Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Wooden Birds: Magnolia

A new record out for Iron and Wine fans who can't wait for the month before their new record to come out can be excited for Magnolia, the new record from the new band The Wooden Birds.

These birds constructed of wood is from the brain of Andrew Kenny, better known for his work in American Analog Set. This mellow record sets up to be a record you want to listen to when it rains or when the fall comes and you want to wrap yourself in a sweater.

To be honest the first couple of listens made me roll my eyes and run to my Iron and Wine records but I dug in my heels and thought well I think I will give it another shot. The lyrics are smart, funny, and some that make you ponder and wonder what might be going through to want to someone to choke. Slow guitars mixed with shakers, drum sweeps, and interspersed beautiful female harmonies.

The way the music is set it reminds me of riding on a train. The tracks moving underneath you taking you someplace you have been before. The beat throughout the record is repetivitive but you know you are getting somewhere rather than nowhere.

Tracks that are a must have: "Sugar" and "Hailey"

There is a great interview with Andrew Kenny found HERE.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Six Albums that Have Caught my Ear in 2009

2009 started with a bang! Five STRONG records that are fabulous and amazing. Each record has a different flavor a different beauty that attaches itself to each song and to each melody.

Animal Collective: Holy crap! The most accessible record of their catalog is Merriweather Post Pavillion. Electronic masterpiece in 11 songs. My favorites are of course, "My Girls" and "Summertime Clothes". Perfect record to drive with the windows down. The video of My Girls can be found HERE. There Letterman appearance HERE.

Antony and the Johnsons yet again gives us a brilliant heartbreaking longful record. For about two weeks I couldn't stop listening to "Epilepsy is Dancing". The last minute is breath-taking, swirling and gorgeous. The rest of the record is quite thought provoking and repeat-worthy.

M. Ward: Hold Time is a pretty simple record. Features the vocals of his She and Him co-singer Zooey Deschanel. I love this record because there are some fantastic lyrics layred with simple folk chords and melodies.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: was a surprise for me this year. In a collection of artists that have shown that they already can make a good record this one popped it's head up and said an 80s-esche hello. I grew up listening to pop radio in the 80s and at that time nu-wave was cooler than Paris Hilton wishes she could be. I feel in love with this self-titled record instantly. My Molly Ringwald dance boots are on and I love that it creates a new twist on something I hold so near and dear. This video is awesome. Watch. Hug. Dance. Fall in love.

Beirut: This new record is a lot like the old record. Bright trumpets, rhythmic accordions, smooth drumming is always a fun record to read to or have on in the background. In some ways it felt like a B-sides to The Flying Club Cup but that seems to be okay with me.

Andrew Bird: Oh Andrew Bird thank you for making another great record. Some of the record was in the Wilco loft...LOVE! Other than that unrelated though so fantastic tid bit of info this record is a fantastic (not so much) follow up to Magical Production of Eggs. There are slow thought parts mixed with fantastic lyrics with bright piano and a myriad of smart instrumentation. Noble Beast is a must have of 09. The video for track "Fitz and and Dizzyspells" is right HERE.

If you have any of these records and you have some thoughts share them with me. I don't like to listen in a vacuum.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mogwai@ the Crofoot (Pontiac)

Mogwai @ Crofot May 6, 2009

Beautifully elegant and peaceful was the set and the tone from Mogwai at Detroit'sCrofoot. I think when you listen to instrumental music you can only come with yourself and your ideas how to interpret a song. So many of my own nerosises played out last night as I listened to brilliantly crafted, emotionally driven songs.

I guess I can say they are emotional only for the shere fact that I am an emotional person and I sort through life under the umbrella of beautiful slow jams. They played a slew of songs from a slew of records and to everyones joy ended night with a 20 minute encore of "My Father My King." The 20 minute EP of same name.

When I listen to Mogwai it always sounds a bit darker, than say, Explosions in the Sky. Darker tonely only in the sense that there are moments that there are songs that sound like a ticking clock...time moving moving on. There are no lows and no highs just a movement and that movement has to be forward. There driving parts are what moves me. Holy Crap so beautiful. So ballsy. Moments almost remind me of metal they are so tough. What makes this band so phenomenal is that moments of when it's so tough, fist in hand, the next moments are tender and gentle.

I won last night.

Fellow Scots, The Twilight Sad opened the evening. Incredible as well. Vovally reminds me of Billy Bragg. Instrumentally a good indie swooping sound. There was a moment when the singer was no longer singing in the microphone and just stood there. I don't know why that really affected me so much. The absense of movement. He stood there and just listened. Struck a chord in me. Check out their myspace. Beautiful.

Favorite Mogwai song of the evening:

Mogwai - Mogwai Fear Satan from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Mastodon : Live at the Crofoot.

Friday I had the privilege to see Mastodon with Kylesa at the Crofoot. I have been to a lot of shows in my age (27) anywhere from my first (Dave Matthews Band) to some great metal and hardcore, Wilco, TV on the Radio, and Radiohead nights of genius and wonder.

I can honestly say that Mastodon put on one of the greatest shows I have seen in quite some time and maybe almost ever. I am not a typical Metal-head. I love slow jams, pop jams, rock jams, etc. I don't know the guitar player who originally played for Ozzy Osbourne on a tour in 1984 or obscure bands with some amazing riffs but I do know that I love music that is heavy and smart. That's where Mastodon comes in.

Mastodon is smart, heavy, technically brilliant, and continually aware of other musical concepts that influence their musical....dare I say...genius. They started the evening with playing the newest record Crack the Skye from beginning to end. A seven song epic record that swoops and swells. It reminds me of a mid-90s grunge, heavy, rock record. The recording to be completely honest is okay but seeing them live it really came alive. The brightness of the guitar tones mixed with the heaviness of the double kick drum really came alive that evening

After finishing the record they took what one may consider a break and came back and played for another hour and a half. It only got better, playing songs that were off old favorite "Blood and Thunder" and "Iron Tusks" from Leviathian.

If this band comes into your town. Please go. Please do yourself this favor and go. It was so good. Technically brilliant. Musically a dream. It's been a few days since I went and I am still feeling the effects of just how great of a band they were. So good. So tight. So together as a band. Go....Go now.

Tour dates that are left:
May 4 Le National Montreal, QC
May 5 Opera House Toronto, ON
May 7 House of Blues Boston, MA
May 8 TLA Philadelphia, PA
May 9 Fillmore @ Irving Plaza New York, NY
May 10 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY
May 12 9:30 Club Washington DC
May 13 Cat’s Cradle Carbarro, NC
May 14 Orange Peel Ashville, NC
May 15 Center Stage Atlanta, GA