21.06.14

There’s a lot to be said about Alt-J: Joe Newman’s bizzare, oscillating vocals has earned a special place in my heart alongside Yeasayer’s Anand Wilder, they are an exhilarating band to experience live, and their song Fitzpleasure is probably the only time I would catch myself nodding along to the idea of being violated by a broomstick. (Look it up, that was no joke.) Their new album This Is All Yours is slated to be released on the 19th of September this year so I present the recently released preview track Hunger of the Pine. A little slow but the vocals and saxaphone are pretty much all it takes to make me happy.

Enjoy!

Pre-order their new album here!

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Today was supposed to be the glorious day I announce we have the site back up under a new web address (A pox on ye and all your ancestors WordPress!) and that we have undertaken a new writer but I can’t seem to figure out where the bastard’s snuck off to. I guess it’s just me today so let’s talk Andrew Bird!

I’ve written about Andrew Bird and his album Break It Yourself on this blog and he remains one of my favourite folk artists to this day. Many a nights were spent slipping into the gentle embraces of sleep to the trademarked whistling on the track Lusitania. 

This past week saw the release of his new album titled Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… which serves as a collection of, for a lack of a better word, “cover” songs he’s recorded of the New Mexico husband and wife duo The Handsome Family. Each song is derived from The Handsome Family origin but Bird breathes life into each track as if they were entirely his own creation and with his signature sounds. The introductory track Cathedral in the Dell incorporates the many elements that I’ve come to love about Bird’s music with a gentle strumming guitar, soothing vocals and the ever uplifting whistling. Tin Foiled follows, opening with the plucking violin much like Polynation back in Break It Yourself, and instantly becomes one of my favourite tracks from him.

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These sounds are not only his signature but also a by product of how he approaches music. Andrew explains that he approaches his music visually in terms of texture and colour; to him sounds like the whistling and violin are devices he uses to cut through the ‘murky’ segments of his music. As abstract as it sounds, I can kind of grasp what he’s attempting to convey and it is ever more apparent in the closing song Far From Any Road (Be My Hand), another of my favourites from the album, where the violin is always poised to bring the music back from being buried by the sombre notes. His entire album is available for your perusal below so check it out and support him if you enjoy it!

 

I also wanted to note that the original Far From Any Road by The Handsome Family is the theme song for HBO’s True Detectives! I’ve linked it below as its also a fantastic song.

Support Andrew on iTunes!

HoundmouthHoundmouth’s album “From the Hills Below the City” has been in my consistent rotation since it was recommended to me 5 months ago.  It’s a great first release for the band out of Louisville, Kentucky that skyrocketed them to the international stage in just a few months. But even all that heavy listening didn’t show me what these guys are truly capable of until I saw them live.

Their sound is agreeable and almost basic upon first listen – short, folky, southern rock ditties backed by a crunchy distorted guitar with themes of gypsy trains, drugs, running from the law, robbing, and getting robbed.  But the more you listen, the more Houndmouth’s talent radiates.  The vocal harmonies of all four band members, weaving melodic riffs, and the unassuming guitar mastery of Matt Myers elevate the band beyond, “Oh, this is sort of catchy” to something emotionally compelling and captivating. The result is a less bluesy Alabama Shakes mixed with a revival of The Band, served with a shot of Maker’s Mark.  It’s a killer combination that makes for a great easy listening (It also doesn’t hurt that Kate, the organist/lead vocalist is stunningly beautiful.)

Houndmouth – Penitentiary

I was fortunate enough to see Houndmouth at the mighty Lincoln Hall in Chicago last Friday – easily the best venue in the city for such a band – and their live performance was truly a sight to see.  Between instrument changes and pulls of whiskey, the band rocked the hall with songs from the new album as well as a few covers, including Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That”, a big highlight of the show for me.

If nothing else, it was worth it alone just to see Matt Myers play the guitar.  It’s rare to see a performer put that much emphasis into each note that he plays, truly as if the guitar was an extension of himself — a third arm.  I’ve seen only a few others who were able to command the instrument so effortlessly, and it had everyone around me in the audience raving about it between songs.  Check out the take away show below for more!  The acoustic version of Penitentiary really demonstrates how their vocal harmonies elevate the song to the next level.

@ 1:15 – Casino

@ 4:10 – Penitentiary

Support this artist on iTunes!

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