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Welcome to Flashback Friday — a look back on the week in music.  I’ve posted some noteworthy news on the Facebook page (what?  You haven’t become a fan yet?  Do that. Now.), but here are the gems:

  • The White Stripes have, indeed, broken up.  The writing has been on the wall for a while, what with Jack White’s multiple endeavors and some subtle hints in the Under Great White Northern Lights documentary.  But still.  Bummer.
  • The Avett Brothers hinted at an album in mid-2011.  If this is true, I will be very, very happy.  Speaking of happy…
  • Fleet Foxes promises their long-awaited new album will be released on Tuesday May 3rd.  The title track is now available for download on their website.  Southern California dates:
  • May 6 -Spreckels Theatre – San Diego
  • May 7 – Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood
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Not much to report when it comes to new releases.  Save your money for the next few weeks, with gems from Bright Eyes and other indie darlings waiting to hit your ipod.

The one spectacular release has been receiving buzz from all sorts of media and word of mouth: Barton Hollow from the Civil Wars.

I had the pleasure of seeing them at the Hotel Cafe in December, and it was, without a doubt, one of the best live acts I had seen in 2010.  Joy Williams and John Paul White possess a chemistry unlike any other duo I can think of.  Their folky acoustic sound can put one to sleep on one track, and be the perfect road trip device the next.

Check out the album live streaming here via Spinner, and see what I mean.

Then, buy Barton Hollow and have it forever and ever.

So much is happening in the music world — and since I have a fulltime job, it’s hard to post about each newsworthy item.

Enter the Facebook Page!

Click on the button and become a fan of Sarcasm And The City to get up to date info on bands you love or never heard of.  Get news of new albums streaming for free, ticket on-sales, and the like.

Like us.  Because I said so.

Jenny & Johnny

It’s been a month since I’ve been to a show.  A month. What is wrong with me?  Thankfully, that will all change tomorrow as I head from behind the Orange Curtain and into LA to see the Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile.  That should be a great Friday night show: chill, with a few songs to get me going.  My days (and nights) have been busy to say the least lately, and it should be nice to sip a drink, sit down, and listen to Brandi and the Brothers Avett.

There are tons of other shows playing this week, and I’ve narrowed it down to about two a day for you guys.  If you have a ticket to any of them, I covet that confirmation code.

Friday, 10/1

The Avett Brothers and Brandi Carlile (w/ Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) @ Nokia Theatre [of course I’m going to list the show I’m heading to.  Say hi, yo.]
Listen: The Avett Brothers – Slight Figure Of Speech

Aimee Mann @ Largo [great, intimate venue for her.]

Saturday, 10/2

Matt & Kim [left] @ Music Box, L.A.

School of Seven Bells @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

Sunday, 10/3

Belle & Sebastian with Jenny & Johnny @ The Palladium [anyone have a free, extra ticket?  This should be a great show. Jenny & Johnny is, of course, a duet consisting of Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Jonathan Rice.  Their debut album is fantastic.]

Listen: Jenny & Johnny – Scissor Runner

The Soft Pack @ Detroit Bar

Monday, 10/4
Tired Pony [members of Snow Patrol, R.E.M., Belle & Sebastian] @ El Rey

Tuesday, 10/5

Jenny & Johnny @ the Troubadour

Wednesday 10/6

Broken Bells [left] @ The Wiltern [James Mercer of the Shins teams up with Danger Mouse for a positively unique sound.  Loving their album.]

Jay Nash @ Hotel Cafe, 9pm slot [update: he’s married]

Thursday, 10/7

Lissie @ Troubadour [Newcomer solo artist is the darling of indie radio stations.  Check her out.]

Listen: Lissie – Bully

The Like @ Detroit Bar

Going to any shows this week?  Excited for any coming up this month?  Leave a comment.

Nick Hornby and Ben FoldsLonely Avenue (Nonesuch)

Yes, that Ben Folds. And yes, that Nick Hornby.  Brick.  High Fidelity.  Teaming up for what is to be a very intriguing album.
Author Hornby and musician Folds collaborated on this album, with the former writing the lyrics and the latter taking care of the music.  Since Hornby has had no experience in songwriting, which is a different beast from the short stories and novels he’s used to penning, it will be interesting to see how Folds can translate them.
Buy Album: Lonely Avenue
download mp3:
From Above

GlasserRing (True Panther Sounds)

From two masters of their craft, we move on to newcomer Cameron Mesirow, who performs under the name of Glasser.  This solo artist has been getting a fair amount of play on indie radio, for good reason.  Her strong voice compliments the vast amount of strings and percussion she uses, without it being overwhelming.  She only broke out onto the scene last year with her first EP, and I doubt we’ll be hearing less of her anytime soon.
Buy album: Ring
Download mp3: Home

Listened to either album?  Think I missed one that deserves to be talked about?  Leave a comment.

A new year, and finally some new music worth listening to.   Be excited.

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Vampire WeekendContra (XL Recordings)

I saw Vampire Weekend last year at the Glasshouse.  The place was nowhere near packed and the average audience member could not legally buy a Lotto ticket.  Fastforward to 2010: their upcoming album has been generating buzz since the summer, and last week’s show had been sold out for awhile.
I’m still not sure what I think of the album.  It’s been streamed on various websites, and leaked from several sources, making this album even more hyped.  Their self titled effort was so unique and well produced that Contra sounded a bit boring.  But with every play, I seem to like a new track.  My favorites for now are Taxi Cab, and Horchata (which I’m now craving.  Yum.)
Local shows: 4/14 @ Fox Theatre (Pomona)
Buy Album: Contra
download mp3:
Taxi Cab

Laura VeirsJuly Flame (Raven Marching Band Records)

So you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy and have gestational diabetes… what do you do?  If you’re Laura Veirs, you go on a European tour!  My new hero’s (who’s blog post about leaving for tour would probably hit any estrogen-filled human) seventh album released today, with some resemblances to Ingrid Michelson, and Jessica Hoop.  Veirs has the ability to allow the album to sound incredibly feminine with beautiful, wimsical string arrangements, yet not get too cute or predictable.  The title track has a bit of a haunting edge to it, while others are light and airy.  July Flame features guests spots from My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James, and the added harmonies are merely a bonus.
Local shows: 3/8 @ Casbah (San Diego); 3/9 @ Spaceland (Silverlake)
Buy album: July Flame
Download mp3: July Flame

Listened to either album?  Stoked for different music that released this week?  Leave a comment.


This Thursday, check out a free outdoor show featuring Tyrone Wells and Meiko.
I’ve featured Meiko a few times before, and been a fan of Tyrone for years.  Tomorrow, they’re teaming up for “The Sound of Summer,” a weekly concert in downtown LA’s Pershing Square and sponsored by 100.3FM.

Meiko goes on at 8pm, and Tyrone’s set starts at 9.

Dowload MP3: Tyrone Wells – More

More info: The Sound of Summer

My uncle gave me A Fine Frenzy’s CD “One Cell In The Sea” the day before Christmas Eve 2007.  It also happened to be the day before my grandmother would pass away, but we did not know that at the time.

A few hours after she died, I drove to my apartment to be alone for awhile.   My uncle had said that despite the name, A Fine Frenzy was actually a singer/songwriter named Alison Sudol.  I just knew I needed something to drown out the loud nothingness that was taking over my brain.

The drive from my parent’s house to my apartment was the longest 45 minutes ever – I remember every stretch of nothing as I cut through LA County into Orange.  Sudol’s voice was both strangely muted and present as she sung of love and loss.  The vocals were soothing and and strangely beautiful, and the music – with piano performed by Sudol – was well suited for her voice.

Her new song, “Blow Away” is the first single off her album Bomb In A Birdcage which will be released in September.  Fans of Feist and Regina Spektor will be pleased.  If the song is any indication, Birdcage will be much more pop-influenced than the piano-driven One Cell In The Sea.
What do you think?

Buy “Blow Away”

And this is where I lose any male readers I once had.  Please come back tomorrow.

I have two male roommates who dominate the living room television with Cartoon Network and any show that features explosions, blowing stuff up, or explosions (apparently, there’s a difference between the two).  Sometimes, a girl just needs a glass of wine or two or five, thirty gorgeous men, and a few girlfriends to yell at the tube with.

Last night was that kind of night.  During last night’s finale of “The Bachelorette”, poor Jillian Harris was stuck in Hawaii and down to two guys: Ed Swiderski, who admitted he was “married to [his] job” and briefly left the show when his wife cracked the whip; and Kiptyn Locke, who — well, I really don’t know much about him.  The guy is simply gorgeous.  And he smiles all the time.  And he is so.so.hot.  He also seemed like the more well-rounded of the two — the “works hard, plays hard” guy, while the Edster was  raioj;fdalsfjdal;s… oh sorry, I fell asleep at the keyboard again.  Bad habit.

All signs pointed to Jillian picking Kiptyn.  Meaning, of course, that she would pick Ed, who apparently has no desire to leave the 1980’s and purchase any shorts that fall below the knee.  Throw in a few “most dramatic rose ceremony EVER” twists and…

During a beautiful Hawaiian sunset, Jillian rejects this:

for this:

Aloha.

Download MP3: Meiko – Hawaii

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

I had high hopes for the past two weeks:

  • Top Ten Albums of 2009 so far (get excited)
  • July Playlist – Independence Day Spectacular (get more excited)
  • Artist Profiles (homeless African paraplegics who live in a zoo – continue to be excited)
  • TOT Info (you may be confused now, but you’ll be excited later)

Um yeah.  You got none of that.

Last weekend I went to Mexico for the bazillionth time.  And before assumptions are made, I voluntarily signed a covenant which stated that I would not drink alcohol for the entire time I was there.  Or flirt with boys.

Confused much?

Cross the Otay Mesa border in San Diego, hang a left at the tire shop, go offroading for a bit, narrowly escape death by crazy tanker trucks and machine-gun-wielding policemen several times, and you will soon enter a migrant community known as Rojo Gomez.

I’ve been going down there for four years to build houses for families there who previously lived in boxes made of garage doors, tarp, and some scrap wood.  Dirt floors on hills that frequently get hit with mud slides.  No bueno.

These familes have become family to me.  It’s interesting how much we have in common with each other.  The first kid I ever met was named Adrian, who had the most sarcastic sense of humor ever (not that I could relate to that.  Nope…).  I should probably admit my lack of knowledge of Spanish, despite the fact that it is my father’s first language and I have a hispanic last name.  But I have discovered this handy equation:

Broken Spanish + Broken or Nonexistent English + Smiles + Crazy Hand Gestures X Lots of Piggy Back Rides + Soccer Balls (Cubed) = Love

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

This is not a guilt trip.

Rather, this is a reminder to the intended geographical audience of this blog that three hours away is third world-ville.  And I have no answers as to what your part to play is or if you even have one.  But in relation to this blog, there is an amazing culture practically down the street, with some sweet ass music, some amazing food (um holy crap on crack, some amazing food.  I swear that sometimes I think I only go there for the street tacos.  But that isn’t true.)  And the importance of family (and in Mexican culture, anyone within a 100 mile radius is familia.  Which is all kinds of awesome.)

To put it mildly, my life has been dramatically changed (beyond words that can do justice) since discovering Rojo Gomez, and the neighboring town of El Nino.  And as I helped build two houses last weekend for two rad families, it has taken some time to adjust back here, and I really have not felt like writing or checking out any new music.  I’m getting back into the swing of things, so check back tonight or tomorrow.  But processing and reflecting on all that occurred on that rad weekend was more important and worthwhile.

For now, enjoy some of the music from a few hours south.

Download MP3: Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Vikingman
Download MP3: Pistolera – Nuevos Ojos
Download MP3:Grupo Fantasma – El Sabio Soy Yo

More info:
Habitat For Humanity

Baja Christian Ministries

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Any MP3 posted here is available to stream and/or download for two weeks or less, so get it while it's hot. Hopefully I can help steer you towards music you've never heard before. If you like what you hear, please purchase the album, and support the artist at shows. The music posted here is for sampling use ONLY. If you are a band or representative of an artist who is featured on this site and would like your music removed, please contact me directlyand I'll be happy to immediately remove the song(s).