October 5, 2011

new music

Too lazy for individual posts. Here's a bunch of fantastic music I've been busy with.

Youth Lagoon's Montana, from their new album The Year of Hibernation, stands out like a shell on an early morning beach. And what a gorgeous video it is.

Girls are back with their sophomore album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. They've grown more confident and stylish. My favourite is Die - an absolute sorcher of a track.

The band that started off as a party joke has actually grown into their own right. The Coathangers are back with a new album, and I was actually stumped by a few tracks. One being...

My new favourite girl band - Wild Flag. These girls are as badass as badass can get and go mental when they rock.

Wye Oak. Don't have words enough for how good they are.

Sikiyou's Twigs and Stones

Beirut's back with a new a called The Rip Tide with 9 pensive and stunning tracks.

PJ Harvey's new album Let England Shake is quieter than previous albums but it's got a nice folksy touch to it.

October 4, 2011

20 Years of Nirvana's Nevermind

When I first heard Nevermind playing in my cousin’s room it was like I was punched in the face. In a good way. I instantly knew there was a world out there that was as irrevocably fucked up as I was feeling on most days. It was 1997, I was 13 and a raging malcontent without an outlet. That was till I, and an entire generation, stumbled onto Nevermind. After which everything changed. And the rest of the 90s was left sucking its glistening cock.

My cousin loaned me the cassette and I drowned out the world with it, rewinding, fast-forwarding, my walkman guzzling batteries like a pisser in bar. Cobain became my unwilling, dirt-kicking Messiah. This was a sound like nothing I’d ever heard before. Remember those were pre-internet, pre-youtube days (and thank god for it), and music was hard to come by. From the killer opening riffs and cocky lyrics of ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’, the smoked-out snarls of ‘In Bloom’, the brotherhood of ‘Come as You Are’, the anger of ‘Territorial Pissings’, to the pulsating drums of ‘Stay Away’, the album doused mainstream in kerosene and set it on fire. Making a mockery of popular music by staying on the Billboard charts No. 1 for a long while at the same time. The album broke all notions of music at it was perceived. Suddenly Metallica and GnR sounded like a fog of grannies knitting scarves. It was historic. It made a god out of Cobain and monsters of his fans. But 20 years since the release of Nevermind and I’m surprised at how the music still has its resigned, pessimistic and provocative edge and doesn’t sound outdated like so many of the two-bit bands that come and go without a trace nowadays. This is a testimony to its staggering genius for great art perpetuates, stimulates, and endures.

It’s difficult to explain what the album did to my young mind without slipping into cliché. The album shaped me to an extent where I think my dormant alcoholism and my incapability to have lasting relationships have root in the very spools of its reel. That aside, Nevermind gave me courage to be disenchanted, gawky, ragged, to diss god and my folks. It also turned me into a hater of all things moral, silly girls, pretty boys, newspapers. It gave ugliness its much-needed beauty. But most importantly it gave me, and again, an entire generation, the power of music and the feeling of invincibility that comes along with it. The world could not break our thin bones. 

In the 14 years since Nevermind, I found out that pot makes me see yellow spots and helps me to write. I fell in love and got my heart promptly broken. I graduated. Came to Delhi and ran away to the hills where I finished my money, set a hotel room on fire, slept on a boat in the middle of the lake, drenched in puke. Came back with a toothbrush and five bucks, just enough to call for help. I fell in love again but with lesser intensity, and fell out of it. I dropped acid and danced for three days straight. I ran away to Goa, chopped tomatoes in a restaurant, dyed my hair pink, fell in love with my first love and fell out of it just as quickly. I graduated from college, bummed around. Got a job that made me hate my days. Quit. Got another job. Quit. Got another job. Sometimes I think about my waywardness and wonder how much of it has to do with my adoloscent punk and grunge awakening. How much of it has to do with Nevermind?

The baby on the cover is all grown up, but I wonder if he ever got his head out of water.

September 11, 2011

stephen malkmus and the jicks

When i first heard that Stephen Malkmus was back with a new album, I was fucking curious, being a huge fan. And it's lived up to every twisted musical expectation I had. Mirror Traffic is a cheeky laidback rock and roll Sunday afternoon. At times up-tempo with its soaring guitar solos and catchy pop synth feel, at others a lo-fi gem with a lick of clear-as-water acoustic picking, it's just the sort of album I can turn up till the eardrums cry blue murder and drown myself in to put the shit that goes on outside on mute. Personal favourites include 'Brain Gallop', the bluesy 'All Over Gently', 'Senator', 'Forever 28'. One thing I know, this album will be rocking on my playlist for a long time.

August 31, 2011

dead man winter

Smashing country rock by the side project of the Minnesota Bluegrass band, Trampled By Turtles. 

From their new album 'Bright Lights'

July 3, 2011

ramsay midwood

i'm drawn to the South. it started with dixie jazz and a few books; Amstrong, Harper Lee, Cole Porter, Gone with the Wind, Gershwin, and The Mississippi Rag. but i've deviated since then, not too far though, into marshland and rootsy folk blues. 

the South still pulls me. but now purely for its swampy gospel-laced blues for inspired barflies and wide spaced bluegrass. music with laid back, quiet, and languid vocals. Ramsay Midwood is everything South. his surroundings are clearly evident in his music; he was raised in Arlington, Virginia, the son of a tuba-playing father and a mother interested in folk and roots music. there's so much i love about this little heard of Texan. his sound is a drunk lazy country romp, perfect to go with a thirsty summer evening and a big waiting sky. the South comes alive in his vocals like a smoked-out bastard murderer, staggering into a diner in the purple small hours.

Shoot Out at the OK Chinese Restaurant 'is decidedly lo-fi and feels as authentic as a country preacher stoned on truth serum', says a reviewer.  

July 2, 2011

trampled by turtles

Trampled by Turtles does bluegrass the way it's meant to be. old school and quiet. their new album Palomino has some beautiful compositions complete with the heart-breaking ballad 'Widower's Heart' and the country number 'Victory'.

here's what my favourite reviewer has to say about them:  

Palomino is a brilliant record that balances furious energy, calming ballads, frantic finger-picking, three-part harmonies, and startlingly good songwriting. 

Dave Simonett - guitar/vocals
Ryan Young - fiddle 
Erik Berry - mandolin/vocals 
Dave Carroll - banjo, vocals 
Tim Saxhaug - bass/vocals

Trampled By Turtles - Widower's Heart from HearYa.com on Vimeo.

what a lovely video!

June 5, 2011

buxter hoot'n

don't have words enough.
one tip though. watch out for the cunning layers in 'Mariel'

May 25, 2011

j. roddy walston and the business

i've been listening to j for a while now. but these new songs and old renditions have me stumped. these boys rock.

What’s more important to you – a perfect studio sound, or a raucous live show?

J: Live show for sure music should be live …. recordings are just a bi-product of something real.

nuf said.

an oldie

ponderosa's midnight revival

another big voice and great southern feel with that Hammond organ to put me in the mood. Kalen Bush leads Ponderosa's new album Moonlight Revival with some ass shaking big riffs. there's nothing new about them, just plain ol rock and some good times. look out for the big guitars in 'Devil On My Shoulder'.

May 16, 2011

mount moriah

another gem. Mount Moriah has debuted with their album of the same name. (Mount Moriah take their name from the mountain range in the Book of Genesis; there's something of that old dirge feel to some of their songs. very apt i'd say.) This two piece band, Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller, are rooted in Southern gospel folk tunes rich in organ and pensive guitar riffs. Heather's clear as water voice captures both the melancholy and optimism of the band's songs uncannily.

songs to look out for are the gorgeous 'Lament' and 'Only Way Out'

this is song writing at its best.


'The Letting Go'

'Only Way Out'

January 26, 2011

delta spirit's history from below

History from Below Delta Spirit's 2010 sophomore album is a dramatic vintagey collection of songs. americana done to perfection, this super Cali band seems to be only getting better. the eleven tracks are well crafted, reflective and have an underlying sense of the spiritual. 

songs to look out for are the opener '9/11', a cheeky political number, which is followed by a rush of electrics in 'Bushwick Blues'. 'White Table' is hymn-like with its percussion, while big drums keep its tempo. the airy open guitars of 'Ransom Man' had TIS hooked for weeks. and last but not the least, the howling electric ballad 'St. Francis' with its rambling harmonica and Matt Vasquez's boozy vocals is a near religious experience.   

'white table'

'bushwick blues'

January 25, 2011

the mynabirds

to start the year with a debut. Laura Burhenn's dusty and beautiful vocals have TIS captivated. What we lose in the fire we gain in the flood is a soulful, brooding country and soul album perfect to go with a teasing glass of whiskey. there's the feel of a great piano banging away to a church choir mixed with a pop song from the nineties and you cant help but replay till it sings itself hoarse in your head.

songs to listen to are 'Let the record go', the expansive 'Numbers don't lie' with its echoing organ, and the lovely 'We made a mountain'.

'numbers don't lie'

The Mynabirds - Numbers Don't Lie (Live at OPB) from opbmusic.org on Vimeo.

'let the record go'

The Mynabirds - Let The Record Go from Saddle Creek on Vimeo.