Look at me, I made a blog

December 29, 2008

Here We Go Magic - "Tunnelvision"


via gorillavsbear.net

A very cosmic Internet moment today, gorillavsbear's post on "Tunnelvision" refreshed onto my Google Reader while I was listening to that song. Cosmic, and a little frightening. I feel like someone is watching me or monitoring my playlists. Oh wait, that would be my Last.fm.

Since the leakage of Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion, it's been really hard for me to want to listen to anything else. I spent about two and half days exclusively listening to that album. While Animal Collective's new album is continuing to blow my mind, I've decided to listen to some other things that I've acquired in the last week or so. When I was checking out a message board for MPP updates, I saw a post that read something like, "Here We Go Magic: For fans of Animal Collective and Deerhunter." With a title like that, I couldn't resist finding out more about Here We Go Magic. So, while I was flying back to New York today, I dedicated some listening time to the album.

Based out of Brooklyn (aka the center of the indie universe), Here We Go Magic is Luke Temple, a singer-songwriter who recorded a debut album by himself. While the description of a singer-songwriter holing himself up to record an album probably conjures up an image of Bon Iver, Temple is not your average (recorded) one-man show. Although he uses synths and etc., I find that his music has a rather organic quality, especially in "Tunnelvision" and "Fangela." What really surprised me about the album was that the other tracks were not stylistic copycats of "Tunnelvision." Another favorite of mine, "I Just Want to See You Underwater" is a stunning minimalist track with simple looped synths and vocals that create a warm sound with a depth that you would not expect from the sum of its parts. Here We Go Magic is definitely not a one-trick pony, and you should check out the entire album when it is released.

Here We Go Magic's self-titled debut album will be released on February 17. I missed them at the Bell House last month, but I'm sure there will be more shows in the future. Here We Go Magic will be opening for Department of Eagles on January 19 at Bowery Ballroom. Yay!

Tunnelvision - Here We Go Magic


Fangela - Here We Go Magic


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December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!


via Asthmatic Kitty Records

Because I am full of good karma and luck, I had a seat on the only cancelled United flight from LGA to Chicago yesterday. Supposedly, the flight was cancelled due to “the weather,” but I suspected that this may not have been the case since all the other shuttle flights were good to go. I’d been on standby at the airport since 3 AM, with little to no hope that I would make it home in time for Christmas. The brains at United had managed to overbook every single flight for the day, and the standby list was growing exponentially as a result of the cancelled flights over the last couple days. Thankfully, a kind United employee managed to book me onto a flight around noon. I think she could sense that I was close to a breakdown due to lack of sleep and lack of real food (Au Bon Pain kiosks do not count). But, I'm finally home, and that's what matters. Man, Illinois is so cold and windy.

Happy Holidays!

In other news, a very highly anticipated album has just leaked. You can take a peak at what I'll be listening to for the rest of the day. I wonder if the Web Sheriff is taking a holiday today.

Come on! Feel the Illinoise! - Sufjan Stevens


Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!) - Sufjan Stevens


Sufjan Stevens

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December 22, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.


via The Decibel Tolls

The last album on my chrono-ordered list, Deerhunter’s Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. was probably the biggest surprise for me this year. I’d never been a huge fan of Deerhunter because, well, I didn’t really get them. I liked Atlas Sound a lot, which I discovered earlier in the year, but I never got around to liking Cryptograms, the last Deerhunter album (I'm going to give it an honest try over the next few days). Then again, I used to like Panda Bear significantly more than I liked Animal Collective. With the leaks of “Brother Sport” and “My Girls” off the upcoming Merriweather Post Pavillion, that gap has narrowed. And, the same has happened to my opinion on Deerhunter vs. Atlas Sound with the release of Microcastle/Weird Era Cont..

As Ed Droste wrote on the Grizzly Bear blog, Deerhunter was a band that took him awhile to “get.” Apparently the time and effort was worth it because he self-proclaims himself as a #1 fan for life. While I had the albums loaded into my iTunes/iPod for months, I hadn’t really listened to much of them. There was the time when “Agoraphobia” starting playing while my playlist was on shuffle, and the song caught my attention by being melodic, simple, and unadulterated by copious amounts of pedal effects/other sound smearers, all qualities that I would consider to be un-Deerhunter. Still, I didn’t give the albums a proper go until a couple days after Thanksgiving, when I found myself at O’Hare Airport without a book or a magazine. Oh man, “Agoraphobia” was only the beginning of my affair with these albums. By the time I discovered “Nothing Ever Happened,” “Saved by Old Times,” and “Operation,” I could hardly contain myself in my uncomfortable airport chair. Yes, I was jamming in an airport by myself in the wee hours of the morning. I need to see this band in an indoor setting so that I can have a pseudo-religious experience like Ed did.

On a side note, where has this Fluorescent Grey EP been all my life? I had it all this time, and I never really listened to it. I'm really digging this right now.

Agoraphobia - Deerhunter


Nothing Ever Happened - Deerhunter


Saved By Old Times - Deerhunter


Deerhunter

Other Top Albums of 2008:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park

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December 21, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: In Ear Park


via Department of Eagles

Department of Eagles' In Ear Park is the year's best album to accompany a session of reminiscing, for better or for worse. It was appropriately released in the fall since I very much associate the album with that particular season. Besides the fact that I listened to it a lot in the last couple months, something about In Ear Park invokes images (and memories) of autumn foliage. Or, maybe it's that album cover.

Supposedly the band's only pop song, "No One Does It Like You" is one of my favorite songs of the year. It never fails to make me smile, at least a little bit. Another favorite, "Waves of Rye" reminds me of the electric version of Grizzly Bear's "Little Brother," another great song. Sometimes I almost expect "Waves of Rye" to transition into "Little Brother," mid-song. Can't wait for the upcoming GB album.

If you missed DOE's shows this past year, go see them at Bowery Ballroom on January 19. Details here. Maybe Daniel Rossen will bust out "Deep Blue Sea" at that one. I can only hope...

Past post on Department of Eagles's record release show here.

No One Does It Like You - Department of Eagles


Waves of Rye - Department of Eagles


Department of Eagles

Other Top Albums of 2008:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

Top Albums of 2008: Dear Science


via Time Out

Fall of ’08 saw the release of TV on the Radio’s Dear Science, an album that impressed me upon my very first listen. In a very brief post, I predicted that it would be on my list of top albums. And, here it is. I’m still frustrated with the band for their sub-par show at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, a performance that was so disappointing that it didn’t merit a post on this blog. I’d been blaming the acoustics/sound system of the venue, but after reading how good The Walkmen were at the space, I don’t really know what to think. Regardless of how disgruntled I am about that show, Dear Science remains one of my favorite albums of 2008. The diversity and consistent quality of its tracks make Dear Science an album that is meant to be enjoyed as exactly that - an album. While many artists strive to produce albums that are meant to be listened from start to finish, I rarely find ones that keep me engaged for its entire length. I almost didn't make it to the second half, because I kept on listening to the first few tracks on repeat.

Other Top Albums of 2008:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 18, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: The Rhumb Line


via antiquiet

I’d been following Ra Ra Riot since I saw them open for Tokyo Police Club nearly two years ago. While their debut effort The Rhumb Line didn’t introduce many new tunes outside of what had been on the Ra Ra Riot demo, it was a highly anticipated album for me in 2008. I had wondered how the band would fare after the unexpected death of their drummer, John Pike, and I was beginning to think that Ra Ra Riot would never release a LP. Fortunately, I was proven wrong with The Rhumb Line, an enjoyable pop album, especially if you're a sucker for strings. And even if you're not, try listening to "Too Too Too Fast" without moving your body. The song was one of my late summer anthems, and it always takes me back to the days of sweaty outdoor festivals.

My Old Kentucky Blog's song-by-song breakdown of The Rhumb Line here. Past posts on Ra Ra Riot here.

Too Too Too Fast - Ra Ra Riot


St. Peter's Day Festival - Ra Ra Riot


Winter '05 - Ra Ra Riot


Ra Ra Riot

Other Top Albums of 2008:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 15, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: You & Me


via Welikeit.indie

Yes, I still remember when the Walkmen performed at the Bait Shop on The O.C.. But, I don’t hold that against them. Regardless of how bad that show was (and how I watched two seasons of it anyway), it is undeniable that The O.C. featured some pretty good music, including Sufjan Stevens, Stars, and Of Montreal. The Walkmen have come a long way since their sophomore effort, Bows + Arrows, which I frankly didn’t love. You & Me was an album that I didn't expect to like, but I was hooked after a couple listens through the entire thing. Every time I listen to a track off this album, I immediate long to have been young during a different decade (possibly the 50's). Although the album was released online in July, I didn't start listening to it until late August/early September. Thanks for turning me onto the Walkmen again, David Chang.

The Walkmen play the Brooklyn Masonic Temple tomorrow night with the Dodos. The only show I’d attended at this venue was TV on the Radio, and the sound system/acoustics were awful. Seems like I'm not the only one to complain about the place.

Listen to my favorite tracks off You & Me here.

Canadian Girl - The Walkmen


The Blue Route - The Walkmen


The Walkmen

Other Top of 2008 Albums:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 14, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP


via A Secret Chord


via Chimpomatic

Fleet Foxes was the band that I couldn’t shut up about this year. Ask me for music suggestions, and Fleet Foxes was my automatic response. I’ve bonded with friends, coworkers, strangers who comment here, strangers at shows, etc. over our mutual love of Fleet Foxes. I would talk about this band to anyone who would listen or humor me by pretending to listen. After seeing them at their first New York show back in March, I was pretty much sold for life. Yes, I couldn’t get enough of their live shows, and I ended up seeing them four times this past year. And, I've dragged plenty of people with me to those shows. I can't imagine 2008 without Fleet Foxes, and you probably can't imagine it without my talking about them. I still remember humming "English House" while studying for a midterm during my last semester. I think I failed that exam.

Read more about my love of Fleet Foxes here.

Mykonos - Fleet Foxes


White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes


Fleet Foxes


Video of Robin performing "Crayon Angels" on Black Cab Sessions

Other Top of 2008 Albums:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 13, 2008

Bon Iver - MHOW 12.12.08




Not everyone in the Midwest is a corn farmer or a conniving waste of space who refuses to resign from his abused position of undeserved power. Bon Iver is proof that good things do come out of being in the Midwest. After finally seeing him perform live, I felt compelled to return to IL, hole myself up in a cabin, and see if I can do something meaningful with my time. Now, all I need to do is somehow gain an extraordinary amount of talent.

With a supporting band, Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver played for a packed crowd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. This was his third and final night in New York, and he seemed pleased to be wrapping it up at the Music Hall. Before the show, I had wondered how Bon Iver's acoustic singer-songwriter sound would translate onto the stage with the band. Well, they sounded amazing, and you should definitely go see Bon Iver if you have the opportunity. The additional instruments and vocals worked well at MHOW by creating a necessary balance in sound that I'm used to hearing on record. But, in all seriousness, Bon Iver sounded better than any act that I'd ever seen at MHOW.

Bon Iver basically performed everything off his upcoming EP (minus "Woods") and For Emma, Forever Ago, except for "Blindsided." Has he been leaving this one out at recent shows? "Blindsided" is one of my favorite tracks, so I was slightly disappointed by that. However, Justin's performance of "Re: Stacks" more than made up for that absence. "Re: Stacks" was so stunning that I couldn't help but get a little teary. With knots in my stomach, I could actually feel what he was singing. It's bittersweet and it hurts a little, but that's life. Wow, I sound very emo right now.

There was no cover of Sarah Siskind's "Lovin's for Fools" at this show, but Bon Iver did surprise us with a different cover. When Justin started singing the first line of the Outfield's "Your Love," I couldn't help but laugh. Of course, the crowd loved it and very happily sang along, myself included. Speaking of covers, the opening act also played a crowd-pleaser. The Tallest Man on Earth ended his set with "These Days." The version that I'm most familiar with is that of Nico, featured on The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. Love the guitar intro. Watch the video of the performance here, courtesy of Hooves on the turf.

One word of advice. If you do go to a Bon Iver show, try to position yourself away from girls who look like they came prepared for a karaoke night. They sorta kill the mood when their voices start to drown out everything else. It should be a given that one shall not sing along loudly with the band unless explicitly directed to do so (i.e. for "The Wolves"). In fact, Bon Iver designed an entire audience-participation exercise so that you can get that singing aloud thing out of your system in a controlled manner. Thanks, Justin.

For Emma, Forever Ago was one of my favorite albums in 2008.


Bon Iver: Wolves I & II from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.


Re: Stacks - Bon Iver


For Emma - Bon Iver


Blindsided - Bon Iver


Bon Iver

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December 12, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: In Ghost Colours


via betterPropaganda

Arguably one of the most danceable records of the year, Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours is one of the few albums that I can listen to from start to finish while continuing to dance and sing along. When I first heard “Saturdays” a couple years ago, I wasn’t exactly sold on Cut Copy. Bright Like Neon Love had its catchy moments, but I’d somehow written Cut Copy off as being too retro. What was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t thinking.

Now that I’ve listened to more electropop music from Australia, I’ve come to realize that Cut Copy’s 80s dance sound is pretty typical of that scene (i.e. artists on Modular Records). But, since they were the first to catch my attention, Cut Copy has a special place in my heart. How can you not enjoy yourself when you’re listening to “Lights & Music,” “Hearts on Fire,” or “Far Away?”

Read more about why I like Cut Copy and their live shows here. I can't believe I half-blinded myself at one of their shows by losing a contact.

Far Away (Hercules & Love Affair Remix) - Cut Copy


Lights & Music (Radio Edit) - Cut Copy


Cut Copy

Other Top of 2008 Albums:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

Top Albums of 2008: Visiter


via The A.V. Club

And, on to the month of March. Well, this one shouldn't be a surprise. Turns out I blogged about the Dodos three times this year, and they were once a "Current Obsession" of mine. Every time I went to a live show, I was always impressed/dumbfounded by Meric's ridiculously fast finger-picking and Logan’s drum workout. To this day, I still wonder how often Meric has to reapply the acrylics to his right hand. Does anyone have any idea?

Read more about why I like the Dodos and their live shows here.

Red and Purple - The Dodos


Winter - The Dodos


The Dodos

Other Top of 2008 Albums:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 10, 2008

Yeasayer - MHOW 12.06.08



via Trash For Your Eyes and Ears

After 14 months on the road, Yeasayer wrapped up their tour with two back-to-back nights at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It’d nearly been a year since I had last seen the band at a venue called Shangri-la in Brooklyn. As I mentioned in my intro to the Top Albums of 2008, Yeasayer’s debut album was a favorite of mine in 2007. “Wait for the Summer” is (appropriately) a favorite jam for my long, cold and windy walks to the subway station. Miss you, summer.

As much as I love free open bars at shows, I have to admit that not having that temptation allowed me to pay attention to what Yeasayer was doing on-stage. I was really impressed by the virtuosity of the band members, a huge performance factor that I didn’t pick up on last time. The guitar riffs in “Waves” were executed effortlessly by Anand Wilder (I have a little crush on him – I like his haircut). Ira Wolf Tuton is a bassist who plays his instrument like a good lead guitarist: doing crazy shit all the time. He may be the most active bassist I’ve ever seen live. Also, until this show, I’d completely forgotten that Yeasayer is considered by many to be “experimental” (I now reserve that word for music that I don’t quite fully understand). But, it seems like Yeasayer embraces this genrefication, as they create live versions, with the help of synths, that sound relatively reworked compared to the studio ones.

Yeasayer is back in the studio to work on their second album. See/hear you in six months, Yeasayer!

Wait for the Summer - Yeasayer


Waves - Yeasayer


Yeasayer

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Top Albums of 2008: Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel


via RCRD LBL

Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago wasn’t the only top album released in February ’08. A personal surpriser, Atlas Sound’s Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel was an album that I didn’t expect to like. I’d never really gotten into Deerhunter, so I was skeptical about this other Bradford Cox project. Also, I’m generally not into ambient music; some of it is too muddled/noisy and atmospheric for my tastes. Despite my list of preconceptions, I went ahead and gave Let the Blind a listen. Turns out I don’t even know myself, because I ended up playing this album quite a bit this year.

If you know me personally and you generally don’t listen to lyrics (you know who you are), then I constantly harp on you for not doing so. Well, I think you can manage to listen to the two lines in “Quarantined.” Simple yet haunting, the lyrics were inspired by a story that Cox read of children in Russia living with AIDS. While listening to the song, I daydream that I am tucked away in some near-forgotten room, “waiting to be changed,” as Cox sings.

This past year, Atlas Sound was my gateway to the deerhunter / atlas sound / lotus plaza blog, and eventually to Deerhunter. Funny how things change in a year.

Quarantined - Atlas Sound


River Card - Atlas Sound


Atlas Sound

Other Top of 2008 Albums:
A Reflection
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 8, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: For Emma, Forever Ago


via North Coast Journal

Although For Emma, Forever Ago was technically self-released in 2007, I’ve decided to count its Jagjaguwar release in February 2008 so that I could put it on this list. I may have been an emo kid in high school, but now it is rare for me to be moved by recorded music. Luckily for me, Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver spent three months in a cabin in Wisconsin, and this album was the beautiful product of that time. Who says nothing good comes out of the Midwest??

Lately, I’ve been revisiting For Emma, Forever Ago. I’ve been pretty excited for his upcoming show at Music Hall this Friday, and I’ve been counting down the days ever since I purchased my tickets. I don’t think I’ve listened to this much Bon Iver since back in May, right before I left for my summer backpacking trip. During the days leading up to my departure, I spent a lot of time playing “Blindsided” due to this easy-to-follow tutorial. There are some really gorgeous chords in there.

A little bit of Bon Iver is perfect for the sudden bout of cold weather that we’ve been experiencing here. I may have spent most of my life in Illinois, but all the years in New York have weakened my winter tolerance. Now, all I want to do is curl up in bed with a book while listening to some of this beautifully haunting album.

And, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out Bon Iver’s upcoming EP, Blood Bank. It leaked last week, but I won’t be posting it up here. The title song is about being stuck in the snow with someone you don’t know. Just to warn you, I’ve caught myself getting teary over this song on two separate occasions while waiting for the subway. I pretended that I had something in my eye. Listen to it here.

Bon Iver, see you in a few days.

Re: Stacks - Bon Iver


Flume - Bon Iver


Bon Iver

Other Top Albums of 2008:
A Reflection
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

December 4, 2008

Beirut - "In the Mausoleum"


via LA Weekly's Blogs

I may have stopped breathing for a few seconds today when I found out that Beirut will be performing at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in February. Recently, I've been revisiting a lot of Beirut material. Partially, it's because I got a ukulele, and I particularly enjoy playing Beirut songs. My roommate just asked me why I keep on playing the same Beirut songs over and over on the uke. Well, one reason is because I haven't learned anything else. Another is that practice makes perfect, silly. Not that I could ever be Zach Condon, whose talent drives me absolutely mad with jealousy. I don't like that we're the same age, yet I have accomplished nothing in comparison (Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes also makes me feel worthless). Damn you for making music that I love.

Well, I no longer have to fantasize about Zach Condon making a surprise guest appearance at Final Fantasy and Grizzly Bear's BAM show with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Beirut may have cancelled their recent tour and gone on a brief hiatus, but it sounds like they're ready to come back with a new album, a new tour, and possibly a new direction. Well, as long as the new Beirut sounds as good as the below songs, I will have no complaints. And, it'd be nice to have some new uke material.

Tickets for Beirut's Sounds of Brooklyn @ BAM on February 6 go on presale tomorrow, open to Friends of BAM. General public sale begins next week on December 12. Unfortunately, I am not a Friend of BAM. But, if you are, and you are a kind person who is willing to purchase tickets for a gracious (and financially reliable) blogger, you have my contact info.



In the Mausoleum - Beirut


Elephant Gun - Beirut



Beirut

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December 1, 2008

Top Albums of 2008: A Reflection


No Jens Lekman album this year, but at least I saw him twice

I feel like I've been spending way too much time on Ukulele Hunt and not enough on blogging. H. just told me that I haven't posted in a blog century. So, as the year is nearly coming to an end, it's time for the "Best of 2008" lists. I started jotting down a rough list in my notebook a couple months ago, but I'm sure I've missed plenty of records that were released in the early part of the year. Some of these albums have somehow changed my tastes and thoughts on music. Others are just too much fun to not enjoy. Life-changing or not, these records are the ones that have shaped my year. It's funny how I can listen to one of these albums and be transported back to the place/time/weather that I associate with it.

As a little refresher, I've looked up my personal list of 2007's top albums. Oh, the hilarity.

Top Albums of 2007 (in no particular order):
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (Blue CD-R Demo)
!!! (Chk Chk Chk) - Myth Takes
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release
Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block

I know what you're thinking. Where is Bon Iver on this list? Bon Iver turned out to be more of a 2008 thing for me. I've spent many hours attempting to play "Blindsided" on my acoustic. Can I count Bon Iver's debut as an album of 2008 since it was re-released in February? Oh, you may also be asking me what the hell I was thinking with a couple of these on my list. Things change? Also, I think Beirut should have been on that list. I've been listening to a lot of The Flying Club Cup recently. Perhaps, that is also ukulele-influenced. Then again, there are many 2007 albums that I didn't have the opportunity to appreciate until 2008...

Anyway, some of these albums have continued to be classics for me. Just a few minutes ago, I was playing Jens' "Your Arms Around Me" on the ukulele (If anyone has the ukulele version of that, please please send it this way). Just recently, I've been listening to a lot of Vampire Weekend. Judge me if you will, but I associate Vampire Weekend with the fall and early winter, which was when I was listening to their demo on repeat last year. And, a year ago, I never thought that VW would blow up in the way that they did. Now, I'm sickened by how often I hear their name. I can admit it: I am jealous. But, I can't deny that "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" is a great pop song. Unfortunately, since their demo made my list in 2007, their proper debut will not be on my 2008 list since the two are roughly the same.

If you're a relatively frequent follower of this blog, you will find that some of the albums on my list are predictable. Clearly, I've greatly favored a handful of bands this year. But, there will be surprises since there are some awesome albums that I never got around to blogging about.

Your Arms Around Me - Jens Lekman


Jens Lekman

Top Albums of 2008:
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
The Dodos - Visiter
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes/Sun Giant EP
The Walkmen - You & Me
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Read More...

Crystal Stilts - "Crystal Stilts"


via Escape Sounds
Where can I get that cardigan?


This post is long overdue, but I always become a little blog-lazy around the holidays. I saw Crystal Stilts a couple weeks ago at a "venue" called Less Artists More Condos. Less Artists is one of Todd P's DIY spaces. Emphasis on the DIY for this place.

I wasn't quite sure where exactly 132 W. 3rd St. was, but as my friend and I got closer to the building... we realized that the entrance was sandwiched in between Fat Black Pussycat and Town Tavern, two quality establishments. When we went up the stairs into the "venue," I realized that I was standing in a loft. A loft with bedrooms. Rooms inhabited by people. Apparently, there are McKibben-style "dorms" in West Village. And, shows are held there. Who knew?

Anyway, the place seemed a little small for Crystal Stilts' record release show, especially since they garnered a lot of attention during CMJ. With only an impromptu bar in the kitchen of Less Artists, waiting for the bands to play was pretty exhausting. By the time Crystal Stilts went onstage around midnight, I was ready to plop down onto one of the couches in the living room of the loft. Live, Crystal Stilts' sound was muddier than that on record. I don't know if it was intentional (Pitchfork seems to think so) or if the sound system was responsible, but I couldn't make out a single lyric. After awhile, I couldn't distinguish the songs from one another. But, I dig this song so I'd like to give them another go at a venue with better acoustics.

Crystal Stilts opens for Love is All on December 7th at Bowery Ballroom.


Crystal Stilts - Crystal Stilts


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