Posts Tagged ‘Mountain Man’

Top 35 “Albums” of 2010

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Got to say, work and stuff had me a little delayed with creating my year end lists for 2010 and I did a little bit of a half-assed job with constructing them (I’ve already thought of two glaring omissions) but nevertheless, it’s time for a celebration!

For me, Twenty Ten was a stellar year in music, choke-full of inventive and highly imaginative albums, which made it incredibly difficult to narrow them down to a Top 100 yet alone a Top 35! For this year, I decided to do the list a little differently. Instead of scrupulously going through every album in my iTunes library to find the ones from this past year — a process which is a bit more time consuming than my limited free time allows — I decided to just use my memory to list out the albums which stuck with me the most.

For anyone who knows me, this process seems laughable (when it comes to names/facts, I have a terrible retention rate), however I feel like I got down almost all of my favorite albums. To correct any errors, I’m going to post a second part to the list entitled “The Best Of The Forgotten” a couple of weeks from now, so if you have any suggestions/recommendations of music which I’ve overlooked, feel free to leave a comment!

So without further ado, here are my favorite albums of 2010 which I remembered. Oh and one more thing, if you just want a bulleted list without the descriptions, scroll down to the very bottom (there is also a .zip file containing all the tracks featured). OK NOW, LET’S DO THIS:

Stalker // mp3s

This year’s recipient of the Scott Walker awardgiven annually to a far out-there yet interestingly enjoyable album — is not even an album at all, but more of a collection of molasses-paced mp3s by Chicago innovator Stalker. Signed to fellow forward-thinkers Tri Angle Records, Stalker’s modus operandi is chopping & screwing further than what most people like to chop & screw a track, pushing radio-friendly hits (Lindsey Lohan and These New Puritans have both been slow-moed) to uncomfortable boundaries.
Stalker // Final_1

Joanna Newsom // Have One on Me

I don’t know if it was unintentional or maybe a slight to the inevitable critics complaint that Have One on Me is a bit long-winded, but I absolutely loved how Ms. Newsom opens up her latest opus with a track entitled “Easy” – something that, for the listener, this album is definitely not. For those who still can’t get past the uniqueness of Newsom’s voice or choice of instrumentation (aka “the haters”), the 3xLP is three-times as grating, but for the lucky ones, we get two plus hours of sweetly melodic, musically intricate, and always lovely hit-after-hit.
Joanna Newsom // In California

Salad Fork // A Mixtape for Haiti

Probably more so than any other year, I’ve fallen prey to the ever expanding collections of mixtape compilations that circulate the web at roughly 3.00*10^8 m/s. In an effort to not overpopulate this list with these e-gems, I narrowed it down to a single one: Salad Fork’s Mixtape for Haiti. Although the cause was enough for a donation (relief for earthquake victims in Haiti), the album itself boasts one of the nicest blends of tracks that can fit on an artfully decorated two-sided cassette. Well done Lou!
Weekend // All-American

Woods // At Echo Lake

Like most, I was incredibly amped when Brooklyn based psych-folk outfit Woods released “Suffering Season” a mere days before At Echo Lake was scheduled to drop, instantly making it one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Unfortunately, these incredibly high expectations were ultimately too much to overcome (and placing below the number 15 ranking Songs of Shame garnered last year), but regardless, we’re left with a collection of ten well-composed palatable tracks that I’ll always like to listen to on rainy days.
Woods // Death Rattles

Pocahaunted // Make It Real

At the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t have dared put money that Bethany Costentino (aka Best Coast) would have found herself below the band she had jilted. Where Costentino went “safe” with her boy-crazy debut LP, Pocahaunted vaulted deeper into the freak-out/you-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-is-about-to-happen realm (something I was hoping a little bit more of from Woods), creating one of their best efforts to date.
Pocahaunted // UFO

Casiokids // Topp stemning på lokal bar

It’s been no secret that I’ve been following this fun-loving Norwegian electro-pop group since pretty much its I N C E P T I O N, championing anything and everything that the band has released in the past three years. After much waiting, we finally find ourselves with the debut from this collection of kids-at-heart that’s perfect for any afternoon play dates in the sandbox. As an added bonus, the remix album (featuring reimaginations of Casiokids’ songs from Familjen and Captain Credible among others) paired with the release is just as good!
Casiokids // Verdens største land

Cloud Nothings // Turning On

2010 seemed to be a year where up-and-comers overshadowed indie rock stalwarts, and Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings is one of the best examples of this. Turning On is chiefly a collection of the guitar-centric, fuzzed-out mp3 and 7’’ releases that Dylan Baldi had made through the latter parts of 2009 and early 2010 and was a staple on both my turntable and my car’s stereo.
Cloud Nothings // Hey Cool Kid

Flying Lotus // Cosmogramma

A schizophrenic assault on the ears, Fly Lo’s latest is a complicated assortment of sounds and layers that, although not as digestible as Los Angeles, shows when it comes to music producing no one is as experimental as him.
Flying Lotus // Computer Face / Pure Being

Gobble Gobble // mp3s

In a year that was deep with exciting new acts, there was nothing this year – or any year, in fact – quite like the spastic musical outpourings of the gang that call themselves Gobble Gobble. Whether it was taking a hyperactive spin to a classic favorites (The Pixies “Where Is My Mind”) or reinventions of other emerging groups (Diamond Rings, Cloud Nothings, DOM, etc…) or their very own dance-party-in-a-track concoctions, one thing is for certain with Gobble Gobble: you’re guaranteed to have a good time listening to every track!
Gobble Gobble // End of Days

Liars // Sisterworld

Got to admit, I was a bit disappointed with how Sisterworld turned out. I was hoping for a mind-altering musical experience when the needle struck the vinyl for the first time, and what I got was another album cut in almost the same weird-rock mold as its two predecessors. Although not meeting my expectations, I still thoroughly enjoyed Sisterworld. I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, eh?
Liars // Proud Evolution

Crystal Castles // Crystal Castles

Not to be confused with the S/T which wound up near the top of my ’08 list, the sophomore release by the Canadian 8-bit/electro-er…-something duo was not an instant grab like its predecessor. In fact, I was going to omit it from the list completely if it wasn’t for Jheri from Get Off the Coast campaigning for a relisten! The album’s second chance came in the form of blasting it out on some high quality home stereo equipment (a method which made Sleigh Bell’s “Treats” passable for an album), and needless to say the dance-worthy tracks appeared less flat and more energetic than I remembered while the ballads remained just as potent as ever.
Crystal Castles // Vietnam

Toro y Moi // Causers of This

Another album that was a slow grower for me, I really didn’t get a complete impression of Chaz Bundwick & Co. until after I saw them live this past autumn. Too high-brow to be considered glo-fi (or whatever the nom du jour is) yet still capturing the nostalgic feeling as his contemporaries, Toro y Moi fulfills a niche that the myriad of imitators somehow missed. And did I mention his live show is awesome?!?
Toro y Moi // Causers Of This

Twin Sister // Color Your Life

I’ve had a Twin Sister post in my queue for about seven months now which I revisit often, never quite putting to words the impression this NYC band makes on me. I’ve tried and tried rewriting it countless times but somehow it’s always deficient and incomplete. So I’ll just throw up my hands and tell you you should download this album (if you are one of the two people who haven’t done that already) and get lost in their pleasant pop sounds.
Twin Sister // All Around and a Way We Go

White Denim // Last Day of Summer

Maybe it’s a Texas thing, but I’m always impressed by the recordings of Austin’s White Denim and am constantly surprised by the lack of coverage of them by the blog-o-world. For the past four years, this four-piece has been consistently releasing hit “indie-rock” (I use the term loosely) record after hit record yet they somehow get lost in the shuffle. Whether it’s your first exposure to them or if you’re already a fan, Last Day of Summer is sure to be a great listen.
White Denim // Some Wild Going Outward

jj // K I L L S Mixtape

Let’s be honest, jj’s no.3, also released in 2010, should have been a collection of B-sides to no.2 rather than a fresh LP. Thankfully, the Swedish hip-hop inspired electro-pop duo of Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander redeemed themselves in the nick of time with the release of this badass mixtape on Christmas Eve. KILLS is a collection of hip-hop samples and rap lyrics (sung sweetly by Elin) amalgamated in quasi-random fashion to surprisingly great results – an end-of-year treat to a solid year of music!
jj // STILL

Harlem // Hippies

My favorite original garage rock release of the year, Harlem’s tracks are more like short stories with their albums bounding them into a nice collection. The group finds the perfect balance between hard-driving melodies and storybook lyrics that captivate you in perfect three-minute chunks. In an album of sixteen tracks, it’s amazing that there is not a throwaway in the bunch.
Harlem // Tila and I

Various Artists // Sahel Sounds

For lovers of “world music” (like chillwave, another moniker I can’t stand), this collection of cell-phone recorded tracks from Sahara Africa is a must-have. Nothing boils my blood more than when people describe African music as nothing more than a novelty listen – pleasant enough, but uninspired. With Sahel Sounds, you get such inventiveness in a dearth of instrumentation (most tracks feature just an acoustic guitar) that it makes you wonder about the state of monochromatic singer/songwriter “coffee shop” music that inundates the Western world.
Abba Ahmedou // Ishumar Guitar

Mountain Man // Made the Harbor

Even before a proper release, the near-a capella sounds of Vermont’s Mountain Man made many Best of 2009 lists (including yours truly). 2010 was a banner year for this all-female folk trio, releasing an EP on Underwater Peoples and an LP on Partisan Records that collected their massively downloaded mp3s of the prior year along with some new gems. Although the recording doesn’t come close to capturing their captivating live performance, it serves as a good representation of the band’s talent.
Mountain Man // Animal Tracks

Oneohtrix Point Never // Returnal

One would be crazy to think that you represent the complex synth sounds of Daniel Lopatin in a few sentences without the aid of psychotropic drugs, so I won’t even try…
Oneohtrix Point Never // Stress Waves

Explode Into Colors // Quilts

Similar to Mountain Man’s full-length, this “LP” by Portland garage rock band Explode Into Colors is more of a collection of their already released works (three sold-out 7’’s) than a new record. Regardless, for the uninitiated Quilts serves as a good introduction (or I guess conclusion since the band is now-defunct) to the wild bass/drum-dominated tracks this trio of women seem to effortlessly produce.
Explode Into Colors // Coffins

ceo // White Magic

You will not find a bigger lover of Swedish music than myself. It’s impossible. Whether it’s coming from Stockholm, Malmö, or Göteborg (arguably the epicenter) it doesn’t matter. If it has umlauts, some crazy vowel/consonant combination, or a feeling of icy ethereal to the music, I’m bound to love it. I’m constantly amazed by the impact this Scandinavian country of a paltry nine-million people have on music these days. Case in point, the electro-pop dance-tunes of ceo. The only complaint I have about the album is it’s short duration – twenty-eight minutes is enough to whet, but not satiate, my appetite for the inventive tracks of Eric Berglund.
ceo // White Magic

Glasser // Ring

Can we all agree that True Panther has been knocking every release out of the park? Ah man, just thinking about this album gives me the shivers: the combination of Cameron Mesirow’s angelic voice sung over sparsely laid instrumentation is a power to behold. I always love albums/songs which seem deceptively simple but when you start attentively listening to elements you find that they are overwhelming intricate, and Ring is one of the best examples of this this year.
Glasser // Apply

Pantha du Prince // Black Noise

When I first heard this album through the incredibly inadequate speakers on my laptop, I was like “meh”, but when I blasted from a more proper sound system I was like “Whole.Lee.Shit.” A lot has been made about Pantha’s dominance when it comes to composing bass lines, but I found myself gripped more from the oddball percussive elements he sprinkles and spatters across a track much like paint on a Pollock canvas. An amazing composition and no doubt one-step forward for electronic music.
Pantha du Prince // Abglanz

RxRy // Omega

Speaking of steps forward for electronic music, this year was fortunate to house the breakout albums (yes, plural) of semi-anonymous producer RxRy. Where most ambient electronic music is snooze-worthy, RxRy found a way to not only keep you interested in the music but also perk up your childhood imagination a little bit. When listening to Omega (the third of three LPs released this year by RxRy) you can’t help but envision a slew of fantasy micro-climates (lush rainforest, coastal crags, unending bodies of turbulent water, etc…) making it all the more enjoyable getting lost in the sound.
RxRy // Aertgo Lapsees

Memoryhouse // mp3s

Although releasing a couple of 7’’s, we unfortunately were not graced with a full length by bedroom-pop extraordinaires Memoryhouse. I don’t care, I’m including them on the list – and high up on it — anyways. I probably played every single mp3 of Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion a hundred times, that’s how easily I drifted away alongside their sweet melodies and comforting vocals. One of my favorite emerging artists of this past year and I can’t wait for what 2011 has in store for them!
Memoryhouse // To the Lighthouse

Robyn // Body Talk

Team Sweden strikes again! If I had to describe to some alien what pop music is, I would probably slap Robyn’s Body Talk onto the turntable and give them a listen. To me, Robyn is the essence of pop and it’s unfortunate (or maybe, more appropriately, unjust) that it’s the Britney Spears of the world selling out arenas from Indonesia to Arizona rather than her.
Robyn // Hang With Me

Lower Dens // Twin-Hand Movement

Probably one of the few bands on this list that I can see both myself and a young adult version of parents listening to. Although distorted at times, Twin-Hand Movement is mostly a smooth enjoyable listen that’s fairly easy on the ears. The album is nothing particularly revolutionary but rather it’s just a great uncomplicated record done extremely well — something you don’t get too often nowadays.
Lower Dens // Completely Golden

Rraaiillss // 1098

I feel like Rraaiillss is The Sandwitches of 2010: a group (or in this case an individual) who makes unbelievably high quality music yet surprisingly doesn’t garner a shred of coverage. 1098 is an incredibly solid album that blazes through genres as diverse as shoegaze to bedroom-pop, leaving in its smoldering remnants a stunned and amazed listener whose only response is to hit replay. Equally unbelievable is the fact that the music – from drums, guitar, vocals, electronics – is produced solely by one person, Adam Anderson, who also somehow finds time to do some electronic stuff on the side.
Rraaiillss // Red String

Big Boi // Sir Lucious Left Foot

Although the masses might disagree, any diehard music fan would probably concede that Big Boi is the heart and soul of Outkast, with Andre 3000 providing the funk and funky. With Sir Lucious Left Foot, Big Boi showcases what he does best, writing fast-paced, complex rhymes over head-banging big-band beats which you can bump even in a 1996 Corolla. In a Lil Wayne-less year of music, Big Boi’s rapping provided a suitable replacement.
Big Boi (ft. Gucci Mane) // Shine Blockas

Kanye West // My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Of the stacks and stacks of positive reviews and effusing articles discussing the new Kanye album, the statement that stuck with me the most was from The New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones: “Good luck figuring out what kind of music this is, though it does contain rapping.” And that’s exactly why I love this album so much – it pushes the boundary in a genre that seems to have become overwhelmingly stagnant the past half decade. If anything, West deserves a gold medal for finally scrapping the most annoying thing about rap albums: skit interludes.
Kanye West // Power

How to Dress Well // Love Remains

I found myself coming back to this album by How to Dress Well more and more as the year ended. Maybe it’s the Bon Iver-esque falsetto vocals offset not by acoustic guitar but rather ambient R&B beats or the complexity in simplicity mantra (much like Glasser’s Ring), but whatever it is, I found myself absolutely loving this album when winter rolled around. Who knows, maybe if it was released a few months sooner it would have snuck into the top spot!
How to Dress Well // You Won’t Need Me Where I’m Goin’

The Knife In Collaboration with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock // Tomorrow, In A Year

No doubt the most cerebral of albums I listened to this year, this score for a Charles Darwin inspired opera composed by the Swedish electronic duo The Knife twisted and warped the concept of evolution in highly imaginative ways. Although their distinct pitch-shifted vocals are noticeably absent (except on the well-received track “Colouring of Pigeons” which features the singing of Karin Dreijer Andersson), the composition itself is a 22nd century incarnation of The Knife’s sharp synths and unusual sounding melodies. Tomorrow, In A Year is certainly not for the casual listener, but for the people who take the time to attentively listen and deconstruct the album, it’s a worthwhile treat.
The Knife // Colouring of Pigeons

Deerhunter // Halcyon Digest

What more can you say about Bradford Cox that hasn’t already been said? With a Ryan Adams-like proficiency – and more critically acclaimed to boot – the guy churns out high-quality albums like its second nature to him. Halcyon Digest is the latest in his dense discography (well, at the time of printing Halcyon Digest seems to have been replaced by a hefty FOUR albums Cox recorded in his bedroom that was released at the end of the year) and is one of his best. 60s pop-rock inspired, Cox shows that he knows a thing or two about how to string together simple melodies with sing-song songwriting to produce automatic hits.
Deerhunter // Desire Lines

James Blake // CMYK

Hands down, my favorite album(s) (CMYK is one of three EPs released in ’10) from an up-and-coming artist this year came by way of twenty-two year old British producer James Blake. Although dubstep and ambient are no doubt influences, I’m not quite sure you can conveniently pigeonhole Mr. Blake’s compositions into a nice little well-packaged genre. As you’ve seen from many of the prior Best Of picks, this lack of categorization seems to be desirable not only from my perspective but also from more influential music lovers (it’s only a matter of time before “ungenre” becomes a genre). The combination of the age and the music makes me so excited to see what Blake has in store for us with his February scheduled debut LP release.
James Blake // CMYK

Beach House // Teen Dream

Hands down, the most listened to and most loved album of the year for me (and it seems for a lot of other people as well). I was a little late to jump on the Beach House bandwagon — in ’08 I famously declared to many that I just didn’t “get it”— but Teen Dream helped bridged the gap in my lack of understanding. Like most, I’ve helplessly fallen head over heels for the sweet crooning of Victoria Legrand and the delicate melodies composed by her keyboard playing and Alex Scally’s guitar plucking. In a year that saw so much complex and boundary-pushing music, it was always refreshing knowing that I had Beach House’s simple, yet beautifully constructed tracks to cleanse the palate when all was said and done. A great album that tops a great year in music!
Beach House // 10 Mile Stereo

You can download all the tracks featured in this list from the two .zip files here and here. I recommend sorting via “Date Created” to get the tracks in order. Here’s a recap of my Top 35 Albums of 2010:

1: Beach House // Teen Dream
2: James Blake // CMYK
3: Deerhunter // Halcyon Digest
4: The Knife // Tomorrow, In a Year
5: How to Dress Well // Love Remains
6; Kanye West // My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
7: Big Boi // Sir Lucious Left Foot…
8: Rraaiillss // 1098
9: Lower Dens // Twin-Hand Movement
10: Robyn // Body Talk
11: Memoryhouse // mp3s
12: RxRy // Omega
13: Pantha du Prince // Black Noise
14: Glasser // Ring
15: ceo // White Magic
16: Explode Into Colors // Quilts
17: Oneohtrix Point Never // Returnal
18: Mountain Man // Made the Harbor
19: Various Artists // Sahel Sounds
20: Harlem // Hippies
21: jj // KILLS
22: White Denim // Last Day of Summer
23: Twin Sister // Color Your Life
24: Toro y Moi // Causers Of This
25: Crystal Castles // Crystal Castles
26: Liars // Sisterworld
27: Gobble Gobble // mp3s
28: Flying Lotus // Cosmogramma
29: Cloud Nothings // Turning On
30: Casiokids // Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar
31: Pocahaunted // Make It Real
32: Woods // At Echo Lake
33: Salad Fork // Mixtape for Haiti
34: Joanna Newsom // Have One On Me
35: Stalker // mp3s

Mountain Man // Live in Dublin

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010


(via: Wears the Trousers / State.ie)

There’s been a lot of Mountain Man live recordings in scenic places floating around the internet for quite sometime, but this video showcasing Alexandra, Amelia, and Molly’s vocal talent at Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, Ireland — in the rain, nonetheless — might be the best I’ve seen since Yours Truly captured the trio “from a tunnel on a hill.” Featured in the video are the delectably sweet songs “Mouthwings”, “Arabella”, and “Animal Tracks” as well as a beautiful new track loosely titled “Whale Song”, so prepare yourself for not doing anything for the next ten minutes while watching/listening to this vid.

Unfortunately, I haven’t copped their Underwater Peoples 10” or their Bella Union 12” yet, but after watching these videos I’ve certainly bumped them further up the queue, so that should be remedied in the near future. For the uninitiated, check out a lengthy post of mine about the spiritual experience of witnessing their live show as well as a couple of mp3s (courtesy their bandcamp page) below:

Mountain Man // Animal Tracks

Mountain Man // Soft Skin

Videos for the Veekend // 6|4 – 6|6

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Haven’t put together one of these round-ups in a while, so let’s ease back into things with this mini-collection of my favorite video finds of the past week or so.

I’ve long been a fan of the sweet a cappella tunes of the Vermont trio Mountain Man, and this video, recorded by Vincent Galgano in NYC, just reaffirms my love for the group:

Jimmy over at the great tumblr blog Head Underwater recently unearthed this killer video for Marissa Nadler’s “Thinking Of You” from two years ago. Amazing!

Speaking of amazing music vids, check this one for His Clancyness’s latest single “Summer Majestic”, as first premiered on Delicious Scopitone:

I always love the ingenuity of creative music listeners and the stuff they’re able to come up with. Take this weather channel heavy fan vid for Ariel Pink’s track “Reminiscences” for example:

Another cool archival video snipped together, this time for Baths’ track “Maximalist” [via: yvynyl]

Lastly, here is a great stripped-down version of the Norwegian electro-pop group Casiokids performing in Austria, recorded by the folks over at They Shoot Music:

Videos for the Veekend // 4|30 – 5|2

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Got a great collection of video finds from the past week, so let’s jump right into it:

Georgia down at Microphone Memory Emotion re-posted this video of Mountain Man singing “Animal Tracks” sometime during their lengthy stay at SXSW this past March. I swear, I’ll never get tired of this song…

The next video is of Neon Indian performing “Should Have Taken Acid With You” (arguably my favorite song by Mr. Palamo) from a show back in March recorded by Extraneous Noise:

I have to admit, the Electrical Engineer in me squealed a little with delight when I caught Born Ruffian’s latest oscilloscope-tastic music video for their track “What to Say”:

The second week in a row Toro y Moi has made my weekend round-up, this time with a live performance of his track “You Hid” shot by videographer Jon Casey:

Interstellar, space-y, or “lunar limelight” as Chocolate Bobka called it, are all apt adjectives to describe this live video of Oneohtrix Point Never’s performance of “Star Looks”:

The next video find is courtesy of Lou down at Salad Fork for unearthing this great Beach House cover by chanteuse Emily Reo:

The final video by Philly band U.S. Girls must have had a budget of $20 because it was made entirely on a B&W photocopier. The result is absolutely amazing:

Mountain Man // Portland // February 12, 2010

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

No amount of videos you’ve seen or tracks you’ve heard can really prepare you for a Mountain Man show. In this day and age where you can achieve near digital perfection in the studio, I’m still convinced that no recording will ever do them justice and that in order to truly experience what these three girls from Vermont are all about, you have to see them sing in person. Even the phrase “breathtakingly beautiful” seems to fall incredibly short when trying to describe their sound. Last night, I had a chance to witness them play a twelve song set at the acoustically perfect Reed College Chapel, and it was probably the most spiritual experience I’ve had in quite a while.

After braving through a sample-crazy electro soloist, a singer / songwriter acoustic performance, and a full band arrangement — an interesting collection of Reed College musicians — the time finally arrived for Molly, Amelia, and Alex to take the stage. Holding only a single acoustic guitar (makes it easy to pack their green sedan and drive cross country on a whim), their mostly a cappella set was about as simple of a performance instrument-wise I’ve ever seen. In fact, the group noted how this was the first time ever they’ve performed with a microphone on stage; quite a feat for it being 2010, not 1910.

And their timelessness is one of the best qualities of their music. If it wasn’t for the Appalachian-infused vocals of the group that automatically makes you think of past greats like Cousin Emmy (popular from the 20s-50s), you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint even the century this music belongs to. I mean, small groups of singers huddled together forming beautiful harmonies is one of the oldest arrangements in the books and can probably be traced back to the dawn of humankind.

Although the gravity of their music is intense, during breaks they would counter their emotionally draining performance with lighthearted banter. The most fun conversation they had was when Molly divulged an arrangement she had with her then boyfriend that, if given the opportunity, they would be OK with each other kissing Connor Oberst. Not surprisingly, this spun into a lengthy talk about their first concerts they attended with Amelia proudly declaring it was 98 degrees, even mimicking their choreographed dance moves to the t. Maybe I just have this thing about elevating musicians to higher tiers of humanity, but it’s always refreshing to see down-to-earth personalities from performers.

As anyone who has seen them live can attest to, you really need near silence to fully appreciate their music. Although I berate the arms-crossed crowd of Portland concert goers almost every live show I go to, at the very least I can say it made for good practice for this performance. With the crowd frozen on the front pews and seated attentively on the ground in front of the stage, it was so still that I felt guilty when my stomach started growling — making it impossible to even consider taking photos of the show with my loud ass shutter sound.

Opening with the track “Honeybee” with their hands clasped to each other, it was amazing to see the three only needing to hit the first note a couple of times as warm-up before going into a jaw-dropping rendition of the track, something reminiscent of the sound check I saw Neko Case do almost a year. Since the only recording I have of theirs is composed of six songs, naturally there were some surprises (at least for me) as well as some covers thrown into the mix. Regardless of how unfamiliar some of the newer songs might have been, you wouldn’t have known the difference as every track was spot-on. It didn’t matter if it was the recently-premiered “Babylon” or the Jana Hunter cover song they closed with (which Amelia told me was “the first song we learned as a band”), everything was about as picture perfect as you could get. Here is a rough setlist from the evening:

  • Honeybee
  • Babylon
  • Bathtub
  • How I’m Doing Hey Hey (Mills Brothers Cover)
  • Dog Song
  • Mouthwings
  • Seewee Seewee
  • Animal Tracks
  • White Heron
  • ??? (“New Track” featuring a lot of heavy breathing)
  • Green Grass (Tom Waits Cover)
  • The Earth Has No Skin (Jana Hunter Cover)

I haven’t seen the “How I’m Doing Hey Hey” track anywhere online, so I went ahead and uploaded a “video” of their performance of it tonight (more like audio because the lighting was bad and my camera sucks majorly):

It was cool because the Portland crowd pitched in some improvised snapping that went along with the music and the girls looked like they were having a great time performing it on stage.

Well that’s it for last night’s performance. All I can say is that if you get a chance to see them live, do yourself a favor and go. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

At the show, I got a copy of their limited edition self-titled CD-R (with one-of-a-kind handmade sleeve) that I’ll be giving away. I’m pretty sure this is a tour-only release, as it contains eight tracks as opposed to the six songs on their past release (“Loon Song” and “Buffalo” are the two additions). Anyways, if you won’t get an opportunity to catch them live or if you can’t wait for their almost-ready Underwater Peoples’s 10” to drop, go ahead and retweet this (or if you don’t have twitter, drop a comment) and I’ll pick a winner at random in the coming days (US residents only)!

EDIT:: Contest is CLOSED!

Videos for the Veekend // 2|5 – 2|7

Friday, February 5th, 2010

After floating through the series of tubes that is the internet this past week looking for interesting videos, this is what I came up with for my latest best-of video re-cap (and yes, it’s Snookie-free):

I’ll start off with my favorite video posted by, as usual, Chris from GvB. I can’t come up with a better description than what’s given by the the artist’s Belgium label Crammed Discs:

The world has ended. All that’s left is a jungle on a floating rock where a paradise nightclub band is playing at the last cabaret on earth: the Las Vênus Resort Palace Hotel. The singer’s name is Sonja Khalecallon, and her band are Los Stroboscopious Luminous. Sonja Khalecallon is in fact one of the alter egos of Cibelle, the London-based tropical punkster whose take on music is entirely her own and “Lightworks” is her cover of seminal exotica producer and 1950s electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott’s track.

Videographer Ray Concepcioñ never ceases to amaze me. Evidently, I’m not the only one who’s captured by his cinematic talent as The Great Pumpkin included this video on an awesome recent post about Vermont’s folksy female group Mountain Man:

I seriously can’t get enough of this stripped down version of a new track entitled “Little Bright Fires” by West Texans Daniel Fluitt and Colt Miller of Thrift Store Cowboys (who you may remember put out one of my favorite 7”s of ’09). Take a listen for yourself and see how wonderful this song is:

Got to love the genius that is Michel Gondry. Here’s his latest music video for LA’s singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd track “Open Your Heart”:

Words can’t not describe how pumped I am to check out St. Vincent this weekend when she plays Doug Fir Lounge. She had two great videos crop up this past week (the more official being her video for “Laughing With a Mouth Full of Blood” with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s comic troupe Thunderant), however I prefer the cover of The National’s “Taken for Strangers”:

After hopping the pond for a handful of European dates, New Jersey native Dayve Hawk (aka Memory Tapes) finally got around to playing his first US show when he opened for Atlas Sound at Brooklyn’s Bell House this past week. Here’s a video of his rather nervous performance:

Finally, a video recap wouldn’t be complete with at least one Vincent Moon recording! This week’s pick is an early 2009 Montreal performance by recently deceased singer/songwriter Lhasa de Sela:

If these videos don’t take you through the weekend, head on over to my blog friend Adult Acid and check out what he has posted!

PT Music Mixxx // Laid & Paid: Weak ‘n Mixxx

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

We’ve all had those moments waking up late on a Saturday morning after a long night of partying where the only plans for the day is laying on the couch, mindlessly surfing the net, and drifting in and out of sleep. Well my new mix Laid & Paid: Weak ‘n Mixxx is the soundtrack for these times — keeping it nice and chill so not to exacerbate the hungover headaches.

You can download the mix directly from here (EDIT: rapidshare seems to be having problems this morning, so here’s a more direct link) and after which sit back, relax, and enjoy the 75+ of smooth tunes while drinking your Bloody Marys and downing your Ibuprofen. There’s a good blend of foreign/domestic, popular/obscure, full-band/instrumentals, so you’re sure to be able to pick up a couple of new favorites while revisiting some classic songs you might not have heard in a while. Here’s the tracklist:

Jóvenes y Sexys // El Reloj
Mountain Man // Animal Tracks
jj // Let Go
Jens Lekman // Jag Tyckte Hon Sa Lönnlöv
Broken Bells // The High Road
Acid House Kings // The Heart Is a Stone
Cryin’ Sam Collins // Lonesome Road
Sara Lov // My Body Is a Cage (Arcade Fire Cover)
El Perro del Mar // From the Valley to the Stars
The Wave Pictures // Just Like a Drummer
Woods // The Dark
Beach House // Gila
Chromatic Flights // I Am a Rock (Simon & Garfunkel Cover)
Man Man // Doo Right
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba // Bambugu Blues
The Knife // Vegetarian Restaurant
A Studio // Self Service (Short Version)
Run DMT // St. James
Cass McCombs // Don’t Vote
Moonface // Marimba and Shit-Drums (Excerpt)
Ducktails // On the Boardwalk
jj // My Way

If you like the mix, check out the Pre-Party one I did a month ago.

SXSW 2010 // Initial Lineup

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Well if you didn’t know it by the Beach House and Toro y Moi leaks, 2010 is just around the corner. Although we should have some idea about what’s going to happen next year, there are still a series of unknown events yet to be experienced. Well one such gap that has been filled this past week is the initial line-up for Austin’s annual massive cult-like gathering disguised as the South By Southwest Music Festival.

In typical SXSW fashion, most of the 230 bands slated to descend upon the Lone Star State capitol next spring are unknowns, however, after sifting through the 4+ pages of acts, I’ve found some well respected names that are guaranteed to put on a good show. When it comes to bands, you have the whole gamut to choose from. You like international acts, you say? Well they have obscure Norwegian singer/songwriter Julian Berntzen, popular Scottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit, and Colbert-approved Swedish swing/hip-hop/jazz group Movits! to choose from. Like the blog-buzzed bands? Well IGIF-approved acts Arms and Fanfarlo are scheduled to appear as well as GorrillavsBear-ed band Fergus & Geronimo and Aquarium Drunkard’s fave Warpaint. Looking for local flavor? Austin has that too with great homegrown acts Harlem and Daniel Francis Doyle.

As for my own personal favorites, quite a few caught my eye. Although I’ve been disappointed with his latest effort Summer of Fear, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson put out one of my favorite albums of 2008 with his self-titled debut, so I wouldn’t mind checking out his unsteady vocals live. The all-girl Atlanta garage rockers The Coathangers are another act that would be cool to check out since I missed their performance in Lubbock earlier this year. However of all the groups, the two bands I am most looking forward to see are the Vermont female folk trio ironically named Mountain Man as well as San Fran indie-rockers The Mantles. Both feature some incredibly thought out, easily listenable tunes that I think would work great offsetting the hustle-and-bustle nature of the festival itself.

No doubt, about a million more acts will start popping up on the schedule (both officially and unofficially), so I’ll keep you posted on any recent developments.

Mountain Man // Animal Tracks

The Mantles // Don’t Lie

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson // Buriedfed