Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Royksopp Show Review - March 29th at The Wiltern

Royksopp graced the stage at The Wiltern last night.  Great venue, funky crowd, and one stellar set.  Check out my review on the KCRW blog.

Bites and Bytes at Tadpole Audio

My gifted chef-roommate Catherine "Nom-Nom" McNulty and I teamed up to bring scrumptious delicacies for your ears and belly courtesy of faboosh Music Blog Tadpole Audio.  Check out the first installment of Aural Fixation, and bring a napkin.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daydreaming in the Dark Dark Dark

Do yourself a favor. Take 5 minutes and abide by the title of Dark Dark Dark's single "Daydreaming" as you watch their video.

Oh, how to describe. Is beautiful too banal a word?  Breathtaking. Humble. Honest. At times, haunting.  The warmth of those keys and Nona Invie's stunning voice lulls us into a hypnotic triplet sway.  Brushes on snare swing gently, topped with strings, banjo, and yes, accordion.  This piece begs us to slow down, admire the beauty in the world, and daydream.

Dark Dark Dark began as a means of making gas money on a road trip to New Orleans, but Invie and fellow founder Marshall LaCount quickly found traction with their music.  Supply & Demand were lucky enough to sign the group, releasing their first official full length in 2008.  More recently, their 2010 sophomore release Wild Go found critical acclaim for songs such as "In Your Dreams."  Listen below.

"In Your Dreams" - Dark Dark Dark

The quintet float effortlessly across genres, citing such varied influences as classical, jazz, world and top 40 pop. This eclectic chamber-style folk collective bring an honesty to their music that surpasses any need for classification.  The music speaks for itself, utilizing Nona's dazzling vocals as a medium to convey lyrical treasures that are often lost in the hussle of modern living.

They will be gracing the Satellite in Los Angeles on April 28th.  Take a look at some of their amazing live performances on youtube (like this rendition of "Wild Goose Chase") and you'll know why it's worth your while to buy a ticket.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crystal Fighters - The Spanish Naked & Famous?

This song reminds me of "Young Blood" by Naked & Famous.

It's an uber catchy track, and there's nothing wrong with that.  But when Crystal Fighters decided to make a remix ep, the song veered away from pop for a new level of distinctive sophistication.  I fell for the Berou & Canblaster Remix.  Listen below.

"At Home (Berou & Canblaster Remix)" - Crystal Fighters

While the original song is playful in its use of percussion, Berou & Canblaster accentuate these neo-tribal leanings with all sorts of unexpected bangs, whistles, hisses and droplets as the backbone behind those balmy reverb/delay heavy vocals.  The tune finds a new industrial spirituality in the B&C remix, which for me, exceeds the original by challenging the ear.

It's certainly worth checking out the rest of Crystal Fighters debut album Star of Love, which was released last October on the bands own label, Zirkulo.  The Spanish five-some began to take off when Laure (vocals) found a manuscript filled with her late grandfather's prophetic musings, written during his final months of insanity.  Enraptured with his writing, they decided to base their album on these spiritual themes, such as the power of the sun and finding peace in the journey toward death.  In fact, their name, Crystal Fighters, is drawn from her grandfather's unfinished opera.

With such a unique creative force to guide them, this intriguing album begs a second look.  "At Home" is one of the poppier tunes.  I recommend checking out "I Love London" and "Follow" to get a glimpse into their variety of style and edginess.  They also have quite the collection of quirky videos that my eyes have been glued to all week. Do yourself a favor and head over to their myspace to watch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Michel Gondry directs The Living Sisters

I'm excited to say that I've just begun contributing music articles to a fantastic organization, The Next Family.  It is the prime resource for "alternative" families, and really anyone who has kids.

Check out the Michel Gondry directed video for The Living Sisters' "How Are You Doing," and dig into the rest of my post about the lovely threesome here.  While you're at it, take a minute to explore the site for parenting tips, travel ideas, health information, gossip, and much more...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kurt Russell is a man of many talents...

Here's a tasty little treat for this sunny Friday afternoon.

Girl, if you were in this park with me we would have a romantic picnic.  I'd shower you with Charles Shaw and mini-quiches.  We could play frisbee barefoot and feed the ducks.  I love ducks.  I'd let you push me on the tire swing while we watch the sunset.  Then we'd head back to my place to re-enact scenes from Overboard.

But first, I need to remove my satin blouse. I'm starting to chafe in this heat.


"Dizzy" - Kurt Russell

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daedelus + Inara George = Magic

Thanks to Dan Wilcox, I discovered this little gem over the weekend. Can't stop listening...

"Penny Loafers" - Daedelus featuring Inara George

Daedelus' experimental sounds always feel intelligent and classy.  But with Inara George on board, this tune jumps to a whole new level of elegance.  Those operatic trills alone give me goosebumps.  Add to that her honey-sweet vocals modulating a most sharp and tactful verbal smack-down.  Always the master of layering, Daedelus sprinkles in effected 50s jingle-style harmonies as that rich synth foundation rocks us steadily on a wave of new-school luxury.

Alfred Darlington, aka Daedelus, pioneered the live use of monome (as pictured above), bringing the electronic experience to a whole new level.  This Santa Monica native has been "rocking my dime" (in the best way) for about 10 years now on a multitude of different labels.  You may also recognize him as a founding DJ of Dublab, the Los Angeles based internet radio station and canvas for a collection of progressive audio and visual arts.

His latest album, Bespoke, will be released April 11th on Ninja Tune.  He's described the album title as "a term employed to mean an item custom-made to measure."  Ever the perfectionist, Bespoke is a paragon of his meticulous style of production.  I already pre-ordered my vinyl, but it can't get here fast enough.  Here's another taste:

"One and Lonely" - Daedelus featuring Young Dad

If you are heading out to Austin this week be sure to catch him at SXSW to see his mastery of the monome first-hand. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trust - for fans of The XX and Fever Ray

How is it they make this relatively uneventful roadtrip look so badass?

Damn, I want a gummy worm...

Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski were looking for an outlet during the cold Canadian winter of 2009, so they decided to form a band.   Freezing temperatures and gloomy forecasts inspired their chilly and, dare I say, penetrating sound.

Trust brings us a fresh take on emotronica.  Their songs are filled with dark synths, coldwave techno beats, and Alfons' deliciously spacey baritone.  They immerse blatantly erotic tunes like "Candy Walls" and "Gloryhole" in a new wave mystique that yields a pseudo hipster gothtronic desire.  I can only imagine they wear their sunglasses at night.

Candy Walls will be released March 29th as a 7".  Mixed by Mikey Apples of Crystal Castles, the B-side is another stunner entitled "Trinity."  Listen below.

This Canadian duo are already creating a lot of buzz in Toronto, opening for Hercules and Love Affair, Zola Jesus, and more.  You can catch them next week at SXSW.  Let's hope they make their way down to L.A. soon...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tristen - Beauty With A Bite

She's one pretty voice with one seriously dark sense of humor.  Check out the video for "Matchstick Murder" and you'll get the idea:

Tristen's album Charlatans at the Gate was released a little over a month ago courtesy of American Myth Recordings.  Having written and produced the album almost entirely by herself, she clearly has a strong point of view.  Her style is refreshingly unique.  Pop melodies infused with a pseudo-southern rockabilly sound.  Her use of harmonies and background vocals adds a sort of apron-doo wop feel that makes light of the surprisingly dark topics she tackles on this 11 song debut: liars, drug addiction, breakups. Standard singer-songwriter topics I suppose, but she delivers lyrics that surprise at every turn with double entendres and witty metaphors.

"Baby Drugs" is another stand-out track.  Take a listen.

"Baby Drugs" - Tristen

The entire album is filled with gems like the above.  Make sure you stop by her website, here, for a free 4 song download.

Tristen is currently on tour, hitting up SXSW next week.  And if you aren't one of the lucky few (and by few I mean 13,000, give or take), you can catch her at The Satellite, May 6th.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baths, Braids & A Mini Euro-Rave at the Troubadour

I had the pleasure of attending the Baths/Braids/Gobble Gobble show at the Troubadour this past weekend. Who is Gobble Gobble you ask? See my review on the KCRW blog for deets.

Baths/Braids Show Review

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Don't More Bands Use Autoharp?

Yellowbirds is the new project from Apollo Sunshine's Sam Cohen.  Indie folk rock goodness with a tinge of 70s psychedelia.

Here's my favorite track off the brand new debut album, The Color (Royal Potato Family Records).

"In Our World" - Yellowbirds

Suntanned dreamy rock that bears a nostalgia for decades past.  The album feels a lot like the artwork (above), a retrospective collage which was also handmade by Cohen.  With layers of autoharp, organ, fuzz guitar, and delicious  harmonies on top of solid classic rock drums and timeless lyrics, this album nods to bands like Big Star and The Velvet Underground.

Take a listen to their single, The Honest Ocean, and be transported to your own private Woodstock.  Love that organ... 

While Apollo Sunshine's albums were more musically surprising from track to track, The Color moves pretty seamlessly, making it an easy choice for your next breezy road trip. 

Speaking of which, if you're headed to SXSW this year be sure to catch them live.

Fun Fact: Sam Cohen performed as a session musician on Shakira's "She Wolf." Owoooooooo!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Timber Timbre - If Frankenstein Could Sing...

He would probably sound like this.

Those estranged vocals.  That playful use of horns.  The unapologetic bass.  A twinkling from a surely cobweb-filled upright.  And all of these elements mixed to perfection in such a deceptively simple arrangement.  Did you feel those 6 minutes go by, or were you busy daydreaming of overgrown cabins hidden away amid some dank and haunted marshland?

"Black Water" is a beautifully crafted piece that lives in a world of it's own, along with the rest of Timber Timbre's musical offerings.   Their goosebump inducing sound engulfs the listener in a most beautifully dramatic and eerie swamp blues.  Like Tom Waits or Patrick Watson, their music is darkly cinematic, conceptual, and yet unassumingly palpable.  It's no wonder Taylor Kirk, (singer and multi-instrumentalist for the band) sites Bernard Herrmann as one of his key influences.  Timber Timbre could easily be the soundtrack for some twisted high society zombie gathering.
These Canadians first came into the spotlight in 2009 with a self-titled album that garnered critical attention, and frankly turned a lot of heads.  Personally, I fell for them the minute I heard "Lay Down In The Tall Grass."  Listen below.

Creep On Creepin' On is their fourth studio album, to be released April 5th on Arts & Crafts.  Fittingly, they will be playing alongside Patrick Watson late March.  May be time for a road trip to Canada...