Tag Archives: Bright Eyes

Mid-week Mixtape Redux: Jack Carty

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One of the great delights of hosting a radio program like In The Pines is that I get to talk with a lot of musicians about their craft, as well as find out what songs/ artists/ albums make them tick. As a lifelong sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Song Disorder (that would be – the repeated listening to one song over and over and over and over, so as to get inside and know it and breathe it) I am fascinated to learn the songs that other songwriters have an enduring affection for. With that in mind, I’m reviving a long forgotten but much loved section of the blog that asks songwriters to write about five of their favourite tunes: The Mid-week Mixtape. 
 
Our first contributor is an impressive young troubadour from Sydney, Australia: Jack Carty. He writes beautiful,  thoughtful folk songs with the slightest hint of country thrown in for good measure. His latest album, Break Your Own Heart is, literally, a heartbreaker. 
 
Here is Jack performing the album’s title track:
 
 
And here is the mix he kindly put together for In The Pines this week. Cue heartbreak (again). 
 
The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us! – Sufjan Stevens
 
I can’t even remember how I found out about Sufjan Stevens. But it was sometime in 2008 or early 2009 and I remember listening to the album Illinois every time I could for the next year solid. I love the instrumentation and the epic scope of the arrangements. It’s bombastic but still classy and so full of feeling. I don’t think there is anywhere on the record that this is is better exhibited than right here… Gotta love the counterpoint.
 
 
Left & Leaving – The Weakerthans.
I first heard this song on a live album recorded at The Burton Cummings Theatre in their home town of Winnepeg, Manitoba. It has one of the most biting lyrics I have ever heard and John K Samson’s voice always sounds really sincere to me. He uses amazing imagery to describe his inner and outer environment in a really engaging and moving way. It’s so sad, but so resigned… “I wait in four/four time, count yellow highway lines, that you’re relying on to lead you home” – that line has swum around in my head for days at a time.
 
 
Gillian Welch – Wrecking Ball
I love pretty much everything Gillian Welch does. This track has so much attitude (from the sloppily played drums and fuzzbox guitars to the scratchy fiddle soloing in the right channel throughout its entirety) that it would be cool even if it didn’t have one of the best journey(wo)man lyrics I ever heard. She makes it sound easy, like she isn’t even trying, it’d almost be frustrating if it wasn’t so good.
 
 
Elliott Smith – Pitseleh
I love the way this song is simultaneously filled with so much sadness and so much love. It drips with doubt, loneliness, pain and an honest, quiet, beautiful affection. I have always loved the way Elliott seems to play the guitar like you would a piano, with a heavy emphasis on a constantly moving and repeated “bass line”  underneath delicate ornamentations on the higher strings. It seems to lend a timeless, almost baroque feel to an already gorgeously timeless and moving sentiment. This song has helped me through a lot.
 
 
Bright Eyes – Classic Cars
Connor Oberst’s ultra poetic turn of phrase, Mike Mogis’ guitar flourishes, a rad bass line, Hammond organ, honky-tonk piano, a great story, some questionable backing vocals and most of all those buildups in the chorus! The first time I heard this I listened to it 5 times in a row, the opening stanza of the opening verse had me hooked. It is delicate, angry, political, upbeat and incredibly deep all at once. It’s a classic, man.
 
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Starting February with style: Fleet Foxes, Wanda Jackson, Double Denim

NEW MUSIC: Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes, Lia Ices

After a few reasonably quiet weeks on the new release front (we always ease into the new year) I had a couple o’ gems to share on tonight’s show. First up, bearded baroque pop dreamboats Fleet Foxes have kindly posted the first single from their upcoming sophomore record online. It’s called ‘Helplessness Blues’ and features trademark heartbreaker harmonies. The song also hints that there may be a little more gusto on the new album. How so? Well, let’s put it this way: I heard CSNY overload in their debut, but there are definitely elements of Simon & Garfunkel on this track. Time will tell. You can download ‘Helplessness Blues’ here.

The new Bright Eyes record – The People’s Key – was leaked online this week in addition to being streamed by the good people at NPR. If the track I scrambled to download for tonight’s show ‘Ladder Song’ is anything to go by, Conor Oberst needs to change the name of the band to Bleak Eyes. Talk about sadcore. Very nice though if really depressing music is your thing. I love it.

And finally, though this album isn’t strictly new to In The Pines since I featured a song from it on last week’s show, it’s worth a mention all the same: Lia Ice’s Grown Unknown. Lia writes abstract folk pop songs in the style of Joanna Newsom and Marissa Nadler. Tonight we heard ‘Lilac’ and last week we heard ‘Daphne’ which features guest vocalist extraordinaire Justin Vernon (Bon Iver).

FASHIONS ON THE FIELD: Jonny Corndawg

This week New York magazine took the liberty of featuring one of my favourite looks in the fashion pages: double denim. One of the ‘models’ was country singer Jonny Corndawg. He makes stuff out of leather, writes comedy country and you guessed it, rocks double denim. Tonight I played his song ‘Oversteppin’, a soon-to-be classic that covers that age-old teenage/country theme: coveting a friend’s mother.

Jonny Corndawg – Oversteppin’

YODEL YOUR WAY INTO MY ACHIN’ HEART: Wanda Jackson

Not content with introducing young rock and roll audiences to Loretta Lynn by producing her excellent 2004 release Van Lear Rose, Jack White has stepped into the studio with another almost forgotten legend once more. This time around he’s recorded with the First Lady Of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. The aptly titled album The Party Ain’t Over features re-workings of some of Wanda’s classics including ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and ‘Nervous Breakdown’, as well as a fabulous version of Jimmie Roger’s ‘Blue Yodel #6’ which I played on Pines tonight.

Here she is strutting her stuff on Conan:

And here she is strutting her stuff in 1958:

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