On the latest episode of Discologist, we’re talking about Damien Jurado’s latest album “In The Shape Of A Storm,” a simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting collection of songs that get to the very heart of what makes Jurado one of the greatest songwriters of the modern age.
On his 15th album, Damien Jurado is coming back down to earth and leaving the cosmic vibes of Maraqopa for more familiar territory. The self-produced The Horizon Just Laughed finds the singer/songwriter coupling the more straightforward folk influences that could be found in his prior work with a 60's/70's pop sensibility to produce one of the most engaging and heartfelt albums of his career.
PLUS! Nashville's Erin Rae has a killer new album (Putting On Airs) coming in June, and we're spinning it's latest, heart-wrenching single "Bad Mind."
Most years I struggle to find ten albums that I enjoy listening to, from start to finish. This year, I struggled to narrow the list to a mere ten because excellent albums abound. Genre did not limit the excellence, nor did age or visibility. The musical landscape is more diverse than ever. Whether the lack of major label control has led to true creative freedom for all musicians remains to be seen, but it is beginning to look like artists are increasingly willing to make music on their own terms. And, in a year that many considered to be terrible, that is a bright, shiny ray of hope. Celebrate with me by listening to these albums and songs and supporting these artists.
Last week it was 311 day. If you don't know what that is you're lying. To yourself.*
Damien Jurado is back with an expansive, mind-bending, psycho-trip of a new album, Visions of Us on the Land. We buy the ticket and take the ride.
Skylar Gudasz's exceptional debut album Oleander is out NOW. We've got a track to help convince you of said exceptionality.
*Now would be a good time to reiterate that we are not a facts based podcast.
For our HUNDREDTH EPISODE (!!) we re-present to you our chat with one Damien Jurado, recorded almost a year ago to the day! His 2014 album Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son ultimately topped many a year end list, and before a stop in Washington, DC on his first tour for the record, Damien opened up to Kevin and Andre about the deeper meanings of the record, how his inspirations often come from the most unlikely of places, and… saxophones? PLUS! Kevin takes a quick walk down memory lane to revisit the beginnings of the podcast, shares how this interview was a turning point in the the long, often strange, trip ye olde 'cast has taken us on, and hints at where we might be headed from here. So tune in and marvel at our unchecked tenacity, as we present to you EPISODE ONE HUNDRED of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!!
This week Andre and Kevin hang around Maraqopa a little longer to sit down with Damien Jurado before his show in DC to talk about the cosmic themes of his new album Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Son, Wim Wenders, sax solos and so much more. PLUS! Kevin and Paul review the new and excellent album from HOSPITALITY!
This week Beats streaming service finds itself on the gang's lawn, and Paul and Kevin take on the new record from Seattle singer/songwriter, Damien Jurado. PLUS! Special guest star, GUS THE CAT!”
If you think about the sheer quantity of music that was released in 2012, the thought of compiling anything into some sort of consensus seems a fool’s errand. Yet, this year, like every year, our prehistoric brain takes over and we are once again force to assign, rearrange, tabulate and label until we are able to put together one of man’s greatest contributions to the universe: The list.
This year, eleven voters ended up contributing over seventy different albums to a pool that ultimately had to be whittled down to just ten. Every single staffer here has one thing in common - THEY FUCKING LOVE MUSIC – and I think this list represents not only the diversity of the ChunkyGlasses team, but why what we do is so much damn fun.
But the time for writing is done this year. Now we hash it out, mano y mano, for your listening pleasure. For the faint of heart, we’ve broken this booze soaked supersized podcast into ten bite size nuggets to consume at will should you choose. Either way, strap in, grab a cold one (or ten) and get ready to find out what happens when a bunch of music nerds with no filters lock themselves in a basement and hit record.
The Official ChunkyGlasses Top 10 Albums of 2012!!
Episode 18: Best Of 2012
Alt J - An Awesome Wave
"It’s nearly impossible to describe the album, which won this year’s Mercury award in Britain, without referencing that Alt-J has clearly found the soul and innovation Radiohead abandoned over the past five years. Joe Newman’s reedy voice weaves the best threads of world influence into ridiculously layered electronics, and the entire album runs like a drug-addled trip around the globe. The band’s name is written Alt-J because that’s the keyboard shortcut on a Mac to make the Delta symbol (?) – if this album weren’t spectacular, the whole thing would smack of a project by a bunch of art school jackholes, but fortunately for them it is spectacular." - Carrie
#10: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Dinosaur Jr. - Bet On Sky
"...I Bet On Sky doesn’t break much new ground, nor would Dino Jr.’s fans want it to. The leadoff single “Watch the Corners” starts with a crunchy one-chord intro before finding its way to the melodic noise that Mascis excels at. At 46, Mascis’ voice has never sounded better, inasmuch as a voice that doesn’t actually sing as much as mumble with style can sound better. He manages to convey some emotion on a slower tune, “Stick A Toe In,” which hearkens back to another Dino Jr. song, “I Don’t Wanna Go There,” with Mascis asking in both songs if he’s doomed to “walk alone.” “Pierce the Morning Rain” may cover the most ground in terms of illustrating all Dino Jr. does well; the opening riff throws a nod to Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice” before seguing into the kind of jaunty rock found on songs like “The Wagon,” then right back to the Sabbath power chords. It’s a garden of delights." - Justin
#9: Dinosaur Jr - I Bet On Sky
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
"It’s a concept album. It’s a confession. It’s a snapshot of LA life unlike anything we’ve seen in years. Landing somewhere between Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder, Frank Ocean has made the album of his career and lucky for all of us, he’s just getting started. channel Orange is topping best of lists everywhere you look and it’s with good reason: It’s simply that good."
#8: Frank Ocean - channel Orange
Hospitality - Hospitality
Standout Tracks: “Friends” “Betty Wang”
By channeling everything that was right about the new-wave/punk scene hanging around CBGB’s in the late 70’s and putting a borderline twee pop sheen on it, Hospitality turned out one of the most listenable albums of 2012. More importantly though, it was also one of the most smartly satisfying records in recent memory. By simply having not only great taste in music, but the ability to execute on it with great songwriting, Amber Papini and crew set the bar just a little higher for all the aspiring indie-popsters out there this year.
Oddisee - People Hear What People Say
Standout Tracks: “Let It Go” “Anothers Grind”
Hip hop these days tends to either aim to either invigorate social awareness or lean towards a celebration of the more bacchanalian pursuits in life, but seldom does it more successfully meld the two more sweetly than on People Hear What People Say. Oddisee, originally a DC native, laid down twelve tracks of old school rhymes mashed against late 60’s universal soul and the result was an album that transcended the genre as much as it celebrated it. A wild ride that veers from West Coast to East Coast, KRS-One to Posdunus and back , People doesn’t just revel in the history of hip hop, it exalts the history of popular music PERIOD, and isn’t just a record that you shouldn’t miss, if you have ears, you practically can’t.
Hundred Visions – Permanent Basement
Good morning class, my name is Dr. Jim Sullivan and I’ll be your instructor for this semester’s class; Introduction on How to Rock Face 101. Here is your first assignment. I want you to go home, put on Hundred Visions Permanent Basement and loosen up your rock maneuvers along with some serious rock face. Although, there is one condition, you cannot, and I repeat, do not, at any point in this exercise rock face to this album into or near a mirror or any other reflective surfaces. I’ll see you all tomorrow for our discussion.
Welcome back class. Well, based upon the look on all of your melted faces, you probably think that I’m disappointed to see that you all have failed to follow the instructions. Billy, what was the last instruction I gave? Uhhhmmm, don’t look into a mirror or reflective surface while rocking face to Hundred Visions? Correct Billy, and based on your experience, why would I give you that instruction? Uhhhmmm, because even the reflection alone of how hard this album makes us rock face would cause us to melt our own faces off? Correct Billy, but sometimes the best education is experiencing the true power of rocking face first hand. You can thank Hundred Visions for that one. Good job class, now let me tell you about an album I like to call U.F.O.
Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
Similar to Jim Sullivan’s 1969 masterpiece U.F.O., Maraqopa is a lush, multi-layered and mysterious sounding folk album that may not get the credit it deserves in its day and age. This album is also one of the few examples of how to tastefully use strings and choirs in modern music. But, like a fine wine, this one will definitely age well and stand the test of time so that it can be lauded when the Space Jesus returns (listen to podcast 17, time stamp 52 minutes for further explanation on that front.) I just hope Damien doesn’t mimic Sullivan and decide to walk into the desert and get summoned back to another planet where the general public appreciates his music in the time when it is actually happening. So, as Carrie would say, sometimes you have to ask yourself What Would Alien Jesus Do? Well, apparently he would listen to Damien Jurado.
Sharon Van Etten has always presented a fascinating musical dichotomy – the effervescent and engaging performer and the incredibly dark material she often sings about. Things don’t just go wrong in her songs, they careen off a cliff at top speed. Men enjoy “sucking on dreams” and “garaging girls,” women implore men to “do your worst if you can.”
Yet on stage, she frequently smiles, engages the audience with charmingly low-key chit-chat, and puts her lustrous vocals front and center. Her Winona Ryder-meets-Tina Fey looks belie the dark nature of her songs. The two halves make for a wonderful whole in her live performances, as was the case in her terrific show last Thursday night at the 9:30 Club.
Sticking mostly to material off her latest record, Tramp, Van Etten offered a fantastic set of 14 songs, beginning with the slow, lilting “We Are Fine.” Switching from acoustic to electric guitars (which she did often) the band then offered a rousing version of “Warsaw,” Tramp’s leadoff track. Though backed by only three musicians, Van Etten managed to create a much bigger sound, but not one that overshadowed her vocals. She made a note that she’s had the same band for a while, and it shows; they segued perfectly from the noise-pop of “Warsaw” into countrified “Save Yourself” from 2010’s Epic. A vocal gaffe led to her amusing admission that she’d actually sang “shave yourself,” and noted the song was available to razor companies for the right price.
What happens when you put a bunch of music nerds in a room and ask them to talk about their favorite music of the year so far? Why you get a Top Ten List of course! There's been a metric sh@# ton of great music this year, with new releases from the likes of Punch Brothers, Leonard Cohen, Alabama Shakes and more, but ultimately there can be only TEN that make the cut.
With over sixty albums mentioned the whittling down process was arduous and sometimes painful, but in the end we came together and saw our way through the adversity/diversity to deliver unto you this list of the best that 2012 to date has to offer.
#10 Hospitality - Hospitality
KEVIN - New York hasn’t sounded this cool since the glorious heyday of CBGB’s, Blondie and The Talking Heads. Complex, confident, and unabashedly poppy, this is easily the most memorable debut record from any band on a long, LONG while.
ANDRE - I recommend talking to Kevin on this one. Just remind him that the first step is accepting you have a problem. I dig it as well, just not as much as Kevin...because that's impossible.
A couple Monday’s ago it was a good night for Damien Jurado here in DC. Ticket sales were apparently brisk enough to move his show from the backroom to the upstairs at The Black Cat, and saying that the audience was super-fan heavy would be putting it lightly. Jurado, who has been making critically lauded music for the past 15 years or so, was quick to point out that he hasn’t exactly been pulling in the biggest crowds, playing a show here in the past to only the bartender and the sound guy – and the sound guy left early. So from the get go it was clear that the audience’s excitement to hear him perform music from his latest effort, Maraqopa, was matched ten-fold from the stage, making for a triumph of an evening in every way imaginable.
In this installment of ChunkyGlasses we boldly go where no podcaster has gone before...or at least no intelligent podcaster...and take Harris along for the ride for good measure. Listen in as we discuss new releases from Damien Jurado, The Wooden Sky and more (See the complete list, with ratings and links below). So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in because, well, what else have you got to do?