A Rare Stream of Madness Post 2012 in Review (or something)

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Well, well, well – 2012 is winding down.  A lot a of people are putting out Best of Posts and I have the Band of the Year thing – but that’s for my readers to decide.  Rather than some neatly organized recap or whatever of 2012 in Music, I thought I would indulge in something I don’t get to do very often and that is just write out my random thoughts as they occur to me.  I may supplement with some videos or other linkage, but for the most part this will just be my thoughts for whatever that is worth.

By my estimation, 2012 has been a great year for music. Chances are, you will hear someone name some random disposable pop stars of the moment as an argument that “music sucks these days” and then name from great artists/albums from the past and say, “music was better in the 60s/70s/80s/90s/2000s/2011”  The thing is, you can always make that argument and quite a few people always do.  Every year, the most mundane/crappy pop music of the day does not compare favorable to the classic/legends of the past – so it is in 2012 and so it will be ever after.

2012 was a great year for music because I say so. Not that my say so is that important, but it is for me.  Tons of great music have some through various media and into my ears.  Some of the best of 2012 include Anais Mitchell’s Young Man in America, Bob Dylan’s Tempest, Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas, Justin Townes Earle’s Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Jack White’s Blundebuss, Mumford and Sons’ Babel, and so many more…

Our friends’ The Dead Exs started a Relovolution. 

We met and fell in love with tons of great new artists. In addition to those in our Band of Year poll, we also discovered some great music from all over the world including: Cosmonauts, The Danbury Lie, Shelly Colvin, Brennen Leigh, The Grimm Generation, The Amboys, The Dogs of Oz, Christopher Paul Stelling, Citizen Smith, Aoede, Cupla and again so many more.  Finding great new music was not our challenge in 2012. Finding the time to post it all was our challenge.  While you are here – explore the site.  Over on the right side bar, down the page a little, is a list of tags from the most used to the least used.  Check out our posts about some of these bands listed above or about of the other music.

In addition to the new stuff, we remain conscious of the fact that was obsessed with music as we are, there is tons of older music which has slipped past us, and when we “discover” some great old music, we aren’t ashamed to present it to you and admit that we missed out on the music the first time.

We also like to feature music which shaped our lives.  So, we can discover/ or rediscover the music of our youth and young adult lives. 

For Ear to the Ground, we are completing our first full year of blogging (we started in May 2011).  We outgrew the Band of the Week format, we introduced the Featured Artists of the Month, as always our signature feature is our Morning Music Shuffle. We released our first ever down compilation (on Record Store Day) which featured several of our favorite artists.

In 2013, we have big things on tap. Expect a volume 2 of our Compilation album. We anticipate new music and a Nashville tour stop by our friends The End Men, we are exploring options for moving our blog to our own Domain, we look forward to presenting tons of great new music and continuing to find exciting ways to bring the music to you.  


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Tuesday Morningish Music Shuffle – Big Bird Mix

Hey Ho! Some days away and then some life events of the unexpected variety, but we are back with a music shuffle which was listened to this morning and also some bonus songs from this afternoon….  But which are coming at you at night.  Whatever, it’s all good music:

First of all, we have E2TG Band of the Month from August – Loner’s Society with a song from their self-titled release.  It’s I’ll Write the Sad Songs.

Here is a live performance from Loner’s Society

Aoede is a San Francisco duo who make some beautiful music.  Skeletons of the Muse is their fantastic album that was released in early 2012.  And Love Proof is the song we have featured today.


Don and Phil Everly recorded as The Everly Brothers and made some sweet, sweet music. Today, we have one of their hit songs, Bye, Bye Love.

And closing out  the morning portion of the shuffle, we have Harbor Lights from the King of Rock N’ Roll Mr. Elvis Presley.  The song dates back to the 1930s and was originally recorded in Polish.  So there.

This afternoon, we were able to shuffle again and came up with two more songs:
The first is a song by the late Chris Bell of Big Star fame.  His song I Am the Cosmos was released as a single in 1978 on Chris Stamey’s label.  Then, in 1992 it was included as the title track of a compilation of several of his 70s era solo songs.

And finally, we have a song from our friends, Cosmonauts.  Emily’s Surprise is part of the Daniel Raincourt saga.

Here’s a single with more of the saga.

And the video for Emily’s Surprise


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VIDEO PREMIERE: Cosmonauts "Cold Harbor" plus Free MP3

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A little over a month ago, we posted Cold Harbor, a brand new song from Glen Falls, New York band Cosmonauts along with an interview we did with Bill Hunsinger.  You can check out that interview here.

The band has been teasing the video for the song for a while.  Here’s what Bill had to say about it back back in August:

EttG:  What can you tell you about making the video?
C: That it was a lot of hard work! We filmed all of it, by ourselves, over the course of twenty hours, with multiple locations, tons of extras, and two fantastic actors (including our own guitarist James White). There’s a particularly gruesome scene at the end, and I think it makes for a powerful ending.
Here’s the sneak


You’ve been warned now go watch:  I’ve seen it, and it’s really, really good video.  To celebrate, the band is releasing a free download of the song for a limited time only – like get it now!  Here’s the info:
UPDATE: Here’s the Video:

Cosmonauts Official Music Video for “Cold Harbor” ©2012 CosmonautsMusic
Directed by Bill Hunsinger
Director of Photography: Garrett Bean

DOWNLOAD THE SINGLE FOR FREE (Limited time only):http://www.mediafire.com/file/c4u565fn1n1tmnc/01_Cold_Harbor.mp3

Download the band’s latest EP, “The Demise of Daniel Raincourt” for FREE: http://www.mediafire.com/?gfinap4da8c6sl3

For more info visit

COSMONAUTS “Cold Harbor”
I learned my lonely lesson at sixteen:
“The world is full of girls I’ll never touch.”
the devil is living inside my head,
And these thoughts won’t ever stop.

You learned your
pathetic lesson at seventeen:
“The world is full
Of girls you need to fuck.”

She wanted to be left alone,
But you crawled inside her womb.
Just give her some line,
Like “the stars shine only for you.”
Some girls just grow up lonely.
You know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your coward body.

Dispose of the body that you tore and used.
Her pregnancy’s a burden,
but not for you.
Filling the hills with mounting cries,
Only for the one time you need her.
The warm strain of her breath
In your ear.
Oh, time is running out…
Just give her a sound,

She needs to hear you now.
As you pour yourself a drink,
You know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your cowards body.
She wanted to be left alone,

but you crawled into her room.
Just give her some line,
Like “the stars shine only for you.”
Some boys just grow up lonely.
Oh you know how to dress yourself
Like a man in your cowards body.

Heavenly greens and blues
Float around your room.
I’m running out of time
To take what’s unholy mine.
I’m burning, burning for you.

Hellish whites and reds
Keep poring out of your head.
Oh, god, please sympathize
With your child, full of sin,
Before you bury me, banish me.

Crawl into her womb,
(you feel me, you feel me close)
Caress the warm bloody edge.
Leech her nutrients
(cold hands that sever the bones)
While a hanger rips open your head.
Oh, bleed for me, bleed for me dear.

Fluorescent blurry stars
(you feel me, you feel me close)
Float inside of her eyes.
Nurses push clear fluids
(cold hands that sever the bones)
Into a washed out skin.
You’re dying and dead to me.
Dying and dead to me.

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Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – 47 Percent Elegance Mix

Man you guys, I think I need an intern or something.  I mean if Kramer could have an intern, I could – right?  So much goodness going on – Our good friends, The Dead Exs dropped their sophomore album, Relovolution, while we were AMAing, and we are going to have a lot to say about this one.  Cosmonauts are just a week away from unveiling the video to the song they recently debuted and which we had in the shuffle yesterday, Cold Harbor. The Disappointment have a new video, we just heard a killer new song from Dogs of Oz. There is new music out or coming soon from The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Band of Horses, John Hiatt and just about everybody else.  We made some good contacts at the Americana to-do, and some big things are coming for little ole us.  So of course, by nbl (non-blogging life) is also exploding and time become a precious commodity, but it’s all good.

Our shuffle today features two artists we saw live last week plus a song from the early 2000s and a relatively new song that sounds like an old song…  Let’s jump into the shuffle:

First up we have Leeds’ own, The Dunwells, who we saw last Thursday at Live on the Green with I Could Be A King off of their debut record, Blind Sighted Faith.

Up next, we have a retro-sounding fuzzy guitar-driven, Garage Rock song called Driven by Love from the band 45 Spider which comes from Supercharged Sounds (the 8th Volume of the Best of GaragePunk Hideout) which came out in July. 

Next, we have the debut single by California ska-punk band OPM from way back around the turn of the century. Heaven is  Halfpipe promises skating after death. The debut album was called Menace to Sobriety (see what they did there?)

And finally, we have another song from the fantastic Marvin Country! album by Marvin Etzioni who at The Station Inn in Nashville along with his Marvin Country! String Quartet. I had the chance to talk briefly with Mr. Etzioni, and hope to have the opportunity to have a longer chat with him soon.

Monday Morning Music Shuffle – Back to Reality Mix

 Well, here we go… another week… I am so exhausted but in a good way.  The Americana Music Festival has finished up, and I was able to hear some incredible music, meet some amazing people and just generally walk around star-struck most of the weekend.  
 I’ve added two posts about my experience – more to come.  

But, here at ole Ear to the Ground, what we do mostly is just tell you what we are listening to everyday and a little bit about the songs and the artists.  So, let’s get right to the shuffle:

First up, we have a song we introduced to you back on August 21st when we talked to The CosmonautsCold Harbor  is the new song by the band,and the first not related to the Daniel Raincourt storyline.   A video is promised soon, and there is a teaser which we have for you below:



We just are not getting tired of The Bluefields’ debut album, PureAin’t Nothin’ Wrong sounds like a great, lost Royal Court of China song.  It just seems like Joe Blanton, Warner E. Hodges and Dan Baird had a blast making this record.

Couldn’t find a video for Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong – so here is Repair My Soul
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/track=224890120/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/Finally we offer up a Combat Rock era b-side by The Clash. First Night Back in London was the b-side to Know Your Rights and appears on the 1993 compilation reissue Super Black Market Clash


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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – So… yeah… Mix

I hope you enjoyed the premiere of the brand new song from Cosmonauts and our interview with the band… in case you missed it – go here. I heard yesterday and Mike Watt is bring his Missingmen to Nashville in October. The Americana Music Fest is just a few weeks off, Live on the Green is starting soon, and Musician’s Corner should be kicking off their Fall series very soon.  Plus news yesterday that Grimey’s is going to open an extension (Grimey’s Too) which include a cafe, bookstore, more music and possibly an expanded area for events like Record Store Day???  

Okay – let’s dive headlong into this morning’s shuffle.  I bit of a rough morning so I needed some sweet tunes to get me settled into my day, and the shuffle beast did it’s job.

First up we have Band of the Month for May (and our last ever Band of the Week) South of Ramona with The Lonesome Soul off their new Step Inside EP which we reviewed. I am still massively digging the band’s haunting folksy rock sound. 


South of Ramona so far have only released videos of covers – here is their version of the Jefferson Airplane song, Somebody to Love

Next up we have Bonnie “Prince” Billy (William Oldham)  – a Louisville, Kentucky native who makes some incredible music which contains elements of punk, folk, Americana and Indie Rock. Today, we have the title track to his 2011 EP, The Mindeater which was a collaboration with the Louisville-based The Phantom Family Halo.

And finally, we continue to reap the fruits of our surfing of the ReverbNation site. Friday Night Music Club are “a handful of song writers who came together on a project and never left.”  Today we have Why?  a tasty bit of laid back folksy flavored goodness which definitely eased my transition into work mode.



Grab the newest Brandi Carlile album from just $5 at Amazon


Cosmonauts – "Cold Harbor" (New Song +The Ear to the Ground Interview )

Go visit the Cosmonauts’ Facebook Page NOW!  I mean it!  If you haven’t done so, “Like” the page. As of right this moment they are streaming their brand spanking new song, Cold Harbor.  I got a sneak peek, and it’s damn good stuff, and you know I wouldn’t lie to you. 


 We recently chatted with band member, Bill Hunsinger, to find out more about the band, this song and more.
Ear to the Ground:  What can you share about the new song “Cold Harbor”?
Cosmonauts: The song is about a guy who gets a girl pregnant after a night out at a bar, and the consequences of that night for her. It is based on a true story. 
EttG:  (Cosmonauts first two records tell the story of Emily Malone and Daniel Raincourt) Is this part of the Daniel Raincourt story cycle?  If not, what was it like writing outside of that story?  Was it difficult or freeing?
C: It is not part of the Daniel Raincourt saga. It was difficult at first to write outside of the story, especially since we had been writing within the story for almost two years, but it ended up being very freeing. There were many things that I wanted to write about that wouldn’t fit into that story, and this happened to be one of them. 
EttG:  What can you tell you about making the video?
C: That it was a lot of hard work! We filmed all of it, by ourselves, over the course of twenty hours, with multiple locations, tons of extras, and two fantastic actors (including our own guitarist James White). There’s a particularly gruesome scene at the end, and I think it makes for a powerful ending. 
EttG: Okay, I’d like to ask a few questions to give our readers some context: What is the first music you are consciously aware of hearing?
C: I remember being about four, listening to Nanci Griffith’s “Flyer” album on the way to my grandparents house. It was my family’s soundtrack for car trips, and  something about it was magical to me. I was raised listening to a lot of folk singers and alternative bands (REM, Suzanne Vega), and it really influenced me to want to be a musician and play songs out of sheer enjoyment of the craft. 
EttG:  What kinds of music did you listen to as a teenager?  Was there a musical moment during that time that really stood out to you?
C: Well, the whole “emo-hardcore” scene was starting to come out when I was thirteen or so. I loved Coheed and Cambria, Brand New, etc. That was, I think, the time in my life, as well as a few of my band mates, that made us want to be in a band and write songs and play shows. The scene was very inclusive and friendly and, as somewhat social outcasts, we felt like we belonged somewhere. 

EttG:  When did you start playing?  At what point did you figure out that just maybe this music thing was for you?
C: I started playing guitar and writing music about twelve years ago now. I don’t think there was ever a defining point where I said “this is for me”. I just started playing music with my friends and after a while we started playing basement shows and birthday parties. It wasn’t until I started playing real shows on real stages that I thought that I could actually artistically create music. 
EttG: How did the band form?
C: Joe and I had the idea for the story that became our first two albums when our old band broke up. When we started writing the songs, we realized there was no way we’d be able to pull off the ideas we had unless we had more members. Joe and I are mediocre musicians at best, and we just couldn’t do what we thought the story needed. Luckily for us, we happened to know a band of three extremely talented musicians that were looking for a new musical direction, and they were kind enough to go along with our crazy ideas. 

EttG:  Why Cosmonauts?
C: Honestly, we just needed a name. We had all the songs written for the first album, but no band name. I had been listening to “relationship of command” by At the Drive-In a lot at the time, so we took our band name from one of their songs. 

EttG:  How did the concept of the Emily and Daniel story develop?
C: Joe wanted to write a story about a man who deals with the emotional drama of losing a loved one, an I wanted to write, basically, a horror story. A lot of the horror aspects of the story are personal experiences I had. “lovers of kerosene lane” is about a couple I met. The man was covered in bandages after being attacked with a knife, and the women was a morbidly obese women, covered in vomit. They were making out in the middle of a gas station parking lot at two am. It was a nauseating thing to see. 
And some of the story elements are just metaphors for how joe and I felt at the time. It was a labor of love to piece the story together, but I think, in the end, we managed to get a fairly coherent story out. 

EttG:  (Joe Mansman created some striking art for the Emily and Daniel stories) When did Joe start drawing? Did he have any formal training? Are there any particular artists that influenced his visual art?
C: Joe started in elementary school, but had no formal training. He was influenced by the early work of Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, and Mark Silvestri

Ettg:  What’s next for Cosmonauts?
C: We’re continuing to write for a next album, and playing some shows in the Northeast. We really want to focus this time on lyrics, rather than the musical aspect of the songs. So you’ll be seeing (hopefully) more emotionally powerful songs as opposed to guitar heavy songs. 

EttG:  Is there any band or artist you’d like to work with or tour with?
C: There are so many bands we play with now that we absolutely love playing with. Skeletons in the Piano (Note: Skeletons in the Piano were our Band of  the Month for July) and Wild Adriatic, for example. I’d rather keep working with them to keep creating a sustainable music scene is our area than to work with a national act. Bands can only survive with local support, and we’ll do what we can to help create that scene. 

EttG:  What music have you been playing most often?
C: Everything! Personally, I’ve been playing more Appalachian folk than anything else lately, but we all have a diverse preference when it comes to playing music on our own. As a band, we play whatever feels right for the song, whether it be a Latin-based rhythm or light waltzes, or even screaming (or all of them at once). 

EttG:  What’s the best part of being in a band and making music?  The worst?
C: The best part of being in a band is being able to do what you love to do with your closest friends, and being able to express yourself musically and having other people relate. There’s nothing better than that. 
On the other hand, the worst thing about being in a band is when you play a show and people are apathetic to your performance. It’s discouraging, but you just shake it off and go play another show. 

EttG:  And finally, this is a question, I try to ask whenever I can:  If you could see any band perform live at the peak of their career, who would you see and at what point in their career?
C: I would have loved to see Robert Johnson play back in the 1930’s. He influenced countless of legendary guitar players, and his songs were very personal and intimate.  

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