i should be sleeping, but some hours after andrew bird‘s concert at the esplanade concert hall, i’m still pretty awed by the genius of the whole performance, by how he put everything together on his own, building up his songs from scratch, loop by loop, layer upon layer. what put everything in place was the way in which he started the set with “the happy birthday song”, taking his time in fiddling around with his compact ensemble of instruments, and somehow managing to create the most beautiful sounds from the most random collisions of loops and improvisations. the charm, of course, lies in the ease with which he constructs each movement, effortlessly but with full devotion. that patiently worked intro would transit seamlessly into the old bowl of fire classic and live favorite “why?”, passionately and soulfully delivered over that familiar, haunting refrain that still rings in my head now as i attempt to get some rest. goodnight and thanks for a lovely evening, mr bird. - dan.
mp3: andrew bird – why? (live in montreal)
this version of “why?” is taken from the live in montreal album, which is available from the andrew bird webstore.
we got gusto! we are headstrong! or so goes the rallying cry of wild beasts, summoning all the cold and cagey kids onto the dimly lit streets to terrorize anything old and institutionalized. it’s a post-industrial manifesto of sorts, with a spirit kicking like a restless baby in the womb, threatening to overflow at any moment from the chilling howls of frontman hayden thorpe’s androgenous falsetto. two centuries ago, it was marx and engels who mobilized the proletarian masses by invoking the specter of communism in denouncing capitalism and its bastard child of commodity fetishism. today, its relevance still lingers even when prospect of political change looks dim, but if you’re looking for a revolution here and now, it’s probably time to stop looking at the unions and start paying some serious attention to the fetishized bodies of the kids on the street, with their filled bellies and beestung lips, with the taste of everything they’re living for in the moment dancing on their tongues. - dan.
mp3: wild beasts – we still got the taste dancin’ on our tongues
wild beasts’ two dancers is out now on domino records.
where do i begin? it makes sense to start with how the song launches itself, with a loopy metronomic trail ala stereolab. but that doesn’t quite make sense until we fit in the breathtaking strings that swell and overflow, that burst forth with such grandeur and recede with such eloquence. and yet, all that would merely be sound and fury without the layers of narrative that truly embody this amazing track. lewis is the sole creation of owen pallett, who bestows upon his subject such freedom to roam; and while lewis is fully conscious of his state as a lowly, created being, as vector, muscle and bone, his existential self pushes on in rebellious escape from his maker, forgetting all the odds stacked against him and stubbornly holding on to whatever he’s got. if the old saying of letting someone go if you truly loved them sounds a little cliched, it’s because of how devastating true and tragic it must be. for owen pallett, it could only have been through love wholly and utterly surrendered that a masterpiece like this could find the strength to take a life of its own. - dan.
mp3: owen pallett – lewis takes off his shirt
owen’s new album heartland is now out on domino. get it!
Recently, I realised that my relationships with the people closest to me is something that I have not always handled too well. Too many times, I have either taken you for granted or bothered too much; sometimes it’s both at once. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get this right, but I do know that awareness is going to be the first step towards fixing this malaise. While I get myself sorted out, the closing track from Erlend Øye‘s DJ-Kicks mix album could keep you occupied and make you understand that you have a place in my heart. - eugene.
mp3: erlend øye – a place in my heart (a capella) / morgan geist – lullaby
Erlend Øye’s DJ-Kicks is available on !K7 records.
I apologise. I’ve been holding out on you for the longest time about some of the greatest music I’ve heard in my lifetime. I almost feel as if there should be nothing else said about Oceansize, and their seminally beautiful song, “The Frame”, because that would sully the purpose of sharing songs we love. I am not the picture, now I am the frame.. – brian.
mp3: oceansize – the frame
Oceansize have just recently released their live DVD box set and new EP, Home And Minor. More info at oceansize.co.uk
a new year, a new setlist of great music from around the world, delivered to your doorstep through the music alliance pact which now 34 countries strong. in this issue, our faithful local music correspondent brian koh features veteran indie band sherene’s closet with their early sessions at the green room. recorded in the mid-90s, the green room sessions was a distinctive record of the local music scene during that era, and also captures an early glimpse of now-famous local superheroes electric co. enjoy! Continue reading
Sometimes you just need that spring in your step to help you get through your day, and this my friends, is the perfect remedy. I’m late to Empire Of The Sun, but I did not find them too unfamiliar as already being a Sleepy Jackson fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see frontman, Luke Steele living his Bowie-sque fantasies on this project. After a friend recommended a remixed version of this song – which I did not particularly like, because lets face it, Electro’s getting a tad stale – she suggested the original version. And I CANNOT stop listening to this song! There’s something about Australians and making Electro that works. Maybe it’s that slight laziness that seems to infect their songs, that somehow always bring you to the magic hours of sunrise or sunset. Whatever it is, we’re just doing it for the thrill of it, the thrill of it.. - brian.
mp3: Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
plunging into a new decade, it becomes more indiscernible what exact direction indie music is headed towards. these days, it makes more sense to speak not only of the many disparate but overlapping directions that lie ahead, but also of the degree of fragmentation we should come to expect. and fragmentation is of course double-edged, a fine balancing act caught between variety and coherence. hudson mohawke‘s butter, released last year on warp, typifies this post-modern conundrum: the album is bursting with ideas, simultaneously deconstructing and reconstructing the boundaries between hip hop, r&b, idm, funk and soul; yet, it also threatens to spill over in its creativity at the expense of a singular vision. in “ZOo00OOm” though, some form of balance is forged when the fragments of old school 8-bit melodies are held together by the ordering effects of the big beats and the futurism of the accompanying mutating glitch. the end result is far from perfect, and while it’s too early to say how the following decade is going to sound, the tangential work of hudson mo certainly signals the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. - dan.
mp3: hudson mohawke – ZOo00OOm
butter is out now on warp records.