Archive for May, 2012

May 31, 2012

Hurrah! needs your help!

I have something extremely important to tell you and I greatly hope you will listen because there isn’t much time!

New York band Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! has to raise $10,000 by June 16 to release a brand new full-length album that is going to rock off your ever-loving socks. Hurrah!’s 2011 album “Hello!” made it onto my list of the Top 20 Albums of 2011, and you can read all about why it’s so great right here in my review at Radio Free Chicago. If that’s not enough to convince you how amazing this ensemble is, they were named New York City’s No. 1 emerging indie rock band in The Deli Magazine and their single “Devil On My Shoulder” was listed among the top 40 songs of 2010 by Brooklyn Vegan. So don’t just take my word for it, take every music savvy New Yorker’s word for it as well, because this band is a major hitmaker waiting to happen. (And did I mention lead singer/guitarist Wil Farr has the same birthday as I do? He’s one year younger, but still. Awesome is awesome at any age.)

You may be one of those people who has to see to believe, so see for yourself just how WONDERFUL these guys are. This song always blows my skull wide open.

So when you give some money to these guys, you’re basically ensuring that more of this kind of stuff is going to exist in the world. And that is almost certainly worth at least ten of those dollars sitting around in your bank, possibly reserved for a coffee drink or a sandwich or something. Believe me. With Hurrah!’s music, you won’t even need that coffee. If you help out their Kickstarter campaign, you won’t just be making them very happy, but you’ll be making me very happy. Gosh. You know what? You’ll also be making yourself very happy, because by backing this campaign, you’re saying you like their music, and it will result in more of that, which is exactly why you’re doing this in the first place!

Go here to give them money and reap your rewards: Hurrah! Is Recording A New Album!

May 30, 2012

Dreams come true with new Ferraby Lionheart album up ahead

Sometimes you hear a musician and your affection for them is instantaneous. Last year, that happened to me with Noah Gundersen. A few years before that, my heart swelled for Ben Weaver. It doesn’t happen often. Not all my favorites begin as such. But the ones that do can very nearly do no wrong. That is absolutely the case for Los Angeles singer-songwriter Ferraby Lionheart. Every song he writes feels like a musical Cupid’s arrow, captivating and enchanting while I sit felled by my speakers.

Since Lionheart’s 2010 album The Jack Of Hearts, I’ve often found myself wondering what he’s been up to lately, hoping intently that he’s got something new in the works for me to fawn over. Earlier this year, my hopes were finally appeased with the news that he’ll be releasing a new album this fall. His February video for “Desmond” is a sweet tease I cannot get enough of.

Aside from that, he hasn’t really been very vocal about the upcoming, yet-untitled release, so you’ll probably have to keep a diligent eye out for this one come autumn.

May 25, 2012

May Mix: A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away …

Exactly 35 years ago today, one of the most famous movies of all time debuted on the big screen. You may or may not be a “Star Wars” fan, but very likely you’ve seen at least one of the films at some time in your life. Undeniable is the impact it had on the world of pop culture, especially film and the widespread understanding of monomyth.

In some ways, the franchise has become a mockery over time, not least of which due to the introduction of Jar Jar Binks and the weak, awkward chemistry between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala in the prequels — and the geekiest of “Star Wars” geeks will give you plenty more reasons to wish a pox upon George Lucas. But something can definitely be said for the money-making empire that is “Star Wars.” This thing will never stop selling, and it’s truly a phenomenon that I may never fully comprehend. There are new movies being made every day, and yet these ones came with such force, appealing to all sorts of people.

Maybe it’s the characters — the wise and skilled Yoda, the eccentric C-3PO, the scoundrely Han Solo and of course every lady-lover’s sex fantasy Princess Leia. Maybe it’s the fantastic galaxy, one of the most expansive ventures movie-goers have ever taken into an imagined world. Or perhaps it’s all the human components that make us feel connected, despite how unreal it all seems to the naked eye. It combines comedy, romance, drama, science fiction, action and adventure. There really is something for basically everybody.

Why yes, I am sexy. Thanks so much for noticing, though I fully expected you would.

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May 24, 2012

Video Raid: The Hall of Mirrors, ‘Say Goodbye’

Recently I discovered this London dream-pop ensemble on bandcamp and snatched up their lovely Love Child EP. After learning a little more about The Hall of Mirrors, I found a video for “Say Goodbye,” not available on the EP, but possibly my favorite of all their tunes I’ve heard. It appears at one time the song was available for download somewhere on their site, but I can no longer find it. So instead, I’ve just been playing this YouTube clip relentlessly, familiarizing myself with the mime dance of what appears to be the band’s frontwoman, Jessica Winter.

Winter comes equipped with a voice like jazz-pop singer Katie Melua and theatrical music sensibilities. “Maybe,” off the EP, sounds like it belongs on a Broadway stage. This element in her music brings a very artful quality to the fore, and the old-fashioned moving pictures displayed behind her in the video suddenly make a lot of sense.

May 23, 2012

Band I Dislike, Song I Do Not: Foreigner, ‘Long, Long Way From Home’

Reasons I dislike Foreigner

  • I’m pretty sure when the band started they were just looking to fill that “poor man’s Bad Company” void.
  • Somehow Ian McDonald went from being a member of King Crimson when they did this to playing guitar on this horseshit.
  • If you’re like me and grew up in a town where your radio choices were basically “the good classic rock station” and “the bad classic rock station,” you’ve heard enough fucking Foreigner in your life. See also: Boston, Journey, Boston, Styx, Boston.
  • “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Get away from me.

Reasons I like “Long, Long Way From Home” 

  • If the sound of a clavinet doesn’t immediately arouse you, you might be dead.
  • If there’s one thing Foreigner could do, it was write a seemingly epic but mostly pointless story song with badass power chords. (I also really like “Jukebox Hero,” too, but that’s mainly for ironic reasons.)
  • Mmmm. Sax-UH-ma-PHONE!
  • It’s not one of the five Foreigner songs played to Goddamn death by classic rock radio. And it’s really short.
May 22, 2012

Beach House’s ‘Bloom’ is better than Wyld Stalyns

Remember that scene in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when Rufus shows them the future and everything’s perfect and there’s this crazy music playing in a weird temple?

Okay, that wasn’t Beach House, it was “In Time” by Robbie Rob, but it should have been, because that’s what I imagine when I hear this Baltimore duo’s sumptuous third EP, released by SubPop on May 15th. Like some sort of utopian choir living inside a pipe-organ-future-temple.

The male-female vocals sound as though you’re hearing them from the inside of a womb—echoey, remote, but wise and comforting, with lush, parental harmonies. Ever-present drum machine beats offset the eerie drone effects of the synth/organ, throbbing bass lines and wavy guitars.  They take their time, deliberately adding layer upon layer of sound, driving verses (and the listener) to the brink, until their chorus bursts triumphantly open like some jungle flower in the steaminess of it all.  (Get it?  Bloom?)

My favorite track is “Lazuli”, which makes me feel as though I’m dozing next to a waterfall.  The beginning dissonant “ahhhhs” of “The Hours” sound like a nod to the Beatles’ “Because” and fool me every time, but then the track goes in a totally different direction.  The lyrics are simple but hit poignant nerves too: “Other people want to keep in touch/something happens and it’s not enough/never thought that it would mean so much”, they advise, and I am tempted to tell all of my faraway friends how much I love them, just in case.

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