Posts Tagged video
The San Antonio all gal band, Girl In A Coma, named after the particular Smith’s song, has just released their third proper album, Exits And All The Rest. And for those who are just discovered them (myself included), this is one of those cases where judging books by their covers could lead to you missing out on some really good music. Sisters Nina (vocals/guitar) and Phanie Diaz (drums) and long-time friend, Jenn Alva (bass) sing in both Spanish and English to reflect their Mexican-American background, but whatever the language the music they have continued to churn out has been a fantastic mixture of the pensive and the punk. The band is so impressive, Joan Jett signed them to her record label, Blackheart Records, in 2006 after seeing the trio’s live show in New York. Ever since, the band has been perfecting their art of being chameleons of style; painting in whichever color the words and song calls for, and when artists know the time to serve the music, the result is what we listeners always hunt for: quality. Girl In A Coma is quality.
(Exits And All The Rest is available now from Blackheart Records)
Scandinavians do Pop right. Case and point is Norway’s Young Dreams collective, and their titular track, “Young Dreams”. They draw you in with a alt-rock guitar opening, then snap you into place at a beach with hazy heat swirls and crashing waves. I’m especially giddy when the twittering strings are paired with the lead-footed kick drum around the 2:50 mark. If you’re in Europe you can catch the band on tour right now with Sondre Lerche.
Young Dreams is releasing their debut album mid-year 2012 via the promising Modular People label, but expect an EP featuring “Young Dreams” and a few other new songs in April!
Let’s face it, the idea of Beirut the band is outrageous. Accordions, tubas, cornets, seventeen other instruments you’ve never heard of, and NO GUITAR…all on stage at once, playing music for a crowd of kids under 30. Who can say why we love Zach Condon’s aural love letters to the places we’ll rarely visit? It’s hard to describe. The influences are wide and far reaching, carrying glimpses of German beer halls on the backs of Bulgarian serenades. And when you listen, you can easily become one of Condon’s troubadours, ready to spin like a gypsy and shake a tambourine if you only had one.
Odds are you love Beirut too. They have an amzing ability to make a building full of posturing hipster youthfuls close their eyes and imagine they’re waltzing with Matilda. The Wounded Jukebox had the recent opportunity to be one of those dreamers during their show at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band (Perrin Cloutier on accordion, Paul Collins on bass, Ben Lanz on trombone, Nick Petree on drums and Kelly Pratt on horns) is in the middle of their tour showcasing the songs off their new record, The Rip Tide, which is a giant celebratory smile to all the old familiar things from home. It cues a subtle but dynamic change in the music style for the group, demonstrating how much life has to give when you plant some roots, something Zach Condon hasn’t done much since he was 19.
Let it be known, there is absolutely nothing bad about a Beirut concert, and you should dowse your fears and see them right away. They sound fantastic, if not better live, and the sound of a triple horned, accordian appendeged, drum decked battalion blasts any sort of worry clean off ya. Every one I met was so happy, and ready to tell me about their mothers and the neat hats they were wearing, and give me advice on how to take better pictures of the bands when the red lighting was glaring and no flash was allowed.
Condon and company showed no signs of tour fatigue, stepping onto the stage, saying hello, and entering right into a bare version of “Scenic World” that sounded much like the original version off the Lon Gisland EP. Then they exploded into Zapotec’s “The Shrew”, casting light onto the drum set for the first time. And then they played “Elephant Gun”, and my night was complete. I think I could have left after that song and been quite happy. One can never have enough “Elephant Gun”, like a desert you could eat forever.
The rest of the night became an ecstatic blur of singing refrains and shining brass, where I became completely unaware of the time and how much I had to pee, and caught the feeling of the crowd around me and simple sang and swayed. Often I try to understand what the band’s experience is, looking out at a crowd of people staring back at you. In the case of that night’s show, I know they only saw smiles. What a time!
Surprisingly, Beirut visited a lot of their older catalogue during the concert, performing the underrated “Carousels” and “Postcards from Italy.” And at the end of it all, they gave the crowd a treat, playing a wonderful cover of the Hawk and a Handsaw’s “Serbian Cocek.” Catch the entire set list and pictures from the show, which included opening band Ramesh, below!
Beirut set-list at Bogart’s/Nov. 11, 2011
Postcards from Italy
A Sunday Smile
Port of Call
After the Curtain
My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille
The Gulag Orkestar
While weak in the lyric department, Family of the Year’s “St. Croix” is absolutely hulking in its likeability. It’s undeniably fun and sing-song-alongable, beckoning you to join it in the sand and surf where you’ll get an all too short amount of sun and sigh. The new video for the track, directed by the Oscar nominated Jessica Sanders, is set in a blissful far away where the sun is always bright but never in your eyes, and love is just a glance away. It’s a little heavy handed on the literal qualities, especially when they highlight the song’s weaker rhythms about love potions and such, but overall the band’s matching outfits and smiles will win you over in the end. A very neat video all around, if a bit saxy. What else can you say about a video that opens with a bikini bottom?
Side note: I’d very much like to dance with that girl with the sashaying pink hips at 3:08, yes I would. Here’s the downloadable song.
(The St. Croix EP is available now from TinyOgre)
We of the music writing and commenting arena love gimmicks. Whether it be a background story, or a nifty band characteristic, we seem to latch on and push those features up as if they’re the most important thing about the people behind the songs. It’s a problem and we acknowledge it. So when we met husband and wife duo Forest Mountain Hymnal via submission, we were already weak and vulnerable. Together, Jonathan and Rebecca Moody croon and harmonize the best of the old folk songs and weave and spin new yarns of their own. Our very favorite is their rendition of Burl Ive’s children’s classic, “Buckeye Jim”. Whistles, Claw hammer banjo, flitting flautists, and joined voices at the perfect moments will have you addicted. The song is the lead off their When You And I Shall Marry EP, the first of a slew of great covers.
Forest Mountain Hymnal are adepts at the small touches, allowing the song to take the path it will, and following it diligently.
And the Nashville couple recently moved to Nantes, France, where the air and spirit of the country is clearly affecting them in all the best ways. On their brand new collection entitled Fitcher’s Bird and Other Tales of the Macabre, their instrumentation has grown, and so has the couple, indulging in call and response and harmonizing whenever they can.
Visit the Forest Mountain Hymnal’s BandCamp page to stream and purchase all of their music!
Crank up the resolution if your rig allows it, because as simple as the video is, it’s best served with the clarity directors Benji Davies and Jim Field of Frater intended. The Staves have a matching style of elegance and simplicity to their music, pairing harmonies with one or two guitars. Those harmonies however, are thrice layered and perfect; imagine if three Laura Marlings harmonized (pleasant sighhhhhhh). And those guitars are deceptively hidden and expertly restrained. Together, the trio of English sisters make music that is peaceful, beautiful and addicting. On the new video for EP lead “Mexico”, the guys at Frater measured and sketched the lines of a room to within an inch of their lives, until they had the dimensions just so. The result is a dance of light and shape that lets a bit of magic live in real time around the performing siblings. Simple, but elegant. And wonderful.
The new Mexico EP also features two unreleased songs; “Icarus” and “I Try”. The former builds and twirls. The latter prophesizes and imparts. Listen to all three tracks of the short player below.
Mexico by The Staves
Moving Pictures: Feist | J. Viewz | Niki & The Dove | Iluka | Kono Michi | Ghost Wave | Lisa Hannigan | Gauntlet Hair | Slow Runner
Mountain Man is touring as back up vocals for Feist. Smart lady.