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Archive for August, 2009

Nada Alic

The life of the world to come

TMG-The-Life-of-the-World-to-Come

The Mountains Goats are set to release their 17th studio album ‘The Life of the World To Come’ Oct. 6th. Each track has biblical references, subsequently due to living a life that includes the death and disease, injustice and doubt that is handed to nearly everyone during their days here. One can point their finger to the sky with about as much piercing rage that one could muster, only to tire quickly in defeat. Or, one can delve into their spiritual selves, the ones that sleep just beneath our impermanence, under a bed of skin and bones and wrestle with Him for the hows and whys of it all. And that must be something like what John Darnielle attempted to do. Like the battle cries of Bazan and Sufjan Stevens, and all the rest who sit on the Holy fence, not quite Christian artists, trying their best to wade in the ambiguity enough to preach their version of the Gospel. There is something raw and vulnerable about Darnielle’s voice, it makes you believe what he says, and stay with him during all this stories.

The meaning behind the album:

The songs that came out are about losing people you love, and leaving places to which you can’t return, and about things from which people don’t & can’t recover. They are about faith and doubt and the long dark hallways that run between the two.

I think I miss the days when he’d sing about death metal bands out of Denton.

The Mountain Goats- Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace

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The Mountain Goats- Genesis 3:23

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The Mountain Goats- Psalms 40:2

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Nada Alic

Unmap- Volcano Choir

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You will notice that this is not a photo of Volcano Choir’s album artwork for Unmap. Let it be known that no identifiable form of snow will touch this page, nor my own two feet. I find the look and texture of snow repulsive, something to be feared and shovelled. Enduring twenty-one years of snow isn’t all that bad until you experience the twenty-second far from the reaches of such climates, and you realize what a world you’ve been missing. I can only hope to skip this winter as well. 

Unmap is the result of a collaboration of notable Wisconsonites including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and members of Collections of Colonies of Bees, under the name of Volcano Choir. It is truly a radiant record, drawing plenty from the echoe of my Catholic-choir day ghosts. A slow-tempo photograph of the Midwest woods on the crisp end of November, it is described as a, “backwoods gospel”. The rhythmic taps of ‘And Gather’ illustrates gathering squirrels, and Youlogy is a deep mourning for the fall’s great collapse into the dead winter months. This stunning collection of songs will be released Sept. 22nd. 

Volcano Choir- Youlogy

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Volcano Choir- And Gather

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Volcano Choir- Island, IS

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Nada Alic

Bicycle Horror

memory cassetteCall & Response EP

From what I gather- Memory Cassette is a marriage of both Weird Tapes and Memory Tapes, and it all happens to be the same person. Their (his?) debut Seek Magic is out this September, with the track Bicycle floating around, along with it’s cousin- Bicycle (remixed by The Horrors) along with a few more tracks from EPs like Call & Response along with a remix response to that EP featuring CFCF, Weird Tapes, and Sail a Whale. The magical electronics are enough to make me dizzy, I’d rather not bother with which ‘tape’ I’m referring to. This Jersey-based project has a blog so you can keep track of what in God’s earth they’re putting out and who is remixing it. 

Memory Cassette- Bicycle (The Horrors Remix)

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Memory Cassette- Plain Material

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Magic Sequence- (includes bits off of Seek Magic)

Nada Alic

If the lord doesn’t save us

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As previously mentioned, The Wooden Sky‘s album ‘If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone’ is out now, and I finally got my hands on it. This album is far more elegant and sweeping than ‘When Lost At Sea’. While their debut pulled from a collection of styles and genres, it seems The Wooden Sky has really found it’s own sound. Instead of reviewing this album, track by track- I’ll tell you a story- because really, who cares what I think of it, or what bands I could expertly compare them to. (Sidenote- it’s only been the first day, but I do already love this album)

PREFACE: if this album were a man (preferably aged and worn, full-bellied and well-lived) each track would serve as a season of his life. This is what I came up with while listening to the album once more—

William’s ill-fated youth had him, on the best of days, chasing skirts and setting a blaze all things one would torch when restless and juvenile, including his father’s shed, a decision met with swift whips and tears that would sting far beyond his formative years. He’d wear scars that swelled enough to make him break down with no previous recollection of why, just a permeating sadness that he never seemed to shake. He’d tossed his heart to any girl that walked his way, hoping for one catch, and few did considering his eager fingers and scraped knees. One girl kept his listless feet from knocking straight onto the floor, her name was Mary. She still means a lot to him.

Yet, he always seemed to stand up, keep moving, careful not to stay in the same old place. Age met him cruelly, with the sour dramatics of a young Mary that wanted nothing to do with him, yet wanted him all the same. As the story goes. He’d mapped out nearly every state with his own two feet, but she stayed with him, square upon his chest, something no bar of soap could lather properly. Completely alone, he’d travelled to the South for a certain Revival. His weary condition kept him counting days until his abrupt death, something he felt leaving his veins, something brewing in his bones, and all of his sleeps. Preachers spoke of haunted souls, yet he was sure he no longer had one of those- it was a pumping heart that made him weak. The rainy season drove him quickly upwards and onwards toward the North to see his sweet Mary. The brevity of their exchange left her curious, once again, about the now wrinkled William. They travelled to their roots, backwards to chase their youth for an afternoon. He told her, “in the morning I’ll be going” and she gripped his hand a little tighter. The very next morning, he could hardly recognize her face. With each step away from her, he repeated all the last words she had said as he headed straight for the City with only the clothes on his back and the glasses resting on his nose. 

The years to follow would require a few more words with the Lord. A swim with the Holy Spirit. And enough sins to do it all again. Mary had his own heart locked, and tightened the locks with each year spent away. His friends were in the business of saving souls, and would rather talk to his Eternal self than give a lick about his aching heart and empty glass. Death tapped it’s toes, waiting for his final breath so he returned North to sweet Mary and said, “lay your head down next to mine on the ground,” she touched his cheek and said, “I’m sure we were born just to die”. He held her hand and watched as the river swallowed the both of them slow and clean. She took one last look before her release and drowned into him. And the song played on.

The Wooden Sky- Call If You Need Me

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The Wooden Sky- The Late King Henry

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The Wooden Sky- My Old Ghosts

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The Wooden Sky at Sonic Boom last week-
 


Nada Alic

Sunday: 3pm

Here’s a little mix. Some old, some new. I never know what order to put songs in, so I don’t. Love!

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Little Pictures- Kaleidoscope

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The xx- Islands

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Headlights- Some Racing, Some stopping

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Taken By Trees- Day by Day

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Cory Branan- Tall Green Grass

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Camera Obscura- Lets Get Out Of This Country

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Ezra Furman & the Harpoons- Take Off Your Sunglasses 

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The Gaslight Anthem- Blue Jeans & White Tshirts

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Jonsi & Alex- Boy 1904

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William Elliot Whitmore- Mutiny

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Wilco- Solitaire

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Hollands- Coughing Boy

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Neutral Milk Hotel- Worms In The Wind (Live)

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Nada Alic

Daisy- Brand New

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Brand New- a band decidedly divorced from the media machine, will be releasing their latest album ‘Daisy’ Sept 22nd. However, in a recent interview with Rock Sound, Lacey explains that Brand New, as it is known, is ‘dead’. Dead, from what I understand, in the sense that the band needs no validation for anything they create, and that they’d experienced touring enough to grasp the psychological and spiritual effects it can have on growing men who never quite transcend their adolescence given a transient and excessive life the road offers. This kind of disenchantment with all the glory one would want, and deserve, shows a heavy wisdom that could rival weathered legends who’ve tracked far greater miles and lived far longer years.

Such artistic liberties are reflective in their dark and weighty album ‘Daisy’ exploring the demons that exist in all of us; themes that stream from an introspective consciousness that seems to plague the band’s primary writers Lacey and Accardi. The track ‘Gasoline’ is one of desperation, misery and one’s attempts to find a cure, as it goes, “there’s a sickness that is going round and no one’s got a vaccine”. The final minute of the song is left for ambient noises and a dragging electric guitar- the album is filled with those pockets of noise and strange lo-fi audio clips. The track, ‘Daisy’ begins with a man’s voice, a radio broadcaster introducing song #99, “Just As I Am” opening to Lacey’s quiet voice, “I’m a mountain that has been moved, I’m a river that has been dried up”. It leads into a child’s recorded voice, as the track gets louder when the band comes in, with a slow and steady layering of vocals.

The band is heading out on a 38-date tour beginning Oct. 1st. They’ll hit Toronto November 21st and 22nd with Glassjaw.

Brand New- Gasoline

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Brand New- Daisy

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Nada Alic

you ain’t no friend of mine

 mason jennings

The acoustic melodies of Mason Jennings streamed lazily through my headphones last summer while I was living briefly in the Sunshine state. Nearly everyday around noon I would take out the beach cruiser, and coast along the river that hugged my temporary neighbourhood. Cocoa, being the first placed I’d ever lived outside of my parents’ house seemed an unlikely place for a young girl to plant new roots. The residents of Cocoa were, in fact, merely temporary as well, judging from the greys on their heads and their slow, calculated motions- they’d find themselves sooner in the ground, as quiet as the manors they’d leave behind. With the soundtrack of Jennings in the background, their grim faces seemed much sweeter, much more neighbourly.

Jennings once again, has found my ears, but this time- in sweater-weather. His new album entitled, ‘Blood of Man’ comes out Sept. 15th, with a performance at the Mod Club this October 23rd. With the birth of a new record, the short film ‘Blood of Man‘ follows Jennings during his recording process, and includes commentary on where the blood began flowing from. Describing the organic experience of submitting to whatever emerged deep in the woods, stripped of electronic distraction surprised him. The idea of what could float toward the surface in those open days is enough to frighten us all. Idle environments always seem to foster the heaviest of stories. 

1. City Of Ghosts
2. Pittsburgh
3. The Field
4. Tourist
5. Black Wind Blowing
6. Ain’t No Friend Of Mine
7. Sing Out
8. Sunlight
9. Lonely Road
10. Blood Of Man

Nada Alic

choir of young believers

the choir of young believers

The majesty of Jannis Noya Makrigiannis’ Choir Of Young Believers latest album- This Is For The White In Your Eyes is easily the finest orchestral-pop album that I’ve heard all year. There is a grandiose texture running and weaving through each track. With a billowy mournfulness in Jannis’ voice, backed by as many as eight fellow musicians, with a piercing beauty that is heavy and introspective.  One’s fair attempt would mix the harmonies of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, the haunting vocals of Neil Young and the ambience of Radiohead, and you may have some mutant-like copy of the Choir. It is devastating. It arguably has a supernatural ability to contact the spiritual realm, if you listen to it softly and in your room alone. Or, I may be listening to too much ‘Coast to Coast’ on AM 640. On that note, have you guys heard about the IHC? Insane. Really, this is getting out of hand.

They’ll be at the Horseshoe in Toronto October 25th.

Choir of Young Believers- Hollow Talk

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Choir of Young Believers- Action/Reaction

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Choir of Young Believers- Next Summer

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Nada Alic

I love you, but goodbye

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Langhorne Slim- Be Set Free

I was somewhere in the Santa Barbara mountains when I started playing ‘We Love The Animals’ in the van. I thought, is this really happening? I fell in love immediately. Anyone who fervently sings, ‘life is crazy, it’s a zoo!’ is automatically favored. Although, it is common knowledge that I do not, in fact, love the animals. Either way, Langhorne Slim‘s ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ has been a beloved album, and necessary for drives that include any sort of rolling countryside. There is something in his whailing voice that carries quick-tempo honky tonk folk-country songs quite perfectly. It is with great delight that I await the release of his third record, ‘Be Set Free’ September 29th. The track, ‘I Love You, But Goodbye’ is the first glimpse of the his new stuff. Its decidely mellow and thoughtful. Hopefully he’ll still have room for a few more rock songs a la ‘Rebel Side of Heaven’ or the frantic ‘Loretta Lee Jones’.

Langhorne Slim- Restless

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Blitzen Trapper- Black River Killer

Following some of my favorites ‘Furr’ and ‘Sleepytime In The Western World’ Portland based-Blitzen Trapper is releasing an EP this week called ‘Black River Killer’. It’s a beautifully layered collection of seven tracks, still pulling from it’s alt-country roots circa 1976. It reminds me of being back in Tennessee, drinking sweet tea. 

 

 

 

Blitzen Trapper- Black River Killer

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Blitzen Trapper- Preachers Sisters Boy

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Nada Alic

god bless the indian summer

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Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees)

There is something you should know about these Northern summers. They expire. And as swiftly as they came. With the promise of two tolerable months, and nothing more. Seasonal folks begin mourning at the first signs of fall. I never thought I’d return to the Great Lakes, but have made preparations throughout this bleak, dreary summer for the hiberating months ahead. I’ve been spending my days outside with makeshift fishing poles, and blankets, thanking the sun for returning each morning, begging it to stay a few more nights. As for it’s rather ethereal soundtrack, Animal Collective, Lykke Li, Phoenix and the rest pioneered, or maybe just reinvented the infusion of folk and ambient sounds with electronic, and the marriage of nearly every genre in between. In honor of a summer preparing for it’s lethargic ten months’ slumber, here are some tracks in memory of all the splendor and joy of summer. 

Yo La Tengo- Little Eyes

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Cited as ‘indie heros’, Yo La Tengo has prevailed over 25 years and will be releasing their latest album ‘Popular Songs’ this fall, they’ll be coming through Toronto Oct. 3rd  at the Opera House

Jay Reatard- There Is No Sun

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Jay Reatard‘s latest release ‘Watch Me Fall’ off Matador Records is a more evolved, acoustic/rock album. It just  came out August 18th. Pick it up!

Taken By Trees- My Boys (Animal Collective cover)

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I think I like this better than the original. Taken by Trees sophmore LP ‘East of Eden’ is out Sept 8th on Rough Trade. Watch their mini-doc on National Geographics as they recorded in Egypt HERE

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