Post SXSW – Arcade Fire’s Saxophonist, Colin Stetson

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Couldn’t wait on this one


So I was going to post a good countdown list of my favorite and least favorite shows from last week’s SXSW, but I just came across this and couldn’t wait to share my excitement. Walking into The Parish for the NPR day party on Thursday afternoon, it was quite exciting to see a dark, quiet room, completely focused on the stage and solo saxophonist Colin Stetson “wailing” on his sax. This Avant-garde style was unique to my other experiences last week and I can see why musicians like Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, and David Byne ask Colin to accompany them on their tours. See why on NPR below

Colin Stetson Live in Concert on NPR

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SXSW Picks: NPR vs. Paste

March 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

With SXSW fast approaching, everyone is putting out their lists of “must-see” bands or “who-to-check-out” picks.  Honestly it’s great when all these unheard of acts get some recognition before a festival.  My favorite part about festivals is checking out artists that I’ve never heard of or at least have never listened to.  What better way to learn about new music and expose yourself to new genres.  Although these lists are great ways to figure out who you wanna check out, they all differ in opinions and genres.

Looking specifically at NPR’s “SXSW 2011 Preview” and Paste’s “20 SXSW Bands You Might Not Know (But Should)” you can really see the different focuses that each outlet takes.  NPR’s picks seem to be a little more eclectic rather than Paste’s strictly ‘portrait of a hipster’ choices.  There is little, if any, overlap on the two lists.  NPR’s top 3 bands include:

AgesandAges – a soulful, almost gospel, chanting bluesy-indie band complete with claps and group vocals

Fang Island – the first punch-packing indie band that I think is worthy of arena status.  Feel good gang vocals, heavy drum fills, dueling guitar lines that turn this summer-esque jam into a hard-rock anthem. This is my fav

Guadalupe Platariddled with blues riffs and slide guitar lines, this duo are gonna make the sun beat down even harder at SXSW

Here’s Paste’s top 3 picks:

Suuns – electronic loop-based and quiet guitar riffs, each song builds and builds to a claustrophobic space.  Singer sounds like he’s biting his cheeks while he’s singing

OFF! – hardcore punk revival, in your face lyrics with a gritty frontman.  Reminds me of Black Flag

Grandchildren – fast acoustic guitars, folkie style rhythms, atmospheric vocals that sound like they’re calling from beyond the mountains, this is my fav

Mondway Warming: PJ Harvey New Album

February 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Something soothing for the Monday morning after the Super Bowl?
NPR must know what they are doing because yesterday’s ‘First Listen’ includes English musician PJ Harvey’s new album “Let England Shake”. Definitely not fitting for a mid day pick-me-up, but almost perfect for that Monday morning hangover. The whole album is calm in itself but PJ’s high-pitched voice is spooky and peaceful at the same time. Not to mention she wrote all the music AFTER writing all the lyrics, which isn’t exactly a normal technique.

Listen to “Let England Shake” in its entirety now on NPR’s First Listing

David Wax Museum: Tiny Desk Concert

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

The epitome of GypsySphere…
The David Wax Museum somehow blurs the line of Indie vs. “world” better than anyone I’ve ever heard in my opinion. I had the opportunity of seeing + meeting David Wax sometime last year and he informed me he has a side project with a Latin band, so maybe that’s where his influences have come from. But with the Mexican jerocha guitar, the jazzy sax, and of course the ‘worldly’ donkey jaw bone, these guys really demand your attention. They still are somewhat invisible to the general public, but after a killer performance at the Newport Folk Fest, which caught Bob Boilen’s eye, then this recent Tiny Desk Concert…I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys suddenly blow up.

New album due out next month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. For now, to hear some music you can stream a few songs from their site here or watch this killer Tiny Desk Concert.

Monday Warming: The Head and The Heart

January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

So coming off a long holiday break
(apologies for the small amounts of posts), needless to say we’re probably all a bit drowsy trying to get back into the groove. So I wanted a special Warming today and who else better to do that than The Head and The Heart. I saw these guys a few weeks ago on Seattle’s kick ass KEXP station as a ‘band you might have missed.’ After that they opened for Dave Matthews in Vegas and things seem to be picking up quickly for them. All of their songs gradually build and their harmonies and driving percussion really make the whole album spectacular. If the song below doesn’t brighten your Monday…drink some more coffee.

Check out their MySpace for some more incredible tunes.

The Amazing Story Behind ‘Over the Rainbow’, Hawaiian Style

December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

It was about ten years ago and I was a Napster fanatic.
Remember Napster? If no, see Lars Ulrich. But it was on Napster that I somehow found myself listening to one of the prettiest voices/songs my young ears have ever heard. It was right when I was beginning to learn guitar, so the rhythm of the ukulele was enough to get me hooked, but hearing Israel Kamakawiwo’ole piece together ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ with ‘What a Wonderful World’ so beautifully honestly was something special. As the below article mentions, this song is now constantly overplayed (I went to 6 weddings this past summer, ol Kamakaw was played at every single one, sometimes twice). But I’m glad NPR is currently doing the 50 Greatest Voices piece right now, because this song and artist belong on there no doubt. And sometimes it’s good to sit back and realize how great something really is.

Read NPR’s ‘Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: The Voice of Hawaii’ Here

Rodrigo Y Gabriela in Dublin

November 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

Just found this on NPR today. The quickly rising guitar player duo of Rodrigo & Gabriela are simply amazing. No one is really sure what makes them so amazing…until hearing/seeing them. It’s just a guy and a girl playing Spanish guitars, very fast. Sure there are many out there who can do this, but the way they fuse their styles together makes this music simply amazing. Here’s a rare performance in a bar in Dublin. Prepare yourself if you’re a first timer.

Check out the video here

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