Friday, November 26, 2010

Ryan Montbleau Band on NPR

One of my favorites, the Ryan Montbleau Band, checked in with NPR last night on a segment that highlighted tracks from their new album, Heavy on the Vine.  It serves as a great introduction to people who have never heard of the band and a nice reminder to those of us who have.

Check out the 23-minute NPR segment here.

The reggae-infused Songbird plays underneath a brief introduction of the band and fades into a lighthearted interview.  Ryan dishes about riding the back of a U-Haul truck to a gig after the van broke down, demonstrating the humble roots of a band that has already played stadium arenas.

It's always nice to hear what Ryan and the boys have to say about their ever-growing careers, but it's always nicer to listen to them play: the band treated us to live performances of Stay, Slippery Road, Love Songs, and I Can't Wait.

Now that we are up to speed on the coolness of the RMB, we can all be properly jealous of this photo:


Thursday, November 25, 2010

All Day - Girl Talk

I'll admit it - I love Girl Talk's new album, All Day.  It's not generally the type of music I dig, but there's something to be said for the ingenuity of the mashups.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the artist, allow me to give you the lowdown.  Girl Talk is a guy who does mashups - combinations of different songs forged together to create a new one.  Killer mashups, I might add.  Generally the songs he chooses are not my style (he mostly draws from mainstream pop, rap, and rock), but I find myself tolerating crude and occasionally offensive lyrics for the awesome beats.

Occasionally there are some Elizabeth-friendly songs used in the mashups, like Derek & the Dominos:

This album never gets boring.  Maybe this is my musical ADD speaking, but I love how different elements from a wide array of songs are weaved together into incredibly dynamic tracks.  So where would I listen to this music?  Let's just say that the gym is about to see much, much more of me.

One of my favorite tracks is That's Right, which introduces some serious magic when BeyoncĂ©'s Single Ladies is brought in around 3:00.  The vocals are combined with some cool syncopated horns, which provides a new perspective on the song.

Every Day is a good one, too.  Think of a damn catchy rhythm piano under a rap.  Then think of an amp-up of the piano, morphing into a high-energy 80's rock band under... more rap.  Surprise surprise.  Fast forward a minute or two, and we hear a familiar piano riff: it's John Lennon's Imagine.

I leave this album with the impression that it could very well be better than most of the songs that it's made of (Imagine, Casey Jones, and Layla excluded).  But hey - mad props, Girl Talk.

Whether it's tofu or turkey, have a great Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Best Coast 19 November 2010 @ Smith College, Northampton MA

Last night the Californian surf rock trio Best Coast transported us to the land of sunny shores and lazy days.  Everyone was grooving to the high-energy tunes and having a grand old time.
The band played a solid fifty-minute set, comprised of lots of short-lived tunes and an encore.  Each song seemed like a total tease - maybe they wanted to give us a sampler of what they had to offer or maybe... they're just not Phish.  I guess jam bands have spoiled me.
Each song ended somewhat abruptly, sort on on an upbeat that you didn't expect.  It was kind of awkward, but kind of cool.  After a while the songs blended together for me into one big fast-paced, guitar-laden mess.  A hot mess, I might add.

Here's a taste of their sound: 
There was more of a sweetheart feel to Bethany's voice than I had expected - after listening to lots of their studio-recorded stuff, I remembered how crazy it is to expect the same onstage.  But what we got was better: I loved her rounded tones and sixties mod vibe.

(And I loved her pants!)
Her lyrics are heartfelt and occasionally touching, with lots of oohs over her gritty guitar interspersed.  There may not be too much substance to the stuff, but it's definitely catchy.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For those of us who missed the memo...

from 2008.  It read something like this:

Beloved Music Aficionados,
The band Fleet Foxes is really great.  Go check them out.
Sincerely, the Music Gods


To make up for our (my) two year catch-up, I've started us off on a lyrical, haunting, and absolutely beautiful song called White Winter Hymnal.

Peace, love and pancakes,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Best Coast Adventures

The other day I picked up a ticket to see Best Coast, an indie group who specializes in gritty psuedo-surfer tunes.  They're stopping by my school on November 19th, so I figured why not?

At first I wasn't grabbed by their music, but I find that it grew on me with surprising speed.  Check it out for yourself:

Never eat the yellow snow, kids.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

McLovins 30 October 2010 @ Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT

This Saturday I trucked on up to Norfolk, CT to celebrate Halloween with The McLovins.  They played a solid yet interesting show, always making sure to highlight their individual and group talents.  

A percussion group called The Groove Smugglers did a brief set to open the night and stayed onstage to join The McLovins for their opener, 3:47.  I have always thought it's a really cool song, mostly because of its length (roughly two minutes), but also because it's pretty different than anything else they do.  This tune stays focused on one musical thought the whole time, rather than using a more complicated song structure.  
To keep the night fun and festive, the band did a ton of covers, including "Wouldn't Wanna Be Like You," "YEM," "Tweezer Reprise," "Werewolves of London," and (my personal favorite of the night) "Tik Tok."  Yes, Ke$ha.  And it was glorious.

A new song of their own was introduced that night as well, called Tetop.  The verses start out slow and pick up with each repetition of the chorus, complete with a big, loud (and sorta psychedelic) guitar solo.  Although it wasn't jammed or anything, I can tell it's got the potential.  It's gonna be a good one. 
The most notable cover of the night goes to Ghost, one of my family's favorite Phish tunes.  Their rendition definitely echoed the original song but had a more of a funky vibe.  I always like to hear a different take on a classic!  The end of the tune brought a short but very sweet jam.  Man, those guys know how to be succinct. 

Speaking of ghosts, I could definitely hear a little bit of Jerry's in the fat, heavy tones of Jeff's guitar.  

Deep Monster Trance was where things got hot - the energy in the room was practically tangible.  I can't get over how everything flows so well in this song, especially Jeff's guitar.  It's like listening to liquid HOT LAVA ...but in a good way.  If you listen to anything from the show, make it this track.
The audience was brought back to the good old days with Purple Trees>Rapper's Delight and then into... Tweezer Reprise, bringing back precious memories of June 18th, the night Phish ended with a double Reprise.  
And then there was the drag show:
You Enjoy Myself, popularly known as YEM, was pretty damn incredible that night too.  All I have to say is: I want the vocal jam!

Check out "Werewolves of London"

And then the best thing happened: I so totally called the encore.  It was a joke (or so I thought); when they came out and started the opening section Freebird, people practically thought I was magic.  

Relive the night with a great (free!) recording on here.

Now that it's November, I'm officially breaking out the holiday tunes.  Watch out, world. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

...Unless they bring the Maharishi.

Check out John Wesley Harding's tune "When the Beatles Hit America."  It's hilarious and contains political commentary to boot.

PS - I love you.