Bombadil’s Upcoming Re-Issue A Rare Example Of Music Done Right

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

Originality, it seems, is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the current era of music. The world of pop music is dominated by autotuned, radio ready songs aimed mainly at tweens and teens. The rock industry is equally dominated by crunching, downtuned guitars and largely indecipherable cookie monster growls. This applies across the board, whether one is listening to metalcore, deathcore, black metal or any other major subgenre of the rock world. Even the world of punk has gone increasingly down that path. And even in the world of rap, so many songs cover the same themes from one to the next. That’s not to say that every single pop act, rock band or rap artist is the same as the last. But audiences will agree that it seems increasingly difficult to find an act that truly stands out. On June 24th, North Carolina based indie rock act Bombadil will show once again that among the unoriginal music that pollutes the seas of the music industry, original and creative music does exist. That is thanks to the upcoming re-issue of the band’s 2009 album Tarpits and Canyonlands. Being that Bombadil is an indie act, even the band’s current fans may not be so familiar with this record. There are those that have never heard Bombadil’s music, either. Taking into consideration both this and the show of pure creativity and originality on the part of the band here, Tarpits and Canyonlands becomes all the more of a joy to experience. The band proves this right off the top with the album’s opener, ‘I Am.’

‘I Am’ is so enjoyable primarily for its overall composition. The song is short and simple. Its total run time comes in at only one minute and thirty-two seconds. It is short. That goes without saying. But even in that short time, there is so much going on within the song. The call and response on the part of the band members is the most notable of the many things going on in the song. The band members sing back and forth against the song’s equally simple piano line, “I am/Building you a pyramid/Lost in the sand.” It’s not just a call and response, either. The lyrics are sung in rounds, too. All of that is balanced with the introduction of one final line, which is accompanied by a guitar line that compliments both the piano and the vocals. That the band was able to balance so much in one song—and one of such short duration—is quite the statement about the band’s musicianship. That the band would even think to construct the song in such fashion as it did instead is even more of a statement. It shows real creativity. It makes the song a double threat. It’s creative and original, and it’s technically sound. So while it is short, it is also quite the statement of what listeners can expect from this album. It isn’t the only example of what makes this album a must hear, either.

Late in the album, the members of Bombadil present to listeners what is one of the most deeply emotional pieces in the record in the form of ‘Marriage.’ This song is just as simple, on the surface, as ‘I Am.’ Yet in its simplicity, there is so much going on. Pianist/vocalist Stuart Robinson presents a musical story of a couple that has been married for allegedly twenty years. It is a story of what happens after the happily ever after of the big wedding and those first years together. And to say that it is moving would be an understatement. He presents the couple asking one another how one feels about the other “after the two hundredth time” of a given situation would he or she still feel the same about the other. It starts off with supposedly the unnamed wife asking her husband, “What would you say of marriage/After the two hundredth time/I told the same joke/And then I broke/Your favorite watch/With my heel?” The husband offers his own situation, asking “What would you say of true love/After the two hundredth time/I love you/And then I blew/Your confidence/That was in my past/I thought you knew/I thought you knew/This was/Marriage.” This back and forth goes back and forth across the course of the song’s two-minute and thirty-five second run time. It is set against the gentle yet almost bittersweet strains of Robinson’s piano playing. It would have been easy for Robinson to give the song more of a playful vibe. Instead, he opted for something deeper and more emotional. He comes across with this song as wanting to show everything that the couple has endured over the course of its marriage and the all too real feelings of uncertainty that come with life together. He didn’t mean it to come across as something depressing. That’s obvious. He wanted to give the song more realism per se. And he succeeded in that arena. For that reason, ‘Marriage’ proves to be just one more of the highest of highs on this record.

Both ‘Marriage’ and ‘I Am’ are important points in the overall structure of Tarpits and Canyonlands. That is thanks to the talent and depth presented in both songs. There is much more of that talent and depth presented throughout the course of this record. But for all of the seriousness and emotional depth presented throughout the record, there is at least one song that shows the band’s more lighthearted side on the record. The song in question is ‘Oto The Bear.’ It’s a completely nonsensical song lyrically speaking, that simply must be heard to be believed. As nonsensical as it is lyrically, it is just as catchy in terms of its musical side. Robinson is accompanied by drummer James Phillips and fellow musicians Daniel Michalak and Bryan Rahja on guitar and saxophone. The entire band together crafts a song with which one can’t help but sing and dance. It’s a nice break from the more serious material included on Tarpits and Canyonlands. That’s not to say that the other songs that make up the album aren’t enjoyable. Hardly. If anything, it shows that the band’s members knew something more lighthearted was needed, thus this piece was included. And it’s a good thing that it was. That’s because it’s one more example of how fun an album can be when a band actually tries to present both talent and originality to audiences. Simply put, it’s an album that easily serves as an example of music done right.

Tarpits and Canyonlands will be available Tuesday, June 24th via Ramseur Records. Audiences can pre-order the re-issue on vinyl now at http://bombadil.spinshop.com/details/225939. The album can be downloaded digitally at http://bombadil.spinshop.com/Music/details/214209?parent_url=http%3A%2F%2Fbombadil.spinshop.com%2Fstore%2Fbombadil.spinshop.com%2FMerchandise. The band will be in Winston-Salem, North Carolina performing live at the Twin CityRib Fest this Friday in support of Tarpits and Canyonlands. It will also be in Carrboro at the famed Cat’s Cradle on Saturday, June 21st and at the Port City RibFest in Wilmington, North Carolina on Saturday, August 16th. These are just some of the band’s upcoming tour dates in support of its upcoming re-issue. Audiences can check out Bombadil’s most current tour schedule online now at http://www.facebook.com/wearebombadil and http://www.bombadilmusic.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bombadil To Re-Issue Album This Summer

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

North Carolina based indie-rock band Bombadil—Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips—will re-issue its much heralded album Tarpits and Canyonlands this Summer.

Bombadil will re-issue Tarpits and Canyonlands on Tuesday, June 24th. The album will be re-issued on a limited edition double-disc vinyl set. The album will be presented on two 180-gram, 12-inchcolored vinyl discs. The music on each disc has been re-mastered direct from the album’s original analog tapes to 24/96 and playback speed of 45rpm. They will be housed in a tri-fold jacket that holds a custom color print for fourteen of the album’s songs. The prints were painted by American illustrator Robbi Behr of Idiots’ Books.

As an added bonus for fans of Bombadil, the new vinyl re-issue will also come with a code for a free download of the entire album digitally and a bonus song,’Barcelona.’ The song was recorded during the sessions for Tarpits and Canyonlands.

Fans that might not have the means to play back a vinyl, the album will also be re-issued and available at a reduced price in stores and online. Audiences can get a taste of the album now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U4ybU1KVcQ.

More information on Bombadil’s upcoming re-issue, the band’s tour and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/wearebombadil and http://www.bombadilmusic.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Langhorne Slim Announces Special Record Store Day Release, Upcoming Tour

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

Langhorne Slim and The Law will release a special two-song 7” vinyl in celebration of Record Store Day.

“Animal” will be released this Saturday, April 19th as part of the nation’s annual Record Store Day. The vinyl will be limited to only 1000 copies and will only be available for the day. It will retail for SRP of $6.98. Audiences that pick up the special vinyl will also receive with it, a download card with a link to a site where the song can be downloaded digitally and a link to a music video for the song. The video for ‘Animal’ was filmed while the band was on tour. The link to both the video and song download are available exclusively with purchase of the vinyl.

‘Animal’ was originally written for use in a 30-second Converse X Foot Locker advertising spot called “Made To Make A Scene.” The vinyl’s B-side is a new, previously unreleased song called ‘Space Girl.’ The band describes the song, written by Slim, as “”an improvised, psychedelic excursion recorded in a backyard in Texas.”

Slim explained in an interview that it was an indie record store in his home state of New Jersey and others across America today that helped shape his love of music today. And because they continue to be so influential today, the band wanted to give back to those shops by including its own piece to Record Store Day. “Thank goodness for independent record stores,” Slim said. “It was Princeton Record Exchange in NJ that saved me from the music shops in the mall when I was a kid.  And countless others around the country and world that have fed and nurtured my love and passion for music as a fan and provided me the ability to get my own stuff out there as an artist.  A thousand thank yous to all the indie record shops and may you live on forever!!”

Those not lucky enough to get their hands on a copy of Slim’s special new Record Store Day release can still catch the band live on tour. Langhorne Slim and The Law is set to hit the road next month along with The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, and Deer Tick. The band’s tour schedule also includes some headlining dates. The band’s current tour schedule is available below. It includes a pair of dates in North Carolina, the first being at the famed Filmore in Charlotte and the second being at The Orange Peel in Asheville.

MAY

9   Alabama Theatre, Birmingham, AL  (with Jason Isbell)

10   Fillmore, Charlotte, NC  (with Deer Tick)

11   Shaky Knees Music Festival, Atlanta, GA

13   The Social, Orlando, Fl  (with Deer Tick)

14   Crowbar, Ybor City, FL  (with Deer Tick)

16   The Pour House, Charleston, SC  (with Deer Tick)

17   The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC  (with Deer Tick)

18   Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw, NC  (with Deer Tick)

20, 21  The Black Cat, Washington, D.C.  (with Deer Tick)

JUNE

14   White Snake River State Park, Indianapolis, IN (with The Avett Brothers)

15   District Square, Kalamazoo, MI  (headline)

17   Space, Evanston, IL  (headline)

19   The Ready Room, St. Louis, MO  (headline)

20   Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, Bonner Springs, KS  (with The Avett Brothers)

21   Cox Business Center, Tulsa, OK  (with The Avett Brothers)

JULY

5, 6   Ottawa Blues Festival, Ottawa, ON, CANADA

9-13    Winnipeg Folk Festival, Winnipeg, MB  CANADA

31   Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, CT

AUGUST

1-3   Gathering of the Vibes

29-31  Campfire Outdoor Adventure & Music Festival, Lakewood, PA

 

More information on Langhorne Slim and The Law is available online at http://www.langhorneslim.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Langhorne-Slim/220789179696, and http://twitter.com/langehorneslim. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Langhorne Slim Performing On Conan Monday Night

Langhorne Slim & The Law is getting to be quite the big deal.  The Portland, Oregon based band’s song, ‘The Way We Move’ has found itself onto televisions and computer screens the nation (and possibly the world) over as it’s being used in the latest ad campaign for the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system.    Now the band is taking the next step in its meteoric rise to fame.

The band will be on Conan this coming Monday night on TBS.  The band is scheduled to be on Conan to perform its hit song, which is also the title track from its latest release.  Conan airs weekly at 11pm EST/10 CT.  The Way We Move was released this past June on Ramseur Records.    Fans that don’t get the chance to check out the band this Monday night will still get the chance to hear the band’s music live as it tours in support of The Way We Move.  The band will be at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, TN tomorrow, Saturday March 23rd.  It’s just one stop on a very busy schedule for the band.  Fans in North Carolina will get their chance to see the band live when it makes a stop at the French Broad River Festival in Hot Springs, NC on Saturday, May 4th.

While fans wait on both the band’s live performance on Conan and any of its numerous upcoming live shows, they can check out the video for the album’s title track now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KEv3rbNJuE.  Fans can also get a listing of the band’s tour schedule on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/langhorneslim and its official website, http://www.langhorneslim.com.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Durham, NC’s Bombadil Announces New Album, Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

Durham, North Carolina’s own Bombadil is back.  The indie-folk/pop act is back on the road for the first time in three years.  The band is touring in support of its latest release, Metrics of Affection.  The album is slated to be released July 23rd on Ramseur Records.  The band kicks off its new tour Saturday, March 2nd at Carrboro’s famed Cat’s Cradle.  The band has been on hiatus of no doing of its own.  Daniel Michalak (bass, piano, harmonica) suffered a nerve injury that sidelined him indefinitely.  His injury had such an effect on the use of his hands that he was unable to perform and record.  But now with time, Michalak’s hands have healed enough to the point that he feels he can play again, thus leading to the recording of the band’s latest album.

The band already has one album out, titled Tarpits and Canyons.  It was released to critical acclaim.  One journalist even exclaimed of the album that the album in question should have been the one that made the band famous.  But sadly, when Michalak sustained his injury, it also sidelined the entire band.  That’s all in the past as the band is preparing to release its long awaited new LP.  While fans wait on that album, they can check out some of the band’s music online now through YouTube.  The band has a video for the song, ‘So Many Ways To Die’ posted.  Audiences can check it out now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U4ybU1KVcQ&feature=youtu.be.  The video features vintage footage of individuals and even a dog in somewhat dangerous situations.  It even includes footage of the military’s atom bomb test.  The images are rather well aligned with the song’s lyrics.  It’s something that audiences have to experience for themselves to truly appreciate.

After checking out the band’s video, fans can also hear more music from the band live as it tours.  As already noted, Bombadil will perform live at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro tomorrow, Saturday, March 2nd.  That date is followed by a performance at Krankie’s Coffee in Winston-Salem, NC next Friday, March 8th.  The band will be in Wilmington, NC the following day at The Whiskey alongside fellow bands Onward and Soldier.  The band’s last NC date before heading out across the country comes March 21st at Legends in Boone.  As the band hits the road, it will be touring alongside another well-known NC act, The Carolina Chocolate Drops.  It will be a supporting act for the Chocolate Drops at a handful of dates and for Lone Madrone at others.  For a full listing of tour dates and all of the latest news and more from the band, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/wearebombadil, http://www.bombadilmusic.com and http://twitter.com/wearebombadil.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Spin.com Debuts Video For New Single

Spin.com, the online home of Spin Magazine, has officially premiered the video for Samantha Crain’s new single, ‘Never Going Back.’  The video is an innovative flipbook style piece that features a continuous “stream” of images of Crain and her band performing the song.  What makes the video so innovative is that the “stream” of images in question was actually set up much like that of a dominoes setup.  The camera follows every single image as each one falls throughout the song.  The entire video entailed over 3,800 frames.  Each one was separately printed, cut out, and re-filmed for the video.  The final product had the band performing exactly in sync with the song.  Audiences can check out the video online now at http://www.spin.com/#articles/samantha-crain-never-going-back-video-flip-book

Courtesy:  Herfitz PR

Courtesy: Herfitz PR

‘Never Going Back’ is just the latest single off of Crain’s upcoming new release, Kid Face, which will be available in stores and online February 19th.  She is currently touring in support of the upcoming new release with dates in New York, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas already planned.  She finished up the first part of her tour with a string of performance in North Carolina over the past weekend.  To get a full listing of Crain’s tour dates and all the latest news from Samantha Crain, audiences can online to http://www.facebook.com/Samanthacrainmusic and http://www.samanthacrain.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Crain’s Third Record One of 2013’s Early Sleeper Hits

Courtesy:  Ramseur Records

Courtesy: Ramseur Records

Samantha Crain is one of the music industry’s best kept secrets.  This twenty-six year old Oklahoman has been making waves with her upcoming third full length studio release, Kid Face.  Crain’s new album has been getting attention from both the public sphere and that of public broadcasting with positive reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, Spin, and National Public Radio.  What’s most intriguing about the album isn’t so much its songs, but the ability of the songs to keep listeners’ attention throughout the course of the record.  Considering that the album was recorded and mix over the course of just nine days, the album becomes that much more impressive.

Crain’s third album is a solid piece of county/folk that not only Crain’s fans will enjoy but also those of fellow female artists Nora Jones, and Regina Specktor among a handful of others.  Its opener, ‘Never Going Back’ makes for quite the interesting starting point for Crain on this album.  The song, as Crain herself writes of it, is about an individual who had been involved in an affair but has made the life altering decision to not go back; thus the song’s title.  It goes completely against the mold of the stereotypical country song.  Instead of someone singing about having lost a partner, this is an empowering song about someone who has made the decision to get out of a relationship that would have otherwise led to such a country song.  She writes in ‘Never Going Back’, “The ending of ten thousand dreams/My soul has finally been set free/From his cool eyes/I’ll hide myself in softer storms/Crawl out of holes/Become reborn/To my surprise…I’ve stayed afloat in quicker sand/But now I have a place to stand and call my own/I had a deal with man and God/One let me down and one did not/So I made my way back home.”  The uplifting and infectious sound of the song and the equally positive lyrics make this a good start to this record.  On top of that, the two together make for a song that is sure to be an instant hit for Crain’s fans.

Crain doesn’t note in writing about the songs on this album the roots of ‘Never Going Back.’  More than likely, it had no influence from any personal bearings.  Though in reading through what she had to note about other songs, many of the other songs on this album did in fact come from personal experience.  And one of the best of those songs is another song that goes almost completely against the grain of standard pop song writing.  That song comes late on the album in the form of ‘Somewhere All The Time.’  Crain writes of this song that its influence comes from her life on the road.  She notes that travelling is in fact, her “obsession and her method.” Although sometimes she does need a break.  And thus this song was born.  It’s a response to the people who ask her if being on the road so much is difficult.  She writes of those who ask her, “Everybody wants to go somewhere/Everybody wants to go all the time/Don’t you ever want to sit down some/Take a little time.”  Her response is two-fold.  By and large, she writes of the joys of touring despite things like vehicles breaking down and people who seemingly get paranoid when she’s out on the road.  For everything that she loves of being on the road, Crain does explain that need to get away as she sings, “Somebody better say a prayer for me/Cause I need a break from this whole scene/Spend some time in the grasslands/And my man to love me/Could you forget about me for a while.”  As with the album’s opener, this is another nice upbeat piece all the way around that fans will instantly enjoy.  It’s really one of those classic storytelling style songs that will especially impress fans of singer songwriters the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan.  And it makes for one more piece of the whole that will make this album a favorite both for long-time fans and for those who are new to Samantha Crain’s music.

As has already been noted here, a big part of what makes Samantha Crain’s new album so impressive is her ability and seeming drive to go against the grain of standard music and general human standards.  As the album nears its final notes, listeners get one more song proving that in ‘Ax.’  It really comes across as a song of social commentary, so to speak.  Crain writes about the song that ‘Ax’ is her response to the seemingly increasing negativity in the world today and that while it seems “against her own nature most days”, she wrote this as her own “call to try and be one of the giving and humane.”  In simple terms, ‘Ax’ is proof that people can be good.  They just have to try.  She writes, “You can put your ax back in its place/Your face is wearing all that awful hate/It’s tough to be afraid/But you have to let it lay.”  This is such a short verse in an equally short song.  But being such a short song and short verse, it proves that less is more.  She says so much in so few words.  The gentility of the song’s musical backing adds even more emotion to the song.  It’s just her singing along with a piano and guitar.  The minimalist approach—both lyrically and musically–harkens back to another era of music’s greatest eras past.  That being considered too, one can’t help but appreciate this song even more both in itself and as a part of the bigger picture that is Crain’s new album.

Samantha Crain offers audiences a lot of impressive material, both musically and lyrically, as has been noted here.  The songs already mentioned are just a tiny picture of what audiences can expect from her upcoming release.  It offers eight more tracks of which listeners will each find their own favorite.  The album will be available February 19th on Ramseur Records.  In celebration of its upcoming release, Samantha Crain will be touring in support of the album.  Her tour starts January 23rd in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Berkeley Café.  Doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 8pm.  For full information on the show, including ticket information, go online to http://www.berkeleycafe.net.

Her performance in Raleigh will be followed up by a set of dates in Wilmington, North Carolina and Pembroke, North Carolina between January 24th and 26th.  From there, she will be heading up to New York before making her way through the Midwest.  Fans can get a full tour itinerary online at http://www.facebook.com/Samanthacrainmusic and http://www.samanthacrain.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Samantha Crain Announces Title, Release Date For New Album

Pop-folk artist Samantha Crain will release her new album early next year.  Her third full-length studio release, “Kid Face” will hit stores February 19, 2013.  It will be distributed via Ramseur Records.  Audiences can check out the new album’s lead single, ‘Never Going Back’ online now at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/daily-download.  Anyone who is a fan of old school country and folk music will love the mix of guitars and violins on this song along with the soft drumming backing it all.  This is a song of moving past a broken relationship and seeing the light ahead.

“Kid Face” is a personal and intimate and introspective look into the life and mind of Crain herself.  For instance, ‘Taught To Lie’ sees Crain looking back at past wrongs and her desire for acknowledgement in finally reaching that point of taking responsibility for what she has done.  It’s a song of her wanting closure.  There’s also an uplifting piece in ‘Ax’

While audiences wait for her new album, they can get all the latest news and more on Samantha Crain’s website, http://www.samanthacrain.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.