Biscuits, Triscuits…

September 19, 2009, 5:23 pm
Filed under: music and musings

First, I’ve been seriously slacking off on this but it has to do with getting extremely ill from the first couple weeks of my new two year olds at school. But I’m ready to bring it back in action.

A child that I babysit asked me once if I had a “remembery,” when I asked him what it was he said that it was something you buy to remember things with. I find that absolutely amazing.

To beat in the unfortunate news that summer is over, I wanted to go back a couple weeks to the last pool party of the summer. It started off with the sweltering, electronic dance -rock band Vega from Austin, Texas. Their silky smooth, synth-pop complete with samples and sugar-y bleeps and even some mellow vocals harmonizing vocals was a nice way to set off the day in anticipation of Beach House and Grizzly Bear.

Photo by Kristen Felicetti

Beach House was next to hit the stage, with warm energy, Victoria Legrand’s stunning vocals, and eerie keys. Under the beating sun, with the river gleaming behind them, they turned out an extraordinary set with a lot of new songs that were really great. It was a great taste of what they’ve been working on in the studio. It was hard to see, as being vertically challenged has it’s negatives when it comes to big shows, so we moved back stage where we could still hear perfectly, but we got better glimpses of Beach House’s booties than their faces.  Either way, their set was sweet, simplistic and energetic, it felt like a little bit of their strength was lost in the air at such a wide open venue, but it was still a treat to get to see them in such a great atmosphere.

Photo by Kristen Felicetti

We decided to stay behind the stage for the rest of the show and creepily watch the bands as they gathered and hung out before their performances. Here is a shot of Grizzly Bear before they went on, just chillin’.  I had never seen Grizzly Bear before and it was really amazing. There is a humbleness to the way they grace the stage, where they are singing to us, not for us. They seem to break down the barrier of performer verses audience to where the only thing keeping everyone from being equal is the stage on which they stand. The members kept turning to all angles to be seen from even behind, which was really nice that they acknowledged that there were fans on all sides and they wanted to thank all of them.

Their desert-air, urgent vocals felt as strong as ever with Beatles-esque harmonies that didn’t even falter in the outdoor setting. They played a great mix of songs off their albums and their drums, played by that “precious moment” of a drummer, stirred the whole mix together.

Photo by Kristen Felicetti

And there he is, playing on stage for a huge crowd at the waterfront, as we sat behind them, sun setting, music wailing. It was a great end to the summer, the three bands complimented each other really well and flooded the park with melodic tunes.

Fun times, beautiful music, for both relaxing, dancing and napping.


Julianna Barwick- Florine
September 8, 2009, 10:39 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Julianna Barwick


It’s difficult to write about the intangible. I don’t fully understand how Julianna Barwick does what she is doing on Florine but it makes me feel incorporeal. Barwick is clearly one for concepts as all her songs ie: “Sunglight, Heaven”, “Cloudbank” sound very much the way their titles describe. Experimenting with space and sound through the use of electronics and mainly just her voice, Barwick creates an atmosphere of calm and the almost unreal with her spooky ambience and tribal chant vocals.  There are only six songs on this album, but they float with a warmth and an organic, uplifting feel with her soothing vocals and the echo of air and blurry noise.

Sounding like long ago prayer songs from a far away country, Florine bellows with feeling. Even without the use of many real words, the songs express themselves fully through the openness that is created with Barwick’s siren vocals. The song “Choose” is the only one with words you can  make out, but she only repeats “Any way you choose” over and over again in a really sprawling, gorgeous bellow. In many tunes, there are high pitched sounds reminiscent of running your pointer finger lightly around the edge of a wine glass, giving off the thought of a UFO or something ethereal. The unknown, the otherworldly is definitely something that is expressed in through album, and while I can’t fully see how these sounds were made, I want to, because what you hear is absolutely stunning and unhinged from what is considered “normal.”

Hot Box- Four Eyes
September 7, 2009, 6:02 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Now that Hot Box is officially broken up, I have finally found the time to review their first and I guess now only full-length. It’s a bummer when talented bands can’t continue, but the break up is not an ugly one and perhaps one day, these musicians will meet again.

Hot Box

Four Eyes

BNS Sessions

This Boston four-piece’s first full-length record carries it’s weight in unpredictability and unique-ness through all nine of it’s songs.  From dissonant, asymmetrical guitar parts to slow, ambient drones, Hot Box is constantly surprising. Two female lead singers switch off vocals from Amanda Dellevigne’s thick, Bjork-esque vibrato and quirkiness to Danielle Stolzenberg’s sweet, un-assuming lull. The best part of this story is that the two met at a neuroscience laboratory at Boston College, forming in 2007 and then joined with drummer, Eric Kogelschatz and bassist, Jon Gill.

It’s really impressive and exciting when music just continues to jump out from song to song. There’s an underlying connection in all the music with shifty guitar, popping drums and shoe-gazing lulls, but the math-rock-y solos and bittersweet vocals bring forth new elements in every song, keeping one on their toes. The opening song “Busy Busy Busy” is oh so busy, but amazingly twitchy with guitar and drums dripping blissfully beside one another. Dellevigne’s vocals have this chilling quality that are both welcoming and standoffish at the same time and it’s amazingly intriguing.  “Chainsmokers” booms and bellows through the speakers with intricate guitar and bass intertwined. Stolzenberg sings on this one in a higher tier that contrasts quite nicely with the low instrumentals.

Hot Box’s songs roll along unevenly, creating space and sound where you may not exprect it. There’s an off-kilter quality about it, from the ever-changing style of drums to the plinky indie guitar riffs, to the slowing, twinkly atmospheric quality. “Jacob” comes in with booming hollow drums and winding low guitar. The tunes is shifty and natural feeling, with Dellevigne’s shaky, poignant vocals singing “You’re gonna fall/ Paradise is all your after/ Know who to call/ Jacob come down that latter.”  There’s something exciting  about to hearing such an array of styles and volumes wrapped in one  and it actually being successful. That being said, their intuitive nature and inventiveness will certainly be missed in the Boston music scene. Hopefully, despite their disbanding, their sound will get heard, because it’s definitely worth a listen.

Woods- Songs Of Shame
September 6, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Songs Of Shame has been out for a while; I wanted to write about it before and could never get a hold of it without of course purchasing it, and well…I’m cheap and spoiled now with freebies. I’ve seen Woods a bunch around the Brooklyn scene and many people I know thought they sounded terrible in live venues. I could see how depending on the sound system, Woods could get mixed results, but I am always pretty impressed with their music because of how unique, innovative and completely basement oriented it is. The album is the cleanest I have ever heard them and it still has such a raw and humble quality to it.


Songs of Shame


The experimental feel and the ways in which Woods does play with volume and sound is mindblowing. From tape recordings to banging on strings with a drumstick, the lo-fi, haunting, organic feeling it almost doubled when you see what they are using to make all their sounds. Some songs are led by Jeremy Earl’s eerily high pitched vocals (ie: “To Clean”) and others like “September With Pete” include winding instrumental pieces that are a combo of  slightly blues and noise rock. In addition to blues/folk-y guitar, clanging pots and pan-style drums and these echo-y vocals, Woods  weird effected tunes stand out with cymbal clangs and whirs that come from tape recordings and mono headphones.

“Military Madness,” comes forth like an anthem of some sort with acoustic guitar and a soup-y blues mixture  as Earl sings as if under water, “Military madness is killing my country…” Most their songs are short and sweet, with a definite solemnity to their sound. The bass-y/tribal sounding drums and on the edge, manic guitar parts certainly cause me to crane my neck in interest. There’s nothing outwardly edge-y about Woods, they aren’t loud or scary or particularly upbeat, but the intensity with which they put out this music is beautiful, emanating a warmth and creativity that gets lost sometimes in the hype of being experimental. “Rain On” is particularly beautiful with it’s shifty guitar parts both electric and acoustic and it’s gurgly, excited feel that is kept cool with really laid back instrumentals. There is also an acoustic version of this song which is even spookier than the original, though that’s hard to imagine.

The feeling that one gets from Songs of Shame definitely is a bit shameful, slightly sorry, but in the most passive and gentle way possible. Sorry that you didn’t know about it earlier, shamed that these sounds and glimpses of homemade noise were not discovered at their start. And while it’s not an everyday rock album, it’s introverted manner is one that keeps us wanting to expand our knowledge of exactly how it is created.

Lastly, there’s this.