Dec 30th, 2011
Archive for December, 2011
Dec 30th, 2011
Dec 29th, 2011
Seriously though, what? I need some ideas specific to the Greater Toronto Area. Thanks! Be safe, have fun!
Dec 29th, 2011
Immediately, the name suggest “me: man, me: build fire” hah, no? I, A Man are an Australian act, which you can totally hear in that pulsing rhythmic sound they have. There’s something really sharp about it, it resembles a lot of the artists Alex put on his infamous Australia Day mix over at Invisible Children. I just found out that their first show of 2012 will be with two Canadian favorites of mine: Yukon Blonde and Northcote (who contributed a mix to the mixtape series and is a friend of friends around here). Hope they make it to Toronto sometime soon!
Dec 28th, 2011
I finally got around to sifting through my FWBA inbox, and after reading through about 200 emails, I only found 2-3 artists that I was intrigued by. I don’t know whether that speaks more to the current state of music or the accessibility of the internet, or maybe my musical preferences have become narrow. I Am Oak was an artist that really caught me, his music is uncomplicated, unintrusive- which must be what I’m in the mood for. Too many elements to battle these days, y’know? The winter is reason enough for some gentler tunes.
Oasem is the band’s second record after extensive touring, it won album of the year in the Netherlands. As the bandcamp explains, “‘Oasem’ (pronounced like ‘awesome’) is a word in Dutch dialect for ‘breath’. On this album Thijs is cautiously exploring his place in the world by asking questions regarding our relationship to the elements and ancient nature.” It’s got this melancholy vibe, a little like That Ghost, Bombay Bicycle Club and James Blake- that lazy croon that requires little force, it’s just easy listening. Check it out here.
Dec 27th, 2011
Minneapolis’ Zoo Animal has released a streaming preview of their upcoming album, Departure, and boy am I excited. Frontwoman Holly Newsom is something else: her gauzy, textured vocals never seem to pass the point of a whisper, but she is no less dynamic. There are moments of silence too, lots of them- and they fill the spaces in the songs at equal measure with her minimalist guitar strumming and vocals. She sounds tired and weary, and it’s all romantic and mesmerizing in this lingering jazz structure of a song, floating and unpredictable, similar to Cat Power (but perhaps a few octaves higher). She moves slow and stealthy – in “Ghostly Arms” it’s almost spooky as she repeats, “I could feel the fire burning”. Listening to her record felt dense, like there’s this emotional heaviness in the sparesness. This is truly something beautiful. Listen below!
Zoo Animal’s CD release is on February 18th.
Dec 27th, 2011
Some things come my way that I feel like FWBA readers should know about- nearly all of that comes in the form of music, but today, it’s a book! My good friend Nick Stenson passed along a digital copy of his pal’s new book First World Problems: 101 Reasons Why the Terrorists Hate Us.
For anyone who’s used the phrase “First World Problems” before, this book is for you. I’m just waiting to see folks like myself discover it at Urban Outfitters and get pissy because they, of course, were the ones who invented that phrase. Where did it come from anyway?
Well, however it started, author Ben Nesvig certainly perfected it. His authority on Western middle class suffering is incredibly intimate and self-aware, he retells tragedies of receiving an insufficient amount of 25 cent wings, picking the wrong line to stand in at the check out, the perils of Costco, and my personal favorite, “Favorite Indie Band is Becoming Too Popular”
Here’s a little excerpt:
“One of my favorite indie bands, Peter Wolf Crier, is becoming too successful. They’ve been getting press, reviews in Pitchfork, The AV Club, and they were CD of the week at our local indie station, The Current. With their new album, they’ve bee generating a lot of press and even selling out shows.
This is horrible news.
No one needs to know about the sweet harmonies they create. Let’s just keep that a little secret between you and me… and whoever you tell because you probably can’t keep a secret. Don’t ruin this for me, society. You’ve done enough damage.
And step off, Seacrest”
Although it’s totally light humor, I think First World Problems speaks to something a little bigger. We’ve created this sort of complicated society that requires us to abide by social cues and nuances, but like domesticated animals, we’re navigating through a complex jungle, but we’re these delicate neurotic people that find it all insurmountable, just so UGH sometimes, y’know? If you’re seeking relief from the shame you experience after complaining that you’re starving when you ate three hours ago, this is your book. For those of you who don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry- there’s a downloadable version you can read on your computer, because I’m clearly POOR and don’t have a Kindle.
Dec 26th, 2011
Sondre Lerche‘s annual cover song for Stereogum was perhaps his best yet: Beyonce’s Countdown. It’s a minimalist acoustic take on the original, but with a considerable amount of sass. I wonder if he’s ever said, “my boo boo ridin’” before in his life. Probably. Read his note below:
This year, it’s officially a tradition: for the third time my annual Christmas gift to you is my humble solo acoustic version of someone else’s song; my favorite of the year, no less. In 2011 there was a tie between two incredible songs (“Changes” by Sandro Perri being the non-Beyoncé one), and both proved equally impossible to tackle or do justice to alone. But it’s what I do, and there are worse jobs, so I did it. I took the liberty of making some gender-oriented changes to the lyrics to better accommodate my macho-persona (although I wouldn’t dare tamper with Beyoncé’s appeal to all women to show their man they are the fliest simply by grinding “up on it girl, show him how you ride it”). That being said, the trick is to get passed the novelty-factor and just sing a beautiful song at the best of your abilities. Obviously, a significant part of this song’s appeal and ecstatic energy comes from the dizzying vocal performance and the mind-blowingly cool production work — elements and talents useless to even attempt replicating (especially not in my father in-law’s basement). But as long as there’s a song underneath, there’s a way. That’s how I operate. It’s what I do. Thanks for all the good times this year — and for listening. Happy Holidays, y’all.
Dec 24th, 2011
Dec 23rd, 2011
Welcome to FWBA’s best-of 2011. This has been such a meaningful year in music to me that it’s tough to represent in one post. I’m going to be honest, this took me quite a long time. I wanted to do this year justice because personally, it was a total dream: living in San Diego working with some of my favorite artists, going to SXSW and Lollapalooza, seeing Dave Bazan in stranger’s living rooms, Feist play a hometown show, saw tune-yards electrified show at Soda Bar clocking in as one of my favorite performances, watching Zach Rogue and my boyfriend playing in San Francisco together, The Shivers playing in Point Loma caves, Wye Oak playing on a swingset, Frightened Rabbit playing cornhole, Peter Wolf Crier on tour, Mike Fiore of Faces on Film making his first West Coast appearance to play my friend’s attic, and learning about my relationship to music and the world in a deeper context by sitting still with it.
This year brought about a creative vitality seen in the like of St. Vincent: the housewife of our dreams, vocal orchestration from the deranged (tune-yards) to the divine (Julianna Barwick), the peak of flannel-rock (Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Dawes) the indie/rap hybrid (A$AP Rock, BIG K.R.I.T, Freddie Gibbs) the resurrection of the spooky girl (Grimes, Zola Jesus, Austra) the inexplicable popularity of Bradford Cox’s brothafromanothamutha: Youth Lagoon, the return to Springsteen (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile) and the vital homecoming of our once dormant indie babe of the North: Feist. It’s been a good year. I’ve compiled a series of best-of lists below in an attempt to encapsulate it, dear diary-style. Enjoy!
BEST ALBUMS (in no particular order)
Dec 21st, 2011
My friends Kenny Laubbacher and Joel P West put together this video for Canines- music from the Sundance selection: I Am Not A Hipster, directed by my friend Destin Daniel Cretton ( I have friends, don’t even worry about it). The music is up for grabs here, and I suggest you watch the movie trailer here. Admit it, it’s your life story.