Friends With Both Arms » 2011 » February

Archive for February, 2011

album artwork by Chadwick Gantes
Joel P. West is a mild force, dressed in the same clothes as you and I yet just about as different and striking as a quiet book whose words alter the course of your days and weeks without much awareness of the subtle change. He writes songs, yet what removes him from the sticky lump of the genre, the “singer-songwriter” the indie-folk-so and so’s is that over a few years time, he’s managed to cultivate a community of loving friends, fans he can nearly call by name. He’s done it with intimate house shows peppered around San Diego, inventive displays and frequent inclusion of artists of all kinds to fit into his calculated patchwork of art and music, and as of recent, the expansion into a full band, The Tree Ring, led by strings and instruments of all sorts, elevating his minimalist man-and-guitar act into his own orchestra, with their new record called Generous Shadows.

You may not know his name, but his recent record release packed out the house leaving a lengthy trail of the eager many, wanting to exist in that space with other bodies, all of which have been transported into a meditative state- redwood forests, a winter cabin, a long stretch up the Pacific Coast. Dreamlike states that manifest only to the sound of a falling and rising violin.
It’s been a real pleasure to come in and out of San Diego finding a few constants, Joel P. West with always something new to offer, The Tree Ring being his most generous contribution. If you haven’t heard their new album yet, go here and give it a listen, I highly recommend it. I recently invited Joel to make a mix, and this is what he said:
“When I got up to make this mix it was the kind of grey day where morning arrives slowly and lasts until the sun goes down. For me, those days are really conducive for writing and working on art or music – there’s a softness to everything and I am less aware of time passing so I can get lost in my surroundings and let my mind run.  This is a mix of songs to accompany or replicate those cloudy feelings.”
Castle Time – Chris Garneau
Somehow To Keep It Going – Cotton Jones
Wolves – Phosporescent
Living Without You – Randy Newman
My Plants Are Dead – Blonde Redhead
Your Sweet Love – Lee Hazlewood
Maple Leaves – Jens Lekman
Peace of Mind – Neil Young
Blood Bank – Loch Lomond
Beauty – The Shivers
I’ll Keep It With Mine – Nico
Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
The Meaning of the Ritual – Villagers
Bad Dreams – Damien Jurado
Nada Alic

Julianna Barwick “The Magic Place”

Thanks to Jimmy Morris for finding this video from his friend Jacob Corbin for Julianna Barwick’s “The Magic Place”.  She makes me want to nap in the loveliest way.

I started this blog nearly two years ago and between lists of names with my friend Andrea we settled on Friends With Both Arms, while I was listening to Faces on Film ‘The Troubles’ album- it sounded about right, as this all once started as a project between friends. I could’ve never really imagined myself back in San Diego with great friends and the world’s best job, hosting an acoustic house show with Mike Fiore, frontman of Faces on Film. There’s a sense of things coming together, like your beginnings find their way back to you again tracing a cyclical line, you can watch it all grow. That’s how this show will feel. I’m excited to be teaming up once again with Habitat House and Zack Nielsen who so kindly and frequently opens the doors of his home to strangers and friends alike to watch the unrepeatable, the never-again-quite-like shows, where artists become house guests, filling the space between the floor panels and the unreachable ceilings with their songs.

Faces on Film, for those who don’t know (or haven’t made the connection) are a Boston-based band who so elegantly play with vintage piano keys, echoed vocals and chaotic instrumentation to house Fiore’s lyrics, both lovely and troubled.

If you happen to be in the San Diego area, please come by. I assure you this is going to be something special. It’s this Wednesday, March 2nd from 8pm to 10pm. Go HERE for more details.

Faces on Film- Under Newry

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Nada Alic

J Irvin Dally “Who You Say I Am”

Another great video from J Irvin Dally, so excited to have him play for us at SXSW. We probably wont’ get this up close and personal to his face while filming, but hey, he’s got a really nice face.

Nada Alic

Other Mountains [Via Taylor Brown]

When Nada asked me the other day if I would write for the site again, I had asked her if we could do something different and have her show me a band and I would do a write up on them. This wasn’t out of a lack of motivation for me to put in the effort to find something new to write about, but because lately my musical tastes have been stuck somewhere in the 1960’s, and nobody wants to read what’s been written thousands of times over the past 50 years. Luckily, I was given something yesterday that has renewed my interest in whats going on right now…I give you Other Mountains.

Where some bands have the ability to conceptualize the painstaking process of piecing together a multitude of textures and colors, Other Mountains have brought it beyond a thought and into reality on their debut full length, FERNWEH (A German word meaning to crave travel). Capitalizing on minimalism and breathtaking swells of sound, as well as an avant sense of structure and percussion, they have been able to craft emotions very well deserving of the album title. On their song “Denizens Of The Slopes”, singer Matthew Oden’s sole lyrics even warn the listener “ Don’t travel for new landscapes, travel for new eyes – for songs that sing you past the end, that fill holes in the sky. Sing for new eyes”. With the album being mixed (and partially engineered) by Thrice’s Teppei Teranishi, both the band and himself seem to be pulling from the others strong suits to create a sonically dynamic atmosphere, ala Takk… era Sigur Ros . Expect to hear a lot more from them in 2011, but for now visit their website for information.

Do They Have Souls? I Dont Know by Other Mountains

Nada Alic

NewVillager “LightHouse”

Check out this stunning video from NewVillager for “LightHouse”. It’s a welcomed revisit to the artistry of music videos. All too often they’re splicing up old home videos, and all of it starts to look the same. But NewVillager so intricately depicts a sort-of dream like state that is both inspiring and terrifying. They’re a Brooklyn-based artist collective that play with perspective, shapes and video effects in such a way that spark your imagination from it’s sleep. It reminds of me of it’s broadway shop of hodge-podge characters resembling the Wizard of Oz, The Lion King and Willy Wonka all at once. The song creates a striking atmosphere for it as well, just lovely.

Hey friends,

As you may know, I work for the incredible organization- Invisible Children. I recently posted the video on our Congo campaign. For those of you who don’t know- real quick, we work towards ending Africa’s longest running war, and focus on the rescue and rehabilitation for child soldiers. We’re apart of a radically new and transformative campaign to end violence in the Congo where we have implemented a program called the “Invisible Children Protection Plan” to protect civilians from the brutal violence of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). All I need is $25, in preparation for our national event on April 25th where thousands of us have pledged to stay silent for 25 hours to speak out (by not speaking) against the 25 year long war. If you’re interested in helping me reach my (totally reasonable) goal- click on the link below. Check out my fundraising page HERE for more info. Thanks guys!


This is the showcase of my dreams. First of all, you’ve got Jordan and Jimmy, two incredible dudes who know more than anyone could know about music, and combined, they’re a power couple, can I say that? Anyway, really looking forward to this one, the lineup is incredible, as expected. Can’t wait to meet/hang with these dudes, Jordan will be playing for us under Mutual Benefit, and Jimmy will be hanging out (where the babes are).

Get on their Kickstarter to help them make this happen.

Oh, and in other wonderful news- Mutual Benefit has a new album out that you can listen to HERE

The Details:
2401 E 6th St (Behind Hot Mama’s Espresso)
3/17/2011 // 1 – 8pm // Facebook


Mutual Benefit: Birdwatcher

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Nada Alic

Landon Speers: Eyes+Ears Vol.03

This is my friend Landon Speers, let me tell you a few things about him. I met him last summer as my best friend Ross’ new roommate in Toronto, we immediately became good pals and I dragged him out to shows he didn’t care about, I’d frequently sleep on their futon and he’d throw blankets on me. Some of my best times in Toronto were sitting on their balcony talking about weird shit. I really fucking miss those dudes. Anyway, look at him now! He’s got a short vid on his life and everything.

Landon is extraordinarily talented;  he travelled to Toronto from the middle of nowhere Canada [see:Edmonton] and hustled his way to create quite a name for himself both as a photographer and musician. I continue to be impressed by whatever went on in that room during his creative process, and all the cool stuff he pumps out regularly. You guys seriously need to check out his website- it’s got some great stuff from his friends in bands like GOBBLE GOBBLE and Braids. Check out his musical project Headaches HERE too.

EYES+EARS is a series of motion-based environmental portraits of artists, musicians and other creative types.

Nada Alic

Kurt Vile “Smoke Ring for my Halo”

I’ve been listening to the new Kurt Vile record “Smoke Ring for my Halo” for the passed week (it’s out March 8th on Matador) and follows the same patterns, the inflections in his voice, the gentle acoustics, his trademark strangeness of psychedellic folk that’s a familiar comfort. Like a man who’s throat is tired so he won’t project, he’ll just sing softly enough to tell you a story. His meditations on society and love are not of this time, but perfectly suited for it. A tension between freedom and the modern man. Really into this record.

Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever by themightyhealthy

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