Archive for February, 2010

soirées de poche

24/02/2010

It seems like I haven’t posted in forever! Carnaval here finally ended and I’m back to boring old school, whose boring old self is filling us up with homework. Endlessly.

I know, it’s such a High School-ish complaint, but my time has been really short to do anything that doesn’t involve working, so I haven’t had time to figure an article out yet.

Meanwhile, though, I’d like to show my deepest, fullest appreciation for the loveliest video to ever have been filmed. A 25-minute masterpiece with some of Beirut’s best tracks and, of course, Zach Condon’s gorgeous face I cannot seem to get enough of.

Enjoy.

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Lawrence Arabia

20/02/2010

James Milne is love on prozac. His songs make me as happy as an Of Montreal tune, as a Jónsi release, as swirling Passion Pit beats… There’s just something about him.

James Milne is Lawrence Arabia of New Zealand, and I just had to express my gratitude for discovering him. His sound is entirely coated with a surplus of joy, with some sort of tangible comfort –  his beats, his horns, all of the instruments he squeezes together in his songs, in fact, are filled with passion and topped with a deliciously syrupy voice. He sounds like he’s having fun while he plays, you can almost feel his smile through his words, and I like hearing things like that.

His January album, Chant Darling, proves that nothing should be judged by its cover: the dark, grey portrait of a man in what can only be said as a threatening solitude is an incredible mislead to what’s packed inside. In fact, it’s the complete opposite: his songs are all so pretty, so get-up-your-chair-and-sing, such a good company for summer, that it’s seriously almost like he’s mocking the man in the album cover.

I’m trying every torrent imaginable to get my hands on his shiny little gem of a record. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with what I’ve collected thus far – bliss shimmering at its best.

(mp3) The Beautiful Young Crew – Lawrence Arabia

(mp3) Apple Pie Bed – Lawrence Arabia

ezequiel ezequiel

18/02/2010

Talk about highly underrated… if you ever decide to stop by ezequiel ezequiel‘s last.fm page, well, don’t – there’s nothing to be seen. It’s just another huge mystery to me as to why he’s not talked about, why no one even knows his name, but that won’t keep me from loving his sound.

He’s one-man band Ezequiel Claverie, and I’m not even sure where he’s from – according to his myspace page, it’s Argentina, but I’ve heard London elsewhere. Regardless, what I’ve heard of him so far is so unbelievably gentle and delicate, it’s like some sort of porcelain sound. Up From the Mountain is a more wasted composition, while Raise the Dead owns my heart with its acoustic background, his soft, wintry vocals, and the almost sad atmosphere created by these two together. Winter Rise is his most played track thus far, being a gorgeous, nearly 5-minute piece with a slow yet sure beginning, a simple beat and a constant underlying softness. It’s what I’d have leaking through my headphones late at night, in preferably colder weather tied to a low yet reflective inner mood.

You can stream other gems off his free Winter Rise EP from his myspace page, including track Dear Permafrost, whose initial drumming reminds me so much of There There by Radiohead.

(mp3) Raise the Dead – ezequiel ezequiel

(mp3) Up from the Mountain – ezequiel ezequiel

(mp3) Winter Rise – ezequiel ezequiel

LITTLE SECRETS

16/02/2010

I AM SO EXCITED THAT I’M USING CONSTANT CAPSLOCK.

I AM JUST TOO EXCITED.

PASSION PIT’S SNEAK PEAK AT THEIR UNRELEASED MUSIC VIDEO IS HERE.

I feel like a child forgotten by his parents in FAO Schwartz.

PS: Angelakos, marry me?

a little bit of Rio! :)

13/02/2010

I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the city is upside down with all the Carnival festivities – some of the most important parades are here and people go crazy over the holiday celebrations. With so much going on and so many people going around the streets and beaches with deafening speakers and contagious brazilian sounds, I got in the mood to share some of my favourites, all rooting straight from Rio. Internationally-known figures like Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, which I’m sure you all have heard of, used to compose their masterpieces right here and I think that’s pretty exciting. :)

P.S.: Fun fact, Seu Jorge is one of Jonny Greenwood‘s favourite musicians.

(mp3) Pedro Pedreiro – Chico Buarque

(mp3) Ela é Carioca – Antônio Carlos Jobim

(mp3) Pretinha – Seu Jorge

Dakotafish

09/02/2010

To me, this is just further proof of how unbearably unfair the music business is nowadays. While terrible bands that produce nothing beyond noise pollution at its worst are capable of ascending to fame and fortune in the quickest manner, bands that are amazing are, unfortunately, not. This is the case of Dakotafish, one-man-band Mike Fish with collaborations from Coliz Arthur and Jennifer Argenti. They produce music in a small studio in rural California, and I only found them by what would only be a “mistake”: clicking on the wrong link in Last.fm and being then led to his page accidentally. But I did give them a try after all, and I have to hand it to them: they’re amazing together. For starters, Mike Fish – creator, singer, and instrumentalist – sounds like Thom Yorke. Yes, he often sounds like freaking Thom Yorke! Can someone tell me why this guy hasn’t hit instant fame already?!

Then there’s the systematic beats intertwined with the orchestral Sigur Rós-quality of instrumental arrangement that’s simply a delight to listen to. I mean, for Radiohead fans out there, this is a strong recommendation; Teenage Years, for example, starts off with a carefully-plucked acoustic and a masterful Yorke voice, with almost as much talent in reaching the farthest pitches as Radiohead’s own.

Dakotafish are giving away two free songs in their website (I haven’t yet tried to download anything else, I don’t know how easy that’ll be), so why the hell not try it out?

Miike Snow’s bonus track

07/02/2010

I have no idea how many people even know about this, how common it is, but I only found it out yesterday. Apparently, Miike Snow’s self-titled 2009 album has a bonus track to it, released in the UK version of the CD that isn’t even in the band’s Wiki page. I was searching for Billie Holiday in the Hype Machine since I had been listening to her all weekend long, and was in search of any interesting remix of one of her songs that would be appropriate for this blog but still captured the essence of Lady Day. I didn’t find anything (Frank Sinatra gets one and Billie doesn’t, this is absurd), but I did find a handful of blogs talking about Miike Snow’s “Billie Holiday” bonus track. My heart’s still set on “Animal”, but this track has an amazing feel to it. It’s a tripping sing-along with clear-cut lyrics and a downbeat-electro swirl; someone like Fred Falke or The Twelves could easily make this a dancefloor-worthy gem, with its catchy chorus blaring through the speakers in a drunken, almost sexy atmosphere.

(mp3) Billie Holiday – Miike Snow

Peasant

04/02/2010

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get inside when listening to people like Justin Vernon and Elliott Smith? I mean, he’s no Between the Bars or Hazelton (not yet at least), but all he does sure produces the same tingling sensation.

Peasant is one-man band Damien DeRose who, after graduating, sunk into the music & literature grounds and, according to his page in last.fm, writes and records in his own bedroom and is set out to release a new album March 2nd, Shady Retreat.I definitely wouldn’t expect any less of his upcoming record than what I’ve heard fear not, distant lover and the two previously-released samples from the former record itself;  it’s set to become a blend of recently-acquired studio knowledge and his previous friendliness with do-it-yourself music in his beginning years.

DeRose’s not exactly unknown in the music industry, but hasn’t been listened to enough – I mean, the way he plays his guitar, it’s almost like he’s flirting with it. With a honeyed voice and delicious, captivating plucking, his sound is the type of acoustic you listen to before falling asleep, with a darling charm about it that just makes dreaming all that better.

(mp3) The End – Peasant

(mp3) Well Alright – Peasant

(mp3) Into the Woods – Peasant

Bad Veins

03/02/2010

Many of the things in the music business these days are likely bands’ endeavours to achieve an instant crowd-pleaser with an album to follow – if they’re lucky, they’ll even have their album described as a “masterpiece” by the biggest music bloggers out there.

This is not one of those bands.

Bad Veins, an emerging American duo, have worked in the entire release of their self-titled album for very long to craft it perfectly – in fact, they’ve been in the indie-pop scene since 2006 and have only set out their disc recently. They were an incredible recommendation by Steph Lund, a friend from Et Musique Pour Tous (that I’ve already talked about) and forthebeat. She’s working with them and I couldn’t help but check it out – and am so glad I did. It’s not only the density of each of their songs that impresses me: they’re also all so different from each other, in some ways. When one reminds me of a less-rough version of a She Wants Revenge song, another resembles slightly-perceptible Arcade Fire. “Gold and Warm” ‘s powerful and catchy sound could not differ more from “Go Home”, a smooth-sailing, downbeat indie heaven with gorgeously edited vocals that, at some times, even remind me of a soothing Julian Casablancas (and whose beginning, for the matter, is personally quite the “Tainted Love”). The latter is actually one of my favourites, with an almost graceful backing of piano helping add to the depth of the whole song.

I’ve also put my hands on a Daytrotter Session version of “Found”, whose lyrics are impeccably compelling and irresistible to sing along to. Piano also plays a big role on this one, which is a huge advantage to its tear-jerking, buttered-up 5-minute beauty. It’s quite different from the album version of the song in terms of beat – the recorded one oozes an orchestral yet simplistic quality.

Their self-titled album in its entirety makes me wish I lived in the US right now – they’re going to tour with We Were Promised Jetpacks from February 11th to February 21st. For those interested, the schedule’s as follows:

2.11 – The Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
2.12 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA
2.13 – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
2.14 – The Middle East – Cambridge, MA
2.15 – The Knitting Factory – Brooklyn NY
2.17 – Casbah @ The Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
2.18 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
2.19 – The End – Nashville, TN
2.20 – Maxine’s Pub – Hot Springs, AR
2.21 – Hailey’s – Denton, TX

I’m hopeful that they’ll be one of the next big things in the indie scenario, so do check them out. Definitely drop by their website and myspace, and get your hands on that album as soon as possible. Meanwhile, here’s a some gems to soak your headphones in:

(mp3) Found – Bad Veins

(mp3) Found (Daytrotter Session)- Bad Veins

(mp3) Go Home – Bad Veins

(mp3) The Ending – Bad Veins

(mp3) The Lie – Bad Veins

Mumford & Sons

02/02/2010

I’ve been completely off the radar for the last few weeks and now it’s been crazy with school and the overload of work that comes along with it, but I still feel a little empty if I don’t touch this blog for so long. I have literally zero time to post anything, but I guess that’s how much I’ve been liking this band – enough to talk about it in this homework whirlwind!

Now, I have to admit I haven’t listened to more than three songs by them off their album Sigh No More; it’s just one of those bands that you fall in love with so thoroughly and quickly that you can’t pick up your iPod without prioritizing them, and that’s pretty much an amazing sign. They’re a folk-y rock London-based foursome with irresistible lyrics and impeccably fingered banjos; my favourite by them, Winter Winds, is a nearly four-minute delight of sheer optimism and happiness at its purest state. It also seems like a gem right off a Beirut album, which is – personally – a huge plus. It’s not their only good song (far from it), but I’m being driven by a unique  adoration towards it.

After a brief 12-minute indulgence in probably their top three songs, including Little Lion Man and White Blank Page, it’s so evident how powerful Marcus Mumford’s vocals are, seducing you into the beautifully-crafted orchestra and dragging you out with an ending just as grandiose.

(mp3) Winter Winds – Mumford & Sons