Another week, another post from me spotlighting my three current favorite songs. Let’s make this a LIVE EDITION just for the hell of it, yeah?
First up is Haim, recent winners of the BBC’s Sound of 2013 music industry poll . Performing new track “Falling,” the band is a joy to watch as they let loose with their throaty vocals and R&B-tinged grooves. I saw them play at Mumford & Sons‘ mini-festival in Portland last summer and they’re all kinds of awesome.
English rock band Foals just released their third album a week or two back and I’ve essentially had it on repeat ever since. “Last Night” is a particular highlight that builds into an epic climax and is totes worth the listen. Tickets for their show at House of Blues in May just went on sale and it’s performances like this one that have me already counting down the days for it.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper sure sounds like a bizarre name for a single singer-songwriter to go by, but please don’t let it distract you from her brilliance. Her soon-to-be-released album is ridiculously emotional and it’s performances like the one above of my personal favorite, “Bird Balloons,” that make it clear she’s going to be having an enormously successful 2013.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy the rest of the day off and keep on jamming!
When you’re not enjoying one of our amazingly free LIVE events, you should be hitting up the legendary venues within your reach right off of the Charles River Campus. Here are some of the shows I’m looking forward to this semester with a few tracks by some of the artists below. There are tons of venues in the Boston area (BU Central included), so check ‘em out and explore the local scene.
Solange Knowles at Paradise Rock Club – February 19th
Passion Pit at Agganis Arena – February 9th
Alt-J at Paradise Rock Club – March 2nd & 3rd (*both shows are sold out #sadface)
The Rocket Summer at Brighton Music Hall – March 27th
Local Natives at House of Blues – March 30th
Andrew McMahon (from Jack’s Mannequin) at Paradise Rock Club – April 8th
Wavves & FIDLAR at Brighton Music Hall – April 8th
Cold War Kids at Paradise Rick Club – April 10th
Alicia Keys & Miguel at Agganis Arena – April 10th
One of the best things about living in a major city? Easy access to concerts! I spent much of my freshman year getting acquainted with Boston’s numerous venues , and I intend to keep that up this year. My schedule may now be a bit more rigorous, but y’all can bet on me getting to as many shows as I have time for.
Here’s three dates I’m looking forward to most this fall!
NEON INDIAN - I had the good fortune to catch the Texan foursome at a festival last year and experienced one of my most intimate connections with music. The indie electronic band just released their second album, featuring the extremely danceable single “Polish Girl.” They’ll be playing Brighton Music Hall on 10/20 with tickets only $16 if ya pick em up at the venue (or even at Paradise Rock Club, which is essentially a part of BU’s West Campus). Event info can be found here.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS - These New Zealanders burst onto the hipster scene last year with their unique brand of indie rock. I was a bit late to the party with them, and it wasn’t until early August that I finally gave their debut a listen. I became instantly obsessed and it didn’t take long for them to totally dominate my Last.fm account. The group plays Paradise Rock Club, my personal favorite venue, on 10/25 and tickets run for $20 if you pick em up there. Event info can be found here
M83 - This French electronic band has been spewing out quality dream pop for over a decade now, and I am beyond stoked to see them hit up Boston in support of their recently released sixth album. I completely lose myself in their music, and that is essentially guaranteed when I’ll be swaying with the crowd at the House of Blues on 11/20 (the event was recently moved from Paradise Rock Club due to consumer demand). Tickets are only $18 if pick em up at HOB! Event info can be found here.
Judging by the frequency of tweets and Facebook updates regarding the calamitous state of the terrible outdoors, I think we’re all in need of some pick-me-ups. It is Groundhog Day, after all, and according to our friends down at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, spring is coming soon! However, for anyone who is unfamiliar with New England weather “patterns” (I use that term loosely as there really aren’t any), spring entails basically what we have outside right now, kicked up 35 or 40 degrees. All sarcasm aside, let’s get down to it:
Last weekend=Decemberists at the House of Blues.
Down by the Water
Rox in the Box [Can somebody please explain these lyrics? I don't get them.]
Won’t Want for Love
The Engine Driver
The Soldiering Life
This is Why We Fight
The Rake’s Song
The Chimbley Sweep
A Cautionary Song
I’m not gonna lie, on the whole, the concert was just whelming. Not over-, not under-, just whelming. It was kind of short. But it was, at the same time, pretty great just to be seeing them live. I’m posting five videos below–one of the best parts of the show was the crowd’s energy and how utterly devoted everyone seemed, and I think it comes through, especially (as you’ll be able to hear) because everyone sang along to almost every song (apologizing in advance…don’t judge). Also something totally awesome was when some of them came into the audience OHMYGOD during “A Cautionary Song” (which, by the way, is one of their funniest). In addition to the videos, I’m also posting “The Rake’s Song”–it’s pretty heavy on the bass and drum for a Decemberists song, and I wish I had a live recording.
The energy in the room was superintense when they played this, and Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk, and their guest violinist were all on drums, über-synchronized and pretty badass. And the entire audience was singing, which was also pretty awesome. Even though the lyrics are pretty intense. Also you can hear us talking in some of them…sorry about that.
Enough rambling, I know you want your videos:
“Down By the Water”
“The Engine Driver”
“This is Why We Fight”
“A Cautionary Song” (Sorry the quality is terrible. I passed the camera to Dan to record because I was right in the front trying to take pictures to send to my friend Colin, who, as I told him, is “my second favorite Colin M.” They were literally six inches from us.)
“June Hymn” definitely has to be one of my new favorites. All videos courtesy of Dan Conroy’s iPhone.
Stay warm and dry! Coming next week, maybe some summery tunes to bring us out of this winter rut?
I have a soft spot in my heart for electropop. Give me a danceable beat and I’m set, most of the time. So, whenever I come across an up-and-coming band that satisfies my craving for techno-tinged, danceable, synth-heavy, electropop, I always spread the word.
First up, New York duo MNDR (pronounce “mandar”). You may have heard Amanda Warner’s Santigold-esque vocals on Mark Ronson’s summer single, “Bang Bang Bang,” but MNDR’s original material is sure to blow up within the year.
A personal favorite of mine is “Cut Me Out,” which is currently making the rounds in the blogosphere.
MNDR opens for Chromeo at the House of Blues this Thursday, so y’all know.
Next up is Natalia Kills, an ambitious 24-year old British artist who puts her own spin on pop music.
Perhaps the best of her songs is “Mirrors,” which she turned into an ultra-cinenatic music video that she directed herself.
Natali Kills opens for Robyn (my favorite artist of all time. OF ALL TIME!) at the House of Blues this Friday.
Happy Wednesday! I’m super excited to be back–break was good, but it’s awesome to be posting again! So let’s get right to it:
Re-cap: I have this one friend who knows the Boston music scene pretty well, and I get new music from him pretty consistently. Over vacation, we saw Mr. Sister at the Middle East [Upstairs]. If you’ve never been, they have some awesome events coming up–it’s a really great venue, and it’s kind of behind/in? this restaurant, so you can grab a relatively cheap dinner and then go see a show. Anyways, Mr. Sister is great. At their album release earlier this year, the lead singer (Amelia Emmet) gave out hand-embroidered ties! So cool, right? They also played with Spirit Family Reunion right before Christmas (SFR was here at BUC in November). The show at the Middle East was technically another band’s CD release, but let’s be honest–I’m sure I wasn’t the only one there just to see Mr. Sister. Said friend is kind enough to allow me to shoot videos of all the concerts we go to on his iPhone (see the Mumford post for more of those!), so here’s Mr. Sister at the Middle East:
Okay, so I’m also posting for you a lovely almost-20-minute audio clip. It’s basically the entire show that isn’t on that video. If you don’t have 20 minutes, might I suggest a skip to the end, around 17:10? The finale was just Amelia and one of her bandmates, and it was pretty mind-blowing.
Thus concludes the Re-cap. Oh yeah, sorry most of the video is sideways. I’ll try to do better next time. Next time is Friday, by the way. See below.
Pre-cap: Friday is the Decemberists! At the House of Blues! I think I’ve mentioned before that the Decemberists were introduced into (and subsequently rocked) my world a couple years ago by some roommates. Well, these roommates of mine went to see the Decemberists that winter. And I was very jealous. Especially because I was the only one with a car and they had me pick them up afterwards. Anyways, my grudge ends here, because they’re playing the House of Blues! Yay!
They released “Down By the Water”, a track from their new album The King is Dead, on NPRMusic a few weeks ago (it’s in a previous blog post). Now that the album is out, I can post a few more today; next Wednesday if I have videos, I’ll post those you. It might be January, but we’re all over the Decemberists. I know, terrible, terrible joke. Anyways:
Appropriately (especially in light of my bad joke), here’s “January Hymn”. It talks about winter. Which is fitting because we’re supposed to get another foot of snow tonight! It’s pretty mellow, but much more of their style than “All Arise!” (see below). And I’m pretty impressed with Colin Meloy’s vocals here. Not unusual, he’s generally impressive, but still:
“All Arise!” is definitely much more down-homey than most of their other tracks, but the instrumentals are smooth and solid and Mr. Meloy, as always, comes through with the lyrics:
And last–for now at least–”Calamity Song”. I just like it. Pretty standard Decemberists fare, but to be honest, they’re just kind of really awesome at what they do.
Okay, and finally, here’s Wye Oak–they’re opening the show Friday night.
I’m pretty excited. Can you tell?
UPDATE: The King is Dead is #1 on the Billboard 200 with over 93,500 copies. Yep.
Have a great rest of the week! Make sure to check back next Wednesday for video and audio from the show (and if I’m really lucky, a picture of me and Colin Meloy. We’ll see.)
This week I’ve been listening to some strange music. According to the world’s most trusted source of answers about anything, Wikipedia, experimental music is something that “pushes the boundaries of the genre, or incorporates unorthodox, new, distinctly unique ingredients.” Whatever it is that I’ve been listening to lately, it certainly is unique. This experimental mood of mine has brought me down two very different musical paths: experimental jazz, and experimental electro.
One of my favorite jazz bands “Medeski Martin & Wood” (who is actually coming to the House of Blues tomorrow 11/18) is a great example of experimental jazz fusion. The organ/drum/bass trio love to jam and try new things. Most of the time it works out, but sometimes not so much… Last time they came to Boston, they improvised a few songs that sounded like a woman going through labor and a hippopotamus having a bad acid trip accompanied by a blindfolded gorilla drumming with his eyes closed. But hey, that’s what sound experimentation is for!
Here is a good example of an strange, but enjoyable MMW song: Beeah
And if you don’t like that, give them another chance! This is more Jazz, less experimenting: Last Chance to Dance (Perhaps)
On the other end of things is Mr. Oizo, a French music producer/director/DJ. I’ve fallen in love with the album “Lambs Anger”, which is more mainstream than his earlier albums. I’ll let the music speak for itself here.
Listen to Half a Scissor off his second album “Moustache”:
Weird stuff right? Yah, I know, but I can’t get it out of my head. I love it! The entire album is like this: glitchy, fuzzy sounds over a strange beat. (This is kind of what I would imagine a waterfall would sound like if Tron were real life.)
His later album “Lambs Anger” has more of a dance beat to it, and isn’t so terrifically odd. Still, some of his songs are just so random.
Like, for example Bruce Willis is Dead:
But my favorite song my Mr. Oizo, and definitely my favorite song of the week, is Positif. The only lyrics are some lady or robot (not really sure which) saying crazy things in French like “Stop Reproducing Yourselves” and “You are animals!” It sounds so much better when she says it, trust me.
Well, that’s all I got for this week… Au revoir!
So, I don’t really think I need to explain much about this post.
Last Thursday night I saw Mumford and Sons play a sold out show at the House of Blues.
Here are the numbers: 2400 Mumford fans 3 hours of standing around waiting 45 agonizing minutes of King Charles 45 minutes of Cadillac Sky 2 GLORIOUS HOURS OF MUMFORD AND SONS $30 for a fantastic tour t-shirt
All in all, a good night. King Charles was, for lack of a better word, interesting. Not terrible. Just…interesting. He was wearing this really great ensemble of very tight, very high-waisted white satin pants; a navy coat with tails that trailed on the floor; patent leather flats (flats. Not loafers. Flats.); and this beautiful mass of awesome hair that absolutely completes the look. By the time Cadillac Sky came on, I’m not gonna lie, I was just antsy and ready for some Mumford and Sons. And then…there they were. A glorious foursome of beautiful West Londoners.
Beautiful. And talented. Perfect.
The show was incredible. They really are fantastic live; the crowd was electric and everyone was super into it, which you can totally feel in the videos. Also, they are gorgeous (did I mention that? They really are.) and ridiculously talented–they shifted instruments every few songs. Also also, they were super nice and very humble and thanked the crowd profusely and talked about how awesome Boston is. Which is true. So, without further ado: Mumford and Sons.
“Little Lion Man” (the second half, because somebody wasn’t maying much attention):
“Sigh No More”:
“Thistle & Weeds”:
“Dust Bowl Dance” (listen close around 3:00 for the awkward/hilarious conversation where I realized Dan has been filming not the stage, but the tech booth the whole time):
All Mumford videos courtesy of Dan Conroy, who recorded everything on his iPhone because I wanted things to post here. And took me to the show. And gave me their album. He’s great.
PS: If you go on Cadillac Sky’s Youtube Channel, there are some great videos of them with Mumford. Also a cover of Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, which is good, but a little too country for my tastes. Here’s King Charles, just so you can get a taste:
But since that’s terrifying, I’ll end with the glorious encore. Really. It’s incredible.:
Heyguesswhat–the correct answer is (d). On the 6th, BUC hosted Gentlemen Hall and Bad Rabbits, and the show was hoppin. As for Gentlemen Hall, they’re the perfect mix of just enough electronics with a large handful of great vocals and a healthy dose of catchy tunes and lyrics. And that’s just their album–Give Us Roots, Give Us Wings–which is great, but it isn’t even in the same league as their live show. I wish I had a video for you from the show, but this will have to suffice:
But really, the show was great. Wasn’t it great? Yeah. Pretty much. Here’s “Gravity Will Break Our Bones”, which is probably my favorite track on the album:
Perfect, right? It’s quite catchy.
Also, this could totally be in a movie soundtrack:
Something like that scene in Love Actually where that guy is walking down the street and in the movie soundtrack they’re playing Dido’s “Resting Here With Me” (wow, Dido…flashback) but they really should be playing this. It’s called “What Is Left Of Me”, by the way.
And finally, another one of their best was just released this morning (at 12:14 AM, according to twitter) on their myspace–I can’t post it here, but head over to their page (myspace.com/gentlemenhall) and check it out. It’s called “Blush”!
On to Bad Rabbits:
People were crowdsurfing…no joke.
This is what their live show was like:
Okay, so if they are that fun with a music video, imagine a live show. Let me reiterate that people were crowdsurfing. What? Yeah. (Sidenote: I propose a remake of this video with Dean Elmore as the guy at 2:15 in the video. Any takers?)
Here’s “Stick Up Kids” (also the name of their EP, which you can download for $free.99 on their website):
Like Gentlemen Hall, they’ve got great vocals and lyrics with just the right amount of electronic vibes and catchy tunes, but where Gentlemen Hall has a more folksy vibe (there’s that word again, folksy…see my first post), Bad Rabbits totally owns the old-schoolhip-hopwithalittlebitofsomefunkmaybe? vibe.
And “Can’t Back Down”:
Just so you know, they were so good live that I downloaded the album while I was still at the show on Saturday (I snagged one of Gentlemen Hall’s albums too).
Let’s have another pop quiz to close it out:
Give Us Roots, Give Us Wings and Stick Up Kids pair well with:
a) mellow parties
b) a long T ride
c) a run by Jamaica pond
d) secret dance party in your room
e) all of the above, but especially (d). (d)s are always the best.
I’m seeing Mumford and Sons tonight at the House of Blues. Expect a post on that next week!
If you’ve been in BU Central at all this semester you’ve probably seen the groovy music video for Janelle Monáe’s single Tightrope ft. Big Boi where she and her fellow androids pull off some AMAZING moves reminiscent of MJ.
If you haven’t seen it. SEE IT NOW.
On September 16th I saw Janelle Monáe perform with Of Montreal at the House of Blues and I literally could not stop dancing throughout her entire performance. And not only can she dance like a maniac she is an incredible vocalist, has her own distinct style and not to mention is gorgeous. BASICALLY I WANT TO BE HER.
Here are a couple of my favorite songs off of her latest album The ArchAndroid.