Monthly Archives: December 2008

Best of Live Studio ’08: Vol. 3

On this third installment in our “best of” series, DJ Maia is spinning some tracks from Alice Russell, Heloise and Savoir Faire and La Strada. Check it out here!

00:00 Best of BTR Live Studio 2008 Vol 3
02:03 Got The Hunger – Alice Russell
07:54 Two Steps – Alice Russell
11:20 Dreamer – Alice Russell
15:29 Turn And Run – Alice Russell
18:53 DJ Maia
19:53 History from Heloise
20:39 Molto – Heloise & The Savoir Faire
25:10 Members Only – Heloise & The Savoir Faire
28:24 ODYLE – Heloise & The Savoire Faire
31:38 DJ Maia
32:51 My New Home – La Strada
37:36 The Traveler – La Strada
42:03 Flying – La Strada

Alice Russell

1/29 @ Beck’s Bar – Sydney, Australia

1/30 @ Sandwiches  – Wellington, New Zealand

Heloise & The Savoir Faire

1/15 @ Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

1/22 @ Start The Bus – Bristol, UK

1/28 @ Anti-Social – Paris, France


La Strada

1/3 @ Spike Hill – Brooklyn,NY

1/10 @ Union Hall – Brooklyn, NY

1/15 @ The Middle East – Cambridge, MA

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Artist of the Week: Women

A lot of critics are both spot-on and completely wrong at the same time when it comes to our latest artist of the week, Women.  This buzzworthy band from Calgary has gotten a lot of attention from critics in the past month for their song, “Black Rice.”  The resounding word on this band from all across the board has been positive, but because of the popularity of the single song, they have been somewhat unfairly categorized.  While their sound is unmistakably lo-fi, many critics unfairly call them Brian Wilson-influenced 60s surf rock.  Critics are correct to say that Women may be the next big thing in guitar-driven indie-rock, but the above is certainly an incorrect classification, which stems from the fact that many people don’t seem to have listened to the actual album.

And it certainly is an album.  If you just listen to “Black Rice,” the parallel with 60s basement lo-fi is quite clear.  However, the track is somewhat of an anomaly on the album.  It’s one of the few songs that contain vocals, let alone any kind of obvious structure.  When it comes down to it, Women’s debut is a stunning lo-fi noise album, meant to be listened to carefully, all at once.  That’s why it seems so ironic that they have risen to music-blog fame off the merits of one single song.  And anomaly wasn’t quite the right word for the song, because nothing from this band is an anomaly.  The album’s noisy explorations were clearly conceived of as a concept, something that happens far too infrequently in these days that are ruled by the single mp3 and the remix.  This band is any music nerd’s dream.

Women’s talent is clearly enough to propel them to great heights, but there are other factors that certainly stack the cards in favor of their success.  Many of the members have previously played with Chad VanGaalen and Azeda Booth.  In fact, VanGaalen produced the debut, which he also released on his label, Flemish Eye Records.  Apparently, their recording process was quite unique.  The Flemish Eye website explains that the album was made “over 4 months on ghettoblasters and old tape machines in his basement, an outdoor culvert and a crawlspace. [The album is] sometimes light and spacious, at other times eerie and dense with an ominous weight.”  The unusual recording methods add to the mystique of the album, giving it a varied texture that is rare to hear these days.  It is frequently in this sense that the album hearkens back to the 1960s, more so than in the actual structure and sound of the music.  It also doesn’t hurt that this band hails from Canada- and not even the typical Montreal scene.  Is the Canadian West coast going to be the next indie rock powerhouse?  Only time will tell, but if Women is any indication, all signs point to yes.

Best of BTR Live Studio ’08: Vol. 2

On the second edition in our four-part series, Maia plays tracks from Tab The Band, Project Jenny Project Jan and Voyager One! Also featured is part of a great interview with PJPJ. Check it out here!

TAB The Band

1/16 @ Bill’s Bar – Boston, MA

PROJECT JENNY PROJECT JAN

VOYAGER ONE

Best of BTR Live Studio ’08: Vol. 1

DJ Maia is featuring several of our best live sessions from the past year on BTR Live Studio!  From now until the end of 2008, you can hear some of the best live tracks we’ve had the pleasure to record.  Here’s the first of four volumes- on this edition we’re featuring Theo Eastwind, The Dang-It Bobbys, Wakey! Wakey! and Culture Reject. Some of these artists have some live dates coming up, so check them out in a city near you! Listen to the show here.

THEO EASTWIND

THE DANG-IT BOBBYS

1/23 @ Bar Four – Brooklyn,NY

WAKEY!WAKEY!

1/5, 1/12, 1/19, 1/26 @ The Living Room – New York, NY

1/23 @ The Lizard Lounge – Cambridge, MA

CULTURE REJECT

Artist of the Week: The Very Best

Do you roll your eyes and cringe every time someone says, “Vampire Weekend is so cool because of their African influences?”  If so, The Very Best is for you.  The group recently released a brilliant mixtape (which you can download from their myspace for free) filled to the brim with gorgeous pop and electro remixes.  Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are the two unlikely entities that make up The Very Best.  Radioclit is two well-known British DJ’s, and Mwamwaya is from London via Malawi.  Though details of the story are a little sketchy, they met in London as one member of Radioclit bought a bicycle form Mwamwaya’s junk shop.  Mwamwaya had been making music in his native Malawi, and Radioclit saw an opportunity for an excellent collaboration.

Indie music these days flirts with world influences more than ever before.  As artists branch out to find ever more creative music, they reach their fingers around the globe to add different sounds to their songs.  Everyone from Beirut, Fleet Foxes, and most annoyingly, Vampire Weekend has either laid claim to or been described as making music in this way.  Of course, indie musicians stealing music from other cultures is nothing new, but something about the way critics have recently lauded the creeping “world-music” influences has a feeling of discomfort about it.  While it’s great that a group like Tinariwen can rise to prominence, it’s unsettling to hear Ezra Koening talk about globalization and his music in a Spin Magazine interview.  Please.

That’s why The Very Best are so important this year.  Unlike Tinariwen, they are not an international group that’s gotten the indie attention they deserve.  And they are certainly not an American indie group claiming to have international influences.  They are a multi-cultural hybrid, a true form of what so many critics are quick to applaud when it’s not actually there.  Even though Mwamwaya is from Malawi and sings in Chichewa on many tracks, he lives in London.  Radioclit are established British party djs.  Rather than reach across cultures grabbing at new ways to make music, they are from different cultures creating a very new and exciting sound.

We crave this kind of music.  And the really important thing about this mixtape is that it’s triumphant.  It’s fun and celebratory.  It’s great to listen to, and makes you feel good.  It takes our ears somewhere we haven’t been – Malawi via London.  Not the ambiguously offensive continent of “Africa,” but an actual country.  Not only does this satisfy our liberal global consciences, but it also expands our musical tastes.  This is illustrated perfectly with their remake of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” (an extremely intentional and pointed Vampire Weekend song choice, I believe).  The Very Best do a great job with this track, bringing out the vaguely “African” guitar sounds from the original and making them the joyous focal piece of the song.  This all works because Mwamwaya and Radioclit are not only authentic (whatever that means), they’re genuine.  That’s another quality that so many artists seem to lack these days.

The Very Best is an act that could critically stand alone based only on either their multicultural authenticity or their genuine joy in making music.  The combination of the two, however, make this group truly outstanding.  Listen to the mixtape, and keep your eye out for more.  You won’t regret it, in any sense.

-Madalyn

BTR Live Studio: Richard Barone

The prolific singer-songwriter, concert producer, and innovator stopped by Shelter Island Sound earlier this fall to record today’s live set. Barone is a true delight – a first rate songwriter with a wealth of experience and insight who has watched the music industry shift and evolve over the last several decades. He’s just released the Glow EP, the first in several upcoming digital releases (www.youaretheglow.com). At the end of today’s show, Barone performs the new single, Glow, featuring Steve Addabbo on guitar and background vocals.  The former Bongos frontman also recently published his novel “FRONTMAN: Surviving The Rockstar Myth” , followed with live stagings, including a special birthday show on October 1st at Zankel Hall (in Carnegie Hall) featuring a wide supporting cast of Barone’s friends and musical collaborators. I had a chance to speak with Richard Barone about bringing the novel to the stage, the changing shape of the music industry, his current projects, and the relics of New York City’s West Village. What a treat! Check out the show here!

Hello My Name Is…with Blonde Acid Cult, Phil & The Osophers and The Wavves

Blonde Acid Cult

It is simply a matter of time before you’ve heard of Blonde Acid Cult. Already featured in Anthem Magazine, Metromix and Nylon, having performed at Hiro Ballroom and soon to be performing at Webster Hall, it seems as though nothing can stand in their way. The four friends (Sonny, Michael, Phil and Damian) formed in New York City a little over a year and a half ago, though Phil is from London, Damian from Philadelphia, and the brothers, Sonny and Michael were born in Boston. Now they strut their rock and roll cockiness like they were Jet or The Vines. Their influences are clear when hearing their debut single, “Shake It Loose,” and even their name was derived from those same heroes they choose to emulate.

According to Sonny, “before the Stones recorded Exile On Main Street, Brian Jones was dating the model Anita Pallenberg. Some writer said they were like a ‘blonde acid cult.’ Simple as that. We like the way it sounded.” They take the stage this Saturday at Webster Hall and according to the prevailing Internet opinion, they’re literally  worth keeping an eye on.

Live!

12/20/08 @ The Studio at Webster Hall – New York, NY

Phil and the Osophers

Last November gave us two free RCRDLBL downloads from Phil and the Osophers. The Brooklyn group has also become a bit more familiar to indie rock fans digging their way through the Internet since they released their latest album, Toward Conquering the Invisible North, now available at Insound.com. With their charming subdued folk rock, it’s fitting that Philip R. and Kevin E. have shared the stage with groups like the Ruby Suns, Le Loup and The Dodos. Fortunately, like these groups, they’re not afraid to get experimental, even when it comes to their name.

“I forgot how i came up with the name,” Philip explained, “but I suspect it was to throw people off. All the good band names are taken, if that’s what you want to believe. You have to get creative in a way people haven’t already been.” This seems to be the groups central motive. Phil went on to say, “The name did something I wanted to, deconstruct a concept and rebuild it differently.” Mission accomplished.

12/20/08 @ Hemlock Tavern – San Francisco, CA

Wavves

The low quality recording styles that Nathan Williams uses only makes the sound of Wavves that much better. Wavves is one of those tweak-rock groups that are becoming more and more of a common occurrence. It’s the sort of No Age, Times New Viking, Famous Class holistic art-kid aesthetic. It’s folk-art, it’s crunchy kids music and it’s that creepy little something serious that can’t quite be described. Listen to the song “Wavves” and you may begin to realize why Williams has received press from groups like Pitchfork, Stereogum, RCRD LBL, Fader, NMW, Gorilla vs. Bear and Exclaim. So what’s with the second ‘v?’

“I grew up primarily in Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, and San Diego,” Williams revealed, “So I’ve never really been more than twenty minutes away from the beach in my life. ‘Waves’ was an idea from a friend of mine and then I added a ‘v’ because when capitalized the word kind of looks like waves themselves.” How delightful.