Archive | January, 2009

Good Tunes and Harsh Winds

31 Jan

© Sarah CassThe internet hates me.   It makes me fall in love with a new band everyday.  Today, my heart belongs to Lake.  Lake have recently released their 3rd album (12th if you include all their recorded full lengths with or without release) “Oh, The Places We’ll Go” on K recs. There is only one video of them that I can find on youtube and its crap quality, so I have nothing at the moment to share.  Except to say that you should take the extra second it takes to go here and listen to the song “blue ocean blue” off their new album.  If that don’t make you smile I don’t know what will.  Their bio sums it up better than I ever could:

“Listening to LAKE is like pouring sugar in your ears. They’ll turn your brain into chocolate, 67% cacao.”

Lake will be playing their next show on Feb 19th in Portland and will also be appearing at this year’s SXSW in march. 

 

In other news related to portland area musicians: Melanie Valera, of Tender Forever fame and past Favorite Things contributer, is trying to raise money to rebuild her parent’s home that was pretty well destroyed by a recent catastrophic wind storm in the south of France.  A total of four fir trees fell on the house and it’s in pretty bad shape.  For anyone interested in learning more or helping Melanie’s family out please visit her blog here

The House

Favorite Things: Casey of Ohbijou

30 Jan

ohbijouI am very, very excited about this.  Casey Mecija [second from the left], lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for the phenomenal band Ohbijou, has graciously contributed her list of favorite things to the site.  If you are unfamiliar with Ohbijou then I suggest you remedy that quickly and listen to their independently released “Swift Feet For Troubling Times”.  Give special attention to their song “The Woods” as it is one of the single best recordings I have ever heard.  After that lofty intro, here, without further ado, are Casey’s favorites:

book – Currently: Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
movie – Central Station
fictional character – Max Fischer, Margot Tenebaum
color –  Anything in the shades of Autumn
animal – Red Labrador, one in particular named Appleby.
food – Spaghetti
phobia – mold
word – plume
place – Santa Cruz, Paris France, Philidelphia,
article of clothing – Cardigan
musical term – Crescendo
childhood toy – Walkie Talkie
quote – Currently: “Geryon bent his neck over to one side, like a poppy that spoils its delicate shapes, shedding its petals all at once.”

Ohbijou are preparing to release their second album, Beacons, in April so keep an eye out.

Warpaint

29 Jan

© lauren dukoffRandom stumbling around on the internet has again yielded good results.  This time in the form of LA based band Warpaint.  Annoyingly, despite hints of a recent EP, they too do not have recorded material for me to devour.  They sound like the kind of band you would want to play at your gallery opening.  Bright tones, moody lyrics and artsy performances.  Their song “Billie Holiday” is a curious and surprisingly enjoyable tune.  On the livelier end of the sonic spectrum is their song “Elephants” of which the video below is a live recording.  While the quality of this video is not great it is the best quality audio of almost any song of theirs that I could find, so if you have to – open a tab, forget the visuals and listen.

Favorite Things: Lisa of Explode Into Colors

29 Jan

© Jesse RigginsI worked as a music director and manager of a rather defunct college radio station all through my stay in higher education.  While we never really got our little webzine running on all four wheels there was one feature I was particularly fond of.  As I was the one in charge of it, and they are not using it in my absence, I have decided to take it with me and make FF/RW its new home.  That feature is “Favorite Things“.  Now its really no big deal, in fact its uber dorky, but then that’s kind of how I like it.  The idea is simple, I send out a brief questionnaire to bands and musicians I like and see what they send back.  So here we go.

The first to respond to this new and improved version is drummer extraordinaire Lisa Schonberg (pictured above) of Explode Into Colors.   Lisa wanted me to make it very clear that her favorites are hers and hers alone, not of the band as a whole.  However, the band as a whole is very fond of burgers, and that is a tip you can take to the bank.

i have many favorites, these are just the first that came to mind – lisa 

fictional character: alice
color: green
animal: lion
poet: sam lohman
president/prime minister: teddy roosevelt [for establishing the national park system]
food: burger
phobia: heights
word: tight
place: tropical rain forest
article of clothing: wool flannel shirt
musical term: trambonie
childhood toy: my 26 barbies

Thank you so much Lisa!  If you’re in portland, live it up and go see Explode in Colors – cuz ya can!  Their next show is valentine’s day (feb 14th) @ Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.  And everyone should check out Lisa’s awesome “DIY Guide to Drums” on buyolympia.

Hercules and Love Affair

27 Jan

Warning:  This band has been known to cause impromptu dance sessions while alone in ones room, or seated on a chair.  So, so glad my shades were drawn. 

This is yet another one of those albums that I had apparently been inadvertently avoiding.  I saw the video for “You Belong” maybe six months ago, but failed to act despite the wonderful treatment.  Now that I finally do have the album I find myself compelled to listen to it almost every chance I get.  I am by no means a dance, club or house music expert, but I was immediately aware of and refreshed by the familiar era’s conjured in each of the albums 10 tracks.  Despite these allusions, of which there are many, it manages to avoid the pitfall of nostalgia.  Even the afore mentioned single, whose sound so clearly evokes dance music from the early 90’s, an era of music I found to be both hyper cliché and enchanting at the same time, is never a blatant rip.  It exists in its own time cleverly re-inventing the wheel.  

A fellow Colorado-an, Andrew Butler is the pulsing heart of the group.  His lyrics and music provide a playground for the listener.  Aside from being one of the best albums of recent memory, it is also one of the awesomely queer.  Each song detailing the journey for love and acceptance in the form of a wonderfully danceable anthem.  The phenomenal vocalists (Antony Hegarty, Kim Ann Foxman, and Nomi Ruiz) who bring the songs to life further clarify and expand this idea and, together, feel almost like the queer avengers of the dance floor.  It is perhaps for this reason I smiled when I saw that one of the genre descriptions listed for them in wikipedia is Dance-Punk.  

If you remain unconvinced that they are worth checking out please give the vid a gander.  And if you have the time, pitchfork has a really good review of the album that can be found here.

 

Collection Time

27 Jan

As it is the beginning of the month when all those lovely bills are due I am, how do you say, broke.  Attempting to feed my music habit by pilfering from my friends collections has its downsides when you are usually the source they go to for new tunes, not the other way around.  So here I sit, dreaming of my paycheck for those few albums I just can’t seem to find any other way.

As such, here are the top 3 albums I would buy right now if I had the cash:

An Horse – Rearrange Beds

An Horse

Holy hell their stuff is amazing and I want to memorize it all immediately.  I should have had this album ages ago and yet I am still without it.  

 

 

 

 

 

The Organ – Thieves

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Two and half years later and still I am pissed they broke up.  I’m not sure whether the release of more material after the fact is really fucked-up annoying or delightful but I still want to have it.  

 

 

 

 

The Acorn – Glory Hope Mountiain

Glory Hope Mountain

I’m not sure which I want more, their latest album or their apparently hard to track down EP with Ohbjiou.  Either way they fulfill the same urge for sophisticated, well composed pop that warms heart. 

 

 

 

 

As a get-to-next-pay-day bonus, here’s a rather funny clip of Kate from An Horse during a recent tour.

Explode Into Colors

25 Jan

Jesse RigginsPortland has come up with yet another reason to make me jealous.  They have Explode Into Colors and we don’t.  The nerve.  Not only are their note-worthy shows on the other side of the continent but they have no music for me to buy yet.  Though it is pretty awesome that all of their so-far-recorded material has been done on a 4 track tape recorder.  Also mixtape artwork is hard not to love.  But their Slits-esque rhythms and pitch perfect bass lines make it hard to be satisfied with only four songs.  In summation I want more, and I need the ability to listen to “Wooden Ghost” on my way to work.  Since I cannot yet have that, here is a video of them preforming it live.