Ray Lamontagne | Till The Sun Turns Black
Ray LaMontagne's second album effort is a little less cheery than the first, but the guy can surely sing and is no stranger to heavy emotions. As the title suggests, Till the Sun Turns Black is a quintessential "rainy day" album, as the musically understated, achingly beautiful songs cast a long, grey shadow on even the sunniest dispositions. It kicks off with "Be Here Now" - this haunting number should be studied for the meaning in its title, to remind you to not let your soul get lonely. Three More Days" is augmented by a soulful horn section, more Ray Charles than Ray-an Adams. "Three more days, you know I'll be right there by your side!" makes a man long to bring it on home to their girl. The truest lesson of the album is in the second track, "Empty," Ray sadly admits that he "never learned to count my blessings, choosing instead to dwell in my disasters" and you feel for him, for all of those who find it hard let go of the pain. To my brothers whose hearts hurt, look those demons in their eyes, lay bare your chest and tell them they bore you. Take strength where you can, let it fuel the fire inside you. You don't always have to feel this way, take control of those demons and get to the place you need to be. Lesson learned. "Truly, Madly, Deeply," -TK

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Superunloader | in SF Friday, 9/1
Just found out that Superunloader will be at the Connecticut Yankee this Friday (9/1). This show will kill, it's a small room to finally check these guys out, I have been listening to them for a while (they won best rock album in San Deigo for their self-titled record from 1995). They rock hard, a trio in the Zeppelin/70's vein but more diversified through travels in the 80's, with a jam-sex-funk thing goin on too and sounds of harmonica & flute mixed in too. A few tracks to grab ya ear are "Don't Be Denied," "Well Aware" and "Rollin and Tumblin."
Seeya Friday? More show info. - TK

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M. Ward | Post - War
For his fifth solo album, Portland troubadour Matt Ward enlists the help of a full band, including guest appearances by Neko Case and My Morning Jacket's Jim James. The added Rhodes, percussion, backing vocals and other bells and whistles only sweeten the already rich pairing of Ward's nimbly plucked guitar and his electric blanket of a voice. "Post War" is a warm bath of electric keys and hushed vocals, while "Chinese Translation" tells a jaunty tale of man's never-ending quest for love and redemption. This thing shimmers like a full moon on a crystal lake. - GK

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Kaki King | ...Until We Felt Red
Kaki King's delicate acoustic arpeggios exude as much rhythm as they do melody, and you can thank Tortoise's John McEntire for that this time around. He produced King's third outing to give it an organic/kinetic motion. Her beautifully wispy voice carries strong words and memorable melodies, but the attention to the details of texture is what is really key here. "Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers" injects the most Tortoise-esque influences, flirting with jazzy structures and subtle hits of technology. - E.Shea

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Konono No. 1 | Congotronics 1
I was interviewing Andrew Barr last month for an upcoming "Rhapsody Mix Tape" and he mentioned a few albums I should check out. He studied in Mali back in the 90's, so I always come to him for recommendations from Africa, and this Konono No. 1 is one that I'm totally digging on. A totally unique album, Congotronics is basically traditional Congolese music dominated by thumb piano, or likembe, but with an almost electronic twist. The homemade amps and pickups on the thumb pianos and vocals created some amazingly gorgeous distortion. This is not something you have heard before, and for that reason you should click here and listen for ten minutes at least! - TK

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Gov't Mule | High & Mighty (pre-release exclusive!)
This week, Rhapsody has the pre-release exclusive on the new Gov't Mule album. High & Mighty is a stellar evolution of the Mule, and is only available on the Rhap this week. With the usual shredding and gravelly singing of Warren Haynes out front, H&M kicks off with the Mr. title track and features 12 new originals written by Haynes, with the crisp n clean guitar tone and vocal chords that have made Warren a modern legend. Drummer Matt Abts always keepin the right time, and together with bassist Andy Hess, they are a very reliable rhythm section. And the organ is stepped up on this album, as rocker Eric Shea notes: "Danny Louis' Hammond organ grinds so hard you can just imagine hamburger meat spilling out the other end. "Like Flies" and "Streamline Woman" provide the perfect soundtrack for tuning up your '76 Nova." There's even an expansion into dub, check out "Unring the Bell." - TK

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Tom Waits | Real Gone
So, I saw Tom Waits last night. Easily a top 3 show, up there with Prince at The Fillmore and Bowie @ Berkeley Community Theater. The guy's music is unique, diverse and interesting and he has such a stage presence. Most appealing, he is humble in his genius. Check out these lyrics to a song from his latest album, Real Gone, which he performed during his first encore. It's named "Day After Tomorrow" - give it a listen with the song though. It doesn't get much more powerful than this if you ask me:
I got your letter today
And I miss you all so much, here
I can't wait to see you all
And I'm counting the days, dear
I still believe that there's gold
At the end of the world
And I'll come home
To Illinois
On the day after tomorrow

It is so hard
And it's cold here
And I'm tired of taking orders
And I miss old Rockford town
Up by the Wisconsin border
But I miss you won't believe
Shoveling snow and raking leaves
And my plane will touch tomorrow
On the day after tomorrow

I close my eyes
Every night
And I dream that I can hold you
They fill us full of lies
Everyone buys
About what it means to be a soldier
I still don't know how I'm supposed to feel
About all the blood that's been spilled
Look out on the street
Get me back home
On the day after tomorrow

You can't deny
The other side
Don't want to die
Any more than we do
What I'm trying to say,
Is don't they pray
To the same God that we do?
Tell me, how does God choose?
Whose prayers does he refuse?
Who turns the wheel?
And who throws the dice
On the day after tomorrow?

I'm not fighting
For justice
I am not fighting
For freedom
I am fighting
For my life
And another day
In the world here
I just do what I've been told
You're just the gravel on the road
And the one's that are lucky
One's come home
On the day after tomorrow

And the summer
It too will fade
And with it comes the winter's frost, dear
And I know we too are made
Of all the things that we have lost here
I'll be twenty-one today
I've been saving all my pay
And my plane will touch down
On the day after tomorrow
And my plane it will touch down
On the day after tomorrow

-G$H in Chicago (Attempted Setlist Recreation)

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Comets On Fire | Avatar
San Francisco's normally blistering space rock jam unit pulls in the reins a bit on this, their second full-length record for Sub Pop. The overdriven freakouts are still there, the only difference is that now you can hear it all, even the echoplex (!) and vocals. Good news. Even better, the "slow" songs ("Lucifer's Memory," "Hatched Upon the Age and especially "Sour Smoke") are among their finest songs yet. Comets have been the best the Bay Area has to offer for a long time now, Avatar is just more proof. - Mike McG

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