January 27, 2010

A Look Back On The Music Year So Far...

First off, my measly blog posting output for this past month has been unacceptable - PERIOD. I promise you it will not happen again. While I have been absolutely swamped with work, it has only hindered my ability to inform you about music (these ramblings take far more time than it looks) and (fortunately for my sanity) not my ability to find it and listen. So this post is intended as an all-encompassing grab bag of all the exciting new music to have already dropped and the new music news about the very exciting 2010 music future. Here we go:

1. Favorite band of last year (Phoenix) covers favorite act of my youth (Bob Dylan): world collapses in on itself. Fortunately I survived my encounter with this tune. Thomas Mars channels a very convincing Dylan, staying very true to the original "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" off the beyond essential, Blonde on Blonde. From personal favorite "Visions of Johanna" to classics "Just Like a Woman" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" check out the original too - please. Phoenix - "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"

2. Animal Collective premiered their "visual album" at Sundance yesterday and have some screenings planned for NYC and Chicago in the next couple months (hopefully LA soon?). more info here: http://oddsac.com/. The 30 second teaser below is everything you would expect from an AC video: visually captivating and terrifying. Unfortunately not a lot of insight into the music in the teaser, but I was sold at "visual album".

3. Spoon's Transference came out last week and I have been listening to it non-stop. So hard to rank Spoon albums since all of them are truly fantastic, but they focus more here on textures with the same brilliant instrumental interplay. Britt's voice is as captivating and playful as ever on the melodies. Check out "Who Makes You Money" and "I Saw the Light" (especially the absolutely awesome piano solo / break starting at the 2 min mark). Best album of the year so far (a bit underwhelmed by the other big releases - Vamp Weekend, Beach House (though do check out "10 Mile Stereo" HERE which is an excellent track off a good album, and Surfer Blood).

4. Dirty Projectors weren't content to just rest of their laurels of "best of year" lists from nearly every publication or maybe just because of that they have given their fans a present. Single "Ascending Melody" (not featured on Bitte Orca, but from that session) has been released on their website for free: http://www.dirtyprojectors.net/. I like the single, but for me the highlight is the free b-side, "Emblem of the World". It is as simple as this band gets (or I would bet will get) - just a simple guitar strum, minimal drums and David Longstreth at his most harmonious.

5. I have already raved about Yeasayer's first single "Ampling Arp"; this single may just top that one. "One" - 80s disco infused good times. Free download here: http://www.yeasayer.net/. The rest of the album, Odd Blood, drops February 9th and it ain't too shabby, but these two are the absolute gems.

6. Check out this very cool video of El Perro De Mar joined by Lykke Li on an LA rooftop performing an acoustic version of "Change of Heart". Love this cover (and the original HERE). Check it out:

7. LASTLY, LCD Soundsystem and The National have new albums out this spring!!! The National are playing the Wiltern on May 22 and LCD Soundsystem as of now is playing Coachella on April 16th and hightailing for a European tour after that. More updates on these guys (and a massive Coachella primer posting) coming soon.

Not a bad start to the new decade...



January 19, 2010

Coachella 2010: It's Now Official


Hope to see you all there!



January 11, 2010

Coachella 2010: It's Fun To Dream

(Musical Nirvana)

So The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (known simply as Coachella) is set to hit the California desert for the 11th time the weekend of April 16th - 18th. The festival is absolutely epic and has a storied history of acts from big-time reunions (Pixies back in 2004, Rage Against The Machine and Jesus and the Mary Chain) to rock legends (Paul McCartney) to most importantly (in my humble opinion) the best acts in indie, electronic and (for the most part) hip-hop today PERIOD. The festival typically reveals its lineup by the end of January, but speculation on the acts begins much earlier and is all part of the fun. I have been monitoring the lists of "confirmed" acts which means they are either fully confirmed or more likely they have a conspicuous hole in their touring schedule conveniently around the 16th-18th and right near LA. I have scoured some of my favorite acts touring schedules as well to add to the list of potential acts. If this is anything close to the real list, this may just be my most anticipated one yet!

Selection of my favorite "confirmed" acts found on a number of fairly reliable sites:
The Big Pink
Hot Chip
Miike Snow
Vampire Weekend
The xx
Passion Pit

Selection of acts heavily rumored with new records dropping this year:
Dirty Projectors
LCD Soundsystem
Florence & The Machine
Little Boots

MY Added groups that have those odd and very intriguing schedule gaps from the 16th-18th:
Beach House
Washed Out (maybe? They are touring with Beach House just after the dates)
Panda Bear?
Thom Yorke? (Has been rumored and did just play The Eraser with a new band in LA just a few months ago / Unfortunately Radiohead is highly unlikely)
Arcade Fire? (Supposedly have a new album dropping this year)
Broken Bells? (Danger Mouse did debut Gnarles Barkley at the festival why not his new band with James Mercer from the Shins)

For those who have not gone - this is a must on any West Coaster's yearly itinerary. Can't wait for the full list in the next few weeks!!


January 4, 2010

Bon Iver's Humble Beginnings

(Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver)

Before there was Bon Iver, the new man/moniker that emerged from the northwoods of Wisconsin after months of seclusion, there was just Justin Vernon. Bon Iver (a reference to the French word bon hiver meaning "good winter") seemed to have produced a masterpiece, For Emma, Forever Ago, simply out of thin air in his father's cabin. Now with some insight into his earlier recordings, his previous album, Hazeltons (whole album available HERE), shows a lot of the promise that led to his brilliant "debut". "Hazelton" HERE, the title track off his previous album, believed to have only 100 copies in circulation, shows the foundation of everything that made For Emma, Forever Ago so incredibly moving - layered vocals, his captivating and incredibly emotive voice, the melancholy and simple guitar picking and his uncanny sense for melody (He has talked about how he started For Emma, Forever Ago with wordless melodies and then later found the words to fit within the melody). For those unfamiliar with Bon Iver, simply listen to "Skinny Love" (HERE with a few others off the album) once through and you will be hooked for good.

(Just outside my top 10 albums of the 00s)

Happy New Year!