Posts Tagged 'the twin atlas'

Liner Notes-My Life Was Saved By Rock And Roll – Part III: Rock Is Dead; Long Live Rock

In the late nineteen-sixties, I began picking up hints of musical things that I had some difficulty digesting. The more pop aspects of the big folk music revival had caught my attention: Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez and even Flatt and Scrugg’s “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” I sure as hell didn’t get Bob Dylan. Something was indeed happening, but like Zimmy’s Mr. Jones, I really didn’t know what it was.

I remember being appalled at the dissonance and musical sloppiness of much of the music on the sound track of the film “Monterey Pop. I thought myself far too sophisticated for what seemed to be the faux rock and roll hippie appropriations of earlier and purer forms like the blues. The Beatles were cute, but the Stones were just too crude and ragged around the edges. There are those who, to get their ears and heads, unclogged need just a little help from their friends. To say that in 1970 I was naïve is probably an understatement. The images that came into my mind even that late in the game when the term “pot party” came up were those of people sitting around a fondue pot. I was aware that drugs, hard and soft, played a role, for better and worse in the new popular music, but that sort of thing was utterly irrelevant to the life I was leading.

It was of all people, a cop, a casual friend who then happened to be on the Philadelphia police force, who showed up one evening to drink a few beers and to listen to records. In addition to a stack of records, he brought with him a couple of those small illegal, hand-rolled cigarettes. We were listening to the Crosby, Stills and Nash album when it occurred to me that until that moment I had never heard anything quite so wondrous. The terms marking the experience were all the cliché’s of the times, life changing, transcendent, whatever, but no less true. To make the impact even more intense, that very same evening four decades ago, we took in a showing of the biggest ever pop concert movie ever, “Woodstock.” I awoke the next morning, a man changed forever in terms of my relationship to music.

It took some time for my burning bush experience to root, but root it did. My choices in radio stations began to turn from the all-classical and jazz formats that had defined my tastes, to the then free-form progressive rock stations. I played Van Morrison’s “Moon Dance” and the Steve Miller Band, even Boston and Kansas until my wife would say, “enough, enough.” Like world history and life itself, one thing followed another and another, until my record collection, then my cassettes, then CDs and now my iTunes library grew to encyclopedic densities. For decades, I attended shows and concerts, staying up far too late for my working life. Now in my dotage and retirement the outings are more and more rare, but my I’m on my third iPod with over fifteen thousand songs on file.

My choices in music remain catholic: from classic rock; Fleetwod Mac and Led Zepplin, to indie alternative; Red House Painters, the Feelies, Bloc Party, Wilco and Beth Orton. There’s country and bluegrass, reggae and even classical music and jazz, from Bach and Bartok to Goodman to Coltrane, all of it. And yes, there’s even Bob Dylan now. I think I may know now “what is happening,”or maybe not. But I keep listening, continuously monitoring the DEW line of the culture.

The Twin Atlas, live at Indres Studios, Philadelphia

And as an aside, my listening now includes the stuff done by my own son, a multi-instrumentalist with almost a dozen CDs to his credit. I of course feel that their band’s “psychedelic folk pop” has much too small a cult following. The name of the band is “The Twin Atlas.” They have become one of my default choices for music. Check them out at:


A Dozen More For Your Listening Pleasure

Isrealites                                     Desmond Dekker

Hillbilly Blue                               Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch

Skinny Love                                Bon Iver

The Blue Trees                           Gorky’s

Catch Me Now I’m Falling           The Kinks

E. M.P T.Y.                                  The Clientele

Rivers of Babylon                        Steve Earle

Sunflower River Blues                 Jack Rose

It Will Pass                                  The Twin Atlas

Stepping Stones                         Bert Jansch and John Renbourn

The Fancy Dance…                    5ive Style

These Stones Will Shout            The Raconteurs

Ten More For Late Night Listening

Crawl Back Under My Stone (live EP)                 Richard Thompson

Carretero                                                          Buena Vista Social Club

Impossible Germany                                        Wilco

But Not for Me                                                 Chet Baker

To Hold Down a Shadow                                 Pullman

What We Wear                                                 The Twin Atlas

Pony                                                                Kasey Chambers

Cabezon                                                          Red House Painters

Vincent Black Lightning 1952 (live EP)            Richard Thompson

Sky Piece                                                         Mark Fosson

Ten Songs That Reward Close Attention

A current Top Ten of my late night listening:

Is That You                                 Buddy Miller

Sam Stone                                   John Prine

Emaline                                       Benny Goodman

Hot Blood                                    Lucinda Williams

Sun Touches Down                     The Twin Atlas

Start A War                                  The National

Days Have Gone By…                  Andrew Stanglen

Mam’selle                                    The Four Freshman

Bye Bye Bad Man                         The Stone Roses

Missing                                        Everything But The Girl

Current Playlist II

1. Impossible Germany – Wilco

2. Rearview Pictures – The Twin Atlas

3. Summer Is Icumen In – Richard Rhompson

4. Dark Come Soon – Tegan and Sara

5. Funky Kingston – Toots and the Maytalls

6. Don’t Fade On Me – Tom Petty

7. Swingtown – Steve Miller

8. Horseshoe Lounge – Slaid Cleaves

9. I Ain’t Got No Home – Bruce Springsteen

10. The Star Of Track And Field – Belle and Sebastain

11. Fortune Teller – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

12. The Just Is Enough – Clue To Kalo

Let’s Hear It For The Band!

Check out my absolute favorite band, “The Twin Atlas.” Virtually under the radar but getting serious play on NPR as segment segues. Also significant satellite radio play.
The Twin Atlas in performance at Indre Studios, Philadelphia, 2005 (watercolor)

The Twin Atlas is a folk-rock band, known for its atmospheric folk & pop songs, written and home-recorded by Sean Byrne (son of this blogger) with Lucas Zaleski, who began playing together when they met at the University of Delaware in the early ’90s and began releasing music as The Twin Atlas in 2000.

Zaleski is now an NYC resident, and Byrne lives in Medford Lakes, NJ, and has drummed with the bands Lenola, Mazarin, Matt Pond PA, Audible and BC Camplight.
The foundation of their songs often come from Byrne’s compositions or from Byrne & Zaleski’s recorded collaborations and improvisations, upon which Byrne later goes back to and finishes; adding vocals, additional melodies & instrumentation, and assorted sounds. This work process has proved prolific to say the least.

Their last release is 2005’s Sun Township, a ten song set of haunting folk rock containing their most fully realized fidelity to date thanks to post-production by engineer Dave Grubb (Lenola, Like A Fox)

The Twin Atlas plays: acoustic & electric guitar, vocals, mandolin, keyboard, live & electronic drums, harmonica, banjo, effects, melodica, percussion, as well as whatever and whoever may be laying around at the time.

You can hear The Twin Atlas at

Current Playlist

1. Fans, Kings of Leon
2. See You in the Evening, Mazarin
3. Passenger Side, Wilco
4. This Modern Love, Bloc Party
5. Waterfall, The Stone Roses
6. Walk Right Up, The Twin Atlas
7. Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap
8. O Solo Mio, David Grisman/Tony Rice
9. Feel Flows, Charlatans
10. Over and Over Again, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
11. Odessa, Mazarin
12. Jackson, Lucinda Williams
13. The High Road, The Feelies
14. Not Even Stevie Nicks, Calexico
15. Continental Luck, HiSoft
16. Heartbeats, Jose Gonzales
17. Can’t Be Sure, The Sundays
18. Come Inside, The Twin Atlas
19. Walk Beside Me, Tim O’Brien/Darrell Scott
20. Anywhere, Beth Orton