Inspirations may include the four confining walls of your bedroom or something sad that happened to you today, like your girlfriend had to work late or you spilled your artisan coffee just after it had cooled down to drinkable temperature levels. With breakthroughs in technology over the past five years, a laptop became the fastest way to gain notoriety and express oneself. That one time you ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crusts cut off, now you can totally write a song about its symbolic importance as the end of your childhood.
These bedroom recordings have gained popularity with the rise of artists like Youth Lagoon and Perfume Genius whose 2012 album, Put Your Back N 2 It, a silly name for a depressingly serious album, is completely underrated in my opinion. But none of this is to say that Air Review is as talented or interesting as either of those, but they are certainly not as silly as I was making them out to be. (more…)
The Shins looked very different at the Gorge this weekend from the last time I saw them a few years ago, the new line-up including Yuuki Mathews (bass), Jessica Dobson (guitar), and Richard Swift (Keyboards), which in itself changed the mood a little but not in a bad way, just a different one. The atmosphere felt very “Shinlike” with the sun setting behind the stage lighting the entire gorge a soft orange. This truly is one of the greatest venues in the world.
The Yeti stage felt too small for Said the Whale’s soaring vocals and their faithful Canadians. As the set moved forward it grew increasing crowded when their piano rock sound attracted new fans. They accomplished a duality of stage presences during the set by switching vocalists and styles in Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worchester, which kept everything very engaging.
Yes, I now that I’m late on this. But I’m sharing anyway. This sextet indie-folk band from Garðabær, Iceland is extremely talented. As are most bands that are able to make it onto the international scene out of the oblivion that is the icy north. Love it!
Brooklyn’s The Loom’s debut album Teeth is coming out November 1st on Crossbill Records and their single “For The Hooves That Gallop, and the Heels That March” has this pretty video that was premiered on NPR. It’s visually stunning and the song is an eerie folk track with a sultry sax melody, jazz percussion that moves the the falsetto group vocals like a spoon through molasses, and an accosting and powerful driving guitar. I’m not sure I entirely understand the concept for the video, but try to watch it and just absorb beauty. Tour dates for these guys below the break.
I love this track “Pound of Flesh” from Radical Face’s new album The Family Tree: The Roots (out October 4 on Bear Machine). It’s a complete indie folk soundscape with soaring vocals and simple but compelling melodies, creating cross between the vocals and mood of Manchester Orchestra and the sonics of Seryn. The video was shot in the Florida wilderness with a budget of just $165 by directors Ben Cooper (aka Radical Face) and longtime friend Mark Hubbard. To be honest, I love the concept of the video and how well it goes with the song, but the long breaks without music are a little distracting. For music, start at 1:02–the character starts by washing blood off of his hands and you can proceed from there.
The Family Tree: The Roots is a concept album of a depiction of the life of a 19th century family. Cooper recorded it alone in a tool shed in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL and limited the songwriting and instruments to those which would have been available in the 1800’s–piano, acoustic guitar, a floor tom, and voices. Although traditionally shying from live performances, Radical Face will be touring the U.S. with a live full choir in each city.
RADICAL FACE U.S. Shows, fall 2011: Fri 10/6 San Francisco, CA Brick and Mortar Music Hall (w/Albatross Choir) Tue 10/11 Los Angeles, CA Bootleg Theater (w/Easterly Singers) Sat 10/22 Arlington, VA Rock Spring Church (w/Yorktown Vocal Ensemble) Tue 10/25 New York, NY Webster Hall Studio (w/Cloud Family Singers)
August 15 @ Origami Vinyl In-Store
August 16 @ Hotel Café
The quintet The Wilderness of Manitoba just released the album When You Left The Fire and now they’re out on the road touring. Dueling guy/girl vocal harmonies between lead vocalist Will Whitwham and back-up singer Melissa Dalton are a great match for their indie folk instrumentation. Although they are from Toronto, Ontario and not Manitoba at all, their sound is that of wilderness, drawing similarities to Vancouver/Pacific Northwest bands like The Head and the Heart and Said the Whale.
Check them out in Los Angeles next week! They’ll be free at Origami Vinyl on Monday and cheap at Hotel Cafe on Tuesday.
Their video for “Orono Park” was video of the day on Spinner…
The three man band from Seattle better known as The Cave Singers deliver soulful folk at its best in their latest release, No Witch. Out earlier this year, No Witch is the band’s third and strongest album yet, prompting them to tour alongside fellow Seattle folksters, Fleet Foxes. Utilizing the rhythm of the audience’s hand-clapping, Marty Lund’s sizzling percussion, Derek Fudesco’s melodic guitar and Pete Quirk’s enveloping voice to bring it all together, The Cave Singers deliver passionate and memorable live performances. I highly recommend catching a show in their ongoing tour, which includes a performance at this year’s Newport Folk Festival.
A few weeks ago I had a pleasantly surprised to find an amazing band playing at Redwood when just grabbing a drink with a friend. As I saw them assembling their gear, I became more and more curious of the mystery band. A whole stage full of instruments that could belong to 10 bluegrass band players, Seryn finally took the stage. Their dynamics were amazing, building a complete soundcape with every instrument and vocal part intertwining intricately. It’s as if Freelance Whales decided to make a Mumford and Sons record with Greg Laswell as the front man (and it could not have been a better combination). I was so in awe of them live that I was completely fixated and harassed them the next day for a copy of their recent record This Is Where We Are. Although the record isn’t as visceral and tangible as their live show, both are supreme. I decided to ask Nathan and Chelsea of the Denton band a few questions…
Listen to “We Will All Be Changed” by Seryn:
S: So first off, I saw your guys’ set at Redwoods in Los Angeles and your live show is pretty spectacular and dynamic. Was a great introduction to the band. Had you played Los Angeles before?
Nathan: Thanks so much! Glad you made it out. We have never played in LA before, so it was a great first night there.
S: Did you get to do anything exciting while you were in town? Do any sightseeing?
Nathan: We spent a few hours down in Huntington Beach. We don’t really have Pacific Oceans in Texas, so it was a must.
S: You guys have been touring almost non-stop all year, including a highly-praised stint at SXSW in Austin. Is it taxing to be on the road so much or do you love it? And what have been some of the highlights? (more…)