[listen] Shockoe Bottom
Here are some great tracks from Michael Hurley’s (out of print) Bellemeade Sessions, recorded between 1994 and 1998, presumably at Hurley’s home.
Videod by Dr. Elwood Snock himself, this 88 minute documentary is now available as a hand-stamped DVD in an edition of 100. It is centered around a tour Michael took with Amy Annelle and Ralph White in August of 2008. Here is the ten minute trailer, retitled “The Shortwave Stall”
Michael has also released a new 7″ through Mississippi Records with Betsy Nichols joining in on vocals.
To buy this stuff straight from the Doctor go to-> Snocko News
Up here in the downpour of beautiful rain in Arcata, I’ve been playin this on repeat.
Michael Hurley‘s newest album, Ida Con Snock, is now out on Gnomonsong.
Although I am biased in favor of Mr. Hurley, I feel that it is amongst his best work, as was 2007′s Ancestral Swamp.
In other news, Mississippi Records has reissued Parsnip Snips, a collection of Hurley outtakes from 1965-1972 which were formerly only available as an extremely limited German pressing.
Wildegeeses from Ida Con Snock
Hoot Owls from Parsnip Snips
For many years, Lauren Dukoff has photographed close friend and musician Devendra Banhart and an extended, loose-knit international family of artists who share inspiration variously from folk, Tropicalia, and each other, as well as a range of other musical influences.
Family collects 100 of Dukoff’s striking portraits and candid images of Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Entrance, Bat for Lashes, Feathers, Espers, Vetiver, Bert Jansch, Vashti Bunyan, and many others individually and together, in performance and more private spaces.
Complementing the photographs are a foreword by Devendra Banhart, text and artwork by the musicians, biographies, and a digital download of music by artists featured in the book.
Artists in the book:
Bat For Lashes
Benjamin Oak Goodman
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
Rio en Medio
Chronicle Books will release Family in July 2009. Amazon has it for sale at 34% off. However, if you pre-order from Chronicle Books they will send it out May 20th. Enter “Noise Pop” at checkout, you can get 15% off your order and free shipping.
If you are in the bay area, be sure to check out Lauren’s gallery show, Noise Pop Presents Lauren Dukoff- Family, at the Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco. It opens February 20th at 7 PM.
“Clearly” is now in profuse use and seems to be the hit adjective of our current day in time. It has gained popularity for a few years and now it needs to subside. Its use is rampant and no one seems to notice it. You can’t listen for a minute without hearing some american use “clealrly.” And most often they say “clearly” just before they begin to lie.
the more attention upon the speaker the more likely they will employ the pop adjective. It comes into use as the speaker approaches an arguable point or ventures into some field that could possibly be considered imaginary. “Clearly” implies transparent and imagination is invisible. Clearly they begin to bullshit. Clearly anyone who says clearly is full of shit. As we all know, there’s no such thing as clear shit. Piss maybe…
And, just because it’s a great song…
Tag, we’re it. Our good friend Jody over at When You Awake just tagged us with a type of blog chain letter called the “Seven Songs Shaping Your Summer.” Here’s the deal:
“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”
Here are mine:
Happy Monday folks! Last night started off like any other night…that is, if every night I went to go see two of contemporary music’s most engaging and promising young musicians, as well as one of folk’s most enduring and idiosyncratic and unwitting legends. So, yeah. It was a special night. As I arrived at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, the aroma of warm cookies and coffee told me that I was in for a treat. I sauntered around for a bit, nibbled on a cookie, and gawked at McCabe’s mind-bogglingly immense collection of folk instruments; everything from banjars (a guitar in banjo’s clothing) to lutes to cellos to harp guitars found their place alongside ethnic percussion and thumb pianos at this mecca of all things acoustic.
By the time Matteah Baim kicked off the night’s music I was already all hopped up on coffee, cigarettes, and cookies: a perfect storm of stimulants. Her set was woefully brief, but the ethereal aural atmosphere she created left me wishing that I had come to McCabe’s hopped up on a lot more than sucrose. I had never seen Matteah perform. The melancholy dance of two electric guitars, drenched in reverb and delay, left my eyes transfixed on the stage until her final song concluded.
While Alela Diane was setting up, the audience was given about fifteen minutes to use the restrooms, buy more food, or step outside to smoke a joint. While I was unfortunately ill-equipped for the latter, I did bump into Devendra Banhart and chatted for a bit before we were called back for Alela’s set. And what a set it was. Alela, joined on stage by her clearly cool, long-haired father, started off her set with “Tired Feet” which is, coincidentally, the first song on her debut LP. Her father’s acoustic accompaniment (nylon string guitar, mandolin) added a dazzling new layer to the songs that I had come to know so well from the record as sparse solo affairs. Her voice knocked me on my ass. After a set that consisted largely of new material (which she told me after her set would probably be released this fall) and a DUET with Michael Hurley, the audience at McCabe’s was abuzz. I don’t think many of the people in attendance had heard Alela’s music before, but afterwards the din of Alela-chatter was impossible to avoid. CD’s were flying off the merch table.
Then, finally, what everyone was waiting for: Doc Snock himself, Michael Hurley. As always, he puttered onto the stage in a state of quasi-bemused aloofness, looking at the rapt crowd as if perpetually surprised that people had come to see him play. When he began playing his songs, it was clear that his dexterity on the fretboard has not diminished whatsoever. It was a beautiful mix of old songs, as well as new: fan favorite Sweedeedee, I Paint a Design, The Tea Song, and You’ll Never Go to Heaven just to name a few. The master was in perfect form: spinning yarns, cracking jokes, and unspooling songs with a carefree insouciance rare in most performers, young or old.
[download] Michael Hurley – Sweedeedee
Amazingly talented and hauntingly beautiful singer-songwriter Alela Diane did me the pleasure of answering some questions about her music, her family, and…the disappearance of our dearly departed planet Pluto.
Naturalismo: So you’re going to be playing with Michael Hurley at this Sunday’s Arthur event in Santa Monica. How does it feel to be playing with such a legendary performer? Was your song “Clickity-Clack” at all inspired by Hurley’s seminal “You Get Down By the Pool Hall Clickety-Clack (Sister Song)” from his First Songs?
I know I posted about Arthur’s Sunday Nights at McCabes before, but this event poster was just released, and it’s too cool to let go. C’mon people, it has a wizard holding a mushroom! Wizard! Mushroom!
“It’s a confluence of traditional folk music and, um, drugs, basically, with the latter having a very active influence on the former,” Pete Stampfel of The Holy Modal Rounders describes of Michael Hurley’s music.
Joel Rose conducted a fantastic interview with Michael Hurley on NPR recently, in which the wily songsmith discusses everything from drawing cartoons to picking green beans. Chris Smith of Espers is interviewed as well as the above-quoted Pete Stampfel who share insights and admiration for folk’s last genuine drifter and hobo sage.