Monthly Archive for March, 2010

‘And This is My Lovely Friend Amanda’: The Tallest Man on Earth & Alessi’s Ark 15 March 2010, Bush Hall

This was my first show at Bush Hall, and had I not been walking with someone who knew where we were going, I probably would have walked past the entrance. Past innumerable hair shops (and a really good pub) on Uxbridge Road was the modest doorway into Bush Hall.

We got in and weaved through a portion of the crowd that filled up Bush Hall, a spacious yet intimate room with lovely Rococo ceiling detail. It got quite warm in the hall, given the full audience and the apparent lack of ventilation.

Alessi’s Ark started her performance with her friend on backing guitar. Alessi Laurent-Marke gave a lovely performance, despite the ceaseless chatter among the audience–mostly towards the back–which I thought was a bit unfortunate. The music of Alessi’s Ark is very darling, filled with a shy and earnest charm. She’s opening for Laura Marling on at least a couple shows next month in the UK, so if you haven’t had a chance to do so, and you like your indie folk feminine with a heavy dose of wide-eyed wonder, you may enjoy her.

Because I was having difficulty seeing Alessi perform during her act, in-between acts the suggestion was put forth to move up closer, since I’m such a shorty. Bush Hall is very flat. There was a balcony/mezzanine area towards the back of the hall, but already my companion and I were in the thick of the hot crowd, so the only way forward was to move forward, which we did until the crowd didn’t seem to allow us to go any further. There was seriously a gigantic beanstalk next to where I was standing, and I was utterly paranoid he was going to somehow wind up standing in front of me, but luckily, this was not so.

Kristian Matsson sauntered onto the stage, giving a sort of suspicious pirate glare at the crowd as he swigged from his bottle of beer. It was quite an entrance that seemed to have a lot more bravado than when I had seen him in Orlando last year opening for John Vanderslice. I think it was quite amusing.

So, the performance was quite lively and fantastic, punctuated by moments when Matsson would talk to the crowd. At one point, a man in the crowd shouted ‘I love you!’ to the performer. Everything stopped, and you can see Matsson’s face twist into this serious, stern facade as he slowly approached the microphone and asked, ‘What?’ It was comical, but what was interesting about these moments is that you never really knew if Matsson was joking with the crowd, or if he really acted this peculiar way, or if this is him being The Tallest Man on Earth.

I’ve been asked by friends unfamiliar with Kristian Matsson, so I will say no, he is not really very tall. I don’t think he reaches up to 6 ft, but his performances–the way he moves so kinetically to the point where at times he seems to nearly be trying to shake out of his skin–are very big.

Because the staff at Bush Hall did not make me check my camera at the door, I was able to take a few shots of The Tallest Man on Earth. I didn’t take very many, as I normally only like taking a very small handful of photos at an event, because I don’t wish to bother other people around me with the clicking of a camera, and also I because I came to a show to enjoy the performance. A few photos, then I’m done. The performance from The Tallest Man on Earth was definitely interesting and enjoyable, and he will be coming back to London on the 9th of June, and during the performance at Bush Hall, he said, ‘You know what? Next time, I’m gonna bring the banjo! Yeah.’

So yeah, they may get the banjo over at the Tabernacle in June, but we got to meet, in a way, Matsson’s ‘lovely friend Amanda,’ a young woman who did a duet with him on stage, which was quite a treat unless you were a young woman in the audience (or man, for that matter, like the guy who yelled out earlier) who was smitten with The Tallest Man on Earth. Heartbreak rippled through the crowd, as Matsson and Lovely Friend Amanda squeezed close to a lone microphone, or at least so it went in my imagination. Still, it was quite a performance, with a stunning final song that may be from his new album, which is something definitely to be excited about.

- quitepeculiar

Bear In Heaven @ Will’s Pub Orlando March 13 2010 [UPDATED]

Sorry for the delay on this one. Without further ado, the original post and your download links. Please enjoy!

Unlike my friend quitepeculiar, I am not big on giving “live reviews,” but I must say Bear In Heaven‘s performance last night at Will’s Pub was shockingly good. If you know me, then you probably know that Beast Rest Forth Mouth was one of my top records of 2009. Despite my usualy giving the benefit of the doubt for first time seeing bands perform, I typically don’t expect much and am not disappointed when that’s what I get. I love being wrong about this! The sound was brilliant and clear, and the band gave an energetic performance of nine of the ten tracks from the above mentioned sophomore record. They also had fun and managed to keep us entertained with some good humor even during some technical difficulty with a guitar, and all this when apparently one of the members had come down with food poisoning.

Luckily for you, I make up for my lack of a proper review with something (I claim is) even better! A recording of the whole show.

Note: The vocals are a bit muffled during first song, keep listening though. After this minor setback the sound quality is fantastic (sample included below).

Entire set [mp3]

Entire set [FLAC] [via etree torrent]

Sample mp3: Bear In Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers (March 13 2010)

Info / Setlist:

Bear In Heaven
March 13, 2010
Will’s Pub
Orlando, FL
Source: Core Sound Binaurals > Battery Box > Nomad Jukebox 3
Transfer: NJB3 > USB > PC > Sony Soundforge 7.0a
Edit: Sony Soundforge 7.0a (Master/Splitting) > FLAC 1.2.1 > Tag & Rename
01) Beast in Peace
02) Ultimate Satisfaction
03) Wholehearted Mess
04) Fake Out
05) Dust Cloud
06) Lovesick Teenagers
07) Drug a Wheel
08) You Do You
09) Casual Goodbye

- breathmint

Local Motive: Lauren Carder And The Multiple Me

This is the first edition of Local Motive, where I will showcase some local artists who rock. I am hoping I will be able to keep this theme at least semi-regular so if you have any Orlando and/or Florida artists who you think I should know about, please drop me a line.

This first installment focuses on Lauren Carder, whose new EP Lauren Carder And The Multiple Me was recently self released. I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren a few years back in my social circle. Unfortunately, despite having maintained casual acquaintance and knowing about her various music projects over the years, I’ve never had the chance to check any of them out – until recently. I purchased the cd for $5 and it’s definitely worth every penny. I’d describe this EP’s sound as a slightly psyched out “Laura Marling “-esque vibe with a folksy grounding and lots of nice guitar effects, some beautiful vocal layering (her voice is fantastic), and a more positive / self confident tone (or perhaps just lacking the sense of “emergency”) when compared with what you find on the aforementioned london songstress’ debut Alas, I Cannot Swim. Instead Ms. Carder spends just under twenty five minutes (over five tracks) exploring the complex landscapes of all the different directions in which we tend to pull ourselves internally (yes, the “multiple me” concept literally at work). I expect to see Lauren go good places real soon! Check out Courage of an Open Heart below, and or stream the whole EP over at her VIRB.

Lauren Carder & The Multiple Me – Courage Of An Open Heart

- breathmint

so(fuckingspe)cial

So apparently there’s this thing called social networking, and all the kids are doing it. I am pretty sure it’s all just the next .com bubble in the works. In the meantime…

Follow us on Twitter.                             Become a fan on Facebook.

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“Hail Satan.”

– john darnielle

- breathmint

Frightened Rabbit at Camden’s Koko (aka Will the Bar Staff Please Stop Giving These People Next To Me Alcohol?)

I went to go see Frightened Rabbit at Koko in Camden Town, and I was quite excited. However, this excitement was a bit dampened as the night wore on, and I shall explain in this little tale I shall tell.

First, may I say how puzzling it was to be forced to check my camera at the coat check and pay £2 to do so when I later saw loads of people running around and clicking away with their little pocket cams?

This was my first visit to Koko, and the interior of the space is lovely. Originally opened as the Camden Theatre and subject to a number of name changes since, the space has featured such famous names as Charlie Chaplin, The Sex Pistols and Madonna. It was a lovely space, but I was told by two separate people to get there early and to get a good spot in order to ensure I could see the stage. After paying over £4 for a lager (that I subsequently nursed through the two opening bands), I had a look around and plotted. After going to one part of the club only to find that the intended perch was roped off, I retreated back near the main bar area and planted myself against the railing with a good view of the stage, although a bit far, so I couldn’t see the finer details of things, which is just as well.

The first opening band was from Iceland, and I can’t remember their name, which again may be just as well. They began to play, and they were quite enthusiastic but… something seemed a bit amiss to me. It wasn’t their bassoon player, which is an instrument one doesn’t see very often at shows. After the fourth or fifth song, I realised: These guys remind me of Dave Matthews Band. Seriously, it was that type of earnest-but-really-bland music that seemed really out of place.

Upon this realisation, I started amusing myself in counting how many plaid shirts/dresses I could find in the audience. Because of where I was, I had a good view of everyone in the pit before the stage, as well as in the layer of Koko that was the entrance level. The highest number I got was 14.

The next opening band, Airship, was a bit better, thankfully. They were all right, despite looking a bit too hip. The music was actually pretty good, but the boys at the instruments all looked slightly a bit too pretty, like they all were variations of the typical skinny indie boy one could find in a number of metropolitan areas. Still, that being said, their set was pretty good.

During their set, the couple next to me were beginning to progress into hooliganism, with periodic heckles and drunken hoots. After the Airship set, especially during the long setting-up process for Frightened Rabbit’s sound check, the two were beginning to be a bit unruly. And god, that woman’s laugh was easily in the Top 20 Most Annoying Laughs in London. She sounded like she had some high-pitched evil anime laugh going on. “Oh-ho-ho-ho!”

Right, so Frightened Rabbit came on, amid cheers and hoots and shouts and whistles. If you want set lists, I’m not the person for you, because I wasn’t taking notes, and I was periodically distracted by wishing physical harm upon the couple next to me. Actually, it turned out I wasn’t the only one, because after about three songs I think an irate man gave the both of them a bit of a talking-to, and the next thing I knew, they left the spot next to me for some other place far away.

I will tell you that Frightened Rabbit seem to be a band to see in a more intimate setting. Before moving to London, I had found out that they were playing at The Social in Orlando, an area probably a third the size of Koko, and that just seems right. They produce a type of intimate, heart-yanking music that is just difficult to expand into a large performance. At one point in the evening, Scott Hutchison, the lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, attempted to sing to the audience without the aid of a microphone or amp for his guitar, and despite the shushings from the audience, he was sadly inaudible, and he eventually said, “Aw, fuck it,” and went back to the mic.

Someone else on Last.fm commented that the show was disappointing, but I don’t think I was disappointed with Frightened Rabbit’s performance. I just think a number of factors aggravated what was otherwise a good show. Some of them were very personal for me, such as having to surrender my camera, dealing with the couple that was next to me for a good while and the fact I’m a cheap bastard who will complain about £4 lager. But there were other things, like the sound quality wasn’t very clear for any of the bands playing that night. And did anyone else see those women to the side of the stage? Were they Frightened Rabbit groupies? Frightened Rabbit has groupies? Frightened Rabbit has somewhat skeezy groupies?

Hmm.

All in all, though it wasn’t an ideal show, it was still a good show. Although they didn’t play one or two of my favourite songs of theirs, I still gasped in excitement a few times upon hearing the opening notes to other songs, such as “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” off their new album,The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, or “The Twist” off The Midnight Organ Fight. So, in the end, I was fairly satisfied at the end of the night as I stood in the queue to pick up my verboten camera and my coat and picked up a copy of The Winter of Mixed Drinks.

It was cold as I waited for the 29 at Mornington Crescent Station to whisk me off through the earlier part of a late night. Once Unknown Pleasures finished on my iPod, I set it to play Sing The Greys to get an extra Frightened Rabbit fix for the evening.

Frightened Rabbit

- quitepeculiar

RIP Mark Linkous

RIP Mark Linkous (of Sparklehorse) [196X-2010]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/UjsUZRs770U" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

- breathmint

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

After a break of over three years, we recently saw the release of Joanna Newsom’s latest record, Have One On Me. This is a triple CD, each consisting of six songs for a total of 18 tracks spanning over 2 hours. If you saw my The Best Albums of 2000~2009 post, then you know that The Milk-Eyed Mender is amongst my favorite records of the last decade (I also loved Ys). I was so excited after hearing this I felt the need to write and tell you all how wonderful it is! While maintaining her signature style, Joanna takes on a more soulful tone here. I read an interview with Joanna where she was asked about her influences. She went on to describe some hippy harp circles where she learned about west African rhythms, etc. as well as various types of world/folk music. The few pop references she provided included Donovan, Dylan, and Billie Holiday – but I tend to hear a bit of Joni Mitchell (one of my all time favorites) and perhaps even Janis Joplin in this record. I can’t wait to listen to this more and form a more concrete opinion, but I think I can already conclude this will be amongst my favorites this year. Buy it here.

Joanna Newsom – ’81

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me

- breathmint

2010 so far

If 2009 started off hard and heavy with a series of awesome records (for the record: yes it did), “2010 so far” is a bit underwhelming for me personally. That isn’t to say there aren’t a few solid records now which have made my regular rotation.

The Knife – Tomorrow, In A Year. Leave it to The Knife to not disappoint! I didn’t know what to expect when I heard (over a year ago) that their next project was to accompany an opera about Charles Darwin (that was being produced by a Danish experimental theatre group), but I expected to be pleased. Having under a dozen listens under my belt it’s difficult to try and write anything resembling a proper review of this, because it’s actually quite layered and complex. I may or may not attempt something like that later, but for now I can say for sure – I love this and highly recommend you check it out! It is definitely the most unique record I have heard in I can’t say how long! Buy it here.

The Knife – Minerals

Eels – Endtimes is the last record (so far) I have found this year which immediately drew me in. It documents Mark Everett’s (he IS Eels) 2005 divorce with his wife and the feelings which ensued. It’s some heavy stuff, definitely not something you should expect to throw on at work to quickly pass the time while coding. This is definitely a highly recommended record, though. Check it out now [full album stream on myspace], or buy it here.

Eels – A Line In The Dirt

Beach House – Teen Dream. I don’t have a ton to say about this record, except that I am appreciating it more than their previous work, and it seems to be continually growing on me with each lesson. More later? Buy it here.

Beach House – Used To Be

Four TetThere Is Love In You is filled with dreamy reverberated percussive samplings, warm and hypnotic synth hooks, and a nice selection of processed vocals which serve both to tie together the nine tracks and add a layer of emotions to what might otherwise be complete abstraction. This isn’t strictly dance music but there are definitely elements of that, with some intermingled segments of house tempo 4/4 showing up on tracks like ‘This Unfolds’ while others such as ‘Plastic People’ pretty much operating exclusively in that vein. Recommended – buy it here.

Four Tet – Circling

Yeti Lane‘s self titled debut is an example of why I am paying (slightly) closer attention lately to European bands (they’re French!) lately. It’s Beatles-esque psychedelia with a good dose of what apparently is my favorite (its taken me years to realize this) genre: newgaze (or nu gaze). That’s “new” (post-2000?) shoegaze. I recently thought of this term and after googling it was disheartened to find someone had already thought of it and in fact started a last.fm group dedicated to the idea (and here I thought I was so clever). In any case, check them out if you like that sort of thing buy it here). And by the way, don’t mistake my having placed “nu gaze” just after mentioning these guys are European as some sort of intended statement. Mosts of the groups emerging in this genre are coming out of the US.

Other stuff I’m enjoying (but not obsessing over):

Get Well SoonVexations. These guys seriously wowed me with their first record Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon so I had very high expectations/hopes for this one. Although it hasn’t quite lived up to them, this is a solid record and I recommend it to fans of their earlier stuff.

EfterklangMagic Chairs. I have heard good things about these guys before, but this was my introduction to their music, and I dig. Looking forward to checking out (what has been described as quite varied) back catalog soon.

Good ShoesNo Hope, No Future. Maybe the only upbeat(ish) record so far of 2010 I have found/dug. Did I miss out on some mutual agreement that everyone else was going to release slow and quiet records from now on? I hope not, and after hearing Good Shoes I’m optimistic someone will be rocking out real soon (Snowden, I’m looking your way).

Then there’s the stuff I’m not really digging.

Everyone is going on about Yeasayer. I am a naysayer. I dislike the dude’s voice, and for me that’s easily enough to kill it. Hot Chip’s latest One Life Stand is just as disappointing as Made In The Dark (which I insist should have stayed in the dark – OH SNAP). These guys are a bit of a mystery to me having shown such weak efforts after 2006’s The Warning which is, to put it quite simply, amazing. I hope they get it together soon.  Vampire Weekend – Contra. Meh. A multitude of other recommendations have come my way and been dismissed as mediocre at best. If anyone has a tip, I’d love to hear from you.

–more quite soon–

- breathmint

definitely this is the wrong place to be

Over the last few years I have accumulated growing numbers of friends, family, colleagues, etc. asking me for music recommendations, turning to me for news/updates on artists, etc. Nearly independently I feel the need to talk about the music and bands I am listening to, loving, and perhaps not digging so much.

I have done this in a few different places. Primarily it’s carried on through personal conversations, instant messaging, text messaging, email, etc. I have also used a few different blogs to write about music. I started with myspace which I quickly found to be lacking and inefficient. Then there was mog, which I actually liked quite a bit. However, they have undergone several site updates which have rendered it into something like “everything else.” I like the idea of having complete control over my content and format, and after finding wordpress a while back I set up “Good News” as part of my Snowden fan site snowdenology. It was mainly intended to serve as a “snowden blog” but I found myself starting to include entries for recent mixes, “best of lists”, etc. Right about this time I was talking to a friend over at Tasty Fever! who suggested having a separate blog just for music writing. She’s going to be our London correspondent here too – more on that later.

So that’s how I got here at cyanidebreathmint.net‘s first post. Would you believe the first post on my new music blog doesn’t even have any music mentioned it? Don’t fret! That’s why today I have for you, 2010 So Far AND [bonus beats] Have One On Me.

In closing, I share with you lyrics from this blog’s name sake.

There’s nothing to tell you, there’s nothing to sell you.”     (complete lyrics available on whiskeyclone)

We’re going to try anyway. Speaking of which, I changed my mind (about the no music in this post thing). The song is from the amazing album One Foot In The Grave, which you can and very much should buy here.

Beck – Cyanide Breath Mint

namaste,

cyanide breathmint

- breathmint