A Coen Brothers Concert and a Line-Up of Must-Play New Releases: Are You Listening?

If I ask “What’s on your iPod?”, what comes to mind? I doubt that you’ll say “The Coen Brothers.” But that might be the case, come December.

You do have the music from O Brother, Where Art Thou? on your iPod, don’t you? I do.

Here they come again, with their new film Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s already stirring up Oscar buzz, as if that’s actually worth something. (In this case, “Oscar buzz” might mean “buzz about Oscar Isaac, the lead actor.”) Whatever the Oscars think of it, Inside Llewyn Davis was a favorite at the Cannes Film Festival. And, like O Brother, Where Art Thou? before it, it brings a soundtrack full of folk music courtesy of talent-wranger T-Bone Burnett.

So, if you’re the sort to buy plane tickets so that you don’t miss a great concert, take note. T-Bone has pulled together a remarkable lineup of performers for a showcase of music that we’ll hear during the movie.

The Milk Carton Kids will be there, along with Avett Brothers, Joan Baez, Colin Meloy, Patti Smith, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Jack White, and several cast members, including John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, and the soon-to-be-a-leading-man Oscar Isaac.

Anybody want to fly me to New York to write about it?

Speaking of music… 2013 has become the most exciting year full of new releases in recent memory, according to how many happy hours I’m spending under the headphones.

Here are some of this week’s highlights…

1)

The extraordinary Sarah Masen is back. Check her official site, and then express extravagant gratitude in a “pay what you can” download of her new recording: The Trying Mark

Also, NPR’s First Listen is just crazy this week, offering advance streaming of impressive new albums.

I spent yesterday marinating in the magical goodness of several upcoming releases, including…

2)

The return of Robert Zimmerman! Play highlights of Bob Dylan, Highlights From Another Self Portrait (1969-1971). And these highlights are very high, very bright.

3)

The return of Neko Case! Stream NPR’s First Listen of The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love YouI’m dazzled by it. It’s ablaze with new sounds, some of them ferocious, some of them tender.

4)

The return of Justin Vernon! No, this isn’t a new Bon Iver album. It’s the latest record from his band, Volcano Choir… Repave. (But really, just listen to it. I think you’ll agree… it’s a new Bon Iver album. And it’s fantastic. At this point, it’s my favorite thing he’s produced so far.)

5) Well, I could talk to you about the new Over the Rhine double album, Meet Me At the Edge of the World. But I’m writing a review of it that will take almost as long to read as it does to listen to the album. So stay tuned. It’s a landmark event. You can listen to the first five songs here.

6) Sam Phillips, Push Any Button. I owe you a review of this one too, which is Sam’s sunniest record ever, and one that brings back sounds and styles we haven’t heard from her since Martinis and Bikinis. The First Listen is over, but you can read about it here and order it in any format here.

 

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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