Category Archives: music

Frontier Ruckus

Frontier Ruckus seem to be the best band in the Lansing area. I’ve seen them (or frontman Matt Milia) play several times since I moved up here, and they always impress. Milia sings in that post-Jeff Magnum indie folk style. Despite that, his voice is loaded with power and emotion and the songs he writes have a deeper connection to traditional folk music than what your average indie folk band has.

So far, their only release is the I Am the Water You Are Pumping EP. At 6 songs and 29 minutes, its long for an EP, but all the songs are great. And it comes in awesome packaging.

Frontier Ruckus – The Blood (from I Am the Water You Are Pumping EP) (Divshare link)

Buy the I Am the Water You Are Pumping EP

Nancy Elizabeth

Nancy Elizabeth (nee Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe) is a British singer/songwriter who is on the Leaf Label. “Hey Son” is the first single from her debut album Battle and Victory. She gets compared to Joanna Newsom, but I don’t hear it. Her voice reminds me of Marissa Nadler, but pitched down about half an octave. This song, the only one of hers that I have heard, reminds me a lot of some of the more recent work by Six Organs of Admittance. It begins with a simple acoustic guitar figure and a repeated phrase, but it slowly spirals into something much larger as electric guitar, vocal harmonies and huge percussion work they way into it. A very striking and powerful song.

Nancy Elizabeth – Hey Son
Buy it

Blog Action Day/Talibam!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
Today is Blog Action Day, a day where bloggers around the world blog about the environment.

Since, this is a music blog, I thought I’d talk a little bit about music and the environment. One thing every musician must realize is that your art, to a greater or lesser degree, does take a toll on the environment. Yes, even Phish. The most obvious is all that plastic that goes into making CDs, CDRs, vinyl records, tapes, DVDs, etc. There’s also the gas you burn touring, whether its a chartered jet to play a fashion show in Milan or just hopping in your car to play the coffee shop two towns over, it does make an impact. You burn electricity when you plug in your guitar; a tree was cut down to make that cello. Even posting an mp3 of the field recordings of penguins you made with your laptop adds some carbon to the atmosphere. Not that I have any room to talk, I’m blogging away at my power hungry desktop machine surrounded by artifacts of our oil based life. And I’ll probably drive my car to the grocery store tomorrow. Unless you’re a real ass off the grid hippie, we could all do more to reduce our footprint on the planet. It is still good to be aware of how all the little things add up, though. And small improvements are improvements nonetheless.

Which is why I’m posting about the free-noise dudes Talibam!. They are from Brooklyn, and I’ve only heard two of their releases. I am a fan of their self titled proper debut album that came out in 2005 on Evolving Ear. It was released as a CDR and came packaged in a recycled vinyl sleeve with the info pasted on a big shard of recycled vinyl. It’s a nice interesting package that reuses existing materials. Earth friendly!

Less Earth friendly is the music. Its some real scorched earth shit that is certain to scare away deer and squirrels. Here’s the untitled first track.
Talibam! – untitled 1 (from Talibam!) (Divshare link)

buy it here

Leaves Falling on Broken Glass

Here is a DJ mix I made. This had been in works for a while, actually, and is part of the reason that I haven’t been posting much recently. Actually making the mix took a little while, as I had to borrow a second turntable from my cousin. And once I had made it, a got real slack ass about putting together the artwork. Anyway, it’s all done and it’s pretty rad.

It is called Leaves Falling on Broken Glass and it is an Autumn DJ Mix of traditional folk, coked up rock stars and polite pop.

Download Leaves Falling on Broken Glass (Divshare link)

LuboÅ¡ FiÅ¡er – The Magic Yard – Valerie and Her Week of Wonders [1970]
Pentangle – Bells – The Pentangle [1968]
Ian & Sylvia – Cutty Wren – So Much for Dreaming [1967]
The Strawbs – Glimpse of Heaven – From the Witchwood [1971]
Dolly Parton – When Someone Wants to Leave – Jolene [1974]
Randy Newman – I Think It’s Going to Rain Today – Creates Something New Under the Sun [1968]
Graham Nash – Prison Song – Wild Tales [1973]
Harry Nilsson – Old Bones – Knnillssonn [1977]
Van Halen – Could This Be Magic? – Women and Children First [1980]
Jacques Brel – Clara – Marieke [1961]
Animal Collective – Safer – Peacebone 10″ [2007]
Fleetwood Mac – Sara – Tusk [1979]
Sam Moffatt – Lowlands of Holland – Future Days [1982]
The Cyrkle – I Wish You Could Be Here – Neon [1967]
John & Anne Ryder – I Still Believe in Tomorrow – I Still Believe in Tomorrow [1969]
People – I Love You – I Love You [1968]
Joe Walsh – “I.L.B.T.s” – You Bought It, You Name It [1983]

DJ Million Dollar Snake Babies

DJ Million Dollar Snake Babies gets a post for three reasons

  1. He is the first person to submit music to my blog
  2. He makes mashups that put rap on top of indie hits, which are my favorite kind of mashup
  3. His press kit bio: “DJ Million Dollar Snake Babies is a math major at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. He’s also the MD of Allegheny’s radio station, WARC, 90.3 FM. He’s been goofing around on computers with music for five years now, hopefully improving as he goes. He loves the Detroit Tigers.”

I can relate to that so hard.
He has a mashup album/mixtape with the above awesome/awful artwork that he describes as “the Chinese Democracy of shitty mash-up mixtape”. You can download the whole thing by clicking the album cover (it’s a zshare).

He’s still mastering the form and a few of his mashups wander off beat near the end. And there’s lots of key clashes, which will drive my boy Luminfire nuts. And some of his mashes just aren’t that interesting. But there are a few gems.
I like “What We Had Was Laffy Taffy (Handsome Furs vs. D4L)”.

Goodbye, Babylon

I recently bought a thing I’ve wanted to buy for a very long time.

The 6 disc gospel box set Goodbye Babylon released by Dust-to-Digital Records. It’s housed in a big ass cedar box and comes with a book with notes on the artists, photographs, lyrics and bible verses that relate to the songs. This box set/art object has received plenty of praise, so all I am going to say is that some of these songs make me wish I had that old time religion.

The most powerful track that I’ve heard so far is “Lift Him Up That’s All” by Washington Phillips. He plays a haunting instrument that is either a homemade instrument or a dolceola and he sings in a high voice that just kills me.

Washington Phillips – Lift Him Up That’s All

I like to tie posts I make to shows coming up in the Michigan area, and, shockingly enough, I can do that here. There’s a Shape Note Sacred Harp singing going on at the Green River Cafe in East Lansing on Tuesday the 16th. I’m planning on going, even though I’m not really sure what it’s going to be like. Here’s a Facebook link about it.

New J-Nu

Sorry I haven’t posted much recently. Grad school has been all over my ass. I’ve got some interesting stuff in the hopper, so just hold on. Also, here is a rad video of a new Joanna Newsom song.


Unfortunately, Skallander are not a ska band. Wait, make that fortunately. Skallander is the New Zealand duo of Bevan Smith (best known as Carpark Records’ Signer) and Matthew Mitchell. They make lovely subdued folk-pop with subtle electronic flourishes and a hazy ethereal sensibility. Skallander is their second album and first one to receive international distribution. It is extremely pleasant and sounds like a 60°F day in the early fall.
Skallander – Dusting the Gallows

Scout Niblett


Scout Niblett is a British singer/songwriter that I sometimes like and sometimes don’t. But her upcoming album This Fool Can Die Now….Damn, this shit is dope. There are four incredible duets with Will Oldham, but the whole album is just fantastic.

She’s playing the DAAC in Grand Rapids, MI on October 21. Which just happens to be the same night Wolves in the Throne Room are playing Lansing. Fuck.

Scout Niblett – River of No Return (with Will Oldham)

Pre-Order it from Beggars