Showing posts with label Bear In Heaven. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bear In Heaven. Show all posts

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moogfest 2012 Day 1 Highlights

Our night began with a walk downtown to find VIP Moogfest pals Terri and Will, a festival friendship rekindled annually.  We caught a bit of the experimental duo Buke & Gase at the Diana Wortham Theatre, but scooted out after few songs in order to catch the entire set of new fave band Bear In Heaven. (Anyone wondering why I'm so enamored with them can just listen their lyrics about dancing in the video highlights on Youtube here or after photos below.)

Enjoying "Synthesizers" at Curate with Will and Terri
Most of the night was then spent hopscotching between the adjoining Civic Center venues with the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and Arena for Miike Snow, Nars, Primus, and Squarepusher.  We set out on a jaunt to the smaller Orange Peel venue for Black Moth Super Rainbow, thankfully bypassing the extremely long line outside with our press credentials.  On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by the Civic Center to check out Richie Hawtin and Explosions in the Sky.  Got that?  Round two tonight...

This year's wristbands
Miike Snow
Santigold & dancer

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring 2012 New Music Playlist

The spring blooms have been showing their stuff for weeks now, while new releases have hit the airwaves to please many a music fan.  Plus with SXSW and Coachella’s two weekends come and gone, there are plenty of buzz worthy bands to choose from for the next new music playlist. Link to listen here, enjoy!

1. “Go Right Ahead”  – The Hives
Swedish party band The Hives are back after five long years with their fifth release, Lex Hives.  The band is led by brothers Per (a.k.a. Howlin Pelle, frontman and vocals) and Nicklas (a.k.a. Nicholaus Arson, guitar and keyboard) Almqvist, returning to their high-energy approach for this catchy single.

2. “Sad Vacation” – The Dandy Warhols
Portland’s own alternative rock icons, The Dandy Warhols, return to the scene with their ninth album, This Machine.  Their gravelly, no excuses vibe chugs along in this opening track for the collection.

3. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
The Lumineers are a folk rock trio from Denver, specializing in an acoustic-based Americana sound.  This infectious single is off their self-titled full length debut, complete with callbacks and an invitation to join their jam.

4. “Heavy Metal” – White Rabbits
White Rabbits are a sextet based in Brooklyn with an unusual rock band set up (two drummers and a piano player) to expand their sound.  The band’s two frontmen, Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson, met in college in Columbia, Missouri, while working at the local record store together.  This song is off their third release, Milk Famous.

5. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” – Father John Misty
This song was recently offered as KEXP’s “Song of the Day” by Josh Tillman, the former drummer of Seattle band Fleet Foxes.  The majestic tune is off the debut release for his solo project, Fear Fun.

6. “The Wave” – Miike Snow
7. “Devil’s Work” – Miike Snow
Miike Snow is an indie pop trio formed in Stockholm in 2007, incorporating the talents of Andrew Wyatt with producers Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winneberg (known as Bloodshy & Avant).  These two shining examples of their work are off the band’s second album, Happy to You.

8.  “Finding Reasons” – New Build
Al Doyle (of Hot Chip and formerly LCD Soundsystem) and Felix Martin (Hot Chip) joined forces with studio producer Tom Hopkins to create this British electronic collaboration, New Build.  As expected, the tracks are filled with solid dance grooves such as in this single off the debut release, Yesterday Was Lived and Lost.

9. “The Reflection of You” – Bear In Heaven
10. “Sinful Nature” – Bear In Heaven
Brooklyn band Bear In Heaven embraces 80s synth pop song structures as formulated early on by Jon Philpot, during his off hours from working at a recording studio in Atlanta.  These two swirling tunes are from their fourth full length release, I Love You, It’s Cool.

11. “Tourists” – Bright Moments
Bright Moments is the indie pop music project of Kelly Pratt, known for his horn and vocals in Arcade Fire, Beirut and LCD Soundsystem.  He lets the brass section take center stage along with his new frontman position, as evidenced in this lead track off the band’s debut release, Natives.

12. “California” – Delta Spirit
Delta Spirit is an indie rock quintet from San Diego, now living in Long Beach.  This song is from the band’s self-titled third album, with their folksy rock vocals and approach to instrumentation.

13. “Serpents” – Sharon Van Etten
Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten embraces the indie folk rock genre with her heartfelt compositions.  This song is off her third release, Tramp, which was produced by The National’s Aaron Dressner (who also makes an appearance as a performer as well).

14. “Shiny Things” – Fanfarlo
Fanfarlo is a London based indie pop quintet, fronted by Swedish musician Simon Balthazar. The band’s eclectic instrumentation includes trumpet, mandolin, violin, musical saw and clarinet along with the standard rock band set up.  This song is the single off their second release, Rooms Filled with Light.

15. “Myth” – Beach House
Dream pop trailblazers Beach House are back with this single off their fourth album, Bloom.  Featuring French-born Victoria Legrand’s soaring vocals and Baltimore’s Alex Scally, the duo continues to offer larger-than-life musical landscapes. 

16. “Eyeoneye” – Andrew Bird
17. “Belles” – Andrew Bird
Chicago area native Andrew Bird lists voice, violin, guitar and glockenspiel as his instruments for creating indie folk rock that has resulted in nine albums and more.  These two songs are from the latest release Break It Yourself.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Bear In Heaven Release on NPR's "First Listen"

Bear In Heaven Promo Photo by Nick Helderman
Alt fave band Bear In Heaven amassed some considerable buzz at this year's SXSW festival and now they're gearing up to release their fifth album I Love You, It's Cool, next week (April 3).  The trio actually began back in 1998 as a solo studio project for Jon Philpot down in Atlanta, until a group mentality amassed in Brooklyn by 2003. The trio now includes guitarist Adam Wills and drummer Joe Stickney.  This new collection of songs continues the synth-heavy approach with Philpot vocals buried among psychedelic sensibilities.  Simplistic pop treatments lurk in their lyrics such as "Feels like a thousand years have gone by without you" in "Reflection of You" and "Friends don't know what you've been through" in "Sinful Nature." But with soaring choruses, pulsing beats and majestic guitar lines, all is easily forgiven.

Listen to I Love You, It's Cool in its entirety or song by song, on NPR's "First Listen" program here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SXSW 2012 Media Coverage Recap

Another SXSW has is now in the books. The festival celebrated 25 years with a ten-fold increase in size -- 2000 musical acts descended on Austin to play in 90 venues or even on the street until last call at 2 a.m. on Saturday (St. Patrick's Day no less!)  It's interesting to follow the coverage before and during, especially with more gigs streaming live online.  There was definitely a larger rap and hip hop presence this year, plus electronic dance music continues to enjoy its higher profile in the music industry.  In the process, I heard bands I barely knew get a nice mention and learned about countless new bands, which is exactly the point of this annual gathering.

A good point of introduction is the mix, "SPIN Presents Austin Power: Best SXSW Acts" 2012, available as a free download after handing over your email address.  (They already had mine so it was no big deal.  I enjoy their monthly playlists anyway, however the horrendous redesign of their print issues are another nail in the print publication coffin.)  With 36 songs lasting two and a half hours, there's bound to be something to catch your ear although I found myself skipping ahead more than a few times.  I'm always curious just to peruse listed band names: from the mundane (White Fence, The Coathangers) to witty (Class Actress) and extremely descriptive (Screaming Females).

NPR music also had a "All Songs Considered" preview show which listed my recent interview/review band Bright Moments as one to watch.  During the festival, the site offered a live feed to Bruce Springsteen's keynote speech which is here for those still wanting to bask in the glow of the rock star's presence online.  Basically he was brought in as the member of the old guard to inspire the new guard, reminding everyone that "There is no right way, no pure way of doing.  There is just doing."  Sounds more like a tag line for a sports company, but Mr. Bruce can do no wrong in this beleaguered industry.  I'm sure it was a thrill just to have him in town for a bit. 

Both the LA Times and the NY Times provided nice wrap up articles as stalwart news organizations in the traditional sense.  LA cited Bear In Heaven as the stand out newcomer along with the crowd pleasing honky tonk of Alabama Shakes, and there were props to Grimes for a heightened stage presence.  NY decided to shine a spotlight on the folksy sound of Colorado band The Lumineers as well as Georgia's Reptar (who I saw in a supporting slot last year and maybe I should revisit).  Although the write up by the Associated Press proclaimed that the entire festival show was stolen by the Austin High School marching band, appearing in an outdoor stadium at the University of Texas with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show on the final night.  

Consequence of Sound (COS) required each writer to return with two new fave bands, making for an interesting list. One band chosen for this is Chairlift, who begins the latest Early Spring Playlist here. COS also provided an overabundance of photos which I find is like looking through another high school's yearbook, one that is way cooler than your school could ever be. The voluminous LATimes photo gallery is also way beyond necessary. My favorite photo actually came from blog brand PopMatters, where there is someone literally climbing the walls during Day 2's Burgerstock showcase presented by Burger Records.  Rolling Stone has a nice mix of videos and photos on their website, as does Pitchfork -- although obligated to assert their taste maker cred by anointing bands as "The Best (and Worst)."  Stereogum took it one step closer to high school behavior by listing "SXSW Superlatives 2012," from Best Beard and Best Wailer, to Longest Setup Time.

My fave online radio stations were also at the festival to broadcast live and provide coverage through their online blogs: KCRW, KEXP and WFUV's The Alternate Side.  These links will offer me plenty of new music sustenance going forward, along with the upcoming NPR music wrap up show.  NPR has already submitted some wrap up coverage, including a nice shout out to women rockers.  And for those who actually care about the latest fashions at such festivals, check out the scene via New York Magazine for shoes, eyewear and other trends.