This record crept up on me and punched me in the back of my knees.  Talk about a great summer record that I can’t stop listening to as winter approaches.  The band comes from Alabama and I had absolutely no idea these songs could come from that state.  It’s like the guys in Thomas Function found a box full of long lost hit songs from the 1960’s, and made a covers record in their garage.


The album belts out catchy tune one after another.  Chock full of wind-you-up drum beats and a bright bouncy organ and that voice… kind of punky but there is that Alabama twang thrown in there sometimes.  The records skips across a list of genres without consciously trying to cram too much into it.

“Conspiracy of Praise” has me shouting out ‘to the bus stop bus stop bus stop’ repeatedly everytime even though those aren’t really the lyrics.  “2012 Blues” sounds like a lost cut from Let it Bleed.  “Swimming Through a Sea of Broken Glass” has the best call and response chorus.  Nary a bad apple in the bunch.  Dig in to Celebration.

Thomas Function – Celebration


In my youth I once bragged that I was the “Tallest Tree-Planter in BC”.  Two things: 

  1. This was definitely not true yet very few people disputed my claim.
  2. I can only barely segue this fact into the rest of this post.

The Tallest Man on Earth is not to be confused with the Tallest Tree-Planter in BC.  He is a man from Sweden who plays guitar and sings songs.  His driver’s license has him as Kristian Matsson and from a picture i found on the internet he has a moustache.  Usually the songs have more than one guitar on them, but I imagine he probably played both of them; although not at the same time I am sure.  When he sings there is something familiar about it.  It sounds like you have heard it before.

There is no getting around the fact that his voice has that same rasp as Mr. Dylan.  Compound that with the folk guitar instrumentation and you are headed for an unavoidable collision that ends in Dylan comparisons.  Now that that is on the table you can move on.  After listening to the Tallest Man on Earth you will understand that is not just derivitave Dylan.  Wearing his influences on his sleeve, way up there on the tallest shoulder on earth, Kristian Matsson delivers one of the best albums of 2008.

Highlights include ‘The Gardener’, with its simple love story lyrics gives insight into his nom de tune in the line “So I can stay the tallest man in your eyes, babe”.  It’s rowdily-strummed guitar comes to a peak 2:37-2:47 to create my favourite 10 seconds of music of the year.  

Album closer “The Wind” rounds out the record.   Sort through a series of animal themed verses including: “Like a fox on the run from the well-informed son/With the bearin’s for cannonball love/Just like nobody said where that eagle was fed” to find a picture perfect folk song that would fit into your most emotional Wes Anderson film father-son moment.

Buy it here online.

Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Grave

I’ve never hidden my admiration for most things Hall & Oates.  Long time fan over here, not some bandwagon jumper.  I will go and pull out my Big Bam Boom album that i bought when I was 10 if you want.

So you can imagine my surprise when I finally stumble upon the most jaw dropping video by hitmakers Hall and Oates.  Behold the most amazing clip put to videotape (and you can tell it’s videotape because whoever upped the video to youtube obviously doesnt know how to adjust their tracking): She’s Gone.

While on first look it seems like they rolled in Daryl and John for one take and sent them on their way, something tells me that there was serious planning involved here.  It just didn’t turn out exactly as planned.

Here are the wtfs that I can see:

00:05 – green screen shot of abandoned house and camera pulls out.  Perhaps the empty house is a metaphor to tell us that “She’s Gone”????

00:25 – Hall has his Bowie look and Oates is costumed as the future Ted “Million Dollar Man” Dibiase.  They are on the set of some local cable talk show.

1:00 – 1st guest appearance with amazing strut.

1:05- 2nd guest appearance.  What does Hall toss in the air?  I cant tell either.  Oates forgets to do this and can’t grab his paper off the table quick enough so just heads into verse 2.

1:35 – Hall is so cool that he decides to blow off his lines and just looked cool with his cigarette.  Huh?

1:58 – Close up of table to show us what they’ve been throwing in the air.  Oh, monopoly money.

2:45 – Oates makes his move.  PENGUIN GUITAR SOLO.

3:10 -Hall forgets his lines again.

3:28 – Zoom in to devil who hasn’t replaced her like the song said but has replaced Hall in his chair.  and SCENE.

Obviously a high concept video that predates most high concept video.  You have characters in costume, props, and performers who don’t really even perform the song.  Amazing.

Lions is Jonquil’s second record but the first one we’ve ever heard around here. It’s a beautiful collection of folk/ experimental/ add another genre here music that rolls along beautifully. If you can’t get excited about this collection of instruments used on the album then you have little soul:

double bass, electric guitar, trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, voice, accordian, bassoon, glockenspiel, computer, drums, percussion, bowed kit, violin, melodica, organ, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, ukulele, whistles, flute

I’ll be honest and say I had to google bouzouki .

“Sudden Sun” sets into Animal Collectivesque campfire sing a long territory. “Lions” uses a Parisian waltzy accordian to step us into the second half of the record. First single “Whistle Low” is a tight little ditty propelled by adorable keyboards.

All in all it is an excellent late night album that clatters and wheezes and swoons all at once.

Lions it out now on Try Harder records.

Test it out here.

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts lately. But really, it’s summertime and everyone should be outside in the sun.

In honor of summer we present the funnest, summeriest soul mix we could come up with. Ladies and gentlemen My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog presents:

My Soul Mix Can Beat Up Your Soul Mix


VA – 01 -Glasshouse – Crumbs Off the Table.mp3
VA – 02 – Betty Wright – Clean Up Woman.mp3
VA – 03 – Otis Redding – You’ve Made A Man Out Of Me.mp3
VA – 04 -The 8th Day – She’s Not Just Another Woman.mp3
VA – 05 – jo-jo & the fugitives – chips-chicken-banana split.mp3
VA – 06 – Lee Dorsey – O Me-O, My-O.mp3
VA – 07 – Charles Wright and the watts 103rd street rhythm band – love land.mp3
VA – 08 – The Impressions – Woman’s Got Soul.mp3
VA – 09 – David Ruffin – I’ve Lost Everything I Loved.mp3
VA – 10 – Clarence Carter – Snatching It Back.mp3
VA – 11 – Sly & the Family Stone – Hot Fun In The Summertime.mp3
VA – 12 – The Meters – hey pocky a-way.mp3
VA – 13 – The Dramatics – watcha see is watcha get.mp3
VA – 14 – Bob Dorough – Three Is The Magic Number.mp3
VA – 15 -Rufus Thomas – The Memphis Train.mp3
VA – 16 – Tony Alvon & The Belairs – Sexy Coffee Pot.mp3
VA – 17 – Lulu – Feelin’ Alright.mp3
VA – 18 – Margo Thunders – Expressway To Your Heart .mp3
VA – 19 – Bill Moss – Sock It to ‘Em Soul Brother.mp3
VA – 20 – Jean Knight – Mr. Big Stuff.mp3
VA – 21 – Sly & The Family Stone – M’Lady.mp3
VA – 22 – Kool Blues – I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You.mp3
VA – 23 – Elvin Spencer – Lift This Hurt.mp3


A collection of 70’s soul classics. Some are popular favourites and some are dug up from rarer soul compilations. All are great. Download it, burn it, play it outside in the summer.


Link – My Soul Mix Can Beat Up Your Soul Mix


Okkervil River, a longtime favourite round here, will be releasing their fourth full length album on Aug. 7th via Jagjaguwar (one of the most consistent labels around). The Stage Names trundles along the trail that the Texans started building on previous records.

The record contains a variety of melancholy folk and upbeat hand-clap-a-longs that leader & songwriter Will Sheff has been getting pretty darn good at. Album opener Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe builds up with Sheff’s voice and tick tick tick guitar and comes crashing in with awesome woo woos a couple of minutes in. Lengthy in title only You Can’t Hold The Hand of A Rock And Roll Man punches up the twang with the aforementioned hand claps.

This album contains no overall literary theme like Black Sheep Boy but it does seem to contain a little bit more sheen that we’ve seen from the boys. It was great how raw (sorry) previous work was. Shudders still arrive when listening to the line in For Real (from Black Sheep Boy) when you can actually hear Sheff spit the ‘F’ in the line ‘cause I like this way just fine.‘ Those little unpolished anomalies seem absent on Stage Names. However with lyrics like this from album highlight John Allyn Smith Sails Okkervil River are hardly aiming for a John Mayer level of smooth fm adult contemporary are they :

He’s breaking in a case of suds at the Brass Rail fall down drunk,

with his tongue torn out and his balls removed.

Album comes out Aug 7th from Jagjaguwar. You can preorder from the website now. I already did.

Link – Okkervil River – The Stage Names

Back in the day alternative was big and so was country so they put them together and made alternative country. Remember those times? The late 90’s early 00’s? Those were good times when I loved bands like Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks etc etc. I think my love rubbed off a little, not much but a little, on a few friends.

I have this friend. For privacy’s sake, lets call him Kenny B…Wait that’s to obvious. How about K Britton. One day he walked into a record store and started chatting up the girl behind the counter. He was asking about just this type of music but for some reason he decided to ask her “so whats new in the alt cunt scene”. I think we may have jokingly, to ourselves shortened alternative country to alt cunt but he blew it out in the open.

That takes us to The Roadside Graves. A band that is pretty happy where it is now but reminds me of those halcyon days of alt cunt. Musical nods go back to Springsteen, Dylan and others that led the revitalization. It’s great road music full of harmonized vocals, rollicking guitars and piano.

This year they’ve released their second album called No One Will Know Where You’ve Been and it’s been a favourite around here all year long. Here’s what’s new and great in the alt cunt scene.

Head on over to Kill Buffalo, their label’s website, for a sample .mp3 of the song West Coast.


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