Monthly Archives: February 2009

VOTD: Bon Iver – Skinny Love

I’ve been covering a lot of Justin Vernon lately, but it’s only because he is THAT good. No, he is not the best singer or guitar player, but he conveys torrents of emotion with each note he croons in his unmistakable falsetto. Take this impromptu live performance on what looks like someones back porch: shown from the view of the artist, it was an incredible way to capture this performance; the emotional look on the faces of the fans in attendance is apparent. Take a look.

Thanks to my buddy Joey Bags for sending me the link.

- Ant

Dark Was The Night: Beautiful Compilation For A Cause

dark-was-the-nightIn what is looking like comprehensive ‘who’s who’ of indie-rock-pop artists of this decade, Dark Was The Night was finally released last week. Does it live up to the massive hype it has garnered on NPR and oh so many blogs the past couple months? A very confident YES! What’s even better is that it’s for a very good cause. The compilation includes tracks from the likes of Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Feist, Ben Gibbard, The National, Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Beach House, and the ridiculous thing, there is more. I put one of the standout tracks below; a brand new song from Sufjan is always welcome.

Sufjan Stevens – You Are The Blood

I already bought my 3 LP copy, get out there and do it.

- Ant

Listen Up! New Music…

Finally. I know you have been waiting: My first installment of new music recommendations for 2009. In short, it’s been a pretty good start.

Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon

cjAfter some success with former band Page France, Michael Nau decided to go solo to slow things down a bit. His offerings with Cotton Jones have a simple, folky psychedelia that seems to be so palatable these days. I was trying to describe this band to one of my friends, and the first thing that came to mind was, think: Devendra Banhart without all the quirky vocal meanderings. Essientally, Devendra Banhart lite. But then enter Whitney McGraw, the perfect sweet voice to counter Nau’s low and breathy croon. Think 60-70′s pop here; complete with melodic “whoa’s” and “oh’s”, some funky or acoustic guitar, shaking bells, and whistling. This album was a great out-of-no-where surprise for me. Check out the track “Gotta Cheer Up“, recently getting the single treatment on NPR and college radio.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – S/T

the-pains-of-being-pure-at-heartI will be frank. You have heard this before. In the 60′s & 70′s with The Velvet Underground, and again, probably more so, in the 80′s with My Bloody Valentine. There have been so many bands that TRIED to recreate the magic of these influential bands, but ultimately fail and fade into obscurity. We have heard these sounds and chord progressions before, but damned if they aren’t done perfectly, and properly pay homage as well as adding their own personality. With drenched guitars, driving percussion, and understated vocals,  you will feel like you’re wearing your members only jacket while driving your Nissan Bluebird to jazzercize. Listen to their catchy tune “Young Adult Friction” here.

Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP

bon_iver-blood_bank_bFour new songs from some outtakes of his album For Emma, Forever Ago, the new EP covers mostly the same ground, but adding some electric guitar and vocoder to the mix. A lot of people loath the latter, but it actually works on the EP closer “Woods”, a haunting song about seclusion and needing a break from it all. The most important and impressive track is “Blood Bank“, a musically simple song that focuses on the melody and the message (sound familiar?). When “Beach Baby” comes in with the traditional Hawaiian steel guitar solo, you can’t help but squeeze out a wry smirk. Vernon took some chances with these songs, but they pay off, and that’s what keeps me anticipating a new LP.

More to come when I get another couple minutes!

- Ant

Mickey Rourke Snubbed By The Academy

rourke1_wideweb__470x3210I don’t think this is really a big surprise, but the Academy has once again given the best actor award to push an agenda (and to think otherwise would be pretty ignorant). Sure, Harvey Milk, as a figure, meant a lot for the gay rights movement, but really? Sean Penn for best actor? You ask the average movie-going populous (who keeps up with film), and everyone thought Mickey Rourke was a shoe-in for best actor. The leathery-faced warrior deserved the golden bald man for portraying himself Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler. God help you if you don’t have the heart to route for Rourke’s comeback. A classic story (through both life and film): a fallen man, only to rise up again. The Wrestler couldn’t have come at a better time for Rourke. After years of flops, including cinema and a boxing “career”, you couldn’t help but route for him. It’s a shame the Academy couldn’t recognize the crowning acheivment of one of the best acting, and, well, human come-backs of all time. I guess that is the story of Rourke’s life though: “I don’t hear as good as I used to, and I ain’t as pretty as I used to be. But I’m still here – I’m the Ram.”

Now, if they only gave Oscars for performances instead of pushing a cause.

-Ant

VOTD: Andrew Bird – Why?

Witnessing one of the more affected performances I have ever seen, Andrew Bird awed me with his live rendition of “Why?” at the Plaza Theater here in Orlando a couple weeks ago.  A blues song on the violin? Craziness. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing him live, his footwork with the use of pedals create the backbone of the songs, creating loops of multiple layers and riffing over top of them. Ridiculous musicianry. If he is coming to your city, you NEED to see this man live.

-Ant

What I’m Watching…

Getting back into the swing of things here, finally going to start posting regularly (I promise). I have a lot of back-logged material I want need to share with you! Anyhow, sorry for the absence, and I want to get back to a regular feature: what I’ll be tuning into this week.

daniel-faraday_l1LOST. By far the best series on television right now, LOST is consistently baffling and captivating every week. How did Locke die? Just what in THE hell is the smoke monster? There are a lot of questions gone unanswered, but we are getting a lot of answers we didn’t even know the questions to. Take Daniel Faraday, probably the most interesting charcter on the show at this point, how exactly is he traveling through time? As the series’ end is nearly in sight, we are sure to be getting the answers we have so diligently been seeking for the past 5 years. Check out the talk-back on Ain’t It Cool News for some interesting points/theories about the show. One theory being about the polar bears: perhaps they were used/trained to move the big time-shifting frozen donkey wheel, as evidence colder climate underground and by the remains of a Dharma polar bear being found in the desert. Too many theories to go into; do you have your own?

strike-conan-obrien_lLate Night with Conan O’Brien. Having practically grown up watching our dear Consey in New York, it will definitely be sad to see him go, especially to soul-sucking Los Angeles. This is the last week of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, so it’s a bit sentimental. Hopefully when he takes over the Late Show he won’t lose too much of the goofy gags and childish meanderings we have come to know and love. Like the dynamite chemistry between Conan and Max, the masturbating bear and vomiting Kermit the frog, and the absolute bearded hilarity that ensued during the writers strike. OK, I know the show isn’t the most high-brow of entertainment, but it encompassed my young adult life, and Conan’s self-awareness was so refreshing in the realm of stuck-up entertainers. Be sure to watch the final show this Friday, 2/20, with the final Late Night musical performance by The White Stripes! Good luck in L.A. Cone-zone! Don’t change too much!

-Ant