting to get comfortable as the lead man. Let’s hope Isbell and the band keep churning out an album every two years, because I love them all. Favorites on the album are “Alabama Pines,” “Codeine” and “Stopping By.”
““When the room clears, I’m still here, who am I when I’m alone.” When I’m Alone
When I first moved to Boston, I’d often drive home to Charlotte. I made the 17 hour drive 5 times my first year here, fueled by loud music, beef jerky and Mountain Dew. There were only a few albums that made the cut for every single trip. 6 years after it’s release, I still listen to From the Inside Looking In by Nevertheless. Their first full length, Live Like We’re Alive came out in ’06 and it shocks me that it didn’t make NTL a bigger band. Much like NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot, NTL ‘s albums are full of positive messages. The guys ultimately parted ways in late 2009, but at least I’ve got about 150 minutes worth of music to satisfy my Nevertheless fix.
False Starts – From the Inside Looking In
Lover - Live Like We’re Alive
Longshot – In the Making
“I’m gonna breathe deep and love strong, and hold on forever. I’m gonna live long and die young and argue with the gates of heaven.” – Argue with Heaven
I can’t explain how much new music I find now because of this blog. In the past, I paid little attention to EPs and didn’t really listen to anything that I didn’t find on my own. That’s changed in the past year. About a month and a half ago, someone pointed me towards Strangetown by David Ramirez. I have a lot of “damn this is good moments” with artists that I’ve never heard and every now and then, I have a “Holy shit, I can’t imagine listening to anything else this week” moment. Well, prepare yourself for a “Holy shit” moment. Within about 10 seconds of “Argue with Heaven,” I knew I’d be blogging about this guy. Turns out, there’s a pretty sweet version floating around with Summer Ames too. For me though, the beauty of this album lies in the song “Shoeboxes.” It’s painful and vulnerable and most of all, it’s believable. I’ve told everyone that I’ve given the EP that they should be prepared for at least two songs that they’ll want to listen to on repeat – and everyone has come back with a different two – the true mark of a solid release.
*PS: You can grab the EP over at Noisetrade right now, and it’s everyone’s favorite price.