August 31, 2009
For anyone who’s looking for something new to listen to, check out:
Peasant. The music of Damien DeRose; pleasant and chill. Recommended especially if you’re into Damien Rice, Bon Iver, Kevin Devine, or anything along those lines, but no matter what you listen to, you should be able to enjoy his latest album, On the Ground. One of my favorites at the moment.
Jónsi & Alex. Made up of Jón Þór Birgisson, the lead singer of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, and his boyfriend Alex Somers, the founder of the band Parachutes; a musically flawless partnership. While the music they create is most similar to that of Sigur Rós, it’s much more experimental and instrumental. Their new album, Riceboy Sleeps, is the most beautiful release I’ve heard all year, and should be heard and appreciated by all.
Mew. Their new (long titled) album, No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away, No More Stories the World is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away, came out three days ago and is yet another impressive 2009 release that deserves attention. The best word to describe it would have to be dreamy.
August 30, 2009
Well, I just downloaded the leak of Brand New’s highly anticipated upcoming release, Daisy (I do fully intend on purchasing it when it comes out); I have to say, I’m impressed. I’ve always liked Brand New, but I’ve never been able to get that into them. However, with this album, I found myself somewhat in awe while listening. It made me jump a few times, with some surprising transitions, but these songs seem to just really make sense together.
I jotted down my reactions to every song while lying in bed, so I figured I’d just re-write those on here, instead of typing up a formal review…
Vices Old record quality sounding, or maybe it’s in my head. Female’s voice, sounds like an old song, though if it is, I don’t know it – could very be well be a Brand New original interpreted by an incredibly stylistically different vocalist just as much as any old song used as an intro for this song. COMPLETELY startled in my dark room, very HARD sound. Solid bass line. Screaming. Distortion. Not sure if this means the rest of the record will be like this; it’s not typical Brand New, but it’s working for me.
Bed MUCH softer, track one threw me off a bit; not that I didn’t like it, but this sound is one I definitely prefer. Pretty mellow track, nothing special, but there’s something about it that I love. I’m liking this album already.
At the Bottom “We never are what we intend.” I’ve already heard this one, but it’s still so easy to get into. DISTORTION. Buried vocals. Now they’re back.
Gasoline Straight into drums. Hard vocals. Simple guitar, in comes bass, now it’s coming together, and it’s sounding loud, and sounding great. Is it just me or is this guitar at 1:25 sounding practically identical to the beginning of Taking Back Sunday’s Error:Operator, only in a slightly different key? 2:30, sudden halt after the last line – “Try to back away.” Sounds like an emergency. Helicopters, sirens… Now just a high pitched noise speeding up, making me write faster, making me somewhat nervous, but for what?
You Stole Soft guitar and soft vocals. I’m calm again. REVERB! “If I’m a liar and you’re a thief, at least we both know where the other one sleeps.” Kicking in at the halfway point of these six minutes, now it’s dying back down for the chorus, and now it’s back, it’s louder. Great way to end it with only drums.
Be Gone I see a desert. Heat waves. Distorted vocals, what’s he saying? It doesn’t matter, the guitar sounds so damn good with the bass drum. Part of me wishes this were longer, though I know that wouldn’t make sense musically.
Sink Making me tap my pencil against this notebook. Great transitions, wow. Sudden end.
Bought A Bride Awesome bass. 2:06 reminds me of another older song of theirs, I can’t think of the name, because I’m so focused on this song, but it doesn’t matter.
Daisy I really like this, doing some subtle head banging, I must admit, even though it’s past 2 a.m. and I’m alone and lying in bed.
In A Jar KILLER BASS. This is well produced.
Noro This album keeps going back and forth from chill to hard sounding, more so than other Brand New albums. It works. Back to the female vocals + piano at the end. I feel like things are about to get loud again. Oh wait, this is the last song, so that can’t be. I love when albums start/end the same, a cycle completed. That was fucking sick.
August 19, 2009
As if Lollapalooza hadn’t been enough live music for the week, I went to see Animal Collective at Prospect Park on Friday and Saturday (8/14-8/15)!
Day one. Pretty much everyone (of good taste in music) from my school was there, which was hilarious, and during Dam-Funk, we were all in the same area of the crowd. It was great to experience that show in the presence of so many people that I knew, as well as people I had never met who were chill. Animal Collective opened with one of their new songs, and it was fantastic. The stage set-up was one of the coolest I’ve seen; cardboard ocean waves that moved up and down throughout the entire set, large tikis on each side of the stage that lit up, flashing multicolored lights, and of course the back-drop behind the band that wasn’t as good as the screens at Lolla, but had bright colors and designs projected onto it. During the second song, glow in the dark inflatable balls flew into the crowd as everyone danced around, making it even more fun.
What Would I Want Sky
You Could Win A Rabbit
Lion in a Coma (Encore)
Guys Eyes (Encore)
Leaf House (Encore)
There was a good amount of jamming in between, of course, and some people seem to believe at first that a re-worked version of Panda Bear’s Comfy In Nautica was played at one point; it turned out to be a completely new song.
Day two. This time, arrived with glow sticks and face paint, ready for another amazing set, which consisted of…
What Would I Want Sky
In The Flowers (Encore)
Comfy In Nautica (Encore)
Lion in a Coma (Encore)
The loud vibrating bass shook my entire body- one of my favorite feelings during a show. I liked the set they played better than the previous night’s set, especially since Panda Bear’s Comfy In Nautica was part of the encore; it felt good to be lifted into the air during that song. However, Friday night’s crowd was undoubtedly better.
I’m glad to have been able to attend both nights at such a great venue – Prospect Park. Definitely another highlight of my summer.
August 16, 2009
Day Three: Sunday, 8/9.
Of course, Sunday was even hotter than Saturday; however, this time I was ready for it.
1:30. Started the day at the PlayStation stage to hear Portugal. The Man, one of my favorite bands at the moment. Church Mouth, Lay Me Back Down, And I, The Sun, New Orleans, Bellies Are Full, My Mind, Chicago, 1989, and M80 were played, and I was in awe the entire time. Gourley’s vocals were flawless and sounded incredible live; no wonder he was named vocalist of the year by more than one publication last year. I was hoping they would play more songs off of The Satanic Satanist, but their set was still probably my favorite out of everything that I saw.
(Sorry for my shaky hand)
3:30. I had heard nothing but good things about Dan Deacon’s live performances, so I was looking forward to his set at the Vitamin Water stage. The crowd loved him and was willing to do anything he asked, even when it came down to massaging the head of the stranger in front of you, kneeling down in the middle of songs, or making a tunnel throughout the crowd for people to dance through. It was hilarious, and the crowd got pretty crazy with all the dancing.
4:30. Vampire Weekend sounds exactly the same live as they do on album; not surprising and not a bad thing, either.
5:00. Passion Pit’s crowd was a huge dance party! I had a great time and considered skipping half an hour of Boys Noize in order to hear the whole set… but decided not to.
5:30. Finally, it was time for my one of my most anticipated performances of Lolla… BOYS NOIZE. I danced more in that crowd than I ever have in my life, and it ended up being one of my favorite sets of the weekend, if not my number one.
6:45. Left fifteen minutes early from Perry’s to hear some of Snoop’s set, since I missed all of it at Bamboozle 2008 and figured this could be my only chance to see him. We didn’t go in the crowd, but it was still sick; though I was starting to feel exhausted.
7:00. Back to Perry’s for MSTRKRFT, and was immediately full of energy again, as they started playing Easy Love while we made our way to the front of the crowd. It wasn’t as fun as Boys Noize had been, but there was almost as much dancing. Threw my camera in the air just once towards the end..
8:00. Came out of the MSTRKRFT crowd and just relaxed in the grass during Band of Horses. It was pleasant to listen to, but my ears were still ringing from all the electronica (not that I minded).
Overall, Lollapalooza was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had; I was able to see bands that I’d never dreamed of actually seeing. It was my first real music festival (I really don’t count Bamboozle), and I loved it. I hope to be able to check out either Bonnaroo, SXSW, or Coachella next year!
August 12, 2009
Day Two: Saturday, 8/8.
By the time I arrived for the second day of the festival, I was already wishing for the previous day’s weather; it was hot. Never-the-less, Dylan and I made our way to Perry’s (which unfortunately had little shade).
2:30. Animal Collective’s DJ set was first, and there was a fairly big turn out. They played songs with interesting rhythm (Brazilian sounding), except it was obvious that most people weren’t sure how to dance to them. Plus, the blazing sun helped to make people prefer to stand still during the set. It got to be more fun during the last fifteen minutes, but by the time it was over, I already felt exhausted and dehydrated due to the heat.
We had to skip Gomez in order to rehydrate, cool down, and get some soda and food in our systems. I felt a hell of a lot better after doing so, and was able to enjoy the rest of the day.
4:30. Arctic Monkeys at Budweiser! Though I always like what I hear when I listen to their music, it’s rarely what’s playing on my iPod. However, that crowd was the best I had been in all weekend so far once we got towards the front. People were jumping around, giving each other air hugs, moshing, crowd surfing, and running around, making it a lot of fun. Setlist: Pretty Visitors, House Is A Circus, Brainstorm, If You Were There Beware, Crying Lightning, Fluorescent Adolescent/Only You Know, Comerstone, The View From The Afternoon, Red Right Hand, My Propeller, Do Me A Favour, Potion Approaching, and 505.
6:30. After another hour long break in the shade, went back to the Budweiser stage to hear some TV On The Radio! We were only to stay for four songs; Love Dog, Wrong Way, Golden Age, and Crying, but from what I saw, I can imagine the rest of the set was amazing. Tunde moved around a lot on stage, dressed all in white, getting the crowd energized.
7:00. Diplo at Perry’s! I had a great time in the second row, dancing like crazy, especially to Daft Punk and Michael Jackson’s Beat It. I was having so much fun that I almost decided to skip Animal Collective and stay for the entire set; I realized I would regret missing AC, though, and left after half an hour.
7:30. Animal Collective at Vitamin Water. Without a doubt one of the best sets I caught all weekend. As they played, on the screen that usually shows the band on stage, trippy images were projected instead. Forests, roads, human silhouettes, and bodies of water, all with inverted colors. It made the set all the more interesting. Blue Sky, Leaf House, Guys Eyes, Bleed, Daily Routine, Lablakely Dress, Fireworks, and Brothersport were played. Brothersport in particular was most impressive to me, and I was ecstatic that they ended with it since it’s my favorite track on Merriweather Post Pavilion.
8:30. Perry’s, once again, for Bassnectar. Not a single person was standing still during that set. The exploding lights were absolutely incredible, as were the beats. Lorin was really getting into it on stage, too. It’s difficult to explain what the set was like, so a video would be the best way to show it.
9:30. Decided to check out the headliners of the night; first, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I was lying down in the grass on my back, just taking in the sound, and it felt good, though I’ve never listened to the band much. I realized after 15 minutes that I definitely needed to check out what was happening all the way across the park on the Chicago 2016 stage.
9:45. TOOL. I discovered the band in sixth grade, and fell in love with their album 10,000 Days, so there was no way I could miss their entire set. Standing in the back, I was really able to get the full effect of the visuals on stage, which included laser lights. It was a truly face melting fifteen minutes. My biggest regret of the weekend was not being there for more of the set.
August 11, 2009
Day One: Friday, 8/7.
It was a rainy, rainy, Friday, but I arrived at the festival with Dylan before noon and immediately went in the (larger than I expected) crowd for Manchester Orchestra.
12:15. They opened with Shake It Out, and proceeded to play mostly songs off of their new album. I love Mean Everything To Nothing, but I was still hoping to hear more songs off of I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child. They continued the set with Pride, In My Teeth, Now That You’re Home, My Friend Marcus, I’ve Got Friends, Mean Everything to Nothing, and to my surprise, ended with The River. They were on a headlining stage, and handled the large audience well and played a great set; most people were definitely into it, though there wasn’t a lot of moving around (maybe due to the rain). It was the perfect way to start off day one of the three day event.
3:00. Headed over to BMI, the smallest stage and by far the most conveniently located, as it was towards the middle of the park, and provided the luxury of shade (though that particular day, shade was certainly not what people were looking for), as well as a little bit of shelter from the constant drizzling rain.
Kevin Devine was playing, accompanied by the Goddamn Band, as usual. Yr Husband was first, followed by Carnival, Another Bag of Bones, No Time Flat, and I Could Be With Anyone.
There was so much energy on stage, even through the rain, that it was hard to make myself leave after only 25 minutes in order to catch the second half of Bon Iver’s set at the PlayStation Stage.
3:30. The Bon Iver crowd was not at all what I expected it to be, since even in the 10th row, people were conversing as if there was no music being played. It was especially frustrating seeing as Bon Iver’s music is on the quieter side. Cutting straight through the crowd to the front, Dylan and I made it just in time for the end of Flume, and happened to end up right behind two of our friends from back home. Wolves, Re: Stacks, For Emma, and Creature Fear/Team brought an end to the set. I only wish the rest of the crowd had been more attentive; I imagine seeing Bon Iver in a more intimate setting would be much more enjoyable.
5:00. Ended up staying in the crowd after Bon Iver, since we were in the 4th row and Fleet Foxes were playing on that same stage in an hour (Being up front for them was an opportunity I was not willing to pass up, so STS9 and Thievery Corporation had to be skipped). The hour of waiting went by quickly, as we had a hilarious encounter with a drunk girl and her boyfriend, who ended up having to leave before Fleet Foxes even came on. Sun Giant was the first song, and their vocal harmonies were even more beautiful in person than on CD- something I did not think was possible. As the set continued, I became more and more mesmerized with each song; Sun It Rises, Drops in the River, English House, White Winter Hymnal, Ragged Wood, Your Protector, Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, He Doesn’t Know Why, Mykonos, and of course, Blue Ridge Mountains.
They made fun of the fact that they were one of the few bands at the festival who completely lacked a rock edge, and talked about the density of their beards. I was delighted to discover each of them had a great sense of humor as well as extraordinary musical ability.
6:00. Caught half of the Decemberists’ set across the way at the Budweiser stage. They decided to play all of The Hazards of Love, as they did when I saw them at Radio City in June. It wasn’t nearly as impressive without the lights show that usually makes the set more dramatic, but the vocals of Colin and the two female vocalists sounded flawless.
6:30. At this point, we were beginning to realize how cold we were; it hadn’t stopped drizzling all day. We headed over to Perry’s, the all day/all night electronica stage where it was always a party, to warm up in the A-Trak crowd. We only stayed for a few songs.
7:00. Returned to the PlayStation stage to see Andrew Bird, and made our way through the crowd toward the front with little difficulty. Fiery Crash was the first song, and I knew right away it was going to be a fantastic set. Masterswarm, Opposite Day, Fitz and the Dizzyspells, Oh No, Effigy, Not A Robot But A Ghost, Anonanimal, Imitosis, Scythian Empires, Tables and Chairs, and Fake Palindromes made up the rest of the set. Like the Decemberists, I was much more impressed by his performance at Radio City in June, but he still sounded wonderful.
Day one was sick, though I had no idea at the time what I was in store for the next day..
August 6, 2009
Right now, as I lie in a bed that is not my own in a family friend’s basement in Chicago, I can’t help but feel a great sense of nostalgia, thinking about the show I went to exactly one year ago that forever changed my feelings about music; Anthony Green, Good Old War, and Person L at Starlight Ballroom in Philadelphia.
Not only was I turned on to Person L and Good Old War (two of my favorite bands now), but I was exposed to a completely different kind of show from all the ones I had previously been to.
Feet away from me, I saw Anthony Green standing backstage, dancing like a child and singing along to Person L. He was air drumming and stamping his feet and laughing; I couldn’t help but watch and smile. That’s when I realized he was just like me; a lover of music, cheering for a band that really knew how to impress a crowd. And it was fine to walk right past the security guard and introduce myself; it was fine to ask questions. The most rewarding part of all was the reciprocation of question asking, and the fact that he listened when I answered him. He was in no hurry to end the conversation, looked me in the eye the entire time, and most of all, cared. I had never really had that experience while talking to a band member before, and it mattered so much to me since he was the musician I looked up to most.
On stage, he talked about nightmares he had at night and how nervous he had been for the tour, but how comfortable he felt right then, talking to all of us. It was as if we all were his friends, and he even said so at one point. It was the first time at a show that I was able to truly connect with the person behind the microphone.
We’re all the same.
August 6, 2009
I’ll be at Lollapalooza tomorrow through Sunday! Hoping to see…
Sound Tribe Sector 9
Peter Bjorn and John
Animal Collective DJ Set
TV On The Radio
Ra Ra Riot
Portugal. The Man
Band of Horses
…Though I’m sure it’ll be hard to catch ALL of them.
August 4, 2009
7/30: Irving Plaza.
It was expected that a show co-headlined by RX Bandits and Dredg, with As Tall As Lions opening, would be a night to remember- and it definitely was.
I wish As Tall As Lions could have played a longer set, but the seven songs they did play were wonderful, and I appreciated the trumpet solos in particular that took place several times.
3. Ghost Of York
4. Go Easy
5. Stab City
6. A Break A Pause
7. In Case Of Rapture
I didn’t like the fact that they ended with In Case Of Rapture – a new song that I do like, but can’t seem to really get into – and didn’t play Song For Luna, but then again, it is good that they always change up their sets and no longer have to play their most well-known song (Love, Love, Love) to gain approval from their audience. I’ve come to find that no matter which venue they play, who they play with, or whether they’re headlining or opening, As Tall As Lions never fails to impress me each time I see them live.
Even more impressive was Dredg. The cascading swirls over the backdrop of a parrot, the somewhat bizarre sound effects that occurred between songs, the great amount of distortion, and the reverb on the vocals made it one of the most interesting sets I’ve seen. They opened with the first track off their latest album, Pariah, the bass prominent and the crowd fired up; fists were pounding in the air within the first thirty seconds of the song, and “In Dredg we trust” was shouted many times.
2. Bug Eyes
3. Same Ol’ Road
4. R U O K?
5. I Don’t Know
6. Ode to the Sun
12. The Tanbark is Hot Lava
13. Down to the Cellar
14. Cartoon Showroom
Last was RX Bandits, a band I’ve been following for over a year, but hadn’t gotten the chance to see until this night. Having really been into Mandala lately, I was most excited for their set. The energy stimulated was like nothing I had ever seen- every person in the heart of the crowd, and even a good amount on the outskirts, were moving all over the place, singing along to every word of each song. It was impossible to keep my body from moving, and though I hadn’t planned on getting to the center of the crowd and eventually to the front, it happened anyway. Unfortunately, I had to leave just before the end of the set. It was hard to walk out of that crowd, knowing there was still a good 15 minutes left of music, but I’m glad to have seen most of it, as that set has made my love for the band grow tremendously.
1. In Her Drawer
2. My Lonesome Only Friend
4. Dinna Dawg/March of the Caterpillar/Dinna Dawg
5. It’s Only Another Parsec…
6. Consequential Apathy
7. Mientras La Veo Sonar
8. White Lies
9. To Our Unborn Daughters
10. One Million Miles An Hour Fast Asleep
11. Bring Our Children Home
12. Overcome (Encore)
13. Only for the Night (Encore)