Avi Zahner-Isenberg of Avi Buffalo carries a torch for Mike Watt

Avi Zahner-Isenberg and Mike Watt

Avi Zahner-Isenberg and Mike Watt

The Music Recommendation Quote from Avi Zahner-Isenberg of Avi Buffalo: “There are many many musicians and artists that move me and I have great love for, but one that has been on my mind a lot lately is Mike Watt. He’s one of the most unique, passionate, hardworking, humble, loving, awesome bass players/songwriters I’ve listened to/seen live. His first and most intense musical counterpart, a man named D. Boon with whom he started the incredible punk group The Minutemen died in a car accident and to this day Watt remembers and plays for his lost brother.”

The Source: RockTorch.com exclusive, 3/31/10

More on: Avi Buffalo

(Editor’s Note: Back when Avi Buffalo members were still in high school, they attracted the attention of engineer Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith). Then Sub Pop came a-knockin’. These super-kids are now 21 and just rocked SXSW. Click to their site , sample What’s It In For and find out what all the hype is about.)

More on: Mike Watt

New to Mike Watt? Start here:: “My favorite Watt record is Contemplating the Engine Room. It’s a rock opera with Nels Cline on guitar and Bob Lee on drums about Watt remembering D. Boon and the story of Watt’s father, intertwined and connected beautifully with music. The song The Boilerman brings tears to my eyes because Watt’s singing about his and D. Boon’s relationship as musicians and friends. As someone who’s just gone on their first real longish tour, I’m looking to Watt’s music to guide me in band brotherhood, and he reminds me of the love and beauty of collaboration, and not to take it for granted.”

Buy the album here:

Mike Watt Engine Room
Contemplating the Engine Room

Or listen to a track from the album:

Patrick Dodd of Hurricane Lanterns carries a torch for Harry Nilsson

Patrick Dodd and Harry Nilsson

Patrick Dodd and Harry Nilsson

The recommendation from Patrick Dodd: “Few singer-songwriters possess the grace and versatility of Harry Nilsson. He could flawlessly pull off writing doo-wop, rock, jazz, or a New Orleans style shuffle and often wove different genres together within the arrangement of one song. Nilsson’s ability to hopscotch agilely from genre to genre carried over to his covers as well. He was able to sing an Irving Berlin, George Harrison or Randy Newman tune, all while seeming totally authentic.

Many of the singer-songwriters I admire have the finesse to move you and make you laugh simultaneously. Harry Nilsson is no exception. He moves easily between humor and heartbreak in songs like Don’t Forget Me (from the album Pussycats) where he sings ‘I’ll miss you when I’m lonely / I’ll miss the alimony too’. His voice has a rare honesty to it. It always feels to me like he is singing his heart out. Even on songs where I feel the arrangement is a little cheesy, I find the earnestness in his voice cutting through and drawing me back in. ”

The Source: RockTorch.com exclusive, 3/29/10

More on: Hurricane Lanterns

(Editor’s Note: Singer/songwriter Patrick Dodd is Hurricane Lanterns and is based in Seattle. I caught his uber-catchy single Besides These Things on KEXP and toe-tapped my way over to his website. Five minutes later I was downloading tunes from his debut album Hymns for the Misguided. Give the tracks a listen. You may just find your new favorite band.)

More on: Harry Nilsson

New to Harry Nilsson? Start here:: “The first, and my favorite album I’ve owned by him is Knnillssonn. I picked it up on a whim from a local record shop for five bucks because I was curious about him after hearing Everybody’s Talking in Midnight Cowboy. I remember coming home late and having to listen on headphones in the dark so as not to wake my housemates, which was the perfect way to hear it. I’d just had my heart broken badly and from the moment the needle hit the first note of All I Think About Is You, I was hooked.

Some pop records are guitar driven, some are centered around the keyboards, Knnillssonn is propelled by lush, lilting string arrangements, which are punctuated by sparse percussion and minimal guitar work. Giving it a quality as lonely and haunted as it is warm and inviting. Even the sad tracks have a sense of hope tucked away in them. Could an experience that led to such beautiful work be all bad? There are a couple of novelty numbers which I skip over at times, but even those have their good points. Nilsson Schmilsson is a favorite for a lot of folks, but Knnillssonn will forever be mine. Other albums by Harry Nilsson I’d recommend are: Pussycats, A Touch of Schmilsson in the Night and Son of Schmilsson.”

Buy the album here:


That’s the Way It Is/Knnillssonn

Or listen to a track from the album:


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Olly Knights of Turin Brakes carries a torch for Elliot Smith

Olly Knights and Elliot Smith

Olly Knights and Elliot Smith

The recommendation from Olly Knights: “Elliot Smith had that very very rare ability to paint a picture that you could trust entirely, no lyrics jarred you, no melodies feel “wrong,” and he left just enough space for you to fill the music with your own meaning, a fine art and in his case seemingly utterly instinctive, a musical magician.”

The Source: RockTorch.com exclusive, 3/25/10

More on: Turin Brakes

(Editor’s Note: Turin Brakes are a modern folk duo out of London. In writing about the band, NME pleaded for you to “…give them the devotion they deserve.” We are asking the same of you, beloved readers! Check out info about their new album, Outbursts and tour dates here.)

More on: Elliot Smith

New to Elliot Smith? Start here:: “Either/Or, my very first taste of his music and still my favorite, home spun recordings that were so much larger than the sum of their parts, completely and utterly credible and stunningly emotive, sad and hopeful all at once, his guitar lines were like gleaming spider webs and I get stuck on them every time.”

Buy the album here::


Either/Or

Or listen to a track from the album:


Alan Sparhawk of Retribution Gospel Choir and Low carries a torch for David Bazan

Alan Sparhawk and David Bazan

Alan Sparhawk and David Bazan

The recommendation from Alan Sparhawk: “I think {David Bazan of Pedro the Lion} is one of the best songwriters in history. Because I write music, I end up being very critical of other songs – I think most writers are like that. David always blows me away with his lyrical deapth and ease at storytelling. Plus he can play anything and knows how to make great sounding records.”

The Source: RockTorch.com exclusive, 3/22/10

More on: Alan Sparhawk and the Retribution Gospel Choir

(Editor’s Note: In addition to fronting the Retribution Gospel Choir, Alan Sparhawk also plays guitar and sings for his other group, Low. Do yourself a favor and listen to the RGC song clips and check their tour dates here).

More on: David Bazan

New to David Bazan? Alan Sparhawk suggests you start with the Pedro the Lion album, Control:

Buy the album here::
Pedro the Lion Control
Pedro the Lion: Control

Or listen to a track from the album: