Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lykke Li

Lykke Li - continued

Recently reminded how much I adore this lil gal.

A fair-haired fairy from Stockholm - who happened to winter in Nepal and pad about Lisbon and Morroco before recording her first album in Brooklyn - Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson has gained notoriety since her 2008 release.

Rumor is "Little Bit" was inspired from a three-year previous relationship. Just enough to break your heart, change your life.
And instill the confidence to tell the world just what position you'll keep your legs until your lover returns. Bold, Ly. Bold.

Classified as sugarplum sweet neon lilac soul, her recent cover of Roberta Flack's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" reminds that table sugar has a similar hue to bleached bones.

Lykke Li // Tonight
Lykke Li // Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sleeping in the Aviary

This is an oldie but a goodie, a bit moldie and close to my heart(ie).

Sleeping in the Aviary is currently an unconventional band of three. Squares in the best way possible, which is saying something since they could only ever really form a triangle. Based on duo Elliot Kozel (guitars, vocals) and Phil Mahlstadt (bass, keyboards), the decidedly madhatter lyrics keep in line with overall aesthetic. If you're sitting at that teaparty, check out their website.

Most of their material is new wave that jiggers and jilts till your brain feels like a two egg scramble; whites only, please. With chalula. I keep this track in the do-over list for it's creaky, rough hewn production - bootstomps, handclaps, some aaAAaah's to soothe the colicky babe.

Sleeping in the Aviary // Windshield

Friday, December 11, 2009

White Denim

Punk, spit in yo face, bluesy, psychedelic rock from Aussie Austin, Taxin Texas.

And if you wanna to wear them after Labor Day? Eff it, it's your world.

White Denim// Regina Holding Hands

White Denim // All You Really Have to Do

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Volcano Choir

A bunch of old friends. Jamming out in a roughhewn recording studio on a cold November weekend in the northern midwest. Standard in some circles, but this group of merry men stand apart. Collection of Bees. Bon Iver. When your powers combine to form Volcano Choir, you're not gonna play in the local battle of the bands or book some corporate lascivious Christmas party to exorcise your musical talents.

Predating Justin Vernon's mushroom cloud of success, "For Emma, forever Ago," the first rumblings of VC occurred when Collection of Bees, (Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack and Thomas Wincek) toured with Vernon's previous group, DeYarmond Edison back in 2005. Three years later in Vernon's home studio in Wisconsin, the cronies looped and yowled and sighed and pushed and tapped and crooned and smashed and exalted until "Unmap" came to be.

The result? At once hypnotizing and suspenseful, either they're this side of crazy or fucking brilliant.

Volcano Choir // Island, IS

Monday, November 23, 2009

Le Loup

Everybody likes a hometown team. Though I can't entirely claim DC as my own, I'm of the camp that if you can get there in less than two hours, consider your satellite closet to be in Reston and have been lost on the Geo Wash Parkway at least once - you're nearly a townie.

Other reasons I have warm-n-fuzzies for this gaggle of multi-instrumentalists:
- I've had a photo-op on the DC Zoo sign, too!
- I like to put "Le" in front of everything! (re: i am le tired)
- Sounds like - animal collective+yeasayer+fleet foxes!

Coming off the quintessential bedroom recordings of founder, Sam Simkoff - Le Loup started layering glistening leaves of le banjo, piano, guitar, perpetual percussion and dryersheet light vocals in '06. The revamped boudoir tracks, le inspired by Dante's Inferno, made for a debut teeming with ambient loops. Sophmore effort, "Family," departs the synth of their brief youth for a more mature audio richness and reverb vocals that taste of Robin Pecknold. That is, if you're of the camp that you've licked Robin Pecknold.
You're an odd bird, aren't you?

p.s. you just read the le 200th ES post in history - YOU WON YOU WON

Le Loup // Beach Town

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cold Cave

If you're of the emotive, angsty, poetry reading sort you may already be familiar with Wesley Eisold.
A poet and a musician, I'm not sure if he's quite a bard - more of an alumnus of the scene. Or maybe you're a Fall Out Boy groupie and know he's had some songwriting plagiarism beef with Pete Wentz? H-anyways, after years of hardcore punk noise bands like Give Up the Ghost he's taking a cerebral holiday as frontman of Cold Cave with current fellow bandmates Caralee McElroy and Dominick Fenrow.

More Depeche Mode than Fugazi - most of the early November release, "Emotional Rescue," keeps you at arms length. It's like prodding human emotion with a chilled iced tea spoon; stirring things up but everything stays colloidal. This track's an exception - a pulsing thrum of a daydream with the mantra "I"m never going back." The refrain keeps in line with Cold Cave's outlook that one can feel like there's nothing more and everything more. I'll have both with a slice of lemon, please.

Cold Cave // Life Magazine

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rain Machine

Day three of Hurricane Ida leftovers, Rain Machine is awfully appropriate.

I'll start this by readily admitting I've been a bit smitten with Kyp Malone. He's only produced a zillion things for a cajillion artists. Plays in a little band you may have seen on one or two 'zine covers, TVOTR. Bodacious, bountiful beard. Owly, astounding specs. A strangled, falsetto howl like Darth Vader executing a chokehold on level 2.6.

Yeah I'm into strangling. What?

This new jaunt's, Rain Machine, naming is either one of two things;
1. he thought it would look cooler on a concert tee than KYP MALONE
2. he believes naming efforts is arbitrary and an interpretation of the individual, so why specify. Has anyone ever really stopped and thought about what Led Zepplin truly means? Doubtful. Don't act like you have just to impart on KM that you're deep. His lil gal Isabell is his music-success barometer, he doesn't need commoners like you and me to think on things for him.

Regardless, on this solo effort you're gonna get a lot of "nearlies" so your interpretation nation is given a jolt. Nearly chaotic. Nearly empty. Nearly g
ospel. Nearly agnostic. Nearly zen. Nearly royally pissed. Irritated yet? Let's move on.

You've probably heard the rollicking "Give Blood" on your local college station, so here's track five. Provocative lyrics, tambourine shakes, handclaps. God do I love handclaps. All giving you a feel for what to expect from the full album.

“...a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a reflection of a variety of emotions and situations real and imagined - some rhythm some rhyme." - KM

How could I ever say anything better. Kyp trumps again.

Rain Machine // Free Ride

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Autocue - Interview

An interview I did with local Richmond band, Autocue, for RVA Magazine. Have fun, I know I didn't. Hahaha. Kidding. It was average. ;) Check the lads out this Saturday at Gallery 5.

Photo by PJ Sykes

Not since the animatronic animal band, The Rock-afire Explosion, have I been so duped into expecting one thing and given something else. Those guys were all dark and mysterious with their music, but once you got to know ‘em, they were the most innocent of sweethearts this side of Huckleberry Pasture. I could say the same thing for Autocue, a calm and cool collective of hip hipsters born right from the Earth of Mother Richmond.

If I were me, I’d categorize their sound as layered, constantly dueling guitar patterns with a solid, unrelenting rhythm section. Unique and yet sometimes familiar, their tone is from the dark side.

But when I went to meet with the guys, they weren’t dark at all (I already knew this because we all know each other, but for the sake of this article, pretend I’m from England and just arrived). They were quite the opposite. In fact, when I got there, they were playing Call of Duty 4, laughing and drinking Shasta. Or maybe it was beer, but still, they were having a laughable time.

I sat down with the band starring Nick Wurz, 26 (guitars), Andrew Prousalis, 26 (guitars), Patrick Ball, 25 (vocals + bass), and Timo Prousalis, 22 (drums) to discuss the band, the weather, and their upcoming EP release show at Gallery 5 on November 14.

We’re at Nick and Andrew’s new workplace/funhouse. Nick’s looking through a sweater catalogue and vowing to buy everything in it the next day.

McKay (Me): Nick, you recently opened up Mondial Creative Labs. What goes on here and why is there a half pipe next to a computer desk and a half-eaten bagel?

Nick: Me, Andrew and two other guys started it with a vision of a very creative, collaborative place where we could do anything we wanted to do. Whether it's video, work or band stuff. We're here all the time, writing music or working on some video or skateboarding or whatever, playing video games.

Me: I mean seriously. There’s a mother effin’ half pipe right there.

Nick: Yeah, that's there. We have periodic skate breaks during the day. Actually, Patrick broke his foot a few weeks ago. First official casualty.

Me: Does that affect your performance?

Patrick: Hopefully not. It affects my performance in other areas.

Me: Like in the bedroom?

Patrick: I don’t wanna talk about it.

Me: Do you hate each other being here all the time?

Nick: Surprisingly not.

Andrew: No. And Nick and I live together.

Me: 24/7. Is there something we should know?

Andrew: We get along surprisingly well considering how often we're around each other.

Me: What's it like practicing here.

Patrick: It's great. We've got a whole in-ear monitoring/recording set up to where all of our amps and drums and everything have microphones hooked up all the time. With our computer we can record it (snaps) like that. It's all set up. At the same time we have our own mixes. Say I'm singing with the vocal mic, I can hear it in my headphones. So that allows us to turn everything way down and just keep it really clean. We can hear everything like you're listening to a record.

Me: Where'd you guys find each other?

Nick: MySpace.

Andrew: Patrick and I talked about starting a band about 2 years ago. We’d played in bands before and we really wanted to do something that had a focus on being creative and trying to expand. Then Timo started playing, obviously, he's my brother. Then I ran into Nick at a Ki:Theory show at Alley Katz about six months later, he started playing and that was it.

Patrick: He just kind of filled that gap.

Me: Is that where you got that shirt? Zing! How'd you come up with the name Autocue?

Nick: Timo came up with it.

Timo: Yeah, I found it online somewhere.

Nick: Autocue is also the name for a teleprompter in the UK.

Timo: That's how I found the name, actually. On Wikipedia there are British words that aren't used in the US.

Andrew: Like bangers and mash. We don't have bangers here.

Me: Oh yes we do. Andrew, you and Timo are brothers. What’s it like playing together?

Andrew: There’s an interesting synergy that happens with brothers. He’ll say something that no one else will get and I’ll totally get it and we might also…

Timo: Finish each other’s sentences?

Me: Is there a spot you guys would prefer to play in Richmond?

Patrick: 929 West Grace Street. The atmosphere, the history, the location is amazing.

Me: Any local bands you’re into these days?

Nick: Heks Orkest. We’re very excited about them. Keeley Davis, one of the guys that works at Mondial is in it along with Jonathan Fuller and Cam DiNunzio from Denali, Engine Down and Black Iris.

Me: Saw them at the Bike Lot recently. My ears didn’t stop bleeding for days. In a good way, a good way. Who else?

Nick: Antlers…

Patrick: Memorial is awesome.

Nick: Ki:Theory. I was in a band with Ash, the drummer.

Me: So incestuous.

Patrick: This city’s pretty incestuous.

Me: Tell me about it.

Patrick: I’m getting into the jazz scene. Fight the Big Bull. Omback. They’ve been playing at Cous Cous every Wednesday back and forth for a couple years now. I think Fight the Big Bull just moved to Balliceaux.

Me: Is there a band, any band, you guys would like to open for?

Patrick: Blonde Redhead.
(collective nodding)

Timo: Mew.

Andrew: Sunny Day Real Estate now that they’re back.

Me: How come you guys don’t have beards?

Andrew: ‘Cause I can’t grow one.

Patrick: Timo can grow a beard for all of us.

Me: You should do it. Bearded drummers get way more tail.
(musical break)

Me: The EP release show is coming up. How did you go about making the EP, Epilogue, and is there anything significant about the timing of its release?

Patrick: We recorded it ourselves.

Andrew: Back in June, we were playing out of town for the first time and didn’t have anything to sell. So we thought, if we’re gonna be doing this often, we should have something. Patrick and I had been recording for a while now so we just thought: let’s do it ourselves.
(lots of recording speak; they did it themselves in two different houses at the same time, trust me)

Me: Why Gallery 5 for the release?

Patrick: It’s got a good vibe. The people there are down, on the level.

Nick: We like what they do. We’ve played there before. They’ve always been great to us. It’s just a cool place to bee affiliated with.

Andrew: I like that it has an art vibe instead of an ashtray vibe.

Patrick: I like that it’s a gallery and not just a typical venue.

Andrew: It’s a firehouse.

Patrick: It used to be a firehouse. It’s a museum.

Me: For fire trucks?

Timo: There is a fire truck inside.

Me: Super. How do you guys write? Together or separately? Or does someone else write your music? Like Britney Spears.

Nick: We write together. We don’t really have a set way that we do it. We all write stuff and usually with bands that becomes a problem. In our case we just bring in a part that we’ve been working on individually and work on it as a group and it’s pretty obvious what’s gonna work.

Me: What inspires you?

Andrew: I like cool rhythms, cool patterns. Even like a flash pattern. A lot of times I’ll see stuff like that and it’ll make me remember…
(18 minutes later there’s silence).

Timo: Interesting.

Patrick: The weather.

Nick: Yeah the weather.

Andrew: The weather?

Timo: Miley Cyrus.

Patrick: Early Miley Cyrus.

Me: You’re working on creating a visual show on top of the standard aural performance. What's the meaning of this?

Andrew: We deal with videos all day, everyday for work.

Nick: And we deal with music all night, every night. So this is natural. We’re in this creative environment, let’s merge all of our talents and skills and interests and create something unique. Seeing some of our favorite bands and their shows, we thought how can we be like them? My Bloody Valentine is insanely loud. Mogwai is insanely loud and has blinding lights. We want to be insanely loud, have blinding lights and hypnotic videos.
(take this as a warning if you’re prone to seizures)

Me: Anything else we can expect to see at the show?

Andrew: We’ll be there.

Patrick: Our friends Casper Bangs and Cleric are playing.


Autocue // Plateau

Monday, November 9, 2009

RIP Jerry Fuchs

Widely and wildly respected drummer, Jerry Fuchs from Maserati, Juan MacLean, !!!, and LCD Soundsystem, tragically died Sunday morning in a freak freight elevator accident. I wish I was just being me and making this up, but unfortunately one of the great ones has left us for good. He was 34. See the full Rolling Stone article here.

Some of his magic:
Maserati // Monoliths
Maserati // No More Sages
The Juan MacLean // The Simple Life

20 Years and The Notwist

Twenty years ago to date, the Berlin Wall opened it's gates and East Germans were free to cross over the imposed border. After 28 years of traveling restrictions under the hand of Leonid Breshnve, former president Mikhail Gorbachev's public renouncement of the doctrine led to a rapid fall. One offhand, confused affirmation from a senior communist official that the restriction was being lifted and millions poured through into West Germany.

Fist-pump inspiration to post The Notwist. Formed that same year a bit outside of Munich, they continue to pour a stream of synthesized syrup into your cerebellum. With a start of roughhousing punk LP's, the Notwist have evolved their sound into it's current incarnation - song oriented 80's (fittingly) indie pop electronica. Searing strings, warm mellow bass and icy bells come with the recent addition of the 21-member Andromeda Express Orchestra. Oh and glockenspiels. They've got glockenspiels too, but I'm not sure what descriptive temperature I can associate with those.

"Hands on Us" comes from the June 2008 release making a second appearance on ES - ref Jan. 2009 "5 Songs I've Liked More Than Others" -
The Devil, You + Me. A bit tense, paranormal and vague, it would've been a good howly week post had I not been such a no-show. I know, I hate me too.
"Sturm 2" is nearly titular of the scored soundtrack done entirely by The Notwist for Hans Christian Schmid's recent film, Sturm. Basic plot - a Bosnian woman to testify against a Serb commander after the Yugoslav Wars. Not finding many sung praises for the visual manifestation, but if you're fluent in German and can speak to it better? Have at it.

Twenty years. Die Freiheit.

the Notwist // Hands On Us
the Notwist // Sturm 2

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meredith Meyer

All Hallowed Week; pre-requisite of posts are some manifestation of the morbid, shivery, and ghoulish. Short of posting Monster Mash - don't put it past me - best efforts will be made my little beasties.

To be fair, Meredith Meyer isn't all that scary. The LA gal brought her chamber pop vocal cords to Chicago where her second album, "It's Spooky to Be Young," was produced overlooking the Chicago River. (Spooky, score.) Lonely and shimmery bemoaning over a love lost to a Zelda Complex, UFO synth pulls the aluminum foil sheets up to the chin. (Alien lasers, check.) Hard to say what's spookier; heartache? Childhood? Beings from another planet? Probably childhood.

At midnight, let's all walk outside with our flashlights and start a morse code signaling to the heavens, see what flickers back at us. Who's in?

Meredith Meyer // Video Game Girl

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Washed Out

A Thursday of Indian Summer. Makes me want to shuck my skinnies and expose faded tanlines to the level three UV Index.

Or I'll listen to Washed Out. Oozy boudoir synth, all pink pillows of sea foam and low country longing from Ernest Greene. I'll throw on neon wayfarers, slide my cut-neckline sweatshirt off one shoulder and smack some watermelon bubblicious before a solid sesh of seven minutes in heaven.

Washed Out // Feel It All Around

Monday, October 19, 2009


I just wanna feel good. Together.
So I'm gonna listen to this swell five-piece Pat Carney (the Black Keys) linked by powers of telepathy and telekinesis. Few things you should know about Drummer so you get the warm n fuzzies, too.

Five - all five gents play drums in other bands.

Four - number of strings on the bass which is what Pat, (who's ironfist&foot on TBK's drum kit makes your ribs rattle), is playing.
Three - Feel(1) Good(2) Together(3) is the 11 track album emerging from seven months' furious writing.
Two - both of TBK's outside efforts are Akron, OH based. Raw, psychedelic, alt-rock, sanguine satisfaction from the Midwest, I'm down.
One - is the singular snowy afternoon in February 2009 when Pat Carney aligned some zodiac signs so he wasn't twiddling his thumbs while Dan Auerbach was on tour.

I'm aglow with good vibes - let me know when you'd like to to join hands about the fire for some s'mores and kumbaya.


Drummer // Feel Good Together

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

If you've been in my immediate vicinity for the past, oh, four months, it's blazingly apparent that I'm so excited about this movie I could pee my pants.

I won't. I'm a grownup. But you get my level of anticipation.

The fantastically eccentric Karen O, of Yeah Yeah Yeah fame, created the soundtrack for the film based on the favored children's book directed by Spike Jonze. Stellar example of ex'es working together for the greater creative good. With some help from her Y3 bandmates, Dean Fertita (The Dead Weather, le sigh) and Jack Lawrence (Raconteurs), the soundtrack released September 29th is brimming with childlike wonder and whimsy. Maybe a little evocation of Daniel Johnston? If you've seen the trailer, you'll hear the soundtrack's first single "All is Love" replacing Arcade Fire's "Wake Up." Not a bad switch - but the original select did bring some major nostalgia for those of us who were learning to read with the story in the early '80's. ('84, holla)

WTWTA is released nationwide tomorrow; let the wild rumpus start!

Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack // Capsize
Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack // Sailing Home

Monday, October 12, 2009

Austin City Limits 09 - Mud, Pita and Music

All right, I know. Absence is disenchanting, but it was for good reason and I'm making up for it. Here's a few surprise favorite bands from ACL to fill your ears with aural flavors - much like my nostrils were filled with the rank of dillo dirt. (RIP sweet bandanna, buried beneath the sludge)

The Dead Weather

It's hard not to become a little obsessed with The Dead Weather.

a. they're a supergroup. A supergroup which could, admittedly, kick Monsters of Folk's ass
b. Alison Mosshart is a ravenhaired banshee. And dead sexy.
c. Jack White, who's hair may be cooler than Alison's, is rock's Renaissance man. A jack of all a trades, a master of every f*ckin' think he touches.
d. If you get to have jam sessions with Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence that turn into random albums, you get to wear the Fonz jacket.
e. Horehound is an herb that may help ease nausea and it's not just the band trying to be cheeky. Get your mind out of the gutter, you creep.
f. they were the last band to come on before Pearl Jam Sunday night, which means it's the last band I remember with true clarity. Whoopsies!

So yeah I sweat them like I sweat after pull-up number three (oh, the embarassment) but I don't giveah what. Now I'm gonna go dye my hair black and loll around on hardwood floors smokin' cigs so Jack White can ring me up to play kazoo and life can mean something.

The Dead Weather // So Far From Your Weapon
The Dead Weather // New Pony


Truth time. I didn't get to catch K'Naan's set on Friday, still on a plane to Austin. But I've heard from reliable, upright citizens that it was siiiick. So he's going up anyway; please excuse my second-hand enthusiasm.

A Somali-Canadian hip hop artist who's name means "traveller" in his native language, Keinan Abde Warsame lived through the Somali Civil War as a child. Coming over with his family to eventually settle in Toronto, Canada, his past is the inspiration for much of his American and African politically conscious lyrics. The featured track off his latest album, "Troubador," features him rapping in both Somali and English with Mos Def and Chali 2Na chiming in.

Sidenote: Mos Def's cover of Radiohead's "All I Need" on Saturday was one for the ages.

He calls to mind Bob Marley and has similar loops to Eminem, but he's eight miles away from Slim Shady. K'Naan's craft is "urgent music with a message" calling for an end to the bloodshed in his homeland.

K'Naan // America

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

The Rev is a force to be reckoned with. Massive beard, massive frame, massive voice, massively awesome guitar pickin' & slidin'. Add a guy who knows how to utilize his kick drum (the Rev's brother) and a voluptuous lady who sets fire to her washboard AND KEEPS PLAYING IT (the Rev's wife), you've got a big damn band indeed.

Yeah it's only three people but they are a solid lot.

They glory in their "home's a pig farm!" aesthetic with singles like "Your Cousin's on Cops," a true story about seeing Miss Rev's cousin get busted on national television, and "Walmart Killed the Country Store." The retail chain, unsurprisingly, does not sell their albums - Sam Walton no likey. "Boom Chank" is from a live set, Pickathon 2007, to try and give a better feel for the Rev's let-loose vocals.

If you want ferocious swampy bluegrass folk played like your pants are on fire, as well as your washboard, then come on to church. The Rev's waitin' fer yeh.

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band// Boom Chank

White Lies

80's post-punk revivalist, take heart. This Brit trio is pouring their waxy sound into the mold of the Cure - they've even signed to their label. These lads surprised me with the strength of their American following. The crowd was packed and everybody was singing along - ranging from gorgeous 20something redheads who can't dance to mangy 50something bikers with braided ponytails 8inches longer than mine.

Something to be said for a diverse fan base, just look at the dude cheesin' in the pic.

Last seen opening for KOL, it's worth it to catch these elegantly morose, dramatically gallant pretty boys before they hop back over the Pond.

White Lies // To Lose My Life

Friday, October 2, 2009

Austin City Limits 09

Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park this weekend. If it rains, I'll be the chick in the Dia de Los Muertos rainboots camping out at Dan Auerbach, grooving beside Caleb Followill.

Just humor me.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears // Boogie
Dr. Dog // The Ark
Lisa Hannigan // Lillie
Medeski, Martin & Wood // Flat Tire
The Walkmen // On the Water