“The arts are not a way to make a living” -Kurt Vonnegut

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” -Kurt Vonnegut

When It’s OK to Cover a Song

Let’s settle it for all time.  When considering whether you should record a cover of another artist’s song for your new single or album, there is a list of principles to follow.

The criteria for when to cover a song:

  1. Your version is going to be nearly as good, if not as good or better than, the original.
  2. Your version will differ significantly enough to be a cover and not a discount replica.
  3. Your version is one the original artist would be proud to have heard.
    Continue reading

The Avett Brothers’ Magpie and the Dandelion: Album Review (by the Brothers Guard)

After an eight month music fast, moving to a bigger city and staring a new job (Luke), after listening to all my favorite bands I had before the Avetts (Caleb), and after several months’ worth of listening, meditation, and more listening, the Brothers Guard sit down for a dialogue review of Magpie and the Dandelion.

“If you think about a Magpie, it’s a bird from the crow family. You can see them everywhere, and they’ve got this strange grace. And, we all know what a dandelion is. It reminds you of being a kid and watching a flower come apart on a summer day. There’s a youthful wonder in that. Those kinds of feelings live and breathe inside this album.”
-The Avetts

Continue reading

11 Ways to Describe Tom Waits’s Voice

If you haven’t experienced America’s favorite lacquered vaudeville rock beatnik carnival barking balladeer, you haven’t lived.

His voice sounds “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” -Daniel Durcholz
Continue reading

_Cloud Atlas_ Review (the novel)

I had not heard of Cloud Atlas until the trailer for the film.  I immediately looked up the book and was interested.  When a friend told me she had begun reading it, I quickly followed along.

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is what some describe as a Russian doll of a novel, epic in scope and universal in theme.  The story is broken into six different stories that weave together in connection.  In terms of history, it’s a tale of “There and Back Again,” with fictional characters telling their story in layers unawares, from historical journal to epistolary romance to political thriller to farcical biopic pitch to digital recording to oral history.
200px-Cloud_atlas

Continue reading

The Bros. Guard on the Bros. Avett: _Carpenter_ Review

Caleb: “I and hate and it.”  That was the 5-word review given by my friend Rob Case of the last Avetts album, after they supposedly sold out for the first time.  Now they’re in a GAP commercial.  Just wanted to let you know, I liked them before they were popular.  But I’m proud to say I ain’t no ironic bandwagon hipster: I still like them now.  And I don’t think they sold out.  Look, guys’ gotta eat.  By the way, if you don’t know the Avetts and are reading this for some reason, they are what rock and roll would sound like if it was invented right after the War of Northern Aggression.
Continue reading