Worth getting up for in July: seeing the Orioles with the Paternal Unit and the Unc; seeing the Orioles, for a second year in a row, while they were over .500 in July; Chris Davis hitting home runs; FLOPPY HAT NIGHT; seeing Young Vic’s latest version of HMS Pinafore with the parentals; the baritone who played Captain Corcoran; every place the parental units ever find to eat in Baltimore or elsewhere; naps; the first video from the new Julie Ruin album; Yoenis Cespedes going crazy during the home run derby; three Orioles starters on the All-Star team; how well all the All-Star Orioles played; realizing that on July 6, Manny Machado got to legally drink beer and the Paternal Unit got Medicare ahahahahaha; new videos from the Breedings; being a sneaky genius; announcements of new Dr Dog and the Head and the Heart; apparently just baseball, which is okay with me.
Two Cow Garage — The Death of the Self-Preservation Society: not out until September, and obviously given my history there will be a big fat wordy full review later, but basically, if you’ve never heard of Two Cow Garage, this record is about to find you your newest favorite band, and there’s not a band out there that deserves huge fat success for a genius record — their sixth full length, but never mind, it’s okay you’ve been wasting your time all these years, you’re here now — more than Two Cow.
Will Schwartz — New Haircut: if Lousiana novelist Walker Percy made a stripped down acoustic album that’s just vocals and steel and melancholy fingerpicked guitar, it would be this record by Will Schwartz — it’s a deceptively simple and stripped down EP that packs an enormous punch, like Percy’s novels. Simply language and simple sounds that are absolutely rip-your-heart-from-your-chest when you listen closely. This is one of my best totally random discoveries this year thus far. Get it.
Tedo Stone — Good Go Bad: sultry, swampy eletronica-soul; a little psychadelic and a lot all over the place, but in a great way. A record that has depths and that it took me a long time to really grasp; it’s smart and the orchestration and writing are complex and unique. I’m really smitten by this record, actually — something about the piano and the organ and the guitars and the distorted vocals just sings to my soul. Get it from This Is American Music here.
The O’s — Thunderdog: deeply earnest — but not uncharmingly earnest — banjo heavy roots rock. There’s a bit of early Old 97s to the rhythms of the songs, and a bit of the Band, and a bit of my beloved Jones Street Station on their first record. There’s a lot of influences and styles going on, and some work better than others, but none fail; all of the tracks on this record have at least one thing, and most have more, to recommend them. The songwriting is strong, and I think could get stronger. I’d like to see them live, see how some of these songs go over in front of an audience.
Kent Goolsby — Trophies of Youth: good old-fashioned honky tonk, and spectacular, hook-filled songwriting, from the ex-Only Songs frontman. This skips and sings with steel and slide and twang, and is truly one of those records from this year that’s going to be missed by loads of people who would love it, but don’t know about it. So now you know about it.
BECAUSE MONDAY NEEDS KITTIES TO MAKE IT HAPPY, DAMN IT.
KITTIES WITH FACES TO KISS.
And once you’ve made all your smoochy noises at them, may I recommend this NYT feature on Siglinda and Goathouse? Please?
Back in 2008, I met a bunch of kids from Greensboro who called themselves Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and with whose music shep. and I immediately fell in love with. Over the next two and a half years, we saw HGTR play probably upwards of 50 times, all over the Southeast. We drove to Norfolk to see them play in an Italian restaurant, if that tells you anything.
And in the spring of 2009, they were nice enough to let me hang out while they were working on what wouldn’t become their second album. I never really shared those photos here, as it was at the very beginning of this blog. It seems like a good time to dig them out, though, because HGTR has released those sessions, never before public, on Bandcamp as The Blood Beneath. What a title; these songs are that, really, because they never became that album, but they were recorded and developed here. The first time I heard “Wish It Was Easy” — not in these sessions, and which to my knowledge never made a studio record — it was in the Trekky Records living room, Matt and Stephen, acoustic and a cappella.
It’s a record that marks a very, very particular time to me, and a band that was instrumental to my early photography.
You can buy all of HGTR’s records digitally at their Bandcamp
Putting together some test shots for branching into family photography — unlike musicians, who are lovely humans but also almost always broke, families have money for photos. Just a supplement, not a replacement.
This adorable 18 month old lives downstairs. She and her parents let me do a test shoot with them, where we all got bitten to death by mosquitoes.