Friends With Both Arms » 2011 » September

Archive for September, 2011

Nada Alic

A.A Bondy — Believers

I’ve been meaning to catch up all the records I’ve been listening to throughout this past month, I probably wont get to all of them, Sept is way too musically dense of a month for me… Plus I had to throw moving across country into the mix- now everything is out of order, especially my schedule. But the sombre shift of the season calls for sad songs, and the fitting return of A.A Bondy.

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The new A.A Bondy record has been highly anticipated for sometime now, and I’d go so far as to argue that A.A Bondy may quite possibly be the saddest man in the world. His latest record “Believers” is a continuation of American Hearts and When the Devil’s Loose: a lonesome man with only flickers of hope but mostly wading through the deep tragedy of being alive. His spooky rusted vocals feel like he’s on the edge of it all, rubbing his temples and shaking his head. And it’s all so wildly attractive, like music for the aching heart.

It’s obvious why A.A Bondy has built a loyal fanbase of equally heartbroken folk that yearn for the softened whistle of a harmonica, and a man alone with his guitar. That, or his perhaps strategic name beginning with A.A perfectly fit for an iTunes library, as he rests on the top of nearly all of our libraries. In plain view, waiting for the day we accidentally press play, or are in need of a good cry.

There’s a minor shift in Believers that suggests some light ahead. The songs all continue on in their sombre key, but it’s fuller. Less of his signature man-with-guitar sound, but more of a full band. There’s still despair, (the album cover is a man walking alone on the side of a highway at night) but Believers seems to be holding onto something. Having some kind of faith. It’s all the warm Americana we could expect from Bondy, but more atmospheric and peaceful. It’s the moment just before sleep, where you’re half awake and nearly dreaming. His music is found in that introspection.

A.A Bondy- Surfer King

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Nada Alic

Dum Dum Girls — Only in Dreams

I’d previously written off Dum Dum Girls as California lo-fi girl group that was riding the wave of the quickly expiring sound of 50s-meets-punk nostalgia that bands like Best Coast, Vivian Girls and to a lesser extent, Camera Obscura had gone. (Although, I’m still a big fan of Camera Obscura). With tracks like Jail-La-La, I didn’t know how much the band was able to grow musically, outside of the realm of rebellious teenage angst. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the release of their latest LP “Only in Dreams”. Frontwoman “Dee Dee” is more confident than ever, no longer hiding behind all the distortion, the band has matured into hi-fi territory, with a more polished, produced sound- with Dee Dee’s voice more prominent than ever.

A few things influenced this transition- Dee Dee’s mother (the face of her last two records) had passed away tragically after losing her battle with cancer, so this record is ripe with emotions of loss and heartache, best heard in tracks like “Hold Your Hand”. It was also influenced by the separation anxiety she felt from being away from husband Brandon Welchez (member of the band Crocodiles). Despite these growing pains, there is still that carefree element of that “girls just want to have fun”  kind of vibe. The wider territory covered with this record is still largely pop, with clap tracks, repetition, and song titles like, “Bedroom Eyes” and “Teardrops On My Pillow” the girls haven’t entirely shed their love for the teenage artifacts of decades-passed. They’re playing the next two nights at the Casbah, conveniently with San Diego’s Crocodiles. Go check them out!

Dum Dum Girls- Bedroom Eyes

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Nada Alic

Cate Le Bon “Puts Me to Work”

Wonderful news! Cate le Bon is back, and she’s just released a new track called “Puts Me to Work” off her upcoming LP: CYRK. She’s also scored an opening slot on the St. Vincent tour — they’ll be playing two nights at the McGuire in Minneapolis beginning this Sunday. Dang, I left at the wrong time! Enjoy the track, it’s a little more upbeat than her usual stuff.

Some people look into accredited online colleges when they want to delve deeper into their love for music with classes.

Cate Le Bon- Puts Me to Work

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Nada Alic

Silver Series // Holy Spirits

Oh shoot! New video from the Silver Series! Kenny edited this one by Holy Spirits, one of our collective favorites from the week. They were adventurous enough to perform in a sewer drain/cave type thing, underneath the bridge. The acoustics fit the band’s haunting sound perfectly. Their minimalistic approach with harmonies and handclaps is stunning. It fills the space with a reverberating sound that echoed throughout.

They continued the show with another impromptu set for their legions of friends/fans in an empty swimming pool right after. They’re one of the nicest bands we’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. They’ve recently signed up for the Musician Coalition, and if you don’t know what that is, you’ve gotta check out this video right here. Dozens of bands will sign up to pledge a fundraising goal to raise money for radio towers in the Congo. Great job, guys!

I had the opportunity to go where most girls have never gone before: inside the Peter Wolf Crier van to kick off their 2011 fall tour with Milagres. The tour began with their cd release at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, where I continued with Peter, Brian and Kyle to Chicago and Boston with what was just a glimpse of their lengthy upcoming tour that will cross both coasts in the coming months. Most of the time was spent in the van eating through care packages filled with the likes of homemade dried fruits, apples (including the core), wasabi trail mix, IZZE soda, beef jerky, starburst, chex mix, cliff bars and bananas (take note! they’re running out). Which they’ve been offsetting with push-ups.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about Peter Wolf Crier this past week it’s that they’re certainly one of the most hard working, well-mannered touring bands out there. Despite alarmingly chronic sleep depravation- their live set is uncompromised, and sharper than ever. Garden of Arms has taken them to new realms as performers, watching the dynamic between the trio is almost as exciting as listening to them, with full use of all of their limbs they manage to fill rooms with a sound that builds and swells with each song, and bass tones you can feel reverberate inside your chest. It’s a really beautiful thing that unfolds in front of a crowd every night.  I brought along a few disposables to share with you. They’ll be out for a while so if you haven’t caught them yet, chances are they’re coming through your town.

outside WERS Radio in Boston (Emerson College)



guy in the back seemed super into it.

Schubas basement/greenroom in Chicago

so sweepy.


Sleepover show in a parking lot in Boston.



Nada Alic

Nada’s 25th Birthday Mix

It’s my birthday, and to celebrate — I’ll be on the road with Peter Wolf Crier! Every girl’s dream, right? I’ll be out for the week taking photos and sustaining myself on Cheez-its, until I head back to Toronto. In the meantime, I wanted to share a little birthday mix with you, it includes some of the artists I’ve been into this season. And man, it’s been a great season for new releases. If this birthday is anything like my last, I’ll be totally satisfied. Hope you enjoy!


Television- You Won’t
Cayucas – Oregon Bike Trails
The Creature- Kurt Vile
Born Alone- Wilco
Fleeced- ARMS
Green Aisles- Real Estate
The Animal of Choice- The Daredevil Christopher Wright
A Funeral Dressed as a Birthday- We Are the Willows
Some Love- A Lull
Clownin Around- Deer Tick
Surfer King- A.A Bondy
Ghost Towns- Radical Face
Haunt You- Peter Wolf Crier
Kill the Horns- Megafaun
Again- Family Band
Dileattante- St. Vincent
Row of Houses- Dan Mangan
Woe Be- Feist
Hey Gurl- The Group Sound
Lower Mind- Amen Dunes
Engine- Neutral Milk Hotel
Te Amo- Atlas Sound

Download Here

Nada Alic

Laura Gibson Signs to Barsuk

I’d been meaning to write about Laura Gibson for some time now, and I recently got word that she’s just been signed to Barsuk for her upcoming third record- one of my favorite independent record labels. This is a perfect match, Gibson is a folk artist from Portland whose got a fragile voice, its quivers and soars gently. You can watch her performing a new called Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed below. She’s got this elegance that’s really understated- I’m excited to hear more from her soon.

Laura Gibson- Come By Storm

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Nada Alic

Amen Dunes — Through Donkey Jaw

I keep hearing about Amen Dunes– so I decided to look into it a bit more, turns out its a solo project of Damon McMahon who started recording back in 2006 in upstate NY. He then moved to Beijing where he sparsely wrote and recorded songs that ended up on an EP called Murder Dull Mind. He returned and started touring in the US around 09-10 and recorded his LP “Through Donkey Jaw” which is apparently the “winter” to Murder Dull Mind’s summer.

It’s a psych-folk project that really sounds nostalgic, it’s got that recorded-to-tape sound, especially evident in his vocals. It’s vintage and beautiful, and a little bit dark. The EP is definitely worth checking out. I’ve just gotten started on Through Donkey Jaw and it definitely sounds more thorough than the last record. You can pick up a copy for yourself here.

Amen Dunes- Lower Mind

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Nada Alic

You Won’t :: Television

I recently came across the song “Television” by You Won’t via I Guess I’m Floating. For how simple it is, it’s so incredible catchy. Filled with phrases like, “this too shall pass” and “it always ends the same” it’s both comforting in a little sad. It’s that good kind of cheesy, with just a little piano, and handclaps- this is the kind of song you’ll be singing along to in no time, mostly because it repeats the same words throughout.

You Won’t – Television

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Nada Alic

New Music: A Lull

I recently came across a Chicago band called A Lull thanks to Indie Music Filter. They’ve got that multi-harmony/electronic vibe that reminds of Yeasayer or the Naked and Famous. When looking them up some more I found their Daytrotter session where the frontman Nigel Dennis talks about “Some Love” as a song about heartache- how it’s more than just deep thought.

A Lull takes matters of human complexities and disguises it by crafting feel-good pop songs. It’s not simply masking it, as Moeller so fantastically puts it, “Dennis is singing about the frustration of our worth, or our perceived worth. There are heads and legs being smashed on the ground — the self-propelled and those being dropped from many stories above, thrown out of windows like garbage sacks to the alleyway — and then there is a wall of sonic ocean that feels like a mountainous cleansing. We aren’t done yet. There’s more heartbreak out there to be had and we think we can beat it, but then again, our ways aren’t sound.”

Their record is called “Confetti” which is fitting imagery for a band like this. Their layers cascade like bits of colored paper. They recently released “Confetti Reprise” EP via Mush Records which includes songs that didn’t make the cut on the record.

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