by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Withered Hand - "Hard On". Withered Hand's debut LP, Good News, is not lo-fi. This is a change from the shambolic stuff that so struck me last year. When Dan Willson revisits those old songs - "Religious Songs", "New Dawn", "I Am Nothing" - the results aren't (sorry) very good. I don't know whether it's because of the nature of the songs or simply because the higher-fi adaptations are so-so. But they sound too careful, too choreographed; no one is going to get stung.

However this is all an unfair introduction to Good News. Because Withered Hand is great, and most of Good News is wonderful. The album's best songs feel fully born into this studio - sharp and fully realised. Listening, you get stung. "Hard On" is ultimately about erections, but mostly it's about the intersection between yearning and doing. And bless his heart, Withered Hand has realised the sound of yearning; it's this, simple and splendid and fierce. It's a chant that keeps changing, with words like flashpaper. Listen to the way he sings man, good, could, knife, car, go, FM radio, guitars, Thin Lizzy, pen, John Updike, hard-on. Each one, carelessly cast, could start a housefire.

Go buy Good News. [MySpace]

(Update ~6pm: Edited this post to remove an embarrassing mistake about who produced Good News. Apologies to all.)


Earlier this year, I wrote about a Spirituals remix of Shelby Sifers' "Are You Devo". It's still one of the best things I've heard this year, and now Shelby has re-recorded the song (and added a different Spirituals remix) and loosed the whole thing onto the iTunes Music Store. I'm not offering it here because the whole thing is a grand charity project - a fundraiser for We Heart Arts. They're hoping to sell 2,500 downloads of "Are You Devo", boosting it into UK singles charts. It's a marvelous track - well worth that 99 cents. Go give them a hand.

Posted by Sean at September 3, 2009 4:37 PM

Great music just on my doorstep and i hadnt even heard it yet. Funny how it works out that way.

Posted by Dan at September 4, 2009 5:07 AM

there is a video on the group playing this song on YouTube and it is quite something, I can feel it in my innards:


Posted by BMR at September 5, 2009 6:44 AM

the song 'hard on' is originally by Charles Latham but I often play it live, I love it so. Sean, if you haven't heard Charles Latham's work, do make amends. he is just fabulous.


Posted by dan at September 8, 2009 2:16 PM

I'm with dan, latham is truly wonderful. 'hard on' was my favorite sound check song of all time.

Posted by bryan at November 8, 2009 11:52 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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