Weekly Dig 9/6 – 9/12

Foals – What Went Down

Foals-what-went-down Foals have stated that in recording What Went Down they were trying to capture the more aggressive, brasher sound of their live show, and immediately, as you’re listening to the title track it’s clear that that is exactly what they’ve accomplished. I’ve enjoyed past Foals’ albums, but to me it felt that they were missing a little something something. Apparently the extra intensity and heaviness on What Went Down is that something that I was looking for.

It’s not as though the whole album is as aggressive as the self titled opener. In fact it mostly just carries through to just the second track “Mountain At My Gates” and after that we’re treated to a more standard Foals sound. “Albatross” is such a song, it toys with you and builds and builds but never reaches a true climax. The last two tracks also stand out ended the album in a sort of intriguing melancholy. This is a worthy addition to Foals discography and will be getting some play from me for the next little while.

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Weekly Dig 3/31-4/6

Django Reinhardt – Sultan of Swing

Sultan of SwingI’m going old school for this dig. Django Reinhardt is a Jazz/Swing guitarist who had his hay day back in the 30’s and 40’s. When he was 18 he was caught in a fire and had severe burns all over his body. That accident paralyzed two of his fingers on his left hand, and forced him to re-learn how to play the guitar after his recovery. The amount of guitar playing he was able to re-learn is downright incredible. With his half of a left hand he still managed to become quite the accomplished musician. Spotify has tons of best of collections of Django and his quintet, and it makes for some great easy listening.  The two most prominent members of the quintet are Django on the guitar, and Stephane Grappelli on the violin, so expect them to take most of the solos. I’ve only been able to listen to a small fraction of what they have on Spotify, it’s a disgustingly large amount of music, but it makes me appreciate Spotify even more. Where else are you going to find an endless collection of old timey jazz music?


Time to get excited

Back on  Friday Sigur Rós released some solid info about their upcoming album Kveikur. Not only did they tell us that Kveikur will be released on June 16, but they also released an EP entitled Brennisteinn and a music video to go along with the title track. So if you haven’t heard “Brennisteinn,” or seen the music video to it, here ya go.

So there is a definite new direction Sigur Rós is headed with this song, and that direction is 180 degrees from their last album Valtari. Instead of the very relaxing and borderline ambient stuff we heard, our ears are now blasted with a dark, intense, industrial influenced tune. Sigur Rós hasn’t been dark or brooding since their debut album Von, especially “Sigur Rós,” which is downright frightening at times. So I’m excited to see just how “Brennisteinn” feels in context of the new album. Is the whole album going to be a venture on the dark side? If not, how is Kveikur going to balance out? Only time will tell, so until then we’ll just have to listen to “Brennisteinn” a few dozen more times.


Weekly Dig 3/17 – 3/23

ДахаБраха (DakhaBrakha)- Ягудки

Ягудки

DakhaBrakha is a folk group from Ukraine. I discovered them courtesy of LaBlogtheque and one of their take away shows. They contemporary Ukrainian folk music, and if that gives you as much of an idea of their sound as me, just picture a drum circle with one of the ladies playing the cello. Then on top of the drums and the cello add the occasional chant, some hollering, a yelp here and there and that’s about it. I’m pretty sure they sing in Ukrainian although I really don’t know how to tell, it could just as easily be Russian, or some other Eastern-European language. It kind of reminds me of Native American music. It’s definitely got a bit of a tribal feel to it, and I find it just to be a lot of fun. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it wouldn’t hurt you to expand your horizons a bit. If you are interested in checking them out. The only place outside of youtube I’ve been able to score a listen is on last.fm where they have quite a few songs you can download for free.


Weekly Dig 3/3 – 3/9

Buke & Gase – General Dome

General DomeYou might think this band bears a strange name, well you’re right, but when you learn that this group treats your ears to a couple of hand made instruments, the baritone ukulele (buke) and the guitar-bass hybrid (gase) the name makes some sense. Buke & Gase uses those instruments to create an experimental, folky-indie kind of sound with a very syncopated style fueled by a very prominent kick drum. “Houdini Crush” opens the album up perfectly giving you a taste of what to expect and then “Hiccup” follows that up marching to a steady beat. That one, two punch is some great fun and General Dome keeps the fun times rolling. It’s not always pretty, especially when this duo comes dangerously close to a post-punk/grunge kind of sound. They quickly show you they are not afraid of experimenting, and why should they be? They created their own instruments, and then they didn’t rely on their homemade instruments as a gimmick, but backed them up with  some really well crafted and interesting songs. Go give them a listen.


Menomena @ The Urban Lounge 3/2/13

So it’s been a few months since I’ve been to a concert. I finally got to fix that and saw Menomena Saturday night. The show was at The Urban Lounge so it was that small show setting that is the just the best for concerts. Guards was the opening band, and they were pretty much all you can want out of an opener. They played some upbeat indie rock. I wasn’t really digging the first couple of songs they played. I’m not sure if was me just not quite being in concert mode yet or the songs being not that good. It was probably the former, although I do remember being a little disappointed by these guys. When they were setting up they had four mics for their five member band. I saw this and got my hopes up to hear some nice harmonies, especially a female male combo between the keyboardist and guitarist, but those backup mics didn’t give much besides some ooh’s and echoing the lead singer. I got over my unwarranted expectations pretty quickly when Guards broke things down for a bit and just jammed. They did some fun things dynamically building into a loud ruckus and then bringing things down really soft only to build it up again. Before you know it Guards wrapped things up leaving the Lounge energized and ready for the main event.

Menomena opened their set in the same fashion as the last time I saw them, a.k.a. the pure awesomeness that is “Strongest Man in the World.” If your not familiar with Menomena let me explain something. They were formerly a trio of Justin Harris on the bass, saxaphone, foot synthesizer, and sometimes the guitar; Brent Knopf on the keyboard and guitar; and Danny Seim on the drums, and they all took turns singing on different songs and adding harmonies. Now they are just a duo of Justin and Danny, but on tour they pick up a couple buddy’s to fill in on the keyboard and guitar. So there is a keyboardist and a guitarist, they’re there, but we really don’t care about what they’re doing. Okay, I know there were some poorly constructed sentences in there, but hopefully it wasn’t too confusing. “Strongest Man in the World,” fantastic opener. That song is great because it lets Danny pound away on his drum set. The dude is a monster on the drums, the dude is a monster in general ( a.k.a. he’s really, really tall.) It’s kind of hard to explain why he’s so good at the drums. He plays on a fairly simple kit, only one cymbal besides the hi-hat, but he spices it up with some little things here and there. On some songs he wore a bracelet with a bunch of bells on it, for another he replaced on of his drum sticks with a shaker, but mostly he just plain rocks. Then you have Justin center stage rocking on his bass, and when he’s not playing that bass he still manages to make the whole lounge rumble with that foot synthesizer of his. Literally rumble, soo much rumbling that I had to constantly scratch my nose, and forced a sneeze out of a few people, but it was soo awesome that it overcame the annoyingness of an itchy nose. Then, on top of that he would occasionally bust out that saxophone which is just a lot of fun.

They played quite a few songs off of their new album Moms which was great, because it’s starting to win the fight to become my favorite album by them. “Don’t mess with Latexas” was a real highlight for me. It translated live much better than I was expecting it too, not that I was expecting it to be bad live, it was just especially good. All the songs they played were great, but some others I thought were especially good were “Heavy is as Heavy Does,” and “Plumage,” also from Moms, “Five Little Rooms” and “Pelican.” This was the last show of their tour so if you didn’t catch them on this round, I highly recommend catching them when they come through your town next.