Monthly Archives: August 2011

GIVERS - Meantime

I’m a big fan of music videos that showcase the band doing what they do best – playing music.  Way too often, bands end up with a director that wants to make some arty “concept” video that detracts from the actual music.  Or….maybe I’m just not arty enough to get it.

Either way, I appreciate GIVERS‘ new video for their song “Meantime” off their first full-length, In Light.  It features the band and their kid-versions wandering around with flashlights, combined with some great shots of the band rocking out.

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Sometimes, life just works out.  Like when you’re craving new music, and an awesome album drops out of nowhere.  And on a Monday, no less?  Must be fate.

Enter: Mondo Boys.   They’re a collaborative  that creates these amazing mixtapes every so often and puts them out for free download.    And whenever a tape comes out, it seems to enter into heavy rotation on my playlist.

The latest edition is Desert Island, the third in their Weird Summer mixes.   What I adore about these mixes is they combine old favorites – like  Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry – with the latest and greatest indie sounds – like Twin Sister and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.   One member of the collaborative is Justin Gage from Aquarium Drunkard, so you know the sound is going to be simultaneously cutting edge and classic.

Basically, it’s like having the coolest friend ever make you a mixtape.  Perfect for keeping you happy as those final summer days slide on by.

Head over to Aquarium Drunkard now to check out the tracklist and download the mix.

Bon Iver has just released the music video for the song “Holocene” off their self-titled album.

It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record, and the video has visuals to match, with stunning shots of a young boy exploring the spectacular landscape of Iceland.   For those of us whose knowledge of Iceland largely comes from The Mighty Ducks, the video shows you another side – one filled scenery that appears almost otherworldly.

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Photo by Christopher Victorio.

I have to come clean with you: I hate music festivals.  They’re hot.  They’re crowded.  They’re expensive.  And perhaps most importantly: they’re full of “festival people.”

At the risk of sounding like a music snob, I’ll explain.  There are “show people” and “festival people.”  Show people are into music, and they get excited about seeing their favorite bands live.  Festival people are into getting high and/or day drunk and they scream incoherently at band they’ve never heard of.

So…. I don’t go to a lot of music festivals.  As a life choice, this works out 99% of the time, but it does mean missing those uncommon collaborations that tend to happen there.  This past weekend, us non-festival people missed out on seeing Mavis Staples (of the Staple Singers) performing “The Weight” with Arcade Fire‘s Win Butler at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival.  Thankfully, the internet exists, so we can see the action without spending $5 on a bottle of water.

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The Sugarcubes - Life's Too Good

So Bjork has a new record coming out in September and judging from the single Crystalline that has been all over the place, it should be pretty good. The good thing about Bjork is that there is a continuity to what she does. Sure it may be the voice, but it is not just that. Her songs are all recognizable as her own, while at the same time there is natural expansion and growth or progression of her songs and music over the years.

Case in point, the Sugarcube’s first record Life’s Too Good, which was likened at the time to the B-52’s or the Talking Heads (though I am not sure anyone would compare current Bjork to either of those two). For old people like me, there is a special place in your heart for this record. The song Birthday especially introduced the world to the wide range of notes Bjork could hit with her ohhhh ohhhhh parts at the chorus – from a low-end growl to a high falsetto. It is so striking that for most people the words of the song are not as memorable as the ohhh ohhh’s.

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Last week, rock duo The Kills visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to perform “Future Starts Slow” off this year’s Blood Pressures.   Between the very low lighting, the dark clothing, and the black equipment, they gave off a very gothy vibe.   Normally, goth is one of those words that would instantly put me off a band, but in this case, the dark vibe fits perfectly with their grimy, mysterious vibe.

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Memoryhouse - The Years

When hearing the dream pop music made by bands like Memoryhouse, there are usually two reactions: “Wow! Amazing!” or “I’m so bored.” Now, I’ll admit, with a lot of bands in this genre, I’m solidly in the bored camp.  If it doesn’t have enough of a beat to keep me interested, I’m moving on the next track.

But even if you’re like me, there’s some music that deserves a second listen.  One such song is Memoryhouse’s new track, “Quiet America.”  It’s a short track, coming in at just over 2 minutes, but the hazy vocals and keys unite to create a gorgeous sound that leaves you wanting more.   This is a track that sounds great on headphones, but one that can express its beauty even through your laptop speakers.

You can grab the mp3 below, or watch their video to add some visuals to your listening.

born gold

Basically every track you’ve ever listened to will sound better coming out of headphones.  We all know this.  But the reality is most of us  probably listen to the majority of our music through tiny laptop speakers.  Not exactly the best way to appreciate music.

Pretty often, though, you’ll come across a track that makes it worth it to go through the arduous task of a) locating your headphones, b) plugging them in and c) putting them on.  Grueling, I know.  But go ahead and try with this track, “Alabaster Bodyworlds” by Born Gold.  You’ll need them to hear the pulsing bass beat that keeps this track moving.

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