this week: a musical retrospective

Holy shit. This week in music has been absolutely bananas. It’s been a huge week for the underdog (see also: WHO IS ARCADE FIRE??!?!), for outstanding live performances, and for surprise albums releases that took the world by storm.

Last Sunday night, Arcade Fire won a Grammy for Album of the Year for the brilliance that is Suburbs. Whilst I was freaking out that the once little known Canadian-band-that-could was on national television winning a freaking Grammy,  it seemed the rest of the world was found asking itself, WHO IS ARCADE FIRE?! lulz lulz. Sidenote: if you watched the award show, how strange was their performance of “Month of May” with the BMXers and seizure inducing strobe lights? Not the biggest fan of that, but so ecstatic that the Grammys still got something right by giving the biggest award of the night to the band that deserved it the most. (Also, let’s just take a moment and thank god that Lady Antebellum didn’t sweep all its categories with that redneck drunk dial song)

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Local Natives. What more can I possibly say about these hometown heroes that hasn’t been said before a million times. If you have not seen this band live yet, then you need to find a way to correct this fault asap. They are one of the greatest live bands I have ever come across. Friday morning the boys had an in-studio live session on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic show and they brought along a gorgeous string quartet with them in preparation for their big Disney Concert Hall debut.

You can stream the awe-inspiring set HERE.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA, is a hip hop collective from Los Angeles that has been around since about 2008, but has recently EXPLODED onto the music scene. Headed by Tyler, the Creator they are being hailed as the ultimate hype band and being treated as the saviors of hip hop at the moment. Take one look at their performance on Jimmy Fallon this week and you can’t help but get swept up as well. You will hardly be able to contain your excitement and will want to run out into the streets and scream “SWAG SWAG SWAG,” just like Mos Def. These kids have been releasing mixtapes for free for years on their tumblr and Tyler’s solo sophomore album Goblin has been picked up for release through XL Recordings. Odd Future is taking no prisoners and they are all only going to get bigger, so hold on now.

Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers

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AND THEN! To add even more excitement to a week that I could never dream could get any better Radiohead (FUCKING RADIOHEAD) announced that they would be releasing their new album, King Of Limbs, this week. And then they go right ahead and release it a day early (came out Friday 2.18.11) and preface it with this video of Thom Yorke dancing his way back into my heart in this video for “Lotus Flower.”

King of Limbs may not be as magical a release as In Rainbows was, but any gift from Radiohead is still a gift from the Gods themselves. I first heard this track “Give Up The Ghost” last year when Thom played it at Coachella and it still gives me chills today with its haunting beauty.

Radiohead – Give Up The Ghost (mp3)

-Michelle

A Tardy Top 10 of Twenty Ten.

Last night, The Style Eater embarrassingly brought it to my attention that I hadn’t blogged since the end of November. Oy vey. After we baked this GLORIOUS Black & Blue(berry) crumble pie for our weekly Gossip Girl tea party (and yes, it is as cute a ritual as it sounds), Janelle and Xtina and I started gushing over our favorite bloggers, and even scoffing at other life-ruiner bloggers whilst secretly really wanting their button-ups. This was about the time I had to hang my head in shame for my absence. Although, the last thing I left you with was a .gif of A.Skars’ nakey little bottom, so you’re welcome. But, with school apps out of the way and me just sitting around playing the horrid waiting game, this is pretty lamesville on my part. I blame Netflix; so many bad movies to watch instantly, so little time. So, I please beg of you to forgive my tardiness BUT seeing as how it is still January, I think I can (shamefully) get away with a Best of 2010 list. Right? Anyone? Bueller?

OH HAI! Also! Coachella lineup was released finally. What do we think about it? I’m not as excited as I was about last year’s but this shiz is selling out like crazy! Pre-sale tickets, camping passes, and VIP passes have already sold out in record time. what the eff? I blame KROQ. They need to stop S-ing Chella’s D right now so I can find me some frakkin housing for the weekend. Just had to vent a little, sorry. The inevitable Coachella artist preparedness posts will come later.

On to the the main event!

Top 10 of 2010:

10. Beach House – Teen Dream I have seen this band more times than I can keep track of, but I keep going back from more. I don’t know if it’s the dreamy quality of the music, Victoria’s scratchy, sexy vocals, or the many memories with great friends I have associated with Beach House songs that keeps me coming back. The only important thing, though, is that I keep returning.

Beach House – Take Care (mp3)

9. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record BSS will always be a forever favorite. This band is forever in my top 5. Even though, this album is not their crowning jewel it still has some really great moments.

Broken Social Scene – Texico Bitches (mp3)

8. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me I am completely obsessed with Joanna Newsom. I love everything about her. From the fact that she plays a harp to her boyfriend (Andy Samberg) to the mythical elf she sometimes resembles to her epic albums that recall a different era.

Joanna Newsom – ’81 (mp3)

7. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Yeezy may be the most self-involved, egotistical genius out there, but he definitely proves his brilliance again with MBDTF. Kanye wins, once again it’s all about him, but this time we’re not complaining because the result is so enrapturing. He even does a couple tracks with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. what the what.

Kanye West – Runaway (mp3)

6. Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way These two are what brother-sister musical duo dreams are made of. When we saw them play at the El Rey, Julia brought out Damien Rice to cover a song from Grease with her. uhhh I die. How can you not love them?

Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane (mp3)

5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening Oh James Murphy, this album makes me want to dance my freakin pants off. A+.

LCD Soundsystem – All I Want (mp3)

4. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker Australian dreamboats that play psychedelic rock that instantly transports you to the 60’s and makes you want to trip on acid? sign me up.

Tame Impala – Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind (mp3)

3. The Head and The Heart – The Head and The Heart 2010 was THATH’s year, the little indie band from Seattle that took the world by storm in such a short amount of time. They had me at first Hallelujah, and now that they have been recently signed to Subpop, the days that I could see these lovelies playing in a friend’s living room are definitely numbered, if even a possibility anymore. This band has so much heart and so much talent that I couldn’t be more happier about the amazing things coming their way (like tours with Dr. Dog and Iron & Wine, having Dave Matthews as their biggest fan, opening for Vampire Weekend and so on and so forth. NBD). Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.

The Head and The Heart – Ghosts (mp3)

2. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor (technically this came out in 2009, but it didn’t have an official US release until 2010 so we’re going with it) Local Natives can do no wrong basically. this album was on repeat for months.

Local Natives – World News (mp3)

1. Arcade Fire – Suburbs Seeing this band live this year was a dream come true. They were one of the last bands on my list of “artists I need to see before I die” and they surely did not disappoint. S. Tan even got to touch Win’s sweaty arm as he ran by us. WIN WIN.

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (mp3)

I didn’t go too much into why I love these albums because I have pretty much been raving and rolling about them all year anyways. Who the heck wants to hear that twice?

Ps. I got to babysit this little nugget / ruler of kittehs today. Jealz?

On a related note, isn’t catpaint the most amazing app you’ve laid eyes on??!

xx,

Michelle

Tracks To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is perhaps one of my favorite holidays. An entire National Holiday dedicated to eating?? Yes please. Sign me up. The inner fat kid in me rejoiced as I planned our menu and, trust, my baked mac and cheese and garlic mashed potatoes were to die for (in case you were wondering). Throw in some booze, a fantastically loud and hilarious family, and new tunes and I don’t think anyone can resist this season’s charms.

So whilst I slaved away (I use this term relatively loosely) in the kitchen, I luckily had my “Tracks to be thankful for” playlist on repeat.

I am thankful for my loving family, all my very patient friends, a free Lil Wayne, black bottom pie, Cranium, Alexander Skarsgard’s ass,  4loko, and all these songs for being in my life.

Tracks To Be Thankful For (after the cut) —>

Continue reading “Tracks To Be Thankful For”

The xx at the Hollywood Palladium 9.22.10

I am officially the world’s worst blogger.

Apologies for the recent blogging fail. Over the past couple months (yes shit it’s been months now.. I started writing this post in September), however, I have had the chance to see some of my favorite acts and have heard some rather glorious album leaks, so I am now ready with updates galore.

And so we begin, with yet another post dedicated to that sometimes dark and always sexy British trio, the xx.

Although the Palladium is perhaps my least favorite venue in Los Angeles, like seriously I would rather risk catching gonorrhea in an alley on the way to getting shot at the echoplex than have to see a show at the Palladium, I had to man up and deal with it if I wanted to catch the xx one last time before they took a long break from their relentless touring schedule. Tbh, this show was rather long ago so I don’t remember the subtle details of it all so I am going to summarize and shuffle through the drunken hazy memories, highlighted of course by some stellar footage.

Zola Jesus was the first opener of the night. I think they were good. I remember thinking the girl had a nice set of lungs on her. cue expensive beers. Warpaint was up next right before the xx and they were, as is expected, fantastic. The ladies provided a perfect complement to the xx with their sultry, hypnotic sound and seductive riffs.

Warpaint – Undertow (mp3)

This track (Undertow) makes me weak at the knees.

What more can I say about the xx that I haven’t already gushed over? Their set was gorgeous, sexy, and transcending. Oliver further enforced the hold he has on mine and Tanya’s hearts. After their show, Fader and Converse sponsored the afterparty at Bardot, so of course we had to attend. Drinks were aplenty, drunken conversations were had with Romy (xx) and Emily (warpaint), Jamie xx dj’ed, and we danced/tried not to drool around Oliver.

the xx – Teardrops (Womack & Womack cover) (mp3)

and I leave you with a bit more sexy:

[photos and video c/o Tanya Avelar]

-Michelle

Matthew Dear – Slowdance

Matthew Dear‘s latest release, Black City, is a treasure trove of droning synths, twitches, glitches, sexy vocals, and all around fine electronica just waiting to be devoured. The album presents us with a Dear that has taken on a darker twist with his work (darker than what he previously showcased on Asa Breed). The album’s ultimate highlight, in my opinion, is “Slowdance,” a sultry song with the kind of driving backbeat that will run through your head for days. Now that Brooklyn favorites, Bear In Heaven, have added their own funky/psychedelic/futuristic sound to the remix we are left with two completely different and completely awesome versions of my favorite track off Black City.

try to pick a favorite. i dare you.

Matthew Dear – Slowdance (mp3)

Matthew Dear – Slowdance (Bear In Heaven remix) (mp3)

-Michelle

FYF as a State of Mind

For many considering themselves relevant in the art of music blogging, bro to bro discussion and pressing ‘like’ buttons as a form of communication, Fuck Yeah Fest has only recently streamed through the thousands of psyches that attended. While FYF is essentially a collective of bands pushing through performance glitches and playing good fucking music, individuals coping with rising temperatures and even a few displays of unnecessary physical violence, it has the potential to house an absolute emotional response, certain factors considered.

The notions of  a “music festival” can be agreed, by the general populous, as a gathering; an outlet for a large mass of people to share an experience. This agreement, albeit positive, is inherently flawed. Sure, every thing would be all fine and dandy if we could slap five with every member of the human race because “Wavves may be a dick but he can totally kill it when he wants to.” but the reality is this is not possible. For reality is relative .

Question: How relative is reality?

Answer: Really relative. Like, really, really fucking relative. Sooooo fucking relative.

This is a hard concept to grasp, so I understand if this answer appears shocking to you. Let me show you how, through synchronicity of desirable sanctions in matter and place, one can attain a zen of festival proportions. I shall use Fuck Yeah Fest as my buffer.  Consider this the ideal fest.

I. The Point of Insertion: Time Approximated at 1:53 pm

You must forget everything that you find necessary. You must not be bounded by tickets or sunblock. You must remove yourself from daily rationale. The wave of people and the high heat that occupy this realm are integral to the first step. You must wait, and if necessary, refer to the nearby ice cream truck for occasional grounding.

The water will be limited, so use wisely

During your wait, start tempting your mind with the absolute IMPROBABLE.

This line is futile. In fact, even this being will call, those without tickets shall get in much faster.

Even more so, this line shall prove an exercise in futility, as staff will simply hand you a ticket with no information necessary.

The rift has begun.

II. A Push Beyond Boundaries: Time Approximated at 4:15

You have entered the festival and, without knowing, begun to slip through dimensions. You reconvene with your small collective of like minded brethren. While you witness AA Bondy, they know something is adrift, but what it is they know not.

The mind is clearly coming to a realization, bro.

III. A Seam Unsealed: Time Approximated at 6:30

THINGS ARE DIFFERENT. You are beginning to see. You are no longer bounded by the effects of others and you must prove it. YOU NEED BEER.

*Sailor Jerry's is optional.

This may seem like an insignificant detour, but rest assured this is necessary. This beer will be god’s elixer running through you, a wake up call to your mind’s eye, it’s a god damn golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory, the untouchable entity, every 36 spices in Dr. Pepper, it’s your happiness SkyNet, threatening to eradicate any bummer technology. Sure, you’re going to miss Dead Man’s Bones for this, but your mind has expanded beyond the concept of missing or witnessing. In this state Unbroken is the end all, be all because any sound is good if you make it so.

If all of this has been successful, your day should look like this:

Congratulations on incepting yourself the perfect fest. For every future festival, please repeat steps accordingly.

Delorean – Real Love (mp3)

The Rapture – I Need Your Love (mp3)

!!! – The Most Certain Sure (mp3)

Cold Cave – Life Magazine (Delorean Remix) (mp3)

-Andrew

PS: Be safe out there, guys. Always remember to drink an abundance of water, bring your totem, and never faint, despite how tingly Delorean may make you. Also, be aware of your surroundings. If FYF has shown me anything it’s that, at any moment, you can be tackled or severely stomach slapped for dancing/walking/observing.

*Pictures sniped from varying sources, band pics by P-fork, other pics by beautiful individuals.

August Obsessions

To my hundreds of dear avid readers,

my sincerest apologies for the lack of updates and blogging in this hectic month of August. Between school applications and work and beating out people on Ticketmaster for much sought after Arcade Fire tickets I have been such a wretched lipstick communist. SORRY! But never fear, I have returned with such great treats I can hardly contain myself. So much amazing new music has found its way into my inbox and itunes I have not a clue where to start. So instead, prepare thyself for a mega post of releases from favorites, new and old, to turn the rest of your month into a grade-A scorcher.

Canada’s indie darlings turned stadium-selling-out sweethearts Arcade Fire have returned with their most recent installment, The Suburbs, and it most definitely does not disappoint. They managed to take a subject matter as old and as tired as the mundanity and stifling reality of living in the Suburbs and turn it into something grand and beautiful. My personal favorite off the album has to be “Sprawl II”. It ends the journey through the Suburbs, with its strip malls and modern kids, with a hope for something greater to come. With its almost dancey disco beat, it may seem a little out of place, but I want nothing more than to comply with Regine’s request to “please cut the lights” as we ribbon dance and dream about the bright lights of something better just beyond us.

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (mp3)

Ra Ra Riot‘s newest release, The Orchard, is a notable departure from the previous The Rhumb Line album. Gone, for the most part, is the joyous, upbeat pop of yesteryear as we see the band delving into darker themes (as can be expected with the death of their first drummer, John Pike) and paying greater attention to subtle detail. However, with their infectious track “Boy,” amongst a couple others, Ra Ra Riot still takes the time to remind us why we fell in love them in the first place.

Ra Ra Riot – Boy (mp3)

and to make matters even more magical, the geniuses at RAC have blessed this already near perfect tune with their golden touch.

Ra Ra Riot – Boy (RAC remix) (mp3)

I don’t even need to say much about this song , just that Cee-Lo has probably created a major contender for song of the year with this track. “Fuck You” revives classic soul, funk, and 60’s punk with a cheeky twist on things that makes this track impossible to resist.

Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You (mp3)

This album has been YEARS in the making and now Melbourne’s hottest ticket, Miami Horror, has finally released their debut album, Illumination, and boy has it been worth the wait. From its humble roots (Miami Horror started out as one fantastical producer with a synthesizer, Ben Plant) to buzz band and Pitchfork darlings, this group has been holding onto one of the most anticipated electro albums of the past couple months. Pretty much can’t stop listening to “Sometimes” and dancing around my room. It has been floating around for a while now, but if you haven’t heard it yet you are in luck mon petit ami.

Miami Horror – Sometimes (mp3)

Glasser showed up on my radar about 2 years ago when we booked High Places to play at UCLA and Glasser was on the bill to open for them. I went into the show not knowing what to expect from Los Angeles based Cameron Mesirow, and she immediately won me (and the entire audience over) by the end of her enrapturing and ethereal set. I am itching to get my hands on her upcoming Ring, which is being released and limited to 500 copies by True Panther Sounds. Don’t hesitate in reserving yours now here. Glasser’s first single off of the album, “Home,” is a many layered and almost understated thing of beauty. It is filled with lush harmonies, swelling strings, and a plethora of claps, plucks, and drums.

Glasser – Home (mp3)

After Blonde Redhead released 23 in 2007 I was completely beside myself. I have always been enamored, in a bruised knee fashion, with this band and it seemed that they were just going to get better with the passage of time. So, with their recent endeavor, Penny Sparkle, I was expecting to be immediately taken with the album. However, I seem to be finding myself listening to it repeatedly trying to feel the same emotions this band once evoked. The songs are still, true to BR nature, very dark and dreamy and perhaps they just need me to pry myself away and focus long enough to fully appreciate their inherent beauty.

Blonde Redhead – Here Sometimes (mp3)

Enjoy the boundless harvest of my August obsessions and let me know what you think.

xx,

Michelle