Things That I Would Like To See Disappear Forever in 2010: Any band listing Animal Collective as an influence. Genre With The Least Staying Power: Chillwave, Glo-fi, et al. What I Have High Hopes For in 2010: 1) Bands who remember that the guitar is indeed an instrument. 2) LIARS LIARS LIARS!!!
Band/Artist I am most happy to have discovered:Grizzly Bear (I finally get it with Veckatimest)
Band/Artist I kick myself for missing:Cass McCombs/Papercuts/Girls show at Great American Music Hall. Catacombs is an unreal album that I just started getting into a month too late.
Band/Artist everyone seems to love but I just can’t get behind: Girl Talk. He puts on an energetic live show, but I just can’t get into the albums. I appreciate the technique and skill involved, but I can’t really sit down and listen to a Girl Talk record.
Band/Artist I am most happy to have discovered: Kurt Vile
Band/Artist I kick myself for missing: I missed a Nobunny show; I missed Primavera, and as I write this, I am about to miss a special intimate gig by Beach House. But I broke my personal best for shows this year, so I can’t complain!
Band/Artist everyone seems to love but I just can’t get behind: Wilco
Whew, I’ve been wanting to get this post up for about 3 weeks now, but you know how it goes – life prevails and hobbies sometimes take a back seat. Well, here it is. My mid-year Best Albums of 2009…so far. Out of all the music I’ve sorted through thus far this year, these are the albums that bubbled to the top, the ones I happily came back to again and again. They may not all be Pitchfork approved (or even rated for that matter), but they worked for me.
I’m not going to go through the diligence of ranking them, so I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. I’ll save the ranking exercise for the end of year round up. Until then, I hope you find some new music to enjoy!
Band of Skulls Baby Darlin Doll Face Honey “Death by Diamonds and Pearls”
Happy day! The Treasure Island Music Festival has announced the line up for this fall’s event scheduled October 17-18, 2009 on Treasure Island in San Francisco. As usual, the line up is divided into the more electro pop/hip hop day on Saturday and the indie rock day on Sunday. Single day tickets are $65 and early bird two-day passes go on sale tomorrow at noon for $99 (limited availability). Get your tickets and get ready!
Saturday, October 17 features: MGMT, MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, Passion Pit, Brazilian Girls, The Streets, Dan Deacon, LTJ Bukem, DJ Krush and more.
Sunday, October 18 features: The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Beruit, Grizzly Bear, Yo La Tengo, Bob Mould, The Walkmen, Sleepy Sun, Vetiver and more.
TechCrunch (by way of @epicurianzealot) turned me onto this great new Wiki-like site that serves as a repository for tracking live performance set lists of musical artists, called Setlist.fm. With festival season upon us, this is a site I will definitely be referencing to track the frequency of songs played by more well known artists. Setlist.fm also includes an audio and video playback feature as well as lyrics.
Plus they make it easy to integrate the set lists into your social media accounts, as seen below. Seen here are the set lists for the two Grizzly Bear shows at The Fillmore last month. I was always curious to know how similar or different those two performances were. And if they pulled out my favorite cover of Yes‘ “Owner of a Lonely Heart“ on the second night. Thankfully, they did not.
I can’t emote enough about Grizzly Bear. I truly believe they are one of the seminal bands of our time and will inspire a generation of musicians to come. And they’re so young! But oh so talented. Each of them playing a multitude of instruments and contributing vocally to their beautiful, ethereal harmonies. The sound they create is simply symphonic. Their instrumental and vocal arrangements are so beautiful, well-crafted and of such far grander proportions I have a hard time lumping them into the category of ‘indie rock.’
As much as I love Grizzly Bear, as was just as excited to see Here We Go Magic. On the album, Luke Temple’s voice is on par with that of Ed Droste. In person, there’s absolutely no comparison. Mr. Droste wins hands down. I was actually quite disappointed with Here We Go Magic. Their album is great, it just didn’t translate live for me.
So with that, I’ll leave you with a video I captured from the show. It wasn’t until later did I learn that you’re not supposed to do that. I didn’t know! I don’t get to The Fillmore much. I usually stick to the smaller venues and shoot video no problem. It just seems a shame to let it go to waste. So I put it here with the pinky promise that – cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye -I will never ever shoot video at The Fillmore again.
I had been hearing the hype on Grizzy Bear’s Veckatimest all year long. After being force fed tracks like ‘Cheerleader’ and ‘Two Weeks’ for months upon end, I wasn’t quite convinced of all the hullabaloo. Then I saw them perform at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX at SXSW this year and I became a believer. Having the foresight to arrive at the church a good three performances before the show, I was one of the lucky disciples to make it in. Inside this cozy little chapel, we all sat silently and squished in our pews anxiously awaiting what would be our first full drink of their forthcoming album, Veckatimest.
The band, and the setting, did not disappoint. Not by a long shot. Watching the band at the altar, with the setting sun glowing through the stained glass windows while the angelic harmonies of Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen floated up through the arches of the church was both heavenly and transcendental. I had goosebumps the entire time. I was especially moved during the track ‘Ready, Able’. Something about the haunting orchestral arrangement of that song just gets me every single time. It’s by far my favorite on the album and the refrain, “They go we go, I want you to know,what I did” has been permanently etched in my brain.
That performance was the highlight of SXSW and one of my most memorable so far this year. And hearing the album unfold in all of it’s haunting beauty, beyond the chamber pop appeal of tracks like ‘Two Weeks’, made me a convert. It is really that good and entirely worthy of the praise, and your attention.
Grizzly Bear will be performing two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco this month, June 21 and 22, with Here We Go Magic. A great line up. Get tickets while they last.