Friday, October 20, 2006

Fridays Are For New Finds, Gridlock

By d-mac
Well, I'm off to sit in the fifty year-old parking lot that is the Georgia Interstate System, slowly inching my way down to Sunny Florida to see the family, and hopefully soak up the last few days of warmth before the colder, darker days finally take root here in Atlanta. But before I go, I'll share with you a couple of new finds that hopefully you'll take a minute to check out:

Cataldo - Wedding Cake

Cataldo is Eric Anderson, an indie/folk music maker originally out of Moscow, Idaho, who now resides in Portland, or Minneapolis, depending on how you interpret his myspace page (let's just split the difference and say he's from somewhere on the border of Montana and Wyoming).

I happened upon this guy by random perusal of EYM's oft-neglected inbox of myspace friend requests, which is usually teeming with shameless, unsolicited invites from marginal up-and-coming bands of various degrees of self-delusion. But every so often, I stumble on a shameless, unsolicited invite from a promising up-and-coming band that I actually enjoy and want to learn more about. This morning, Cataldo was one of those bands.

"Wedding Cake" is a bittersweet heart-wrencher about a guy psyching himself up to go the wedding of an ex-girlfriend that you can tell he's not completely over yet. You can tell, because he comes right out and says it, nay declares it: "selfish regret beneath First Methodist I declare to Jesus Christ, and both of His associates." The one that got away, huh, buddy? Ouch. I suggest you take full advantage of the open bar.

I highly recommend checking out Cataldo's website and/or myspace page and listening to the other songs he's put up there. You may just like it. And if you do, why not consider going and buying his self-titled CD from cdbaby or itunes.

Flunk - On My Balcony

I just now found out about these guys (thanks to Radio Paradise), but I can already tell you that Flunk is "YANEBIFILW." That's a mnemonic device I just created for Yet Another Norwegian Electronic Band I'm Falling In Love With. Or you could also use "YANEBWWIFIL," if you prefer handling your prepositions in a more gramatically responsible way. "On My Balcony" is a single off their 2004 sophomore album, Morning Star, which I intend to pick up the next time I'm in a record store. If you're lucky, maybe I'll share. [Update: Finally got the album. Check out "On My Balcony" linked above.]

Check out Flunk's myspace page.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


By d-mac
Hem played Smith's Olde Bar last night and man it was something else. I counted ten musicians on stage, including a quite pregnant Sally Ellyson on lead vocals, co-founder and songwriter Dan Messe on keys and backup vocals, Steve Curtis on guitar, mandolin, and harmony vocals, and producer Gary Maurer on guitar, harmonica, and additional harmonies. Add a drummer, a bass player, a pedal steel guitar and dobro player, and a three-piece mini-orchestra of harp, clarinet, and violin, and you get a picture of how crowded the stage was.

I've been listening to Hem's first two albums, Rabbit Songs and Eveningland while driving my car on long road trips to Jacksonville for so long now that I've come to associate them with home. Maybe it helps that many of the songs reflect on growing up, or leaving home, or going back. Or maybe it's Sally Ellyson's lulling voice, reminiscent of a present-day Karen Carpenter, as backed by well-orchestrated, movie-score-ready instrumentation that seems to carry the lyrics along as if they were floating. It's comfort music.

Local husband and wife slash singer-songwriter duo Arlington Priest opened, accompanied by Will Robertson on upright bass and acoustic guitar. I commented to AJ that they seemed the appropriate choice to set the tone for the indie-folk, "countrypolitan" stylings to follow. I realized I may have spoken too soon though, once the second band, Sue Wilkinson, took the stage. These guys threw me for a loop. I'm not really sure how to describe their sound. Imagine a Fleetwood Mac cover band that sustains itself by playing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs in hopes that they will one day be discovered by a music director to write a hit song for some cheesy 80's chick flick (the song would be played during the credits, but not the one that comes on at the end of the movie - the one after that one, you know, when you're reading about the gaffer and the best boy and the special thanks to Mrs. Pilkington for bringing coffee and watercrest sandwiches to the set every day). Imagine that, but twenty years later.

Maybe it was due in part to the AC they had blasting upstairs at Smith's, but I had chills for the majority of the time Hem played. They played a bunch from their brand new album, Funnel Cloud, including one that Dan Messe said he wrote about his wife's TV watching habits. He explained that he was annoyed by her infatuation with those West coast pretty-folk shows like The OC and Laguna Beach, and decided to write an anti-anthem of sorts. "We're sticking our flag in Brooklyn," Messe quipped, "... or Atlanta, or wherever. Anywhere but California."

Hem - Not California

"and I'm not strong / and you're not rich / and we're not lost / where we don't live ... and it's not California here"

As a side note, AJ later lamented not being home in time to watch the new LB episode. I'm sure they'll have re-runs, buddy, but I looked up the re-cap just for you:

It's Valentines Day in Laguna Beach, which means love -- and drama -- is in the air. Kyndra and Tyler have a dinner party planned for the day of romance, but with Kyndra's latest hookup, Cameron, on the guest list, it looks like disaster is on the menu.
Sounds hawt.

Here's a video I took at the show. There's another one here as well.

"The Beautiful Sea"