Talk about an anthem. Cold War Kids’ first single “Miracle Mile” is packed with energy.
Yesterday, Four Tet released a 38 minute mix entitled 1081. What kind of album title is that! How crazy am I going to sound when I suggest to my friend to listen to Four Tet’s “1081?”
“It’s called 1081. What? No-the album, it’s called 1081. Why? I don’t know. Ask Four Tet. What? You don’t have to listen to it!”
Well, so, the album title isn’t stellar BUT–boy–is the album perfect…and free. Snag it. Cherish it. From the majestic harps to the stuttering samples, the varying cadences create a progression you can groove to, but also ask you to pause, and think, “Wow, how’d he mix that?” Reportedly, the LP comes from an archive of unreleased dating to 2001.
After you drink your first cup of coffee tomorrow, just press play on this.
You can thank me afterwards. If we ever get an explanation for album title–we’ll let you know.
Youngblood Hawke played the Warfield with such a potent sound last Friday night I’m still feeling pops of energy as I write about it today. Falling in love with their main single, “We Come Running,” several months back I have long since added “Forever and Stars” to my regular playlist. Coming out of this show, I’m on the hunt to add the rest of their work, a great young collection of tunes that vividly stick in my ears without any nasty pop aftertaste, to my lists moving forward.
Rousing the Warfield was no small feat for two reasons. They played to a house full of Keane fans and suffered a horrible lighting show. What an unusual juxtaposition: the impassioned indie rock sound of Youngblood and the balladic, almost Christian rock, sound of Keane. And the lights! While the production stepped up for the headlining Keane, this is the second time I’ve seen an opener get the short stick with lights at the Warfield. Massive black mark on the venue in my book.
This image is a homage to Susannah Breslin, a journalist who had the right mind to tell me to stay the fuck away from journalism. ”In the past, I’ve written my response to aspiring writers: Don’t. It’s just that simple,” she explained. Well, Susannah, I didn’t listen.
My experiences were never as cool as Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous. I’ve hung out on stage with Skrillex or chatted with Matt & Kim while watching the Local Natives’ sound check, but my bluff stops there. (If you want those stories talk to Victoria. Her path is very different than mine.)
For four years I’ve toiled in crafting this music website, hoping it would stand out. I analyzed music from a sociological perspective (you can imagine the audience was quite small), then pivoted towards a more homogenous format: 1) Mp3s 2) Music videos 3) Album reviews 4) Live review and 5) Interview. I tried to remain unique. I asked artists questions besides “What’s a crazy tour story?” and even had one refuse to speak with me unless I took down our first interview (ahem). I found really amazing photographers to help me document the San Francisco music scene. Even got help from writers who later became real journalists.
Somewhere I lost sight of my goal. I aimed to increase my pageviews hoping SPIN or NPR would take notice. I vomited copy that wreaked of the last blog I devoured. I stopped interviewing artists because I needed more time to post Mp3s. I forgot the most important thing Susannah told me:
So, if you insist on becoming a writer, against my wishes, do this. Do something different. Most writers can’t write. Most journalists are shit. Go where no one else will go. Write what no one else will write. Tell the stories nobody wants to hear.
Over the next fews weeks, thanks to the sponsorship of Sony and Flavorpill (who gave me that pretty camera you see in the photo), I’ll give you a glimpse into the world of a music blogger you don’t see. It won’t be backstage antics, that stuff rarely happens. It will be a different story of what it’s really like to be a music blogger starting now: it’s midnight on a Monday work night and I have an eleven hour work day ahead me. Shit.
Oh, how difficult breakups can be. Months, even years removed, the wounds of loneliness can still be felt. On this melancholy twist of Tony Bennet’s “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” a whimsical triangle understates woozy guitars as vocalist Sam France gently sings “I left my love in San Francisco.” Amidst the fuzzy productions, emerges a timeless vinyl quality reminiscent of 50s croonings. The song is from the LA group’s upcoming release We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, scheduled for release on January 22nd.
If you like this, listen to Foxygen’s “Shuggie” that’s also on their new album.
Like many great musicians, Toro y Moi began in a bedroom as a solo project. To this day, Chazwick Bundick, the 24-year-old South Carolina native, still sees himself as underdeveloped despite his recent success. His work is clearly constantly evolving and there is a good change that it has yet to fully mature. His chillwave performance has grown into an immersive live experience, with auditory influences from the genres of R&B, freak folk, and even french house.
Toro y Moi’s academic prowess in graphic design thanks to his UC Berkeley roots is evident from the stimulating imagery used in the music video for “Say That.” The relaxing forest and green landscapes serve as a pleasant backdrop for his multi-layered lo-fi sound and encourage most listeners to bounce around to the melodies. The upbeat rhythms blend with a smooth, soulful bass reminiscent of a funky dance party.
Check out his interview from last year where he talks about how it has always been important for him to go against expectations. A review/preview of his album Anything In Return examines the “evocative of internal emotional dialogue” heard on the record, which should be formally released this year on January 22. Toro y Moi is also scheduled to play on two consecutive nights for the Noise Pop Festival held at the Independent on March 1 and 2.
The Bay Area rapper Sayknowledge dropped “Lap Up” just the other day. I’ve got to show Yay Area love–because it’s been too long; and, not for nothing, with a head bobbing beat that’s easy to ride with, “Lap Up” with its humorous antics is worth just sitting back, pressing play and doing what the song says…
The music scene in 2012 can be characterized by the bold introduction of young artists, the extended use of new social distribution channels, and the continued blurring of genres. The end of the year is a great opportunity to look back on the previous twelve months of music and attempt to capture the biggest songs. This list is meant to address all genres, both mainstream and underground, and intentionally does not include the same artist twice.
Abel Tesfaye–better known as The Weeknd–brought the heat to San Francisco on an otherwise frigid December evening. Tesfaye played over half the tracks off his recent 30 song reissue, Trilogy.
The reissue was received with mixed reviews at its release this November. Some critics, like our very own David Johnson-Igra, began to question The Weeknd’s legitimacy. Some critics were puzzled as to why Tesfaye started selling music he had previously released for free. I, personally, appreciated the reissue. Not only are the tracks remastered, but we now get to enjoy the entire Weeknd catalogue on music sites such as Spotify. Plus, 30 songs for $11.99 (on iTunes) ain’t bad.
I’ll be lucky, if throughout my lifetime I establish a list of 100 favorite albums. If I live to be 100, that would be one epic album for each year of my life. I’m not referring to the dime piece songs I encounter via homemade playlists, internet radio, party mixes, etc. I’m speaking of the collective albums, LP’s and EPs that have provided the soundtrack to my life. The ones that I still frequently play in entirety and look back on year after year. The solid albums that make me reflect on a significant moment in time but are simultaneously timeless.
When asked to write a list of my top ten albums of 2012 I was instantly stumped. Looking back on the year, I couldn’t even come up with five albums that I thoroughly enjoyed again and again from start to finish. It made me wonder how it could be that someone could come up with a ‘Top 50 Albums of 2012’ list or even a ‘Top 10 Albums of 2012.’ How do these people find the time to enjoy all these albums?
Each person appreciates (or doesn’t appreciate) music in their own way, and I respect that. But, for me, learning to love an album is like beginning a new relationship. I purchase or download the album with high hopes–much like the optimism I have when I meet someone new. I’ve never been one to take first impressions too seriously. I acknowledge that they exist, but I don’t consider them to be anything significant. My opinions of music and of a person, almost 100% of the time, change from that first encounter. The first few times I listen to an album is when I begin to get to know the songs and trust that the music is good.
But once I find an album that I consider a gem, I fall head over heels. The music becomes a part of me–a playlist bringing out the life in my everyday rituals. It becomes the music I share with my loved ones or music I remember past love with. My favorite albums are my go-to LP’s that brighten my day on the short drives to the grocery store and keep me awake on long road trips. They are the ones I push play to when I’m at home hanging with my close crew of friends. The music that plays during the party, but also gets you through the next day, cleaning the house and hungover.
Do you ever fall in love with an album and play it hundreds, maybe thousands, of times and it never gets old? These are the albums I’m talking about. The albums you hold sacred, above all the rest of the releases that year that had but a few good songs on them. Quality over quantity is always the case. For me, that quality album in 2012 is channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean.