April 23, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 finds

I do Record Store Day all wrong. And I'm totally okay with it. I love that RSD was created to encourage music fanatics and casual listeners alike to support their local record stores. But when you're the kind of girl who regularly buys her music from a record store over a big box store...I figure it's okay to let my RSD adventures slide back a few days.

So instead of lining up bright and early Saturday morning, I lingered for a few days before I ventured over to my local record store to sort through their RSD leftovers yesterday after work. As I browsed another customer came up, started browsing and then asked me if I knew what Record Store Day was all about.

Five points to The Good Groupie House Cup for educating the masses.

And while I didn't score much, I did find two items from my 2014 wish list: Haim's "Forever" and Sam Means' "Blue Jeans". I'd really love to have that Regina Spektor release and, of course, The Wild Feathers 7-inch...but for now, that's my 2014 RSD haul. It's modest, but I'm happy with it.

What did you find at Record Store Day this year?


April 21, 2014

3 BANDS: For fans of folk rock, indie pop/rock & new country

Discover three new bands every month. Since the start of 2014, this has been my monthly goal. And it's turning out to be a pretty great one because I'm not making it to nearly as many shows as I would like (i.e. not seeing as many bands I don't know and discovering new ones to love), so making the effort to keep listening to new music is keeping me fresh this year - and keeping my ears wide open.

With winter lingering, even down here in southeast Texas, I'm still stuck in quiet music mode. Which means my April picks are a touch on the mellow side, but I hope you'll enjoy them all the same. I have two new music picks for you, plus one band that's been around for nearly 12 years...but they're a new love for me.

The Novel Ideas
Home: Massachusetts
For fans of: The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Little Green Cars, folk rock
How I discovered them: This one was a pretty simply find - I saw their band name fly by on Twitter one day and, bookworm that I am, their band name caught my attention.
Why I like them: Beautiful acoustic guitar, guy/girl harmonies...it's quite simply, Miranda music.
Songs to check out: "The Blue Between Us"
Find 'em online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Lighthouse and The Whaler
Home: Cleveland, OH
For fans of: Sea Wolf, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, indie pop/rock
How I discovered them: Good ol' Spotify suggested them to me based on listening to Sea Wolf and Quiet Company - excellent rec!
Why I like them: Lovely pop/rock sensibilities, lots of oohs and aahs to sing along with and beautiful, soaring guitars. Plus lots of fun percussion - always a hit in my book.
Songs to check out: "Pioneers" and "Venice"
Find 'em online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Zac Brown Band
Home: Atlanta, GA
For fans of: Eli Young Band, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, country & folk
How I discovered them: Okay, okay...so I know Zac Brown Band has been around for quite awhile. And I've always liked the songs I've heard by them, but I've never sought out - much less bought - their music. But lately, I find myself loving their songs on The Highway and wanting more. So they might not be a new-to-you band, but they're a recent new love for me.
Why I like them: I suppose they're an easy gateway drug to country music - a genre I don't have a lot of knowledge in - but the songs have beautiful melodies an simple, straightforward lyrics that are universally relatable.
Songs to check out: "Toes", "Knee Deep" and "Jump Right In" are all current faves
Find 'em online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

What new bands have you discovered lately?

Happy listening,

April 18, 2014

#bestsongallweek - "Marvelous Things" by Eisley

If Alice in Wonderland had a theme song, it would be "Marvelous Things" by Eisley. When they played this Wednesday night, it was like falling down an old, familiar musical rabbit hole. The harmonies, the melodies, the semi-nonsensical lyrics...it is one of my favorite Eisley songs. And one of my favorites to hear live.

And for that reason, plain and simple this week, it's my #bestsongallweek pick. Sometimes you just have to revisit old favorites.

What's your #bestsongallweek?


April 16, 2014

Rock Novel Reading Club: Spring 2014

I am a book groupie. This is the realization I've had this week as I've tried to categorize, alphabetize and jam every last piece of my 600+ book library onto my formerly monstrous book case as part of my new apartment organization process. (And that 600+ count is after weeding out about 75 books I've read and didn't like or now know I will never read...)

I will finally agree with my family: my book buying habits might be a bit out of proportion with my reading habits as of late.

To curb that problem, I launched my Rock Novel Reading Club at the start of the year. The idea was simple: read one "rock novel" (any book with a story based in the world of music - and fair warning, most are YA novels which I unapologetically love) every three months this year and ask you guys to read along with me.

When I announced the Rock Novel Reading Club, I was overwhelmed by your excitement and response! It was a silly little blog series idea I had on a whim, and I figured I'd see how it went for a year. I never expected so many of you to jump on board, anxiously find the book and then come back and share your thoughts. So if you participated in the Winter 2014 reading club - thank you.

I think we were all a little disenchanted with that first pick, so hopefully the book I landed on for our Spring 2014 reading club will be a little better. (And hey - if you're a book groupie too...feel free to Tweet or email me your suggestions!)

Our Spring 2014 Rock Novel Reading Club pick is...

Amplified by Tara Kelly
Not long ago, I went on a quest to make a list of every rock novel I could find. Tara Kelly's "Amplified" was one of the first I ran across - and one that immediately went on the list.

About the book:
When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it.

Let's rock!
Now it's your turn: find a copy and read (or re-read!) along. We'll meet back here Wednesday, June 18 (that's nine weeks from now) when I'll write a short review and throw out some discussion questions. Don't forget to Tweet your thoughts and Instagram your copy using the #GGrocknovel hashtag.

Happy rock reading,

April 14, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 Wish List

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you're a vinyl-lover, that is. This Saturday is Record Store Day - a day devoted to visiting your neighborhood record store and supporting them by buying a couple exclusive releases. My love for records is fairly casual, and I'll be honest - my personal vinyl collection has grown in recent years for one simple reason: I really like vinyl for all the pretty colors. Yup, I'll admit it - I'm that girl.

Of course, I can appreciate that everything sounds better on vinyl. The first piece of music I remember "owning" was a record (Sesame Street, if you must know), and I remember watching my parents carefully flip my black wax disc for me so I could continue my four-year-old dance party and sing-along in the living room. I had a record player for a time growing up, but it wasn't until about seven years ago that I got one for my birthday and started to delve back into seeking out music on vinyl.

My vinyl goal is simple (and predictable...): to own every Beach Boys album on vinyl in listen-able condition...and not spend a fortune acquiring them. But aside from that, I'll buy records from time to time and always enjoy seeing what's on the Record Store Day release list. I won't be at my local record stores bright and early Saturday morning, in line and eager to acquire new music - I'll leave that to the vinyl experts and die-hards. Instead, I take a pretty casual approach - I'll go later in the day or even in the days following and see what's left over. For me, it's more fun that way - it's like a true treasure hunt, being pleasantly surprised what gems I can score after the fact rather than standing in line, stressing that I'm not going to get that one thing I simply cannot live without.

Here's what's on my Record Store Day wish list this year:

  • The Animals - The Animals EP
  • The Civil Wars - Live at Eddie's Attic
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - The 1969 Singles
  • The Everly Brothers - Songs Our Daddy Taught Us
  • Haim - Forever
  • Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke
  • Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart
  • Regina Spektor - You've Got Time
  • Sun Records Curated by Record Store Day (Vol. 1)
  • The Wild Feathers - Got it Wrong/Marie
  • Sam Means - Blue Jeans

What's on your Record Store Day wish list?
Check out the list here. You can also read about my 2010 RSD adventure, how Cactus Music saved my life following RSD 2011 and my 2013 finds.

Happy vinyl hunting,