Dead Oceans

The Donkeys are back from a parallel universe where they gigged as Geronimo Jackson and they just released their second full length this week on Dead Oceans. For Born With Stripes, The San Diego outfit balance the twanginess of their excellent debut, Living On The Other Side, with influences from Cali artists of the 90’s like Pavement and Beck.

While their sound may have changed slightly, the band still plays a brand of music that sounds perfect while looking at an ocean. I am currently sitting in Florida for the kids’ spring break, watching the sun come up as I listen to this album. Two of the tunes that have hooks with the Pavement influence, “I Like The Way You Walk” and “Ceiling Tan,” still have that lazy easy-going vibe, perfect for starting the day. Or for that matter, ending the day with a cool one.

After numerous listens,one other comparison I would draw is with a band called Sam Champion. Rolling Stone once said Sam Champion combined elements of Pavement’s Wowee Zowee and Ryan Adams. The same could be easily said of Born With Stripes with its memorable hooks.

The Donkeys – Don’t Know Who We Are

Video: The Donkeys – Don’t Know Who We Are

Don’t Know Who We Are by The Donkeys from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.


The Tallest Man On Earth released a new EP in iTunes today without any fuss. Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird was written entirely after The Wild Hunt. “Like The Wheel” has been the closing song to many of his shows and it quickly became a fan fav.

The Tallest Man On Earth – Like The Wheel

Fan Video: The Tallest Man On Earth – Like The Wheel


  1. Little River
  2. The Dreamer
  3. Like the Wheel
  4. Tangle in This Trampled Wheat
  5. Thrown Right at Me


Nurses – Apple’s Acre [Album Review]

by Woody on August 28, 2009


I’m coming off of three days of rather mainstream music at Chicago’s Grant Park for Lollapalooza.‚  Despite the sweltering heat, it was and always seems to be, a rather enjoyable event with good music.‚  Regardless, it felt all good to put on something a little weird this week and it came courtesy of a solid new release from Nurses and their album Apple’s Acre on Dead Oceans.‚  I think the best way to describe this album is “quirky.” And in all aspects – from the vocals, to the arrangements, to the percussion, to the interesting little sound effects that sometimes bridge these tracks.‚  I have to believe that the Portland trio are big fans of Brian Wilson and the Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys.

Vocals are supplied largely by the expansive range of Aaron Chapman’s voice which on certain songs is better characterized as melodic chanting than actual singing.‚  There is ample vocal harmonizing, some of which is supplied through multiple tracks of just Chapman.‚  The percussion is also a little off-kilter and rarely provided by standard kits. Rhythm is certainly emphasized, however it comes from varied sources including finger snaps, handclaps, drum machines and some good ole fashioned guitar and tambourine slaps.‚  Speaking of guitars, it’s generally the acoustic variety and is woven in and out of these songs, sometimes the center of attention but often pared with the piano.‚  And no doubt, piano is the instrument of choice.‚  The best description of the piano on some of these songs is something like the old silent movie soundtracks ala Chaplin and Keaton”seriously.‚  But like a great collage, it all blends together quite nicely.

One of the more interesting songs on this record is “Big Ideas,” the sixth track.‚  What catches your attention is the pairing of drum machine percussion and a church organ that creates a dichotomy that is both grandiose and cheesy, but also damn good.‚  An organ is also prominent on “Lita,” only this time it emits a sound that is a perfect match for something you would hear at a funeral home.‚  And finally, there are those unique little sound effects that show up throughout these songs.‚  I would bet that there’s an entire track on “Orange Cymbals” that is recorded around the house using door hinges, floorboard creeks, etc.

Yeah, it’s weird but it’s really interesting and very good.‚  The band is beginning to garner some attention as Apple’s Acre was the most added song among college radio stations reporting to CMJ last week.‚  Oh, and even Stephen Malkmus has given his “thumbs up” to the band.‚  Nurses are going to be performing in Chicago tomorrow night, August 29, at Subterranean w/ Throw Me The Statue and The Brunettes.

MySpace | Dead Oceans

Nurses – Caterpillar Playground

Nurses – Technicolor

Experience Nurses Live:


I wrote about John Vanderslice the other day and how I’m just now joining the JV party. My favorite track on his new album, Romanian Names, is “Too Much Time.” This video features John performing with the Magik Magik Orchestra at the SF Conservatory of Music. It’s awesome.

John Vanderslice – Too Much Time

Video: John Vanderslice – Too Much Time

John Vanderslice “Too Much Time” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.


John Vanderslice – Romanian Names [Album Review]

June 8, 2009

John Vanderslice has been a staple in the San Francisco music scene. He’s now put out six albums and, while I’ve sampled most of them, I have never pulled the trigger on a purchase. Something about his sound was too experimental, using too many sound effects. Romanian Names is his first album released on Dead […]

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Bowerbirds release new track, Northern Lights [new mp3]

May 12, 2009

Bowerbirds have released the first single from their upcoming sophomore album, Upper Air. The album is due out on July 7th. “Northern Lights” is a love song with acoustic guitar, piano and vocal harmonies similar to The Avett Brothers. Bowerbirds – Nothern Lights Tweet

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Akron/Family Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free [new mp3]

May 4, 2009

Akron/Family are releasing their new album, Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, tomorrow via Dead Oceans. According to the press release, this might not be the Akron/Family you’ve come to know: Following a year of making things bigger and wilder live, the band returns to something simpler on Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free. With […]

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John Vanderslice – Too Much Time [new mp3]

April 29, 2009

John Vanderslice just released another new track from his upcoming release Romanian Names. I’m still working my way through the album, but should have an opinion shortly. John Vanderslice – Too Much Time They also have a pre-order offer. Details follow: In pre-order news, we have a very exciting announcement to make: the first 100 […]

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John Vanderslice announces new album, releases new mp3

April 1, 2009

John Vanderslice announced the release of a new album entitled Romanian Names, being released via Dead Oceans on May 19th. The press release also claims that it’s his best record yet. More about the album: The album is subtle and lush, with a lyrical approach less concerned with narrative and cohesion than previous JV records, […]

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Bishop Allen – Dimmer [New Video, SXSW 2009]

March 10, 2009

Bishop Allen just shot over the video for “Dimmer” off of their Dead Oceans release, Grrr. Previously posted mp3’s: Bishop Allen – Dimmer Bishop Allen – The Ancient Commonsense of Things Video: Bishop Allen – Dimmer Tweet

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