Being a student at the University of Kentucky, it is customary that I hate/loathe/despise/abhor Duke. For reasons most obviously known to the sports community, I do hate that school (while admiring their great academics), their basketball players, coaches, and annoying fans that are no more crazier than Tom Cruise‘s latest addition to the food pyramid.

For the first time in my life, I am thoroughly enjoying Duke. Not for their player of the year, or commercialized American Express coach, but for their music scene.

The suspender loving, panama hat wearing quartet of Durham, NC, Bombadil, are a local collegiate band that are playing gigs at local venues, libraries, and house parties. The band first contacted me after my Titanic post to share a chuckle and to share their music with me. When I got the chance to listen to their music, I was a greeted with neat vocal melodies, piano galore, and varied instruments such as xylophone and bells. In a greater light, their music is a sensational blend of what you might find in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, combining the elements of a saloon style piano with dysfunctional vocals you’d expect to hear in the basement of your local folk artist’s house. It’s the type of music that you listen to and immediately tap your foot and smile, because not only does it sound happy, but the rare sound (lost in so many bands) of an artists excitement and joy of making music exudes in their songs and infects your very demeanor.

They’ve been through rough times, like many artists trying to establish themselves. The used to practice/record in an old abandoned sorority house until it caught on fire- an accident of course, but due entirely to their negligence. The wrong people found out and they were forced to find a new place to record. One of the MP3s below, Sinister Side, was written after Bryan (bassist, vocals) was kidnapped and robbed by 3 clever individuals in Bolivia. They took his credit cards, $90, and his pride. Thankfully, they left his fingers in tact so he could help make some great new music.

[MP3] BombadilJellybean Wine
[MP3] BombadilJohnny
[MP3] BombadilSinister Side

The band is trying to put together a Japanese tour, where I can’t help but to think of one of my favorite Tom Waits songs- [MP3] Big In Japan. Aside from their plans of sushi and sake, Bombadil are a young group of talented musicians hovering around the state of North Carolina. If you live in the area, check out their upcoming shows on their site. Otherwise, check out their sweet T-Shirts and upcoming EP.

Now, where can I get one of those stylish hats?

A long long time ago, I posted about a video which mysteriously appeared on the web; acting as an eerie advertisement for the Lip‘s new album, At War With The Mystics. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new album, I really think you should. It’s a great album, in my opinion, both musically and lyrically. Don’t be surprised if it makes my best list of 2006.

Personal praise aside, there are a couple of tracks on The W.A.N.D. single that didn’t make the full length LP. One of those songs, You’ve Got To Hold On, was the title and backing music for that mysterious video that appeared out of no where. Despite the ephemeral joy of the video, the full length song is much better. And who doesn’t like a lecture on time travelling? I don’t, but oh well.

[MP3] The Flaming LipsYou’ve Got To Hold On
[MP3] The Flaming LipsTime Travel..Yes!!

Buy their new album! You won’t be sad.

Reminding many of The Polyphonic Spree, only by format, I’m From Barcelona is a Swedish (awkward?) band that has been known to have as many as 26 people on stage.

Yes, 26 people.

Somewhere between an outlandish folk sound and even more outlandish pop sound, I’m From Barcelona are masters of massive vocation. All eccentricites aside, the two tracks that I was able to find are very solid tunes that I’ve been playing over and over. The perfect blend of frontman Christopher Norgren’s folk-like lyrics with the backing of a pop consistency in the 20 or so people providing vocal melodies (who also play kazoos), makes a combination so unique you can’t help but listen. Go on, help yourself.

[MP3] I’m From BarcelonaWe’re From Barcelona
[MP3] I’m From BarcelonaTreehouse

Their website is 80% Foreign Languagenized, thus making it extremely hard for me to decipher what their saying – although I conducted a few searches and was able to find that they’re playing Europe’s prestigious Primavera Festival with the likes of The Flaming Lips, Animal Collective, Stereolab, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and many many others.

Their debut LP, Let Me Introduce My Friends is looking strong and hits the shelves on April 26, though I am not sure which shelves it’ll be hitting in America. Just in case, I managed to find a place you can purchase the CD and have it shipped to you. If you’re gonna be in Barcelona June 1-3, check them out with the other great acts at Primavera Fest!

Donovan Woods

Any of you remember my post on Donovan Woods a few months ago? If you don’t, you’re in for a treat. I decided to go against my usual extended time buffer between posts on the same artist, mainly because when I posted on him the first time, I had no idea who the hell this guy was, no photos of him, and no links to buy his music. This time around, I’ve got a bit more mustard to spread (although I still have no idea how to buy his music…).

Donovan Woods has this to say (stolen from his myspace): “I was born in Sarnia. I live in Toronto. Where I act and play music whenever I can.” There you have it, folks. He’s a man. He’s got a beard…kind of. He’s Canadian. He…plays music.

If you’re a fan of Damien Rice, you will definitely appreciate Donovan’s music… the two not only share similar vocal stylings (minus the whole “ooh look at me, I’m Irish” thing), but also seem to share the same undeniable guitar playing ability. Now, why more of a fuss has been made of Damien and not Donovan, I don’t really know, but this man could be the most talented under-the-radar musician I’ve ever heard (aside from these guys). Do yourselves a favor and download these five tracks:

[MP3] Donovan WoodsBrand New Gun
[MP3] Donovan WoodsNothing’s Changed
[MP3] Donovan WoodsMy Cousin Has A Grey Cup Ring
[MP3] Donovan WoodsI Ain’t Saying She’s Better Than You
[MP3] Donovan WoodsWait And See

There…satisfied? Need more? Luckily, there’s an entire open directory of some of his older stuff. It’s not quite as stunning, but it’s still good.

As if Queen Elizabeth II’s signing of the Canada Act, which severed virtually all remaining constitutional and legislative ties between the United Kingdom and Canada, (24 years ago – yesterday) wasn’t enough, Conor Oberst and crew have anounced a tour highlighting many hotspots up in the North.

06-04 Victoria, British Columbia – Royal Theatre
06-05 Vancouver, British Columbia – Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park
06-07 Edmonton, Alberta – Reds
06-08 Calgary, Alberta – MacEwan Hall
06-09 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Wheatlands “A”
06-10 Winnipeg, Manitoba – Burton Cummings Theatre
06-13 London, Ontario – Centennial Hall
06-14 Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
06-16 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
06-17 Omaha, NE – Memorial Park

Here are a few tracks from his last album, a series of live recordings titled Motion Sickness. One is a rare song that is on the elusive Home IV split he did in 2002.

[MP3] Bright EyesSouthern State (Rare song!)
[MP3] Bright EyesWe Are Nowhere and It’s Now
[MP3] Bright EyesRoad To Joy

His label and Pitchfork, both are hinting to a new release from Oberst in 2007.