Monthly Archives: February 2012
In keeping with this recent theme of music videos, Bon Iver released his music video for “Towers” off of his most recent album yesterday. The video features an bearded old man on a strange quest leading him to the sea and some surreal occurrences. The cinematography is also beautiful (definitely watch this one in HD). Check out the video above and if you haven’t already, give Bon Iver a listen.
Willis Earl Beal is a mysterious musician, unknown to almost all, but only by choice. If the tale is true, Willis, a Chicago native, never promoted himself, other than subliminal posters and demos that he personally placed around his city looking for unsuspecting fans in his own very grassroots campaign. In a time where bands are made on the internet through myspace, bandcamp and facebook self-promotion, Beal worked his way up via asking people to call him in return for him singing a personal song or write him for a personalized drawing. Somehow this technique caught the ears of some XL Records execs and signed him up. Without any major public performances or published music to date, Beal has caught some buzz, with only a few youtube videos (released by his record label). Sounding like a modern Eliott Smith in his song, “Evening’s Kiss”, his lyrics and voice are emotional and poetic, but yet this is not his only style. This man has soul and can really sing. Check him out for yourself and read the Pigeons and Planes’ Interview “The Time I Called Willis Earl Beal” for an interesting look into the mind of this rising musician. - D. Gold
Spring break my junior year, I went to a concert in a church with an amazing line up. But what really caught my attention was the opening act: Robert Francis. His voice echoed through stone walls as he strained to give the performance all he had and his band’s noisy yet precise instruments washed over the crowd. In short, he left a strong impression on me. I immediately purchased both of his albums and they remain in my top 10 most played albums on my iTunes. But sadly, for the past 3 years Francis has been pretty much off the radar. At least until now. As of last week, Robert Francis released the first single off of his upcoming album Strangers In The First Place set for release May 22. This is his frist release on Vanguard Records (he was previously on Atlantic) and with a new label comes a new sound. On the single “Some Things Never Change” Francis opens up the song in his normal fashion with a quiet resonating voice and guitar to match. But the song quickly moves in a new direction as he reaches the chorus. While the song retains the same passion, lyrical precision and even the same instruments, the song sounds a little less bitter and a bit warmer. A little less indie boy from the rough and wild outdoors and more like he’s cruising down a California beach at sunset. And let me tell you, it’a a beautiful image. But that doesn’t mean that Francis has lost his original style. In the acoustic session Boulevard Studios, Robert Francis strips down the song and really shows of his chops. Check out it above and be sure to download the single from his website (ignore the furry creature on his head).
It’s hard to put a finger on this Chicago Indie band. They’re the unique creation of frontman/guitarist Alex Longoria and their songs range from electronic synth pop to rock to summery love songs. Recently, they released a 6 track EP titled Mimic which is filled with all sorts of surprises, twists and turns. The first three songs, seem to embody a strange mix of The Cure with the Dream pop sounds of Beach House, while the second half has a rockier edge and Alex’s voice truly shines. All around, the EP is a stunning DIY effort considering the variety of sounds and instruments. I’d be interested to hear what this band would sound like with the high-end production of a major labor. For a taste of this chameleon group, check out the title track below and look for more from Cold Blue Kid down the road.
Cold Blue Kid – Mimic:
Last night, L.Jones sent me a live recording of Ella Fitzgerald performing Summertime in 1958. While starting off harmonious and tranquil, the track gains attitude and cynicism over time, until Fitzgerald flat out rejects lyrics of the original. I definitely recommend this fantastic live performance of a classic.
Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald
Unless you religiously check, J. Tillman, previously of Fleet Foxes fame and now known as the solo act, Father John Misty’s, tumbler page, you might have let this one slip for a few more days. But apparently his new album, Fear Fun, leaked to the internet and Tillman himself helped out the fans and posted a link to stream the whole album on GrooveShark. (Good call, man.) If you’ve enjoyed Fleet Foxes or really any folk music in the past, I strongly suggest checking out the album before it comes out in stores on March 1. Enjoy. – D. Gold
Today, 4AD and Jagjaguwar released a very special session of Justin Vernon and S. Carey performing some of Bon Iver’s best songs as well as a cover. This is a must see for any Bon Iver fan. In this session at AIR studio’s, the duo try to strip down the songs Vernon now plays with a massive band into mostly piano and voice. It’s beautiful to say the least. Check out the video above. It’s long, but it’s definitely worth it.
“Every night we all go home to a house we never owned, every day we are tired, we’ve been worked to the bone.”
Recently, one of my friends turned me on to the beautiful melodies that are Horse Feathers. Their previous album, Thistled Spring, had me listening on repeat to the soft folk sounds of guitar banjo and strings over and over again. Now they’re preparing to come out with a new album, Cynic’s New Year, in April and I couldn’t be more excited. For this blogger, Horse Feathers sound like spring. But it’s not the spring you’re used to, but rather a hard spring. It’s all the rainy, cloudy, bad days that you forget about amongst the warm spring weather and the blooming flowers. ”Fit Agaisnt the Country,” the first single on the new album, exemplifies this attitude. Justin Ringle sings of hard work and little pay as violins ring out in cries of agreement and whispered harmonies hum below Ringle in quiet concurrence. And it’s already reaching a dangerously high number of repeats on my iTunes. Check out the single below and be sure to download it for free on their website.
I first started listening to Devin Therriault a couple years back (at the time his band went by Devin and the Lil Angels) when I first came to Vassar… he’s a friend of a friend kind. ANYWAYS he’s gaining momentum in Brooklyn, and has a record deal in the works last I heard. This dude is going to be BIG SHIT, take it from me kids. He plays a sexy guitar with a 50s mod vibe (AWESOME).
- J the Destroyer
I Don’t Think I – Devin Therriault
French Montana, the Moroccan-born New York City coke-rapper, has been getting more and more buzz recently in the rap scene. After years of releasing “street albums” (aka mixtapes) under the names, Coke Wave, Mac Wit Da Cheese, Coke Boys, and various other derivatives of the previous, French has switched labels from Akon’s Konvict Muzik to Diddy’s Bad Boy Records under Interscope. With this big change, French has been hitting up the features recently with most notably the Drake-Common diss track, “Stay Schemin”, off Rick Ross’s most recent mixtape, Rich Forever. French has also dropped 2 singles, one being a song called “Shot Caller”, produced by Harry Fraud, who provides the song with one of the nicest beats I’ve heard in a while. While French Montana has never been called anyone’s favorite rapper (sorry…) or truly applauded for his lyricism, his smooth flow and slurred vocals provides his music with an easy-going mobster don demeanor.