sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Friday, October 10, 2008

blind pilot : 3 rounds and a sound

it's funny the way great music can sometimes come from the most random of places. a few weeks ago my friend's father, on the return leg of a months-long bicycle trek from southern california to alaska and back, was spending the night in a campground in the middle of nowhere when the sounds of live music pervaded the night air. the next morning brought a conversation with the two musicians who had played in the campground the previous night, who told my friend's dad that they were in a band and were on a bicycle trek tour of the west coast, from their home in portland, up to seattle, and all the way down to los angeles. hearing this story, of a band on bicycles playing what sounded like an unannounced show in a campground full of people who probably aren't very interested in music, i was quickly dismissive of how good the music could have possibly been, regardless of how sweet a concept it sounded.

turns out i was slightly wrong about the organization and publicity of the tour. and turns out i couldn't have been more wrong about the quality of the music. upon being told the band's name--blind pilot--just a few days ago, i checked out the band's myspace page and sampled their music with no expectations at all. i was blown away on the first listen. unfortunately, as luck would have it, i'm out of town and missing their two shows in los angeles, but i quickly downloaded the album, 3 rounds and a sound, off emusic and am hooked. simply put, this is great stuff.

blind pilot consists of israel nebeker and ryan dobrowski. having not actually seen them live and knowing only what i can find online, i can surmise only that nebeker is the lead singer. but what a lead singer he is. many of the reviews i've seen compare nebeker's voice to james mercer of the shins, which i can definitely hear. but i'll see their james mercer and raise them will sheff of okkervil river--nebeker's voice is as melodic and wonderfully expressive as either man's. musically, acoustic guitars are strummed with purpose and combine with freshly brushed drums and horns that are, at times, dripping with sorrow, to create a mood that is somehow simultaneously laden with melancholy and consistently bright, recalling an acoustic jeff tweedy. with those two reference points, you should be running to buy the album right now, but first know that the other thing that makes 3 rounds and a sound such a joy is the lyrics. lyrical gems abound throughout the course of the album, but my favorite comes from the opening track, "oviedo", a wistful recounting of loves--lost, unwanted, and missed.
and maybe some things are better left unsaid
but if you wanted to test that out, yeah i guess i could've said
but there were nights in bars that i recall
your breath was courage laced with alcohol
everything came out of nowhere for me on this one, but it seems pretty clear that blind pilot are serious talents with a captivating combination of supremely expressive vocals, buoyed by the tranquility of acoustic guitars and hushed drums, singing thoughtful lyrics that are capable of discerning the complexities of a life full-lived. something tells me these guys won't be coming out of nowhere for long, so better get on the bandwagon while there's still room.

blind pilot : "oviedo"

blind pilot : "3 rounds and a sound"

from the lp 3 rounds and a sound (expunged records/ioda, 2008) emusic
blind pilot : myspace
blind pilot : blog

Sunday, October 05, 2008

within me a lunatic sings -- sigur rós : the greek theatre : october 2, 2008

i would be among the first to admit that i sometimes make pretty liberal use of superlatives when it comes to talking about music. when my friends hear me call a band "one of my favorites", they know that that list is considerably long and seemingly growing by the day. but hopefully my history of hyperbole won't lessen the effect of this statement, because this time i seriously mean it: seeing sigur rós live in 2005 was the most aesthetically pleasing concert i have ever seen. there was a majesty to everything about the performances on that tour, so wonderfully captured in heima, that transcended every idea i had about music as art. the visuals are still fresh in my memory, opening and closing behind a sheer curtain that alternately captured the vague outlines of the band and their imposing shadows cast by lights from behind. it was a stunning display, matching note-for-note the gentle unraveling of "takk" and "glósóli", as well as the frenetic conclusion to "popplagið", and served as the perfect complement to the ethereal mood and atmosphere that the band is so well known for creating with its music. it was, by all accounts, breathtaking.

and so it was that seeing them last thursday, for the first time since that wonderful night three years ago, was as highly anticipated an evening as i can remember. unfortunately, as so often happens with extreme anticipation and build-up, and so it was that i walked away slightly disappointed. i know that my disappointment had a lot to do with the towering expectations i carried in, and i knew that they couldn't put on the same show as before; but i did hope that they would have replaced the theatrics on the curtain with something equally amazing. unfortunately, two blasts of enough confetti to make it seem like it was snowing was about the extent of the replacement visual artistry.

it wasn't a bad show by any means. in fact, i'm pretty sure any sigur rós show, given even the reduced level of artistic merit and, oh yeah--the music--would still be one of the best shows i'd see in any given year. because despite my misgivings and slight disappointment, it's still sigur freakin' rós, music replete with transcendant beauty and the ability to elevate a mood to aural nirvana. since i first listened to it back in june, með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust has done nothing but continue to amaze me. with all the familiar sonic characteristics intact, the band added a new element--pure, unadulterated joy--to glorious effect. to see these songs performed live (complete with the confetti faux snowstorm) confirmed that that additional element was sincere in every way, and there is just no way that they could make for a night that was anything less than extraordinary. i could only imagine the hyperbole i'd be spewing if the visual elements had been as breathtaking as they were before...

sigur rós : "inní mér syngur vitleysingur"
from the lp með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (beggars xl recordings, 2008)

þegar að við hittumst (when we meet)
þegar að við kyssumst (when we kiss)
varirnar brenndu, höldumst í hendur (the lips burning, we hold hands)
ég sé þig vakinn (i see you wake)
ég sé þig nakinn (i see you naked)
inní mér syngur vitleysingur (within me a lunatic sings)


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

failin' palin

it's not often that i get into political discourse on here, but these days it's nearly impossible not to have an opinion on sarah palin. the mccain campaign's handling of their vp candidate so far has been interesting, shunning all media requests save for a few very high profile interviews which have turned disastrous. it is as if they are saying, "let's keep her on the pool deck--it's much too dangerous in the water--but if she does go in, let's throw her in the deep end." perhaps the only good that has come out of this entire debacle is the fact that tina fey is now on our televisions a full month before 30 rock returns. in any event, the outcome of these appearances has been downright brutal, revealing to these eyes at least the magnitude of just how unprepared this woman is to be anywhere near the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world. it's not that i think gov. palin is unintelligent; it's just that i think she is embarrassingly unfamiliar with issues that, well, are kind of important when it comes to leading a country. the degree of her ignorance manifests itself in an inability to develop opinions on politically fundamental issues, and i just can't see how anyone in their right mind could still be remotely comfortable with the prospect of a potential president palin. there are those conservative pundits who insist that, despite her inadequacies, she's the right person for the job because she makes good decisions. but the way i see it, isn't the most egregious example of poor decision making the fact that we are in this situation to begin with? wouldn't someone who makes good decisions realize how unprepared they are for the job and decline the offer in the first place? or maybe she doesn't know what she doesn't know...and for someone running for vice president, that would surely be the scariest proposition of all.

with fleet foxes : "i shall be released"

live from bend, oregon (august 23, 2008)
given away by wilco in exchange for a promise of voting next month. seriously--no matter your party affiliation, and even if you do intend to vote for mccain/palin, just do it--vote.

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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