07 April 2011

[show review] - band of horses

Band of Horses-2637

Every once in a while an indie band is lucky enough to accomplish something that outweighs the more moderate buzz-band bliss achieved by “successful” indie acts. Granted, it’s easy for us youngins to idolize musicians like Julian Lynch and Nathan Williams, who have enjoyed some degree of international acclaim, but what is their success really when compared to the modern status quo? The sad truth is that it probably isn’t what all of us liberal arts majors in universities across the world crack it up to be. The same cannot be said for South Carolina natives, Band of Horses however; the things accomplished by Bridwell and company in the last seven short years is nothing less than astounding in the realm of independent music.

Don’t get too carried away, though, because every up has its down, and unparalleled success can be a breeding ground for skepticism, especially when pretentious hipsters get involved. But before you get your American Apparel panties in a wad, let me say that it’s impossible for me to make such a statement without also slighting myself a bit. It’s true – when the Horses latest Grammy nominated album, Infinite Arms, came out last summer, I mounted my high horse and continually consoled myself with the thought that nothing would ever top their sophomore release, Cease to Begin. Last night I shamefully dismounted that horse.

After a solo performance by Tyler Ramsey, who is also the Horses lead guitarist, Band of Horses appeared on the legendary Tipitina’s stage to play a lengthy (but seemingly short) set for a sold out crowd. Before opening with a stunning electric rendition of the simple acoustic track “For Annabelle,” Bridwell shared with the crowd his bands intentions to “come out slow, and work [themselves] into a groove.” That’s precisely what they did, and that groove didn’t stop for close to two whole hours.

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While a projection screen flashed scenes of southern nature onto the wall behind the stage, the band meandered through their entire musical catalog, playing a balanced number of songs from all three of their albums. This is where I get on my soapbox to preach the importance of seeing this band if you have ever loved any of their music at any point in their career. As previously mentioned, I wasn’t overly impressed with Infinite Arms, but that didn’t stop ‘em from playing all my old favorites like “Marry Song,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” and “The General Specific.”

After closing with what is apparently their “favorite closing song,” “Is There a Ghost,” the band returned on stage for a three song encore. The first piece was a little acoustic number shared by Ramsey and Bridwell alone, followed by “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands,” and finally what may be everyone’s favorite Band of Horses track, “Funeral.”

Let it be known that these southern boys know exactly what they’re doing – especially their sound guy. Bridwell’s loud, clear, and powerful vocals soar, and it’s obvious that he has a voice that is mature well beyond his years. In the end, the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t question whether it’s a good idea to go see this band if you’ve ever loved them like I do. And for heaven’s sake, if your bigotry allowed you feel the way that I did about Infinite Arms, give it a second chance. I know I will.

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No One's Gonna Love You

- Article written and composed by Justen Cheney
- All photos by Joshua Brasted

06 April 2011

[video] tennis: "take me somewhere"

my favorite tennis song finally has a fresh new video that very appropriately sums up exactly what this husband-wife duo is all about: great music and sailing. oh, and looking really good together in the summer sun. this video, directed by ian perlman, was shot in the lovely chesapeake bay on the east coast.


05 April 2011

Vessel- (Four Tet remix)

A great remix from Four Tet I must have missed last year. The track is called "Vessel" by London based producer, John Hopkins. As I spend hours sending out my resume... this has provided amazing noise for my head. The video is pretty rad as well. Enjoy.




04 April 2011

[live blogging] TV On The Radio — Nine Types Of Light

Nine Types Of Light, the fourth studio album from Brooklyn indie heroes TV On The Radio, hit the Internet this past weekend. Below you will find my real-time first impressions and thoughts of every song on the album. You will not find a holistic album review. I have already pre-ordered the LP here, and I hope you do the same to give the band some much-deserved support. The record officially drops April 12 via Interscope. Live blogging is just a cool way to convey how the album initially resonates with me, so you guys have some kind of idea of what it will be like. Here goes nothin!

1. "Second Song" — (3:13) Starts off with Tunde's voice at the forefront of some smooth rhythmics. Then it breaks into a more beat-oriented verse. Lots of "ooo's" leading into a nouveaux-funky falsetto chorus. A great opening track. Sets the mood for some classic TVOTR dirty dancy rock and roll.

2. "Keep Your Heart" — (3:18) Delay-beat drum tracks layer together make way for some bluesy riffs. More lofty vocal characterize the chorus. Damn, Tunde is beltin it out. "If the world falls apart/Still, I'm gonna keep you heart."

3. "You" — (3:24) A simple guitar lick falls over a simple drum beat to get your hips moving. Lyrically speaking, it's becoming pretty clear that this is a record about love. "You're the only one I love." Speaking of "You," wouldn't it be awesome to see Gold Panda open up for these guys?

4. "No Future Shock" —(3:28) An exotic guitar effect gets this one going into a toe-tapping political commentary. It's kinda reminding me of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes era, just a little busier. It's loud at the end, and the tender vocals we've been hearing so far get a little angrier. Killer horns show up in the last 30 seconds.

5. "Killer Crane" — (3:33) Complete 180 now with some poignant piano notes and acoustic guitar strums over galloping percussion. The organ below it all sounds like the one from Led Zeppelin's "Thank You." Vocals sync up with a mandolin maybe? Could be a banjo, but it sounds great and organic. Definitely the sunniest-sounding track yet.

6. "Will Do" — (3:39) This is the first track we all heard off Nine Types Of Light, and it's still as impressive as when I heard a few weeks back. It's smooth, driving, and heartfelt. It's rough around the edges, while simultaneously showing TVOTR progressing and staying true to themselves. "You don't wanna waste your life in the middle of a lovesick lullaby." The love motif gets a little darker in this track.

7. "New Cannonball Run" — (3:44) Dirty synths fall over a robust drum beat. Counter the heft with rapid-fire lyrics that cry for help. Sounds like Tunde is recounting how he feels after he been hung out to dry. The music sounds like that, too. Ah shit, here come the horns...! MMM!

8. "Repetition" — (3:47) Subtle changes to a delicate drum track make for a light first two minutes before making way for something a little rawer and darker. The track's title word is repeated and repeated and repeated some more over guitar shredding and heavy drum pounding. The song comes back down earth for a flash and then it's gone.

9. "Forgotten" — (3:51) A juxtaposition of sleigh bells and talk of summer fall over a string-section laden smoothly paved beat. The street then turns into a dirt road of fuzzy guitar, primitive drumming, and whistles.

10. "Caffeinated Consciousness" — (3:55) Here's the second track we heard from the album about a week ago. It starts of fist-pumping and big, and quickly turns into a debonair chorus. The song goes back and forth until it ends the album abruptly.

Whew. In this day and age of mp3's and short attention spans, it feels great to sit down and just listen to an album, front to back. This is the TV On The Radio we know and love who perfectly manifest natural beauty with urban complication. They are right on cue musically and lyrically. This album will turn heads, move bodies, and stir emotion. There will definitely be a copy in my car all summer long. TVOTR is back.

***UPDATE*** Stream the album via Rhapsody here.

Check out the music video for "Will Do"

MEN - show review


Le Tigre side project MEN entertained an interesting but gracious and lively crowd at the Republic last night while James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem were busy ending their careers together in NYC at Madison Square Garden.

When gender accusations become a responsibility in honest journalism, things always get a little weird; being politically incorrect is more horrifying and embarrassing than waking up in a grocery store naked these days, but I’ll try my best to stumble through this one.

Aaron said it best in his Big Freedia post a week or two ago when he made the claim that bounce music “is New Orleans.” Big Freedia, accompanied by Rusty Lazer and two very ambitious young women shaking every inch of what their mommas gave them, opened for MEN and the message was the same as usual: “hands on the floor, / ass everywhere.”

Men donned the stage wearing awkward pink helmets all connected to one another, forming a triangle with their heads at each angle. The group lived up to the dancy standards that they hold themselves to when performing live and the set was energetic throughout. It showed in the crowd and a friendly little mosh pit even formed at several high points during the show.

Some of these high points include several well-known tracks from this year’s release, Talk About Body, like “Credit Card Babie$” and “Who am I to Feel so Free?” For the encore, the group shared their own version of a Bikini Kill song, and that was definitely a treat.

Overall, the music side of things was pretty good. Maybe I was just tired from a long day at the New Orleans zoo but it did seem a bit generic at times. Don’t let that turn you off though, because one should never underestimate just how entertaining and goofy JD Samson is running around on stage dishing out sweet high kicks in a onesy with that cute little mustache.

The Republic really has a really impressive line up this spring for those of you that haven’t already taken notice. Warpaint, the Raveonettes, Cut Copy, and Beirut are a just a few big names that I’m excited to see in the next couple of months. For a complete live calendar and tickets visit their site.

MEN- Credit Card Babie$


[stream] Panda Bear's TOMBOY!

Seems like we've all been anticipating this album forever. The ridiculous hype, lofty expectations, delays, teasing singles, and shoe sponsorships are all things of the past. TOMBOY is HERE!...pretty much. Until April 12, when the album officially drops via Paw Tracks, do you ears a favor and stream this aural ecstasy and stream the album here via National Public Radio.

See also this adorable video of an actual panda bear:

...this one too...

03 April 2011

sun araw - houston abstros 7"

los ángeles out fit sun raw must be doing something right if they can land an entire tour with animal collective; there are few things i would value much higher myself, so my jealousy goes without saying. their sound is interesting to say the least. this recent seven inch release, clocking in at just under 13 minutes, creates a deep and lazy ethereal atmosphere. the tempo on both of the tracks are layered and lackadaisical. distinct melodies, textured synth, and minimal tropical percussive loops crawl along and it feels like a long summer day of smoking and playing in the sun.

Houston Abstros 7_

1. bump up

2. december

check out their site for some free tunes.


of bathtubs and LCD:

I am pretty sure this is what the entirety of the indie music world did on Saturday night. While I could not make it to New York, my circumstances landed me in a free four story beach house in Alabama for the weekend. While there, I watched sets one and two streaming simultaneously from three laptops while in the bathtub with Connor and friends. A lot of splashing and red wine were involved (see photos below).

Then, I enjoyed sets three and four on a massive plasma TV (w/ surround sound Bose...oh baby!!). I have never danced so hard for a TV set in my life. My neck is very sore today...


As I am sure you have already heard, the show was perfect. LCD Soundsystem left all of us at art/official with a great taste in our mouths. They have made a lasting impression on our hearts, history books, and dance shoes. If you didn't manage to catch Pitchfork's webcast, watch it above.

*TIP TO THE READER:* 1) Display concert on large screen. 2) Invite friends 3) Drinks 4) DANCEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!


"READ MORE" for the setlist!!

[video] grown ocean

i absolutely can't get enough of this album.
these guys are living the dream and it's easy to see; look at all those smiles:

Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean from Fleet Foxes on Vimeo.