Friends With Both Arms » 2012 » April


Archive for April, 2012

Bowerbirds put on one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and I was lucky enough to get to interview them for NBC SoundDiego – so when I found out that they did a North Shore Session in collab with MPLS.TV I was pretty stoked. And it was nothing short of beautiful. In a hollowed out building they sang Overcome with Light and Brave World. The simplicity of Overcome with Light filled the room with vocal harmonies and sparse guitar arrangements. It gave me the shivers. They continued on with Brave World – sitting at keys and a drum machine, growing with the addition of a cello. It was a really special performance. Watch, above.

Nada Alic

St Vincent – Grot/Krokodil

A lot happens in a week – I was out in Vancouver for work and I came back to Toronto only to find out that music really does move on without you (sigh). From what I got caught up with, I was stoked to finally hear St. Vincent’s Record Store Day 7″ ft. two new tracks: Grot & Krokodil. Both are nothing like Strange Mercy. You could just tell that all of her stuff was just leading up to this moment, where she could just rock so hard, with a pulsing – almost hardcore – breakdown Grot is a powerful track. Backed by a repetitive melody, she sings in a lower, almost inaudible tone. I really don’t think St. Vincent could get any cooler at this point. She just needs to cool it now, I can’t handle this.

Listen, below.

St. Vincent – Grot

Nada Alic

Youth Lagoon – The Hunt

Beautiful video of Youth Lagoon’s The Hunt for Deer Lodge. There’s an enduring innocence to this one.

Nada Alic

Fidlar – No Ass

I have been wanting to write about the music Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk aka FIDLAR makes for a while but have found it hard to put into words – its more of a feeling. Mostly indecipherable lyrics spewed out in perfect punk melody, reminding me over and over that these days you’re only young twice.

“No Ass” mixes vocalists Elvis Kuehn and Zac Carper’s wails together in a unity that sounds like Nathan Williams got drunk at Dude Ranch while still expanding into an undiscovered thin slice of the punk rock pie that has yet to be perfected or even thoroughly tested by anyone else. One things for sure, everyone in LA wants these dudes to play their house party…

- Cameron Dmytryk

Fidlar – No Ass

Nada Alic

Radiation City – Winter Blind

Give a warm welcome to Cameron Dmytryk – a new contributor! He’s from LA, I dig his music picks, read more below! More coming from Cameron soon!

Upon first listen to Portlands own Radiation City one thing is clear; this isn’t your verse, pre-chorus, hook + repeat typical formula. These songs bloom and develop untraditionally, much like an independent film you leave not fully understanding, yet you cant help but feel revived and curious about the elements you may have missed.

“Winter Blind” starts with deep blurry arpeggiators accompanied by child-like building blocks and stabbing, interrupting toms. What it drives into is purely theatrical in the greatest sense of the word, evoking remembrance of early Arcade Fire and Spencer Krug back when his creativity was honed in and not splattered on every present canvas. Male vocalist Cameron Spies is deep within his own lyrics here while female vocalist Lizzy Ellison swirls vocal atmospherics through the tracks progressive timeline, plodding along through various thoughts of song without ever meandering, only picking up blocks of ultimate emotion to play with throughout, erupting into an explosive finale that circles back into those initial tom stabs. Blissful yet never comfortable.

- Cameron Dmytryk

Winter Blind by Radiation City

I received an email from Traffic Nightmare a while back that read, “My name is Kevin, I’m 20 and my tunes are mostly about death and Star Wars… I play guitar, banjo, bass, drums, ukulele, Fisher Price grand piano, and forks”. Needless to say, I was intrigued. And man… the tracks were so good! There’s something about his voice that sounds so young and good natured. The first track, “Strangers” is a minimal acoustic driven song with echoed vocals, a real bedroom recording, but for what it is it still sounds great. The other track is a Peter Bjorn and John cover of Young Folks. A song I hadn’t heard in a long while – but his version with a banjo is stunning. Listen, below.

Traffic Nightmare - Young Folks (PBJ Cover)

photo – Josh Goleman - Cat Martino + Sufjan Stevens 

“Brian Mctear with the other Weathervane cohorts have really created this template, you know, allowing artists to come in and really explore and play…I feel lucky.” – Cat Martino

As music sees it’s way through some necessary growing pains, authentic music communities are emerging as a way to support the new infrastructure of music, or as Shaking Through’s Brian McTear puts it, a “music ecosystem”. Weathervane – the non profit collective that nourishes the Shaking Through project started a few years ago with an idea to cultivate a community with musicians in their earliest phase – by giving them a platform through which they could see their own potential. Giving artists two days to work with a full crew in a real studio to make one song come to life. The result is stunning. A beautifully captured video that follows the process and growth of an artist that might just need a little love. I’ve been a huge fan of this project and always find incredible bands as new sessions roll in. To date, Shaking Through has arguably launched some of the careers of indie music’s most promising acts. Their most notable, and also their first, is Sharon Van Etten, as well as others like Twin Sister, Family Band and Faces on Film, not to mention their most recent session that premiered today, Cat Martino ft. Sufjan Stevens and Chris Powell from Man Man. I got the opportunity to that to Brian about the organization and the importance of institutions like Weathervane to keep artists engaged and encouraged. Continue Reading »

Nada Alic

Blithe Field – Warm Blood

In the Moonlight – Blithe Field from Mike Mytnick on Vimeo.

Check out the newest video from Blithe Field‘s In the Moonlight off his upcoming LP Warm Blood that came out April 12th via Poulpe Mort Records. I was reading through the press release sent to me (which I almost never do) just to get some background and I think whoever wrote it put it so lovely, “Blithe Field puts forward the white voice of childhood and the misty layers of a late afternoon drawing out. The songs are brief, there’s the urgency of great dreams but also of doing well. “Warm Blood” is a collection of folding travel hymns to take away, landscapes visible to one’s eyes shut that make you wanna stretch out and stare. At the ceiling, the sky, both together. There’s the bitterness but also the sugary – and perhaps a bit ingenuous – taste of a first kiss.”

That’s more flattery than laziness. Watch the video above and order the record here. 

Nada Alic

Grand Lake Islands – Wake of Waking

Brooklyn’s Grand Lake Islands sent me an email a while back and it was after a string of emails I was really charging through and I was so pleased to hear something so lovely. I’ll always love folk-rock, something about an acoustic guitar, harmonica, cello, harmonies – the whole bit, always seems to calm me down. Erik Emanuelson’s leading vocals sound fragile and honest, and eerily familiar. I highly suggest you give this one a listen. This is the kind of record you’ll want to hear on vinyl. Scratch that, I’d love to see this live, in my living room. Can we make that happen?

Nada Alic

Orchard Thief – Sensational Living

I found this band while digging around the blogosphere, so thanks to Smoke Don’t Smoke for sharing this one (Tim’s blog has got to be one of my alltime favourites). So many gems on there all the time. They’re called Orchard Thief from Minneapolis and I was really taken by their track, “Young Face in the Water” it’s got this beautiful minimal guitar melody with these ghostly vocals floating on top of them – you can’t make out the words but it sounds like the song is being hummed to, like a song stuck in your head that you can’t remember the lyrics to. It’s really beautiful. Listen below.

Orchard Thief – Young Face in the Water

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