Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heavy Metal Ha-Ha (Halloween edition)

This just in (verbatim from the press release, with my bold added):

Sweden's whore-filth death metal horde, BASTARD PRIEST, return to stink up your speakers with latest full-length, Ghouls Of The Endless Night.

Featuring eight flesh-tearing tracks, the follow-up to 2010's Under the Hammer of Destruction is set for release via Pulverised Records on November 7, 2011! Recorded in mere days at Parasit Studio with Fred Estby (Necronaut, ex-Dismember) and mastered at Enormous Door Studio (Poison Idea, Phobia, Extinction of Mankind, etc.), Ghouls Of The Endless Night offers up a decomposing smorgasbord of primitive death metal and snarly hardcore punk perfectly fit for fans of Master, Autopsy, Dismember, corpsefucking and grave digging...

Ghouls Of The Endless Night Track Listing:
1. Pestilent Force
2. Ghouls Of The Endless Night
3. Enter Eternal Nightmare
4. Poison
5. Fucking Slaughter
6. Sacrilegious Ground
7. Last Scream
8. Enormous Thunder Of The End

Play this for the little kiddies coming to your door for trick or treat and you'll scare the crap out of them and their parents!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pruning the Bonsai - Learn from My Mistakes

A typical Saturday afternoon finds me playing with the music collection, sorting through new CD/digital releases and old LPs, trying to decide do they stay or do they go? Trying to revive the O/CD Tally, I started a new database which allows me to sort by artist, album title, digital or physical delivery, purchased or promo, etc. Why? Because I want to.

If a new CD replaces an old LP, I check to see if the vinyl is worth selling on (it has to fetch more than $10 and not have more than a dozen copies available to make the process worthwhile). If it isn't, it goes into the pile for the trade-in store. Going into the LP shelves invariably leads to finding stuff I haven't heard in ages and want to hear again. Today's "Oldie But Goodie" - Aztec Two-Step's "Second Step." I was especially excited to hear "Faster Gun" again - a gentle love song that knocked me out Back In The Day, when I saw the acoustic duo perform at my early alma mater Stony Brook (two years there and then I finished at NYU) - yeah, it was that long ago. And I rediscovered "Humpty Dumpty," a sweet/sad song that tells of unrequited love and asks if the Eggman jumped. (Sounds goofy but trust me, it works.)

And then I found some old Arlo Guthrie (I heard he and Pete Seeger showed up at OWS, NY, so good on them) and I thought I'd see if "Washington County" is worth holding onto. Frankly, listening to it now, I'm surprised I put up with that nasal-y whine as much as I did. Not to bash AG; he's written some fine songs, it's just that a little of that voice goes a long way. Ultimately, I think I'll just use my remaining credit for the month, grab a few songs from this LP and add it to the Outta Here bag.

Oh, and while I was ripping some songs from CDs that don't need to be kept (if it's not a favorite artist and there's nothing special about the packaging, I convert to digital and trade/sell off the physical copies) I discovered that I've lost a bunch of previously ripped tunes! My own damn fault; I wasn't paying full attention to the iTunes playlists. I have just learned the hard way that, if the time of the track is "Not Available," that means it wasn't transferred at all. And there's a bunch of songs that are suspiciously short. Checking them out, there are a few tracks under 30 seconds that are meant to be that way - interstitial (great word!) bits and band introductions, dialogue snippets, etc. - but again, a really short time listing is a sign that a song didn't get fully transferred. Oh, poop!

As I have often told the kids, if I can't set a good example, let me be a horrible warning...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heavy Metal Ha-Ha

I love press releases touting very heavy rock music. Not because I listen to deathcore or grindcore or extreme metal or whatever the variations are, but because it has the most descriptive writing, and it's often unintentionally hilarious. Like this (emphasis added):

"NUNFUCKRITUAL's In Bondage To The Serpent crawls from the gutter like a diseased, decayed and decrepit corpse; a choking dirge; a hideous, malformed infestation of filthy underground metal that ignores trends, defies categorization and brings together some of the darkest, blackest, nastiest manifestations ever committed to tape. Degraded and corrupt, these six blasphemous conjurations call upon decades of extreme metal experience to devastating effect, resulting in an album so gross, rank and genuinely disturbing that it is the aural equivalent of being cannibalized by the leprous sisters Plague and Death. An insidious poison running through your veins, slowly devouring your life force, until nothing remains, but ruin. Obsidian incantations seethe with pure evil energy, summoning ancient deities to commit terrible atrocities against organized religion, a celebration of the ultimate triumph of mankind's dark side. Swarming, swirling and shimmering with mal-intent, In Bondage To The Serpent breaks new ground with its omnipresent, all-consuming evil vibe. This eerie, potent brew is, quite simply, a manifestation of pure, undiluted evil. Sickness never sounded so real..."

Damn. I just missed my mom's birthday...

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Final Battle (for Now) of the Bands

Last Friday, I returned to Jammin’ Java for the finals of the 5th Mid-Atlantic Band Battle but this time, I was not a judge. And though I missed the camaraderie – and free food – at the judges table, I was able to float around more, chat with some of the bands without fear of seeming partial and got a little closer to the stage for photos. So, still a pleasure.

I had seen two of the acts – Lightspeed Rescue and Bethany and the Guitar - before. LSR had made it to the finals in a previous Band Battle in which I was a judge, in February, where they lost out to Delta Rae. (The Silver Liners were also on the bill that night, making it a particularly tough competition.) BATG (the initials want to make me call the band Batgirl) were the victors of one of the semi-final nights I served as a judge for in July. So I knew coming in that I was going to enjoy at least two of the sets.

When I came in the door, the first act onstage was a new one to me, Static Cinema, a quintet from Warrenton, VA. They were impressive right away, with a tight, muscular rock sound, a charismatic frontman and smooth moves from quiet melody to hard-bouncing party noise. Having just Googled the band for more info, I’m even more impressed to see that the group “consists of five members ranging from ages 16-19.”
Well-played, young sirs! Here’s a few shots from their performance…

Next up was Bethany and the Guitar, as good as I remembered them with bright harmonies, sweet acoustic guitars and friendly, female pop of the Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson school.
I just looked back to my older posting on the subject and saw that that’s pretty much how I described them last time. And these new pictures show pretty much the same stage visuals (So sue me.) You can listen for yourself to a few songs at the band's web site.
During a break between bands, a few members of Lightspeed Rescue (it’s a Power Rangers reference) came up to say hello. I could honestly tell them that I was looking forward to seeing the group again, as I’d thoroughly enjoyed their set last time.
Though there was a little hiccup in the momentum, with sound set-ups taking a bit longer than usual, the band came out roaring.
You can hear a few tracks from LSR’s debut EP, “Celebration,” at their site and, while I was happy to get a copy from them after the show and listen on the ride home, it’s not half as much fun as seeing them live, when the boundless energy, dueling guitarists and buff hip-hoppin’ vocalist Brandon Bester (he’s taken his shirt off both times that I’ve seen them) kick it up many notches. The group sites influences such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Outkast, which is all well and good, but I daresay Lightspeed Rescue can carve out a niche to call its own someday.

The final act on the bill was The Understudies, who had a strong fanbase present - lots of people walking around with black T-shirts with the band logo on it. At the risk of alienating those nice people, this was the one act of the night that didn't rock my socks. I think it's a genre-thing; I'm just not one for mid-tempo, kinda MOR blues rock, however capably performed. The drummer was kind enough to give me a cool bumper sticker ("Piano is the new sexy," it said) and a copy of the band's EP and I gave it a spin, but songs about the blues guitar player in Memphis who broke my heart are not my cuppa...
And thus, with four finalists having shown their stuff, it was time for the big announcement. The night’s Host With the Most, Nate Ihara, took to the stage with club staffers David Silberstein and Amy Jones, to open the envelope…
And the grand prize winners of the Mid-Atlantic Band Battle 5? Bethany and the Guitar.
Those last moments of the Band Battles are always a little bit sad. One act gets to celebrate while the others have to deal with disappointment. Having sat at the judges table in the past, I know that the final result can come down to very small numbers. I can't argue with the outcome, as I thoroughly enjoy Bethany and the Guitar and wouldn't say they didn't deserve the win.

Still, Lightspeed Rescue had an energy that couldn't be denied, even if, in a sense, it was by the final vote. I saw the guys in the band bunched together in a consoling group huddle after the winner was announced and I wanted to pat them on the back and say, "Don't give up. You're winners in my book."

But that's just me, not a judge, speaking.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Get Out (part one) - Scattered Trees at Red Palace

I'm rather ashamed to admit it but, since I'm among friends, I'll cop to the fact that I've been living in the DC area and writing about local music for double-digit years and, until last Sunday, had not been to the NE club area. Despite being a transplanted New Yorker who knows full well how people cop out of enjoying all a city has to offer for dubious reasons, I hesitated to go into this unexplored territory. Is there safe parking? (I once had my car broken into two blocks from the 9:30 Club, albeit many years ago.) Would I be okay wandering the streets alone? (I'm comfortable going to most NW places alone, but was waiting for someone to go exploring with me this time.) Bottom line, I was a wuss.

Push came to shove when I got word that Scattered Trees would be playing the Red Palace (former home of two clubs - The Red and the Black and the Palace of Wonders - which knocked down some wallage to form one new entity) on H St. NE. The band's album, "Sympathy," was advanced to me earlier this year, and I was pretty quickly smitten, especially by one track, "A Conversation About Death on New Year's Eve," which is, happily, available as a free download from the group's publicity gang. Take a listen and see if you don't love it, too.

Finally, spurred by my love of the album, I was determined to suck it up and see what NE has going on. My trusty Plus One pal, Sally, agreed to come along. Lesson learned - when in doubt about taking a chance on something that's intimidating (but not actually dangerous) - just do it! We had a great time. After taking a few wrong turns on our way into the NE quadrant, we came upon H Street - wide, well-lit, filled with cool-looking shops and free street parking - and walked into the Palace, a neat venue with a fascinating collection of carnival and burlesque signage and props (including a few that would be downright creepy if they weren't so obviously fake), a pleasent outside patio and a small (150 max?) performance space upstairs.

We ran a little late and so caught only the last song of the show's opener, Australian singer-songwriter Paul Dempsey, and even that was just as we walked up the stairs. Dempsey's publicist was kind enough to send a zip file of his debut, "Everything is True," when I told him I was going to the show and, having heard some of the songs pop up on the iPod shuffle since, I can say I'm sorry I didn't hear more. Again, there's a song available to share - "We'll Never Work In This Town Again," so hear it here. And, as a former Brooklynite, I gotta post this pic of Dempsey at a C train station.

The next act on the bill, the Alternate Routes, is one that Sally and I have seen before, a fine local act that tills the rootsy rock field. To give their music a culinary metaphor, I'd call them a Five Guys burger - nothing fancy or exotic, but a simple, solid, comfort recipe done with care and good taste. The guitarist who was closest to me is kinda cute, too...
Here's the whole group...
One song featured a tool box as a percussion instrument...
And I just happen to like stage accessories...
But the night, for me, was all about Scattered Trees who (staying with the food theme) are like finding a great all-night cafe that adds just the right new accent to a favorite dish. In this case, the sound is meditative, melodic rock with layered harmonies and melancholy, but not depressing, lyrics. Lead singer Nate Eisland wrote the album after the death of his father, making its beauty all the more bittersweet.

I've been enjoying "Sympathy" since I first downloaded it in January (it came out in official physical form in April) and the Chicago-based band started its first full U.S. tour earlier this month. So I was psyched to finally get a chance to see them. And they didn't disappoint.

Given the album's quiet charms, it's one that I frequently listen to in the late evening but, not unexpectedly, the band ramps things up in concert, adding muscle to the songs without stripping them of their tender sentiment.

Besides lead singer Eisland, there's a double threat guitarist/keyboard player guy and a cool female (in this photo), another guitarist and a drummer...

When I win the lottery, I'm getting a digital SLR camera that can be pushed past these orange exposures. Until then, here's an example of what happens without flash...
And what I get with it...
And we'll end the photo gallery with a second low-angle shot that features another visual obsession of mine, Shoes of the Stars...

Apologies for the randomness of this posting, BTW. College girl was watching "Hairspray" while I was working on it and I was continually and happily distracted by the upbeat musical action. You can't stop the beat!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Beauty Pill - the pictures

So, when we last left me (see the previous entry), I was sitting in the balcony at the Artisphere, watching Beauty Pill record in the Black Box Theatre. Here's how it looked from that perch...

I was expecting that, since it was the last day the band was scheduled to be in the space, it would be a time of reviewing finished tracks. And yet, as I was watching, a guitarist came in and Clark began talking to him about a new track he wanted to add to a previously-recorded bit. It took about a half-hour to set up the guitar...
(making records is a lot like making movies or TV, a lot of waiting between actual creating)

And while I'm watching this, someone new arrives to check out the scene as well. We chat about how cool it is to watch the process unfold and, when I ask the guy if he'd heard Beauty Pill before, he tells me that he's Chad Clark's brother! Ha. I hand him one of my bizniz cards and ask him to pass it on to Clark and tell him I said hello and would have something on the blog later. Shortly thereafter, the guy's phone rings and Clark looks up to wave him down. We exchange goodbyes and he heads off. A few minutes later, Clark looks up and seems to be waving for me to come down, too. I look around me. Yep, I'm the only one here. I point to myself. "Me?" He nods.
I guess his brother put in a good word.

And so, I returned to the actual studio, where the adventure started, and sat quietly while the guitarist finished his track. My view got much better.

In a break, I asked the photog who the guitarist was and he told me it was Ryan Nelson, who co-wrote the song in progress with Clark some time ago. (BTW, Nelson said he had a terrible toothache, so more praise for his playing and good attitude.)

After Clark signed off on the guitar part, there was a brief break while the mics were being reset for a vocal part to be done by Jean. Clark and I chatted briefly and, though he didn't seem to remember our correspondence about the film, he was very gracious about having me crash his party. I'll keep y'all posted when the next phase of the project - the album release "exhibit" takes place.

In the meantime, here's a piece that explains the project in more detail and tells the story behind the song that was being recorded.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Live from the Artisphere - Beauty Pill records

Throughout the month of July, DC area band Beauty Pill has been working in full view of the public, recording a new album in the Black Box theatre of the Arlington modern art museum, the Artisphere, while the public looks on from behind a large window on a balcony perch above the well-stocked studio space. That's where I'm sitting right now, watching as guitarist Ryan ( last name I don't know) lays down some chunky guitar rhythms to pair with an atmospheric music bed that band founder/producer Chad Clark was reviewing when I first came into the session.

And when I saw I came into the session, I mean it. I walked directly into the Black Box studio, not seeing any signage to tell me otherwise, and found myself right behind the soundboard, where Clark was working. Wow, I thought, they really ARE letting the public get a close look. And as I looked for a place to sit, a nice young woman came up nd introduced herself. "I'm Jean," she said politely, putting out her hand. I shook it and told her my name. Then she asked if I'd been here before (yes, to the Artisphere, no to a recording session) and offered to walk me up to the balcony, where the audience is supposed to be. What can I say?
I like to be in the heart of the action.

As I was just typing that line, Clark looked up and directed a comment to me. (I'm the only one here.) "we're professionals. That's all you need to know," he said. I gave him a thumbs- up and he flashed one back.

Actually, I needed to know more. Thanks to this brave new world on instant info acces, I pulled up the band's site to learn who I am watching here. While I've heard the band's music before and once had some phone./mail exchanges with Clark over using one of his songs in my long-lost family rock&roll comedy film, I had no idea what he looked like, nor did I know when I was shaking her hand that the nice young woman is Jean Cook, one of two women in the band.

I will post some pictures when I get home. Though I envy the guy who's roaming the studio, getting up close with his pro camera.

Alas, this wonderful opportunity to watch a band at work ends tonight (I just heard about last week and barely made it here myself) so I can't tell you to rush right over yourself.

However, the second phase of this "exercise in radical transparency" ( a phrase attributed to the band, as if they said it in unison) will occur in the winter, when it is said they will return for another interactive installation that will feature the new album.

Considering I typed this on an iPad, forgive the typos...
More anon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marky Ramone, Pasta Sauce King? Who knew?

I'm interrupting my usually (ir)regularly scheduled blogging to bring you this little news item, which I just discovered in my emails. Sorry I didn't get this out to my L.A.-based friends before the Big Event.
(I'm only about half as sarcastic as I sound. I think it's cool that Marky's a foodie. Oh, and note the typo in the dateline.)

HOLYWOOD, CA (July 5, 2011) - Whole Foods Market is excited to host Marky Ramone, drummer for the Ramones, for an in-store tasting event of his new, award-winning pasta sauce, and live musical appearance. His pasta sauce is exclusively available at the Whole Foods Market West Hollywood and Fairfax locations. Marky will be signing jars of his pasta sauce and some souvenir drum sticks. Ten percent of net proceeds from the sale of the pasta sauce from these events will benefit Autism Speaks. At the West Hollywood store, there will also be a BBQ with all proceeds benefitting Autism Speaks, who will be here to share what awesome things they do. We will also have several fun vendors here to make this a family affair. Of course…there will be free tasting of this most delicious sauce at both locations!

Marky Ramone, a legend in the punk-rock scene, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2002), and just this year, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammy’s for his musical achievements.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Back into Battle - Mid-Atlantic Band Battle V

Jammin’ Java, the local, little music venue that’s so comfy and friendly I consider it a second home, hosted its Fifth Mid-Atlantic Region Band Battle over the past four days. The club gang was nice enough to ask me to judge, as I have for the past three battles, so I was there last night (would have done more, but I was out of town) and it was, as always, a great night for sampling the local scene.

Host/”hottie” Nate Ihara, leader of his own fine local band, We Were Kings, was the MC. While pimping my credits, Nate made me promise to post some photos on the web site by tonight. So, here we go….

For those of you who like to read the last few pages of a book before you commit, we’ll start with a photo of the night’s top musical act, Bethany and the Guitar, who ended the evening with a lovely set of girl-pop tunes marked by three-part harmony and bright, singalong melodies.

Bethany and the Guitar’s win did not come easily. I don’t judge and tell, but there was at least one other band that I thought had a chance of winning the night. (BTW, each judge keeps a separate scoring sheet, based on a set of attributes like musicianship, songwriting, crowd response and such. We don’t compare them, so I have no idea of how close the final results were.) Here’s how the deal went down…

It’s never easy to be the first band at one of these contests; the club had only a few patrons early enough to hear the first of the six-band bill, an outfit called Kill Lincoln. But the guys blasted into their first number, two horn players setting a Mighty Mighty Bosstoness tone, and tore through their set to launch the show.

  Next up was Fourth Quarter Comeback (good name), who mined the emo/punk vein, with lots of support from a vocal crowd of fans.
As Wings of Apollo set up for their 15-minutes, we knew we were in for something intense – the power trio were stripped to the waist and buff. Their set was loud and strong, tapping into the spirit of Led Zeppelin's hard rock blues. 
 A trio of a whole ‘nother type – two rappers and a DJ on an Apple laptop – appeared next. Nightclub Fight Club impressed as much for the smooth dance moves of one of its vocalists as for the fat, fun beats and Beastie Boys-like smartass lyrics.
 The penultimate (love that word) band of the night was Feed God Cabbage. The silly name and the casual attire made me think the sound would be jam band noodling, but the singer/drummer had a great voice and the playing was tight, with an appealing reggae rhythm beneath. One of the compliments I can pay them is that I planned to visit the merch table after the show and pick up a CD, but they were packed up and gone by the time I was heading out.
With five bands down - all of them male rock outfits with hard-driving tempos, the set-up for Bethany and The Guitar  - a mixed-gender quintet with acoustic guitars and a drum box (just discovered, via Google, that it’s called a “cajon”) – could have indicated a dip in the energy level, but the group forged on with solid professionalism and radio-ready songs in the upbeat, crowd-pleasing style of Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Bareilles. A second female vocalist and guitar/vocal support from Bethany’s brother, Kurtis Parks (he has his own band, and made it onto the preliminary roster of “American Idol,” season four) gave the material an added lift.
With so much talent and such diverse musical styles on display, there are usually some grumbles when the winner is announced since everyone's got their own taste and preferences. Judging is fun but not easy. Every band who appeared at the Battle has something going for them. In fact, the same night this competition took place at J2, a multi-act bill was taking place at the much larger 9:30 Club, and some of those bands are veterans of previous Band Battles who did not take home the big prize. So, no losers here.
Meanwhile, along with the winners of the three previous Battle nights, Bethany and the Guitar will move on to the finals, to be held in August. Maybe I'll be judging again. If so, see you there...
Hey Nate, I met the deadline you gave me. Where's my White Russian?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I've been a bit distracted lately since I've just launched a new web site that's been taking up my time and energy. I haven't abandoned this blog, but it will have to take a back seat for a little while longer while I take care of the new baby...

Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to
Please let me know what you think, and spread the word.

See you back here soon!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We Get Out - Matt Nathanson, Sarah Jarosz

Trying for a quick recap of the musical week just past...

It began, as Mondays generally do, with the posting of my weekly concert picks column for in which I wrote about shows by Hey Rosetta!, Glasvegas and Sierra Leone's All Star Refugees, among others.

But first, I throw us back in time to the week before, and a different set of concert picks with acts like
The Antlers, Todd Snider, River James and others. The one show that I made a distinct effort to get off my butt and see was Todd Snider's, but the label never answered my request (file under: Work With Me, People! just send an email one way or the other, 'K?) and other things came up. The last show on the list was Matt Nathanson, a personal favorite, but he was opening a three-act bill at Merriweather Post and that meant a bad ratio of hassle:fun.

The great thing, though, was that I had gotten word that Matt (he's such a good guy, and I've followed him so long, I'll break from the last name convention) would be doing a "secret" show at Jammin' Java on Monday night and, thanks to my lovely pals at the club, missing the very brief ticket window announcement on Twitter and email was not going to stop me from getting in.

I saw the show, loved it, wrote about it for and got over 1,000 hits in one day for the review and photo gallery. The hits came, I do believe, from the fact that Matt's people posted the link on his Facebook fan page, which came as a nice surprise.
For the full review of the show and lots of pics, check out the story on

Among the shows that were listed in this past week's previews there was a return area appearance by the lovely Sarah Jarosz, who did a wonderful sold-out show at Reston's cozy CenterStage last month and was coming back to Jammin' Java with her two amazing sidemen on cello and fiddle. I made it out to that show, too. Also SRO and a thing of string-fueled beauty. 

Afterwards, I chatted with the trio and they pretended to remember me. Nice people, gorgeous music.
Today was a day to add some new music to the collection in actual, physical CD form. Borders, which appears to be decreasing its music department all the time, had sent out an email about a 40% off sale on CDs and DVDs, so I took a ride out Route 7 for a look-see. As I've said before, Borders prices are high to begin with ($15 and up for most new releases), so it takes a sizable discount to make buying there worthwhile. I tried to stay within budget and brought home the following:

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE - The Open Door EP (Atlantic)
Five-tracks from 2009. ($2.99)
PATTON OSWALT - My Weakness is Strong CD/DVD (Warner Bros./Degenerate)
Local boy (he grew up in a Virginia town about 90 minutes from here) made very good, and very funny. I once saw him walking past the movie theatre at Reston Town Center and blurted out the name of a neighbor/friend who went to school with him. Strange, I know, but he's probably used to much worse. ($10.19)
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC - Original Broadway Cast (Columbia)
Confession: I have to check to see if I already have this (or is it just on vinyl?) but couldn't risk missing out. Save the receipt. ($5.99)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - London Calling: Live in Hyde Park DVD
I'm not the Brooooooooce fanatic I once was, but when I saw that this concert opens with "London Calling," (doh!) I felt I had to see what the Boss has been up to live lately. ($11.99)
SLY &  The FAMILY STONE - Stand/The Woodstock Experience (Epic/Legacy)
Hubby and I had both "Monterey Pop" and "Woodstock" on our Netflix queue in recent weeks and were struck with how well the music has held up over the years. Some of the performances were jaw-dropping. This Sly double-feature - the original "Stand" album plus the full Woodstock performance - made for groovy Saturday afternoon listening. ($11.99)
UNCUT Magazine  ($9.99) - Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan issue, with a 16-track CD of Dylan cover songs (Robyn Hitchcock, North Mississippi North Stars, Soweto Gospel Choir) or birthday-themed songs (Sufjan Stevens, Wanda Jackson, Hank Williams). The magazine is publishing four different  covers for  the mag/CD. I opted for the young, Tarantula-era Dylan.

YTD O/CD Tally: 50