Wednesday, September 30, 2009

These guys are excellent, best of luck to them

It's a very worthy shot at the music we all know and love.

Jesus H Foxx

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boulder Record Stores

I spent the weekend in Boulder visiting my little brother at college. Other than remembering what it was like to be 18, I paid a few trips to the local indie record stores and found some great originals:



















These would have been gone in 5 minutes in LA.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the Antlers

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I passed on this album a little while back due to the flurry of Pitchfork rave reviews that I disagreed with. I figured it would just be another disappointment. After running into a couple other websites that loved the album I decided to pick it up, and it was well worth it:



The album is gorgeous, I highly recommend.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bored to Death Soundtrack

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Just saw the pilot of this new HBO series, Bored to Death. The episode was pretty solid and I am definitely looking forward to watching more this Fall.




Like almost all other HBO shows, the soundtrack is excellent. The one episode included I think three songs off of this historic album from 1980:



A failed writer taking on a second life as a private detective and getting himself into lots of trouble in the process. The minimalist and quirky musicianship complements his endeavors perfectly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The battle against piracy is already lost, so what next?

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There has been considerable buzz about piracy over the past couple of weeks. Ed O'Brien supports it, claiming it displays a genuine interest an artists work. Lily Allen abhors it, saying that if this continues our only medium for getting music will be through mainstream television shows.

Yes, the record companies have been losing money from record sales alone. They have been forced to a cookie cutter business model that allows for virtually no artist development. But trying to fight piracy is like trying to fight underage drinking. It is illegal, it is punishable by law, but it is not going to stop.

Bands need to and have found other mediums to make money. They tour, they sell merchandise, they pull advertisements on their websites. Argue that this is not enough and I don't disagree, but there is a legitimate way to counter piracy, and Quietus did a great job of covering this issue.

I completely agree with this perspective. The second a band completes an album, sell it online. Both parties are happy; the producer gets their moolah, the cosumer get their product. It's a pretty simple business model.

HEALTH put out an interesting method of selling their newest album, Get Color. The band sold their LP online, and with it they provided fans with a coupon to download the album one month before the release date. I had no problem buying the LP-- I would get the product as early as anyone else. I would not have to wait an extra month for the fucking label to send me a hardcopy. I would not feel cheated.

So when Vampire Weekend (who I love and hate) released details of their second record, all I could think about is how I could get it before the January 12 release date. How about this XL: the second you announce the title, album art, and tracklisting for a long-awaited sophomore album, why not give fans the ability to pay .99 a track immediately?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lightning Bolt fan art

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Set 2

Set 1

Volcano Choir - Unmap

Collaboration brings the foundation of much of the great music of the past decade. Whether it is from artists sampling older works or the more general bands playing with each other, music has taken new routes by havings artists borrow and merge their styles. When Justin Vernon made the (I think purposeful) decision of producing an album with fellow Wisonsin musicians Collections of Collonies of Bees he knew that the contrasting yet familiar artists would produce an album that could tickle our musical fancies. Justin Vernon has one of the greatest voices in music, and combined with a talented instrumental group the album had potential to be epic. And they were right.

Husks and Shells dreminds ones of of the great work produece by the Books no longer than 5 years ago. Very melodic and equally beautiful, yet in a diffucult and non-parallel time signature. This song takes simplicity, in the form of one guitar line, to its peak, through the whole song. And the beauty is magnified by Vernons voice, familiar to all of us as a love-broken ballad yet shown to us here as Collection's instrument, subtly as both percussion and an atmospheric instrument. The song fades and follows, coming in and out of remnants of great beauty.

Finally breaking out of simplicity and ready to include the traditional percussionists is Sleepymouth. Following the general theme of the album is a repeditive guitar and keyboard following the high hat however in no way easily interpretable. The instrmentals formed in this song are very contrasting and layered and would make you believe that they dont qutie fit together, however, as Vernons voice kicks in and the music subsides, the melodies all of the sudden make sense and build, with the original percussion, and more simplified keyboards and guitars. The song climaxes to Island, IS, the most notable song of the record.

Island, IS is meant to be a song that influences the music to come. Taking much from minimalist musicians as Steven Reich and Phillip Glass, the music takes an expirimental approach to pop music and helps instill in us that music, and the further development of music, is not over. The song is epic in its own regard, not for the layered drums, guitars, keyboards, and melodies, or catchiness or simple brilliance, but rather that the song strikes a chord and makes us feel comfortable. This song could and will only be pulled off by Justin Vernon and his warm and soulful voice, full of emotion and depth, as is the music that surrounds and complements it. This is one of those rare songs that reminds us that there still is much to be discovered with music. And that feels, to say the least, refreshing.

As hard as it is to follow this song up, the group decides to take a more ambient approach, as a means to break up the record. The first two songs built to Island, IS. The rest of the album needs to calm down, and here Volcano Choir decides to follow with the airy Dote, which allows vocals, keyboards, and samples to carry the simplicity, and continue the album.

Here the guitars break and repeat, an arpeggiating keyboard follows, then the music subsides into an easy guitar note, then the original vocals come in with Vernon's voice as a complimenting and overpowering tone.

Mbira in the Morass gives us the simplicity we have not been asking for, with disturbing and sharp lyrics that remind us of his earlier works. The experience with sounds and shapes, love and lost, animals and wilderness, yet all performed by anarchy. Bells and out of tune pianos. Incoherent lyrics. This song leaves the listener uncomfortable, yet ends with a more follow-able out of tune melody that allows us to remember where the album took us before.

Cool Knowledge shows us the band is capable of beat boxing and even hip hop. Was it really all that simple all these years?

The next song, the brilliant Still, begins with a keyboard holding a steady pace, then the resonance is turned upwards and the uncoordinanteed guiar takes the show. The silence is broken by Vernons voice, along with harmonies, and the song continues in simplicity, as a blues track, a simple vocal harmony complimented by a simple keyboard, and the lyrics praise Vernon's state of being. Eventually electric guitars and drums take over the song, with a very slow and building release, more effects put in place, singing "I'm all in the world / I'm down on my mind".

The album ends with focus on the voice that built the album. In Youlogy, Vernon's voice is displayed with the assistance of his own choir. Simple, ambient, and powerful.

Vernon's voice struck a chord in me the first time I heard him. I knew this was nothing I had heard before, yet something I knew would change my life, and I was right. Complimented by strong instrumental compositions, it is proved proved that his potential goes beyond a folk/blues singer, and we have much to look forward to in the world of gorgeous melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This is so bad, its good

Watch the whole thing, seriously. If you can't handle it go to 2:45


Monday, September 7, 2009

FYF 2009

Carbonas




Mika Miko




Fucked Up




No Age




the Black Lips