Monday Morning Music Shuffle – Band of the Year and More Mix

You have before you, the FINAL Ear to the Ground of 2013, so let’s blow this thing out!

First order of business:  As promised, it is time to unveil our 2013 Band of the Year. As announced, for the first time in E2TG history, the Band of the Year will be selected by me, myself, and I.  Back in 2011, I came up with the idea of a Band of the Year, and frankly, I didn’t want the pressure/guilt in picking one band over others. So, I created a Readers’ Poll, and with a massive last minute push, UK band The Mobbs stormed to a narrow victory over underdogs Ubiquity Machine.

Following the success of that initial poll, I began running Band of the Month polls beginning with December 2011, although initially successful, the concept of pitting bands against each other began to stale.  We carried on, and at the end of last year, we had another successfully Band of the Year Readers’ Poll wherein Skeletons in the Piano were selected by popular election.

Since that time, I decided to focus on featuring as much new music as I could, and I dropped the Band of the Month and related features. Although I briefly considered another year-end poll, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t willing to give that power away this time…. oh yeah, and the thing about bands working together for their common good….

So…. after all that background and unsolicited explanation, I am very excited to announce the 2013 Ear to the Ground Band of the Year.

The 2013 Band of the Year were selected for the following reasons:

1. They are among the coolest, most bad ass people I’ve had the good fortune to get to know as the result of writing this blog.

2. They are extremely generous and supportive of other bands and artists.

3. They released on of the best albums of 2013.

4. I got to meet them and see them blaze through an all too brief set back in early Spring.

5. They had a successful tour in the US and in Europe.

6. The followed up their amazing 2013 album with a brand new single which was accompanied by an incredible video that visually depicted their total bad-assery.

7.  Because I said so……

The 2013 E2TG Band of the Year is…..  THE END MEN from Brooklyn, New York!!!!!!


Congrats kids!  Here’s to an even better 2014!

Okay, we have unfinished business as we continue to feature some of our favorite music of 2013… let’s do it!

I’ll forgo a whole bunch of commentary, but I will see this extended shuffle does show off the variety of music you hear here at Ear to the Ground:

“We Got Soul” by Christian Robins (prod. Jazz Logic)
“Dropped the Pop” by Killing Kuddles
“Four Flame Candle” by Sturgill Simpson
“The Truth” by Dr. Dog
“You Can Have the Crown” by Sturgill Simpson
“Rock and Roll is Dead” by Killing Kuddles
“Black Eyes and White Lies” by Don Ryan and the Blank Canvas Movement
“From this Valley” by The Civil Wars
“Flying Over Water” by Jason Isbell
“Lost Innocent World” by Gogol Bordello
“Cleaning Your Mind” by The End Men
“Dromedary” by Dog Without Warning
“Long Way to the Ground” by The End Men
“From Afar” by Vance Joy
“Hell’s Kitchen” by The Westies
“Lollygagging” by Less Love
“Stack Chips” by The End Men
“Baby Loves It” by Penicillin Baby
“Your Dreams Will Always Follow” by prattle on, rick
“Permanent/Impermanent_1213” by Peck
“Ratking” by The End Men
“Winged Victory” by Lys Guillorn
“I Had Me a Girl” by The Civil Wars
“Clark Gable” (Postal Service Cover) by Mr. Kind + holychild
“The Lost Art of Idle/Entitled” by Peck
“Cool Kids” by Christian Robins (feat. Lord of the Fly) (prod. 5Star)
“Mercy” by prattle on, rick


Americana told Sturgill Simpson he was too Country for Americana.  His reply, I made a country album.

Peck is Chris Peck who we first met as part of the Brooklyn-based The Disappointment. He is releasing his new album one song at a time, at we have two of those songs in today’s shuffle.

Confession: I didn’t think I liked Dr. Dog. I lumped them in with a bunch of “Jam” bands that just weren’t my cup of tea (actually tea isn’t my cup of tea either, but that is another story). Anyway, so I got the chance to actually listen to some of Dr. Dog’s new music this year, and believe it or not, I dug it.  Go figure.

Penicillin Baby are part of the growing and impressive Jeffery Drag Records family and like the other Jeffery Drag artists they offer a nice counter argument to any one who says all Nashville indie bands sound alike. 

I don’t know if The Civil Wars are finished. I hope they aren’t, but if their 2013 self-titled album is the swan song, it’s a hell of a swan song.

In addition to their new EP, Mr. Kind released a series of cover songs wherein they teamed up with other indie artists to cover indie rock classics.  Here they team up with fellow California band holychild to cover The Postal Service classic.



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Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – Take It Mix

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I am very excited and pleased with today’s mix of music.  I know, I know, I’m always pleased with the mix of music, but today especially we have a great mix of new and old music that darts across the vast field of genre and styles.


We begin with another direct from my e-mail inbox to my ear-hole.  Liquid Casing is a four-piece progressive/rock band from Houston, Texas. Their brand new album A Separat|Divide is out today and takes on the subject of borders and illegal immigration. Today, we got our first listen via an instrumental track called “Non-Linear Solution”, and I have to say I was very impressed.  Combining elements of hard progressive rock and at times dissonant.  I hope you will check this band out, and I know I can’t wait to hear more.

Next up some awesome Americana from William Pilgrim and The All Grows Up with “About a Girl” which is on their debut EP The Great Recession which was released last September.
 How about some music from the legendary jazz artist Charles Mingus.  This live recording of “Mingus Blues” comes from an album called Charles Mingus and Friends in Concert which was released on Columbia in 1972.

 Periodically, I check out Noisetrade and read descriptions of some of the selections to see what catches my fancy. When I read the description of The Weight of Glory by Heath McNease which stated that it was a hip hop remix of the works of C.S. Lewis, I was skeptical but intrigued. They had one track available to preview and I listened and was pleasantly surprised enough to download. Today, the track “Surprised by Joy” came up, and I have to say I really dig it.

We next have another great track from the new album, Miles, by Canopy Climbers. This one is called “Melody”.

How about the new one from The Civil Wars.  “The One That Got Away” is our first taste of the band’s follow-up to the break-through Barton Hollow. My first impression is that it is a strong song that moves things forward nicely.

 We close out the Pre-Shuffle with another track from Christopher Paul Stelling’s Songs of Praise and Scorn. “Solar Flares” is flat out an amazing song.



“Arrival in a Distant Land”  by The Gabriel Construct from Interior City (2013)


The Gabriel Construct is a solo project by Gabriel Lucas Riccio. This is another straight from my inbox and my first impressions…. We begin appropriately enough with the opening track which begins with a minimalist piano and takes it’s time migrating into some amazing Avant-garde, almost classical sounding free-jazz. The vocals are starkly beautiful. 

Pulled aside and asked to wait
If I leave, they take me right back
“You’re staying here for many years
And you will not leave.”

And I can’t get out.

“Welcome home
This is your home now.”

The description I received includes metal influences which are not present in this track. It definitely left me wanting more. I think this one will get a complete listen very soon.


“Down There” by Bronze Radio Return from Shake! Shake! Shake! ( 2011)

Another cool track from this Connecticut Roots Rock band.


“Lightning Bolt” by Jake Bugg from Jake Bugg (2013)

Okay, I really like this song, and from the little bit I’ve read, it sounds like this young man has a great attitude and a willingness to learn.  Meanwhile, this is just one of those songs that makes me smile.


“Broken Glass” by Beijing from Night (2013)

Our newest Connecticut friends close out the morning mix with another great track from their Night album. I’ve been listening to this album quite a bit, and I’m really enjoying the powerful yet catchy songs. I love the album cover, too.

(Several of the songs were not available in video form, but all are represented below)


Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – Lazy Bastard Mix

Off we go getting good and ground up in the week…. and we added 17 songs (some new, some old – all new to our playlist) – and it’s a fine collection of music…

In case you haven’t heard the Legendary Leonard Cohen has a brand new album called Old Ideas by all accounts it is an amazing piece of work.  We have the lead track from the album today, Going Home would sound good along side any of Mr. Cohen’s classic tracks.

Whenever I load in a new song that blows me away, and  I cannot remember where I obtained it, a good bet is our friend Popa’s Tunes.  Case in point, today’s song from Black Jake and the Carnies.  It’s from their album Sundry Mayhem and it’s an amazing rave-up/hoe-down at once dark and fun. I grabbed a download from the Popakazooza 2012 compilation.

Next, we have a live track from reigning Band of the Week, The Gypsy West.  The song Time was recorded live at the Electric Cathedral. And, this gives up a chance to post a more recent video than the ones we posted with the BOTW post. Thanks to the band for the heads up to these videos.  We’ll have more later, I am sure. Here is a January 2012 performance by the band of today’s song, Time recorded at the Bowery Electric.

Time @ Bowery Electric 1/19/12 from The Gypsy West on Vimeo.

Finally, we have  another live performance.  This one is by the Civil Wars doing a track from the hit Barton Hollow album, My Father’s Father was recorded live at Eddie’s Attic and was only their second performance together ever.


Affiliated Links: 

Leonard Cohen : Songs of Leonard Cohen Leonard Cohen : Songs of Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen : Songs of Leonard Cohen

The Civil War: The Complete Text of the Bestselling Narrative History of the Civil War--Based on the Celebrated PBS Television Ser The Civil War: The Complete Text of the Bestselling Narrative History of the Civil War–Based on the Celebrated PBS Television Ser
The complete text of the bestselling narrative history of the Civil War — based on the celebrated PBS television series. This nonillustrated edition interweaves the author’s narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through that cataclysmic trail of our nationhood, from Abraham Lincoln to ordinary foot soldiers. Includes essays by distinguished historians of the era.

Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – As You Were (We Are) Mix

Calm before storms – morning routine – saying things and writing words and hoping it all doesn’t get away.  We are lovers in dangerous times… for what it’s worth… I can’t get no satisfaction but I if I try sometimes I just might get what I need. Sometimes you can’t make it on your own…

I added 23 new songs to the MP3 player this week.  58 total so far for November. Here is a random sample of those 58 songs:

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

(Click on picture to purchase and download the Barton Hollow version)
Today, I heard a live version of this song from a live album I got from Noisetrade.

Single Ladies (Put a RIng On It) by Beyonce

click on album cover to purchase and download song)
I know what you’re thinking – Beyonce? But, she is Sasha Fierce!

Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer (as perfomed by BOTW alums Brother Howe).
(click on the album cover to purchase and download Brother Howe’s version of The Sweater song originally done by weezer.)
Brother completely Undo – um come undone on this killer version of the Weezer classic.
In a Razor Town by Jason Isbell

(Click on album cover to purchase and dowmload this song)
Former DBT member now one of the most exciting voices on the Americana scene.  A stand out track from Sirens in the Ditch.

Body and Soul by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse

Regardless of anything else, Amy Winehouse had prime chops, and here she goes toe to toe with a legendary crooner on this remake of the 1930 song.

Check out some of our affiliates

Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience - Live [Blu-ray] Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience – Live [Blu-ray]
Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience captures a performance by the Dreamgirls star at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The setlist includes solo hits alongside some of her most well-known work with Destiny’s Child including “Survivor.” ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
During his time with {$the Drive-By Truckers}, {$Jason Isbell} always sported the least grizzled voice of the bunch, a surprisingly radio-ready baritone that sounded smoother than {$Patterson Hood}’s sandpaper croon and more streamlined than {$Mike Cooley

Amy Amy Amy: The Amy Winehouse Story Amy Amy Amy: The Amy Winehouse Story
Author Nick Johnstone unravels the life and career of one of Britain’s most brilliant yet doomed stars. Amy Amy Amy tracks Winehouse’s erratic journey to fame from her North London Jewish family home, detailing her meteoric rise to stardom, the two albums that catapulted her to the top and her death in 2011. Her well publicized problems with drugs, anorexia, bulimia and suspected self-harm kept her in the headlines, always threatening to obscure her undiminished singing talent. Amy Amy Amy redresses the imbalance, giving full measure to Winehouse’s talent while offering an honest account of her multiple personal crises.