4AD Sessions - Stornoway

Enorme banda, gran disco debut.

And Kanye did it... again

Basta comenzar mencionando que aunque obviamente no para Musical Soulmate, casi de manera unánime se perfila para la crítica especializada como el disco del año. El MC más famoso del mundo con su "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" logra un álbum que definitivamente trasciende en la historia musical de su género. 13 tracks y algunos remixes que incluso se regalan desde su sitio oficial, conforman un disco fácil de escuchar, entretenido, y que al mismo tiempo te obliga a sentir esa ineludible percepción de relevancia que solo logran las grandes obras.  Les dejo algunas críticas y un par de vids, uno de ellos con una de las colaboraciones más sobresalientes para mí, la que hace con Bon Iver en "Lost In the World", canción que se basa e inicia de manera literal con Woods, track del increíble EP "Blood Bank" de Bon Iver.

Pitchfork : 100, Nov 22, 2010. With his music and persona both marked by a flawed honesty, Kanye's man-myth dichotomy is at once modern and truly classic.
Rolling Stone: 100, Nov 15, 2010. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is his most maniacally inspired music yet, coasting on heroic levels of dementia, pimping on top of Mount Olympus.
New Musical Express: 100, Nov 22, 2010. It's the best thing he's done since his game-changing debut, and heartening evidence to suggest the self-professed Louis Vuitton don is in a good place right now.


Arcade Fire New Video - The Suburbs by Spike Jonze


The National - Violet Friday

El 26 de Noviembre, The National, la elegante banda de Brooklyn transformará el famoso Black Friday en un Violet Friday al ofrecer una nueva versión expandida del enorme High Violet (que saldrá al público en general el día 22) en $7.99, únicamente el viernes 26 a ese precio. Con 2 nuevas canciones, grabaciones en vivo, una versión alterna de Terrible Love e incluso nuevo arte y dos lados B es obligatorio para todos los que disfrutamos tanto de este grupo. Más info en el siguiente vid.


The Bewitched Hands

The Bewitched Hands are a fresh folk French band. Three F's there that make them different from traditional French approaches to contemporary music. Their songs are resonant, to the point that the choruses become unexpected harmonies that develop and take you beyond their simplistic lyrics.

The band was recently featured at Vincent Moon's La Blogotheque Concerts a emporter including a nice and poetic worth-reading review traditional of Moon's website.

You can read the full article here. And in the meantime, enjoy the vid below.


The Bewitched Hands | Hard to cry | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Crystal Fighters - Star of Love

Desde el Reino de Navarra, España, nos llega esta "nueva" banda... Crystal Fighters. Si bien es un hecho que parte de su material se encuentra filtrado en la red desde hace un año, desde Octubre finalmente se encuentra disponible en las tiendas digitales más grandes. El disco se llama Star of Love, su primer sencillo fue Xtatic Truth, y definitivo es de lo más fresco que pueden escuchar ahorita. Un Electronic-Indie-Folk que sin ser completamente una innovación seguro no suena parecido a muchas cosas que hayan escuchado anteriormente. El disco completo es muy bueno, siempre se agradecen nuevos artistas que propongan algo distinto. Les dejo un par de vids.


New Album by The Decemberists for Jan 2011

According to Pitchfork, early next year The Decemberists will release a new album called "The King Is Dead" (January 18 - Capitol). The album cover shown above was released today and the album itself is meant to be different from their superb 2009 "The Hazards of Love", displaying a full set of country tones, easier shades and simple Americana roots.

A download is available here for the lead single "Down by the Water".

Those like me who enjoyed vastly The Hazards of Love will wait patiently for this.

I know what I will be listening during those cold runs in January.




Volcano Choir, first shows ever!!!

Uno de los proyectos alternos de nuestro respetadísimo Justin Vernon (Vocalista de Bon Iver) es Volcano Choir, formado además con miembros de Colonies of Bees. Por alguna razón después de muchos meses de dar a conocer su material decidieron dar los primeros shows de su historia en Japón, les dejo un vid de su presentación en Tokio, que el día de hoy posteó en su cuenta de twitter Bon Iver, pero que Pitchfork lo había posteado anteriormente (Y B, parte del Musical Soulmate Crew compartido velozmente). El track es mi favorito del disco y en su momento fue igualmente el primer sencillo, "Island Is".

Volcano Choir, the experimental-leaning group comprised of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and post-rock outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees, are in Japan right now, in the midst of playing their first-ever shows as a band. Their first show went down last night at Tokyo's Shibuya O-West ballroom, and Fader has good quality video of the band performing Unmap standout "Island, IS", which you can check out below. We're digging Vernon's laid-back sartorial style.
Posted by Larry Fitzmaurice on November 9, 2010 at 11 a.m. (pitchfork.com)


The Flaming Lips - I Can Be a Frog

As you know, I do not have kids...yet. However, whenever they come I am sure they'll listen to The Flaming Lips...

Here's a vid from "I Can Be a Frog" performed by The Flaming Lips in the kids show "Yo Gabba Gabba"

Enjoy, cause you could still be any kind of frog, or bear or monkey you want to be.



S. Carey - All we grow

Amigos, les dejo un par de tracks del disco de Sean Carey, mejor conocido por nosotros por ser el baterista de una de nuestras bandas consentidas, Bon Iver. Además les copio la reseña que hace PopMatters sobre "All we grow"

Bon Iver is one of the great indie success stories of the last few years. Everyone knows the tale by now: Justin Vernon experiences a loss, of sorts; retreats to a cabin deep in the woods of Wisconsin; records For Emma, Forever Ago while surrounded by that isolation; the album becomes a sleeper hit, its raw emotion resonating with listeners across the globe. Somewhere in that progression, Sean Carey dips into the story. A huge fan of Bon Iver’s record, Carey listened to it obsessively on MySpace, learning the instrumentation and vocals so well that, when he approached Vernon to ask about joining the touring band, the new folk hero couldn’t refuse him. Now, Carey—going by S. Carey, professionally—is releasing his own solo debut, All We Grow.

It’s easy to compare All We Grow to Carey’s patron’s work onFor Emma, Forever Ago. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a listener that won’t do so, reflexively. The foundational points of comparison show up on most every track—breathy vocals, simple and melodic acoustic guitar work, layers of vocal harmonies. Carey, a classically trained percussionist and jazz aficionado, also claims influence from Talk Talk and Steve Reich, artists one probably wouldn’t compare to Bon Iver after the first few spins of For Emma. The question, then: Is All We Grow good enough—and, perhaps more importantly, distinctive enough—to prompt Carey to step outside of Vernon’s shadow?

The short answer is, plainly, no. The longer answer is, no, but why insist on the comparison, at all? Carey’s not trying to write Bon Iver songs. He writes from a common palate shared with Vernon, sure, but he seems to concern himself more with atmosphere, more with immersion in sound than with immediate, emotive pop songcraft. Take “We Fell” as a case in point. Carey builds the song around a simple, staccato piano chord progression, ala Bon Iver’s “Babys”. His double-tracked, layered vocals reach into falsetto, Vernon’s trademark territory, as Carey sings For Emma-esque impressionistic lyrics about two lovers falling into the dreamworld only the two of them share. For the song’s first half, it might as well be an Emma b-side.

However, Carey breathes life into the composition as it builds into a satisfying coda, an arpeggiating piano melody blending with classical instrumentation—is that an oboe? an echo of timpani?—to beautiful, subtly soaring effect. That aural experience of uplift, that’s the difference between Carey’s emotional operating base and Vernon’s: where Bon Iver’s record showed its author wrestling with the loss of a relationship and trying to find himself in the process, Carey’s writing on All We Grow seems to be an extended love letter to the person Carey has in mind when singing, “If I could run/my fingers through your hair/I would keep my mornings clear” All We Growhas its share of yearning, make no mistake, but there’s no fear of loss here—just a desire to be close to one’s lover and the confidence that he or she wants that intimacy, as well (“If you doubt that I’ll be there”, Carey sings on “In the Dirt”, “don’t despair/don’t you dare”.).

Contentment can be a tricky emotion to transform into compelling art. For Emma, Forever Ago is almost painfully candid in its grief, at points, but it’s all the more compelling for that openness. While “We Fell” and “In the Dirt” manage to wrest some interesting build-and-release out of their longer track lengths, much of All We Grow relies too heavily on repetition (is that the Reich influence?), both instrumentally and vocally. In other words, its songs too often seem content to remain close to their initial moments once they make it out of the gate. “Mothers” and “Action”, which seem like parts one and two of the same song, fight against that sense of static, introducing some welcome percussion on an album inexplicably lacking in it, considering its songwriter’s roots. Unfortunately, the album’s second half fails to capitalize on the hints at dynamism in those earlier moments. “In the Stream” wants to swell out of its confines, but peters out before it has a chance. The album’s title track spends most of its four-and-a-half minutes trapped in an aimless, almost tuneless haze.

All We Grow is surely the work of a confident, able composer. However, Carey seems to need more time with his ideas, more of a willingness to take risks and break his songs out of their initial molds. We don’t need him to be Bon Iver, and we should thank Vernon for giving Carey’s talents a launching point. Still, it’s hard not to want something more satisfyingly dynamic from All We Grow, something more focused and tight. Carey’s at least likely working on a follow-up, already.

In the dirt:
download Download
In the stream
download Download

Ra Ra Riot - KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic

The cute chamber-pop-indie-rock band stopped by KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic on October 20 to display some great live performances of their newest release The Orchard.

Recently, I had the pleasure of listening live to this band at The Trocadero in Philly, their music remains as joyful and energetic as always. Mexico City is in their list of future international stops. I am sure the crew from Musical Soulmate will be at the show and who knows, they might also take part in the after party...hopefully with "mezcales" in the midst of everything.

A vid from their song "Boy" below and a link for the entire episode right here.



Pulp Reform for 2011 Festival Dates.

Uff, enorme noticia! Sería real increíble verlos en vivo, Austin, Lolla o mejor aun en tierras aztecas. Les dejo lo que comenta Spinner el día de hoy. Saludos,

"No one saw this one coming. After a nine-year hiatus, Pulp have announced details of the first of a number live shows for summer 2011 that include headline slots at the Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park on July 3 and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain, on May 27.

The gigs will be the first time that all the original member of the band -- Jarvis Cocker(vocals), Candida Doyle (keyboards), Mark Webber (guitar), Steve Mackey (bass), Nick Banks (drums) and Russell Senior (guitar/violin) -- have been onstage together since Aug. 24 1996.

A statement from the band reads, "Pulp have decided to get together and play some concerts next summer. The shows will involve all the original members of the band and they will be playing songs from all periods of their career. (Yes, that means they'll be playing your favourites). In the meantime, ask yourself this: 'Do You Remember The First Time?' Thank you for your attention."

Pulp hit their creative and commercial peak at the height of the mid '90s Britpop boom and their legendary status was sealed when the band stepped in at the 11th hour to headline the 1995 Glastonbury Festival after the Stone Roses were forced to pull the gig due to injury. Their hit 'Common People' became something of an alternative National Anthem. Cocker achieved further notoriety the following year when he invaded the stage during Michael Jackson's performance at the Brit Awards and wiggled his backside in protest at what he saw as the late singer's pompous presentation.

Pulp took an extended break in 2001 after the relative failure of their last album, 'We Love Life.'

The festival dates -- particularly the London gig -- has already lead to speculation that Pulp could well be heading back to the Glastonbury Festival which is held at the end of June."
Posted on Nov 8th 2010 8:00AM by Julian Marszalek


Freelance Whales - Daytrotter Session

Freelance Whales, one of my favorite bands this year showed up (again!) in a newly release Daytrotter Session on October 29, 2010. This time with 4 new live (and downloadable) versions of songs that appear in their beautiful debut album Weathervanes, one that will most likely be in my top 10 of he year...

As usual, little to add to the Daytrotter's editorial description shown below...take a look...


It's fun to create different hypotheticals in considering what Freelance Whales lead singer Judah Dadone does in different situations. Should dark clouds roll in during an afternoon and a light, but steady rain start to patter over the ground, we believe that Dadone would light up, throw on a slicker, some galoshes and go for a thoroughly enjoyable stroll through the neighborhood, through the puddles - finding the time spent to be ideal for his creative process. It seems as if it is then, when the portal opens up, when the pipeline is no longer constricted and he has conference with all of the dusty and ghostly thoughts slipping through his bloodstream, stoking the fires in his head. Should a frozen evening, with everyone coughing out the whitest of exhales, turn into a heavy snowstorm, with flakes as big as fists, he would throw on some layers and the first second that he was out of the door, he would flop down onto his back, into the accumulation and begin flapping his arms and legs to make a snow angel. If a fire were needed, if his friends were feeling the cold in their extremities, Dadone, no doubt, would be the fellow to tramp out into the woods to collect wood and kindling and he would do whatever he could to produce the heat that was necessary for those friends. On the band's debut album, "Weathervanes," a record loosely revolving around an old house with a history, it's obvious that Dadone would be that guy to pay attention to needs, to be considerate of wants and desires and those precious inner workings that are left hidden or mumbled. "Weathervanes" is a wholly imagined piece of art - a finger painting and a master work all rolled into one. It features tones that cannot be described as anything other than innocent and childlike, devoid of any rancor or sneaky agenda, just pure and heartfelt. It also features other tones that are the result of what should be decades and decades of living, of reading, of loving, of learning, of disappointment and of loss. It is what you accumulate and look back upon as a crippled old man or woman, who has trouble walking, but no trouble at all reliving their memories just yet. There is much talk about hearts and what they do, what kinds we own, over the course of "Weathervanes" and there's no real conclusion, but in the end, a definitive word on such a thing doesn't really matter because we're all stuck with the one we have - be it cold, be it flawed, be it warm or be it empty. Dadone hints that they can do wondrous things and Freelance Whales make us believe such a thing. He sings on "We Could Be Friends, "We compare our hearts to things that fly, but cannot land/Please don't put your face into your hands, we could be friends," and it's a reminder that we're all in this thing together. We should all feel as if those rains and that snow, those humming nights and hissing days are ours for the taking and, be what they will, they're ours to remember during those autumn years of our lives when the lights are dimming some.


MGMT at KCRW-Morning Becomes Eclectic

MGMT stopped by KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic to play live although to a different, more psychedelic tune, some of the songs from their new album. Whatever people say, this band always feels fresh and watching them play live is always a joy.

I leave a vid from the show last Oct 18.

You can download/watch/listen to the show in its entirety by following this link.



Yannis Philippakis + Musical Soulmate

En pleno ACL y justo después de abrir el official aftershow de The Black Keys en el Stubb's, tuvimos la oportunidad de conversar con Yannis Philippakis (front man de Foals) y Dave Ma (director de Spanish Sahara, Miami y otros videos de los ingleses). Notoriamente cansados y no tan animados por el horario en el que se iban a presentar al día siguiente en el Zilker Park, nos dejaron clara su emoción por tocar en México en el Corona Capital el fin de semana siguiente. En ambos festivales sus presentaciones fueron épicas. En el Zilker Park con un escenario que sonaba perfecto los afortunados asistentes a su set disfrutamos de los ingleses a la perfección, en su mejor momento. Notoria la madurez y la confianza que el Total Life Forever y todo el éxito alrededor de este segundo material les ha dado. En el Corona Capital fue la locura, para ellos mismos la respuesta del público mexicano fue mucho mejor de lo que esperaban, definitivamente los impresionó y ellos dejaron más que satisfechos a todos los asistentes, y con ganas de tener muy pronto noticias sobre su regreso.
Durante nuestra charla en Austin, Yannis nos habló acerca de Spanish Sahara (para mí el mejor track del 2010), "para Foals es una canción especial, nos gusta tocarla y escucharla una y otra vez", incluso nos comentó sobre la claridad de dicha canción arriba del escenario, en donde a pesar de la intensidad de los monitores, "jamás se pierde y siempre se disfruta". Dave Ma nos comentó además lo complicado que fue grabar dicho vídeo en el frío terrible de tierras noruegas, en donde prácticamente estaban sólo él, Yannis y una cámara.
Sobre el Mercury Prize, al que fueron nominados y finalmente se quedó en manos de The XX, Yannis nos comentó que estaban muy agradecidos con la nominación, la relevancia de dicho premio en el Reino Unido sigue siendo enorme y definitivamente contribuyó al éxito actual de la banda.
Cerramos la conversación con una foto, dos cigarros, y la recomendación del libro "Perfecting Sound forever: An Aural History of Recording Music" de Greg Milner que Yannis se encontraba leyendo. Hoy, tres semanas después de nuestro encuentro y dos del Corona Capital, la euforia por Foals no termina, los ingleses nos han regalado hasta el momento dos increíbles actuaciones, y esperamos tener la suerte de disfrutar muchas más en el futuro. Les dejo una versión más del mejor track del 2010, enjoy...


Amarillo's ACL 2010 Top 5

Una edición más del enorme Austin City Limits, festival al cuál hemos tenido la oportunidad de asistir por tres años consecutivos. Como siempre un ambiente increíble en una ciudad ideal para cualquier tipo de festival. El clima este año fue insuperable, un calor agradable sin ser sofocante como en el 2008, y sin lluvia como en el 2009. Les dejo mi Top 5 sobre los mejores momentos musicales...

5. Blind Pilot (Aftershow en el Stubb's -Indoors-)
Genial poder disfrutar a una banda en un venue para menos de 200 personas. Blind Pilot nos regaló una noche increíble en el ambiente ideal para disfrutarlos. Tocaron prácticamente todo su disco y nuevo material que al parecer vendrá para el 2011.

4. LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy y compañía lograron poner a bailar al escenario principal en su totalidad. Una genial ejecución en un escenario con suficientes watts como para divertirse prácticamente desde cualquier distancia, increíble momento para todo el crew de Musical Soulmate.

3. Foals
Aunque muy temprano, la actuación de Foals fue épica. Al verlos en vivo y de tan cerca se entiende perfectamente porqué fueron nominados al Mercury Prize. Genial playlist con los mejores tracks del Antidotes (su enorme primer disco) y varios del Total Life forever, que se consolida definitivo como uno de los mejores del año. Foals al contrario que muchas bandas, en vivo suenan mucho mejor, su ejecución es impecable.

2. Monsters of Folk (Aftershow en el Stubb's). 
A ellos el término "supergrupo" les queda corto, geniales todos. M. Ward (She & Him), Mike Mongis y Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) se unen con una de las mejores voces del planeta, el enorme Jim James, líder de My Morning Jacket. El venue no podría ser mejor, el stubb's nos dió la oportunidad de disfrutar por dos horas a esta enorme banda.

1. The National.
Una actuación perfecta. La elegante banda de Brooklyn cerró con broche de oro uno de los escenarios que mejor sonaban en el Zilker Park. Excelente playlist, finalmente tuvimos la oportunidad de escuchar About Today en vivo, que para el crew de Musical Soulmate significó el cierre de una edición más del ACL 2010.