The Antlers - "Hospice" (2009)

Amigos, les comparto este disco. Ya tenía mucho tiempo que un disco no me ponía así. Directo al top 5 de mis discos del año sin duda alguna. The Antlers es una banda formada en Brooklyn (otra más!) iniciada por el guitarrista Peter Silberman, después de exiliarse de su familia y amigos en esta ciudad por la pena descrita a lo largo de todo su disco. Los diez tracks que componen Hospice, cuya definición exacta sería "a type of care and philosophy which focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's symptoms", transcurren dentro de un hospital narrando como un hombre vive los últimos días de su pareja quien se encuentra en la fase terminal de un doloroso cáncer de huesos. Más allá de lo fuerte de la historia, lyrics brillantes son musicalmente acompañados a la perfección. Es un disco para darle como mínimo 5 escuchadas completas, creo que hasta ese punto uno empieza a disfrutar toda la atmósfera que los autores intentan producir. Lanzado bajo el sello French Kiss Records el 18 de agosto de 2009, The Antlers ha conquistado a la crítica colocándose en el top ten de muchas revistas y sitios importantes, Pitchfork lo señala como parte de lo que consideran "Best new music", Amazon lo coloca ya en el top 10 de su lista del año, NPR lo coloca como disco 1 de su lista hasta el momento, se encuentra ya en el top ten de los high scores de 2009 en metacritics.com que es el sitio que acumula las calificaciones de todas las publicaciones y sitios especializados, y la gente en general se empieza a enamorar de esta obra. Disfrútenlo, real es una joya.


New Songs from Radiohead

All the recent rumors about a new set of songs from Radiohead almost ready for release might actually be real.

Over the past two weeks this great band (for some the greatest ever) has released two songs in their website. The first called "Harry Patch (In Memory of)" is a song dedicated to the memory of the last remaining UK veteran of the 1st world war, Harry Patch, who recently died at the age of 111. The latest one is called "These Are My Twisted Words." Both songs can be downloaded at Radiohead website. The latter can also be heard online at NPR's All Songs Considered.

Enjoy...and happy birthday party to Tiba.



Volcano Choir

Amigos, siguiendo con la emoción de este nuevo proyecto y ya con boletos en mano para ver a nuestro admiradísimo genio Justin Vernon con su Bon Iver por duplicado en Austin, les dejo la información oficial que publica JAGJAGUWAR, disquera de ambos grupos. Espero que ese 22 de septiembre todos los que puedan compren este disco y apoyemos al artista, que con tan solo lo que nos ha dejado a todos el "For Emma, Forever Ago" seguiremos en deuda por mucho tiempo.

Unmap CD / LP (JAG156, released: 09/22/09)
Volcano Choir is an assembly of Wisconsinites Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack, Justin Vernon, and Thomas Wincek. You might find these old friends also frequenting records and stages under different monikers, Collections of Colonies of Bees and Bon Iver. The collaboration predates the meteoric rise of Justin Vernon's Bon Iver project, with original songwriting dating back to the summer of 2005, right around the time the Bees first toured with Vernon's previous band DeYarmond Edison.

While entirely a studio record, the collection doesn't suffer from the overburdens of a digital pile up or over-thinking. Rather it breathes and convulses in equal measure, radiating an inherent dynamism found only in the voluntary bondage of intimacy. With influences ranging from David Sylvian and Steve Reich to Mahalia Jackson and Tom Waits, it might be more accurate to say the group's influence is music itself. You can hear it in the care and real love generously applied to each moment of Unmap. With the vibe of some intimate backwoods gospel, plus a spirit of patience and thoughtful repetition, the music of Volcano Choir is as dynamic as it is lovely.

Unmap ultimately came together over a weekend in November 2008 in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, at Justin and Nate Vernon's recording studio. And while it is at its heart a record about the allure of being with people you need and making something with them, it is also a document created by musicians with rare gifts getting together to exorcise their ideas about beauty. This scaffolding of loops and off grid tempos for choral style vocals offers a state of continual surprise, call it unexpectation.

Unmap marks the debut full-length from Volcano Choir, the collaboration between Collections of Colonies of Bees and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver."

JAGJAGUWAR Records, 2009.

Para bajar el primer sencillo oficial, "Island, IS" den click derecho sobre este link y seleccionen "save link as", o los usuarios de Quicktime Pro den click izquierdo sobre el link y seleccionen posteriormente guardar en el formato original.


Grizzly Bear and Blind Pilot at Morning Becomes Eclectic

Two nice performances recently available at KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Grizzly Bear, the Brooklyn band, appeared on Thursday August 6 to put on a great show based mostly on their Veckatimest. They are close to the end of their US tour, which will be at its home stretch right after their performance at Austin City Limits to finish up with some presentations in the North East (Philly included, and we are grateful). Yes, they played "Two weeks" and even though this version might not be as successful as their 2008 KCRW version of "While you wait for the others", the band sounded musically mature, combining their own coral arrangements with fresh sounds and textures that give them that versatility oddly found in any artist or band. Veckatimest, by the way happens to be the name of a small inhabited island off the coast of Cape Cod in New England. The show is worth listening to in its entirety, as so is the album.

Here is a clip of "Two weeks" from last year on Letterman along with the great performance from KCRW in 2008.

Similarly, three days before that on August 3, Blind Pilot, which has officially joined the large list of successful bands from Portland, displayed as usual a beautiful arrange of melodies that, as said before, are simply able to touch your heart at any time. This band originally based their concept on touring the West Coast on bicycles putting up to 4000 miles in two different occasions. This environmentally conscious concept is definitely included in their music, which by itself sounds self-sufficient, free of rules and restrictions, providing at the same time a variety of landscapes, which just as those found by this cycling band on the road, decorate the lovely tunes and lyrics that the band delivers on every song. I also recommend for this show to be listened to in its entirety.

Here are 2 clips from pevious Blind Pilot's performances at NPR ("The Story I Heard") and Kink FM ("Three Rounds and a Sound").


The Long Count - Oct 28-31 - BAM

A small description of the new project from the Dessner brothers now in collaboration with Matthew Ritchie, soon to be displayed/performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Description from the BAM webpage:

In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists—brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of indie rock royalty The National and omnivorous visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie—combine talents to create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time. A feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, The Long Count pairs Ritchie's protean forms with a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds.

Guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) round out the line-up in this visionary collaboration between music and art.

This is certainly an event for those that love music, treasure contemporary art and cherish anything that moves in between.



All Points West Festival 2009

Sorry for the late update on this...too much going on right now.

Last week on July 31, 2009 I had the chance to attend the 2009 All Points West Festival, this was the second time this festival was organized and also my second time around. Many expectations revolved around this due to a dream team line-up for Friday night, but at the same time reservations on whether this year would hold up to the extremely amazing show that Radiohead put for us in 2008.

I was there for Friday only and my plan was clear, stick to the Blue Comet arena, arrive early to see Fleet Foxes at 3:35...and simply remain there...at 4:50 pm The National would show up, followed by Vampire Weekend at 6:10 and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at 7:30 pm.

Looking back, that is exactly what we did, but along with me, my wife and thousands of people around, along came the rain... Oh yes, it rained, a lot, it poured and the grass of Liberty State Park slowly turned into mud. With time, water started to collect all over, there was no place to hide, no dry place to move to...

I guess that was when it hit me, and suddenly it was clear...nobody went home, no one complained about it, everyone remained along and watched these amazing bands putting great performances..it was as if the rain brought a special character to the evening...at some point, images of Glastonbury and Woodstock mumbled around, passing through our eyes...the artists did their part and played along, showing that music and youth and fun would defeat any storm...

Not sure what is the plan for the 2010 All Points West Festival. No idea who will perform or when it is going to take place...one thing I know for sure...I'll be there.


Some great moments:

Blue Ridge Mountain - Fleet Foxes

Mr. November - The National

A-Punk - Vampire Weekend

Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Fleet Foxes at The Electric Factory - Philly

A night to remember, no doubt about it...a concert that in any other time of the year would have been perceived as the highlight of the week or even the month...Fleet Foxes, the band that truly smacked us last year with their tunes that far beyond exceeded what we all were expecting of a so-called "folk" band, going beyond that shaky idea and impressing us with imagery that is purely made out of heavenly sounds, deep words, beautiful lyrics and harmonies that simply sound like coming from heaven...

Those that have seen this band live would agree that the experience is unique... different from most of the things that come and go, those that make us sing and dance for 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months and finally vanish from us, just like that, leaving our identity almost intact. In contrast, Fleet Foxes have made beautiful music that will weather any storm and will persist beyond our expectations.

They came to Philadelphia last Thursday July 31, one day after two sold-out shows at the 9:30 club in DC and one night prior to their appearance at the All Points West Festival. The venue, the Electric Factory, which lately has included remarkable bands being without a doubt a prime place for new music. The place was packed and everyone seems anxious and impatient with the opening band, a local band from Philly that did not seem to transcend beyond their role as an obstacle for everyone to get to the main course.

My experience was unforgettable, the right place on a beautiful night with the right company...

I should say, I went to bed that night confused, ironically confused...I was supposed to be eagerly expecting the following day, driving to Jersey City for the All Points West, however...after listening to the Fleet Foxes, I appeared to be musically satisfied...I was only partially correct...