The Ani Joon Review: Taylor Swift hits 2014 with a 1989 Banger (Video Review)
Rainy Dawg Radio’s resident vlogger reviews TSwizzle’s newest album: 1989. Check it out above ^^^
hi fellow dawgs. if you’re like me, these past two weeks of midterms have been a struggle… and it’s not over yet. if you need to just vibe out and get a good music high, here’s a quick playlist to decompress between the hours of studying that lie ahead.
Wet – Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl
SZA – Childs Play (Chance The Rapper)
M83 – I Need You
Hippie Sabotage – Sunny
Jai Paul – BTSTU (Demo)
James Blake – Life Round Here
Chet Faker – Blush
Active Child – I’m In Your Church At Night
have a good week 🙂
I was driving through the back roads of Yosemite with my mom and after I had been playing my music for a while she said, “you really like songs that take forever to actually start.”
Well, she was right. Topographic Map, which is embedded below, is a list of some of my favorite songs that take forever to get going.
The Unicorns – Child Star
The Heligoats – Arizona
Built to Spill – Things Fall Apart
The Hotelier – An Introduction to the Album
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Share
Modest Mouse – Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset
Grandaddy – He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the One
The Notwist – Consequence
Have a Nice Life – The Big Gloom
I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine that some kind of intangible, energy-like force comes up from behind you and jolts you in a way that makes your body move uncontrollably. Before you realize it, liveliness is radiating out of your body in a way that can only be interpreted as dancing.
The energy that Otieno Terry brought onto the stage last Thursday night (the 23rd) was incomparable to any other artists I’ve seen perform. Although he’s a complete wildcard in the scheme of my music taste, he most obviously has the ability to create the kind of energy-like force I was referring to above. Although his music is a little more on the hip-hop/jazz/R&B end of the spectrum than I usually explore, I found myself captivated by the ambiance that radiated from his stage presence toward the crowd. Between his smooth yet hip-hoppy vocals and his exhilarating dance skills, he was able to get the whole crowd moving to his music in a way that very few artists have the ability to.
Each song that he performed had an individual flare to it with vibes pulling from different genres. He joked around about naming one of his songs after one of his band mates, but later got more serious when he revealed that one was about “falling in love and shit.” My personal favorite was his cover of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics), which he clearly made his own (as seen and heard in the video above).
After an amazing show, I was lucky enough to meet this one-of-a-kind artist with my main girl and fellow blawger Ani Joon (check out her vlog, The Ani Joon Review). I only had the opportunity to speak with him for a few minutes, but discovered that he is actually a really awesome dude. On top of that, he’s a local artist, originally from Central District. This isn’t his first time rocking shows in the Seattle area and his next show is coming up at The Crocodile on November 28th! Check him out next month and don’t miss this awesome opportunity to become enveloped in Otieno Terry’s awe-inspiring music and energy.
BBNG jamming out somewhere. Image ripped from google.
On Tuesday October 14th, the jazzy hip-hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD performed at Neumo’s for their first time in Seattle. Yes this date has passed. Long passed. Too many days have gone in its wake for a quick-response review. This Tuesday can no longer be looked forward to. Well, maybe I needed time to digest, catch the flu, get distracted, and figure it out. You cannot attend this show unless you have a time machine in between the washer and dryer in the basement. Neglect your laundry. Let’s use this imaginative machine to relive the experience watching three young guns approach jam-virtuosity.
Jazz is all about unspoken communication. Using instruments as vocal apparatus and notes as words and phrases. You’ve heard the concept of phrasing in music if you watched any documentaries or wielded something brass in high school. Now then, you know the insanity of a well-spoken jazz ensemble in the height of improvisation. Jack Kerouac wrote about this in the 40’s. He would dig on these all-night wild be-bop musicians covered in sweat and blood and cigarette smoke in dark and airless clubs in San Francisco or New York. Whooping and cheering at the musicians, acknowledging moments when they had it, man. The whole audience shot glances at each other and simultaneously agreed: the band’s got it.
BADBADNOTGOOD have got it. I swear. They jammed too hard, clearly testing the limits of their musicianship through crescendos in volume and tempo. Their unspoken communication was amazing and apparent during extended solo sections for the jams “Hedron,” “Triangle,” as well as a silky smooth new track called “Velvet.” Conversation was killed, we were all swept off. They clearly lost themselves and we cheered them on, losing ourselves in the process. There was a subconscious agreement in the audience that up there, flooded in the river of lights and smoke, the band had achieved some kind of clarity.
One of their last tunes seemed an experiment in dexterity. There was a section that built and rose, swelling up like all of those 64th note electronic snare clacks before the predictable bass drop, though live, this intensity is more obvious and felt than the slow turning of knob. Every player attempted to burst beyond their comfort zone of their instrument. This cacophony, growing wide with the clashing of voices, the speed of flying fingers and drumsticks, was passionate and intense. This was the lifting of a weight over their collective heads heavier than they have previously lifted.
This sounds exaggerated. But hell. I’ve seen jazz gigs and the audience often appears as though they are trapped in an elevator. My generation of 20-somethings and jazz music don’t seem to go too well together. Sure, as a musician, I love jazz. I whoop and holler. But the crowd responded to BADBADNOTGOOD’s tunes in such a spirit as a punk rock show.
I caught up with Chester, the bassist, after the show and he gave a word of advice to the modern day aspiring artist, “It is about making connections. Meeting people. Saying hello and seeing how far that hello will take you.”
Check out the band’s latest music video for “CAN’T LEAVE THE NIGHT” below:
You never know who you will meet and how they can change your life forever. I know this rings true for the trio as their cover songs of popular rap cuts (Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, Gucchi Mane, etc.) introduced them to the absurd artistry of the Odd Future world.
The band will be back. They already have a committed, youthful, following and this is a hopeful advancement in the arts. Also, good on you Seattle for giving them such a warm welcome.
Hey there. My name’s Jamie, and each week I’m going to introduce you to an album or artist you’ve (probably) never heard before. To start things off we’ll take a look at the debut, self titled album from the Bahamian musician Exuma.
Exuma began his career like many other greats of his era, playing in small clubs around Greenwich Village, but the sound he developed was entirely his own. Exuma’s music is a fantastic concoction of freak-folk, calypso, and all around instrumental furor, paired with his half singing, half groaning voice ringing out mythical and sorcerous lyrics inspired by the spiritual tradition of Obeah. In 1970 he put together a group of musicians and recorded his first album, Exuma.
While only seven tracks long, the album is so dynamic and powerful that it never feels lacking. In the opening song “Exuma, The Obeah Man”, the singer introduces himself in impressive fashion: “Exuma was my name when I lived in the stars/Exuma was a planet that once lit Mars/I’ve got the voice of many in my throat/The teeth of a frog and the tail of a goat”. The lyrics shine throughout the album and are brought alive by Exuma’s rough voice, at times verging on hysteria and at others rising softly above the music.
The second track “Dambala” is a stunningly beautiful tune, built around a simple chord progression that starts gently and slowly rises into a hectic, chanting call for the coming of Dambala, the God of the Sky and creator of all life in the Vodou tradition. The best song from the B-side has to be “You Don’t Know What’s Going On”. This gem contains perhaps my favorite verse from the album: “You can’t change the night into day/And you can’t take the milk/From the milky way./You can’t take the sun from the sky/And you can’t put the light/In Ray Charles eyes”. Once again the melody is simple but with a slightly more jovial rhythm than will be found on the rest of the album.
Exuma would continue to record and tour into the 80s, following up his debut with the excellent Exuma II in the 1970. If you have any interest in the freak folk genre or in world music, then Exuma is an absolute must. His music toes the line of being out of control like almost no one else, and the result is spectacular.
Heilman’s set sits absent while Lerche performers (Photo by Eric Sandoval)
Jesse Marchant created soundscapes right off the bat – his looping pedal catching every articulation and reverberation of his electric guitar. Slowly and softly, he approached the mic and the room quieted to the tune of Marchant’s serious smirk. The tiny room echoed with Jesse’s voice, the quitter never ceasing beneath. While his left hand fluttered, his right played effortlessly. As he blatantly switched guitars, the roomed murmured – the lights breaking through Marchant’s mess of unkempt hair and tattered instrument. His lyrics swallowed and swayed between dynamic shifts of instrumentation. On his own, Jesse’s guitar supported him beautifully as the stage shook in tandem.
He spoke to us in French, telling us how magnificent of an experience it was to play for the first time at this bar in Paris. The Montreal native grabbed his electric guitar once again and led himself to the drum set on the right of the stage. He played the two instruments in a syncopated manner, driving the rhythm forward with the bass and cymbals – his guitar building as he sang. We bobbed our heads in response the pain and passion of Marchant’s lyricism pulling us forward. Take a listen to his new album below to get a feel for this man’s heart and soul:
Calmly and carefully, he moved through his set, allowing the voice of his various instruments to shine through the darkness of his lyrics and the stage itself. Employing various techniques to repeat and reverberate his guitar, Marchant’s lyrics flew magnificently above the bass and treble. Nothing could limit the ardent performer as he tuned his guitar to the hum of his harmonica. Jesse stared intently into the audience, listening to our reactions to his humble voice.
Marchant’s set built up charmingly, lifting our heads into the air with love and acceptance. At the end of his set, Jesse spoke to us – struggling with the word “grateful” and the crowd translated in a chorus of a language I didn’t understand. They cheered in response to his beautifully fluid French. His last song was a fury of fingerpicking, exposing the expertise of this magical musician. He smiled at us between moments of intense focus and we nodded to the resounding rhythm in response.
Accented articulations flow from the opener’s instrumentations (Photo by ES)
Marchant slams on an electronic bass pedal
With a thunderous boom, the drums hit so hard my beer moved swiftly across the stage. Sondre Lerche’s voice rung out over a distorted guitar. A visceral performer, Lerche touched his telecaster delicately – his body moving in violent spouts of celebration. He danced behind his guitar and looked up occasionally to take in the screams of the fan girls (and boys) in the audience. “You wanna dance?” he yelled to joyous acclaim, the floor shaking to the beat of the drums. As our bodies swayed to the newest single, “Bad Law”, his hands moved as if he was directing a choir. He truly did as we sang along with him, clapping in tandem and smiling as we mirrored his emotions.
Sondre flipped his hair back and forth, dancing to his tunes as if he was in the audience himself. His complex chords did everything but phase him, yet they rang beautifully through the little speakers that blasted within the venue of Divan du Monde – a bar in the heart of Paris’ club district. Bassist Chris Holm echoed the choruses, allowing us to be drawn to the lyrical trance that Lerche had undoubtedly put us under.
Lerche and Holm create a syncopated symphony
With each solo, the guitar became more distorted until, after the first two songs, he took the time to introduce himself and the tour – reliving the past of his “pre-intercourse phase” to “see what the hell was going on” during that period of time. The old guitar resounded the classic Lerche, his playing in this concert building upon the past of his Faces Down and Dan in Real Life days. The riffs of his first albums rang out clearly from the classic cutaway Gibson – the drums amplifying their fever and juxtaposing today’s sound with the sound of the artist’s past. The stream below gives you a listen at the early Sondre Lerche:
His voice lower than before, Sondre’s vibratos remained powerful over the fluttering bass and flirtatious guitar. The crowd jumped in jubilation, our screams sometimes louder than the performer’s voice as we sang along to songs like “Say It All” and “No One’s Gonna Come”. He quieted us down to hear us sing with him, his voice and guitar escalating to empowering heights – rocking out with Dave Heilman on the drums until our ears had finally adjusted to the new interpretations of his oldest albums.
He spoke frequently of his past performances in Paris. At one point he referenced a bar that has since burned down – according to one audience member who seemed to know a lot about the current state of the city’s club scene. After apologizing for our loss, he entered into a reflection of those tours, his guitar fiercer than ever before. Jazzy yet incomprehensibly intense, the band played the old songs anew and the crowd relived their experiences of when they first heard Sondre’s voice – whether in the clubs of Paris’ past or in the comfort of their own homes.
Strobes blazed as blue notes blew from the speakers and the rest of the band left the stage. Sondre stepped away from the mic and he let the room carry his voice. As our singing finally faded away, he yelled over his electric guitar – the close-cut walls intensifying the performer’s unamplified melodies. “My Hands Our Shaking” came to a close, unaccompanied. Unexpectedly, Lerche began to sing “Like Lazenby” at the request of an audience member – apologizing to the sound crew in the back for not telling them he would play it before-hand.
Sondre looks longingly into the audience (Photo by ES)
To the tune of our synchronous claps, the band returned to the stage – reviving the scene’s intensity. As the drums joined in, we all realized just how coordinated the whole performance really was. “Sleep On Needles” was played in sync, Sondre’s sweat dripping from his brow. The crowd began to shout more requests than they could handle and his only response remained, “So many hits!” he exclaimed.
As he introduced the merchandise, Lerche advertised his opener and the passion in his eyes burst forward with every word. During the entire performance, Sondre remained as thoughtful of a person as he was off the stage. After the show, I got a chance to speak with him, to ask what the difference was between the recent album, PLEASE, and the rest of his repertoire. “Time,” he responded, “It was 15 years – 32, actually, depending on how you count.” He smiled.
“My style changed gradually as time went on, but also I looked at other artists and was inspired by their music. The way they sounded, there was no way that the way I was writing could sound like that. So, for PLEASE, I decided to look at other ways to design a song – with a desire to shake things up.”
He went on to say how much respect he had for Jesse Marchant and other artists as they helped him find a new way to create. This inspired creativity showed strongly as the lights lit up the stage to “Sentimentalist” – one of the tracks off of the new album. As the guitar became ever-more complicated, Sondre’s movements became more and more terse and tense – until solo breaks and bass build released enough energy to allow for him to relax.
Laughing and singing, the man dances behind the mic (Photo by ES)
As Lerche bathed in the almost-transparent light of the stage, the crowd went wild as the drums introduced songs like “Lucifer” and other hits from PLEASE. Heilman’s break beats – along with Holm’s funky rhythms – provided the powerful foundation to frontman’s lyrics, allowing us to dance to the sultry sounds that described the newfound Sondre Lerche.
He joked with his limited knowledge of French before introducing a track off of his self-titled record, “Private Caller.” To much acclaim from the audience, Lerche performed the music which he played on his last European tour – this time, Paris would be his first stop in a series of many more performances to come. As quickly as he put it down, the telecaster flew from Sondre’s shoulders – only to be replaced, once again, by the Gibson guitar.
A familiar riff rang out and “Two Way Monologue” had begun, one of the artist’s most successfully singles. Chris’ “ooh”s and “ahh”s only added to the amplifying intensity as Dave and Sondre riled us up throughout the song. At the end, Lerche taught us the chorus and made us sing a solo for him in response to the already brilliant performances that the band had just spent the last few minutes “showing off”.
Lyrics flow from a man of many words
Lerche’s old guitar marked the movements of his past (Photos by ES)
With a smile on his face, the sweat-drenched performer played one of his latest tracks, “Legends” – leading us in cheers of “Oh”s and “Whoa”s. After a brief remission to the back of the stage, Heilman returned to the stage with an overpowering “Merci Paris!” And, as the lights went up, the Bergen, Norway natives – Lerche and Holm – appeared in their rightful places.
After a track that packed us in and made the floor shift and shake, the band left Sondre on stage – standing alone and asking for one final request. We sang with him to the final song of the Dan in Real Life soundtrack (featuring Steve Carrell, Dane Cook, and guest-artist Regina Spektor), “Modern Nature”. The crowd swayed and swooned as the lights faded on the stage before us.
Despite the brutish nature of their name and their look, King Tuff were anything but at Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading Room this past Wednesday, October 22.
Front man Kyle Thomas, bassist Magic Jake and drummer Old Gary Goddard burst onto the stage with cut-off, patched up jean jackets and a positivism that permeated the entire room. For their opening song, a wall of distortion and feedback transformed into the title track of their latest album, Black Moon Spell. In the interim between the first few tracks, Thomas and Magic Jake continued a banter infused with good vibes, at one point mentioning how honored they were to be performing in Seattle, the “home of so many influential artists”.
Magic Jake and Kyle Thomas rock with attitude
The love flowed throughout the night, with all members of King Tuff beaming permanent grins at their ecstatic fans song after sloppy song. As the crowd got rowdier and the mosh pit’s circumference increased, King Tuff’s energy skyrocketed, climaxing during the supremely-catchy “Bad Thing”. Although the musicality wasn’t much to be amazed at, the constant upbeat energy and no-holds-barred attitude of its members allowed King Tuff’s performance to shine with grungey, shredding, lo-fi mastery.
Take a listen to their new album (embedded below):
(Photo credits to Alex Ostenberg)
OX4 – Ride
Crank Resolutions – Meursault
Weird Honey – Elvis Depressedly
Sleeping In – Dead Folk
Memory Pools – Foxes in Fiction
Riot Grrrls – Advance Base
David – The Radio Dept.
Montreal Rock Band Somewhere – Happyness