Friday, August 31, 2012

Egyptian Hip Hop - SYH VIDEO

Egyptian Hip Hop are back with their brand new video for 'SYH' which is taken from their upcoming album release Good Don't Sleep. The sound of 'SYH' almost resembles a filthy grunge-electro vibe, that is a throw back to the 90's. The album is set to be released October 22nd and will feature 10 brand new songs.

  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yeasayer - Longevity VIDEO

Yeasayer's newest effort Fragrant World is out now via Secretly Canadian and now the first single 'Longevity' has its very own video. The video shows frontman Chris Keating aging as the band perform the song in the studio.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pan - These Are The Things I Love... ALBUM PREVIEW



The Post-Rock outfit Pan have released their brand new album "These Are The Things I Love, And I Want To Share Them With You".  For all of you that have listened and loved what Explosions in the Sky bring to the world of music, think of Pan as their kid brothers, that are learning the ropes and are not too far behind in the race themselves.  Pan's music is uplifting and really moves the mind with every listen. 

The album is up at AOL Spinner today for your listening pleasure, and can also be heard over at Post-Echo.  Be sure to check out the music video for 'Joe Frazier' below as well.

 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Band Of Horses - Knock Knock VIDEO

Band of Horses are all set to release their new album Mirage Rock on September 18th via Sup Pop.  They have a brand new video up for the first single off the album 'Knock Knock' which can be seen below.  The video features the band members in a cheesy Western like nature exhibit.  Pretty clear most of this video is shot in Utah and around the Great Salt Lake, and the Salt Flats.  I almost feel at home while watching.



Here is BOH singer Ben Bridwell's take on the video....
"We had some really great treatments sent to us from different directors, but this one stood out as the most interesting and fitting for our personalities. Jared really made us feel at ease, even in the planning stages before the shoot. He listened to our concerns and took extra care to make us feel like we stayed within our element, while at the same time pushing us to get good performances. It was a hell of a long day, but an exciting adventure for us in getting to see these beautiful parts of Utah and being around the great group of people that Jared hired for the shoot.
It seems fitting that we'd finally get to shoot a video around Salt Lake City, as we've got a song that pays tribute to the area called "The Great Salt Lake" from our first album. Better late than never."



Friday, August 24, 2012

Django Django - Hail Bop VIDEO


Django Django are a 4-piece outfit out of Scotland, and to simply classify their music into a single category would be impossible. NPR pegged them as being part Surf-rock, motown, blues, space pop, and Egyptian mixed in with Beach Boys harmonies and tribal rhythms.

Check out the video for 'Hail Bop' below and get ready for their debut self-titled album which will be released September 25th via Ribbon Music. Album is already available digitally as well.

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sharon Van Etten & Tennis Live Review


 It has been quite the year for Sharon Van Etten with her early 2012 release of Tramp receiving praise from so many different artists from many genres. Tramp has literally spent weeks at a time on my turntable, so to say that I was stoked for this show, would be an understatement. Getting close really close to the stage, I expected great things from SVE and her folk-rock 3 piece band. But first Tennis.

The show began with an energetic set from Tennis, who are no strangers to the Urban Lounge performing for the second time since the release of Young and Old the band's second full length album. I really enjoyed Tennis as an opener this time around appropriately setting the tempo for the night playing favorites we've come to love them for like "Marathon" and "South Carolina" from Cape Dory. Alaina Moore is so tiny. Even on stage she was barely taller than me as she played her keyboard and sang her choir-like vocals. Her husband Patrick Riley looks more like a American Apparel tennis model than a guitar player, but his stage presence is always known as he dances center stage whilst strumming. Tennis finished their set with "Origins", and then quickly hit the road for the next leg of their tour.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Vitale
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Vitale
Shortly after, SVE and friends took stage opening with a mellow harmonium for "All I Can". Her band didn't seem to have the same confidence as Sharon with the second song "Warsaw", but the following song "Save Yourself" from 2010's Epic proved the 3 piece was talented enough to keep up with the front lady. She told crowd "Lenoard" was written after she went through a phase of listening to Lenoard Coehn.

Her stories between songs entranced us all just like her heartwarming songs filled with gut-wrenching poetry for lyrics. "Kevin's" was a tale how she had to allow herself to love again after a messy breakup. "Magic Chords" was the last song before her brief solo featuring perfect male harmony vocals from her backup guitar player.

Sharon Van Etten wrote a song about quitting cigarettes being one of the most trying things she's ever done. Sharon Van Etten gives fans at the front of the stage high fives. Sharon Van Etten can make you laugh, or she can make you cry, or she can make you stand there in awe as she turns the three chords from her first song written on electric guitar "Serpents" into an eruption of primal instinct. Showing anger with lyrics "You enjoy sucking on dreams/So I will fall asleep with someone other than you", and a drummer pounding to the same scarring rhythm.

The evening ended with a two song encore including her most famous track "Love More", but before that the band ended the regular set with "I'm Wrong". This showed the far more bitter than sweet side of SVE, while she spent the majority of the song in a trance knelt down in the unhinged delicacy of her surroundings. Her touring guitar player matching the passion as he played the electric guitar with a string bow knocking over expensive equipment as the song swirled into a jaw-dropping performance that has been instilled I'll never forget August 17th 2012. If you get the chance don't pass up seeing Sharon Van Etten live.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Watch Grimes' Spectacular New Video for "Genesis"

I scoffed at the idea of a "trailer" for a music video.

I scoffed. And now I swoon.

That's right, Grimes (Claire Boucher) released a trailer for her upcoming music video to accompany the brilliant track "Genesis" earlier this week. And I wanted nothing to do with it. But today, I eat crow. Because the music video is pretty amazing.

Things you will see if you watch the Grimes video for "Genesis" (directed by Ms. Boucher, herself):

  • Grimes holding a yellow python
  • Grimes holding said yellow python in the back of a limo
  • Crazy characters that look like they're from a Todd McFarlane comic
  • A dude with checkerboard hair coloring
  • Swords, Maces, and other assorted weaponry
  • A sword on fire
  • A dude/female that looks like Prince
  • Grimes wearing a fitted cap that says "PUSSY" on it
  • Dance-offs in the desert
  • Much, much more



And if you're like me, every time you see Claire Boucher, you hear Elvis Presley's "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You"

... wait... no one else does that?

Bravo, Ms. Boucher, you've yet again outdone yourself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yeasayer - "Fragrant World" Album Review



Brooklyn threesome Yeasayer is one of those bands which it is nearly impossible to put your thumb on. Their sound has a tendency to jump from "organic" to "fabricated" much like their music itself has a tendency to skip from "unequivocal" to "sporadically schizophrenic." This seemingly perpetual dichotomy can hinder the band just as much as it can help them.

For instance, in both of their previous releases (2007's All Hour Cymbals and 2010's Odd Blood) tracks can be located on each album that either shimmer as pop-infused gems but then the next track can be almost as strange as the previous track was clear-cut. Take Odd Blood's "Mondegreen" or "The Children" as evidence of a band that thoroughly enjoys being "out there" meanwhile songs like "Ambling Alp" or "ONE" sound like they could be placed in the middle of a Disney/Pixar film.

This really distracted me from enjoying Odd Blood as much as a lot of fellow critics seemed to back in '10. I'm a pop music-junky at heart, so half of that album really stuck, while the rest just seemed like a jargon of gunk mixed in sporadically and fell to the floor. I can appreciate an act being unique and odd with their music, but with 3-4 of the songs off Odd Blood being so well-constructed as pop music, the rest of the songs lost their luster in comparison. I felt like half of the album was phoned-in, but I couldn't tell what half; who is the real Yeasayer?

Well, with their third major release, Fragrant World, Yeasayer inches closer to finding themselves in their own music. Heavily influenced by R&B and sodden with lyrics revolving around troublesome times, the album actually stands out as the most cohesive album the group has released.

Standing out on Fragrant World are tracks "Longevity" "Henrietta" "The Devil and the Deed" and "Blue Paper" which all sound like they could have been produced by The Weeknd. "Blue Paper" features a pretty awesome bass line and hand claps in the bridge, with emotionally front-loaded lyrics "She keeps on telling me I'm not made for this/ So they never give you the time/ Baby, do you really care?" And lead vocalist Chris Keating's vocals are auto-tuned and subtly warped just right to portray Keating's chops.

In fact, this is a microcosm for the entire album. And for once, it's easy (or easier) for me to say that, as a whole, the album's tracks have a strong bond with one another. All of the songs feature lengthy lyric content that primarily orbit around the ideas of love and finding happiness in trying times, and no matter how dark the lyrics and vocals are, the sporadic funk of the instrumental sections are irresistibly fun and beg to be remixed (which I'm sure they will be).

"Reagan's Skeleton" features a spectacular beat loop structure, jarring bass, a breakdown with congo-like drums and cowbell during the chorus, and shines as one of the more abstract songs on the album yet still stands out as one of the best. But unlike previous efforts, Yeasayer's attempt to layer abstract lyrics and themes with electro-funk beats and backing tracks actually works to their advantage with Fragrant World. Upon the first dozen listens, every track seems worthwhile; pushing the boundaries laid forth with the previous track's obscurities, while maintaining a level of enjoyment garnered by listening to each song.

Yeasayer performs on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon

With Fragrant World, Yeasayer tries its best to tap the fountain of success for obscure electro-funk-pop-R&B-infused bands like MGMT, Animal Collective, Passion Pit, et al. The group still comes up a little short, but the album is definitely the strongest that Yeasayer has put out yet. If nothing else, the band is finding their groove, and actually hitting it more times than not.



My Rating: 3.7/5

Stream "Fragrant World" over at NPR
Purchase "Fragrant World" from iTunes

Monday, August 20, 2012

Iron & Wine Twilight Concert Series

Samuel Beam more commonly know by his stage and recording name, Iron & Wine, graced us with his beautifully orchestrated folk songs Thursday at the seventh installment of Salt Lake City's 2012 Summer Twilight Concert Series.

Arriving shortly before the show started, it was apparent that I was going to have to quickly make my way through thousands of people to get anywhere near the front, which I successfully did. If you have ever been to a TCS concert, by now you should know that half of those in attendance are interested in the music and the other half are more interested in socializing (usually found in the back or near the beer tents). With that being said I'm not going to waste anyones time by writing strictly about the audience, largely because if you hang closer to the stage the opportunity to see a well respected artist (Iron & Wine for $5) is present.

I was interested in this show before it started because a handful of Iron & Wine's songs are traditional man and his guitar kind of folk, but at times a little more folk rockin, which is apparent on more recent albums such as The Shepherd's Dog and Kiss Each Other Clean. He walked on stage solo, picked up his acoustic guitar and dove into "Jezebel" from Women King Ep. As he went into a cover of the Postal Service's, "Such Great Heights," it felt like the majority of crowd goers where either cheering or signing along at the top of their lungs. He appeared to be pretty humble throughout the set, I often wondered if he even had a setlist as he kept asking, "let's all get together, what do you want to hear?"

After playing a few songs solo, he was joined by keys and a banjo to play a new song as well as the popular track "Naked as We Came." He played a perfect mix of songs from all of his LP's including a few EP tracks like "Jesus the Mexican Boy" from The Sea & Rhythm Ep. Songs that really stood out for me were "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven," which features a heavier use of the banjo. Also, "Glad Man Singing," sounded great with an array of instruments such as acoustic guitar, keys, electric guitar and drums, which kick in mid song. His diverse folk sound really came through with Kiss Each Other Clean's "Big Burned Hand," which has heavy use of a saxophone. He played around 21 songs throughout the evening, finishing the set solo with "Flightless Bird, American Mouth," for the encore. On a personal note, I figured it would be good, but Iron & Wine really surprised me with his incredible live performance. I'm not sure what, but I feel like I walked away with something and I'm positive others did too.

For more photos visit our photo gallery from TCS Iron & Wine.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dog Is Dead - Any Movement


Dog Is Dead has had my attention for some time now and with their official debut album coming out on October 8th my ears are once again perked up. Here is what the band have to say about the new album All Our Favourite Stories...
"Our debut album All Our Favourite Stories is nearly here! It's a summary of 5 years of us growing up and making music together. It's inspired by the highs, the lows, every drunken night, every nose bleed, the bliss of new love and everything that follows".

Take a listen to track number 10 on the album 'Any Movement' and also check out the tracklisting.

All Our Favourite Stories Tracklisting:
1. Get Low
2. Do The Right Thing
3. Teenage Daughter
4. Talk Through The Night
5. River Jordan
6. Two Devils
7. Hands Down
8. Glockenspiel Song
9. Heal It
10. Any Movement
DELUXE Version:11. Young
12. The Well
13. Ricochet
14. Burial Ground
15. Talent Show
16. All Our Favourite Outtakes


Animal Collective - Today's Supernatural VIDEO



"Today's Supernatural" is taken from Animal Collective's new album Centipede Nz, which will be out on September 4th. Here is the funky new video for the song, that was directed by Danny Perez.

You can preorder Centipede Nz here.

 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sharon Van Etten (Preview Urban Lounge 08/17)

Brooklyn "Indie Rock/Folk" singer Sharon Van Etten has been awing audiences this summer with her unforgettable performances, such as Lollapalooza, in support of her highly praised third studio LP Tramp (Feb 2012). Van Etten quickly took the music scene by suprise with her debut album Because I was in Love and 2010's Epic to follow shortly after. Her heartfelt songs and unique voice have caught the attention of many, debuting Tramp at 75 on the Billboard 200 charts. She has been given positive reviews from Paste Magazine, Rolling Stone, Consequence of Sound and many others (to name a few). Notable tracks include (but not limited to), "Serpents," "Joke or a Lie," and "Give Out."

Be sure to catch Sharon Van Etten and Tennis tomorrow night at Urban Lounge, this is a show you absolutely won't want to miss. Doors at 9pm.



"Leonard" by Sharon Van Etten from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Festival Coverage: FPT Goes To Summer Set Fest


Our Festival Coverage over at FPT is quickly getting more and more comprehensive, and from August 24-26, we'll be heading up to northern Wisconsin to cover Summer Set Festival.

Now, I know what you're thinking, or at least somewhat close to what you might be thinking: "What the hell kind of festival could be held in NORTHERN WISCONSIN??" Well, you might be surprised by the draw of Summer Set Fest this year.

Based in the beautiful town of Somerset, WI (get it?), the Summer Set Festival offers attendees an entire weekend of fun, including camping, tubing down the "lazy river," after parties, and a boat load of talented artists day-in and day-out. Below you will find some of the best acts the festival will be offering patrons an opportunity to check out, including a couple that I am unbelievably geeked to see.

Can't Miss Acts:

Black Star
That's right, the dynamic duo/supergroup of MCs Talib Kweli and Mos Def will bring their talents to northern Wisco. They've been on a festival tour this year, reuniting for some shows throughout the world, including stops in Norway, Sweden, and this year's Bonnaroo festival. Performing genuine hip-hop music without the flash of gold teeth and go-go dancers, focusing more on lyrical ability and fantastic beat structures. I have loved this group since the early 2000s, and am more than excited to finally see these guys live.

MSTRKRFT

Ever since the demise of one of my favorite bands of all time, Death From Above 1979, MSTRKRFT is the closest I can come (this summer) to seeing my favorite electro-grind-core band. And this duo is fantastic live. On the surface, the duo appears to be nothing special, just a duo of DJs pumping heavy bass and grinding, screeching effects in to your head. But the structure of their songs and build of heavy notes is sure to get crowds moving. Look for me to showcase my reel of dance moves during this set.


Nas
Another huge hip hop act that has been known to bring his A-Game live. Again, I've been a fan of Nas' for as long as I've appreciated hip-hop, known more for his lyrical talent than his glitz and glamour. Hopefully Nas will bring his best in order to entertain the EDM crowd that will pack the amphitheater.

Other Sets I'll Definitely Be Checking Out:

Matt & Kim
The unrivaled poppy indie rock group will be a great time, no doubt about it. However, in another case of "Blame it on the Scheduling," the ultimate downfall of music festivals, Matt & Kim are scheduled during MSTRKRFT's set. So even though I will only be able to catch some of their set, I'm sure I'll be smiling the entire time.

Cloud Cult
Somehow, these veteran experimental indie rockers are still flying under a lot of people's radar. They have a great following here in the Midwest, being from Minneapolis, so I can assure you the crowd will pack in for this spectacle of a live show.

RJD2 w/ Break Science
I am unfamiliar with Break Science, but RJD2 have been heavy hitters in the electronic scene for quite some time. They're the first act of the weekend, so get there early kids, you won't want to miss this act.

Pretty Lights
I hate to admit it. I'll be buying in to the hype of Pretty Lights' this weekend. It's difficult to say who came first in the EDM scene, bringing the genre to the peak that it's been at lately, but I am comfortable saying that Pretty Lights has definitely been at the helm of the craze. Needless to say, they'll be an act worth checking out, if nothing else, for the craziness of the crowd.

Also:
Bonobo DJ Set
Yelawolf
Solid Gold
AraabMuzik
Mr. Mothafuckin' Exquire

Yeah, fine, I'll probably see these acts too:

Umphrey's McGee
 **sigh** I will admit that I've seen these guys before... multiple times. And I will also admit that they put on a pretty good show. Comprised of Notre Dame Music Program alumni, UM is incredibly good at what they do, even if it isn't always for me.

Lotus 
Once again, I hear these guys put on a great show, and coupled with a "crazy" light show, the crowd will be reason enough for me to see this Indiana-based band.

Also, Fake Plastic Tunes will be pairing up with the Weekend Natives crew all weekend long, so keep an eye out for both groups during the Official After Shows into the wee hours of the morning. Get your photo taken in the renowned Weekend Natives photo booths, and have some fun with us! If you don't know Weekend Natives, you're in for a surprise and a hell of a good time.

Keep in mind: Summer Set Festival is NOT SOLD OUT (YET)! You can buy tickets here, and at around $50 a day, it's a whole lot of bang for your buck!
Buy Passes Here

You can find more information on the festival by clicking the official links below!

Summer Set Festival Schedule
Summer Set Festival Map
Summer Set Festival Camping & Lodging Info
Summer Set Festival Guide

Watch Grimes perform on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Canadian songstress and producer extraordinaire made her U.S. Television Debut last night on Jimmy Fallon (who has become a stepping stone for bands and their "television debuts"). Watch her performance of "Genesis" below.


Egyptian Hip Hop - SYH



I have been a fan of Egyptian Hip Hop ever since their 2010 4-song EP, Some Reptiles Grew Wings. 'Rad Pitt' was a top 10 song for me that year and is as catchy a song as you can find. Well a full album from Egyptian Hip Hop is finally in the works and is set for an October 22nd release date. The album title is Good Don't Sleep and the first listen from the album "SYH" can be heard below. 

The debut album will feature 10 brand new songs and by the sounds of 'SYH' the album is a little grown up in its sound


Good Don't Sleep Tracklisting:
01. Tobago
02. The White Falls
03. Alalon
04. Yoro Diallo
05. Strange Vale
06. Snake Lane West
07. Pearl Sound
08. SYH
09. One Eyed King
10. Iltoise


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built VIDEO


When I think of the 2012's music class, Japandroids is the first band that comes to mind. Their Celebration Rock album continues to be played on a daily basis for me and not only played but listened to on full blast. Every time I hear the song 'The House That Heaven Built' I just continue to turn it up louder and louder.

Japandroids have come along way and now have a music video for 'The House That Heaven Built'. The video was directed by Jim Larson and it captures the band on tour, check it out below.

Stars - Backlines



Stars new album, The North will be out September 4th and until then we get another listen in on the album with the song 'Backlines'. The song itself is a modest 2 minute number that plays as almost an album teaser. Stars have always been one of my go to bands, as I have enjoyed their hazy sound.  Also be sure to check out their tour dates as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Austra & Divine Fits Twilight Concert Series Review

I'm going to start off and say if there was any one "Twilight" show to attend, this was it. Salt Lake City proved to have a lot of "fair weather" fans with the cancellation of Passion Pit, who I am fairly certain will reschedule asap (so calm yourself). The crowd wasn't small by any means, however lower in attendance than previous shows, proving to be the perfect size (similar to Thurston Moore last year). With those in attendance smiling and dancing throughout the evening, it appeared everyone was having more fun than I've seen at any other Twilight performance this year.

Canadian Synth Pop Austra, played Salt Lake City on Thursday as the sixth installment of the 2012 Twilight Concert Series. The band consists of Katie Stelmanis (vocals/keys), Maya Postepski (drums), and Dorian Wolf (bass) with two additional touring backup signers present on stage. Most of the set consisted of songs from Austra's 2011 debut LP Feel It Break. Stelmanis has often been praised for her "operatic" voice, which was obvious live. Their music is quite dark, but gorgeous at the same time (imagine that). They played pop driven songs such as  "Lose It" and darker tracks like "Beat and Pulse." It was hard to ignore the hippy like dance moves coming from the backup singers, but the whole performance seemed to work. Austra truly has a unique sound, incorporating traditional vocals, yet making the music fun and easy to dance to. I enjoyed the set and couldn't help but think of how perfect of openers they would have been for Passion Pit, as well as Devine Fits.

Divine Fits, a group comprised of Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs) and Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) with Alex Fischel helping out on keys, took the stage shortly after Austra. Both bands started late, but I'm assuming it's due to the fact that Divine Fits only have one album out. In fact, A Think Called Divine Fits (Aug 28th) is so new that it hasn't been released yet. The band also thanked everyone for coming, confirming that this was their sixth show ever. More or less it was a real treat to see what all the hype was about surrounding the newly formed "supergroup." They didn't disappoint, immediately diving into their set playing most of their debut album if not all of it (assumption). Dan Boeckner sung the electro sounding "My Love is Real," which actually slightly reminds you of wolf parade. They also played "Would That Not be Nice," sung by Brit Daniel, which brings me to my next point. With the two singers often trading instruments and singing on different tracks, it's kind of like watching Wolf Parade vs Spoon (or vice versa), but it works incredibly well. You could tell a lot of crowd goers where both Wolf Parade or Spoon fans. But as mentioned before, this was by far the most fun a lot of us have had at a Twilight Concert to date, and it showed. In the end thank you Divine Fits for an amazing performance and applaud the Salt Lake City Arts Council for bringing in such a rare act on such a short notice.

I encourage you to check out both Austra and Devine Fits, they won't dissapoint. For more photos from the night visit our Facebook album.

Sigur Ros - Vardeldur VIDEO


Sigur Ros on-going Mystery Film Experiment continues with the newest installment of 'Vardeldur' which you can view below. 'Vardeldur' is the 7th track so far that has been given a mystery film video.

Director Melika Bass states that the video is "a film portrait of an unstable entity in a haunted vessel, drawn into and floating away from a siren song." Bass' most recent work, Shoals and Waking Things, premiered at the Torino Film Festival in Italy, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the video.

 
Sigur Rós - Varðeldur from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Antlers- Undersea REVIEW

Undersea arrives just over a year after Burst Apart, The Antlers’ long-awaited followup to 2009’s Hospice.  Like it’s predecessor, Burst Apart was a concise statement- albeit not one quite as gutwrenching, but more of an attempt to re-establish a musical footing after an epic rollercoaster of emotion.  Hospice casted an imposing shadow and while Burst Apart was a lush, wonderfully produced record in it’s own right- it felt occasionally directionless and slight in comparison (or as slight as an album can be featuring songs about dying dogs and nightmarish teeth imagery).

Undersea, though, is pretty magical.  Downsizing to a four song EP, The Antlers have consolidated their vision while avoiding any tendency to meander. From Peter Silberman’s vocals to Darby Cicci’s aural textures, the band boasts a polished confidence that seems to indicate both growth and focus.  In many ways, this release is an incredibly successful compromise between Hospice’s conceptual angst and the dark velvety aesthetic of Burst Apart.  The Antlers have never been known for their sonic tidiness (more often than not, their previous catalogue bleeds at the seams rendering them a downright frustrating band to listen to on shuffle), but Undersea replaces that signature grandiosity with a newfound elegance.  As for the songs themselves- out of the four tracks, “Crest” is the obvious standout buffered by the wonderfully sprawling “Endless Ladder” and the elegaic “Zelda” with album opener “Drift Dive” slowly ushering the listener onto this rich, auditory experience.  And while The Antlers’ style doesn’t seem to lend itself to the EP treatment- clocking in at 22 minutes, Undersea is both complete and free, not to mention a flawless table-setter for whatever the band does next. 


                                                           

- Fr. Jones

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lollapalooza 2012 Coverage - Day Three: Sunday, August 5



And so it all came down to this: the final day of Lollapalooza 2012. There was so much anticipation for the weekend, and it all came to a culmination on Sunday, August 5.

I decided after the previous day's debacle, it was probably in my best interest to catch as much music as I could; sort of a 'don't take anything for granted' situation. Not only that, but Sunday was filled with a few of my favorite bands, new and old.



Polica (Photo Credit: Cambria Harkey)
I started off by heading to see Polica at Lollapalooza's Sony Stage, a band that I saw earlier this year in Milwaukee, and was absolutely blown away by their impacting sound. The double drummers make the music resonate deep within you, as both Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu are undeniably talented and compliment each other fantastically. Meanwhile, bass player Chris Bierden absolutely tears it up live; probably one of the best bassists I've ever seen perform in action. The stellar beauty of Channy Leaneagh's voice and grace of her movements can leave audience members awestruck. Polica always brings their A-game when they perform live, and it shows.

The Walkmen (Photo Credit: Cambria Harkey)

Speaking of great performers, The Walkmen have been near the top of my list for favorite live acts for a few years, and I was lucky enough to get to see them next at the Sony Stage. Like Polica, I'd seen The Walkmen already this year, but was not going to miss what I believed was going to be one of my favorite sets of the fest. And I was right, Hamilton Leithauser absolutely wailed through songs from each album, while his bandmates played a perfectly in tune set behind him. Some of my favorite tracks were played, including "On The Water" "Angela Surf City" "Juveniles" and "Heartbreaker" just to name a few.



Sigur Ros (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)
Directly following The Walkmen was Sigur Ros, at the neighboring Red Bull Soundstage, a band that I've wanted to see live since 2004, but have just never been able to. So I jumped at the chance to catch their set. And I don't want to say that the Icelandic 11-piece group sounded dull, because it was far from it, but I think the set was scheduled poorly. Although the band has taken a side seat to other instrumental-heavy ambiance music, I still would have liked to have seen this band scheduled a little later in one of the days. The crowd was still into it, I casually looked around me at one point during "Hoppipolla" and saw many people closing their eyes, swaying back and forth, each person not really knowing the lyrics they were connecting with, but connecting nonetheless.



At The Drive-In (Photo Credit: Dave Mead)


At The Drive-In was my favorite set by far; I absolutely lost my mind as they came out to stage with Danzig's "Mother" serving as almost at-bat music, and Cedric (lead vocalist) joked that they were pretty much the "Latin Danzig." The set ATDI played was completely perfect, front-to-back. It's a pity that a few of the band members were disinterested in their performance; I get it that the only reason the band reunited was for the nostalgia and economic benefits, but at least put a little oomph behind the performance. Nevertheless, the show was incredible. Cedric Bixler-Zafala did an amazing job with his role, jumping off monitors and amps, microphone "acrobatics" and a pitch-perfect vocal yell that gave me goosebumps from the nostalgia. Check out At The Drive-In's performance of "Pattern Against User" below.


The final highlight of the weekend on the Lollapalooza Festival grounds may also be my biggest regret of the weekend: Justice vs. Jack White. I went with my original gut reasoning, and stuck with Justice; in my eyes, they seemed like the better draw for a festival like this, plus the tagline (from Spin magazine) always sticks with me: "They're fucking French, they're wearing leather jackets, and they're here to party."

Justice (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)
The only real gripe I have with the decision I came to was that Jack White would have been more of a performance, as opposed to the atmospheric benefits of seeing Justice. But at this point, I realize there was no "wrong" decision in this conundrum.

Justice's set was great, eluding to the fact that in the past, they've been called out on "phoning in" performances (i.e. - the gaffe in which they were busted with an MIDI player unplugged, GASP!) proved they still have a sense of humor, elitist as it may be. Sure EDM is on the rise these days, but Justice proved that they can rise above Perry's Stage (they played at the "other" main stage, Bud Light) and the kids that come with it.

Cruising through hits like "D.A.N.C.E" and "On'n'On", it's safe to say that I was amassed in the largest dance party I've ever experienced, and it was an immense amount of fun.

Through three days, I got to see some of my favorite bands on earth. This experience has been incredibly humbling, as well as eye opening to say the least. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to do it all again next year. See you August 2, 2013, Lolla!


Muse - The 2nd Law: Unsustainable


Muse have unveiled their 2nd listen in on their new album The 2nd Law, with their new dubstep-like track 'Unsustainable'. I am sure this hits the old style Muse fans in the face as an insult, as the track has gone way off course as what we have come accustomed to with Muse.  It almost sounds like a song built for the soundtrack of a robot super hero movie.

This is the song that was released with the first announcement in the bands trailer for The 2nd Law. Although it is the second track we get to hear on The 2nd Law it won't be the 2nd single. The new track 'Madness' will be that second single and will be released on August 20th.

The 2nd Law Tracklisting:
01. Supremacy
02. Madness
03. Panic Station
04. Prelude
05. Survival
06. Follow Me
07. Animals
08. Explorers
09. Big Freeze
10. Save Me
11. Liquid State
12. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
13. The 2nd Law: Isolated System

The Vaccines - Please, Please Do Not Disturb EP


The Vaccines are giving away their new EP titled 'Please, Please Do Not Disturb' over at their website.  The EP features 4 cover songs that were recorded by the band in various hotel rooms while they were on tour in Eastern Europe.  The four covers come from ABBA, Wire, Nick Low, and Jonathan Richman.  Check out the tracklist below along with their cover of ABBA's 'The Winner Takes It All'.

Please, Please Do Not Disturb Tracklisting:
01. The Beast In Me (Nick Lowe)
02. Mannequin (Wire)
03. The Winner Takes It All (ABBA)
04. That Summer Feeling (Jonathan Richman)

SOUND CHECK: Big Black Delta INTERVIEW

Fake Plastic's own Mark.HaTe sent over some questions to Big Black Delta's Jonathan Bates, and he was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to discuss his latest album, music video, the record industry, and synesthesia.

MH: To begin, tell me about the ultimate goal for Big Black Delta. What is the long term plan for the project and what does the immediate future hold?

JB: I just want to make music that makes me happy. It's truly a gift if others enjoy it as well. For the immediate future: touring and a batch of new songs and remixes to be released.



MH: I imagine that the approach for writing and recording as Big BlackDelta must be different than say writing and recording as Mellowdrone.
What are some of the strengths and weaknesses involved with working on Big Black Delta material?

JB: It's not too different. I wrote 99% of Mellowdrone’s music. I guess I just I know how to get what I want faster now because I've been producing for so long.



MH: Is Big Black Delta meant to be looked at as more of a solo project or would you consider it to be more collaborative?

JB: It's fluid. I'm open to anything. As of now, it's all me.



MH: With the album, BBDLP1, and the EP BBDEP1, what was the creative process for putting together these songs? For instance, did you write all of these songs alone, collaboratively, while on tour, or in the studio?

JB: Its all me. I did it on a laptop, usually between the hours of 2am and 9am. It ties together healthy doses of astrophysics, conspiracy theories, old French films and whisky. Its supposed to be a sonic presentation of the starburst that you see right before you pass out.



MH: The music video for IFUCKINGLOVEYOU is awesome, to say the least. I especially love the way color plays such a prominent role throughout the song. What was the ultimate inspiration behind its visual design?

JB: I have synesthesia, so I see what I hear.  I involved artist Caspar Newbolt when I started putting this together, and we went back and forth, trading our favorite artwork to come up with a theme that matched what I see in my head when i hear my music.  Bursts of light and colors mixed with geometric shapes and themes.



MH: How do you feel about music videos in general and do you feel that they are still an important part in getting music to the fans? 

JB: Imagery and music make the most powerful form of communication. So when done right, I think videos are great.  Personally, I hate being in them because being on set is usually like watching paint dry.



MH: With the change in the record industry over the past decade, how do you feel about albums, mp3’s, illegal downloading, the resurgence of vinyl, and Kickstarter?

JB: The "industry" has never been something I could navigate, so I don't really think about it.  I do feel there is a renaissance happening.  There are so many amazing artists and songs out right now that it’s a great time to be a music fan.  Usually when economy goes to shit, great art is made.



MH: Do you feel that there is still hope for the independent artist to make it in the industry?

JB: I maybe naive, but I like to believe if you make cool shit, cool things happen for you.



MH: Where do you think Big Black Delta fits into the music world right now? Where would you like to be?

JB: I can’t answer that question because it requires objectivity.  And since I’m so inside what I do, i have no idea if it fits.



MH: Thinking about your own album, BBDLP1, how will performing these songs live in concert differ from performing with Mellowdrone?

JB: I’m not holding a guitar or stepping on pedals.It’s just me, two amazing drummers, lights and an Ableton rig that I can manipulate my songs and voice real time. It’s like I’m producing in front of everyone, whilst jiggling around.




I'd like to say a big thank you once again to Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta for taking the time to answer these questions.

Be sure to check out Big Black Delta on tour this month as they open for M83 and Jane's Addiction. Also be sure to check back later this month for a live review of the Salt Lake City show.

Tour Dates
August 1 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Electric Factory, Philadelphia w / M83
August 2 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead, Munhall w / M83
August 4 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Le Belmont, Montreal, QC, w / K-OS
August 7 2012 - Big Black Delta @ State Theater (ME), Portland w / M83
August 8 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Central Park Summerstage, New York w / M83
August 9 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Piano’s New York NY - Headline Show
August 10 2012 - Big Black Delta @ DC9, Washington, DC - Headline Show
August 11 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY - Popshop
August 17 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Piano’s, New York, NY - Headline Show
August 18 2012 - Big Black Delta @ MGM Grand Theatre / Goxwoods, Mashantucket w / Jane’s Addiction
August 20 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Artpart, Lewiston w / Jane’s Addiction
August 22 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Stage AE, Pittsburgh w / Jane’s Addiction |
August 23 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Old National Centre - Murat Theatre, Indianapolis w / Jane’s Addiction  |
August 25 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Orpheum Theater (NE), Omaha w/ Jane’s Addiction  |
August 26 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs w / Jane’s Addiction | 
August 27 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO - Headline Show
August 28 2012 - Big Black Delta @ The Great Salt Air, Salt Lake City w / Jane’s Addiction
August 29, 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise w / Jane’s Addiction
August 31 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre (BC) Vancouver w / Jane’s Addiction
September 4 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Keller Auditorium, Portland w / Jane’s Addiction
September 5 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Grand Sierra Resort & Casino, Reno w / Jane’s Addiction
September 6 2012 - Big Black Delta @ Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA - Headline Show
 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again



Grizzly Bear's newest track is 'Yet Again' which will be heard on the new album Shields which will be released on September 18th.  The song will surely make all the Grizzly Bear fans happy as it is a return to glory with their strong indie sound.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Radiohead - Daily Mail (Bonnaroo)

Well if you like Radiohead and Music Festivals, you have got to check out this live video of The Daily Mail by Radiohead. The opening of the video is great as it shows the events at Bonnaroo that lead up to seeing Thom and company.

Mumford & Sons - I Will Wait


Here is the first listen to new music from Mumford & Sons new release Babel. The song is 'I Will Wait' and continues in the bluegrass-folk harmony that M&S are so accustomed to. The new album Babel will be released on September 24th.

Babel Tracklisting:
01. Babel
02. Whispers in the Dark
03. I Will Wait
04. Holland Road
05. Ghosts That We Knew
06. Lover of the Light
07. Lovers’ Eyes
08. Reminder
09. Hopeless Wanderer
10. Broken Crown
11. Below My Feet
12. Not With Haste

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lollapalooza 2012 Coverage: Day Two: Saturday, August 4

Weather struck again at Lollapalooza this year, but this time, the event coordinators and planners were prepared. And they weren't about to let anything go wrong; no one was to get hurt... there were to be no tragedies at Lollapalooza. As you may already know, plenty of festivals and outdoor shows have been marred by casualties and injuries this year. Radiohead, Sugarland, and Smith Westerns have all made headlines in 2012 for the absolute wrong reasons: all three have had incidents in which malfunctions in stage design have resulted in injuries and/or death.

Photo Credit: Jack Edinger
And it's not like the weather wasn't absolutely insane on Saturday. Winds were howling during what was, to say the least, an extreme thunderstorm. I must give kudos to the people in charge at the festival, as no tragedy took place, aside from the fact that an obscene amount of people left the grounds completely covered in mud; but that's hardly a tragedy.

If there was one tragedy, for me at least, it was the loss of opportunity to see a few really good musical acts, Alabama Shakes most notably. This was vastly made up for by the lone performance I was actually able to enjoy from start to finish: Frank Ocean. But I'll delve in to his set shortly.


The Weeknd hits a high note (Photo Credit: Cambria Harkey)

I was able to catch a song or two of Calvin Harris and The Weeknd each. Caught my favorite song by The Weeknd, "High For This" before making my way to Perry's for Calvin Harris. I mainly checked out the Scottish DJ/Producer superstar Harris to get a peak at what I could expect later that night at The Mid. His light show was a spectacle to say the least, and the crowd at Perry's ate it up like a raver eats "candy."

While we're on the subject of Perry's Stage, I want to bring up just how crazy this stage is now. As a direct reflection of the music scene today, Electronic Dance Music (EDM as the kids call it) is on an absolute tear right now, and the attendance at Perry's reflected it. On Friday afternoon, upon just walking past briefly to check out a bit of Nero, I saw the largest crowd of neon-clad at Perry's than I had ever seen swarm the stage. EDM is on the rise, like it or not. Calvin Harris was Saturday's heavy hitter at Perry's stage, and the crowd seemed endless.
Calvin Harris (Photo Credit: Will Rice)

Next to At The Drive-In (who performed on Sunday), Frank Ocean was probably my most anticipated performance. And thanks to the grounds staying open an extra half hour, Ocean's set was not shortened due to inclement weather. Frank Ocean is a true performer, just as good on record as he is on stage. Although his stage presence is not very flashy, his voice is what is undeniably spectacular.

Opening with a brilliant, acoustic cover of Sade's "When You're Gone" that nearly drove me to tears (if you haven't noticed, I get emotionally attached to some performances). Ocean then candidly said: "Thanks to y'all for coming back out; I wouldn't have missed y'all for the world."

Frank Ocean (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)

Other highlights of the performance included "Thinkin' Bout You," which Frank's falsetto nailed just perfectly, and "Novacane" "Strawberry Swing" and "Swim Good," old favorites from Ocean's previous work nostalgia ULTRA.  Ocean entertained the crowd with banter about Boxed Water, a new company whose product (exactly what it sounds like) was all over the festival grounds, being drank by artist and attendee alike. (The juxtaposition of the water in a white box just made it look like people were drinking milk in 100 degree weather all weekend, but it's benefits for economy and mother earth are evident).

Frank Ocean bids farewell (Photo Credit: Jack Edinger)
Frank Ocean closed his set with two of the best songs I've heard all year. "Bad Religion" ended up sounding like a Dashboard Confessional show (yeah, I went there), with the majority of the crowd singing along, heavily. Closing song "Pyramids" will be one of the defining songs of the summer of 2012. The track is deep both in time and structure, featuring multiple different sections. When the beat picks up with a heavy synth part, Frank Ocean darted back and forth on the stage, jumping up and down, enticing the crowd to join him. It was one of the most unique and uniting moments of the festival, as I lost myself within a sea of "friends" who were all there for the exact same reason I was. By the end of the song, I was itching for more from Frank Ocean, the sign of one of the great performers currently in the field.


Check out the official Lollapalooza Time Lapse, take special notice of the craziness that comes with the storm rolling through!


The xx - Chained



'Chained' is the second helping from The xx newest album Coexist which will see the light of day on September 11th via Young Turks. The album has been produced by The xx's Jamie Smith and is the follow up to their 2009 debut 'xx'. It was recorded between November 2011 and May 2012 in the band's own studio in London.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lollapalooza Coverage - Day One: Friday, August 3


Wow what an interesting opening day. Fans packed in early despite the scorching hot temperatures (somewhere around a 105 degree heat index out on the Grant Park baseball diamonds), but if you were expecting weather to prevent thousands of people from enjoying this great lineup, you would be dead wrong -- more than once this weekend.

I started it off right by getting in to the grounds quickly and heading straight to see Yellow Ostrich (for the second day in a row, YO played the night before at Turner Hall in Milwaukee); gotta show some love for the fellow Wisconsinites whenever possible. It doesn't hurt that this band is really (really) good. They put together a great show, complete with looping vocals, brass instruments and a very fun energy to their set. Things got really interesting when lead singer Alex Schaff allowed a gentleman out from backstage to propose to his girlfriend. Luckily, she said "Yes." Although Alex joked that had she said "No," it would have turned in to a great viral video that could have helped the band gain notoriety.

Following Yellow Ostrich, it was on to the neighboring Red Bull Soundstage for Dr. Dog. I only caught two songs, as I was incredibly interested in checking out The War On Drugs, but the two songs I caught were great ("Shadow People" and "These Days").

Things got interesting at this point, as Lolla has nearly doubled it's festival grounds since I've last been here. So I walked to the stage I had thought was TWOD was playing, at the opposite end of the festival grounds. Turns out it was The Black Angels that were playing the Bud Light stage. Not the worst mistake I could have made, as The Black Angels rattled off a few of their dark and grungy sounding tracks. Finally found a map (which did not leave my possession after) and made my way to the Google Play stage to catch The War On Drugs final song, who completely lived up to the hype surrounding their live sets.
Die Antwoord (photo credit: Matt Ellis)

Metric played the first "great" set I saw, at around 4 p.m. at the Bud Light stage. They absolutely shredded their instruments, perfectly in sync with one another. And Emily Haines' voice sounded great. As their set came to a close, I began itching with excitement: Die Antwoord was up next at the neighboring Playstation Stage.

And holy hell. They melted my face with pure unabashed "ZEF" - hip-hop backed by electronica spun by DJ Hi-Tek. Including multiple outfit changes and Hi-Tek's "melted face" mask, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er rocked the stage and got the crowd moving more than any band I had seen yet. Tracks like "Baby's on Fire" and "I Fink U Freeky" did nothing short of entertain.


Passion Pit (photo credit: Dave Mead)
Passion Pit was up next at the Bud Light stage, which was just a quick hop away from the stage I was at for Die Antwoord. I will not lie, I was incredibly excited for their set, but Passion Pit sounded a little off. I don't know if it was the sound or the band itself, but they were not at the peak of their skills and sounded out of sync. The set was packed with great tracks, and a lot of the songs sounded really good. "Carried Away" and "Sleepyhead" sounded great, but portions of the set (like "The Reeling") came up a little short of expectations.

Hands down, M83 stole the show on Friday. The French foursome played a surprisingly "rock" set, despite being known as an electronic band. Groups like that who play more electronic music in studio, but absolutely throw down on stage; equipped with live drums, guitars, keys, and samples, M83 proved to be a power house Friday night, completely living up to whatever hype has been buzzing around the group the past year or so. I will say this, however, what is with people just up and leaving after a band plays "the hit?" After M83 played "Midnight City" three-quarters of the way through their set, a large number of kids just up and left. I'm sorry, but were you not entertained by the rest of the show? I'm just being bitter, I suppose, but there was no way I was going to leave this show, especially with the awesome guitarist doing an innovative Running Man/Moonwalk-combo dance.

M83 (photo credit: Matt Ellis)
Red Bull Stage headliner The Black Keys wrapped up Friday night's craziness. And frankly, I was not as excited for the Keys as I was for a vast majority of the other talent Friday. Due mainly to the disappointment felt after they played The Bradley Center in Milwaukee earlier this year, I was a little wary about seeing The Black Keys again.

However, I can now say that the disappointment felt earlier this year, was based solely on the venue, because Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney and company absolutely killed their set. There weren't too many surprises, but the Keys were great, playing songs new and old, and even having a little section of their set dedicated to just Auerbach and Carney knocking out a duo "mini-set", just like they used to do. To me, these were the glory years of The Black Keys; Rubber Factory is one of my favorite records of all time. It was good to see that the guys still got it; I'm back on board, and was pretty foolish for ever thinking about doubting them. Check out their performance of "Howlin' For You" from Friday night below.