Friday, February 25, 2011

Loch Lomond - lexicographers

Ritchie Young started Loch Lomond in 2006 as a solo project, with players coming and going in accordance to requirement, summer vacation and what day Easter fell on that year. Currently a six-piece, the Portland, OR band of chamber-folk merrymakers released a fourth album under beloved Tender Loving Empire label. Mixed by Adam Selzer {M Ward}, Tucker Martine {The Decemberists, Laura Veirs}, and Kevin Robinson {Viva Voce} - Little Me Will Start A Storm is a menagerie of fantastic instruments, crafty rhythms and unconventional lyrics. All tied up with the Youngs' zigzagging vocals, zooming from high up in the register rafters down to an alto.

In truth, whenever any band incorporates a musical saw, they've got my vote. I'm a cheap date.

"Wax & Wire" from 2009 Fruit Bats lightly hearkens to the Scottish lochs of their namesake. "Elephant & Little Girls" is the first single off the Feb. 22 release, who's humid, ambient base track of crickets and hush makes me want to stretch out in a backyard. Under a tarp, wearing a down jacket - weather permitting.

Loch Lomond // Wax and Wire
Loch Lomond // Elephants & Little Girls

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lia Ices - the mystic

{photo by Eric Ogden}

Girlcrush alert.

Lia Ices' second effort, Grown Unknown, has the ethereal-chamber pop enchantress in storybooks. Shorter-winded than Joanna Newsom, little tougher than Enya, less quirk than Sia - Ices keeps her lilting, avant vocals anchored with meaty guitar ruminations and fist-pounds of percussion.

"Daphne" takes inspiration from the Greek myth of a woman who ultimately transforms into a tree - played out in what starts as pastoral bliss before turning to darker energies. Whatever shall become of her? The tale features Justin Vernon, whom I've indirectly posted probably 17'ish times. It's fine, I'll probably change the blog name to "JV4life" by June.
Other standout tracks include "Ice Wine" and "Little Marriage."

Just bought my tickets to see Ices at The Red Palace 3.30.11. Lots of daisy crowns to weave to between now and then.

"Daphne" by Lia Ices from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Lia Ices // Daphne

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adele - chanteuse inferno

Since calling for her "Hometown Glory" on 19, Adele has forged her own path amongst the teenyboppers and pill-poppers of the diva scene. With 21, she lunges like a steam locomotive back into the charts with tracks produced by hitmakers Rick Rubin and Paul Epworth. You can hear her resonating vibrato for miles through the fog of "sophomore slump," not a bit of which seems to apply.

Had she made a dance album? Bleached her hair platinum and lost the bouffant? Tried to fit the pop-princess cookiecutter? Chances are this searing album of hearts rippedraw&bleeding that's going to have the lot of us condemning our deserter for lovers and exclaiming I FEEL that wouldn't exist for exorcisms.

Goddamn do I love a breakup album.

A favored peachy track and her gospel affirming performance on the 2011 Brit Awards.

Adele // Set Fire to the Rain

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sea of Bees - ocean's a-buzz

I had been eyeing the hull of the ES boat with thoughts of pulling myself back in for weeks. Stockpiling tracks and chuckling over self-amusing quips that I have, inevitably, all forgotten. Well-enough I did as they never really are as quippy as I'd like them to be once they're a day stale.

The King of Limbs put me up and over, but even before that I have been so entirely swept up in Julie Braenzinger's debut album that I knew I just HAD to start pulling the oars again. Just had to! Gorgeous vocals this side of Bjork over earnest lyrics with a folksy-sad edge. She plays all the instruments. It all sounds so confident. She's probably an alien.

The whole album goes down like a spoonful of lingonberry gelato. You'll probably hear tracks like "Willis" on Parenthood or used over a spot for nappies, but until then.
Until then, you and I can sail in the ES boat on this sea of bees.

Sea of Bees // Marmalade

Monday, February 21, 2011

Under the Covers Monday - curtsying before the Bowie altar

Growing up I wasn't really exposed to the clutched rock legends of my parents' youth. Led Zepp was a high school revelation, I didn't hear a Grateful Dead song until I was in my 20's. Dad insisted upon "modern music," and discarded records as soon as he felt they were obsolete. Holds true with his overall-life mantra; I barely had my extra-long sheets packed for college before Dad tore down the adolescent collage of Abercrombie dudes on my wall {it's a shameful time, but I've moved past it and feel at peace}.

So no, I didn't jump on couch cushions to the chords of "Stairway to Heaven." But I did tell all my stuffed animals where I'd be located while spinning to R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" {the corner}. I perfected some odd, jerky fighting robot moves with my little brother to Talking Head's "Burning Down the House." But far, FAR and away my favorite dance routines was to the entire ChangesBowie album. The whole thing=sweaty kid head. I was completely convinced that when Mr. Bowie sang "China Girl," it was meant only for me. I was also convinced that i was asian at heart while growing up in rural, piedmont North Carolina. Can't say.

We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie is a treasure chest of covers by independent artists to benefit UK War Child charity. You'll make Ziggy Stardust, now incarnated in my workbuddy betafish, very pleased.

Xu Xu Fang // China Girl
David Bowie // China Girl
Warpaint // Ashes to Ashes
David Bowie // Ashes to Ashes

Friday, February 18, 2011

Radiohead - the Kings of my Limbs

At long last.
After much quiet.
Much anticipation and dreamings and hopefulness and mild disappointment after the elventhousandth time you looked them up since pledging your undying loyalty after you questioned your existence when you heard "How to Disappear Completely" for the first time while driving to Hardee's for a sweet tea. {gasp}

Radiohead's 2011 release, The King of Limbs. Blessed be, the lion flies and I can dance my way down a pulsing neon-aubergine thoroughfare of electronic transcendence right on up and across the brim of Thom Yorke's fedora. We're back in Kid A territory, somebody better drop the bread crumbs so we can find our way back.

Radiohead // Lotus Flower