Posts From Category: music

Italian Band Soviet Soviet Denied Entry To The U.S., Jailed And Then Deported »

NPR:

In its statement, Soviet Soviet says that the agents’ refusal to permit the band’s entry seems to have stemmed from the fact that the agents believed that the group needed work visas to enter the U.S., because two of the venues at which Soviet Soviet was slated to perform were going to charge audiences entry fees — even though the band says that its musicians were not going to earn any money while in the U.S.

This is absolutely appalling.

Update: More bands have been denied entry in a fashion similar to what Soviet Soviet encountered.

Additionally, it appears as though Soviet Soviet were denied entry on largely economic grounds.

A Cadillac for Your Thoughts (2015 in music)

EL VY at The Independent in San Francisco.

2015 has been a genuinely fantastic year for music (both live and recorded). That’s very much a personal assessment of the year but music is an inherently personal thing. There’s been a number of albums released or that I’ve discovered that I see myself listening to for a long time to come and I’ve attended a number of shows that left a lasting impression on me (for good reasons and bad).

My wife and I saw EL VY play a beautifully rehearsed set at The Independent in front of what was, easily, the most obnoxious crowd we’ve been in (leave it to the other audience members from LA to earn that distinction). We saw our shared favorite band, The National, play a significant undersell for charity at The Troubadour in West Hollywood and we saw Sufjan Stevens perform a devastating rendition of Carrie and Lowell in downtown.

I spent the year taking deep dives in to EL VY’s Return to the Moon, Turnover’s Peripheral Vision, The Hotelier’s Home, Like No Place Is There and, strangely, Brand New’s Deja Entendu (this was spurred by their stellar performance at Coachella more than anything). Seinabo Sey and Courtney Barnett both released exceptional albums as well (they’re also both outstanding live performers).

I’m curious to see what 2016 holds for music but this year has been one of my favorite’s in recent memory.

Hypebot Hosts LA Music Tech Meetup July 23 »

Spend an evening with the bright minds and brilliant talents of LA’s music industry and technology scene. Make connections, swap ideas, and build community.

If you’re based in LA be sure to come out to the meetup and say hi!

Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift »

The New York Times has published an interesting piece on streaming music and the transition from analogue listening, CDs and other physical media. What I find most interesting is the author, Dan Brooks’, point about the effort involved in collecting music as versus now simply being able to search streaming services for available releases.

When getting into a band became as easy as typing its name into a search box, particular musical tastes lost their function as signifiers of commitment. What you listened to ceased to be a measure of how much you cared and became a mere list of what you liked.

I used to be (and suppose I still am — to some extent) a fan of heavy metal. Almost all of the bands I listened to released records through small labels or independently with small print runs for each release being the norm. At the time, half the fun was not only finding new bands but actually finding their releases so you could even listen to them. No band is all that great if everyone can listen to them and all that — exclusivity is king and all that (there was a sense of ownership or being in the know that came along with finding a new band and being able to refer fans of similar music to them).

Streaming services have eroded a lot of the excitement inherent in the old process of discovering new music. Now you can follow playlists or immediately stream just about anything anyone recommends to you (there are some notable exceptions — one of my favorite bands, Canadian punk act NoMeansNo, only has a greatest hits compilation distributed digitally). As silly as it is, I get less excited about finding new bands now and I tend to over-listen to releases I’m excited about, burn out on them and move on. As fans, we’re less invested in what we’re listening to because we didn’t make the effort to discover it and the financial investment in a physical release or digital download to really attach us to it. Sure, we are paying for music inasmuch as paying a Spotify or Beats is paying for access to music … but we’re not directly supporting artists by buying those releases, by seeing the artwork, by having to go through the tea ceremony of pulling out a vinyl record and putting it on a turntable.

We have more access to music now than we’ve ever had, but we’re much less invested in it. Maybe streaming proponents are right and streaming services will raise the money spent on music consumption in the aggregate, but I can’t help but think we’re losing something in the process. We’ve gained so much in the way of convenience and lost a lot with respect to the experience.

My record collection is no longer a lifestyle, a biography, a status. The identities that I and a generation of fellow aesthetes spent our lives fashioning are suddenly obsolete. They turned out to be mere patterns of consumption, no more resilient than the patterns of production that provoked them.

Streaming has made music distribution far easier for artists and, really, I’m not advocating against streaming or somehow going back to any one physical medium (although I do enjoy collecting vinyl). I just feel as though streaming has stripped something special out of discovering and exploring new music. I hope, sincerely, that that experience is replaced by something else (perhaps music fans will go to more shows — I try to) or maybe streaming services will evolve in a way that produces a unique experience all its own. I’m not disappointed that we’re moving past music in its traditional physical form, but I do have nostalgia for the years I spent ordering odd CDs from European metal distributors and anxiously awaiting their arrival in the mail.

Where are you going?

The Fonda Theater marquee in Hollywood.

I’ve been a fan of Godspeed You! Black Emperor since high school and finally got the chance to see them live. The band put on a devastating, energetic performance that was worth the nine or so year wait it took to see them.

Godspeed’s set began with a low, droning noise as the band took the stage, lurching in to a noisy clamor and building to the first of many crescendos. The band played through classic pieces from their discography, silhouetted against a backdrop of Efrim Munick’s rapidly shifting film footage. As the set progressed, members of the band shifted from instrument to instrument, as the sound changed and shifted with them. The performance progressed and grew with the visuals behind the band, developing in to a fully-realized performance piece rather than simply feeling like another concert.

If you get the chance to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor in the future, jump at the chance. They are easily one of the most incredible acts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live. Brilliant.

Setlist:

  1. Hope Drone
  2. Mladic
  3. Chart #3
  4. World Police and Friendly Fire
  5. Behemoth
  6. The Sad Mafioso

Turns out your kids really did love that music you played »

“The connection to parents’ music isn’t entirely surprising. Music plays a central role in child rearing, both in the songs children are taught at home and in school and in those heard more informally as part of the home environment. The songs parents choose to listen to reflect their taste, their values, their era.”

Great read via NPR. Music means a great deal to me personally and, the older I get, the more I keep going back to the music I listened to with my parents as a kid. There’s nothing quite like re-exploring old songs and albums that helped shape and guide my taste in music to where it is now.

Bombino and Hanni El Khatib at the Santa Monica Pier

The most recent entry in to the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert series featured Bombino and Hanni El Khatib performing to a packed crowd on the pier that spilled out on to the beach. The weather and setting was picturesque, though Bombino’s opening set was lackluster. I wasn’t familiar with their music but it consisted of a jangly guitar melody, bouncy drum beat and slightly varied tempos.

Hanni El Khatib put on a strong, energetic performance (though the supporting guitarist/bassist were a bit dull). The sound was muddy but not overly hampered as the band ran through covers and tracks from both of his full length albums.

Overall it was a great show, a nice crowd and a fantastic setting for a concert. (It was also sponsored by myspace — the new myspace.)

Hanni El Khatib Gets Saved In The Desert

An interesting rendition of Hanni El Khatib’s “Save Me” in the desert near Joshua Tree via NPR’s “Field Recordings” series. The performance isn’t as strong as the recorded version but it’s interesting nonetheless and translates reasonably well in an acoustic setting.

sigur rós - your »

A very compelling use of the Instagram API and a fantastic use of social media by Sigur Rós. The pairing of the music and videos doesn’t always work, but it does not have to to really make an experiment like this work — the band just needs to engage their fans and they’ve done that very well.

Dawes - Most People

A wonderful new video for one of the highlights of Dawes’ most recent album Stories Don’t End. I love videos from bands that give an insight in to live shows from both their perspective and that of their fans. The format steps away from the “video as a portrayal of a song’s subject” approach and, instead, presents what goes in to bringing that song to life for fans night in and night out.

Damien Jurado gave “Museum of Flight” off of Maraqopa a similar treatment that’s also very much worth checking out.

Blitzen Trapper - 'Ever Loved Once' »

I’m not quite sure what to make of this new track. It’s a mellow, well-written song that’s consistent with Blitzen Trapper’s past material but it doesn’t quite make the connection that their previous hits did. The production feels a bit light and monotonous but I don’t think that’s what feels off here. I’m curious to hear what the rest of the album sounds like but I’m not quite sure where to set my expectations for it.

Who the Fraggle designed this? »

Sufjan Stevens’ thoughts on Savages’ use of typography. (Don’t mind the unicorns throwing up rainbows in the background.)

He continues in another post:

Thank you, Savages, for the urgent all caps homily (to “recompose” ourselves in silence). I will never forgive your awkward italics, but I will forever sing your anthems to my children’s children.

New Arcade Fire Album Is 'Epic,' James Murphy Says »

It sounds like Arcade Fire in the way that only Arcade Fire sound like Arcade Fire, you know? It’s really fucking epic. Seriously.

It took me longer than it should have to get in to Arcade Fire but I have been absolutely hooked of late. This album should be genuinely incredible (especially given the band’s track record and Murphy’s involvement).

Maps And Music - Explore Okkervil River's New Album »

“The next album from the Austin, Texas band Okkervil River will tell the childhood tale of its lead singer and songwriter Will Sheff, a self-described awkward, nearsighted, asthmatic kid growing up the small town of Meriden, New Hampshire. The music on The Silver Gymnasium, out on September 3, is some of Okkervil River’s best …”

Cannot wait for this.