#MusicMonday Vol. 74: Justin Townes Earle, The Ventures, Dirty Projectors & More

Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week; with video.

Justin - The Ventures, On Stage (1965)
Despite being most popular for their studio recordings of "Wipeout," "Walk Don't Run," and the theme for Hawaii Five-O, The Ventures lived and breathed as a live band. Subsequently, in addition to regular studio album releases from 1962 to 1972, they also released at least one live record for every year they toured. So what makes On Stage a superior live record when compared to the other 29 (seriously) live records The Ventures released? Simply put, it's not a superior live record when compared to their other 29 live releases… but any Ventures live album is a superior live record when compared to all other live records.

Recorded in 1965, side "A" features a set from Japan and side "B" features a set from England. As an instrumental surf rock band, they layer their guitars cleanly and neatly with chickin'-pickin' virtuoso precision, armed with no effects other than a volume knob and the wettest tube-fueled, spring-chambered reverb of their day. With phenomenal drum solos throughout, I'm not even going to tell you that there's a specific song you should check out - but if you insist, "Caravan," "Slaughter on 10th Ave" and "Apache '65" are probably some deep cuts a casual fan may not be familiar with but will nonetheless thoroughly enjoy. All in all, though, if any part of you loves anything that the Ventures have ever done, listen to this record from top to bottom.

Leilani - Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan (2012)
"Gun Has No Trigger" is the first single released off Dirty Projector's sixth and latest, its easy grooving bass and drums paired with the wordless chorus of harmonizing dulcet-toned female vocals oohing, cooing and ascending to to dramatic heights of ahhs to create a bed of rhythm and melody against which the jagged wailing vocals of lead singer-songwriter David Longstreth delivers lyrics like "If you had looked, you might have just seen them / Stretched in the background / You'd see the oceans swirl / And the mountains shook / You'd see a million million colors." (Cool video below.) While critics have called it the band's most accessible album to date, Swing Lo Magellan is still quite obviously in line with the band's avant, prog and popadelic rock tendencies. Still not sure I'm 100 percent on board, but Dirty Projectors albums tend to be creepers, so hopefully I'll get psyched up about it enough to head to Orlando to see them at the Beacham Theatre on Mon., Aug. 6...

Gabe - The Stars Explode, Between The Lines (2012)
The hills are alive with the sound of sweet, melodic power pop ... the hills of North Carolina, that is. Fans of pure pop will totally dig this superb new disc from Hillsborough, N.C.'s The Stars Explode, a fine new band of veterans who've pooled their talents to create one of the year's best releases so far. Recorded at the studio of pop guru Mitch Easter, the record is steeped in all that makes a genuine, heart-felt pop album great: well-written, catchy songs, crunchy guitars and tons of hooks. Lead singer/guitarist Doug Edmunds (formerly of outstanding pop band Gladhands) sounds downright joyous as he passionately croons his way through the 10 tracks. Fans of Utopia, Material Issue or The Posies would definitely dig this album. It's a great way to get my Monday morning off to a rousing start, although I have a feeling that with an album as infectious and catchy as Between The Lines, I'll be playing it often throughout the week as well.

Valerie - Neon Trees, Picture Show (2012)
As a follow-up to the commercial success of their single "Animal" from 2010 debut Habits, the quartet's second effort showcases a spunky 11-track mix of up-beat 1980s-influenced rock tinged with a rebellious spirit. Picture Show takes the listener through relatable topics ranging from shit-talking ("Everybody Talks," video below) to nostalgia ("Still Young") with a common theme of young love. Vocalist Tyler Glenn's angst-filled delivery evens out with a slight roughness in his strong range. For this new record, Glenn ditched his signature mohawk for a more modest 'do, although this hasn't changed his punk rock attitude in the slightest. The band's live shows are guitar-riffed, high-energy spectacles as led by Glenn's flamboyant demeanor and glam rock charisma.

Taylor - Rhett Walker Band, Come to the River (2012)
Great Contemporary Christian roots rock in the vein of Needtobreathe and Matt Maher.

Deborah - Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Remix Collection (2009)
When 2009's stellar Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was released, I played it basically nonstop; somehow, though I've never heard this set of remixes. Finding this gem has reinvigorated my love of the band just as I was starting to undeniably jones for a new release. By breaking Phoenix down to its basic tracks and completely reinventing every song on the album is testimony to how talented the French rockers really are. It's also a perfect platform for the skills of some of the best electronic musicians working today. Every track has become a chameleon, morphing into the signature sound of each collaborative artist. My favorites include Alex Metric's "Liztomania," a deliciously addictive dance track (video below), and the Animal Collective version of "Love Like a Sunset." The latter may actually be my new favorite Animal Collective track, Thomas Mars' vocals manipulated so much he sounds like he's a permanent member. Click here for a free download from Spin.


Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Shae - Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues (2010)
When I woke up this morning, I couldn't wait for the drive to work. This is usually my most hated part of the day, but I knew I had Justin Townes Earle's album, Harlem River Blues, waiting for me. I've found the cure for road rage, a way to make driving in Tampa at rush hour a pleasant (enjoyable, even) experience instead of the nightmare it typically is. Instead of rolling my eyes, balling my fists and cursing my fellow commuters under my breath, I bopped along happily to JTE's blend of throwback '50s country (the rollicking, galloping drums and twangy guitar solos on Fender Telecasters), '80s country (I'm reminded, at times, of Dwight Yoakam) and '90s crooners (à la Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis"). My favorite songs, the ones I play ad infinitum at work, are the upbeat title track and "Ain't Waitin'," but as I let the entire album play, each song has its own charm, fueled by JTE's scruffy voice, irreverent, cocky attitude and dedication to "his baby," this nameless, beloved figure who gets mentioned in several songs. The one complaint I have is minor: the album goes by too quickly. If this were vinyl, it might get annoying to keep having to flip sides so often; fortunately, all I have to do is hit replay.

Shanna - Of Monsters and Men, "Little Talks" (2012)
Any video with a dragon in it already ranks high in my book. Throw in exploding meteors, floating blimp ships, ethereal iceberg landscapes, and the cutest little Icelandic hipster band ever to don war paint and stick legs, and I'm pretty sure this is both my new favorite video and awesome "Emiliani Torrini-meets-Fanfarlo-with-a-dash-of-Arcade-Fire" song of the year. Seriously, a must listen - and watch - after the jump.

About The Authors

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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