Is It Just Me?

There are few things I enjoy more than listening to music. I may not be the most well listened person you’ll meet but I certainly enjoy the music more than almost anyone.  But, to tell you the truth, I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. I don’t think I’ve heard an album in the last 6 months (possibly a year) that’s knocked me on my butt.  And to make it worse all the albums I’ve been looking forward to this season I’ve found to be a little disappointing. The new My Morning Jacket, The new Killers, The last 3 Ryan Adams albums, etc. I didn’t particularly hate any of them but none of them are still in my car. The Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and the new Kings of Leon are pretty rad but I still don’t seem to find those tracks that I’m compelled to repeat over and over and over….

I just find myself craving another “Cold Roses”: the double disc album where Ryan Adams returned to Alt country and blew everyone away with over 20 essential tracks of golden Carolina honey for your eardrums. If you’re in your late 20’s/early 30’s and don’t own that album, though you would have some explaining to do, I envy you so dearly. I wish I could go back to not having that album so I could purchase it today and have my whole summer rocked again by illustrious twang of vintage gibsons/gretches and fender twins. But alas 4 years and seventy-bazillion alt country bands later I have found no fuel to light my summer fire.  

What I need is another Arcade Fire album. But not just another album from the band “Arcade Fire”. I mean an album that hits me like the first time I heard the Arcade Fire.

What is my problem!?!

You know how when you ask people what they consider to be the greatest music of all time and they always tell you “without a doubt” it was the music that was popular when they were in highschool. Is my problem similar? Has my brain subconsciously stopped listening to music? Or is it that White Ladder reminds me of falling in love with Sarah or Cold Roses of Ashville in the Fall? And Hot Fuss reminds me of driving to Saint Augustine with Eric and Amanda? Could it sometimes be that the memory of something is often the best part of the something and music triggers that memory?

I don’t know.

I’ve had some pretty incredible memories this year, but as of yet not quite the cornucopia of corresponding audio associations.


Note: If you are a band and have released and album recently, please don’t be offended. I’m sure I’ve either not heard your album yet or I just forgot and just “feel” like I need something new.


  1. samuel said:

    good word right there. Just go back to the Grace album with Jeff Buckley and cry for a while. It should feel better after that. // Samuel Sweden

  2. samuel said:

    good word right there. Just go back to the Grace album by Jeff Buckley and cry for a while. Should feel better after that // Samuel Sweden

  3. gatlin said:

    Hopefully this may help. Some of these records are a little old but if you haven heard of them you might enjoy.Beyond the Neighborhood – AthleteMemory Man – AqualungThe Historical Conquests – Josh RitterMending – The New FrontiersAnd I’m a fan of the new Jars of Clay album Yeah.. Most of these are a couple years old but so good.

  4. I know how that is, I just recently went through a time like you’re going through. And while there aren’t replacements for albums like “Cold Roses” and “Heartbreaker”, there are albums that can kind of evoke new emotions and memories similar to what they bring. An album that I find myself listening to a TON is A.A. Bondy’s “American Hearts”. It’s about 2 years old, but I can still put it on and listen all the way through. Others..Wilco – Being ThereMagnolia Electric Co. – Trials and ErrorsThe Long Winters – Putting the Days to BedTownes Van Zandt – Self-TitledHope it helps!!

  5. rfuq said:

    I’m sure you know aaron strumpel. He has a new one out “Elephants”. I don’t have it yet but hear it’s extending the continuum of bad-assness. No guarantee of inspiring memories to accompany though. Aaron’s deep water. I’m not surprised to hear its great.

  6. not knowing a whole lot about your tastes, i always suggest:Keep No Score–Sleeping at Last or anything by Carbon Leaf (I am partial to Echo Echo, Indian Summer, and Ether-Electrified Porch Music. Or you could just get 5 Alive.)

  7. i hear ya. geez. whats the deal. look up kathleen edwards. and get the album ‘failer’.

  8. I agree. Other than The Fray's release, I was pretty let down by my long-time favorite bands.A few local-ish ideas from a college student in Tennessee…Coal Road Sunset – Taylor Brown & Company Isn't A Dream – Jenny & Tyler

  9. If our favorite music is from our high school days then I really pity those who are in high school now.

  10. JD said:

    Josh-Cage the Elephant are friends of mine. We went to jr high and high school together. They’re living proof that ANYONE can make it in th music industry… lolAnd Gatlin–Athlete’s new CD was by far the most disappointing. To have such a solid debut album and a good sophomore follow-up, this last cd only has a couple of decent songs. I’ve met them and they’re super nice guys. They just need to bring back the quirky awesomeness of “Vehicles and Animals.”John Mark– all kinds of new stuff is on its way! Brand New and mewithoutYou and DC*B and lots of post-hardcore stuff (but I don’t know into that you’d be). Were you really disappointed by Easy Tiger?

  11. Andrew said:

    Sleeping at Last is a good choice.I have been playing the new Copeland CD, You Are My Sunshine, over and over again. It’s pretty darn good, or at least I think so.

  12. Lisa said:

    JMM,me too.but it’s out there somewhere!

  13. For me, this past summer was one of those times that music made such a huge impact on me, and it wasn’t because I subconsciously stopped listening, but I delibretly started to listen. Yours and Sarahs lyrics got to my heart and my brain. And quite honestly I don’t ‘get’ some of them still, but you have me hooked. Your music was like the very life blood that got my husband and I through a really tough summer. Thanks for taking us through that journey. here are some recent listens: M. Ward (gospel roots and influenced by Johnny Cash)DecemberistsMates of Statesanimal collective

  14. John…here’s a real brain bender…your release The Medicine was one of “those” CD’s last year. I just dig it from beginning to end (kind of like Joshua Tree…not to age myself) but it is great song writing bro. Thanks for that…By the way I LOVE Evil Urges by MMJ…Take Care

  15. Lisa said:

    JMM,Irony?!?I got here because I was given the lyrics: “And she singsWorld, I have overcome youWorld, I have overcome youWorld, I have overcomeBy my song and the blood of a son”…with no explanation.Found the song, listened…and the music is just right for right now. Doesn’t help your problem…but it’s funny. K. Praise God.

  16. Andy said:

    Hey man, get the track “Makey makey” by ‘the Mattoid’. It will make you rock almost all summer long… almost.

  17. I have reason to believe that the Arcade Fire are writing/recording. I feel it in my gut and am anxiously awaiting another record like you are. Have you seen them live? It’s incredible. Sometimes I listen to Funeral or Neon Bible and it feels like the first time. Life-altering stuff.I feel your pain, I think I’m hitting a musical slump as well. It’s not just you.I don’t know how you feel about Okkervil River, but they’re one of my favorites to rekindle the musical flame inside of me. And since you’re a fan of alt-country, I’m sure you know of the everybodyfields, but their album “Nothing is Okay” is pretty remarkable. Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) is pretty alright as well.

  18. I think memories do affect our music a lot. Sometimes it’s a good thing..other times it’s the complete opposite.

  19. jaz said:

    just listen to anathallo or andrew bird…. they never get old 🙂

  20. Tom said:

    Have you heard Passing Stranger by Scott Matthews? I’m sure it has some of what you’re looking for.

  21. Jordan said:

    Not sure if it’s your cup of tea, but I am absoutely in love with the New Manchester Orchestra CD. They’re a great little indie rock band with some great hooks and lyrics. You should at least give them a listen. I think they’re entire CD is on their myspace.

  22. Casey said:

    brand new—the devil and God are raging inside me

  23. kcampos said:

    I’m in a little musical dry season as well, so I’ve been going back to see what I’ve missed. I don’t know where I was or what the heck I was doing when Band of Horses “Cease to Begin” record came out, but shame on me for missing it, stinking incredible. Also been getting into the The Avett Brothers.

  24. Hey, and both of those bands are my Carolina homeboys. Band of Horses from Charleston area and the Avetts from north of Charlotte.

  25. Jason said:

    How have I not heard of your blog before? Your taste in music is exquisite as is that of the commenters who read your site. This comment may be more than you bargained for, but it is so nice to find someone with similar tastes that also longs for new, current great albums. I have been listening to the same music for almost 6 years now, and Cold Roses always finds it way into my speakers. In fact, me and a good friend of mine (who is now married, a father, and old) were just talking about Cold Roses the other day and Ryan Adams’ subsequent subversion into the mundane. The album I have come to love now is Rubber Soul by The Beatles. That album just means so much to me at the moment and it is astounding that the Beatles sound as fresh as they do. On a side note: Kudos to Casey for the Brand New plug. I love that album.

  26. I’m sure you’ve heard of Foy Vance, but he’s not really …er… well, “new.” However, there are multiple songs of his that I put on repeat for like half a year. Best.

  27. Jacksonville City Nights is always a good option when you’ve grown tired of Cold Roses…but yeah, as far as new stuff, i haven’t found much worth spinning more than once. i thought the most recent 7 Mary 3 album that came out in ’08 was pretty good, and Jon Black’s “Goodbye Golden Age” finds it’s way onto my ipod list pretty frequently.I actually think “Easy Tiger” had some pretty decent tunes, but the production for me was kinda dry and sterile..There was a record called “The Medicine” that i found pretty inspirational a few months ago, but i can’t remember who it was by…

  28. timmay said:

    This is the thirtieth post but the ONLY one you need to read.Mumford and Sons are about to become mega famous so check them out before the tv tells you about them)

  29. For me, often the powerful connection with music is not the music itself, it’s when the music intertwines to what’s going on in my life. What is important is to remain moving forward, growing, changing, meditating, cleansing, healing…the music that will touch your soul will be there when the time is right. Often it is simply provided as if it was hand picked just for you.Unfortunately, I have no “fresh” music suggestions for you. Instead, my suggestion is to add something new into your own life. Maybe a fresh perspective, new direction or change of focus, and see if the songs you currently listen too change their meaning as you become all you are created to be.

  30. joy said:

    all these hot shots with their indy music… and here’s my take. if ray lamontagne doesn’t make you a little weak at the knees, you may need to start lowering your ticket prices.

  31. I feel you. Here is an album i found in the last week.Josh Garrels – Jacaranda

  32. i’ve got a suggestion. why don’t you take a vacation with some friends? maybe to a tropical island somewhere in the carribbean? just saying.

  33. I don't have what your looking for, but when you find it let us know. I wonder if Winn Butler ever had this problem.

  34. JM, I'm not sure if you'll get this, but I want you to understand something. I know exactly the feeling you were in when you read this, as I was in that place about 4 months ago, but then I fell in love with the music from another artist that really opened up the same "Cold Roses" place you were speaking of. That artist was you. I think that while you're in this dry place for new music that really connects to your soul make sure to take solace in the fact that you are doing that for many many others.

  35. dustin said:

    feel the same way bud, but i have been stuck on one album for the last 4 or 5 months, it's the Once soundtrack. Which is also known as the group the Swell Season, who is the same front man as the Frames. Love it so much. But I always go back to white latter myself. thanks for sharin

  36. Jeremy said:

    This is a late post to this post, but I've got some new music that's been rocking my world…Anais Mitchell – HadestownElvis Perkins in Dearland – self-titledEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – self-titledThao Nguyen – Know Better Learn Faster and We BRave Beestings…Also, Pete Yorn's album with Scarlet Johansen is amazing – Breakup…I hope you're out of your slump by now…

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