Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Toe - RGBDVD (2006)

This live performance by Toe makes my life complete. Since they only really play in Japan, this is the closest any of us over in the States will get to seeing them live for a while. I e-mailed the band a while back and one of the guitarists responded that they would love to tour over here but they had to find a record label first. SOMEONE SIGN THEM ALREADY. Godddddamnit, I want to see them more than any band. I don't even think it's possible to not enjoy their music so I don't see how they could ever have trouble getting signed over here. Oh well. I'll also use this post as an excuse to repost the link to the toe album I posted way back when I first started this whole thing.

The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety

Here are the 2 parts to this amazing DVD:

Mono - The Sky Remains The Same As Ever (DVD) (2008)

I realized that as long as I've had the Mono albums I posted below, I never truly appreciated them until I saw this DVD. It's more of a documentary with giant segments of songs mixed with sparse interludes of tour footage and interviews. The live footage is really where it grabs your attention though. The songs build up in such a visceral way because of the live atmosphere and you can tell how loud and heavy their music is supposed to be. The mood of the live performances is very intimate, despite the pretty immense crowd. This is because It was all filmed on stage by director/filmographer/editor Teppei Kishida. He essentially followed them around the world and walked around the stage during their performances to film them. This personal touch to the film makes it seem so much more intense as opposed to the usual camera angles you would see in live DVDs. I also believe that he is a big fan of the music and knows exactly when the surprisingly intense climaxes are and always pans to the audience to capture their reaction; usually one of incredible shock followed by elation. It's a beautiful thing. PLEASE check this out, especially if you weren't really digging those two albums below.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mono Double Feature

At the moment, all I really feel like listening to is this band. Their insanely dense and vast song structures perfectly compliment the cold and blustery turn the weather has taken. Every sprawling song seems to tell a story in the fashion of some kind of wise elder. They start out very calming and barely grab your attention but once it gets to the real gist, you're sucked in and you feel compelled to find out what happens next. Then it hits you. Usually it's a blast of immense, eardrum shattering guitar squeals and cymbal crashes that signify the crescendo but its not always so obvious. Sometimes the buildup lasts most of the song, leaving you breathless and brain dead when the piece reaches the climax. I'm posting two albums, their earliest LP and their latest, because their style has grown and matured so much but still retained the enthusiasm and obscurity of their infancy. The first album is a lot heavier and dare I say, straightforward, while their latest effort is a more fantastical tale involving more intricate and elaborate orchestration (think Godspeed You! Black Emperoresque type stuff: strings, timpani, etc) that just makes it even more epic than before. I hope you will take the time to listen to these mountainous pieces of music and really immerse yourself in the experience.

Here's the song "The Kidnapper Bell" off their first album:

  1. "Karelia (Opus 2)" – 12:30
  2. "The Kidnapper Bell" – 10:00
  3. "Jackie Says" – 7:31
  4. "Op Beach" – 5:48
  5. "Holy" – 1:40
  6. "Error #9" – 12:30
  7. "L'America" – 4:37
  8. "Human Highway" – 9:05

  1. "The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain" – 13:29
  2. "A Heart Has Asked for the Pleasure" – 3:43
  3. "Yearning" – 15:38
  4. "Are You There?" – 10:25
  5. "The Remains of the Day" – 3:41
  6. "Moonlight" – 13:04

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Town Needs Guns - Animals (2008)

Brace yourself for yet another post in my Autumn Come-Back Post-a-Thon. This time I'm going with the chilled out stylings of UK's very own, This Town Needs Guns. I just recently found them somewhere while looking for something else but it was a very 'happy accident', as the late Bob Ross would say. Anyway, I really enjoy their upbeat, staccatto and mathy take on Tim Kinsella's brand of guitar tapping emo. It's kind of a mash-up between Maps & Atlases and Algernon Cadwallader but with some very interesting vocals. This guys voice almost turned me off at first because...I don't's just so pristine and untainted that it bothered me. I soon got over that ridiculous gripe and just listened to the beautiful melodies while driving through some delightful foliage-rich scenery somewhere. Enjoy.

1. "Chinchilla" – 4:19
2. "Baboon" – 3:24
3. "Lemur" – 3:07
4. "Badger" – 4:51
5. "Quetzal" – 0:33
6. "Panda" – 3:23
7. "Elk" – 3:44
8. "Pig" – 3:44
9. "Gibbon" – 4:25
10. "Dog" – 2:50
11. "Crocodile" – 2:29
12. "Rabbit" – 4:41
13. "Zebra" – 1:50


Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (2007)

Devendra Banhart might just be the most beautiful man in the world. He is also dating Natalie Portman or something...'nuff said. Besides that, he also makes some pretty damn groovy music with his aptly named band, Spiritual Bonerz. By the way, the 'z' is silent, just thought you should know. Anyway... This album spans many moods and genres from samba to, dare I say, Doo-Wop. There are constants though, such as latin and folk influences strewn about. Despite the many diverse song styles, Devenedra's distinct crooning style permeates through the album. His oceanic and sultry voice, whether it's singing in Spanish, English or Portuguese, will surely sooth and enchant you while holding your interest. Yet another exceptionally autumnal record for you all, I'm sure you've noticed the theme by now. Also, thanks Alexa for rekindling my interest in this album.

  1. "Cristobal"- 4:30
  2. "So Long Old Bean" - 2:56
  3. "Samba Vexillographica"- 4:49
  4. "Seahorse" - 8:04
  5. "Bad Girl" - 4:48
  6. "Seaside" - 4:36
  7. "Shabop Shalom"- 4:38
  8. "Tonada Yanomaminista" - 2:56
  9. "Rosa"- 5:08
  10. "Saved" - 5:33
  11. "Lover" - 3:43
  12. "Carmensita" - 4:49
  13. "The Other Woman" - 3:49
  14. "Freely" - 4:59
  15. "I Remember" - 4:25
  16. "My Dearest Friend" - 2:36
Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse (2007)

Mmmm...Let me start off this post by expressing my amazement at the fact that my blog has been looked at over 20,000 times. That kinda makes me feel warm and gooey on the inside. Overall, I'm just glad enough people care enough to keep checking here over and over again for a new post which is why from now on, I vow to post a lot more for you dedicated few. Thank you so much. Now, on to business...
My personal folk music consultant, Elise, recently blessed me with the opportunity to listen to this beautiful group of musicians. Their simplistic yet rich approach to folk music is extremely visceral and earthy while being soothing and mellow at the same time. I've found it to be perfect autumn music, as it has nestled its way into the soundtrack to my life. The instrumental components consist mainly of acoustic guitar, accordion, occasional violin and I'm pretty sure the only percussion is a huge marching band bass drum used with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, being struck on every possible surface of it to create rhythm. Besides that, the vocal melodies and harmonies are delightfully beguiling as well as catchy. You WILL get these songs stuck in your head, indefinitely. So brew up some tea, sit in a rocking chair by the fire and other folksy stuff and prepare to fall in love.

Oh, and here's one of their amazing Take Away Shows of my favorite song on the album, Bur Oak:

01. Hooves 2:41
02. Olive hearts 5:27
03. In our talons 3:53
04. Human hands 3:20
05. Dark horse 4:34
06. Bur oak 5:01
07. My oldest memory 4:31
08. The marbled godwit 4:00
09. Slow down 3:54
10. The Ticonderoga 4:31

Hymns For a Dark Horse