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Archive for June, 2011

Nada Alic

Wu Tang + Fugazi = Wugazi

This is too incredible not to post. Yesterday, I came across the new mashup track from Wugazi, a perfect collaboration between Fugazi and Wu Tang- as imagined by the Minneapolis hip hop collective Doomtree. This is pretty much the mashup of Kenny’s dreams. He played the track in the office about 12 times yesterday, probably more in secrecy when I told him to quit it.

It’s called 13 Chambers and it comes out July 13. Listen to “Sleep Rules Everything Around me” aaaand repeat.

Sleep Rules Everything Around Me by WUGAZI

Nada Alic

Tennis: “Is It True” Cover

Listen to this cover from Tennis of Brenda Lee’s 1964 song, “Is it True”. You can download it here for free. Tennis‘ Cape Dory is a record you’re going to want to listen to this summer, preferrably on a boat where the songs themselves were born.

Tennis- Is It True? (Brenda Lee Cover)

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Nada Alic

tUnE-YaRdS Review for NBC SoundDiego

photo: Nicolas Arias

tUnE-YaRdS’ two-month long tour ended on an impossibly high note at her final sold-out show, at Soda Bar on Sunday night, with openers, T.V Mike and the Scarecrows and Rafter.

Merrill Garbus’ notes were not only high but textured and animated, with an almost mathematical use of vocal loops and unchartered rhythms. Garbus is a professional noisemaker, her voice takes on personaes according to its fickle mood — she is Aretha Franklin, Bjork and Little Scream all at once, building audible collages with loop pedals and drums, backed by two saxophonists and an electric bass, making all of her layers handcrafted.

tUnE-YaRdS began the night with with “Gangsta,” off her latest record w h o k i l l via 4AD, outfitted in hot-pink tulle shoulders, face paint and danging fabric necklaces. This is all play for her. Her powerhouse vocals begin by emulating ambulance sirens, altering their course from whispers to shouts in an unpredictable rhythm that the audience studies to catch up with. This is how most of her songs begin. She creates them as she goes, with, first, sound effects, harmonizing with herself until the sound swells to a breaking point, when the layers subside and she leaves you with a lingering tone — often held for 30 seconds or more, to rousing cheers from the audience.

By her second song, “Es-So,” the room reached unbearable temperatures, and the crowd began wiping brows in between clever lines from Garbus: “I gotta do right if my body’s tight, right?” This track moves to a waltz pace, slow enough for a hip-hop sway, to indecipherably sweet sounds that aren’t quite words but cascading syllables. When she sings, “Kakaka, kokoko,” we begin to understand her music to be more than nonsensical baby-speak. It’s a visceral experience dependent entirely on sounds. This continued on the next song, “Powa,” a sultry, slow jazz tempo that widens into a full-bellied second verse that invites a gorgeous breakdown, building into fierce volumes and holding notes long after the crowd could whistle and holler for more. She responded, “Now that I hit that note, can I get some whiskey?”

She continued with a frantic dance, switching from shrills to delicate whispers; with primitive yodelling and African soul — her voice is elastic, taking us through genres both made up and borrowed. Each harmony had a sophistocated nuance, not quite on the beat but used as foreshadowing to be used at a later time.

After Bizness,” an audience member shouted, “You’re the best thing since …” and another filled in, “ever!” She graciously accepted and asked the audience members to tell her about themselves as she took some time to breathe. She then went on to say she has a dream job, flirtatiously thanking the audience for letting her have it. Then, Garbus suggested a 200-person group hug post-show. Crowd members warned that it might get a little sweaty, to which she assured them, “You think you’re sweaty? I haven’t washed this dress all tour!”

What was palpable as the temperature rose in the room was that this was a celebratory show. She seemed more unrestrained than ever, finely tuned after honing her craft on the road — a well-oiled vocal machine that was prepared to shed whatever residual energy that remained in order to leave it all there for us in that room. She returned after a rowdy demand for an encore, to which she jokingly responded, “We had nowhere else to go except for the ladies’ bathroom.”

Source: tUnE-YaRdS Ends on a High Note | NBC San Diego

Nada Alic

Soda Bar: Shows to Catch Next Week

Soda Bar is one of my favorite venues in San Diego- and I feel like I’m there every other night. And for good reason- I’ve caught some of my absolute favorite artists there- Sharon Van Etten, Little Scream, tUnE-YaRdS, and a ton more. I’ll be spending the better part of my summer there I’m sure, but here are two picks for next week that I think you should check out!

Class Actress, aka- Elizabeth Harper will be at Soda Bar on July 5th in support of her debut record “Rapprocher” off Carpark. It’s all that 80s electro-synth and french innuendo title (it means: come closer) will make you fall in love with her.

Tue July 5th @ Soda Bar
Class Actress, Freddy Cougar, Vegan Flytrap + DJ Meth Combz
9pm / $8
tickets HERE
Class Actress- Keep You

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One of my favorite San Francisco folk- pop acts, Sonny & the Sunsets are playing Soda Bar on July 7th! I’ve been loving their newest record “Hit After Hit” off Fat Possum. This band has been an office favorite, I think “Too Young To Burn” has been one of our most overplayed songs of last year. And we still love it. Sonny’s got that sweetness of that sixties AM sound, the kind of stuff you’re going to want to listen to lakeside, or in this case- up close and personal at Soda Bar on July 7th. See you there!


Thu July 7th @ Soda Bar
Sonny & the Sunsets, Wounded Lion, Plateaus + DJ Mario Orduno
9pm / $10
tickets HERE
Sonny and the Sunset- I Wanna Do It

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Our latest release from the Silver Series: Lesands. Our friends from San Diego who filled in last minute after a cancel, and ended up being one of our favorite acts!

“Despite never performing acoustically they arrived excited to help. Founder of the band Austin Tirado bee-lined for a beautiful spot under a near-by bridge while his drummer at the time, Joel Plotnik, found a discarded box and immediately improvised it into his drum kit.

This unintentional performance became my favorite when the sun accidentally caught my lens creating an ethereal ambiance and consequently transforming this dirty underground river into the perfect complimentary setting for the song “Pretenders”. In the end, everything lined up better than we could have ever planned and it was magic.” – Kenny

Also, real quick- thanks to Jeff at BOOOOOOOM, our favorite art blog out of Vancouver, for posting about our Silver Series! We love you, so.

Nada Alic

New Track From Mountain Man: Vision

New track from Mountain Man. You might remember these girls from our December Benefit show. I was recently at Thao and Mirah and noticed that Amelia of Mountain Man also plays in a band called BOBBY- who was also pretty amazing.  This song was recorded for NPR’s Songs + Stories series inspired by the death of hundreds of songbirds in Baudette Minnesota. Read about it here.

Mountain Man- Vision

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Gillian Welch‘s latest record, “The Harrow and The Harvest” is out today, as her fifth studio recording. She and Dave Rawlings are storytellers, she sings as a heroine- quiet, and bruised. But still as strong and rustic as one of my favorite records, Revelator. These songs, however are elegantly minimalist efforts. They still have that twang of Americana, that mournful Southern folk. The Way It Goes sings the way my mother would say it, ‘well that’s just how it goes’ and what are you going to do? People grow up and have kids and the whole bit and it just keeps going. It’s sort of a surrender, a beautiful one at that.

Gillian Welch-The Way It Goes

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My friends over at Sezio are putting on a very cool event this Saturday called “Festivus Quietus” where artists would be performing acoustic sets throughout the Habitat House.

The lineup featuring Peter and the Wolf, Sean Bonnette of Andrew Jackson Jihad and Twin Brother from Las Vegas will perform along with San Diegans Rafter, Dirty Gold, Drew Andrews, Maren Parusel, Falling Trees and John Meeks.The house has limited capacity, so get there early and grab a spot- otherwise you’ll be sharing bum-space on a couch corner.

Did I mention it was free? They also promise barbeque, beers and babes. Go to Habitat House‘s website to get updates on everything that happens in that wonderful little Golden Hills house.

Hey San Diego friends! I want to invite you to a free event hosted by NBC SoundDiego this Thursday at House of Blues. Yes, free food and drinks. That means free. I’ll be there, interviewing Republic of Letters, while taking advantage of anything free. RSVP HERE and see you there!

I caught up with the San Francisco duo Thao & Mirah the night before their June 21 Casbah show with Bobbi and Led to Sea.We walked around Little Italy discussing the project.

“It’s almost a miracle that this project was able to happen between myself, Thao and Merril [of tUnE-YaRdS, who co-produced the record], because our schedules are nuts,” Mirah said. “It took us three months of trying to find a time when we were both in San Francisco to have dinner and to meet each other.”

Thao Nguyen is best known as the frontwoman for the Get Down Stay DownMirah, whose full name is Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, is an acclaimed Bay area solo artist. The two came together for a one-off performance at Noise Pop 2010, fulfilling a dream of their mutual friend Lauren Ross at Terrorbird Media, who had the impressive forethought to combine the force of the duo with Merril Garbus of tUnE-YaRdS so they could work on a record that Ross envisioned as a response to Monsters of Folk.

Rather than a supergroup, the pair see it as “friends getting together to make a pressure-free record” Thao said. With only a month to record, Mirah said she felt the pressure in other ways, joking, “It’s interesting to me that you say ‘pressure-free’; I’ve never written and recorded an album that fast in my life!” For her part, Thao said she found finds familiarity in the rush.

“That’s the only way it’s ever been — you know, I had a month to tour it and to write it, 10 days in the studio,” Thao said. “I think it’s pretty bad for my blood pressure!”

The result was an ambitious effort to thread folk and pop with Mirah’s breathy falsetto and Thao’s throaty twang, all to a rhythmic pulse of clicks and hand claps, guitar plucks and slides. Mirah’s versatile vocals shifts from sultry jazz groove to sweetened harmonies with Thao’s milky tone, who at one point conversationally — and deliberately — teases, “Put your hand, down your pants.”
In anticipation of making the record, the two made personal calls to the first 200 people who purchased the record. It proved to be an entertaining experiment.
“Everyone was super sweet,” Thao said. “There’s only so much you can say to a stranger, so it’s pretty much, ‘Thank you so much … uhh, OK,’ and maybe squeeze out a joke. It was nice when they were excited.”
Mirah’s experience was a little different.
“I had a couple of awkward ones,” she said. “I had one girl who was the kind of excited like when you’re watching The Price is Right and the person wins and they’re freaking out. A couple people were very suspicious of who I was, and they were kind of yelling at me, and then they figured it out, and they were very embarrassed. It was funny.”
Before the record was even made, the women knew they wanted to get involved with the organization Air Traffic Control (ATC), which teams artists up with social causes. After attending several ATC retreats, they decided this tour would serve to help shed light on domestic violence.
“They’re an amazing resource for that, so we decided that the tour and the release would support causes within domestic violence, and childhood sexual abuse, and part of that is every city that we go to,”  Thao said.
Mirah explains the added value: “It’s an opportunity to bring issues to the table — OK, here we’re playing a rock show, but every time we talk about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and even just to bring that into the room, I think is really important for people, and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from audience members, and they’re really grateful that there’s a reason why we’re all there.”

There is something impossibly cool about the two of them; as they took the stage on Tuesday night, Thao shouted from behind a mess of black bangs, stomping in cowboy boots, while Mirah, in patterned tights, strummed on a guitar and tip-toed to the mike. They ended the night with a rousing performance with the help of their band, and, of course, some participatory audience hand claps.

Source: On a First-Name Basis With Thao & Mirah | NBC San Diego


Thao & Mirah- Eleven (ft tUnE-YaRdS)

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