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Archive for December, 2010

Nada Alic

Best Bands Series: San Diego

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and in the vein of all year-end best-of/worst-of, most-least-likely-to’s, and honorable mentions I wanted to put together a geographical best-of list of my own. One that takes place in my current residence: San Diego, California. Since being here, I’ve discovered a wellspring of creativity, mostly in both form and content of young people quietly and steadily doing what they love, in a community that takes place, often, in the living room and surrounding areas of the Habitat House- or other unlikely grounds for performance, be it venues, galleries or attics. It is here where people are propelled to engage with the mysteries of the expanding formation of dirt and sea and tacos, a people with a desire (beyond all) to create and build. So without further hyperbole, I extend a special thanks to Zack Nielsen/Sezio for introducing me to some of my new favorite bands. In no particular order:

Boomsnake

Boomsnake encompasses everything I ever wanted in 2010- reverb-drenched minimalist sounds, looping harmonies, group vocals. Formed by  Gabe Rodriguez, formerly of Say Anything and Weatherbox. Judging from his musical foundations- this is a stretch, effectively leaping across genres, graduating to a more matured, experimental sound. Their album ‘Give and Take’ was definitely one of my favorites.

Boomsnake- Ritual Union

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Mrs Magician

Mrs. Magician is a newly formed band that features current members of Drug Wars, Northern Towns, and Boomsnake, as well as former members of Please Mr. Gravedigger and First Wave Hello. Their debut track “there is no god” is a spooky lo-fi rock track that sings in playful ‘la la las’, super catchy. The album artwork is a photo of a 1930’s flood victim, I can’t look at it for too long.

Range Rover

Range Rover reached out to me a few weeks back, they told me they were a couple of teenagers from San Diego that had a few tracks for me. I love it when teenagers send me badass stuff as a subtle reminder that I totally wasted my time running track in high school- when I could’ve just started a punk band. Fuck! Their stuff is super distorted and fuzzy, mostly about soda and other things that teenagers like.

Range Rover- Soda

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Bryan Bargenter

I’ve been meaning to tell you all about Bryan Bangerter for quite a while now. Allow me to clarify that Bryan leads a troop of musicians called ‘The Whole Shebang’ which I think is really endearing. It’s safe to say that the name is fitting- there are A LOT of members. With an impressive ensemble, Bryan and his gang “incorporate child-like gang vocals, strings, horn sections, melodica, harpsichord, and more” The result is everything from R&B to folk to jazz- laced in unique narratives that are entirely original.

Chairs Missing

I first heard about Chairs Missing at Sezio’s Four Day Weekend, and soonafter asked my friend Zack what their deal was. Their performance was incredible. I found out that this band is a side project from Tape Deck Mountain, another great band. It’s just really sweet sound psychedellic pop music with a really strange name.

Chairs Missing- The Corner

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Writer

If I say anything more about how much I love this band, it’s just going to get weird. Writer has been a recent favorite of mine with their latest self-titled album that I haven’t stopped playing. Tracks like “Barefoot Art” and “Miss Mermaid” make me think they should meet and be friends with Faces on Film then say, hey- we kind of sound the same and we’re both amazing. I hope that happens one day.

Writer- Miss Mermaid

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Little Deadman

I’ll be honest- I just recently heard about Little Deadman (Recently being, today) But I enjoyed the tracks I heard so much I wanted to add them to this list. They’re also playing tomorrow at the Casbah, so I’m getting familiar. I like what I hear so far.

Little Deadman- Shooting Seagulls

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Cuckoo Chaos

Another find from Sezio’s Four Day Weekend- Cuckoo Chaos, which includes musicians Jackson Milgaten (Vision of a Dying World), Craig Barclift (Beaters), Jeremy Scott (The Paddle Boat) and Dave Meade (Cousins). I’d mentioned before what a huge fan I was of The Paddle Boat, and it’s a real shame that they’re done. But Cuckoo Chaos sounds like a resurrection, a re-interpretation of that style, super minimalist bedroom pop, songs about love singing, “need me, want me, love me!” Everything you could ever want a boy to tell you. Perfect.

Cuckoo Chaos- The Ballad of What Was

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Nada Alic

unouomedude :: teens

Unouomedude – “Teens” from The Tearist on Vimeo.

Just checked out this vide for unouomedude‘s “Teens” by The Tearist. He’s got some really cool video collages over at his vimeo page.

Listen to unouomedude’s killer Christmas song below:

unouomedude- Emelia

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So I’m easily excitable when it comes to my music-blogging friends getting together to create something really cool, needless to say when I came across Dead as Digital’s year end lists’ compiled by some of the best and brightest bloggers out there, I was amped! If you’re not too familiar with music blogs, these contributors are a good place to start. Check out the rest of the post for full lists and mp3s and download the mix at the link below. Kudos to Nathaniel for another gorgeously crafted collage for the album artwork!

Via Dead As Digital:

“So when I was approaching this mix, those that I invited to be a part of this year end mix are the colleagues on both the blog side, and artist side that have become more than just another voice, but one I am happy to claim a little more than a passing kinship with. If I could throw an online christmas party, they would be the first to receive invites… But since I can’t, this is it.

As with We Get By Vol 1, I asked each person involved to submit their favorite (downloadable) song of the year, and, if they felt so inclined, a top ten as well…”

The list features  No Modest BearStadiums And ShrinesHead UnderwaterEars Of The Beholder,Dead As DigitalThink Or SmileSmoke Dont SmokeNo Fear Of PopHoly SpiritsRollo And GradyWeedGhost Animal

Grab the mix HERE

Nada Alic

Idiot Glee “Aint No Sunshine”

I feel like I’m late on the game with this one, but I first heard about Idiot Glee from my friend Jimmy over at Head Underwater. Idiot Glee is the solo project of James Friley, he marries psychedellic sounds with doo-wop like no one I’ve ever heard. I love his Bill Withers cover of “Aint’ No Sunshine” below, it’s got an electronic vibe, but it still maintains it’s classic soul and rhythm. His lush, layered vocals remind me of Perfume Genius- just enough of that thoughtful crooning, mixed with toy keyboards and loops.

There’s a pretty interesting Vice article on him and his views on Mormonism if you’re interested. Oh, Vice- I miss you (ehh, only a little).

Idiot Glee – “Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers)” from Ian Perlman on Vimeo.

Idiot Glee- All Packed Up

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Idiot Glee- I Want To Stay The Night

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Idiot Glee- Dont Drink the Water

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Nada Alic

Writer “Swamp Fire Lake”

Writer “Swamp Fire Lake” from Sezio on Vimeo.

Watch this beautiful video of Writer from Sezio‘s Four Day Weekend back in November. I get to see them tomorrow night at the Casbah with The Growlers and Little Deadman, go here for more info.

Writer- Swamp Fire Lake

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Nada Alic

Beach House // Holiday Track

Hey all, hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday! Wanted to share a new track from Beach House who just released their holiday track “I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun” and as I sit here, looking out at the San Diego sun slipping through our office blinds glowing golden stripes down the entire room, I really don’t mind this winter sun. There is no trace of winter here, although from where most of you are sitting you can feel the weight of it, the biting frost and buried cars. So I extend this song to you (mostly out of guilt because I’ve cheated Winter this year). Hope this gives you the warm fuzzies!

Beach House- I Do Not Care For the Winter Sun

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Nada Alic

I Was a Fountain- Gaze, Hug, Tree Fort

I Was a Fountain is Mark White, a college student from St. Louis that makes experimental folk music that has gorgeous shimmery beats and soft harmonies that sounds like a child’s call to come out to play, asking “when can you come home?”

Makes me want to listen to him in a tree fort, or at least my own version of blankets covering chairs in my living room. Go to his bandcamp and grab his stuff!

I Was a Fountain- Hug

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Nada Alic

Kohwi :: Hidden Trees

My friend Cory Levinson (aka Kohwi) recently put out his digital album “Hidden Trees” via my friend Brian Wood’s Wonder Beard Tapes. I may be a couple weeks late on the game, but I’m finally playing catch up- and listening to this album, as it’s blowing my mind.

Kohwi explains the album like this, “I tried to create an auditory world with this album.  It’s meant 100% for a continuous listen.  So if you could find a time roaming through your familiar life or zenning out to just let this world  play out like a soundtrack, that’s exactly how i’d intend this to be listened to.”

That’s how I felt lisetning to the tracks, they flow into one another seamlessly. You can download the album for pay-what-you-want HERE.

The album artwork was created by Jheri from Get Off The Coast- another great blog, check ‘em out!

Nada Alic

Bobby Kimberley’s Year-End Mixtape

My good friend Bobby Kimberly put together a year-end mix for a mixtape trade off last week, and I really liked it so I wanted to share it with you guys. I met Bobby earlier this year, he heads up The Muse Box in Toronto and does a pretty kick ass job running the place, and putting on some really great shows. He’s introduced me to some incredible artists like Allie Hughes, The Balconies and Tristen.

Everyone in attendance had to make their own mixtape which would then be traded for others, so that everyone would end up with a handful of new mixes to take home. I’m bummed I missed out, but at least I got a digital copy of his mix, and another by my friend Billy Hamilton. This is what he had to say about it below:

“What I like most about my mix this year is that it involves a lot offriends (new and old). most of this music is either created by a friend, was introduced to me by a friend, and/or is attached directly to a memory that involves my friends.”

DOWNLOAD THE MIX here.

1. Dinosaur Bones – Ice Hotels
2. Warpaint – Undertow
3. Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La
4. Savoir Adore – Bodies
5. Lykke Li – Get Some
6. Hot Chip – Thieves in the Night
7. Das Racist – Rainbow in the Dark
8. Foals – This Orient
9. Braids – Lemonade (Green Go remix)
10. Gramercy Riffs – Little One
11. MGMT – Congratulations
12. Beach House – Silver Soul
13. The Radio Dept – David
14. Wild Nothing – Chinatown
15. Deerhunter – Memory Boy
16. Tristen – Eager for Your Love
17. Black Keys – Next Girl
18. Yes Nice – Horses
19. Aidan Knight – Jasper
20. Born Ruffians – Pool Party Fun

Nada Alic

Recap: Last Night’s Holiday Benefit

photos:Scott Toepfer

I’d been talking about this show for a few weeks now, and like a little girl eagerly planning her birthday party- the day finally arrived, and rest assured, it was an absolute dream. Let’s preface with me, this weekend, making several trips to LAX to pick up artists and take them to their hotel. In between, a few friends and I decided to get dinner at Swingers. While we were crossing the street we got smoked by a car! Seriously. I was hit by a car. It was so bizarre, and I don’t really remember it all happening, I kind of just flew into a puddle and got up thinking, “Aha! I’m invincible now! I came out with just a bruise on my knee. My friend Dan was a little more beaten up than I was. But thankfully, nothing major- we’re totally fine. Really, just something I wasn’t anticipating while preparing for this show. Some people just don’t know how to drive out here. My biggest concern is that this torrential, endless downpour will eventually flood all of Southern California.

Finally getting to the venue to set up was such a surreal/cool experience. All of those weeks tucked away in our office- things were finally materializing, it was real. Our favorite artists were soundchecking in front of us, the deputy mayor came by (really, though). We hooked up our jars filled with lights and set up the visuals created by Nathaniel Whitcomb of Think or Smile. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Nathaniel for putting together the stunning visual backdrop that played throughout the night. Everyone kept asking about it- it really added to the overall aesthetic of the evening. Check out more of Nathaniels stuff HERE.

The night began with John McCauley performing a Deer Tick acoustic set, as hundreds of people began pouring into the venue. Next up was Blake Mills, an extraordinary musician who mostly works behind the scenes, producing and teaching guitar to some of the biggest bands in the industry, at just 23 years old. Seriously unfair, almost devastatingly so. I kept joking with Alex, “well, what’s the point in going on anymore? Blake has done it. He’s reached perfection”. He plays guitar like no one I’ve ever seen before.  He put out a record this year called “Break Mirrors” and it was hands-down, one of my favorites. He performed alongside his girlfriend Danielle Haim and the Goldsmith brothers of Dawes, which was probably one of the highlights of my evening. Danielle Haim is flawless.

After Blake, Guards went on and played a lively set of revivalist rock with favorites like “Resolution of One” and “Long Time”. Seriously, if you don’t have their EP yet, you need to grab it over at their bandcamp. Oh, and bonus- it’s free. After that were the lovely and haunting sounds of Mountain Man, a three-girl acapella with harmonies that will destroy you. I had the pleasure of hanging with them beforehand and they’re the absolute sweetest. They managed to arrest the crowd with complete silence for their set as they whaled and hummed, sometimes without even microphones, just with the power of their own vocal chords and their meditative songs. Their voices are instruments, and their presence is commanding.

After them, Cass McCombs graced the stage with a rare performance. He played alongside members of Darker My Love, the kinds of music that led us into a sombre place, one that was quiet and soft, then brought us back up with classic Americana and jangly rock. I remember hearing whispers of “Cass is playing? He never plays!” so as co-headliners, they absolutely delivered.

The finale was the long-awaited, much beloved Middle Brother with all three front men of Deer Tick, Dawes and Delta Spirit, along with Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes at drums and Blake Mills on guitar. They announced that it had been 8 months since their first ever performance at SXSW, but with three masterful musicians taking the stage, they took complete control, and engaged the crowd with entirely new songs off their debut record to be released in March. The tracks sounded borrowed from all three acts, but reappropriated, refreshed to sound new. More of a country-blues inspired sound, they shifted from swaying ballads to fast-paced gritty rock jams. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to end the evening, with an encore Replacements cover song and eager cheers from the crowd.

So many incredible people made this happen, and for that we extend our gratitude and love to all of you. All of the bands, thank you Guards, Blake Mills, Mountain Man, Cass McCombs, and Middle Brother. To Nathaniel Whitcomb of Think or Smile, who wasn’t even there, yet managed to steal the show with his gorgeous visual art and animation playing on the backdrop throughout the show. To Scott Toepfer who took beautiful photos for us, to everyone in the Yours Truly crew, Chadwick Gantes andBrandon Tauszik for filming, Carter from Rollo & Grady, Tim from Smoke Don’t Smoke, Andrea from Filter magazine, Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, Zack from Sezio, Meghan Ellie from Levis who flew out from San Fran! (I now call her my dreamboat) to Florencio Zavala who designed the beautiful show poster, to our Invisible Children volunteers- Kimmy, Taylor, Bert and Marshall. To KCRW, everyone at Partisan Records, The Grafton Hotel, The Standard, and everyone at the Troubadour. We sincerely couldn’t have done this without you. We consider you all family, brothers and sisters. Thanks for sharing this meaningful experience with us.

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