Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beirut - "The Rip Tide"

This video seems to start off simple enough, just showing a little sailboat sailing along the high seas. Around the second verse, things get really interesting and swirling colors start to fall from the sky. I'll probably say this too much about much videos, but it's stunning and oddly real I could go out and see that in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (I know I can't).

Beirut released his third album, The Rip Tide, in August of last year.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Hunger Games

It took me awhile, but I've finally gotten around to reading and seeing this insanely popular series.

While I'm sure just about everyone knows the story, I'll still offer my brief synopsis. It's dystopian future, set some time after a major conflict in what used to be known as the United States of America. As a punishment for the citizens' uprising, the central government hosts a yearly event which pits a select group of the nation's teenagers against each other in a battle to the death. The film focuses on Katniss Everdeen (played by one of my new favorites, Jennifer Lawrence), a representative from the country's poorest district as she attempts to gain honor and glory for her district...and survive, of course.

While I don't think the book was the best written that I've ever read, I did find the story itself to be really good (and I'm not going to go down the "it's been told before" road...I know). I think the movie was even better. It helped that the acting talent was pretty good and that they were able to do away with a lot of the filler. I typically try not to get into book trends (I still haven't, and never will, read or watch Twilight), but was happy that someone talked me into this one! I have the other two books of the series on loan from my manager, so I hope to get to them soon.

Mini soundtrack:

The Secret Sisters - "Tomorrow Will Be Kinder"

Neko Case - "Nothing to Remember"

Arcade Fire - "Abraham's Daughter"

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 06/25/2012

The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends

The Flaming Lips initially released this album in physical form on Record Store Day earlier this year, and are releasing the digital version today. It's a collaborative albums featuring songs recorded with Ke$ha, Bon Iver, Yoko Ono and Erykah Badu, among many others. As can be expected, it has produced some very strange songs (and strange videos to go with them - and **NSFW**).
"Girl, You're So Weird" (with New Fumes)

Joe Jackson - The Duke

When Paul McCartney released his most recent album, I remarked that American standards must be the go-to for aging rock stars. Aging punk rockers seem to flock to jazz, though. A few weeks ago, it was Iggy Pop and Après, now it's Joe Jackson (though Joe moved towards jazz quite a few albums ago). I suppose it's fitting that Joe worked with Iggy Pop himself for one of the tracks on this album, a cover of "It Don't Mean a Thing."
"It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"

Paul Banks - Julian Plenti Lives... EP

Paul Banks is lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Interpol. Since releasing their last album, Interpol in 2010, the band has been on a bit of a hiatus to focus on solo projects. During this time, Banks is reviving his Julian Plenti alter ego. He released his first solo album under this name in 2009. We're getting but a short EP this, but a second full-length is planned for later this year!
"Games for Days" (from a previous release)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

of Montreal at Madison Theater

Last Tuesday, I caught the avant indie band of Montreal at the Madison Theater in Covington, KY. Having seen them at Pitchfork about five years ago, I knew I was in for a very interesting show. I was not disappointed. With confetti, costumed dancers/crowdsurfers and, of course, great music, even the opening acts, Chappo and Yip Deceiver, contributed to the overall weird-ness of the show!

Mini setlist:

Chappo - "Hell No"

Yip Deceiver - "Obnoxia"

of Montreal - "Spiteful Intervention"

Friday, June 22, 2012

Santigold at Bogart's

I was on the fence about seeing Santigold in Cincinnati, given that I was going to catch her only a few days earlier at Bonnaroo. As you've probably already seen, though, Santigold was my favorite act of the festival and I knew that I could not pass up the opportunity to see her again!

Mini setlist:



"Big Mouth"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sigur Rós - "Fjögur píanó"


If you had asked me ten years ago if I ever thought that I would see Shia LaBeouf naked in a Sigur Rós music video, I would have first asked you who the heck Sigur Rós was and then said no. But here he is in his full glory...Louis Stevens sure has grown up. All kidding aside, the video is stunningly filmed and choreographed. With the kidnapping storyline and magical lollipops, it's definitely a little strange, but one of most interesting videos I've seen this year.

Sigur Rós released their latest album, Valtari, a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My 10 Favorite Acts at Bonnaroo

I've been back from Bonnaroo for about a week now and feel like I've finally recovered...the sunburn is mostly healed now, too! It was an exhausting weekend, but a ton of fun!

You've already seen the acts I was excited to see and my pictures. As my final post for this year's festival, I will present my ten favorite acts:

10. Bon Iver
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. The Black Lips
6. tUnE-yArDs
5. EMA
4. Laura Marling
3. The Antlers
2. St. Vincent
1. Santigold

There were, unfortunately, a few bands that I would have liked to see and didn't get the chance to that I'm sure would have made the list. I heard nothing but good things about the sets of The War on Drugs, Alabama Shakes and Black Star. Radiohead would have made it, too, had I been close enough to the stage to see or hear them.

Oh well, such is the nature of jam-packed music festivals. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to see all these bands in the future!

Happy Bonnaroo!

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 06/19/2012

Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do

Oh, Fiona, it's been so long. Seven years is a long time to wait for a new album, though we should be used to it with six years between When the Pawn... and Extraordinary Machine. She stated that she follows no real plan, so it takes her awhile to do things. She does make the wait well worth it, though, and she seems to be back to the long titles, though nothing beats When the Pawn...'s 400 characters.
"Every Single Night"

Glen Hansard - Rhythm and Repose

It's hard to believe that this is the first solo album for an album as prominent as Hansard. He released six albums with The Frames and three as The Swell Season with Markéta Irglová (who released her own solo debut last year). I guess they're moving on from their Once days, though I have to wonder if the same person painted both Markéta's and his album covers.

Maxïmo Park - The National Health

This year and last really seems to be the time for revival for indie rock acts from the early aughts. Maxïmo Park first caught my attention with a jazzy version of their single "Apply Some Pressure" produced by Mark Ronson, and I've come to love much of their other work. This is their first release since splitting with their record label and I hope that the change in the environment can also allow them to change in development their sound as many other indie rock acts have done over the past couple of years. "Hips and Lips"

No Joy - Negaverse EP

No...I don't only like this band because my first name is also a part of theirs (ok, that might be some of it)... But they are a really good band! I wouldn't have heard of them had it not been for them playing third wheel on an EP compilation, Summer is Forever, from Wavves and Best Coast. Their sound isn't quite as surfer-y and poppy as the other two bands; their noisier, shoegaze style provided a welcome respite from the others' sound. It's great to see them back, though I will still be eagerly awaiting a full-length follow-up to Ghost Blonde.

The Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania

Billy Corgan himself claims that this is the band's best album since Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I sure hope he's right about that, since that was the album I used to reintroduce myself to the band earlier this year. It's a concept album (not always my favorite) that's intended as a continuation of Teagarden by Kaleidyscope. It seems like the band is always doing something interesting with their sound and overall aesthetics, so it will be curious to see what they do here.

Walk the Moon - Walk the Moon

And I forgot my friend's band! These guys have steadily been gaining press and acclaim over the past few years, all of it well-deserved. I guess this is their first "official" album, though they self-released I Want! I Want two years ago. They are now big time and have been signed to RCA Records. So, yeah...I know them! And it's great to see them doing so well.
"I Can Lift a Car"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Best of 2012 (So Far)

This has, thus far, been an exceptional year for music. It seems like every week, there's at least one album out that can be considered excellent. It's also been a busy year for me to acquire all of these great releases.

To help organize my thoughts on what I'm sure will be a difficult year-end list to compile, I've decided to share my favorite of the year (so far). This list does exclude some very recent releases that I'm sure I will love, but have yet to incorporate into my personal music library (i.e., Japandroids' Celebration Rock), but otherwise represents my favorite so far!

Presented in no particular order:

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know
Sharon van Etten - Tramp
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
The Shins - Port of Morrow
The Walkmen - Heaven
Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Santigold - Master of My Make Believe
White Rabbits - Milk Famous
Frankie Rose - Interstellar
Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled with Light

There have also been some stand-out EPs (Extended Plays, typically between 3 and 6 songs, for those who don't know), with my top three being:

The Tallest Man on Earth - The King of Spain
Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour/Golden Mile
Black Tambourine - OneTwoThreeFour

The second half of the year promises even more great music, with scheduled releases from Fiona Apple, Dirty Projectors, Passion Pit, Yeasayer, Animal Collective, Jens Lekman, St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear and Bat for Lashes...just to name a few!

Friday, June 15, 2012

On Repeat: "The House That Heaven Built"

See...punk rock can be inspirational, too. Japandroids prove that a fuzzy, guitar- and drum-heavy song can be somewhat uplifting and in a way that manages to avoid feeling lame or Saturday Morning Special-ish.

The band released their sophomore album, Celebration Rock, two weeks ago. I'm still waiting to get my hands on a vinyl copy of it (back-ordered at the local record store).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dirty Projectors - "The Gun Has No Trigger"

It's often the simplest videos that can be the most evocative. I am loving the video for the Dirty Projectors' new song "The Gun Has No Trigger." I shows only straight-on face shots of the band singing the song, but the use of light and shadow fits perfectly in with the progress of the song and the song's haunting melody.

It's definitely gotten me excited for the band's new album, Swing Lo Magellan, out in just a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bonnaroo pictures

I am back from Bonnaroo! I had an amazing time, met some amazing people and, of course, saw some amazing bands. Here are my pictures from the event!

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Music Tuesday - June 12, 2012

Charli XCX - You're the One EP

This young British songstress has, so far, had more hype than releases. A lot of time has been spent on building her profile (to seeming great effect). Hype can be a dangerous thing, of course, but many of the artists that get it do actually deserve it. This goth-tronica (I'm gonna make that happen) artist also deserves it. At two songs (and two remixes), the hype still eclipses her work, though.
"Nuclear Seasons"

Guided By Voices - Class Clown Spots a UFO

This classic band seems to have their eyes set on making up for an eight-year hiatus and making 2012 an insanely busy year. They released Let's Go Eat the Factory in January of this year and are planning another album for this coming November. Seems like an insane schedule, but they do have a lot of time to make up for!
"Class Clown Spots a UFO"

Hot Chip - In Our Heads

I think that, over time, electronic music has only gotten better and better. Even just a few years ago, it seemed like it was a genre that was easy to pass over as being repetitive , one-note and only suited to the club. A slew of artists, however, have come around and used electronic elements to make more structured songs and have turned it into something incredible. Hot Chip is another great example of this move. This is another great album of awesome songs from the established British band that only seems to be getting better with age.
"Don't Deny Your Heart"

The Hundred in the Hands - Red Night

Another great electro release, albeit a bit more mellow than Hot Chip. This band has flown under the radar (I'm really not sure how I heard of them), but their music deserves broader recognition. Perhaps this release can get them there...

Jaill - Traps

This is another band that deserves a lot more attention. I've been in love with their sophomore album, That's How We Burn, for about a year and have been greatly anticipating the follow-up. I personally think that it's some of the best indie rock out there. Jangly, upbeat and a lot of fun.
"Waste a Lot of Things"


I always thought that name "Morning Benders" sounded a little dirty, but didn't realize it actually until the band decided to change their name to something less offensive. POP ETC. is the new name, and seems to have come with a slight change of style, as well. Nothing drastic, but a marked R&B influence seems to be coming through on the early releases under the new name. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it, but it's definitely a very interesting direction.
"Live It Up"

The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leaving Now

Maybe this praise is a little lofty to shower on Kristian Matsson, but he's almost like a modern incarnation of early Dylan. He's certainly not as prolific (yet), with only three full-length albums to his name, but like Dylan, he has a divisive singing style and is a guitar virtuoso. Time will tell if he moves in the same direction and electrifies on later albums, but he seems to be sticking with the acoustic guitar for this one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bonnaroo Preview

Today, I leave for Tennessee and Bonnaroo! I'm so excited to see some of my favorite bands and spend a few days away from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the organizers are a little evil and scheduled some of my favorites at the same time. Nonetheless, here are all the artists I'm excited to see:

EMA - Thursday @ 4:15 PM

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Thursday @ 7:15 PM
"An Ugly Person on a Movie Screen"

Alabama Shakes - Thursday @ 11:30 PM
"Hold On"

The Kooks - Friday @ 12:15 PM

tUnE-yArDs - Friday @ 1:45 PM
"My Country"

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Friday @ 3:00 PM
"I Learned the Hard Way"

Two Door Cinema Club - Friday @ 3:15 PM
"Do You Want It All?"

Laura Marling - Friday @ 3:30 PM

The Avett Brothers - Friday @ 5:00 PM

Fitz & The Tantrums - Friday @ 5:00 PM

Feist - Friday @ 6:15 PM

Dawes - Friday @ 7:30 PM
"Time Spent in Los Angeles"

St. Vincent - Friday @ 7:45 PM

Radiohead - Friday @ 10:00 PM
"Lotus Flower"

Black Star - Saturday @ 12:30 AM

Blind Pilot - Saturday @ 2:00 PM
"3 Rounds and a Sound"

The Temper Trap - Saturday @ 3:00 PM
"Need Your Love"

Battles - Saturday @ 3:30
"Ice Cream"

Punch Brothers - Saturday @ 4:00 PM
"Dark Days"

Santigold - Saturday @ 5:00 PM
"Look at These Hoes"

SBTRKT - Saturday @ 5:15 PM

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Saturday @ 10:00 PM
"Monarchy of Roses"

Delta Spirit - Sunday @ 12:30 PM
"People C'mon"

The Black Lips - Sunday @ 1:45 PM
"Modern Art"

GROUPLOVE - Sunday @ 2:00 PM
"Tongue Tied"

Here We Go Magic - Sunday @ 2:00 PM
"How Do I Know"

The Beach Boys - Sunday @ 3:00 PM
"Wouldn't It Be Nice"

The War on Drugs - Sunday @ 3:30 PM

The Antlers - Sunday @ 3:30 PM
"Putting the Dog to Sleep"

The Joy Formidable - Sunday @ 5:00 PM
"A Heavy Abacus"

Kurt Vile & The Violators - Sunday @ 5:00 PM
"Baby's Arms"

Bon Iver - Sunday @ 5:30 PM
"Hinnom, TX"

The Civil Wars - Sunday @ 6:15 PM
"Barton Hollow"

The Shins - Sunday @ 6:15 PM
"Simple Song"

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 06/05/2012

The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made the Radio

Let's be honest here, The Beach Boys hit a point around the 1980s where they probably should have stopped, but didn't. Nothing they've released in the time since (aside from last year's long-anticipated and long-overdue Smile release) hasn't done much to recapture either the wonderful pop of all their early work or the highly-regarded Pet Sounds and mid-career work. This album may come pretty close to their earliest releases, though. I really enjoy the first few songs I've heard and they sound like they could have been recorded by the band in the 1960s. Welcome back, Beach Boys!

Brandi Carlile - Bear Creek

I fell in love with Brandi Carlile's rough and powerful voice back in 2007 with The Story and especially on the album's title track. She's gained beaucoup accolades and attention since and continues to prove her worth. I'm not usually one for country music, but Brandi has a style and voice that make me reconsider many of my issues with the genre (well, with new stuff, I love a lot of old-school country artists).
"That Wasn't Me"

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Remaster

This may just be the year of the classic album reissue/release. A couple of weeks ago, it was Sir Paul McCartney with RAM and this week, we have two, Paul McCartney and Sir David Bowie (he's a sir now, right?). It's been about 40 years since the release of this iconic album that also spawned one of Bowie's most memorable personas. Reissues seem to have a way of prompting artists to start releasing newly recorded music...perhaps it's time for David to do the same, he hasn't released an album of new music since 2003.
"Suffragette City"

Japandroids - Celebration Rock

For a band that was this close to breaking up, they've managed to rack up some impressive releases. Two years ago, it was the highly-rated Post-Nothing and this year, it's the already well-loved and highly-rated Celebration Rock. This is turning out to be an incredible year for music and this album just adds to the amazing-ness. NPR is streaming and I am loving. We should all be very happy that these two guys decided to stay together.
"The House that Heaven Built"

Liars - WIXIW

I've spent way too much time since this album was announced trying to figure out how exactly the album's name was supposed to be pronounced. I finally settled on "wicks-you," but turns out I was wrong. It's meant to be pronounced "wish-you" I was kinda close. Regardless of the correct pronunciation, it is yet another entry in the log of this year's great releases. Their music is kinda weird and a little all over the place, but they've been one of very few bands who can do that and still produce great music without sounding confused.
"No. 1 Against the Rush"

Paul Simon - Graceland Reissue

The other anniversary reissue this week. It has been 25 (actually closer to 26, now) years since Simon released what has perhaps become his most iconic album. It won him the top Grammy in 1987, has been included on numerous best-ever lists and inspired a more recent wave of Afro-tinged music (I'm looking at you Givers and Vampire Weekend).
"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"

Patti Smith - Banga

Perhaps this is a sin to say, but I'm not very well-acquainted with Patti Smith's work. I know she's well-respected and has also established herself as an icon of punk, so I will probably love her music. That said, this is my introduction to her and her music.
"This Is the Girl"