Jams 2016 Vol. 20

"It's a hand me down though the thoughts be broken, maybe it's better left unsung // Well I don't know, don't really care // Let there be songs to fill the air"

~ Grateful Dead - Ripple

It's official folks, I'm a Deadhead, all thanks to The National and friends. The guys put together Day of the Dead, a 3 disc, 5 1/2 hour tribute to The Grateful Dead. This record is a who's who of the rock world, from Courtney Barnett toJim James to Mumford & Sons to Wilco to Jenny Lewis.  The list goes on and on, there are so many amazing artists who take these songs and make them their own. Whether it's Lusius with the updated, electronic version of Uncle John's Band, or The Walkmen with their slowed down, epic crescendo in Ripple, all of these songs feel fresh, but make you want to hear the original. The album includes two live track with TGD's Bob Weir himself. Thanks to this album I have been listening to American Beauty a lot and I've been playing Ripple on guitar constantly. If you aren't a fan or you subscribe to the "jam band" stereotype of The Grateful Dead, this album will most definitely open your mind to this band.

Last year I was introduced to Car Seat Headrest with the album Teens of Style. You may have seen it on my list of the top albums of 2015, the mastermind of the band Will Toledo mixed lo-fi, punk, and experimental rock to some great results. On the sequel, Teens of Denial, he takes it even further and the result rocks harder and digs deeper. The band got a lot of attention when they released the first single Vincent, earlier this year. While his previous records sounded like a solo act, this one is definitely a good ol' fashioned rock band record. The songs are meandering epics, some 6 or 7 minutes long, but extremely engaging throughout. The last album was great, but it is clear they have really come into their own on this one and it has definitely established them as a band to watch.

This edition of Jams contains one of the most beautiful albums of the year.  Singer/songwriter Jordan Lee released Skip a Sinking Stone, his second album under the name Mutual Benefit. This record is brilliantly crafted and extremely intimate and powerful. This album belongs in a category I'm calling "range rock" which is folk inspired indie rock that paints picutres of wide open meadows or cabin's in the woods. This record is all about searching for meaning and purpose and he tells it through the lens of him traveling through these type of landscapes. This is an album that ponders many important topics and offers some fractured wisdom. To see my official review check out the new issue ofGhettoblaster Magazine. I'll leave you with an end quote, one of the most powerful lines from Skip A Sinking Stone. Fly on Voltures. Ca-CAWWW!

"Though at times we lose our way, home is closer every day and just a little past the haze it's not for nothing."

~Mutual Benefit - Not For Nothing