Monday, November 24, 2008

"And we've been lost for so long..."

So for over a month I have been obsessed with the NYC based band, Violens (“vy-lenz”): and it all started with their video for their song “Doomed.” According to their lead singer, Jorge Elbrecht, the song was inspired by coral reefs and this really pretty girl he knows.

Why is this video so brilliant? It matches the song so well. It sorta has this whole Virgin Suicides feel to it. I love how the girls are just going about their normal day-to-day business and you know something is up. You get somewhat of an idea when the short haired blonde takes some photos, but it all comes together when the last girl arrives, some sort of Winston Wolf problem solver. I love the feeling of “What next?” and us not really knowing.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Tell me anything you want, any old lie will do..."

On Sunday October 12th I went to the Metro to see Seattle based band, Fleet Foxes Since I didn’t see much of their set at Pitchfork, I was super excited to see their show. Also since the summer I had gotten their debut album, Fleet Foxes, and became obsessed. It is the perfect album for this fall-wintery weather. It just makes you want to sit on the couch with a warm beverage under a comfy blanket in front of a fireplace. It is such a great album, and will definitely be in my best of 2008 list.

The opening act was a guy named Frank Fairfield. He is like a more old timey Andrew Bird. It was just him and his guitar and banjo. I wasn’t blown away by his performance, but it was not something you see everyday. Watching him you felt as if it were 1932 and you are sitting on a porch somewhere in rural Kentucky. He also dressed and looked the part.

After Frank left the stage it took only a split second to turn the stage over and then the Fleet Foxes came on. Hooray! Since only having one album and EP, there weren’t a ton of surprises. The set list was pretty similar (some songs were in a different order) as when they played the Black Cat in DC. You can listen to the show here: Thanks NPR!

They played “Sun Giant,” “Mykonos,” and “English House” from their Sun Giant EP. Then they played pretty much everything from Fleet Foxes, there were a few omissions though. I think the highlight for me was when they played my three favorite songs (“White Winter Hymnal,” “Ragged Wood,” and “Your Protector”) back to back and it just flowed. It was brilliant. Someone actually got “White Winter Hymnal” and part of “Ragged Wood” recorded:

Since there were only a handful of songs to be played and most clock in at about 3 ½ minutes, there was a lot of time for banter. Now I love it when artists talk during the show to better connect with the audience. But it has to be brief, and then back to the music. Lead singer and guitarist, Robin Pecknold, was somewhat distracted anytime anyone shouted something. He and the rest of the band are charming enough that you found them endearing, but sometimes it went on too long for my taste. An example, and although it was funny, was when Robin asked if Barack would be a good president (the show was pre-election). The crowd cheered and then someone shouted, “Better than McCain.” Then Robin was like “Yeah and Sarah Palin.” Then he said that a potato would be better than Palin. We all had a chuckle. Then he also went on and said, “Oh I’m sure Barack would be a good president. He’s done a lot for your state and for corn.” Then someone yelled “Corn is better than McCain” and someone else yelled “Corn for President!” Robin then said “Really? You would rather have corn as a president over McCain?” The crowd cheered and laughed. He then went on and said, “That would be funny to have a bowl of corn leading us.” And it would be if you think about it. Then Robin went on a tangent and said, “Not many songs written about corn.” Someone in the audience yelled “Jimmy Crack Corn.” And he said something about that song. Then various songs were mentioned from the band and the audience. Then the keyboardist said, “What about that song from Pocahontas? Then Robin started singing, “Have you ever seen the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?” and the crowd went nuts. That then led to a brief conversation on the film’s historical accuracy and then some banter about Disney films and how Robin said after Mulan he lost interest. Then they started playing a song.

Robin also drank a lot of water during the set. Either he was dehydrated or hung over, maybe both? But there were moments where I was like, “Is he done drinking yet?” Just a random observation.

New song, “Silver City” (and you can hear some of their “what we ate for dinner” banter at the beginning):

I really enjoyed Fleet Foxes, random banter and all. They put on a good show and I look forward to seeing them again next time they come to town. Hopefully though they will go home after the European leg of their tour, relax, and get started on a new album.


P.S. Official videos!

“He Doesn’t Know Why”

“White Winter Hymnal”

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Why do I feel like such a cougar whenever I see The Last Shadow Puppets? I mean both Alex Turner and Miles Kane are 22 years old…only 6 years younger than me. Maybe it is their boyish charm and good looks combined with their skinny British-ness and brilliant music making. Sigh. Whatever it is my legs just get all buttery. Meeeeoooow!

“The Age of the Understatement”

“Standing Next to Me”

“My Mistakes Were Made for You”


Official site:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"That's the living..."

Before I left for Italy my friend had invited me to see James at The Vic the week I got back. I said I would go if tickets were still available. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to see James live, but thought, “Hey, why not? I like the songs I know and they don’t tour the states that often.” I think the last time they were in the states was almost 10 years ago. Plus, KEXP was playing songs off their new album Hey Ma and they were pretty good. And of course, I’m always open to seeing bands that are the all time favorites of my friends.

My first encounter with James was probably very similar to yours. In 1993 they released a single called “Laid” and for many this is the only song they associate with this Manchester band. For years after its release it was used in commercials, movie trailers, and will be on 90s compilation CDs until the end of time. It is also burned into my memory as the song that makes gaggles of girls in bars get super excited and rush the dance floor, tube tops a fallin’, to shake their bums as they yell “This bed is on fire with passion and love.” Ahhh memories of Georgetown…

So why not go see this band? Their career has spanned 3 decades and has a strong following. My friend also told me his best friend from Alabama was coming up for this show. They are such super fans they were also going to Milwaukee the next night to see them. I, however, only know a handful of their songs: “She’s A Star,” “Sit Down,” “Laid,” and my all time fave “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)”…all of which they played. Oh and the new songs I’ve heard, “Hey Ma” and “White Boy.” For those of you who are interested in the setlist:

1. Dream Thrum

2. She's a Star
3. Oh My Heart
4. Waterfall
5. Ring the Bells
6. Hey Ma

7. Bubbles
8. Say Something
9. Five-0
10. I Want To Go Home
11. Out To Get You
12. Upside
13. White Boy
14. Laid
15. Sit Down

16. Sound
17. Top of the World
18. Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)

19. Sometimes

I think the encore started at “Top of the World.” One song I ended up really liking was “Sometimes.” They really involved the crowd and had as singing along. The crowd itself was also really great and you can tell they were super excited to be seeing James after so many years. Everyone was singing along and dancing around. It was great. They were also older, I think I may have been one of the youngest people there, but I wasn’t too surprised by that.

Another thing about this show was this was the first time I sat in the balcony at The Vic. Normally I go to shows solo (sad violins enter here) and so once I find a spot I stay put. However, this time around we sat in the balcony. It was a good spot, but I think the floor is where it is at in that venue. I really like how there are different levels in the floor so you are elevated and everyone isn’t all the same plane. But I am glad I got to see what a show was like in the balcony.

I really liked James live. I can’t say I would rush to go see them again, but it was definitely a memorable show and I enjoyed myself.


James website:

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