Monday, November 29, 2010

blue bayou

I don't feel quite up to a full on post today so I'm just going to give you a video to watch. It's a little long (about 30 mins), but please give yourself the time-it's great!

Norah Jones has a new compilation album out. It's basically a variety of collaborations that she has recorded over the years. There is a lot of variation....Talib Kweli, Dolly Parton, M. Ward, Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson, Belle & Sebastien, etc.

Go listen!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

half moon rising

Last week a friend of mine won tickets to see Yonder Mountain String Band at the Blue Note and gave me a ticket.

I knew it would be a good night when an ambulance and a fire truck pulled up outside. They calmly brought a stretcher inside, but we never got to see if they brought someone out, so hopefully all is well.

I've always had a soft-spot in my heart for regional music. Actually, I don't know if that's what you would call it, but I mean down-home music that tends to define a place and time. It's music that tells a story and sometimes feels a little nostalgic. Bluegrass is definitely one of those genres, at least to me.

So, Yonder...I don't really know too much about them, and I've only heard probably a fraction of their repertoire, but I love listening to what I have. I've watched videos of live performances in the preparation for the day I would see them live. Their music just puts you in a good mood, even the sad songs.

I loved the show. I say this about most of the shows I go to, but this one was great for a very different reason. The music was great and the band was pretty interactive with the audience, but my favorite part was how much everyone in the crowd danced. Danced. I don't think I've ever been to a show with that much dancing. Yeah, people sway and rock and get into the songs a lot, but here they were actually busting a move. Which was enjoyable because the only way to dance to bluegrass music is to look like an idiot, and no one seemed to have a problem with that.

Each member is also ridiculously talented with their instrument. I've been inspired to take up the my copious spare time.

To close, I'm already anticipating my next Yonder show.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

lion in a coma

Sorry for my brief hiatus. I had a seriously crazy week. Two major exams and a 30min seminar presentation. But, that's over and I can breathe relatively easy until mid-December.

My musical brain tends to flip-flop a lot. I seem to go through periods where my brain is interested in something very concretely rock and roll. Something with a solid structure, a nice beat, melody, clear lyrics (i.e. Bob Dylan, Wilco, The Black Keys, etc.). Then on the off times, it pulls a 180 and demands complicated and random sounds. Now is one of the latter times.

And my favorite right now: Animal Collective.

I didn't really start listening to them until about two years ago when a friend gave me their EP, Grass. I liked it and bought two other albums, but didn't really get into them. I recently bought their latest, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and have not been able to stop listening. For reals. I've been listening to it on my daily commute every day since I bought it. Saturday I bought a copy on vinyl (which I think is starting to become my new favorite hobby...buying vinyl that is).

The variation of the songs, resulting from the deep layers of noise that mesh perfectly, keeps my mind from getting bored. If you really sit and dissect what you are hearing, there is such a variety of sound, it's pretty incredible. It's hard to think that these completely random sounds would work together, but they do. Oh yes they do, like the jaw harp samples and the crazy mic effects of Lion in a Coma. It's also the kind of crazy-fun, nerdy music that makes you want to dance like a dork.

I haven't really listened to much of their side projects. Members Avey Tare and Panda Bear have solo albums which are on my radar I've heard great things, but I haven't had a chance to check them out yet. When I do, you'll hear about it.

Unrelated side note: Yonder Mountain String Band is coming to Columbia this Wednesday. I entered a little contest on facebook to win a prize pack including tickets. I find out if I won this afternoon. Fingers crossed-I would love to see them live at The Blue Note!