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I’ve been meaning to resurrect my weekly “music news” installments (Mews), and this week has some cool Mews-worthy happenings, so the timing feels right. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the return of the Mews…

– Thom Yorke announced today on the Radiohead blog that his solo project, to which he added official band members just last year, now has an official name and will be touring the US this Spring.  deadairspace

– The awesome free music website known as Noisetrade just got much more awesome.  Go check out the changes, and get yourself a bunch of free records while you’re at it.  Noisetrade

– To all the haters: Erykah Badu apparently used Twitter to clear some copyright permission issues with Paul McCartney earlier today.  See people?  Stop making fun of me for having a Twitter account.  I’m telling you, it’s helpful on a lot of levels.  Pitchfork

– Speaking of Twitter, Matt Chamblerlain just tweeted that he played the drums on the new Of Montreal record.  Apparently they just completed the tracks, which Chamberlain is calling “a crazy-funky-psychedelic-drum extravaganza.” Nice.  Chamberlain’s Twitter

– Nickleback lost their popularity contest with “a pickel,” and lead sing Chad Kroeger isn’t happy about it.  Comcast

– Editorial:  We just decided on a date for a clinic I’ll be giving at New Hope Church.  The day is March 13th, is open to everyone, and will center around playing drums in a church environment.  The cost will be low and maybe even nothing, so I’m hoping we can get a good group of guys who care about drums in worship services to come out for the clinic.  I’ll post official details here soon.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Jason Harms Quintet gig at Bethel last night. I very much enjoyed the performance and the atmosphere surrounding it.

The new record, The Land Of The Fear Of Men, is now available for no charge at noisetrade.com. Head over there and get yourself a copy. But, in going the download route, you’ll miss out on all the incredible liner note artwork done by Adrian Johnston. The full series of the work used on the record has been compiled in an 80-page book, which you can preview or purchase at Adrian’s website. Be sure and check that out, but in the meantime, here’s some snipets from the series, beginning with The Land of the Fear Men liner insert…

lfm-map-poster-thumb

Jason and Adrian took a “Tolkien meets Bunyan” approach with this map of the fictitious “Land.” It represents the place where we all often go, when we are thinking too much about the opinions of others, and letting those thoughts drive our actions in a wrong direction.

cry-my-brothers

A depiction of man’s struggle in life, and the sorrow that sometimes feels crushing…

rider-right-side

This dude is deciding to set out into the “Land”… thinking that it’s going to benefit him. “There is no armor in the Land, only chains.”

PS. I just put up the opening track from Land of the Fear on my myspace page, as well as one of the tracks from the recent Westwood Church album by Joel Hanson. Joel’s working on a solo record right now, but we play every Sunday night at Westwood and they opted to have us record an album of their favorite worship tunes that we play each week.

About a month ago I got a Matthew Perryman Jones recording called Throwing Punches In The Dark. I am totally hooked on it right now. In fact, it’s probably my current favorite. Slow, vibey ballads and fast, assertive rock tunes… and all with thoughtfully artistic production. Jeff Buckley meets Sondre Lerche with a little Wilco. Love it.

Jones is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with a folk-rock bent. From what I understand, Throwing Punches is a little less folk and a little more rock than his previous albums, of which I am not familiar. Regardless, the record delivers clear elements of both folk and rock, and manages to include solid lyrical content as well. You get the impression that Jones has seen a lot of life, but has found a way to make it all positive.

Andy Hubbard is the drummer on the record and another Nashville guy, but I’ve not heard him before. He totally nails the folk-rock vibe, both with feel and tones. His vocabulary in grooves and fills is A-squad for Jones’ sound, and every tune has a killer snare tone. The most interesting sounds come from his hats, which I can’t quite pin down. I think he must be using old crash cymbals with tape all over them or something.

I’ve definitely mentioned noisetrade.com before, and this is one of the records that I got from there. It’s still available on that site, so you really have no excuse to not add Matthew Perryman Jones’ Throwing Punches In The Dark to your itunes library right now.

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