Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mumford Magic

I, my friends, am on a concert high for the first time since my last Elvis Perkins concert (and I have been to quite a few concerts since then, let me tell you). My day (yesterday) started with a near-overdose (if such a thing is even possible) of Mumford and Sons on ipod repeat. My friend and I had been looking forward to a live show of this band, as we considered it evident from their album that they would be awe-inspiring live. And so they were.

King Charles opened with pants much too tight, but music that was clearly worthy of the first opening spot of our beloved M&S.

Then came Cadillac Sky, a band of big-boned, incredibly bearded men from the middle-of-nowhere states + Texas. Marcus of M&S came out to drum-assist for a song, getting the crowd ready for what was to come.

And then Mumford and Sons took the stage. The began the night with "Sigh No More," the perfect opener to their album (which, by the way, is the best-arranged album since Modest Mouse's Good News For People Who Love Bad News).

Of course the fact that they have been touring for 2 years worried some that the show might not be as amazing as I was expecting. However, other than a few fleetingly pooped looks from Marcus Mumford following certain strenuous blow-out songs, it seemed clear that they were honored to be there and happy for the love they were feeling from the crowd.

I can't go into any more detail than this as I need my sleep for work tomorrow, but I will attempt to edit with more detail (and concert photos!) when I have a bit more time. As I plan to indulge in the details later, I thought I'd share with you one of Mumford and Songs old compositions, which was neither performed at the concert, nor was it on their last (and first) album. New fans should not miss out on this just because it pre-dates their appearance on the charts:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mother Don't Worry...

While the softer album version of this song, "Upwards Over the Mountain," is beautiful and much more in the style of Iron & Wine as we know him, this live recording (which, you should not worry, is excellent quality), is a crisp take on the song. And it truly shows what Samuel Beam can really do with his voice...Niiiiice.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'd Be OK with Being Kicked in the Face by One of These.

audiobullys - only man from EL NINO on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

EPID Live Again!

Ready yourselves for concert photos & regalement. Sufficeth to say, for the time being, that Elvis Perkins in Dearland puts on a damn good show, with brass marching through the audience, feet stomping, a very hoppy percussionist, swaying & rock-n-rolling bromances, and the lovely & intense vocal stylings of the talented Mr. Perkins.

"I'll Be Arriving" stole the show both nights, although the emotion behind Perkins' "Ash Wednesday" (a song about the loss of his parents), was definitely one that should not be dismissed (particularly at the Friday night show).

As I told Kinsey, the EPID drummer, I hate it when they leave. My soul, and excuse my emotional investment, reacts to their music as it would a Lost Love.

And man, oh man, it truly is better to have loved.

And in this case, I do believe I will continue doing so for evermore.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

Yeah, I know...I'm a bit late on this one. These guys have been playing many of the top US music festivals this year. I was introduced to their goodness by a friend, and they fit right in with my heavy indie folk obsession (you can see the attraction once you understand my obsession with Elvis Perkins in Dearland, who, btw, I just saw at NYC's The Bell House back to back on 4/23 & 4/24).

They have a good bit of variation in regards to their style. Check out their album From Below to see for yourself.

Here are a few samples of their wonderful sounds:

"40 Day Dream"


"Kisses Over Babylon"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Video Game Reminiscent

I've had Vampire Weekend's "Horchata"---off their most recent album, Contra---stuck in my head since yesterday.  After verse 1, however, I completely lose the tune to the subconscious takeover of Super Mario 3's Underground theme.  Listen to "Horchata," and at 0:21 you'll see why.  Now I'm working in Garageband to produce a mashup.  Having never used the program before, it's taking a lot longer than I'd like, but I'll get through it.  I'm always mashing up songs in my head, or with my roomie (we have completely different repertoires, so when one of us starts singing a tune, the other will join in with a similar but completely different song).  I hope to produce a great number of mashups for FoP posting in the future, so I figure this is a good time to start.

There's another song that takes me back to my days of Super Nintendo funtimes, and that's Omarion's "Ice Box."  Have a quick listen to the intro:

Sound familiar?  Try this on for size (it gets really obvious at 0:59):

Yes, that's Donkey Kong Country's Underwater theme, "Aquatic Ambience," by David Wise & Robin Beanland.

Please post comments if you have more!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Snack Your Eyes 2

Romantic dreams via stop-motion genius:

Oren Lavie's "Her Morning Elegance"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snack Your Eyes

I stumbled across this video on an art blog, and I fell in love.  The band, Hold Your Horses, is one I hadn't heard of before, so I can't comment on their repertoire quite yet.  This song, "70 Million," has nothing spectacularly new in the sound.  Still, it is upbeat & enjoyable, as is the video.  Vibrant with color, and humorous in its portrayals of these known pieces, the video, by L'Ogre Productions, is wonderful eye-candy:

If you need help placing some of the pieces featured in the video, see here!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring is Coming 2!

Louis follow up:

Say Israel Kamakawiwo'ole 3 times fast.  It's too much fun.  As is this song.  Kamakawiwo'ole has an equally heart-warming, sunshiny sound to put a rainbow in the sky and a smile on your face.  And there is ukelele.

Spring is coming!

And I say to myself...

Louis Armstrong is the greatest.  Ey Satchmo!  Get in my pocket.  The man warms my soul through my eardrums.  I'm really saying "I love you."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Perkins on Tour Again!

Elvis perkins in Dearland made me nervous at their Music Hall of Williamsburg show in December when Perkins said it was their last show of the tour, and they weren't sure when they'd be going on tour again.  It was a major relief when I received an email with a handful of Spring dates.  Perkins (sans Dearland) is joining Norah Jones on tour!   The man is shooting upward at an alarming pace that concerns my wallet.  Last summer I saw him with Dearland for $3.  Last year the band went for ~$15.  Soon tickets with Perkins' name on it will be going for $30-40.  I'm calling it, so keep an eye out.  You'll be able to tell how far they've come by the increase of stage size and location next time they play Bonnaroo or the Newport Folk Fest, etc.

The rest of Perkins' spring dates WILL include his Dearland mates (whose instrumentation and general energy adds a great epic-osity to Perkins' already mind-blowing goodness).  In addition to two NYC dates for the entirety that is EPID, the band will also be playing the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival weekend.  The festival's lineup is comprised of an insanely massive list of great talent that includes Simon & Garfunkel.... Enough said. 

Mar 20 Chicago Theatre w/Norah Jones Chicago, IL (Elvis solo)
April 23 Bell House w/Dawn Landes Brooklyn, NY
April 24 Bell House w/TBD Brooklyn, NY
April 30 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival NO, LA
Ticket Link:
May 06 Saenger Theatre w/Norah Jones Mobile, AL (Elvis solo)
May 08 Orpheum Theatre w/Norah Jones Memphis, TN (Elvis solo)
May 09 Alabama Theatre w/Norah Jones Birmingham, AL (Elvis solo)
May 11 Thomas Wolfe Aud w/Norah Jones Asheville, NC (Elvis solo)
May 12 Ovens Auditorium w/Norah Jones Charlotte, NC (Elvis solo)

Wildbirds & Peacedrums LIVE

I saw the Swedish duo live Friday night at the intimate Bowery venue, Mercury Lounge.

The show was opened by the Loom, an enjoyable crew that sounded like a mix between the night's headliner and Beirut (at least when it comes to the trumpet's definition in their tuneage). I can see how their stuff could be really great, altho the sound levels were poorly mixed at the show, and there appeared an occasional dissonance from some of the instrumentation as well. Regardless, they're definitely worth a listen.

As for the main attraction: Mariam Wallentin's voice does things that Mariah Carey probably wished she could do when she was at her vocal best (you may think I exaggerate, or you may think "apples and oranges," but I certainly prefer one to the other). Her sometimes smoky, sometimes smooth, always incredibly-ranged voice-box jumps around like an absurdly graceful jackrabbit, simultaneously sabotaging you emotionally with unexpectedly long and wonderfully placed pauses. Same goes for Wallentin's husband and drummer bandmate, Andreas Werliin. His rhythms violated all kinds of expectations, calming at one moment, and exploding the next, suddenly changing tempo while the audience wonders how the couple could collaborate on such avante-gardely timed music. Their internal clocks must have been linked like those interactive Tamagotchi Connection pets, reading the sheet music in the other's souls, following some soundless metronome connecting their hearts. Ok, too much, I know. But I couldn't get over it. How did they know when to play off of each other in such a destructured song? Miriam probably just told Andreas to wait a long time in silence before coming back in, but I like the tamagotchi idea better (for a number of reasons, including my romantic soul as well as my "you know you grew up in the 90s when..." nostalgia. It's Aaaaaaall Thaaat!).

And I must mention the instrumentation. Other than Miriam's vocals & the vocal fx put on it, the harmonica is the only non-percussive instrument on the stage, making a single appearance the entire night. Granted there are some pre-recorded backing tracks, but there is an unbelievable excellence in the barely-melodic (when at all) instrumentation of this music still refreshing your soul, sending out calming energy. What a paradox: the stage being wholly comprised of percussion, and the breaks and changes in tempo promising theorists that the music will be incapable of being followed. It should induce anxiety, but instead the notes of the steel drum pair with the brushing of the snare to take you to a dreamy rainforest in which you can hear the music of giant raindrops softly bursting on leaves and branches, high and low, washing away your troubles and revealing the beauty of the world in its most natural state. Both heavy and uplifting, it washes away any negative auras as a heavy rain, theoretically bleak, washes away the dirt and disgust, leaving rainbows and fresh smells and the sparkle of morning dew.

Ok, enough romanticism. I know this post got a little out of hand, but now that I've calmed down, please take me seriously when I say it really would benefit you to catch them live.

Friday, February 26, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Happy belated (by 1 1/2 hours) birthday to my favourite Beatle, the late, great George Harrison.

Harrison brought the Indian music influence to the band (after falling in love with the sitar) and greatly increased Americans' awareness of Indian culture in the 60s (attn: Hare Krishna Movement). Acknowledged as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Harrison added the "Ah, look at all the lonely people" to "Eleanor Rigby." Where would that song be without that line?? He penned the beautiful Beatles tunes: "Here Comes the Sun," "Something," "I, Me, Mine," and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," to name a few. Old George's awesomeness didn't stop there. In the 1980s he participated in the forming of the supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys. His bandmates included Jeff Lyne (of Electric Light Orchestra), Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. Yes, when I say "supergroup" I mean "SUPERGROUP!!!"

In honour (thank Britain!) of our beloved George, I give Harrison, along with the rest of the Fab Four, singing himself a birthday song:

And "Within or Without You," a song that represents a major influence on Harrison, which majorly influenced (in a beautiful, evolutionary way) the US through Harrison (get your sitar on, man!):

And I just can't leave of one of my favorite Beatles songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps:"

Happy birthday, Harrison. Thanks for the music.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


1. Jason Schwartman is amazing. Great actor & writer, as well as a great musician. Some were aware of his role as drummer in the band Phantom Planet, but his new solo project, Coconut Records, is a definite winner. In addition to the most excellent track, "West Coast" (as can be heard in the following video endorsing an excellent project called "Opening Ceremony" that you should look into):

non plus one final from Tracy ANTONOPOULOS on Vimeo.

he also wrote the theme song for his HBO series, "Bored to Death." My lack of HBO has prevented me from watching the show, but the theme song is excellent!

2. I just learned (ridiculously late), that Johnny Marr, the guitarist of the Smiths, joined Modest Mouse in 2006, guitaring it up on the album "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank," and touring with the band through 07. Go Marr! I love consistent awesomeness. He's currently the guitarist in the new band, the Cribs. I caught a couple tracks, which weren't bad. Still I have yet to form a strong opinion. It's nearing my bedtime, so the time is limited and the attention waning.

3. Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin), Jack White (of the White Stripes) and the Edge (of U2) have gotten together on a music documentary. I'm excited. To the Edge-haters out there, give the thing a chance. I can't imagine how this much greatness can end badly!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

I've been in need of some playlist refreshment from over-saturating myself with good stuff. Not to mention I need to recharge myself in the way that only an excellent concert can do. So I went to Bowery Presents website, picked out the bands with upcoming shows and interesting names, and gave them a listen to plug myself in. Enter Wildbirds & Peacedrums. The name of this Swedish duet alone is music to my ears. It calls to mind images of brightly sunlit dark green forests, colorful feathers, and heavy percussive puncuation. An excellent juxtaposition of polar opposites, heavy and light, dark and bright, that blend perfectly without losing any of its flavor. This is not a melting pot, nor is it oil & water. It's chocolate covered pretzels...perfectly complimentary to bring out the best in what wouldn't exist without the other. Yes, it's wonderfully fantastical. I am correct, sir! The singer has a Feist-y thing going on (especially in the second of the tunes I posted), but somehow she makes it interesting. Maybe it's the backdrop upon which she sings her melodies, or the quirks she throws in just when you think she's too close to coffeehouse acoustic. Eitherway, it makes me want to Billy-Elliot in a less graceful, but much more fun, fashion. Have a listen or two:

Bluesy Native American chanting & drumming wonder:

This is the semi-watered down version, but it's still good.

The great thing about "My Heart" is this: all the recordings are practically the same, no matter which you choose to listen to, but still somehow they have enough variation so that if you listen to one, it's more pop, another is jazzier, and yet another is heavier blues. Whatever your mood, there's a version of the same song to please you. Unless you're looking for death metal. I don't think they swing that way, sorry.