Tuesday Touts (April 22, 2014)

Got a nice quartet of touts for you today. See what you think, and remember to send in some of your favorites as well.

The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas by Courtney Barnett

I’ve been grooving to “Avant Gardner” for a while now, and it’s so out-of-the-box brilliant that it seemed like it had one-hit-wonder written over it. Color me pleasantly surprised to find that the rest of Barnett’s songs, collected on a pair of EP’s, deliver just as nicely. She actually shows great versatility on this collection, proving just as able to handle the slice-of-life deadpan of “Avant” as the dreamy balladry of “Anonymous Club.” Can’t wait for the first album proper. Check out the ramshackle, Wes Anderson-directing-a-tennis-match video for “Avant Gardner” in the link.

Songs by John Fullbright

There’s a reason that singer-songwriters never go out of style. When it’s done right, as on Fullbright’s upcoming album Songs, due out May 27, it’s pretty irresistible. Fullbright got some Grammy love for his debut album and I have a feeling that this new one is going to break him to a wider audience than just the Americana crowd. His lyrics are never less than insightful and the stark, well-considered arrangements always seem to cast them in just the right light. The whole album is lovely. The YouTube link below to the moving “When You’re Here” is just a taste for you.

Benji by Sun Kil Moon

Again, this was a case of a single song leading me to an album that I now really love. The song is “Ben’s My Friend,” Mark Kozelek’s (the man behind Sun Kil Moon) wryly affecting tale of a trip to a Postal Service concert that cuts much deeper than that description could ever suggest. The rest of the album has the same kind of nifty mix of the trivial and the serious, as musings on the deaths of loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers elegantly share the same space with Panera Bread and Led Zeppelin movies. This one’s been out since February, so don’t waste any time picking it up. A YouTube clip of “Ben’s My Friend” below.

“Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” by Jesse Winchester

Who said the Touts all have to be new stuff? It is one of the sadder aspects of human nature that it takes an artist’s death sometimes to make us aware of their work again. Winchester passed away last week, and I got the chance to write about this song in American Songwriter. Suffice it to say that it is a beauty, but that’s par for the course for this performer who shied from the limelight even as his peers and contemporaries sung his praises. Check out the link to a gorgeous performance of “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” below, only be prepared for it to floor you like it does Elvis Costello in the clip. Then look up the rest of Winchester’s wonderful catalog.

(E-mail me at countdownkid@hotmail.com or follow me on Twitter @JimBeviglia. Remember that you can pre-order my new book, Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs, now, and it will be released in June.)








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