Best of ’11: Milo Greene

Milo GreeneThe Best Songs You (Maybe) Didn’t Hear 2011
Track 10: Milo Greene, “1954”

I discovered Milo Greene in the nicest, most roundabout, Kevin-Bacon-game-y way: I went to see Adele while she toured behind 21 & fell in love with her openers from that tour, The Civil Wars. I caught The Civil Wars when they returned to Boston in the fall, this time headlining, and fell in love with their opening act, Milo Greene. Most of the audience, in fact, fell in love with Milo Greene that night: during the intermission, their merch table was mobbed, temporarily running out of CDs & vinyl 45s.

For good reason, too: Milo Greene’s music is a wonderful mix of pickin’ Americana/folk and plugged-in British rock, and their stage presence is great — band members rotate from instrument to instrument in between witty & heartfelt stage banter. They’ve gotten a good Mumford & Sons comparison from Entertainment Weekly, and I’m hoping they get a lot more attention 2012. Check out a nifty live rendition of “1957”:

Like what you hear? Head to their Bandcamp page to purchase their debut EP, The Hello Sessions.

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Adele’s Tiny Desk Concert sounds HUGE

After watching Steve Earle’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.org yesterday, I clicked into their archives & found one featuring Adele from February. Backed only by hushed keys & guitars, she treats us to astonishingly powerful renditions of “Someone Like You,” “Chasing Pavements,” and “Rolling In The Deep.” Keep that voice in shape, lady: my wife & I have tickets to see you live next month and we’re looking forward to this show’s equal!

Click the photo below to watch the video & download an MP3:

Adele, Tiny Desk Concert / NPR

John Legend’s “Rolling In The Deep” treat

I guess it’s John Legend day around here, because I think it’s worth sharing this little bit of free music with y’all: on his website last week, Legend made available for free download a nifty, gospel-tinged a capella cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” Give it a spin below, download it, and then imagine how even better it would sound with The Roots backing him up:

For good measure, here’s Adele’s fantastic original:

“Make You Feel My Love” for a good cause

Songs for Japan

Songs for Japan

While I’m not thrilled with the whole tracklisting, I am impressed with the goodwill behind Songs for Japan, and in the end you can do far worse for ten bucks than a donation to aid victims of the Japanese earthquakes in exchange for great songs from Bruce Springsteen, Cee-Lo Green, Bob Dylan, U2, R.E.M., Queen, and Elton John. The pick of the litter, tho, is Adele’s contribution: a cover of Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” which, in my mind, instantly became the definitive version when it was released on her 2008 album 19. Check out the video:

Like what you hear? Head to Amazon MP3 to buy a copy of Songs for Japan, and while you’re there, check out Adele’s debut 19, too.

Worth a listen: Adele, Johnny Cash

As I mentioned earlier, Adele’s 21 is new in stores and seriously worth your time. The arrangements are fuller, the songs are catchier, and, impossibly, her voice sounds even better. The evidence:

Sony’s Legacy imprint continues to open Johnny Cash’s personal vault of unreleased material with Bootleg Vol 2: From Memphis to Hollywood. It’s a fascinating time capsule, featuring recordings of a local radio show, a slew of outtakes and b-sides, and what I consider important music history: early demos of classic songs like “Get Rhythm” and “I Walk The Line,” a snippet of which you can hear here:

That’s what I’m digging today; what’s filling your headphones?

“I tell you, if I could sing like that, I wouldn’t be selling t-shirts in a deli”

So says David Letterman:

He’s right: with a voice like that, he’d at least be selling t-shirts on a 5th avenue street corner. What a voice. Adele’s new album 21 is fantastic and available right now at iTunes with a bonus track.