And The Relatives just released their first full-length album Green Machinery via Theory 8 and YK Records. I’m no professional music critic by any means, so I’ll keep it short. Get this album. The band put a lot of time and effort into this record and it shows. I must disclose that these guys are friends of mine, but again, I don’t claim to be a professional music critic. ATR’s style has always been heavily influenced by early/mid 90s indie rock, and they wear that on their sleeve. This album is anything but derivative, however. They somehow manage to inject a sense of freshness in the songs that keeps them from feeling stale. You’ll hear a little Guided By Voices, a little Built to Spill, and plenty of clever guitar riffage. Top it all with Andrew Brassel’s mellow yet rough-edged voice and just the right dose of production and you have yourself a quality album. Production-wise it’s pretty much spot-on. It was recorded at bassist Eli Beaird’s home studio, and the sounds achieved perfectly match the songs. The artwork is worth noting as well- Micheal Eades, Kyle Scudder, and BOSS Construct did a great job on the packaging, and it’s well worth it to buy the limited edition vinyl to get the full effect. If you’re short on cash, have no fear though- you can pay as little or as much as you want for the digital version at their bandcamp. The standout track on the album is easily “Hammer Down,” and you can check out the video for it below.

File this one in the “what could have been” folder. Local classic indie rock (yes I’m using “classic” with “indie rock”) trio And The Relatives have sadly reached the end of their career… for the forseeable future, at least. I hate to say that, but it’s true. I won’t go into explicit details but a member of the band rather unexpectedly made the decision to move to California. That being said, they ARE releasing the debut album Green Machinery which they’ve been working on for the past few years; it will be out very soon on vinyl via a joint effort between Michael Eades’ YK Records and Theory 8. It will also be available digitally via their Bandcamp. You can actually go there now and preview a couple of the tracks. I’ve watched this band develop over the past few years, and it’s rather amazing how far they’ve come. I also must mention the eye candy that is the artwork and new website, designed by Eades and Kyle Scudder. I’d like to hope they will eventually reunite at least to play a show here and there, or even just to work on new recorded material… similar to the Hotpipes’ situation.

Some more random links/tidbits of interest:

The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog has a series of beautiful and moving photographs from the Chilean mine rescue. I can’t imagine being trapped underground for 2 months with 32 other men, and no doubt the full psychological effects have yet to be seen. Regardless, these photographs are incredible.

T.I. apparently talked a guy out of committing suicide Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta, just a few days before he’s scheduled to go to trial on a probation violation. Good job, T.I.! Maybe the judge will go a little easier on you?

The Village Voice did a pretty cool interview with Duck Sauce (a.k.a. A-Trak and Armand Van Helden). Just go read it, and be sure to check out their new single “Barbara Streisand” for which they did this awesome came0-packed video:

Caitlin Rose is quickly becoming a well-known name not only in the US, but also in the UK. In fact, her debut album Own Side Now is actually hitting shelves over there (on Aug. 9th via Names Records) before it comes out stateside. As of right now I haven’t heard any specific details on the US release, but it will no doubt be on Theory 8. This girl is headed for the stars and I have no doubt she will eventually make a sizeable impact on both country and indie music. I say that because she has purposely beaten her own path into the jungle that is the music industry, and avoided anything and everything to do with Nashville’s music row, home of modern pop-country. I must lay down a disclaimer that I’ve known Caitlin for a good 2 years now, and know about her for at least 4, if memory serves. My first encounter with her was when she tagged along with Joel J. Dahl (of De Novo Dahl) to perform with him on my radio show Fascination Street on 88.3 WMTS (MTSU’s college station). She went under the name “Save Macaulay” at that time, and played early versions of “One Speed Confessional” and “Shotgun Wedding.” (I think) To remember that and then listen to this album is pretty overwhelming. It’s not the comparison of then to now that overwhelms me, but that her performance then was nothing short of awesome, and she was only about 17 at the time! Furthermore, the track “Song for Rabbits” on the new album was actually written when she was 16!

Enough silliness. This album does her songs a lot of justice. The production plants her new “full band” sound firmly in that alt-country, indie-folk gray area. I think that’s right where she needs to be, at least for now, and it seems to be where she’s comfortable. She selected a group of session players to fill out the songs with strings, pedal steel, etc… and they nailed it. The album was recorded and produced by Mark Nevers (of Lambchop), who’s done studio work with the likes of Clem Snide, Silver Jews, and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. It was a perfect match of style, and with so many of Caitlin’s main influences being 70’s era Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Loretta Lynn, etc… his vintage analog recording gear created some very satiating sounds that fit her songs perfectly. I only have a digital copy, but I can’t wait to give this thing a listen on vinyl. Caitlin’s voice and amazing storytelling ability still remains the focus of the album, even though it’s filled with expansive instrumental performances, which is a testament to Nevers’ production skills. The placement of harmonies and guest vocals always complements the melodic aspects of the songs without stepping on the story being told. If there’s anything I could wish for on the next album, it would be to maybe hear her cut loose and really belt it out a little more on the rockin’ songs like “Shanghai Cigarettes.” But that’s just me forcing myself to be critical and nit-picky. This is a damn fine record by a girl who’s got more talent in her little finger than most of us have in our whole body. Grab the track “Sinful Wishing Well” from the new album below.

Caitlin Rose-Sinful Wishing Well

And now watch this video of an early demo of “Shanghai Cigarettes.” Then compare it to the album version when you buy it, and prepare to have your mind blown.

*FYI- I’m about to be in NYC for 5 days, so don’t expect any posting before next Wednesday.*

I’m a little behind in blog-time on posting about this new Treasure Fingers track, but I have to mention it because it’s AWESOME and right up my alley style-wise. The track is called “What am I supposed to do?” and is stuffed with funky disco bass lines, cut up soulful vocals, and everything else that satisfies my appetite for disco-house. It originally popped up at the Fader blog on Friday afternoon, after I had already gone into my weekend mode of basically ignoring the internet, thus why I’m posting now. Joseph at Nashville Nights tweeted Mr. Fingers directly and got permission to post as well, so be sure to point your browser his way too, cuz he kinda needs the traffic more than those Fader folks do.

Also, be sure to check out Fool’s Gold’s recap of all their SXSW shenanigans (at least one of which Treasure Fingers was involved), most of which I unfortunately missed.

De Novo Dahl have been on the move again recently with an almost completely new lineup. The only original members are the husband/wife frontman/frontwoman duo of Joel J. Dahl and Serai Zaffiro. They are back on their old label Theory 8, and Mr. Hartley has done a fine job of leaking selected tracks and creating some hype about their next release Tigerlion. The artwork is now out, and the album hits shelves May 25th. You can stream the track “Love Is the Healer” at Hartley’s Tumblr. What’s ridiculous is that until recently, I went on thinking the album was called “Tigerloin” not “Tigerlion.” I have no idea…

Image via Brooklyn Vegan

Image via Brooklyn Vegan

Local Infinity Cat flagship band JEFF the Brotherhood got some blog love from Brooklyn Vegan today, and the pics are actually from a house show they played in Nashville on Oct. 13th. Turns out their photographer Paul Birman happened to be in town that day. Their new album Heavy Days is out now. They’re also playing a plethora of shows this week/weekend in NYC for the CMJ festival.

If you read this blog there’s a good chance you’ve already seen this Nashville Cream post, but I must mention the hilarity of the comments/jokes about a new restaurant called Pitchfork in Chicago. This is the restaurant’s website, so I haven’t a clue if it has anything to do with the music website we all love to hate… but it’s hilarious nonetheless. Just make sure you read the Cream comments, and props to Dave Paulson for winning best comment/zinger on Idolator.

Speaking of the Cream, they’ve teamed up with LimeWire to create a special Nashville edition of LimeWire’s “Ear To The Ground” series. It’s got all kinds of great local goodness spanning from How I Became the Bomb to Caitlin Rose to Jensen Sportag. Best of all: it’s FREE.

And The Relatives are the latest local band to join the ranks of Theory 8 Records, and their forthcoming release (apparently yet-to-be-titled) will be a joint effort between Theory 8 and yk records, one of many side projects for local web guru Yewknee. yk will be handling the artwork and packaging, while Theory 8 handles marketing and distribution. That’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one. Be sure to grab their last EP Animals for free at their Bandcamp. Read the official press release here.

As if his ugly tower-mansion/bar/travesty on Love Circle wasn’t bad enough, Nashville’s greatest embarrassment, John Rich, is reproducing. The kid’s name? Cash. Not that there’s anything wrong with having Cash as a first name, but his name will be Cash Rich. I feel so sorry for that child. Maybe his middle name is something he can go by and not be hated/made fun of in school. (Via Nashvillest)

Today Theory 8 Records released the new self-titled EP from Shoot the Mountain. So far I’ve only listened the 1st track “Invitation,” and so far so good. Actually, so far so AWESOME. I can’t wait to have time to check out the rest of it. Head on over to their Bandcamp page and purchase it for a measley $5. Yet another Nashville indie rock gem recorded and produced by Jeremy Ferguson at Battletapes.

In other release news, Those Darlins have announced the release date and album art for their debut self-titled full-length album. The vinyl version hits shelves on June 23rd, followed by those “other” formats on July 7th. They’ll be celebrating the album release on June 27th at Mercy Lounge with….. the Black Lips. Fuck yes. More details at We Own This Town.

Thank you to everyone who came out to my 8 off 8th last night. It was most definitely a success, at least as good as the last one I did. All the bands played great sets, and I was especially happy to hear some new stuff from The Nobility and Carter Administration. Mean Tambos killed it, and Ryan was really getting crazy on stage because my friend/bandmate/videographer Seth was taping the performance for their EPK. Hopefully I’ll do another one late summer/early fall. And who knows? Maybe I’ll book a full-on show.

It was really nice to have today off from work at Vandy. When you host an 8 off 8th you gotta stay till the end, and even a little after, so it was nice to be able to sleep in today. I’ve been sitting around with the doors open listening to the Lovin’ Spoonful and The Association on vinyl. It also gave me a chance to take the new kittens to the vet, where we discovered that Sebastian is actually a Sebina. But they’re in pretty good health, main concern was a little bit conjunctivitis in Sebina’s eye, which should be easy taken care of with some meds.

EcoGeek reported on an amazing new company that aims to create a Second Life-esque “video game” interface that will allow homeowners to control every energy-consuming device through a 3D animated program. The “game” uses avatars to control lights/AC/etc… So you would login and make your avatar turn down the AC, and in real-life your AC would be turned down by a computer that controls your house. Whatever you do, just don’t name your house’s computer H.A.L….

Space Shuttle Atlantis is now on its way to Hubble. They’ve completed the heat shield inspection with the shuttle’s robotic arm. There were a few dings found, but the initial opinion is that they’re very minor and not a threat. Detailed analysis is underway, however, to be certain. I’ll keep you updated daily. In the meantime, watch this kickass HD video of yesterday’s launch. If you have your computer hooked up to a sound system, I highly suggest turning the volume and bass waaaay up.

I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s tomfoolery. Everyone seems to hate April Fool’s but I enjoy all the jokes. I always look forward to what kind of ridiculousness Google will cook up each year. Here’s the Wikipedia page with a history of their pranks.

Photo by Steve Cross

Photo by Steve Cross

Shoot the Mountain have been getting a lot of buzz lately and playing a lot of shows, but everyone’s been wondering when their first release would happen. Well, it’s finally happening on May 16th on Theory 8 Records, and it’s an EP (presumably self-titled?). A release show will happen on that date at the Basement with Totally Snake (WTF?!?) opening. They’re also playing on April 9th at the End opening for Appleseed Cast.

The Features just released details of their upcoming tour with The Dexateens. They’ll be hitting clubs all over the southeast, northeast, and midwest later this month and into May. Oh, and they’ll also be featured in the July issue of Nylon Magazine.

More comprehensive local music news coverage can be found at We Own This Town and Out The Other.

Four Russian cosmonauts and two European astronauts volunteered to be locked up together in a simulation of a spacecraft for 105 days. This is part of an experiment to study the psychological and physical effects of being stuck with 5 other people for an extended period of time in cramped quarters. The experiment will help scientists and engineers plan for an eventual manned-mission to Mars. This will be very interesting to monitor.

I’ve been reading a few different posts and articles over the last week or so regarding a recent vote on science standards for the Texas Board of Education. The board held a vote on several standards for science education and it was mostly a travesty, the biggest of which was the deletion of the statement that the universe is “roughly 14 billion years old.” Sure, there are several different numbers out there that vary by a few million years, but everyone in the entire scientific community agrees that it’s pretty damn close to 14 billion years. A variance of a few million years is NIL when you look at the big picture, and is definitely covered by term “roughly.” There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise! One faint glimmer of hope is that the board voted down a proposed change that would allow the teaching of “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. If this had passed, it would’ve been just one more way for Creationism to creep its ugly way into the scientific classroom. This article on the NewScientist blog sums it all up very well. I suggest reading it. I cannot get over the quote of board chairman Dr. Don McLeroy, who is quoted as saying, “I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts.” HA! Yea, you tell ’em Dr. McLeroy! Tell those experts that they don’t know what they’re talking about! Afterall, they’ve spent the majority of their lives studying REAL science, FACTS and EVIDENCE… how could they possibly know what they’re talking about? I find it amazing that this man (a dentist) was able to get through medical school with such anti-scientific beliefs. I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone that dumb working on my teeth.

Ok enough ire for one day. I’ll leave you with this hilarious video clip from a 50’s sci-fi movie. I really hope this is how they dance in the future.