Monday, September 21, 2009

Avett Brothers Week, Day 2 -- update w/Letterman info

UPDATE: Columbia Records announced today that the Avetts will play David Letterman's show Monday -- the night before "I and Love and You" hits stores -- and will also appear on the Craig Ferguson late-night show Oct. 6. They'll be doing the song "I and Love and You" on Letterman (11:35 p.m. on CBS) and "Laundry Room" on Ferguson (12:35 a.m., also CBS).

(For an explanation of why it's Avett Brothers Week on the blog, check here.)

Yes, the new record -- "I and Love and You" -- is now available for listening. But first, a quick study in contrasts.

The Avetts made their name by playing bluegrass instruments with punk intensity -- a friend of mine described them as Doc Watson and the Clash thrown into a blender. Here's a clip that really shows off that style -- "I Killed Sally's Lover" (from the 2003 album "A Carolina Jubilee"), played at a record-store appearance in Knoxville.

Now then. Late last night, NPR put up "I and Love and You" in its entirety on streaming audio. It's not in stores until next Tuesday, but the streaming version should be up all this week. Thanks to the magic of the embedded player, you can listen to it right here:

The track list:

1. I and Love and You
2. January Wedding
3. Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise
4. And It Spread
5. The Perfect Space
6. Ten Thousand Words
7. Kick Drum Heart
8. Laundry Room
9. Ill With Want
10. Tin Man
11. Slight Figure of Speech
12. It Goes On and On
13. Incomplete and Insecure

(To listen to individual tracks, go here.)

The Avetts have always played around with different arrangements and tempos, and from talking to them, they see "I and Love and You" as a natural progression. But you'll find a very different sound than you hear on that YouTube clip.

So, Avett fans: What do you think of the new songs? Or are you trying to hold off on hearing them until you can get a CD in your hands next Tuesday?

And if you're new to the band, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

I'm really digging the new album this morning and appreciate you covering the background on the Avetts! I wish we had more writers like you Tommy. You are invaluable to his town!

nohuiam said...

I'm proud of them. The sound has a depth to it that I appreciate. They have always sung with truth and passion. This takes the music to the same depth of their experiences. The help of Rick Rubin producing this album has taken it all to a new level.

Anonymous said...

the new stuff is beautiful, but you really need to listen to the first recordings to see how they've grown. check out "Talk on Indolence" to really see the punk grass sound

Matt said...

It is definitely a departure from the Country Was/Carolina Jubilee days, though that's not a bad thing. Rick Rubin has cleaned up the sound and made them sound almost retro-pop at times. I would like to see Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne) produce an album in the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Tommy. Wow...Rick Rubin has been wonderful for these guys. This moves them from the great party band category to a level of artistry & muscianship I've never seen from them before.

Anonymous said...

The new album is definitely polished and clean which I think can be attributed to Rubin. However, the magic with The Avetts can't be felt until you see them live. I've been to a lot of concerts and I'll put these guys at the top of the list for top musical performers I've ever had the pleasure to see.
Their lyrics still amaze me to this day...some of the best (if not the best) storytellers of this generation.

Anonymous said...

They sure have come a long way from the days they were playing The Wine Vault at University Place. This album will be what secures "The Brothers" as a mainstream group, if you have not seen the live show YOU are missing out!!

Anonymous said...

Another great album, but I would argue not as good as previous albums. I prefer hearing the band closer to their live sound. This record sounds engineered. To me, that's a bad thing. I've heard a few of these songs live and they are indeed much better and closer to the sound of the Avett's that I really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

This album is absolutely a thing of beauty. The cello adds wonderful depth. I am so taken with The Avetts' passion and the goodness of their music (and I don't mean the sound, which is excellent, too). What a treasure to have music you can listen to with your teenagers and twentysomething kids. And then actually have a conversation about!

Anonymous said...


Michael said...

In some ways, I think it's their best yet (and I've got all their albums from Carolina Jubilee, on through The Gleam II). Their songwriting, which has always been very good, is in top form here. But I also agree with the poster a couple of comments above me. It can seem a bit produced at times, and takes some of the passion and heart out of these songs (especially Laundry Room, which is exhilarating live). Don't get me wrong though, this is incredible, and I've already listened to it about 5 times today.

I love these guys! Go see them live!!

tommy tomlinson said...

Michael, it's funny -- "Laundry Room" is my favorite on the new record, maybe because it IS produced (not that the other ones aren't, but we both know what we're saying). It's always interesting, where the passion and the production intersect. That one, for me, finds the sweet spot.

Matt said...

Album version of Laundry Room is very good. This version from Daytrotter is great:

dan said...

this album is growing on me, but will probably remain my least favorite. i've enjoyed the new sounds found in each album. i enjoy several of the new songs (january wedding is initially superior), and it isn't as poppy as i was afraid it would be. still wish 'more of' and 'late in life' had replaced some of the other songs on the album. i'm happy for them and their success, but sad to see the smaller shows disappear and hear the new album a bit overproduced.

Michael said...

It's difficult to comment on an album as it is when I've already heard half of these songs live, via the Internet and the show I went to in June. I heard Laundry Room a bunch of times live before I ever heard the studio version, and the studio version is always tamer than live. The more I listen to the album, the more I can see where they're coming from, rather than just how it's different from what I've come to expect.

Anonymous said...

I saw them in August and have also seen a few YouTubes of live performances of "Laundry Room." While there's a different type of art one tries to capture on record, the recorded version (heard it on NPR) seems to possess the passion but not the energy of the live performance.

I can't wait to buy this album, but am trying to have realistic expectations about what I'm getting. Emotionalism has terrific energy and captures some of the Avett live exuberance, but their stage show is just an otherworldly experience.

Copmared to a song like Laundry Room live, any recording is going to struggle to compete at full battle strength.

It may simply be that the energy the Avett Brothers bring to the table is too big for the studio. Few bands could make such a claim, but with them it may be a reasonable conclusion.