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TBTS Eustachian Ruminations, 8/24/09 Edition

August 24, 2009

A good Monday to you, old friends and new alike!  Welcome to what I hope will become a regular feature here on TBTS, what we’ll affectionately call the Eustachian Ruminations.  This is where I’ll share some of the music (both new and old) that I’ve listened to over the past week or so and try to convince you that you should check it out, too.

I’ll try my best not to waste your time and only feature music that I think is worth your hard-earned money and valuable attention.  Also, I’ll try my best to point you to free streams or mp3’s of the music that’s featured so you can taste before you buy.  Feel free to let me know via the comments section below if this is interesting and something worth continuing.

Radiohead, The Bends

Background: Up until the past couple of years, I’ve not been the world’s biggest Radiohead fan.  “Creep” came out when I was in college and I hated it then (actually still don’t care for it), and so I wrote the band off until 2007’s In Rainbows.  I don’t want to add to all the internet hyperbole about the boys from Oxfordshire (that’s one of the things that kept me away from them lo these many years) but after listening to In Rainbows, I realized that this is simply a brilliant band.  So I decided to find out for myself if these guys really are one of the great bands of all time.  I started at the beginning with Pablo Honey, and I must admit I was underwhelmed.  The Bends was next in line.

Why you should listen: I have listened to The Bends straight through this week at least three times and I have to say that it’s a tremendous improvement over Pablo Honey. This record is a journey, something to be experienced rather than listened to, and although it is not quite the journey that In Rainbows is, it’s still a worthwhile listen.  This is the sound of a band that is starting to figure out how to use the studio as an instrument in itself.  If you’ve never gotten into Radiohead, I suggest you start here.  Put on a set of headphones, forget who you’re listening to, and just enjoy the ride.

Significance: Radiohead will cartainly go down in history as one of the greatest rock bands ever, whether you like them or not.  They already are considered required listening for any audiophile.  This album is significant in two ways:  (1) as the precursor to OK Computer, Radiohead’s first indisputable masterpiece; and (2) as a portrait of the band’s emerging production sophistication.

You can listen to some tracks from The Bends at my new Brown Tweed Features station at

The Henry Clay People, For Cheap or For Free

Background: I don’t recall where I first heard of The Henry Clay People, but at some point I put their November 2008 release For Cheap or For Free in my purchase list.  Unfortunately, they languished there for some time until I decided to finally pick up the album this week.  They were recently featured on Paste as a “Best of What’s Next” act, and they have also gotten some pub from the L.A. Times for being selected to play Lollapalooza earlier in the month.  Plus, they’re signed to Aquarium Drunkard’s Autumn Tone records, which carried another of my favorite artists, J. Tillman before he hit it big by joining the Fleet Foxes.

Why you should listen: I’ve given this album the obligatory three listens and I must say I’m pleasently surprised.  I don’t know quite what I expected, but what I got was a band that can flat out rock.  Anchored by witty lyrics and one heck of a rhythm section, I can’t give higher praise than to say that these guys are just a great rock and roll band that seems like it would be great to see in a live setting.

Significance: Too early to tell.  This is a new band that hit at the end of 2008 (a poor year for new music overall), but has found their stride through touring and live shows in 2009 (a great year for music).  Only time will tell whether this band has true staying power.

You can listen to some tracks by The Henry Clay People at their Myspace page or on my brand-new Brown Tweed Features station at

Anything Ever Done By Sam Cooke

Background: Last week, we brought you an interview with one of my favorite artists, Jonah Smith, in which he confessed what a huge influence Sam Cooke was on his songwriting.  This led me to realize that my musical diet had a huge Cooke deficiency in it, which I decided to rectify by getting every Cooke song imaginable.  That may be a bit of a stretch, but I think I got it all in one format or another.  I spent much of my Saturday familiarizing myself with songs like “A Change Is Gonna Come”, “Chain Gang”, and “Nobody Knows.”

Why you should listen: When musicheads say that a certain artist or band “changed their lives”, I’m always a bit skeptical.  But I’m here to tell you that listening to Sam Cooke has changed my musical life forever.  This man is simply amazing and I regret the fact that I’ve lived this long without really listening to his music.

Significance: He has been called the inventor of soul music and now I know why.  Basically folks, if you have any love at all of soul or R&B music, Sam Cooke is a must listen.  He’s that incredible.

You can find some Sam Cooke tunes on his MySpace music page and I have some key tracks up on the afore-mentioned page.

  1. Matt Shorr permalink*
    August 24, 2009 7:08 pm

    Glad you finally came around to Radiohead. OK Computer is in the top 5 “Deserted Island” albums (if you had a means to play them) for so many people, including me. Kid A gets a bad rap in some circles, probably because it followed OK Computer, but it has a lot of nifty stuff going on aurally.

    I love the TBTS addition. Already been turned onto some stuff.

    • Caleb permalink
      August 24, 2009 8:36 pm

      Thanks, Matt. I’ve gotta admit I really missed the boat on Radiohead, oh well better late than never I guess.

  2. Mike permalink
    August 24, 2009 10:33 pm

    Great post, I like this.
    You’ve covered some great stuff, but how could you miss John Daly’s latest offering, with an album to come? Anyone who lives off M&M’s and Jack Daniels can’t be all bad, can they?

    • Caleb permalink
      August 24, 2009 11:23 pm

      Mike, don’t worry your pretty little head about it. As soon as Daly puts out an album, we’re on it. Guaranteed.

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