Lianne La Havas - No Room For Doubt

I'm still alive.  Things got crazy for Grad School finals, and now I'm overseas for the holidays.  I'm hoping to get in the habit of posting again, and expect a top 10 list sometime soon.  

In the meantime, here's a live rendition of "No Room For Doubt", the first track from Lianne La Havas' fantastic debut EP Lost And Found from back in October: 


Fall Mixtape

The fall Mixtape is here!  A little late, but thats the nature of things these days.  With temps in the 60's last weekend in NYC, it was hard to fully embrace the fall mood.  Tracklist and download link after the jump.  If you like the music, buy the albums, all these tracks come from some of the best releases of 2011.  


Spem In Alium (The 40-Part Motet)

Janet Cardiff. The Forty Part Motet. 2001. Reworking of "Spem in Alium Nunquam habui"(1575), by Thomas Tallis. 40-track sound recording (14:00 minutes), 40 speakers. Dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in memory of Rolf Hoffmann. © 2011 MoMA PS1; photo: Matthew Septimus.    
Last weekend my roommate and I biked up to queens to visit MoMA PS1's Sept 11th exhibit.  One of the more moving experiences of the day was Janet Cardiff's The 40 Part Motet.  The piece features 40 speakers, each playing one of forty voices performing Thomas Tallis's "Spem In Alium".  As someone who knows little to nothing about this kind of music, I was absolutely floored.  Beyond the cool factor of wandering the room and experiencing different voices within the piece, the song itself is one of the more emotionally moving things I've heard.  Run through the lens of an afternoon spent pondering the relationship between art and 9/11 and you've got a real doosey on your hands.  Hard not to find yourself in a state of deeply emotional reflection.  But that's why I love music, and it's why as soon as I got home I bought a recording of "Spem In Alium" and have listened to it regularly since.  It has a way of stopping me in my tracks, and transporting me to another place entirely.  This kind of transportation is the reason I listen to music, the reason I spend hours each week scouring the internet for sounds, and the reason I'm willing to dedicate my life to working with music.  If you get a chance to check out the exhibit, I highly recommend it.  

The version I've been listening to is from The Winchester Cathedral Choir.  It's featured on 1001 Classical Recording To Hear Before You Die.  Looks like I've got 1000 to go.  

Turn it up to 11.  Or just go to PS1 before 1/9/12.
Here's a video of Cardiff's piece when it was featured at Opera North in Leeds. 

Things I saw on the street today

Went for a little walkabout to the east of my apt to the wild country known as "Bushwick".  Saw some stuff, took some pics.  

More after the jump


Daughter - Medicine / Wild Heart [EP]

This ones a stunner.  Perfect for the ever shorter days of November.
Daughter - 'Medicine' (Taken from 'The Wild Youth' EP) by ohDaughter
I highly recommend this 4 track EP, it's only 3 Euro ($4 and change?), and worth every penny.  Amazing songs about longing, regret, breakups, all set over sparse rythms and simple guitar lines.  Think the understated beauty of The XX, only more mature and with a shattered heart.


Wild Child - Pillow Talk

 She & Him eat your heart out.
Pillow Talk by WildChildSounds


Straddling the line between the indie-piano pop of Regina Spector, the soul pop of Adele, and a whole lotta Opera, meet Elizaveta.  Born in NYC, raised in Russia, she spent her teens in an Italian monastery, only to return to the states to study Opera.  Various influences emerge on what as a whole can be classified as a collection of 4 excellent pop songs that are just arty enough to captivate the imagination, just emotional enough to pull at the heart.
Listen to the whole EP bellow. It's all good, but Odi et Amo is the one that made me stop in my tracks a couple days ago.
Elizaveta EP by elizaveta   

aarabMUZIK Bowery Ballroom 10/31

Monday night I took a much needed break from paper writing and headed to Bowery Ballroom for the long sold out SBTRKT show.  I've been hearing murmurings about opener araabMUZIK for awhile, but really had no idea what to expect.  Kinda glad I waited, because I love surprises, and this guy fucking blew my mind.  I mean, he turned my brain into jello and then turned on the blender.  I have never gone so quickly from weird lonely awkward guy in the corner to dude jumping up and down, fist pumping with my meanest bass-face. 

The thing about seeing electronic producers live is you never really know what kind of a show your going to get.  Usually your at least guaranteed you'll hear some cool sounds played really loud.  But there's only so much stage presence and charisma you can squeeze out of a dude standing behind a laptop bopping his head, twisting knobs, ect.  What the fuck are you doing up there, I often wonder?  I don't want to get too cynical about it, because even if they're just pushing play, it can be a really good time to be in a room full of like-minded people listening to music you love, really loud.  I caught Zomby's set a couple weeks back at Glasslands and it was more or less that, and it was awesome (his indifference and persistent blunt smoking through a mask where somehow charming).  

But what blew me away about araabMUZIK was not just the beats he was playing, a mashed mix of trance sounds, breaks and wicked bass music, but that he was up there ripping the shit out of his drum machine as he did it.  I mean, the dude was producing most, if not all of the songs live.  I could have been mesmerized all night just watching his hands flurry like hummingbird wings around his MPC keypad. 

Here are some videos from other performances: 

Here's a sampling of tunes off of his 2011 release Electronic Dream


Mina Tindle - Carry Many Small Things

Mina Tindle's debut EP dropped a week or two ago and the above track has become something of an obsession for me.  It's rare that I prefer to listen to a song while watching it's video, but something about the bizarro-romantic-retro-basketball-sexy-footloose-randomness of the above keeps me coming back for repeated views.  Despite the obvious comparison to Feist (tell me this track's not iPod commercial material), this 6 track EP is a promising sign of what's to come from this gal.  Carry Many Small Things starts the EP out with a punch that cools down significantly with a couple indie folk numbers such as the fantastic "Echo":

Here's a nice striped down version of Carry Many Small Things:  

This whole things got me wanting to take french lessons. . . .


Tycho - Dive

If Capri Sun was a rave drug, this is what I'd listen to while drinking it.  Ambient electronic vibes from San Fran producer / designer Scott Hansen (producer name: Tycho, Designer name ISO50).  This music is like a polariod picture, fuzzy in all the right spots, crystal clear in all the right spots, giving your memories the qualities of dreams.  You can almost feel the evening breeze coming off the surf in these tracks, taste the salt on your lips as sun kissed days fade into dark, full of nostalgia for what's passed and excitement for what's to come.  The new record Dive is out now digitally, physical is due around mid November on Ghostly International.  

Heres some tracks from his soundloud.  So far Coastal Break is my fav.

I'm hoping to catch his set this coming weekend when he plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/16 (CMJ warmup anyone?).  Looks like there'll be a little visual accompaniment:



Peter and Kerry

I'm doing a project for an A&R class about music discovery tools online, and its distracting as hell.  Spent about 5 minutes over at wearehunted.com before this one caught my ears.  Like it allot. 

These kids are label mates at Tape Club Records.  This poppy little EP they joined up for is just off kilter enough to stay interesting.  The EP is def worth checking out if "Knees" is your cup of tea (note tea reference in a post about a British band.  Bonus points).  

Peter and Kerry - Knees.

If you'll be spending this weekend seeking new sounds like Columbus sought new continents (Columbus day weekend reference, bonus points), here are some of the other sites I'm writing about for the A&R project:

Old Friend

Gearing up for fall.  The mixtape is in the works.  Not sure if I should finish it before a trip to VT this weekend, or use this weekend as inspiration.  I do know that this song will be on it, its been on repeat lately.  Caveman - Old Friend: Caveman -Old Friend


James Blake - Enough Thunder

Just in time for fall James Blake is set to release more of his signature dark dreamy future R&B.  After a year that found him at the top of the buzz list, this EP should read something like a victory lap for the young Blake, who's debut LP released last February is sure to top many year end lists.  

I dug the eerily beautiful post dubstep featured on his first 3 EP's, but he surprised all of us when he broke out of that mold by releasing an album comprised of influences from across the spectrum of modern popular music that was more than the sum of its parts.  Hooky but off beat, Blake's self titled EP fell into a space between the bedroom and the club, a moving and mellow portrait of the emotional potential electronic music can contain.  Central to it's sound is Blake's voice, an element no one saw coming in anticipating this album.  But the guy can sing.  Easily as affecting as Justin Vernon or Thom Yorke, Blake has the kind of soulfully sad voice so full of longing that cuts straight to your core.  Speaking of Vernon, Blake gets the Bon Iver bump on the third track off Enough Thunder, entitled "Fall Creek Boys Choir".
The cut that's sure to get the most spins for me is Blake's cover of the Joni Mitchel song "Case of You".  Been obsessed with this since he debuted it live on BBC Radio 1.  I was lucky enough to catch Blake's first stateside performance last march, which was mind blowing.  His encore performance of this track cut my comrade's and I so deep we had to wash it off with multiple cocktails and hours of discussion.  
look for the Enough Thunder EP to drop October 10th.


Washed Out - Within and Without

I'm currently enrolled in a Music Criticism class at NYU.  This was an assignment for a 400 - 500 word review.  Thought I'd throw it up here.  

Best album art of the year?
In late 2009 a buzzword started floating around the internet describing the lo-fi electronic micro genre that was permeating the blogosphere.  Chillwave, as it was named, had arrived.  Characterized by bedroom production, echoing beats, processed synthesizers and a nostalgia for the 80s, the music intentionally sounded like your most played new wave cassette tape had been left crashing in the surf, only to be bleached by the sun as the tide receded. 

            2011 has seen the follow up releases for many of chillwave’s front-running artists, including 27 year old Georgia based Ernest Greene, who produces under the name Washed Out.  But with waning interest in the genre, it’s hard to know what to expect in new releases from these young artist.  Two years since chillwave’s appearance and it already seems like a fad, a flash in the pan.  Can these artists continue to entice with new sounds, or will chillwave prove to be nothing more than a production technique used to drown recycled ideas in reverb? 


The Shivers

An old friend from Jackson Hole who also now lives in Brooklyn invited me to see this band the Shivers tonight at an old schoolhouse thats been converted into a loft - art space thing.  After seeing Wilco play an amazing set in Central Park, visiting JHer Mike Brin and I headed back to BK for this show, only to show up late and only catch the last two songs.  But it wasn't a total bust - in researching the band today I had one of those why-have-I-never-heard-this-fucking-song-before moments with this one:

The song is Beauty, off The Shivers debut record Charades from back in '04.  I've had it on repeat all day, maybe cuz someone special decided to move to Ireland yesterday, maybe cuz its just a dam beautiful song about the things that songs discuss best.  

this one ain't too shabby either: 

The Shivers - Just Didn't Need To Know 

With 6 releases under their belt, I'm looking forward to finding a few more gems from these guys.  

Things I saw on the street yesterday

More after the JUMP


Art of Flight

I caught this premier 2 weeks ago and reviewed it for JHunderground here.  Thought as the movie starts to tour, its worth mentioning that the music is spectacular in this film.  A bunch of great stuff from the Naked and Famous and M83, as well as M83's collaboration with Art of Flight filmmaker Curt Morgan which is featured in this trailer.  I love to see ski movies that trade in the usual mountian dew fueled butt-rock for indie music.  The sweeping electronics of M83's Alex Gonzalez give the film that extra epic push (as if the beauty of the shots alone were not enough) 

New track from M83 off of his forthcoming double disk Hurry Up I'm Dreaming (not featured in the film that I remember, but it rules!):

Midnight City by M83

"Young Blood" from The Naked and Famous's 2010 release Passive Me, Aggressive You:
This track is used in a ridiculous tree jibbing scene ala the films predecessor in this scene.


Lia Ices

Sunday morning is my favorite time for listening to music.  It is, in fact, part of the inspiration for the name of this site.  There's nothing quite like waking up on a sunday morning, laying around with the stereo on, sipping coffee, making breakfast, reading the paper.  Sitting lazily in your slippers till the football game starts.  

I'm going to try to start posting my favorite Sunday morning music on, you guessed it, Sunday morning.  So here we go with the first shot at that.  

I first discovered Lia Ices through her collaboration with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, which is featured on this record as the second track, Daphne.  Vernon's name has been everywhere the last couple years, from his colab with post rock band Collections Of Colonies of Bees known as Volcano Choir, to his R&B super group Gayngs, to his well documented presence on Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  It's almost starting to feel cliche, and i'm worried about a possible burn out as the addition of Vernon's affected falsetto continues to pop up all over the place (see: the upcoming James Blake EP).

With that said, if it wasn't for press coverage of Vernon's presence on the above track, I never would have found this amazing record.  This is an ideal Sunday morning record, beautiful and soft with mellow pop hues and enough variation to avoid fading into background music.  The textures of off center sounds, matched with Lia Ices' beautiful voice allow each track to build into small victories.  


Young Man

One of my most played records of the summer, Young Man's Boy EP, is gonna see its proper full length follow up at the end of the month.  I somehow missed the EP last year, pretty sure it was released in August when I was on an epic cross country move.  But one day my roommate was playing it off a Urban Outfitter comp or something like that and I had one of those "I have to know what this is right now" moments.  The sound is has a super mellow beach vibe with hints of psychedelia, like a combination of Panda Bear, Beach Boys, and a nerdier Jack Johnson.  I loved the EP, but didn't fully realize its awesomeness until lying around in bed on hot summer mornings.  Opening track, "Five":

The new record is out 9/27.  Here's the video for the first track "Enough"

 Buy the EP, pre-order the LP here


downtempo vibes from Shlohmo

Just in time to re-enter study mode, where I listen almost exclusively to music without words, comes the debut release from 19 year old LA producer Shlohmo.  This guy brings dark, dreamy broken beats with R&B flourishes, borrowing themes from some of my favorite downtempo and post-dubstep (thats right, post-dubstep) producers.  The track bellow has been on repeat for me lately.  Dig the the haunted coffee house vibe, like the ghosts of some late 90's R&B group sipping lattes by firelight.  
Shlohmo - Bad Vibes


new Air France mix

Air France barely left my stereo in the summer of '08.  It's hazey nostalgic sound was a the perfect soundtrack for what I remember as carefree summer spent between KHOL, the Snake River Brew Pub and the Cache creak trail system.  There has been little output from these guys since, a couple singles here and there, which left me wondering what happened to them as the genre they more or less helped to create (chillwave, whose rise and fall represents to me one of the more interesting trends in micro-genres) took off.  
Well, here they are with a mix that does not disappoint.  The band says of the mix “it’s September soon, and it may be audible in the mix. It’s a beautiful month, but also a month of changes, both good and bad, you know?” I'd second that.  More info on the mix at FACT's website here.
From their incredible 2008 EP No Way Down

Check out the mix here.


Siskiyou - Twigs And Stones

Back in NYC, doing some catching up on music listening before another semester begins next week.  I was scouring some of my favorite blogs today and found this track on muzzleofbees and have had it on repeat since.  Such a jam, has elements of some of my musical features: mellow intros, epic chorus, non-funk horns, and mountain metaphors.  Will be eagerly looking forward to the release of this album, titled Keep Away The Dead, in October.  


Yellow Ostrich - Mary (Alternate Take)

I've been loving this song all summer.  Yellow Ostrich's album The Mistress was self released on the artist's Bandcamp page in 2010, and recently re-released by Barsuk records after some much deserved praise.   


Radio Show, 8.1.11

only 2 weeks late, here's a radio show I did at 89.1 KHOL in Jackson.  It was a rainy, cold, nasty August First when I was called upon to fill in for Ashley's radio show Telstar.  The mood is mellow, folky, and rain themed.
Summer Rain. Telstar 8.1.11 by BDes

Things I saw at the Teton County Fair

A couple weeks too late, but oh well.  These are some things I saw while wandering at the county fair this year.  We also hit the rodeo, after which I almost threw up some tacos riding some of the filthiest carnival rides ever: 

This guy was the best.  He had an Anaconda in his truck.  Serious. 

This is not what it looks like.

This is one of my favorite things I've ever seen.  Ever.  Who knew the crossbow had such a rich history?

This is also a contender for best thing ever at the fair '11.  Once you have mastered the history of the Crossbow, its time to learn your bunny parts.  I learned that a bunny not only has a Flank, but also a Mazzle.

 Now that you've learned your Bunny parts, its time to learn the different kinds of bunnies.  Awesome.

Second place winner for Squash, Yellow Summer.


Jackson Hole Hootananny, 7.25.11

Each Monday at Dornan's in Moose, groups of confused tourists, Jackson old timers, cowboys and a sprinkling of dirty 20 somethings straight off the mountainside meet for one of the greatest mish-mashes of an open mic you've ever seen.  All under the banner of the Tetons, its not a bad way to spend a Monday evening with a bottle of wine.  Monday night I saw an old cowboy evoke the spirit of Johnny Cash and play some of the loneliest stuff I've heard performed live.  Afterward I sat across from him at a picnic table as his shaky hands slowly placed his guitar back in a weathered case.  It was clear this guy was not some wanna-be cowboy retired from Wall Street to live the western dream in Jackson Hole.  He was the real deal, and watching him play his two tracks on stage as the cold shadow of the Teton began to reach ever closer was one of the more unexpectedly moving live experiences I've had this summer.  Not long after this a young guy, maybe 23 years old, with a sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah via The Tallest Man On Earth by way of The Decemberists, left me jaw dropped.  He played two originals that, despite their quintessential indie influences, were show stopping in themselves.  What this kid is doing in JH is beyond me, but if he plays his cards right I could see him easily opening for the aforementioned bands shortly.  Maybe it was the wine, the long day paddling on the Snake River, or the stunning venue, but I never did get that kids name.  Guess I'll have to go back next week. . . 

If your lucky enough to get lost on the way to the bathroom, there's a steady stream of musicians of all ages jamming backstage.  I caught two of a new generation of players and was lucky enough to snatch the video bellow of Ashley Colgate and Mike Swanson backstage this past Monday:

Bellow is the preview of a documentary that provides details of the history of the event.   Don't forget to pay respects to the guys who started this thing and have kept it a tradition for decades.