Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New England Americana Festival

Who's in Boston/New England and wants to check out some new bands with me? The New England Americana Festival kicks off tomorrow night (Thursday, March 31) at Church in Boston (69 Kilmarnock Street), and runs through Saturday night (April 2). Since I have only been in Boston for three months and I don't know the local or regional Americana scene at all, I am looking forward to checking this out! Who wants to hang out with me? E-mail me at rockstaraimz at gmail and we'll drink some beers and enjoy some tunes.

Our friends over at Boston Band Crush have a two part write-up of the bands at the festival, plus two "old timey barrels full o'music from the included bands." Check 'em out! Part I. Part II.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chocolate Jesus

This is a song for those of you in the audience who have trouble getting up on Sunday morning and going to church. I've discovered something that is a candy item, it's actually kind of an immaculate confection. There's a cross on one side, a bible inscription on the other. You put it in your mouth and when it's gone you can get up and leave.

Congrats to Mr. Waits on his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am going to be spending the next week months/years being obsessed with Waits' music. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SXSW First Timers Guide #3: Eating and Drinking

My Canadian Rock Grrrl Rad Jen comes through again with another killer guest post! Which is extra sweet for me since I've been drawing the bloggers-blank lately. Y'all need to eat at SXSW, correct? Here are your eating/drinking suggestions for the week. And you in Canada know that NAFTA didn't exactly come through for Tex-Mex food, so gorge yourself while in Austin.

Great Texas food should be part of your fun at SXSW. Get your share of great authentic BBQ, Tex-Mex, tacos, gulf shrimp, and the incredible explosion of "foodie" food trailers. The trick is to balance the eating with the drinking: don't be so desperate that you end up eating 6th Street pizza slices for the whole trip and don't do daytime drinking on an empty stomach.

If you are planning on catching the punk rock bands playing on the pedestrian bridge at 3:00am, you should probably stop reading right now. I can't help you. Otherwise I recommend the following 1) eat a big breakfast, 2) eat an early dinner.

The daytime bands and FREE BEER start at NOON. You need to eat before noon, even if you are not a breakfast person. Luckily, Austin invented the breakfast taco and Mexican restaurants offer breakfast 24/7. Then there is the dinner crowd line up situation: there are a 100,000 people in town for SXSW, and almost every single one of them decides to have dinner at 7ish, before the night shows start. If you eat dinner early at 5 or 6, you have a MUCH better chance of getting into a restaurant. Otherwise you walk around for 2 hours wasting time in restaurant lineups. You can always have a late night pizza slice or taco truck snack. I try to eat a big Mexican breakfast as a drinking base, maybe a taco or pizza slice in the afternoon if necessary, and then dinner AND COFFEE around 5 or 6 for the night shift. Keep in mind that I do not have the luxury of a nearby hotel room to nap in. I go out and stay out. It's like going to war.

A big deal in Austin. Everyone goes out for breakfast, almost every day. And why wouldn't they? The breakfast taco is genius: Order two. Egg and potato, chorizo, whatever, you can't go wrong. Even non-Mexican places offer these. Even the 7-11. My usual order: eggs scrambled with tortilla chips, usually with potatoes, beans, chorizo. Tortillas on the side. You are allowed to drink Bloody Marys or a Tecate beer with breakfast. No one will bat an eye. But plan your nap time.

  • COUNTER CAFE - on Lamar, near Waterloo Records. Really excellent diner breakfasts and burgers. Small. I love this place
  • 24Hr DINER - on Lamar right beside Waterloo Records. Very good. Big
  • MARIA'S TACO EXPRESS - South Lamar, far south. Big. Hippie gospel church there on Sundays.
  • POLVO'S - on South First. My fav Mexican restaurant. Good to go here before you go to Yard Dog/South Congress day shows. Giant breakfast tacos. Killer margaritas.
  • BOULDIN CREEK CAFE - on South First, near Polvo's. Breakfast tacos, great coffee.
  • JO'S - on South Congress, near the San Jose. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

Lots of good stuff here, so I am just going to categorize my recommendations. Remember, I do a big breakfast, then grab a late lunch/early dinner.

All the Mexican places above serve lunch/dinner options as well. Other Recommendations:
  • EL NARANJO - on Rainey St. near the Convention Centre. Rave reviews. Want to go.
  • Z TEJAS - around the corner from Waterloo Records. A bit more upscale.
  • GUERO'S - on South Congress. Pronounced "wwwwher-o's." Everyone ends up here at least once. Great bar and patio. Really part of the SXSW scene.
  • POLVO'S - I am repeating POLVO'S because it is really good food. While you are waiting for your table, order a margarita and hang out in the parking lot. Fun!
  • La CONDESA - upscale Mexican across from the W hotel. Excellent but $$$$.
This is a noun in Texas, not a verb. Order ribs or brisket. Sides are separate: beans, coleslaw, pickles. You will also get white Wonder bread.
  • ARTZ RIBS - on South Lamar. Excellent.
  • FRANKLIN Barbecue TRAILER - Rave reviews. 11th Street. Want to go.
  • IRON WORKS BBQ - downtown near Convention Center.
  • LAMBERTS BBQ - very good, but $$$.
  • STUBB'S - on Red River. OK. A convenient location.
  • SALT LICK - car ride north of city if you have time.
  • THE COUNTY LINE BBQ - car ride north of city if you have time.
  • LOUIE MUELLER'S BARBEQUE - in TAYLOR, TX. If you have time for a day trip before or after SXSW, I highly recommend this place. About an hour away. Completely authentic. Wild west. Great building used in a zillion movies - great photo ops. People will believe you actually WERE in Texas. Award winning food.
This is tough. There is mostly crap food right in the heart of the bar area where you will be most evenings. These are the edible exceptions.
  • FOOD TRAILERS off Red River - You will see people lined up for KEBAB-A-LICIOUS for a reason. I expect even more Food Trailers this year.
  • RAINEY STREET - up and coming n/s hipster street near the convention center. Good restaurants like EL NARANJO and GARAGE MAHAL. BYOB.
  • DRISKILL HOTEL - on 6th Street. Fast way to get decent food on 6th st: eat at the bar in the hotel cafe. Also, order drinks and hang in the crazy wild west lobby.
  • CASINO EL CAMINO - 6th Street. The best burgers in town, according to the Fearless Critic. I am too fearful to eat there myself: very punk rock. You eat in the dark surrounded by the pierced and tattooed. The red head rock goddess Sabrina of A Giant Dog is a cook there, FWIW.
  • FRANK - West off Congress. You can see the sign painted on the building. Hot dogs, cold beer. Lots of hot dog options. And bacon-infused Makers Mark.
  • IRON CACTUS - on 6th Street. Pedestrian Tex-Mex, but edible.
  • THE BOILING POT - on 6th Street. Cajun, crawfish, etc. You wear a bib and the boiling pot gets dumped on the table. Fun!
All the restaurants on this strip are good to very, very good. Try to eat here before you head back to 6th street.
This area has exploded in the last Ossington/Dundas (Toronto reference!). Lots of new restaurants/bars --- and a FOOD Trailer Park here.

Only the more upscale restaurants take reservations during SXSW, but many will tell you what the wait time is and take down your cell number and call you when your table is ready. Ask. This frees you up to drink in their parking lot or a neighboring bar. ALWAYS ask if you can order drinks if you need to wait. You'll make friends. Some restaurants are dry, but allow you to bring in your own wine or beer. Madam Mam's Thai on Guadalupe is one of these.

FOOD TRAILER PARKS: most are dry, but many allow you to bring in your own beer or wine (which you can buy in the gas station, y'all.) Nothing more fun than sitting outside on a warm Texas night eating great food at a picnic table, under Xmas lights, with your own cheap wine or beer. So civilized.

You may ask for a "Go Box" for leftovers. Perfectly acceptable and often done, but you have to fill the styrofoam box yourself, which I find hilarious. Alamo Drafthouse movie theaters serve food, wine and beer. Yes, while you watch the movie. Don't eat before the movie. I always order the deep fried pickles.

  • BEER: Lots of local Texas and micro brew beers to try, as well as Mexican. (Texas was settled by German and Czech immigrants! Who knew?)
  • WATER: Every bar has a water cooler and plastic cups at the end of the bar. Look for it. Keep yourself hydrated. Do yourself a favor and have a glass of water once in a while.
  • TOPO CHICO: Mexican mineral water in glass coke-like bottle. SO REFRESHING! I try to balance one Topo Chico per two beers.
  • ICED TEA: This is real unsweetened ice tea. Not the sugary stuff we get in bottles. Again, really refreshing when you've been drinking all day.
  • MEXICAN COCA COLA: For Coke addicts, this IS the real thing. Look for bottles with the paper sticker on the side. Pure sugar cane or something.
  • MARGARITAS: With the freshest of lime juice. Yum. Every bar/restaurant makes them a different way. Again, I love POLVO'S.

Yes, the foam beer cooler thingy: bands, bars, and parties will be handing these out. Get them, keep them and use them. Learn to love them. Texans keep them in their back pockets. Really.

Please tip your servers and bartenders!!! Tip the volunteer serving up that FREE Beer! Tip the waitress on her third 16hr shift! Texans tip $1.00 on a $3.50 beer. Do not act like a Yankee cheapskate.

Jovitas: Drink there but don't eat there.
6th Street Pizza
Dog and Duck Pub: Chips, yes. Fish, no.

Damn! Thanks for the info Jen! Now I'm hungry and thirsty.

Here are three more bands which I would check out if I was going to SXSW, which I am not. Feel bad for me.

Whitey Morgan and the 78's - I Ain't Drunk.mp3
Buy: Whitey Morgan and The 78's (2010)

SXSW Schedule
FRI 18 Yard Dog Party, 3:00pm
SAT 19 Bloodshot Records Showcase, Red Eye Fly, 1:00am

Sharon Van Etten - One Day.mp3
Buy: Epic (2010)

SXSW Schedule
WED 16 UT-FM Live Broadcast, Hilton Lobby, 10:30am
WED 16 Brooklyn Vegan Showcase, Swan Dive, 12:00am
THU 17 Other Music Party, French Legation, 3:00pm
FRI 18 The Onion A.V. Club Party, Mohawk, 3:00pm
SAT 19 Red Ryder Showcase, Central Presbyterian Church, 8:30pm

Dolorean - The Unfazed.mp3
Buy: The Unfazed (2011)

SXSW Schedule
THU 17 End of an Ear, 4:00pm
FRI 18 Brooklyn Vegan/Partisan Records Party, Swan Dive, 2:00pm
FRI 18 Overtone Party, J. Blacks Feel Good Lounge, 4:45pm
FRI 18 Knitting Factory Showcase, Rusty Spurs, 9:00pm

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SXSW First Timers Guide #2: What's with all these 'unofficial' Parties?

More SXSW advice from my homegrrrl Rad Jen. I am not going this year, so if you invite me to a SXSW party or showcase, I will forward that invitation to Rad Jen. She can out drink me by a lot. Consider yourself warned.

SXSW First Timers Guide #2: What's with all these 'unofficial' parties? How do I get in? What about the RSVP thing?

Yes, there are a million day and night 'unofficial parties'. Which basically means a line-up of bands/artists and (hopefully) free beer and food - all sponsored by a Magazine/Record Label/Radio Station/Website/Blog/Whatever. Many of these performers will be part of the 'official' showcases at night. Some of them won't be. My experience is the 'parties' are way more fun than most showcases....

The real industry parties are 'badges' only, and you need to secure a hard laminate 'invite' directly from the sponsor. Some of these invites are given out at the convention center. If you are a non-industry 'wristbander' like me, you can send grovelling emails to the sponsor of the party which you really want to go to, and they may mail you an invite. (This used to work with New West records, back when they had the Drive-By Truckers on their roster, and the party to go with it....) I have no idea how to get an invite to Perez Hilton's party, or SPIN magazine, or whatever. Ask your industry contacts. (You will notice showoffs wearing multiple party badges around their necks like trophies.....FWIW).

Conversely, if you DO happen to get your hands on some laminate party invites, don't change your mind and leave them in the hotel room. Bring them with you and GIVE THEM AWAY to someone who looks like they would appreciate them. Make friends and good rock karma!

'FREE' PARTIES with or without RSVP'S
Most of these will be advertised as 'Free' on their websites or give you an RSVP to click. The RSVP is virtually meaningless. No one is going to check your name. It is simply a way for the party giver to call this a private party, and get their temporary liquor license. So yes, RSVP for the hell of it, but the trick here is to GET THERE EARLY. Like, opening time slot. Otherwise you are in a line up for hours when you could be at a different party, drinking.

All venues will stop the lineup at the door when their venue is AT CAPACITY, whether you have an invite or not. This goes for all events - unofficial and official SXSW events. You'll see a guy with the clicker. Why? Because you'll also see fire marshals walking in and out of clubs regularly throughout the festival. No club wants to get shut down. You may not get in, but the good news is that you're not going to die in a nightclub fire in the middle of Texas. That will not happen.

Note which parties are ALL AGES because, guess what? Free + All Ages means a long lineup and kids with nothing better to do than stand in line. Get there early.

Just a reminder, you need your I.D. at all times.
This site does the MAGNIFICENT task of compiling and listing all the 'unofficial' events and parties, including all the RSVP links. It's ONE guy who does all of this! If you run into him, please buy him a drink! This site also allows you to quickly view who is throwing which parties on which day.

More soon,

Rad Jen

If you are going to go to any unofficial parties, you should go to at least one, if not both, of the parties that my colleague over at NineBullets is throwing. Check this shit out:

Glossary - Lonely is a Town.mp3
Buy: Feral Fire (2010)

SXSW Schedule
TUE 15 Hole in the Wall, 8:00pm
WED 16 The Mean Eyed Cat, 4:00pm
THU 17 Sam's Town Point, 11:00pm
FRI 18 NineBullets Party I, Double Down Lounge, 2:00pm
SAT 19 NineBullets Party II, Revolution Bar, 3:00pm

The Only Sons - Lay Back Down.mp3
Buy (mp3): Steel Hearts (2009)

SXSW Schedule
FRI 18 NineBullets Party I, Double Down Lounge, 2:00pm
SAT 19 NineBullets Party II, Revolution Bar, 3:00pm

Austin Lucas - She Did.mp3
Buy: Somebody Loves You (2009)

SXSW Schedule
SAT 19 NineBullets Party II, Revolution Bar, 2:00pm

Somewhere along the line make sure to catch Kasey Anderson and the Honkies. They are doing seven different gigs during SXSW - all FREE. I'm not posting tunes right now as I will do a proper write-up of their new album Heart of a Dog in a few weeks.

SXSW Schedule
THU 17 Music Gorilla Showcase, Treasure Island, 3:00pm
FRI 18 Stag's Rock Roll Circus South, Zax, 12:00pm
FRI 18 NineBullets Party I, Double Down Lounge, 3:00pm
FRI 18 Romeo's, 11:00pm
SAT 19 Smoke and Sand Showcase, Rusty Spurs, 12:00pm
SAT 19 NineBullets Party II, The Revolution Bar, 2:00pm
SAT 19 Twangfest Party, Jovita's, 5:30pm

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SXSW First Timers Guide #1: What to Pack/What to Bring

Confession: I have never been to SXSW. This fact probably ruins what little indie cred I have, but it's the truth. And this year is no different. While you all will be rocking out in Austin, I'll be slaving away for THE MAN in Boston. However, my Canadian rock grrrl Rad Jen is a veteran of SXSW, and she wrote some killer first-timers guides which she has kindly allowed me to post here. The music festival starts on March 15. Enjoy!


Forget about the music....what are you going to wear? What do you need to pack?

You may want to do your prep shopping now so that you can focus on music research and your schedule closer to the event. And trust me, you want to be physically comfortable during the festival so you can just focus on the fun - and not your aching back and feet. Or shopping for what you forgot.

The dayshows are mostly outside, with a varying degrees of tent coverage for sun or rain. The night shows are in bars or big tents. If the schedule says "patio" it really means a parking lot + a big tent + portables. Most bars have an outdoor area, which is great when it's warm, not so great when it's pouring rain. You will be standing in a lot of lineups outside all of these, and the weather will vary. You will likely go out early for breakfast and day shows and go back to your hotel around 4-5 to shower, nap and get ready for the night shows. Yes, there ARE events that START at 2:00AM. You are on your own for those. Good luck.

Given the volume and number of connecting flights into Austin, the chances of your checked bag being delayed get crazy. I find a wheely carry on and a mid size duffel as my "personal" bag holds everything I really need. Wheely goes overhead, duffle under the seat. I use a string bag for my passport/wallet/glasses/boarding pass. Many of the small plane connecting flights let you to gate check your carry on anyway (like Porter). Buy your tolietries when you get there. If you MUST check a bag, tag it with your connecting flight number, your Austin address, and a prominent cell number. Delayed bags will get delivered to your hotel. Pack two days of clothes in your carry on, just in case.

This is the key thing you need to think about: comfortable shoes. You will be standing up on hard pavement for four solid days. You need cushion and arch support. Open shoes/sandals are okay for daytime shows, but I like having closed boots/shoes for nighttime. There are a lot of gravel back alleys you'll be walking through, not to mention wet bathroom floors. Bring minimum 2-3 pairs of shoes to rotate, lots of socks, Dr. Scholl's athletic insoles as backup. You may want to buy new shoes NOW and break them in. Get a pedicure or cut your toenails before you go. I could not be more serious: do whatever you need to do to make sure your swollen feet won't hurt. High heels are completely ridiculous: the hot girls are all wearing heavy boots with pretty dresses. And tattoos.

It could be 80F or it could be freezing. You need layers. My daytime uniform is a black tee or tank top (black to hide food stains, y'all) and jeans, with a hoodie or long sleeve shirt/jean jacket/leather jacket/polar fleece jacket to layer up at night or if it gets cool. Bring a lightweight raincoat w/hood and/or mini lightwight collapsible umbrella. It will rain one day - always does. Bring a warm tuque and gloves, just in case. They saved my ass last year when a cold front came in and half the daytime shows got cancelled. Everyone in Austin seems to own a North Face polar fleece vest for a reason. There are Lululemon and REI stores besides Waterloo Records and the big Whole Foods downtown if you need an emergency weather shop. Again, you may want to buy some of this stuff now.

Put sunscreen on your face and bare arms, feet, etc. every morning, regardless of the weather. The morning weather will probably change. Sunglasses: I always bring a back up pair. You need a sun hat, even if you never wear hats. Put it in your day bag. I pack a "face stick" to reapply to my nose, etc., if I'm worried at all about exposure. This is easy to forget about when you're half drunk and watching bands all day. At night, you will see people running around with 3rd degree sunburned faces. You do not want to be one of them. And you will notice that Texans do not generally have tans.

Austin is the allergy capital of the US. Even if you do not have allergies at home, there is a good chance you will get them in Austin. The SXSW week is usually the week all the trees flower: it's grey when you get there and green when you leave. Pack some Claritin or Reactine just in case. I start taking them pre-emptively about a week before I go.

In addition to sun and allergy protection you need: 1) Earplugs - for the loud bands, bad sound checks, your afternoon nap, and the loud partiers next door. 2) Those small packs of Kleenex for the ladies - the TP is gone by day two, and Mexican food makes my nose run. 3) Wipes/Wet Ones - for both the sloppy tacos and stinky portables you will be dealing with. 4) Purell. You will make friends in bathroom lineups when you pull any of these out of your day bag. Good conversation starters. A sleep mask is a good idea too, for afternoon naps. Pack these or make a Walgreens run PRONTO when you get there. FWIW, I also bring Beano. And Polysporin ointment, just like Mariah Carey on tour.

EVERYONE gets carded, regardless of age. It is illegal to be inside a bar in Texas without identification. You need to carry ID with you at all times. I do not like to carry my passport around to shows, but use my drivers license or health card instead. The fun part is when the 21 year old doorman says, " look really great!" when he realizes you are his mother's age. Don't get shut out of a bar because you didn't pack your ID. This is strictly enforced.

8. LOTS of U.S. $1.00 BILLS
Drinks are ridiculously cheap in most bars (by Toronto standards), and there is tons of FREE BEER to be had at day shows, but it is customary and polite to tip $1.00 a drink. Try to catch your bartender's eye when you put $1 into the wine carafe on the bar, and chances are she'll serve you again first before the lout who didn't. The Brits get this wrong all the time. My fav handwritten sign at Emo's is "'Cheers Mate' is not an acceptable tip in Texas!" Try to load up on $1 bills now if you have the chance. They go fast. Also: most bars are cash only. I get my US cash before I go at the CIBC US ATM. And, Austin city buses are $1.00 single fare or $2.00 for an all day pass. Having a $20 bill is not going to help - they do not make change.

Needs to hold all of the above, and your BOTTLE OF WATER, camera, phone, T-Shirts and other swag that you may buy, etc. Messenger bag or backpack - up to you. You will have people behind you trying to see the band, so keep that in mind. You don't want it to be so big that it pisses people off. And a penlite is handy to have in dark bars at night.

SXSW FIRST TIMERS GUIDE #2: What's with all these 'unofficial' parties? How do I get in? What about the RSVP thing?

If I am missing anything, just ask.

Rad Jen


Awesome! Does Rad Jen rule or what?

If I were going to SXSW, here are some bands/artists who I have never seen before who I would love to check out.

Slim Cessna's Auto Club - This is How We Do Things in This Country.mp3
Buy: Jesus Let Me Down (2006)

SXSW Schedule:
TUE 15 Panache Party, Scoot Inn
WED 16 Anso Party, Spider House
THU 17 Panache Showcase, Red 7, 12:10AM

John Vanderslice - Sea Salt.mp3
Buy: White Wilderness (2011)

SXSW Schedule:
WED 16 Tiger Mountain and Noise Pop Present: Brooklyn vs. The Bay!, 3:30pm
WED 16 Dead Oceans/Secretly Canadian/Jagjag showcase, Red 7, 10:30
THU 17 Schubas Party, Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery, 1:35pm
THU 17 Paste Party, Stage on Sixth, 5:30 pm
FRI 18 KEXP's live broadcast, Mellow Johnnys Bike Shop, 6:30 pm

J. Roddy Walston and the Business - Uh Oh Rock 'n' Roll.mp3
Buy: J Roddy Walston & The Business (2010)

SXSW Schedule
WED 16 Stubb's 8:55pm
THU 17 No Depression Showcase, Soho Lounge, 1:00am

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bob Dylan "Revealed"

It's a rare day when I get something interesting in my inbox. It's even more rare when it's from Bob Dylan's crew. And when someone even remotely associated with Bobby D. says "jump," I say "how high?" Per the press release:
When Bob Dylan turns 70 in May 2011, his iconic career will have spanned five decades. Yet, a true portrait of the reclusive "voice of the generation" has eluded Dylan fans. Through exclusive insider interviews, and never-before-seen photos and footage spanning Dylan's 50-year career, Bob Dylan Revealed offers an intimate biography of who Bob Dylan was, and who he is today. Producer Jerry Wexler and award-winning songwriter Al Kasha provide an untold account of Dylan's early days at Columbia Records in 1962. Drummer Mickey Jones chronicles the 1966 Bob Dylan and the Band electric world tour that changed Rock n' Roll forever, while soon after, Dylan used the cover of a motorcycle accident to enter drug rehab. Dylan's 1974 comeback tour is illustrated by tour photographer Barry Feinstein through his finest photos and behind-the-scenes accounts. In 1975, Bob Dylan hit the road with a rag-tag band of folk troubadours, culminating in "The Night of the Hurricane." Folk legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott, violinist Scarlet Rivera, bassist Rob Stoner, and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter reveal the inside story of Dylan's Desire album and Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Following a stint as The Entertainer in 1978, Bob Dylan fell into the arms of the Lord through the Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church, producing three Gospel albums. Derided as "God-Awful Gospel," Dylan's radical new direction alienated fans and enraged critics. Pastor Bill Dwyer, journalist Joel Selvin, singer Regina McCrary, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, and Dylanologist AJ Weberman share intimate accounts of Bob Dylan's "born-again" transformation - and his return to Judaism! Bob Dylan Revealed culminates with Dylan's Never Ending Tour that began in 1992 and continues to this day, as drummer Winston Watson recounts his personal journey as a warrior in Bob Dylan's "Never Ending Band."
Watch the trailer here: Bob Dylan Revealed

The DVD will be officially released on May 1.

Bob Dylan - I and I.mp3
Buy: Infidels (1983)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March Feel Bad For You

Your monthly Feel Bad For You comp from forum members, bloggers, twitterers, and other misanthropes. As always, drunken rambling comments encouraged. Stream below:

1. Gregg Allman - "I Can’t Be Satisfied"
Low Country Blues (2011)
Having wasted most of his career drunk and high, I feel Gregg has made a fine soulful album. This version of a Muddy Waters classic is a good example.

2. Mount Carmel -Still Listening.mp3
Buy: Mount Carmel (2010) (2010)
Free-incarnation [shoot me now, I just said "free-incarnation"].

3. New Mongrels - "Skin and Bone"
Big Cup of Empty (1998)
Phil Norman
I have an undying love for the songwriter scene of Atlanta in the 1990s. The New Mongrels were its super-group. Haynes Brooke got together folks like the Indigo Girls, Big Fish Ensemble, Caroline Aiken, Michelle Malone, Gerard McHugh, and DeDe Vogt to do his songs. Genius!

4. Have Gun Will Travel - "Soles of Our Shoes"
Postcards From the Friendly City (2010)
Autopsy IV
The Tampa Bay area is gonna be making a pretty strong showing at SxSW this year and one of my favorites, Have Gun WIll Travel, is making the trip. This is one of my personal favorite tracks of their album, Postcards From The Friendly City.

5. Nothington - Where I Stand.mp3
Buy: All In (2007)
I like to rock out to this.

6. Verbow - Dying Sun
White Out (2000)
One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. Criminally overlooked. If you like this one, I put up a compilation at – check it out.

7. Fitz & The Tantrums - "Money Grabber"
Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2010)
District Noise
Okay, it’s hipster soul. But I don’t care.

8. Hey Negrita - Lust & Bones.mp3
Buy: The Buzz Above (2006)
Beat Surrender
Thought I go with a UK band this time around, love pretty much all of Hey Negrita’s work some fantastic tunes, this is a favourite from their second album The Buzz Above released in 2006. Wiki tags them as “English Country Blues” whatever that is.

9. Geto Boys - "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"
Office Space Soundtrack (1999)
I’ve been so overwhelmed with moving to a new state (country?) and starting a new job that I have hardly listened to any new music this year. But I always make time for Office Space.

10. The Most Beautiful Losers - "First Love"
Midnight Piranha Brothers (2011)
This album just came out and makes me long for keg parties and warm weather and being 16 again. You should check it out.

11. Jim Roll - "Train"
Ready to Hang (1998)
I first heard this song on a sampler disc titled The Sound of One Man Clapping. The song led me to seek out Roll’s full CD, Ready to Hang. I then got his second release, Lunette. It turns out Lunette was produced by Walter Salas-Humara of The Silos – a fave of mind for years. Tennessee has a a pattern of rough storms and constant weather alerts in during March – including the ever-present guidance to listen for the sound of a train as an indicator of a tornado (or it could just be at train). So this cut seemed appropriate for March’s FBFY comp.

12. The Rolling Stones - "Blood Red Wine"
Acoustic Motherfuckers Bootleg

13. Ghost Shirt - "History of the Radio"
Domestique (2010)
Corey Flegel
Sweet, bombastic-y, swirly awesomeness by our pals from Columbus, Ohio.

14. Jason D. Williams - You Look Like I Could Use A Drink.mp3
Buy: Killer Instincts (2010)
Mike Orren
What was supposed to be a covers album by the man rumored to be Jerry Lee Lewis’ kid turned into an original disc of songs by Todd Snider (who produced) and supported by Dan Baird. Just plain fun, but a little bit dark too.

15. Danny Gatton - "The Simpsons"
88 Elmira St. (1991)
In my top 5 of all time for guitarists. Saw him around this time and I feel lucky that I did. Amazing player, so under appreciated.

16. Duane Jarvis - "A Girl that’s Hip"
Far From Perfect
Saw Todd Snider last week and Tim Carroll opened up for him, Tim played this song that he had co-written with Duane as a tribute.

17. Manowar - Black Wind, Fire and Steel.mp3
Buy (mp3 only $5 at Amazon): Fighting the World (1987)
Guaranteed win if you mention this band in a list of bad hair metal bands.

18. Great Lake Swimmers - "I Will Never See The Sun"
Great Lake Swimmers (2005)
Beautiful song. Oldie but a goodie. This is a hell of an underrated band.

19. Slithering Beast - "Trouble Coming Down the Road"
Delicious EP (2011)
Might be my favorite song off the new EP. Killer guitar hook over the minor chord.