Brandon Berry’s Short Takes

Short Takes

Our Short Takes today comes courtesy of Brandon Berry of The Paint Splats. The band came on the scene with a blast of indie rock goodness with “I Gutted My VCR” which eventually joined nine other songs for the first self-titled record released on November 16, 2019! A split with Mike Bankhead, “Defacing the Moon” came out around the same time! Some of Brandon’s contributions to that shared record includes the heartbreakingly beautiful “Annie”.

a2463795233_10This past March, The Paint Splats released a terrific EP …With a Side of Fries. That continues the terrific indie pop and humor that The Paint Splats are becoming known for in the Miami Valley. As Brandon wrote about the project: “An unhealthy blend of power pop melodies that grew up listening to garage rock and the man shouting obscenities from the comfort of a street corner.”

Reaching out to Brandon to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was an easy call for us to make here at YTAA. Take a few minutes and review his excellent recommendations!

The Kinks – Sleepwalker

In my high school band, we attempted to cover the Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night” and our “Lola” parody, “Ebola” – but I just passed them off as another forgotten novelty spawned from, and muddled up by, the swingin’ ’60s. It wasn’t until I started taking chances at the record store that I discovered their massive catalogue of inventive tunes that would serve as major inspiration for my own songwriting. The early stuff will always be dear to me, but their late ’70s and early ’80s albums, like Give the People What They Want and Sleepwalker, stand out for the risk-taking, something they’ve been known for since the amplifier cabinet-slashing origins.


kink2Life goes on
It happens ev’ry day
So appreciate what you got
Before it’s taken away


I’m not sure if there’s a more apropos quatrain for this present moment.

Kurt Baker – Brand New Beat

Power pop never died; the arena has just been cluttered by artists who shouldn’t be included in the category. There is hope, though. Musicians like Kurt Baker are keeping the original spirit alive. I came to this guy fairly late, but after hearing “Weekend Girls” and “She Can Do It All” from Brand New Beat, I had to get the record. I wear my nostalgia on my three-quarter length sleeves. The album cover alone would’ve been enough for me to throw down the cash. With vocal fluctuations à la Elvis Costello, I can’t help but get sucked into Kurt’s expertise in the genre.

a3565109622_10The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

When I write lyrics, I channel my inner John Darnielle. Destructive and off-putting sentiments with underlying sadness and regret over a major key chord progression. When I heard that he was recording a new album during quarantine, I had no idea the promo videos involving John and his sideways, trusty Panasonic tape deck would be the final product. Going back to his roots, he released the new batch of songs on cassette. I wasn’t around or conscious enough to consider myself an original fan, but I feel like I’m a part of something special now. I’ve been listening long enough that when a limited release such as this presents itself, I am to jump on the opportunity to be one of the few to have a copy. Though the cassette hasn’t been officially released, the lo-fi grain can be streamed online. Gather up your pagan crew. Do yourself a favor and listen to this record.

Various Artists

I have a playlist on Spotify called “songs that make me feel better,” which is comprised of mostly ’80s ballads and bops, like Mike & The Mechanics’ “All I Need is a Miracle” and “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. You’d be surprised what else you can find in there. When I was a youngster, I discovered the Beatles and the Stones through my dad and the big haired ’80s through my brother, eventually blending and inspiring me to dive into genres from every era. During the time of mandated isolation (remember that?), I needed something positive to listen to, so I dug up the old playlist and added some new songs to the repertoire amongst all the Scandal and Wilson Philips songs:

YTAA MonsterI suggest you make a playlist like this, too, adding only tunes in the key of happy that you can dance to at the drop of a hi-hat. A dash of positivity never did any harm.

Many thanks to Brandon for sharing what he has been listening to with us!

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Chad Well’s Short Takes

Short TakesToday’s Short Takes come care of the Reverend Chad Wells.  He is in many ways a polymath — songwriter, artist, musician, tattoo artist, business owner, reverend and more. Chad is an accomplished musician with his band Cricketbows, as a duo with Aarika Watson (Wells & Watson) and as a solo artist. During the current Coronavirus challenge, he has been live streaming every day at 4pm on Facebook to share thoughts, reflections, live music and his honest concerns about the world around him. Part meditation, part emotional inventory, part agent provocateur, these videos have become widely viewed on Facebook.

Reaching out to Chad to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was an easy call for us to make here at YTAA. Take a few minutes and review his excellent recommendations!

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Alice CooperLove It To Death: This album is sheer perfection. It is a meticulously crafted Rock And Roll car crash. This is what I secretly wish Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album sounded like (and I love that album).

 

 

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The Be Good TanyasBlue Horse: This album is like an amazing, fluffy, warm, cozy blanket that’s riddled with a subdued and subtly related – but vast, and epically varied – array of threads that run through it’s landscape. This should be positioned somewhere near The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions…

 

sddefaultAnd On That note… Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session. In 1988 the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies released the most truly beautiful sounding and heart-string pulling album that ever was. Just a greatly matched bunch of musicians in a historic old church standing around one microphone playing the songs live. They play their instruments, they play the room, they play off of each other in the most beautiful, natural and liquid way. A desert island recording for me.

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And on an entirely unrelated but equally masterful note: Wall of Voodoo: Call Of The West. This album gets zero love. Because of their quirky style and their outlandish music video hit “Mexican Radio“, the band was dismissed as a novelty by most critics. But this album is just pure hot fire. Spaghetti western New Wave turns into wasteland noise-scapes and emotional electronic dirges flow into weird-pop masterpieces.

 

Many Thanks to Chad for sharing the music that he is listening to right now!your-tuesday-afternoon-alternative-color copy

Nick Leet’s Short Takes

Short TakesNick Leet is the principal songwriter of the excellent High on Stress who were initially known for playing with Tommy Stinson and Slim Dunlap. As the passionate vocalist for High on Stress, Leet gives life to their songs. The band came roaring back with the incredible ‘Hold Me In’ from this past April. The record captures both the energy of their musically legendary hometown of Minneapolis and the lyrical authenticity of that fertile ground that gave birth to The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Husker Du. There is realism in the songs without pretense or the sense of ideas being forced into predetermined catchphrases.

a2738656838_10It would be wrong to pigeonhole High on Stress, they pay homage to their city and at the same time transcend the categorization that comes from the label of Minneapolis music. Consider checking into their earlier records especially ‘Leaving MPLS’, ‘Living is a Dying Art‘ and Cop Light Parade.

Reaching out to Nick to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was honestly not a difficult decision. Check out his excellent recommendations!

20000000078234_(1)Jason IsbellReunions‘ – I’ve been listening to this one quite a bit since he just released it. He is one of the best writers we have out there right now. Standout track for me is the evocative ‘St Peter’s Autograph.’

Billy Pilgrim ‘Billy in the Time Machine’ is a great record that is about to be re-released.

Andrew Hyra & Kristian Bush were born to sing together. Also check out Andrew’s solo record ‘Spill‘. ‘Here I Am‘ and ‘Great Expectations’are killer tracks on that album.

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Jim Soule ‘Forget the Days’ [the record came out on June 5th] It’s Jim’s first solo record and is a great listen. Jim has a wonderful sense of melody and a big voice. Standout track: “A New Brand of Fiction.”

 

 

 

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Fig Dish ‘That’s What Love Songs Often Do’. This is a wonderful rock n’ roll record from the mid-nineties. They were a Chicago band with great hooks. The drums sound killer on here and every song is a knockout. Stand out tracks are “Bury Me” and “Quiet Storm King“. I can’t stop there…let’s add “It’s Your Ceiling” to the mix too.

 

Many Thanks to Nick for sharing the music that he is listening to right now!

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Joe Anderl’s ‘Short Takes’

Short TakesLet us take a moment and introduce our latest feature, Short Takes. We are asking musicians, artists, DJs, writers, spoken word performers and others involved in music and creative expression to write some short comments about what they are listening to right now. There are no rules regarding genre, style or year of release. What are people listening to now? What does it mean for them in a brief few sentences — hence the idea of a ‘short take.’

20992760_10159165029090537_2527313783301675441_nOur first ‘Short Takes‘ comes courtesy of Joe Anderl of The 1984 Draft. Joe is a kind, warm and thoughtful person who not only loves music, he feels it. His passion for music is inescapable in his current project The 1984 Draft. The ‘Draft are a phenomenal live band who capture the spirit of punk and post-punk melded with the introspection of the best music of the ’90s and beyond. 

The Draft’s last record ‘Makes Good Choices‘ was one of our favorite records of 2018!

The-1984-Draft-band-2018As quarantine and social distancing continue, as the world burns around us, and as I find myself filled with more and more rage over the ignorance and injustice in our county, I have found myself searching deeper in my music catalog for little nuggets of joy. Songs that remind of the past. Songs from simpler times. The thing is, there were never simpler times. Just different times. That being said, there can often be comfort in nostalgia, joy in discovering something new, and a new wave of emotions caused by a song listened to in a different phase of life.

These songs are the little nuggets of joy I have had in my life for the last couple weeks.

First, ‘Slackjawed’ by The Connells – I found myself watching a video on YouTube with the Best of 1993 from 120 Minutes. I particularly wanted to watch it as it included videos of the Afghan Whigs, Paul Westerberg, and Buffalo Tom.

R-2028725-1562522314-3760.jpegAs I watched all the videos and reminisced about wrapping tin foil around my boom box antenna to pick up 97X [modern rock radio station from 1983-2004], a song came on that I had remembered loving hearing every time it came on. That song was ‘Slackjawed’ by The Connells. I wondered to myself why I had never tried to purchase an album by them and why this song never found its way into my collection. That will change very soon as I have probably listened to it 30 times in the last week.

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Next, ‘Inside of Love‘ by Nada Surf.  I was a late adopter on Nada Surf. I heard ‘Popular‘ in high school and kind of wrote the band off as a one hit wonder. That changed some 20 something years later watching them headline at Midpoint Music Fest [Dr. J was there too! The band gave a great live performance and won over many music fans that day!] There is an absolute softness in the voice of Mathew Caws. His choice of words can often be so simple and telling in same moment.

When I listened to this song a couple weeks ago, I found myself so grateful that I live in a loving marriage, that I am on the inside of love. So much so I just keep listening to this song every time I need to remind myself how lucky I truly am.

Paul-Westerberg-Dyslexic-HeartLast but not least, ‘Dyslexic Heart’ by Paul Westerberg – What GenXer did not relate to singles in some way?

After spending the last few years of my life completely ravaging my Replacements catalog, I decided I needed to dive further into my Westerberg records. I started with something comfortable and easy. This song and ‘Waiting for Somebody‘ [also from the Singles soundtrack] have been every other day listen for me lately just to try and feel a little normal.

Thank you for a terrific ‘Short Takes’ Joe!

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