Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Paid to Play Music: Why I Can’t Seem to Make Up My Mind.

I am prone to dark hyperbole.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard myself say “If it was not for music, I would have been dead long ago,” I would be a rich person. It might be true. I depend on music for my daily happiness.  I can’t remember the last time I went 24 hours without hearing music of my own choosing.  The point is --  I love music. I consider myself in the 99th percentile of music-loving.  I love music way more than the average human does.  (Disclaimer: I don’t even know what a percentile is and everything I say should probably be taken with a whole container of Morton’s Salt)

The moral conundrum I seem to find myself running into quite often (especially recently with the advent of Spotify) is “how much is that love worth to me?”

On one hand, not only do I revere the musical artists who make me happy and think they are well-deserving of all the money I already give them, I also want to make sure they have even more money to continue to buy gear and make new awesome music to keep me satiated.

On the other hand, music is really an amorphous currency.  Bear with me on this example because I understand an obscure band is difficult to grasp if you have never heard them or understand why I love them.  I, Lauren, love Acid Mothers Temple.  I will see them play every time they come to town.  I will buy their records (even though they don’t compare to the live show).  I will proclaim my love to anyone who feels like listening.  I have no actual statistics but I can say with reasonable certainty that roughly .01% of Earth’s population shares this love of Acid Mothers Temple with me.  Conversely, it seems like everyone and their actual mom loves bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, while I find myself using every opportunity to scathingly refer to these bands and their fans and gesticulate wildly like a curmudgeonly old man, “what’s wrong with these kids today!? They don’t know how to appreciate anything that’s worth anything!?”  Obviously, these two examples are like apples and oranges, but I’m sure you understand what I am venturing to explain – we all have different tastes.  Even the many people who share my love of Acid Mothers Temple will not understand my subsequent love of Smog, Little Dragon, Chapterhouse or Bonnie Raitt. Nothing makes sense, we all like what we like. Life is subjective as a rule (hence, my username for everything everywhere).

Why even think about it? Why not just go through live liking weirdo electro like Pantha Du Prince, side by side with the intangible nostalgia of the Doobie Brothers?

The reason is that I’m confused by the current state of music and the way artists are paid in much the same way I’m confused by any industry and the way people are paid for their time and efforts.  Since music happens to be the industry that is such a large part of my life, it occupies my consciousness regularly.

Here’s the problem. Musical artists as a population of people are relying on a product that is doesn’t actually exist.  Yes, they spent two years in the studio hammering out 12 songs that they feel proud of and finally gathered the label support or independent support to secure the physical dollars needed to put those 12 songs on CD or release them as digital files for purchase by all potential listeners.  Now, with the advent of streaming services such as Spotify, there’s a whole other revenue stream that is difficult to quantify.  The payers are a fractured group.  The money spent to advertise your music or tour with your music is now cutting into your bottom line. My ten dollars I spent to see you play at the nearest tiny music venue is now barely covering your cup of tea after a long night of singing.  That money is going to print ads, youtube ads, last.fm banner ads, etc. 

The system is broken.  To explain how to fix things, I always like to examine the empirical nature of things.  I recently tried to search engine (that’s a verb! ©Tobin & Mike) “who was the first person to get paid from doing music” and I really couldn’t come up with anything.  At what point did music become a commodity? When did music start, why is it valuable to humans? Remember? Music started before we even wore clothes or knew what fire was? Music has been made and enjoyed prior to the advent of recorded history.  So, who said musicians one day would be paid? Like any talent, you pay someone who can do something for you that you cannot do yourself.  It makes sense to pay them.  So why is it so difficult to get paid nowadays for all your hard work.

It’s really so simple:  too many people are making music. Too many fans of music don’t know what the ___ they’re talking about. Advertisers and media conglomerates glom on to anything that sells and making money in music almost becomes a game of chance rather then a profession where skill and expertise is rewarded with a premium payment.

How to remedy the situation? I read an article recently (http://www.vulture.com/2012/09/grizzly-bear-shields.html) where Travis Morrison, former frontman of the Dismemberment Plan, summed up my thoughts on the subject, saying, “you know how some people say, ‘I would really like to make a middle-class living doing the arts; I feel like I deserve that’? Honestly, I never felt that. I never felt like artists deserved a living. I feel like getting a million dollars for my songs is just about the same as getting it from playing a card at 7-Eleven.”

As defeatist as that sounds to some, especially those who toil day in and day out trying to make a living with their music, it’s what I believe to be true.  If you’re compromising your creations at all to make a buck (and you can argue the line at which that compromise starts to happen), then everything is really rendered useless.  

“He’s in it for the money, not the science!” –quote from the movie, Twister

I’m not saying every musician is a money-grubbing greedy person, they only want to be paid for their efforts just as any other person might want to be paid to make spreadsheets or get coffee for their bosses or operate on hearts or do brain surgery.  

I would hope one day the playing field will level, but it won’t.  In the meantime, love music to your heart’s desire, buy the records of artists you love, listen to that ad-supported radio, go see bands that you want to see.  If Joe Schmo recording artist has to close up shop because he’s not making enough money, that’s really too bad, but I have faith that most artists that are deserving of continuing their careers will get the chance to do so even in this broken system.

Welp, this one really derailed at the end. Apologies - the train is always teetering off the tracks on a regular basis.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

People always ask me why i started playing bass...here's just a few reasons why

via a Spotify playlist because I got two hours of sleep last night and it's been a hard day's night. Enjoy. ESPECIALLY the first song. I thought it quite paradoxical to put a song called "End of Music" at the beginning of a playlist. love love love.

PS - There were no Black Sabbath tracks on Spotify that I wanted to add. (i.e. a lot of times Spotify blows chunks)

PPS - I made this a "collaborative playlist" in case you want to add any scrooge mcduck kinda bass tracks to this list -- and in case you're a dullard -- scrooge mcduck obviously means "rich" sounding bass lines

PPPS - If I'm going to say ONE sentence about why I started playing bass: "I love music so ridiculously much -- and if I'm going to pick my favorite instrument in most songs -- it's 9 times out of 10 gonna be the bass"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Can we just talk about Grandaddy for a second?

They (mainly Jason Lytle) were always so much more wildly popular in the UK and Europe than they were in the United States, which I find SO ODD.  The vibe of every Grandaddy song is so inherently American, its so strange that they were not welcomeas quickly here.  They definitely gained popularity in the mid 2000s, just because who could resist the greatness??

Jason Lytle is almost a detestable character in my eyes because he is just like me A whining, melancholy, tongue-in-cheek writer who is never satisfied and clearly hates everything around him yet absolutely loves it at the same time.  Its just tough to sometimes exist and interact with other humans. Its at the very tip-top of the list of first world problems “wah wah wah no one understands me, Im just going to go to my room and sulk and think about how terrible the world and everybody is…”

The interesting dichotomy is that despite his disassociation with the synthesized nature of the modern world and love of everything you find in the wilderness that is natural coupled with his cynical view of the disconnected, intellectually absent man, he crafts absolutely delightful sunny tunes.  Every song is so meticulously orchestrated.  His tedious attention to recording at a high level of quality is admirable.  Like Radiohead, Grandaddy is one of those bands whose quest for perfection works out in our favor. Instead of sounding slick and overproduced, it sounds loose and easy yet you can tell the level of thought that was applied.  Even the tiniest additions of robot sounds and synthesized bursts of guitar are injected with tremendous care and concern for the overall vibe of the song or album.

The lyrics are especially inventive. 

Im going to list a few of my favorite lines in songs.  I have actually a million “favorite lines but Im going to be arbitrary.

Did you love this world? And did this world not love you?

Bye, Im on standby
Out of order or sort of unaligned
Powered down for redesign
Bye bye, Im on standby
According to the work order that you signed
Ill be down for some time

I love so much of Grandaddys lyrics. Their albums always sort of have the same vibe – Robots, Computers, Androids … all with human qualities. Or humans realizing just how much they resemble robots and the whole horrible alien logic at all.  Since I love their lyrics so much, I actually cant just pick one song.  Jason Lytle has this completely uncanny ability to take a totally normal sentiment about lost loves or general depression about life being a little meaningless and he turns it all into fascinating heartbreaking stories of these faceless people/robots that can't function in this modern world oversaturated with technology.

Test tones and
Failed clones and
Odd parts made you

I think it's funny that the song is about "Jed the Humanoid" but somehow I feel such a connection with this drunken piece of sh!t.  

'You said I'd wake up dead drunk
Alone in the park
I called you a liar
But how right you were..."

Friday, August 17, 2012

What do you think? (of Russian Circles?)

I think this song is absolutely delicious. What are your thoughts???

They are playing tonight at Union Transfer. You should probably go, since I can't. 

Fri 08/17 Russian Circles
Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages
Union Transfer
Doors: 7:30 PM / Show: 8:30 PM

{ more info/purchase tickets }

Monday, August 13, 2012

Welcome Back You Dummy Idiot

Dear Friends,

It's been a minute. I'd like to write some thoughts here again on a regular basis.  Will you listen? My mom said she would. That's cool. Maybe she will comment.  The reason for writing in here again is because my best good friend, Tobin, has encouraged me to do so.  She encourages me from a "proud mom" standpoint because she knows that I have such endless passion for all things music and wants me to share my passions with the world (or five facebook friends who are marginally interested in what I have to say).  Secretly I suspect that Tobin encourages me so that she doesn't so often have to sit on the receiving end up my spirited ramblings about this "amazing" artist or that equally "amazing" artist.  (correction 8/13 8:09 PM -- this secret suspicion was confirmed absolutely false, she loves it all the time, naturally, and just wants me to share).

She knows that I will often proclaim that every band is the BEST BAND EVER and that I am prone to massive hyperbole after massive hyperbole, but who would Lauren be without all those lively comparisons and constant overuse of punctuation (ESPECIALLY exclamation points!!!!!) ????

So, if anyone feels like reading, awesome! I don't pretend to have anything earth-shattering to say... just some general sharing of my thoughts of a good song or a good album or some other musical exploit I've found myself in the middle of enjoying.  

Also, Spotify makes things SUPER helpful to recommend songs for you to listen to as well, so I'm going to sprinkle those links throughout wherever needed.

I'm going to start with the topic of THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS SUPPLY OF GREAT MUSIC ON THE EARTH. I'm going to save my treatise on the questionable existential nature of music's place in humanity for another day (and really I am saving it, it's a good read, I promise).

So, I have this friend, his name is *Schmave (*Name has been changed because author is unsure she's acquired the rights to mention his name :-) ).  He is a career musician and a damn good one at that, he is also my bass teacher.  I am using him as the keystone of this particular entry because he is one of few people that I know (I really can count them on one hand) that is capable of continually recommending me an awesome tune, artist or album that I have not heard (which -- if you know me at all -- is pretty difficult to do -- since my enjoyment of music transcends the space-time continuum and every layer of Earth's atmosphere [plus the more concrete strata of genre, time, and category]).

So, one particular recommendation he made recently opened my eyes to THE SEEMINGLY ENDLESS SUPPLY OF GREAT MUSIC ON THE EARTH. What was funny about the recommendation was that it should have been obvious.  I should have already been there, fully onboard with Stevie Wonder's "Fulfillingness' First Finale" album. I consider myself a HUGE Stevie Wonder fan, in fact, anytime roomie Cliff (aka DJ PANEK!) was playing at Arts Garage way back when EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT, I am pretty sure he would make certain to work in Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do" for me or else I could not reach my proper dance pinnacle for the evening.

As an aside, it was either "Do I Do" or Michael Jackson's "I Wanna Be Where You Are" that would really bring the true Lauren out on the dance floor.  I could do the hustle to this song like it was nobody's business (Thanks to my Dad for teaching me how to do so ...) (PS-Why am I acting like I'm 62 and don't dance anymore!?)

Let's all clap our hands for Cliffasaurus Rex for being an awesome friend/DJ (even though the sightings of him on the tables are getting fewer and further between -- shoutout to the rare performance at Caliph/Todd's Bday Bash last month)

So, I'm a Stevie Wonder fan, I hold SO MANY SONGS so near and dear to my heart. However, have you ever LOOKED at his discography? It's borderline endless.

So, *Schmave (alright can we just call him Dave???) turned me onto "Bird of Beauty" and the majesty of the rest of the "Fulfillingness' First Finale" album.  There are several great things about the song. The first of which is the use of the Cuíca and it's noticeable unique alien sonic intrusion into the song.  I love looking up these odd instruments in songs, I always appreciate an odd sonic combination.  It makes me feel like the unique greatness of a particular song.  As I learned, from rabbit-hole-ing down a few Wikipedia links, the Cuíca is Brazilian friction drum. Play "Bird of Beauty" and you'll hear it immediately.  The other awesome thing is the incomparable Fender Rhodes and it's sugary sweet tones sprinkling themselves throughout the song.  

Which brings me to my NEXT POINT, which is that being ignorant of the functional nature of music for so long has also opened up a whole slew of possibilities for me as far as being able to now note common themes and threads between seemingly otherwise unrelated songs.  For instance, I'm pretty sure we arrived at "Bird of Beauty" through discussing the sweet majesty of Radiohead's affinity for the Fender Rhodes, especially in the song "Subterranean Homesick Alien."  It amuses me that Radiohead and Stevie Wonder could have something in common, but the unifying thread thusly identified (i.e. The Rhodes), my appreciation increased for a song I'd already so loved.  (I just hurriedly searched for an old high school notebook where I scrawled the lyrics from memory while sitting bored in an AP Government class but alas that book/moment must still be lost in the ether of high school [non]bliss).

Which brings me to a notion I often revisit - LYRICS.  I'm a huge lyrics fan.  In some ways, I don't care what you're saying, as long as it sounds good. But when some lyrics really grab me... THEY DON'T LET GO AT ALL.

The verse in the song that I marvel at is:

"Up above
Aliens hover
Making home movies
For the folks back home
Of all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits
Drill holes in themselves
And live for their secrets"

As terribly navel-gazing and introspective Radiohead lyrics (or ANY lyrics for that matter) can tend to be, I always enjoyed the vivid imagery of that verse.  Also, the remark on so many humans knack for keeping everything locked up tight and never showing their true selves -- it is a palapable sentiment.  

There's so much more I want to say, but I'll get to it later. Hopefully, anybody actually reading this has discovered a couple awesome songs for now (if you were not already pleasantly privy to this greatness).

I fully expect Dan Natale to critique my grammar and writing style, but ya know -- that's always happening. He never appreciates me trying to be conversational. I also know FOR SURE that he gritted his teeth everytime I incorrectly used quotation marks or capital letters. But who knows, maybe he's mellowed out in his old age.... (ohhh snap!) Jokes Jokes Jokes I really do love you DN.

PS - Tobin - They had TREBUCHET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as an option on this old thing :-) :-) :-)
Life rules.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dead Oceans (record label) Rules.

I ordered a bunch of crap from them (crap meaning STUFF, not crap meaning, bad stuff) mostly because I wanted the new Phosphorescent. While I was at it I grabbed a couple of other things that I've been liking in the past year... The Explorers Club "Freedom Wind" LP and Bowerbirds "Hymns for a Dark Horse" LP. They threw in a Tren Brothers 7 inch and I had never heard of the Tren Brothers before. Side A was "Gone Away" and the flip was "Kit's Choice". Let me tell you, they are a label after my own heart because this random 7 inch they threw in there sounds just like Dirty Three and as everyone well knows... Dirty Three put out perhaps the best record in history, "Ocean Songs" and that is what I love about cute, great labels like Dead Oceans, they have NONSTOP QUALITY ARTISTS:

Bishop Allen
Dirty Projectors
The Donkeys
The Explorers Club
John Vanderslice
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
These Are Powers
White Hinterland

to name a few.

AND the other good thing about labels like Dead Oceans is the little fun things like an extra 7 inch here and there... or a sticker. Amazon.com ain't sendin no little treats.

If you have never heard of Dirty Three, go listen to their music NOW.

Prepare for your soul to be crushed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

J Period's “QTip The [Abstract] Best, Vol. 1″ Mixtape --- free download for limited time!

an download the new “QTip The [Abstract] Best, Vol. 1″ Mixtape featuring De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, ?uestlove, Black Thought, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Consequence, Zion I, Skillz, Black Sheep, Kid Cudi, and Blu. It’s available free for a limited time only so DOWNLOAD NOW.

tracklisting below

J.Period & Q-Tip – The [Abstract] Best, Vol. 1
1. J.Period f. Prince Paul, Questlove & Randy Watson– Rhythm (Scratch Intro)
2. Cannonball Adderly / Excursions Intro
3. J.Period f. De La Soul – Excursions (Tribute Remix)
4. Aquarius Interlude #1: Welcome
5. Q-Tip f. Busta Rhymes – Getting Up (DJ Scratch Remix) (The Renaissance)
6. Behind the Scenes: Ghetto Origins [Produced by J.Period]
7. What the Fuss f. Stevie Wonder (Shook Remix)
8. Queens Represent (Interlude)
9. Mobb Deep f. Nas & Q-Tip – Give Up the Goods (J.Period Remix) [Produced by Q-Tip]
10. Apache – Gangsta Bitch [Produced by Q-Tip]
11. ATCQ – If the Papes Come (Intro)
12. ATCQ – Check the Rhime
13. Behind the Scenes: Don’t Walk Away (Interlude)
14. ATCQ –Award Tour
15. Behind the Scenes: Award Tour (Interlude)
16. Hot Butter (Interlude)
17. J.Period f. Dres - Jazz Pt. 2 (Tribute Remix)
18. Behind the Scenes: We Got the Jazz (Interlude)
19. J.Period f. Blu– Jazz (Tribute Remix)
20. Skypager: Bob Power & Big Daddy Kane (Interlude)
21. Q-Tip f. Jay Dilla – Let’s Ride
22. Behind the Scenes: Bob Power You There? (Interlude)
23. Q-Tip – Vivrant Thing (Remix)
24. Q-Tip – Move (The Renaissance)
25. Q-Tip – Breathe & Stop (J.Period Remix)
26. Respect to Phife Dawg (Interlude)
27. J.Period f. Consequence & Kid Cudi – Buggin Out (Tribute Remix)
28. ATCQ Consists Of…
29. Behind the Scenes: The Native Tongues (Interlude)
30. De La Soul f. Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip, Monie Love & Queen Latifah – Buddy (Remix)
31. Respect to Ali Shaheed Muhammed (Interlude)
32. Q-Tip f. Busta Rhymes – N.T.
33. A Message From Talib Kweli
34. J.Period f. Questlove, Talib Kweli & Randy Watson – Youthful (Tribute Remix)
35. Q-Tip f. Amanda Diva – ManWomanBoogie (The Renaissance)
36. Chris Rock: Men vs. Women (Interlude)
37. De La Soul f. Q-Tip – Saturdays
38. De La Soul f. Q-Tip & Phife – Saturdays (Remix)
39. Q-Tip – She Likes to Move (J.Period Remix)
40. Dee-Lite f. Q-Tip – Groove Is in the Heart
41. Beastie Boys f. Q-Tip – Get it Together
42. Behind the Scenes: What Is Kapelka? (Interlude)
43. J.Period f. Skillz, Questlove & Randy Watson – What? (Tribute Remix)
44. Behind the Scenes: Busta Rhymes / Scenario (Interlude)
45. Busta Rhymes – Scenario (Unreleased Demo Tape)
46. Behind the Scenes: Hood R.I.P. (Interlude)
47. Hood – Scenario (Remix)
48. Aquarius Outtro
49. Behind the Scenes (Bonus): Reinvention (Kamaal the Abstract – A Million Times)

saw this on http://www.honeysoul.com

figured i would pass it along for all the Q-tip loverS!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Smog 'I Break Horses'

I can't extol the virtues of Bill Callahan/Smog anymore than I already do. So here is a youtube clip that will stream for you what I believe to be the best song of all time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jens Lekman "Happy Birthday, My Dear Friend Lisa"

A friend's band (really awesome electroacoustic indie rock from Phila... http://www.myspace.com/eatyourbirthday cake ) recently covered this song at their show and it revived my love for it. Here is a live version of Jens singing it..... it's wonderful

or hit me up via the regular avenues if you want me to send it to you!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Phosphorescent is playing at the Church...and I am STOKED

I hate that word 'stoked' but love it at the same time. Because it's so out of character. It's so something corny enough that I would never say, yet find myself saying it all the time. It will run itself out of my vocabulary in due time.

Anyway, Phosphorescent. Info from R5productions.com:

Phosphorescent - SATURDAY NOVEMBER 22nd, 8:00 PM
Matthew Houck, the Brooklynite behind Phosphorescent, is a rootsy singer-songwriter with a gothic sensibility and a way with a tune. But he also demonstrates an interest in pure sound. Stately countrified weepers dominated his 2005 album Aw Come Aw Wry, as dry production emphasized the Will Oldhamesque cracks in his voice. But then there were tracks like "Endless Pt. 2", which added Beach Boys-style harmonies and toyed with the structural conventions of song. These latter inclinations move to the fore on his forthcoming Pride, his third full-length and first for the Dead Oceans / Secretlly Canadian label.

At The First Unitarian Church's Chapel
Small Intimate Seated Space That Only Holds 50 People !
2125 Chestnut Street (22nd and Chestnut Sts)
Philadelphia, PA
$10 advance / All Ages

Purchase Advance Tickets For This Show Right Now (click the tickets) :
Or CASH ONLY At Our New Box Office at Deep Sleep (54 N 3rd St / 3rd & Arch Streets)
Or Call 1-866-468-7619 (toll free)

Also, do not forget that M83 is playing the Starlight Ballroom. If you miss it, you are completely crazy. That hot sweaty awesome mess that was the Church Sanctuary show will be tough to top, but I know they can try!!!!!!!

Info also from r5productions.com:

We hosted these guys first show ever in America and we are thrilled to have them back after their sold out, amazing Sanctuary show a few months back! Hailing from France - We've been listening to them nonstop for the past few years. Imagine the post rave swirl of the Orb, mix in the muted warmth of Boards Of Canada, the lalala Neu-worship of Stereolab, the catchy new wave of New Order, then wrap the whole thing in a thick shimmery distorted haze a la My Bloody Valentine and you'll be close. Now imagine that concoction as the soundtrack to the love scene in some super bizarre Anime. You know, the part where the girl is going into space because she can't live on earth because her tentacles keep killing cute little pandas, and her boyfriend is a giant panda, but they love each other so much her tears turn into jewels that the pandas can eat to make them invincible. It's that heartbreakingly good. This will totally hit the spot for electro geeks, shoegazers, pop kids, and everyone in between. An absolute masterpiece. Kim & Jesse is the definite best song of 2008 - BEST BAND !!!!!!
Sound Clips :
1) Kim & Jessie | 2) Teen Agnst | 3) Graveyard Girl | 4) Don't Save Us From The Flames | 5) Dark Moves Of Love

School Of Seven Bells
Named for the infamous, clandestine, possibly nonexistent South American pickpocket academy, deserter's supergroup School of Seven Bells released was fbormed by ex-Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis and former On! Air! Library! twin-set Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, as well as James Elliott (who you may or may not know as Ateleia) and sometime Rhys Chatham drummer Joe Stickney.
Sound Clips :
1) Face To Face On High Places | 2) Limb By Limb

At The Starlight Ballroom
460 North 9th Street (Just Below 9th & Spring Garden)
Philadelphia, PA
$14 / All Ages To Enter / 21+ To Drink
Purchase Advance Tickets For This Show (click the tickets) :
Or CASH ONLY At Our New Box Office at Deep Sleep (54 N 3rd St / 3rd & Arch Streets)
Or Call 1-866-468-7619 (toll free)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vetiver "A Thing of the Past" ... an album I picked up on a whim last week

The cover looked cool, it looked new. There was a cute girl on the front looking old-fashioned and poring over an old record collection. I was like, hey, that could be me!

So I threw it on the table when I got home and it was pretty nice, ho-hum until I got to Side B. Holy Crap "Lon Chaney" and "Hurry On Sundown" are two of my favorite songs of 2008.

"Lon Chaney" is a quiet, meandering, piano-folk track, kind of plaintive and yearning and wonderful which then segues into the rollicking goodness of "Hurry On Sundown." I have put that track on repeat so much in the past week. I wish I could come up with a preview for you, unfortunately they do not have it streaming on their myspace. POOR SHOWING.

"Hook & Ladder" on Side A was one of my favorites on the album. Sway to the music, sing along, clap along, so sunny and great. You can't resist it, it's in your marrow.

Fun fact, Devendra Banhart has been known to join Vetiver from time-to-time. Pretty cool!

Vetiver's Myspace

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forest Fire "Survival" ... my very trite but honest thoughts -- A+ album! Must purchase!

There’s a part on Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “4 Way Street” live double album, where I guess Graham Nash says (well I guess it might be David Crosby or Stephen Stills) “And now we’re gonna do a song that you have not heard!” and the way he says it, in his 1970s precious unassuming voice, it is this exciting secret invitation to experience something no one else has ever experienced, CSNY performing this little ditty for the first time ever. The song was “Right Between the Eyes” and when I first heard it, even though it’d probably been at least 25 years since that ‘first time’--- to me it was brand new. This ‘newness’ is exactly what I love about so many albums that I practically trip over in my musical life, Forest Fire’s “Survival” being one such gem.

The first time I heard the opening track “I Make Windows,” I loved the fresh, stumbling through-an-open-field-soft-yet-plunging-to-the-depths-of-you-style that makes me love it! The guitars are sunny, there’s a nostalgia for ‘I don’t know what’ in the sound. I love how an album can ‘REMIND’ me of a past event yet be released in 2008. The album is quick and enveloping. I sunk so easily into its breezy simple melodies and quickly lodged the words into my brain and was unable to resist singing along with its pleasant harmonies.

“Sunshine City” made my summer and I can’t even fathom exactly why. “Iiiiiii haaaavveee sunnnnshiiinnneeeeee… in my life,” is repeated so many times, broken up only to say “I don’t care if what you say is true…” There’s such a strong statement in its sneaking quiet, crawling guitar sounds, blazing dissonant atmospheric angel voices ‘ooohing’ in the background. In “Sunshine City,” I am so resolute in my happiness despite the completely NOT SUNSHINE CITY that is the world. There’s so much good here, WHO CARES about the bad???

Call me naive, but that’s the cool part about songs like this one… for three minutes I believe something that is entirely untrue. Rock n’ roll can save the world?!!? I sound like a DICK!

It’s odd how the whole album kind of gives the same vibe, yet none of the songs really sound alike. There’s a texture on each one that is completely palpable. I can actually hear the sun warming me on a summer afternoon as the sky turns orange on “Echoes Coming” with its slow procession of vocals and building buzzing guitars. And by the time I get to “Steer Me,” Forest Fire is singing “I don’t like what I’ve become” and it is reality, but it’s still so freshfaced and great. The whole album kind of rings of a slower, drudging, more blissed-out Sparklehorse.

The title track “Survival” is one of the best on the album, but doesn’t phone it in until Track 8. “What do you know about survival?” the song is needling me to answer this question and how the hell am I supposed to answer when you’re playing these sycophantic flutes and country road guitars?

The last track is entitled “Slow Motion” which is an accurate description of the entire album. It is slow motion slices of life, like how you feel when you’re really tired and the sun’s coming up and you’re staring at that big orange ball contemplating being the only person alive.

Oh wait, I’m not! Thanks Forest Fire, for reminding me other people are out there! What’s up!?!?!?!!?

Anyway, actually grabbed the LP at www.betamonline.com if you can believe it! Or! If you like mp3s, they are offering the whole album in 320 here: Forest Fire - Survival = Available to stream or download

Friday, May 09, 2008

"Craft of the Lost Art" by Shape of Broad Minds

With an ever-shifting roster of main players, guest stars, and dual personalities, Shape of Broad Minds is a difficult collective to pin down. Their debut full-length "Craft of the Lost Art" touts Jneiro Jarel, Panama Black, Jawwaad, Rocque Wun and the mysterious Dr. Who Dat? as its main contributors while featuring the likes of MF DOOM, Count Bass D, Stacy Epps, and Lil Sci aka John Robinson.

Jneiro Jarel says this is "real, it come from the depths" on what could be the album's shiny little gem, "Buddafly Away," and it seems to be the feeling that pervades the album. Mixing up atmospheric vibes and space-age-y rhythms with a traditional hip-hop flow to the lyrics, "Craft of the Lost Art" is a journey to the outer limits of hip-hop and back. The futuristic, off-the-beaten path vibe on a lot of the songs is reminiscent of Dr. Who Dat?'s 2006 album "Beat Journey" and fans of that album will probably welcome the addition of more lyrics to these ultramodern sounds.

"OPR8R" brings an Outkast-like harmony to the table and "Buddafly Away" presents a gritty tribute to the true artists across the hip-hop spectrum. "Let's Go" featuring MF Doom is hyped as the dance-floor track of the record but comes off more cacophonous than anything but in an incredibly pleasing way. The rich textures of the songs on Shape of Broad Minds "Craft of the Lost Art" seem appropriate for 2007, 2107 and beyond. If you happen to be time-traveling in the near future, chances are you'll hear this album on planets across the galaxy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PSSST-- HEY! I'm going to start writing again...