Music on my Mind – maybe a #tbt post????

The other day, I posted a rag tag collection of music called Fine, Fine Music.  I kind of liked that so I decided to do it again. Song sometimes enter my head – either through hearing an old song on the radio, reading a mention, or just a random, unexplained earworm.  Over the past few days, I have been collecting some of these as they pass through, and I created the video playlist which will be posted below.

I was going to just post without comment, but well, you know me (or you don’t…) so… just quick, self-indulgent observations:

1.  “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure (I’ve had a thing for this song for a long time. I am a fan of The Cure (mostly early period stuff), and this song in particular has always spoken to me.

SXSW 2014 Lou Reed Tribute:  My close personal Facebook friend, Richard Barone and Alejandro Escovedo put together a Lou Reed Tribute show at SXSW which was not only truly epic, but which also highlighted the width and depth and breadth of the man’s music. Video’s from that show have begun to surface so us schleps who couldn’t be there can witness the glory.  I posted three here,

2.  “White Light White Heat” by the forementioned Mr. Barone and Mr. Escovedo and featuring their legendary house band which included Lenny Kaye, Clem Burke, and others.

3. “Satellite of Love” by Spandau Ballet (always one of my favorite Lou Reed songs  – I even wrote a short story borrowing the title. Again demonstrating the impact…. I started trying to imagine what music today would be like if The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed had never existed… truth is, I couldn’t even imagine – or don’t want to… Spandau Ballet sound great, too.)

4. “Run, Run, Run” by The Black Lips (another favorite song of mine.  Great band and a great cover).

end of Lou Reed tribute videos

5. “Poolside” by Webb Wilder (so I’ve been seeing Webb Wilder posting on Facebook quite a bit recently.  Which made me think back to the days when the Webb Wilder credo was plastered across my back on a regular basis.)

6. “Hopeful” by Spencer Livingston (Spencer Livingston is in a group called The Alternates which was one of the first bands featured on E2TG. He put out a solo record last year, and I wanted to add one of his songs which shows off his incredible voice and great songwriting.)

7.  “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?” by The Alarm (I’m not sure what brought this to my mind. I was a big Alarm fan back in the day.  I don’t know how many times I listened to the whole Declaration album. Urgent, passionate, and ooh that hair!)

8.  “Gloria” by U2 (believe it or not, but I was kind of a late bloomer when it came to music.  Some friends were talking about U2 all the time, and I didn’t know anything about them.  Then I saw this video, and I was hooked.)

9.  “One Time, One Night” by Los Lobos (always dug this song)

10. “The Conductor Wore Black” by Rank and File (Alejandro Escovedo was in this band along with the Kinman brothers. This was the part of the “movement” from punk to alt-country. Somebody called it cowpunk, but I never did.)

11. “Just Friends” by Beat Rodeo (I was introduced to quite a bit of music – including Beat Rodeo featuring my close personal Facebook friend Steve Almaas –   thanks to IRS Records Presents The Cutting Edge on MTV – when the M stood for music.)

12. “How to Rob a Bank” by Those Mockingbirds (Those Mockingbirds were the band that first got me connected to some of the great music being made in the New Jersey and New York areas these days.  They’ve gotten some good responses to this video, and I want them to get more – so check it out!)

13. “Watusi Rodeo” by Guadalcanal Diary (Another band I originally “discovered” on MTV back in the day.  A became a big fan and got to see them live a couple of times.)

14. “Fade Away” by Bodeans (I don’t know how many times I saw Bodeans live back in those heady days of youth.  The vocals and sound always blew me away.  Someone had posted about the Robbie Robertson album and I remember Sammy’s contribution to the song “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”)

15. “Jesus Everyday” by Treat Her Right (The late Mark Sandman was in this band before he was in Morphine.  I got to see them live.  This song is one my favorites.)

16. “Dead Letters” by Sealight (Originally when I started writing Ear to the Ground, I decided I wasn’t going to “review” albums. I would feature music, comment on it, but for some reason I didn’t think I could write a decent review.  I guess I thought there was a magic key that I didn’t possess. Then, Sealight went and mailed me a copy of their then new CD from France… this was the very first CD I got as a blogger, and I felt I “owed” them a review.  I ended up writing about this incredibly moving and atmospheric album – just writing my feelings and observations as I listened. I don’t know if it was a “real” review or if any of the “reviews” I’ve written sense possess  that elusive magic review key, but the fact was that the music inspired me, and so review or not, I felt what I wrote was real and true.)

17.  “Appetite” by The Grimm Generation (Another E2TG favorite – and a new song. When I interviewed this band I understood that we had very similar musical tastes and came from the same time in music, and it all made sense why I connected so much with their music. That and the fact that they are freakin’ brilliant!)

18.  “Get Into My Car” (Billy Ocean cover) by GWAR (RIP Dave Brockie.  GWAR made music for a long time and were so over the top and wild and crazy… I don’t know who else would mash-up this Billy Ocean song with  (NO SPOILER) the way they did here.)

19.  “Election Year Blues” by Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray (in anticipation of this past Tuesday’s show here in Nashville, I watched this video from the last time they were here. They did this song again and if anything it sounded better)

20.  acoustic blowout – The Minutemen  (Punk rock changed by life.  I was remembering an acoustic performance from The Cutting Edge, but I found this instead.  D. Boon has been gone almost thirty years, but his legacy lives on.  The Minutemen changed my life)

21. “Ghosts” by The Jam (This is one of favorite songs of all time…. it got into my head yesterday, so I added it to this playlist.)


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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – rearviewmirrormix

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Wow! May is sure flying by, and I still have some wrap-up to do for April – ah well, when I can, when I can…   I have a nifty selection of songs today, so let’s get to it.
Pre-Shuffle Shuffle:
1. “If You Would Love Me, Too” by Prattle On, Rick (A Nashville artist who I “discovered” via Twitter. Really digging this guy and wondering why it’s taken me so long to catch up with him.  The video in our Playlist is for another song of his – as are several of the songs today).
2. “I Am” by Sealight (Our friends from across the pond are back with a new song – a follow up to their Dead Letters EP which I reviewed some time back in my very first Ear to the Ground record review!  I Am can be found on a Sampler put out by the band’s French Label, Commission 45.

3.”Stealing Romance” by Milk Carton Kids

4.”Without You” by Natalie Maines

5.  “Failing Love (acoustic)” by Seth Philpott

The Milk Carton Kids and Seth Philpott tracks were grabbed from Noisetrade.  There is always fresh new music up for grabs at, and as always tip if you can, spread the word and support the artists however you are able.

The Natalie Maines’ track is the lead track from her long-anticipated and brand new album Mother.

SHUFFLE is up – after the JUMP

  • “Fall Apart” by Jeanette Lynne from You’ve Got Me (2013)

I’ve had several songs from this album in our Pre-Shuffle over the last couple of weeks, and so far I’ve loved every thing I’ve heard. This one comes via fellow blogger, madman, genius and reigning Mayor of Couch by Couchwest – David “Popatunes” Horton.  Ms. Lynne, as I understand it, went to school with David’s sons which got me to thinking about all the amazingly talented musical artists who’ve passed tangentially through my life – children of friends, friends of my children etc. Which I suppose it all part of the philosophy of Ear to the Ground – keep listening and you will be amazed at what comes your way.

  • “Bad Year at UCLA” by Game Theory from Distortion of Glory

A truly great song from the legendary San Francisco band.

  • “Athens to Athens” (live) [Vienna] (acoustic) by Joe Bonamassa from An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House (2013)

Look, I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever been a huge Joe Bonamassa fan. It’s not that I don’t like his music so much as I’ve never really listened to it. That being said, I love this song and I love everything else I’ve heard so far from this album. This sounds amazing – not a surprise given the historic setting and the reputation Mr. Bonamassa has as a musician.

  • “The Detach” by EndAnd from Mechanics and Energetics of Stilt-Running (2013)

You’ve seen several tracks from this new record featured of late. I’m rather enjoying this album – perhaps even more so than I did the band’s previous album The Adventures of Hi-Fi in Space which I also liked.

It occurred to me that several of the songs in the mix today are from 2013 releases, and that in just four months and a week, this year has produced some amazing music. And, there is much more to come, as we await new music from Nikki Sue and the Bad News among others.


Monday Morning Music Shuffle – The Box Principle Mix


 So here we go it’s Monday, and we have some good stuff going down this week.  Tomorrow, Cosmonauts are unveiling a brand new song, and we have an interview with the band to help kick that off.  Meanwhile, voting for Band of the Month is going hot and heavy. Right now, Loners Society hold a lead over Rooftop Runners followed by The Imperial Rooster.  But, we are still in the early stages of voting which will run until right at Midnight on the 31st of August. 

This morning, our shuffle takes us into our Revolving Random playlist and offers up some tasty tunes.  So, let’s get to it.

First up, we have an alternate take of a classic song from the late, great Warren Zevon.  Desperados Under the Eaves   has the dual distinction of being one of the coolest songs of all time, and utilizing two words which I wished showed up in my daily life more often (Desperados and Eaves). The version today is from the Preludes collection of rare and unreleased songs.


Next, we have a sweet dose of Southern mysticism backed by now legendary jangly guitars.  We have the sounds of a band hitting their stride.  We have Maps and Legends by R.E.M. from the Fables of the Reconstruction album (1985).


Up next, we have Seattle-based singer-songwriter Damien Jurado with a track from his 2010 album, St. Bartlett. Arkansas contains the characteristic murky goodness we’ve come to expect from Mr. Jurado.



 And finally, we have a track from one of our Bands of the Week from last year. The track is on the album Dead Letters by Sealight which was the first album we reviewed here at ear to the ground.  La Nieve Del Tiempo literally translates as Snow Time, and it is chill-inducing, beautiful music.


Amazon Daily Deal – Get the 25th Anniversary Remaster of Paul Simon’s Graceland for $3.99.

Sealight – Dead Letters EP – An Ear to the Ground Review

The art of found or uncovered or discovered or recovered things has long held my interest. Someday, I’ll tell you all about my Found Object Collections and my theory about cryptic messages found on Post-It Notes along the sidewalk. Someday. But, today, we are talking about Dead Letters the debut EP by Sealight a band who come from France by way of Australia. Dead Letters – in these case are stories of lives long since ended. Missives meant to be from one to another – intimate or mundane, simple or complex, layed with many meanings or direct and to the point.


According to the band, “the lyrical content of the EP draws upon a collection of letters and texts surrounding the lives of the group’s families in France and Australia. Fragments of conversations, responses and reactions are incorporated throughout the five songs; reliving, retracing and reflecting upon events, relationships and the lives of the correspondents.”  – Before I’d even listened to the EP, I was in love with the concept.


The cover of  the CD is gray and to me suggests cold – and there is a single brown (dead?) leaf.


I had heard a bit of Sealight’s music before (they were a Band of the Week), and so I had some idea what to expect from Dead Letters. As a whole (and very generally), the music (to me) suggests a rocky shoreline on a cold gray day with icy spray bubbling up over the jagged rocks. The music is lovely and cold and haunting.


Dead Letters features a dynamic mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. The blending of these sounds works well.  At times, Sandra Rossini’s beautiful voice seems as though it is just another part of the layers of sound. By no means is this a bad thing.


This is music to curl up by a fire while cold rain and wind beats against a bay window which looks out upon the aforementioned rocky shoreline. It’s music curl up with a lover with – a complicated relationship made simple by the shared warmth of the moment.


The Songs: 


Dead Letters: The first and title track begins slowly and quietly until the vocals come in and then the song soars. The vocals are beautiful and haunting. Rebecca Stout was the singer with a Nashville band from the late 80s/early 90s called the Shakers. Sandra Rossini’s vocals bring that band to mind for me, though the music is much different. I found myself just becoming lost in the sounds of this track.


White Walk: This track starts with an acoustic guitar and this time the vocals seem more up-front. The vocals are highly evocative and I found myself transported to a different place in a different time. Synths are used sparingly and to great effect here. At around the 3:00 minute mark, the song picks up intensity as new layers come into the mix and it creates a wall of sound which suggests the winds of an approaching but not unwelcomed storm.


When the Rain Starts: More acoustic guitars to begin the third song on the EP. A trumpet and echoing vocals. “I feel so much better now.” Could be a simple statement of truth or an affirmation. I remember times when rain is a welcome relief  – come to wash away dirt or trouble or sin – all the bad stuff. And, I find myself thinking, ‘I do feel so much better now.”


The Moon: The one begins with one long sustained note from a synth perhaps. And then a gentle acoustic guitar. I’m thinking about the earth’s moon, and it’s real and mythological powers. The vocals are dream-like and then a powerful ringing guitar sound. Again the song brings me to the sea and I am reminded that the moon controls the tides.


La Nieve Del Tiempo:  The title of the EPs final song means Snow Time or Time of Snow. A strumming guitar and beautiful voice – it’s a slow song, but I am drawn into it, and I just want to luxuriate in the sounds – and return to my spot by the fire with my lover after watching snow falling on the rocky shoreline.


 Sealight is:

 Sandra Rossini – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Concertina

Dave Olliffe – Guitars, Synthesizers, Drones

Marc-Aurele Ngo Xuan – Drums and Drum Machines

 Also featuring Stephane Pigneul – Bass, Synthesizer


The EP is out on Commission 45, and is only the second release on the Parisian label.  

The band is playing some dates in France right now, and will launch a European tour in 2012.


Connect with the band at:,, and 


Contact the band at , contact Commission 45 at

Bands of the Week 2011 – Part II – Weeks 9-17

We continue our recap of the 2011 Bands of the Week.  Reminder: Please be sure to vote in the First Annual Reader’s Poll for Band of the Year.

Week 9:  The Mobbs – an honest to goodness – British band with a punk attitude.  They play it fast and nasty and it makes me want to walk around saying “bloody hell” all the time.  Well here check out this video:

Week 10: Mikey Wax – is a singer and songwriter – Long Island born.  He recently released a new album Constant Motion which hit #6 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart. Here’s a video for his song In Case I Go Again which has been viewed over a half a million times on You Tube:

Week 11: Elika – are an indie band from Brooklyn.  Their sound features astonishing vocals set atop a complex yet lovely combination of guitar, synth, bass and drum machine. Check out Elika’s video for their song Summer here:

Week 12: Clepto – is a punk band with a definite Middle Eastern influence.  The band formed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2000 and has since relocated to Canada. The play it hard and nasty and the music is not for the faint of heart. For the unfaint of heart it’s a jolly good time….  Check out this video:  NOTE:  I screwed up on the reader’s poll and mispelled the band’s name. I know the band’s name. It was a typo.  So if you like Clepto please vote for Cleto.

Week 13: Simon Fagan – is an Irish singer/songwriter.  He has a unique voice and a great sound.  Look for a new EP coming soon.  Meanwhile check out this video of one of our favorite songs, Something I Don’t Know

Week 14: The Walla Recovery – a cello-folk rock quartet from Texas.  They write moving and beautiful songs.  Here is a video of The Walla Recovery performing a cover of Coldplay’s Til Kingdom Come:

Week 15: Lost Romance – are a New Jersey based rock band.  They play expansive music which lives up to the vast history of New Jersey music.  Here’s a favorite of ours, Top of the World, performed live at The Saint in Asbury Park:

Week 16: Sealight – is a French/Australian band.  Their sound combines acoustic and electronic elements to make a beautiful soundscape.  They recently released their debut EP – Dead Letters which was reviewed here at Ear to the Ground.  Here is the title track from the EP:

Week 17: The Jinxes – are a melodic folk-pop band from Monterey, California. They have a rich creative spirit and a ear for sweet melodies.  Here is a video of a song, we love called Migration:

That’s it for now…. Stay tuned… Part III is coming soon. And be sure to vote.