Moroccan Role: September 2006

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Forget Cassettes - Salt LP and Woxy in-studio

The Forget Cassettes have a new album, Salt, and they were back in the Woxy studio last month for a live performance. They have changed the lineup, as Donni has left to be the drummer for And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. However, as the singer/songwriter, Beth has kept the band name and borrowed a few musicians from labelmates Apollo Up. The Donni and Beth shows were raw, loud, and freaking awesome. Donni hits the drums so hard I thought something would break, and sweet little Beth will shoegaze and then--snap--scream her ass off.

Donni is back in the band on this live performance, so it's theoretically both the old and new bands put together. They'll rock your socks off.

MP3: Forget Cassettes - Live in Woxy studio, 18 Aug 2006
Web: Forget Cassettes - Salt (playable on website)

P.S. My name is Phil, I have the honor of being invited to post on Moroccan Role!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tim Williams - Merchant Heart EP

It's always a pleasant surprise to pop in a CD with absolutely no expectations and actually enjoy what you hear. This was the case with the new Tim Williams' EP I received a couple of days ago from Dovecote Records. The Merchant Heart EP features 5 tracks (2 of which are demos) from the upcoming When Work is Done LP.

This effort consists of haunting acoustic-based songs with sparse instrumentation and some fine hushed vocal melodies. There's scarcely anything on the EP that we all haven't heard many times before, but Williams succeeds where countless others fail. Most modern singer-songwriters struggle to avoid the seemingly irresistible need to over-emote, but Williams' tunes contain the rare characteristic of being affecting and personal while remaining subtle. In a genre brimming with semi-talented dime-a-dozen d-bags playing the sensitive singer-songwriter card in the hopes of getting laid (I'm looking at you James Blunt, Howie Day, et. al.), his tunes come across as both passionate AND genuine. This ability to effectively convey emotion and feeling without beating the listener over the head with it (i.e. restraint) makes his songs downright pleasant and allows them to be absorbed effortlessly.

I've struggled for 15 minutes trying to describe his music in a way that wouldn't seem terribly average or just plain boring on paper and I've obviously failed miserably. The point is simple-- this EP showcases a talented young singer-songwriter with a wealth of potential. If the tunes present on this EP are any indication, this guy's upcoming full-length could be something special.

MP3: Tim Williams - "Novel"
MP3: Tim Williams - "I Am Wearing It"

Buy the album here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Band of Horses & Chad VanGaalen Tonight in Cincy

Just a quick post to remind those of you who live in the Cincinnati area that Band of Horses will be performing tonight at the new Alchemize in Northside. This show marks the grand opening of the venue in its new location. Tickets are still available, but Alchemize & Desdemona Festival main man Nick Spencer advised those hoping to attend to get there early. Come out for what is sure to be a great night!

Band of Horses
w. Chad VanGaalen & Simon Dawes
3929 Spring Grove Ave in Northside (look for the Preacher's sign)
Tickets $10, available at door starting at 7:30pm, Doors @ 8, Music @ 8:30, 18+

Here are some MP3s for the uninitiated:

MP3: Band of Horses - "Funeral"
MP3: Band of Horses - "The Great Salt Lake"

MP3: Chad VanGaalen - "Flower Gardens"
MP3: Chad VanGaalen - "Dead Ends"

MP3: Simon Dawes - "The Awful Things"
MP3: Simon Dawes - "Salute the Institution"

*Finally, peep Band of Horses' brand-new video for "The Great Salt Lake":

Friday, September 01, 2006

M. Ward - Post-War

Singer-songwriter M. Ward released his fifth album 8/22 on Merge Records. Post-War marks his first release with a full backing band and is his most focused and consistent album to date. This album has been in heavy rotation all Summer here at Moroccan Role headquarters and has probably one of my most listened-to records of the past few months.

M. Ward's singular brand of Americana is both easily accessible and technically sound. Deeply steeped in the folk tradition, Ward's music is not particularly ground-breaking or forward-thinking, but never comes across as derivative. It is this timeless quality, along with top-notch songwriting and musicianship, that make his records so enjoyable. Ward's hushed and slightly off-kilter vocal delivery is the focal point of Post-War, but the album also features Rachel Blumberg of the Decemberists and the Thermals' Jordan Hudson handing percussion duties and My Morning Jacket's Jim James and alt-country chanteuse and New Pornographer Neko Case providing backing vocals. While his strong 2005 effort Transistor Radio had a number of great tunes, its 15 tracks came across as a bit excessive, even with its modest 40 minute run-time. Post-War is more carefully edited than his previous efforts (fewer instrumental interludes and transitional mood pieces) and contains more shifts in sonic dynamics-- making it a far more potent statement of Ward's talents.

Many critics have spun their wheels attempting to articulate the significance of Post-War as a statement on the current political climate, but this is essentially an exercise in futility. These songs were undoubtedly inspired at least in part by our current war and its far-reaching implications in all of our lives, but this is no more than perhaps a very loose unifying theme for the mood of the record...this is not a concept album or concrete statement of Ward's politics. However, Ward did tell Billboard that two pieces of post-war literature, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, helped inspire the album's "coming home" theme, particularly when applied to the ongoing war in Iraq and our soliders returning from the conflict.

Having always existed somewhere outside current trends in music, M. Ward has quietly built an impressive body of work without much fan-fare or hype and Post-War further solidifies him as a unique and compelling musician. Take this album for what is it-- an impressive work and career-highlight from one of our best modern American singer-songwriters.

MP3: M. Ward - "Poison Cup"
MP3: M. Ward - "To Go Home"
MP3: M. Ward - "Chinese Translation"

Buy the album here.

Listen to the entire album here.


M. Ward Tour Dates:

September 2006
1 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's
2 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Plaza Club
5 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre
6 - Omaha, NE - Scottish Rites Hall
7 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
8 - Chicago, IL - Metropolis
9 - Columbus, OH - Little Brothers
11 - Toronto, Ontario - Mod Club
12 - Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa
14 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
15 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
16 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
17 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theatre
18 - Charlottesville, VA - Satellite Ballroom
19 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
20 - Nashville, TN - Belcourt Theatre
22 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
23 - Austin, TX - The Parish
25 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
26 - Tempe, AZ - The Clubhouse
27 - San Diego, CA - San Diego Woman's Club
28 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
29 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
30 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater