Friday, April 16, 2010

Voxtrot to play GAMH in May

our favourite Austin boys will bring their sharp pop gems to San Francisco's Great American Music Hall on May 29th. tickets go on sale on Sunday. this gig has not been posted on Voxtrot's website or MYSPACE so they will probably post details for a full tour soon...and I will post it of course

Voxtrot - Kid Gloves [mp3]

Band of the Week: Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is noticeably European. In fact, his compositions could very well have been released centuries ago, in a time of buggies and carriages. Hailing from Hamburg, Frahm had been composing and producing an array of rich music in Berlin for a while now. He moved to LA in 2008 to open up Durton Studio, thenceforth collaborating with Dustin O’Halloran.

Prior to releasing his spellbinding debut album, The Bells, Frahm crafted an extraordinarily well-developed EP called Wintermusik. Originally composed as a holiday gift for loved ones, Wintermusik ended up being the fuel Frahm needed to begin working on a proper album.

When it comes down to vocal-free pianists, the pressure of making every note count is greatly heightened, as there are fewer instruments available to create an inviting, layered effect. This is where Frahm’s ingenuity kicks in. The songs on both albums dig their own musical territory in well weathered soils, using the same shovels as Yann Tiersen does.

Oddly enough, the delicacy of songs like “Small Me” stand out and ring loudly in a time of musical stagnancy. The last thing that I would have wished for right now is a classical pianist racking up listens in my itunes, but, having been seduced by Frahm’s thrilling crescendos and intricate webs of bells, I must say, well done.

The Bells delivers bite-sized potions—almost all of the songs are around three minutes long—but this does not deter from the music’s integrity at all. Like movements in a symphony, the songs meld together into a cleansing orchestra of sound. I imagine that Frahm’s music would be a wonderful companion on a transcontinental train ride through Europe. But I’ll have to test that out for myself.

The Bells will see a release on 27 April
[European] tour dates can be found on MYSPACE

Nils Frahm - Ambre [mp3]

from Wintermusik

Grand Lake sign to HAD records, stream album, release video

I am happy to announce that Oakland's Grand Lake, a personal favourite of mine, have signed to the newly formed Hippies Are Dead Records (run by a friend of mine who writes the most excellent Hippies Are Dead music blog).

Their debut album, which is fantastic to the extreme, is called Blood Sea Dream and will see a late May release. You can expect an album review around that time, but in the mean time, you can stream the whole thing HERE

here is a video for "Louise" (previously released on their Louise EP)

andd tour dates:

4/29 - Rickshaw Stop w/ Aquaserge, Caspar and the Cookies - San Francisco
5/27 - The Lodge w/ Hosannas - San Luis Obispo, CA*
5/28 - The Uptown w/ Man/Miracle - Oakland, CA*
6/2 - Bottom Of The Hill w/ First Aid Kit - San Francisco, CA*
6/4 - Crepe Place w/ Citay - Santa Cruz, CA*
6/5 - Sophia's w/ TBA - Davis, CA*
6/11 - Pehrspace w/ Dirt Dress - Los Angeles, CA*
(* Record Release Shows)

Grand Lake - Louise [mp3]

The Strokes Post #412

I am always too damn cheerful in southern California. I need to get myself back in the cold depths of the Bay Area before I lose my edge, and quick.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Classic Track Thursday

The Pogues - Four O Clock in the Morning [mp3]
from Pogue Mahone, 1996
Pogue Mahone means "kiss my arse" in Gaelic

video: Kaki King does "Falling Day" on Jimmy Fallon

The Strokes Post #411

I found the most wicked bootleg cd and dvd combo and amoeba hollywood yesterday.

The Strokes, live in Iceland, 04/02/2002 [ZIP FILE]


1. Intro
2. Someday [mp3]
3. NYC Cops
4. Soma
5. Trying Your Luck
6. Last Nite
7. Take it or Leave It

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Strokes Post #410

I am out the door to dreaded so-cal, yo.

I fucking love music festivals.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

record review: Beach House - Teen Dream

Sometimes, when I revisit albums after not immediately liking them, I am in awe of how I could have ever overlooked them in the first place. Teen Dream is one such album. Listening to it now, I cannot help but be mesmerized by the full yet delicate harmonies, the spinning force of music flowing with air. It is absolutely intoxicating by virtue of its simplicity. It does not attempt to genre-hop or be quirky. Although it is noticeably more guitar heavy than the previous two Beach House albums, it retains the sense of wonder and imaginative force which has always driven the Baltimore duo. Bound to become a classic, it will beg for repeated listens and then linger in your mind, forcing you to wonder how you ever got along without the deliciously full production and hypnotizing bounces of Teen Dream.


Beach House - Walk in the Park [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Broken Bells record a Myspace Transmissions set

head on over to the source to watch the videos and interview, plus, snag the whole session for free!

Broken Bells - Vaporize (myspace transmissions) [mp3]

Coachella set times announced!


it makes me very very happy that the bands I want to see don't clash with each other, except for a bit of overlap with Phoenix/Pavement/Spoon. I'll work it out =)

The Strokes Post #409

a brilliant early live version of Somaaaa

The Strokes - Soma (live) [mp3]

Monday, April 12, 2010

interview: Linfinity

[l-r] Megan Berson-violin/viola, Josh Collins-guitar/mandolin, Dylan Von Wagner-vox/guitar, Russ Lemkin-drums

Grant Zubritsky –bass

Linfinity are a band from Brooklyn whose debut, Martian's Bloom, I have been digging recently. it comes out in a couple of weeks and I shall post an album review then. for now, here's a sample mp3 and an interview with the band.

Linfinity - Holy Rain [mp3]

What was the first album you bought with your own money?
Dylan – I think—the first Doors record
Grant - I’m pretty sure I bought Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails
MeganAppetite for Destruction
Josh – Green Jello—I don’t even remember the name of the album. They were a horrible punk rock band. I don’t really jam that one anymore
Russ - They were not horrible…I split Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil on cassette with my twin brother with lawn mower money…we fought over it for two years

So how is the band name pronounced? Just like it’s spelled, as one word? Is it supposed to mean “the infinity?”
Dylan- well the derivation of the name, long story short, is I worked at Saratoga Raceway which is a thoroughbred track up north… like Kentucky derby… and there were a lot of WWII, WWI vets…this was back in the early 90’s. And this guy told me this story about trench warfare, and how they used this word to calm the soldiers. They’d tell them to say “linfinity” over and over. Like a mantra.
So you came up with it?
Dylan – yeah I had that name kicking around forever

And it works with the music too…it’s calming in a weird way…not like, soft by any standard but definitely calming
Dylan – and sometimes people think it’s the car

That’s not what I thought at all, but that’s because I drive a Civic. What do you guys listen to when you’re driving in the van?
Josh – we take turns on the ipod…yeah we listen to a lot of our friends’ bands in the van…friends from NY

Like what?
Josh- Lady Cop. Low Redlands—they’re from here actually. From San Francisco. And what was the one you were jamming the other day, the Americana one?
Russ – Basement Band

The music is very well traveled. It sounds very exotic, very worldy. Have you guys been all over or does it just come listening to records?
Dylan – I think we’ve all done some heavy traveling
Megan- I used to play in a world beat band—that was the first band I played in. Being the classical musician that I am, I play a lot of different styles
Josh – I think it’s maybe less about traveling and more that we all have such different influences, and we all have input in the songs. Maybe Dylan will come in with a song that is half constructed or 2/3 constructed and every once and a while it’s finished, and then we’ll reharmonize it, add a bridge, completely change the feel. It’s where the song takes us, rather than “we’re gonna make a song that sounds kind of country”. Whatever develops out of that song. I think that’s why there are so many different genres going on.

Are there any bands that you really wish you could tour with?
Josh – it’s different for all of us-we were actually talking about this the other day. I would—the rest of the band doesn’t think it’d be a good fit—but I think it would be fun to tour with Devotchka
Dylan – I can't think of any modern bands I'd like to tour with
Megan – Dylan would want to tour with Pearl Jam
Do you like the new album?
Dylan – no I don’t, it’s terrible
Dylan - I’ve been checking out this band—Here We Go Magic. Of the bigger bands…M. Ward
Russ- The National.
Dylan - Arcade Fire would be fun…they’re starting to go out again
Yes! Lollapalooza. With my favourite band, The Strokes.
Grant- I think it’d be cool to go out with Field Music
Megan – I dunno, that’s a tough one. Radiohead.
Russ – Band of Horses
I ran into them at the same time as The National
Russ - Me too. The reason I love the National is because I play the drums and I like their drummer a whole lot. Band of Horses, I had been hearing their name around a bunch and a few years ago they played a free concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I went down to go see it, and I had not heard any of their music before and their singer, like, blew me away. That guy’s voice is ridiculous.

How has your music consumption changed? Do you still go to a lot of shows?
Josh –the rest of the band turns me onto so much new music. I find myself paying more attention
Megan – me too
Dylan - the van is the best part, when we’re driving you guys put on other stuff, and I’ll play my ipod in every once and a while
Grant- we kind of wait in line to plug in our ipods to show everybody what we’ve been listening to. you wouldn’t learn about it otherwise, it’s like “maybe I’ll go buy that”. Also, when I’m at home, there’s not a weekend that goes by and a friend doesn’t play, so I try to support that

When I heard your music, I couldn’t place it and couldn’t believe that you were from Brooklyn. Do you feel that your music is separate from the Brooklyn music scene?
Dylan – I don’t think we’ve ever thought of it like that. I certainly don’t think we’re a part of any scene, I think we’re in a room and we all have our personalities and that happens in the room, and there is no exterior motive. We are not actively trying to be a part of anything.
Grant - I think that if everyone in the band was really into, say, The Strokes, we’d sound like The Strokes, but we all listen to such different music. We are all rooted in our own like, sound, or background. I think that it’s not necessarily we need to sound like XYZ
Russ- But you’re right, there is a healthy scene in Brooklyn. A lot of bands, a lot of our close friends…the whole cluster is trying to help each other out and do stuff with each other but not everybody is trying to sound like each other

I feel like in Brooklyn, everyone’s trying to sound “different” but it all sounds similar.
Russ - I know what you mean
But you guys are so out there
Josh – there is so much music going on and unfortunately, some of it has become so inclusive. That trashy sort of sound. And some people do it very well, they kill it, but some people end up just mimicking the same old sounds over and over

How did the band come about?
Dylan – [before the band formed] I had the name going and I put out an acoustic record
Were any of the songs recycled?
Dylan – we took some of the songs and redid ‘em: “MSG”, “Choo Choo”
I wanted to ask about "Choo Choo". It’s so fun and so different. Where did you come up with it?
Dylan – really late at night, just banging on the E string. I’m a really poor musician and I thought that sounded cool.

What is the most interesting instrument you’ve ever used?
Josh - the dilruba
Megan- oh! The dilruba! It’s so cool, it’s this Indian instrument, you can play it like a cello, with a bow, kind of like a sitar
Dylan – her husband plays it on our album, on a song called “Babel”…you’ll hear it, in the beginning, that “zoo!”

Have there been any new music releases that have really shook you?
Russ- Local Natives
Josh - Yes, the Local Natives album.
Russ – The Pink Floyd cover of Dark Side of the Moon…er, not Pink Floyd! I meant The Flaming Lips. It was cool that they had the balls to even do it.

Any really great books you guys have read recently?
Grant – I read The Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne which was really cool. Like, when he was touring the world in the 80’s, he took a bike that would fold into a suitcase. Most of it was not talking about sound check…it was talking about all the different things he saw in different countries he was going to, like all of the different cultures. That’s something that’s really appealing to me about touring and about playing music on the road is that you get to take in so much of places you might never have been. Like, today. I had been to San Francisco before but it was fun to walk around and see tons of stuff that’s new to you.

Josh- there is a book I am excited to read, it’s a series of short essays by John Cage –the classical composer about the space in music
Grant – it’s called Silence
Dylan – I’m more of a newspaper/magazine whore but I did read that Malcolm Gladwell book…the one about success
Dylan –Yes, Outliers. He had some interesting theories, I believed some of it, especially the birthday thing, the 10,000 hour rule…I think it’s common sense also
Well the thing about Gladwell is he takes common sense…
Dylan - …and he breaks it down

Do you guys want to do anything music related outside of being musicians, like producing or owning a record store or a label or anything?
Dylan – If I were to get in a position of power or success, I would like to do something to help musicians get health care, to help the community, because we’re kind of left out
Josh – to tell you the truth, I’m kind of stoked about being a musician
Grant – I think it’s tough, at least I find it tough in NY, everyone is trying to be focused on being their best at one thing and for all of us it's being the best musicians and songwriters we can be. It’s like, nobody is trying to produce four albums when they get home, everyone’s just trying to play at their highest level.
Dylan– I think that’s what a lot of New Yorkers make the mistake of-- spreading themselves too thin
Russ- “actor/artist/musician”
Grant – it’s just unfocused. If you take that energy and it’s unfocused, it’s not gonna produce an amazing product. At least I think so.

Any embarrassing things you guys have put on mix tapes?
Russ – I think I’m still fascinated by Phil Collins
Dylan – I was abused by Phil Collins…my mom owned all of his records
Russ- my girlfriend yells at me every single time I listen to Phil Collins
Good. She needs to keep doing that.
Dylan – I think we are in agreement that he can come up with a hit, though.

visit them on MYSPACE

The Strokes Post #408

an early version of Vision of Division. slightly more distorted. enjoy.

The Strokes - Vision of Division (original) [mp3]

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Band of the Week: Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka are named after a state park in their hometown of West Plains, Missouri but they sound like your dad’s favourite bluegrass band that you are proud to show off to your friends. How could you not—with an impeccable live show, mesmerizing four piece harmonies, and a genuine spirit which is almost extinct in rock n roll today?

Energetic guitars are layered over croons that call back early Kings of Leon swagger—but less raunchy. Best of all, the rootsy music is very communal, and you’ll find yourself singing along by the second time any chorus comes along. There is no pretense about them, and listening to them feels so natural. Their 2007 album Buckle in the Bible Belt is absolutely essential to your collection. You really have to listen to them to understand, so click on below

Ha Ha Tonka - St. Nick On the Fourth in a Fervor [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

The band is currently on tour, their self described "foot stomping indie rock" shows are life changing. Go out to one if you can. Your soul will thank you later.

tour dates and other stuff can be found on MYSPACE

Sunday Morning Covers


Beck - War in Peace (Skip Spence cover feat. Feist, Wilco and Jamie Lidell) [mp3]

The Dandy Warhols - Primary (The Cure cover) [mp3]

Elliott Smith - Do It Again (Kinks cover) [mp3]

Noah and the Whale - Girlfriend In A Coma (The Smiths Cover) [mp3]

Calexico - Guns of Brixton (The Clash cover) [mp3]

Britt Daniel - Isolation (John Lennon Cover) [mp3]

Mates of State - Laura (Girls cover) [mp3]

Regina Spektor - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover) [mp3]

Guillemots - Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand Cover) [mp3]

The Strokes Post #407

there is something about this song...