The Hold Steady was the last band (part of) our team saw before the world has changed, in a year that started recreational, but ended kinda medical. Our yearly pilgrimage to London will unfortunately not happen in 2021, but they’re making up for it with their first proper album since 2014 (not counting 2019’s single collection “Thrashing Thru the Passion”). Our favourite rock band is back. Let’s celebrate like it’s early March 2020, minus the getting ourselves crammed inside a room with no masks on. At least for now.
Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and unbiased when writing about a festival that is such a big part of your life. Except for two (very) unremarkable lineups that made me stay home, since I was old enough to go to college all my summers involved a trip to Paredes de Coura (and a painful trip back, too). When you’re a kid, they say you’ll eventually get older and boring, in a process they call “becoming an adult”. This usually comes with amazing perks such as ceasing to listen to any new music whatsoever, stopping seeing your (also ageing) friends, having great conversations about changing diapers with your remaining friends (yes, the other couple with kids you always go vacationing with to some shitty beach full of other couples with kids and the odd mother-in-law). Obviously, a multi-day, non-kid friendly, rural music festival such as Festival Paredes de Coura seems like one of those things that are amongst the first to drop from your newfound “adult life”. Except you don’t have to be that person; and is there anything better to remind you of that than going there and finding all your friends in the same place, same month, year after year, all over again? (Well, other than imagining the smell of those diapers.)
We’ve been championing Stella Donnelly for so long now that we didn’t even remember Beware of the Dogs is her first proper LP. A great record from yet another Australian songwriting treasure – check it out if you’re also into Courtney Barnett or Julia Jacklin. Plus: brand new tracks from Meat Puppets, The Hold Steady, Durand Jones & The Indications, Richard Hawley, Nick Waterhouse, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Tropical Fuck Storm, Stef Chura, Snapped Ankles, The Comet is Coming, Protomartyr, Earth, Mathilda, Lomelda, Billie Eilish, Bedouine, Alice Phoebe Lou, Patty Griffin, The Felice Brothers, Adam Ostrar, and Tyler Ramsey.
Our favorite Texas Piano Man is back! At this point we’ve featured almost half of Robert Ellis’ new record on this playlist, and deservedly so. Plus: new songs by Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Hayes Carll, John Paul White, Damien Jurado, A.A. Bondy, The Cactus Blossoms, Hexvessel, Conan Osiris, Jessie Ware, Alice Phoebe Lou, Wye Oak, Weyes Blood, Jenny Lewis, Lola Kirke, Emily Scott Robinson, Leyla McCalla, Amy McCarley, Okey Dokey & Liz Cooper & The Stampede, Broken Social Scene, and George Strait.
Pedro The Lion’s first record since David Bazan went solo after 2004’s Achilles Heel is our album of the week. Here’s to hoping an European tour is in the works: it’s been almost six years since we hosted one of the most beautiful concerts we ever promoted. Plus: new tracks by Night Beats, Ryan Bingham, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Blank Range,Strand of Oaks, Ex Hex, Cass McCombs, The Comet is Coming, Lala Lala & Why?, Alice Phoebe Lou, Tiny Ruins, Weyes Blood, Mandolin Orange, H.C. McEntire, Townes Van Zandt, Twain, Bob Sumner Music, Steve Gunn, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Wild Reeds, and Teddy and the Rough Riders.