Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Pancho & Lefty
Steve Earle to pay tribute to the Maestro on Townes
Jim HerringtonSteve Earle has announced details on his next album, and now that he’s done so the real question is why he hadn’t done this sooner? The new record is called Townes, and is a tribute album to his friend, mentor and the man he once declared the “best songwriter in the whole world,” Townes Van Zandt. Van Zandt passed in 1997 and was paid tribute by Earle in the song, “Fort Worth Blues”, but this record should be a much larger love letter to the late singer-songwriter.
Earle has been in political firebrand mode for his past few records so it’s good to see him return to his more introspective works, though I don’t know if this counts as the “chick songs” record he’s promised for a while. I can’t decide if I’d prefer it he play this one straight and reverential and avoid the sonic tomfoolery that permeated Washington Square Serenade or try to push the envelope a little, knowing he’s got such solid songs to work with. From the details at Blurt, it sounds like he’s doing both, enlisting a bluegrass band for some numbers and getting Serenade producer John King to produce and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello to play on another. A couple of new songs – including the aforementioned track with Morello – are streaming at Earle’s MySpace, and I must say – his reading of “Pancho & Lefty” does it for me. Yes it does.
Update: There’s a short interview with Steve at the SteveEarle.com forums about the record.
Townes will be available as a single or double-CD set and will be out May 12.
Video: Neil Young – “Johnny Magic”
MPR has a session with The Submarines. They’ve released a couple of digital remix EPs creatively titled Honeysuckle Weeks Remixes EP 1 and Honeysuckle Weeks Remixes EP 2, the second of which is available this week.
Video: Bishop Allen – “Dimmer”
NME reports that Maximo Park are offering a free download of a track from album number three, Quicken The Heart. It’s not an especially remarkable track, but it’s just a taste, not a single. The record is out in May 11 and the offer is only good for a fortnight.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are streaming their new album It’s Blitz! on their MySpace in advance of its March 31 release, and goodness this is a sleek and shiny record. Those who loved the band for their unhinged, spiky guitar freak-outs may be disappointed but for those who always thought that they should indulge their potent inner disco-pop band, your ship has come in. And by you, I mean me. They’ve also got a new video. And Karen O gives an interview to Pitchfork about the internets.
Good news – Sky Larkin are coming to town! Bad news – it’s in support of Los Campesinos!. This isn’t an indictment of the Welsh kiddies – I’m not a big fan but they’ve got an energetic, entertaining show. It’s a complaint because that April 1 show at the Opera House would be my third gig in a row when I expect to still be recovering from SxSW, and I don’t realistically think I can swing that, and I’m planning on seeing them in Austin anyways. But to anyone who is going – get there early and see them! – and to anyone on the fence about attending – do so! BrooklynVegan has full Los Camp dates including which ones feature Sky Larkin support.
The National have made their contribution to the Dark Was The Night AIDS benefit album available to download, and it’s a gem. A sparkly, shiny gem. You can also watch them perform it at PitchforkTV. They – along with Feist, Sharon Jones and other contributors to the album will be playing a special show in New York City at Radio City Music Hall on May 3 that will surely be something to remember. We will have to settle for seeing them at the Kool Haus on May 21.