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Wow.  If you haven’t seen this video yet of  Michael Nau (Page France, Cotton Jones Basket Ride) playing Starflyer 59’s song “I Was Seventeen,” you’ve gotta check it out.  Wow.  It’s intensely sad.

I’d like to take a quick moment to thank Matt Modrich of True Tunes for this, his first “official” contribution to The Blah Blah, though he has for some time been supplying me personally with music tips and suggestions behind-the-scenes, thereby making me look cooler than I really am.

Starflyer 59 continues to break new ground with a cult following
despite always eluding the attention of the mainstream. Starflyer is Jason Martin’s solo project with a revolving cast of band members.

With 15 years in the books Martin continues to rock despite the “kids who want a faster beat”.

Dial M is Martin’s latest annual project and it fires on all
cylinders. With a sound reminiscent of the Brothers Martin album released last year, Martin picks up where My Island left off. Demos of Dial M were released last year as the vinyl box set Ghosts of the
Future
.

The Dial M versions of the Ghosts material are fresher and more produced. Songs like “The Brightest of the Head” and “I Love You Like the Little Bird” have received a bit of a makeover. As with any makeover there will be those that approve and those that prefer the old versions.

Lyrically, Martin exhibits growth whereas in some of his earlier albums he said the lyrics were “just there”. The theme of his father’s death is the topic of “Mr. Martin” and the bonus track “Magic”. The subject of personal struggle is evident when Martin quotes the Apostle Paul: “‘To live is Christ; to die is gain’ I try and I try, I try and I try.”

Dial M is an excellent collection of tried and true songs, which proves Martin still has what it takes after all these years. But it seems as though the story is not yet complete because Martin still has more left in the tank. Let’s hope he keeps his taxi on the road.

Here are some sample tracks off the album, but please go and buy the whole thing:

Minor Keys – Download – Stream
Mr. Martin – Download – Stream

Website: www.sf59.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/starflyer59

Download MP3s on Amazon.com
Buy CDs on Amazon.com

Here it is – the highly-anticipated second summer mix CD at The Blah Blah: Baby, You Can Drive My Car.  Pop this bad boy into your CD player and drive until your butt cramps up and your bladder’s about to explode.

Man, I love road trips.  Nothing clears my head like driving for 10 or 12 hours straight, getting away from everything you’re used to.  Road trips are therapeutic for me.  I don’t even need to be going anywhere amazing.  Just the fact that I’m leaving wherever I am and doing nothing but driving is enough sometimes.

Given the choice between flying and driving, I’d always rather choose driving, as long as the cost is the same and I can get enough time off to do the drive.  Flying always leaves me a little discombobulated feeling, like I just went through some intense time travel or warped to a different planet.  I get off the plan and feel disoriented for a while, like I shouldn’t have gotten to California from Wisconsin in under 5 hours.  Driving leaves me time to clear my head, see the country, and adjust to the fact that I’m going somewhere.  By the time I get there, I’m ready for it.

One time, I found out my friend Greg had never been west of Minnesota (we live in Wisconsin), so I convinced him to drive with me to Wyoming and back in under a day and a half.  We cranked high speed and got there in about 13 hours.  It was about 3 am so I pulled off the highway and napped for a couple hours before we drove to Devil’s Tower, snapped some photos, then headed home.  We stopped at Mount Rushmore for maybe an hour, cruised into the Badlands, shopped at Wall Drug, and got home in time for a late dinner the next day.  I was short on funds for the trip, and Greg couldn’t get more than a day off of work, which made it a challenge, but a memorable one.  My lack of funds meant we ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the whole time.  At the end of the trip, exhausted and delirious, we stopped for the best McDonald’s meal I’ve ever had.

I made this CD with road-tripping in mind.  Some songs are actually about road trips.  Others just have an “I’m driving a car for a really long time” feel to them.  Hope you enjoy it.

1. Robbie Seay Band – Better Days (Download or Stream)
2. The Listening – The Factory (Download or Stream)
3. Justin Fox – When You Drive (Download or Stream)
4. Destroy Nate Allen – Arizona (Download or Stream)
5. Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Download or Stream)
6. Havalina Railroad Company – Tundra (Download or Stream)
7. Jason Harwell – California (Download or Stream)
8. Rosie Thomas – Much Farther to Go (Download or Stream)
9. Jeremy Enigk – River to Sea (Download or Stream)
10. Jeff Caylor – The Egypt Vibe (Download or Stream)
11. The Innocence Mission – Lakes of Canada (Download or Stream)
12. The Cold Comfort Band – A Heart Unseen (Download or Stream)
13. Don Chaffer – Motel Rooms (Download or Stream)
14. Daniel Smith and Sufjan Stevens – Worried Shoes (Download or Stream)
15. Starflyer 59 – No New Kinda Story (Download or Stream)
16. mewithoutYou – A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains (Download or Stream)
17. Brave Saint Saturn – Gloria (Download or Stream)

Enjoy the CD!  To download the album art, just save the image above.

Note: all MP3s will be removed after one week.

Sorry for the later post today… I blame the Packers, for losing to the Giants last night, and now the entire state of Wisconsin will be stuck in a deep depression until spring. Anyway, keep voting on Group 13, but if you’re ready here is Group 14 for Christian Music Superbowl I:

Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day
Pushstart Wagon – Paul
Ponoka – September
Starflyer 59 – Good Sons

Download the MP3s if you need ‘em, but judge the artists and not just the song.

Here are the six matches to vote on:

1) Sufjan Stevens vs. Pushstart Wagon
2) Sufjan Stevens vs. Ponoka
3) Sufjan Stevens vs. Starflyer 59
4) Pushstart Wagon vs. Starflyer 59
5) Pushstart Wagon vs. Ponoka
6) Ponoka vs. Starflyer 59

Let the voting begin! All votes must be received in the comments by 8:00 am CST on Saturday, January 26, 2008.

Official Links
Sufjan Stevens Website
Buy Sufjan Stevens MP3s on iTunes
Buy Sufjan Stevens CDs at Amazon

Pushstart Wagon MySpace
Buy Pushstart Wagon MP3s on iTunes
Buy Pushstart Wagon CDs at Amazon

Ponoka MySpace
Buy MP3s on YouMakeMusic
Buy Ponoka CDs at Amazon

Starflyer 59 MySpace
Buy Starflyer 59 MP3s on iTunes
Buy Starflyer 59 CDs at Amazon

Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week

Ester DrangEster Drang is an indie psychadelic rock group coming from Oklahoma with a sound ranging from the shoegaze of bands like Starflyer 59 to more traditional pop sounds to 70s jazz (sort of) to the post-rock instrumentalism of bands like Unwed Sailor.  They’re really hard to describe.  I just found them a few days ago and have downloaded a bunch of songs since, thanks to a referral signing on with emusic.com and getting me 50 free downloads.  (Whoever you are, thanks!)

Short sidenote: I recommend everyone sign up for the 50 free downloads for trying emusic out.  Not only do you get 50 MP3 downloads for free, but if you choose to keep a subscription going, I’ll get 50 free downloads too.  The plan I’m on gives me 15 downloads for $6 a month, but they’ve got better plans out there, and if you don’t like any of them, just cancel after your 50 downloads and you won’t owe a thing.  Click here to sign up or here to learn more about it.

But you’re here to learn about the band Ester Drang, not to learn about one of the coolest MP3-downloading services ever conceived…

Read the rest of this entry »

Important Note

These MP3s are here for sampling purposes and to help spread the news about some sweet bands you may not otherwise know about. Support the artists by buying their MP3s and CDs and attending their shows. If you're a musician and don't want your MP3s on here, let us know and we'll take them down. In the interests of promotion and not robbery, all MP3s are taken down after a week or two, so if you wanna hear stuff, either come around often or pay for songs.

Send us an e-mail if you want stuff removed or you would like to be promoted here.

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