Friday, March 30, 2012

Coachella Preview - The Head And The Heart

I left my book in the car, because I had taken it to jury duty. So as I prepared for my evening reading I asked my husband where the latest "Rolling Stone" was. He scoffed at the cover and sneered, "You gonna read about Bruce Springsteen?"

I feel sorry for him, never having experienced the awe and genius that is Bruce Springsteen. But I digress. No, in fact, I was too tired to read an entire article that night. I just wanted to read the blurbs.

It was the following night that I read the entire interview that Jon Stewart did for the magazine. Wow. So much eloquence coming from that guy's head. But wait, you are asking. Is Bruce Springsteen at Coachella this year? Stop - don't go google it. He's not. But I thought back to something he said in the article as I was listening to the self-titled album from The Head And The Heart. Who will be playing at Coachella.

To paraphrase, Springsteen said that the "who" that we are at any given moment is like a car we are driving. Lots of people get in, but no one ever gets out.

Click to play The Head and The Heart - Ghosts

Is it any wonder why we all leave home?
People say, "I knew you when you were six years old!"
And you say, "But I've changed, I've changed, I've changed."
Mom and Dad, if only you could see me now
Been here for a year and now I own this town
Cause I've changed, I've changed, I've changed, I've changed.

Springsteen says otherwise. That six year old is still in the car with you. Every person you've been and every experience you've had, they're still in the car with you baby.

Check back to last summer, when Film Bird first introduced you to this band. If you didn't buy their album then, don't you think it's about time? We will be checking them out at Coachella on Saturday of the festival weekend.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coachella Preview - honeyhoney

“In a brave new world where vintage American has helped the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers achieve headliner status, Los Angeles duo honeyhoney ought to be rising stars.” – Buzz Bands LA
“…the common pop thread between alt. country, spaghetti western soundtracks and swampy blues.” – Paste
“…honeyhoney deftly mixes elements of folk, soul, country, pop, and rock…” – Glide
 “The foot stomping/sing-a-long/folk/blues/country anthems have the power and confidence of an entire band, in a cute lady/dude duo.” –

Did you watch the video above? It's a little intro to today's blog post. Go ahead. Watch it. We'll wait...

Suzanne Santosuosso and guitarist Benjamin Jaffe are honeyhoney, and I love them. I love them as people as well as artists. They seem down to earth and have a great chemistry in front of the camera and with each other. They are also pretty saavy, using social media to get the word out about who they are and what they sound like and to engage with their fans. They have a great YouTube channel, which is one of the places I like to go to learn about a band. You'll find music videos, live performances, and silly outtakes!

The latest album by honeyhoney, Billy Jack, is an amazing record. The foot stomping/sing-a-long/folk/blues/country anthems have the power and confidence of an entire band in a cute lady/dude duo.

Honeyhoney - Ohio

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coachella Preview - AWOLNATION

I've been pleasantly surprised by two albums in the last year, and these albums hold up every time I play them. Blink 182's Neighborhoods is such a vital album with Energizer Bunny energy, and AWOLNATION's Megalithic Symphony is like a steam engine. Here we go, can't stop.

Formed and fronted by Aaron Bruno, AWOLNATION is electro-rock that gets recorded as soon as it's conceived, without a lot of thought or explanation. And it feels fucking good. Their debut album was released a year ago after the first single, "Sail", opened at #30 on Billboard.

I have so many favorite tracks on this album. And I've never had the chance to enjoy them publicly. As in, shared with others simultaneously. And that's a shame, because Track 5, "Jump On My Shoulders", really calls for you to pull those earbuds out and rally those around you.

Click to play AWOLNATION - Jump On My Shoulders

But it doesn't stop there. Track 6 keeps the momentum. Figuratively, people! Figuratively!
I would not like to burn down any buildings, that's not my place. There is enough of that going on, or at least metaphorically...
Bruno tells

Click to play AWOLNATION - Burn It Down

Is it wrong to hope for rain ONLY for this band's set? Because jamming like crazy with other hippies in the mud does not sound terrible. OK, I take it back. Check out their latest video. And GET THIS ALBUM, SERIOUSLY!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Coachella Preview - Radiohead

I keep forgetting that Radiohead is playing Saturday night at  Coachella. There are so many amazing bands at this year's event, that I just blank out on the main reason I am going to the show. I blame it on amazing line-up overload!

Radiohead is one of those bands that I thought had become too big for me to ever see. It's difficult for me to pay a giant ticket price to see 3 bands at a stadium, no matter how epic they are. I skipped seeing the Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch The Throne tour because I wouldn't pay those ridiculous prices to be up close, nor would I pay-up for a "still pricey" balcony seat. Wrapped up in a very pricey 3-day festival affair is something where the math adds up for me, as long as you don't add in the costs for cortisone shots in your heel after the foot damage you will do after three days on your feet.

Radiohead might be one fo the most reviewed and analyzed bands in the last 10 years. I can give you a perspective on In Rainbows and Limbs, based on an experience I just had yesterday, that no other reviewer has ever given you. It's a dentist's best friend.

Say what?

I haven't been to a dentist in at least 10 years. After a quick check, the cleaning was going to be extensive. Four shots of anesthesia into my upper left quadrant. That's the only part of my mouth they could get to that day. One and half hours of serious scraping just under the gum line. I have a high pain threshold, but the duration was going to be taxing as I tensed my way through it. My hygienist was working out of a spot right next to the chatty front desk of the busy office. She apologized for all the noise as she was getting ready to numb my mouth for the injections. I decided to ask her if it was ever acceptable for someone just to put in their headphones and listen to music when the cleaning took place. Her reply was literally music to my ears! Of course! Drown it out buddy, it's not a problem at all!

Knowing that I had this post half-way done, I quickly queued up the last two albums of Radiohead, and  barely felt the needles piercing my gums while being completely distracted by Thom Yorke speaking directly into my head: "Full of holes / Check for pulse / Blink your eyes / One for yes / Two for no."

Click to listen to Radiohead - Bodysnatchers

Staring into a bright light and trying to figure out if the scraping was in the songs I was hearing or the stainless steel hook ripping the tartar off my enamel was maybe the most twisted music experience I have ever had.

Click to listen to Radiohead - Feral

I've been peeping out pictures of Radiohead's current tour set, and it looks amazing. It's going to be a multimedia mashup of a night.

After checking out some amazing fan photos from the band's previous dates, I wanted to get an idea of what songs I might expect to hear at Coachella. If you don't know, is the best place to get that kind of scoop. Here was the set from the Glendale, AZ show on March 15.

15 Step
Little by Little
The Gloaming
Morning Mr. Magpie
Pyramid Song
The Daily Mail
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box
Lotus Flower
There There

How to Disappear Completely
Kid A

Encore 2:
Give Up the Ghost
Paranoid Android

Whoa! "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" hasn't been played on a tour since 2001, so that's exciting to know! It is my favorite song off all 8 albums.

This is a remix, but I think you will like it:

*All the pictures in this post were taken from W.A.S.T.E. Central

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coachella Preview - Hiatuses End Here!

Hiatus, WHAT! If you slept on this year's Coachella, despite there being TWO weekends to choose from, I don't understand what you were thinking. This is the hiatus ender. This is the year. Take note:

The Shins end a 5-year touring hiatus this year AND deliver a new album. Mazzy Star has been on hiatus since about 1998! Also not together since 1998, the band Refused. Brit band Pulp split in 2002 and will be on stage to entertain at Coachella...
And saving the best for last... At The Drive-In has reunited and will be performing at the festival.

So when someone asks who you're going to see at Coachella... Or why you're sad you're missing it- it's the year of the reunions.

Click to play The Shins - Pink Bullets

We begin with an all-time favorite by The Shins, from 2003's Chutes Too Narrow. I definitely hadn't heard of the Shins in '03, but it was this album that started popping up in coffeehouses around me in '06. Zach Braff definitely heard of them. They had a song on Scrubs early in the decade and then he used them for the "Garden State" soundtrack. So one way or another, including a Gilmore Girls soundtrack appearance, I should have... I just didn't. Four albums, three EPs, and a five year hiatus followed. This week, Port of Morrow dropped with an absolutely lovely collection of tracks. The Shins is pretty much a revised band, too, but it doesn't matter. This album is as much a pleasant collection of tunes as every other James Mercer-crafted record.

Oh my Mazzy Star(s). Mazzy Star! If you don't think you know them, you're too young to realize the name of the band but you have heard at least one of their songs at least forty-one times. The duo of Hope Sandoval and David Roback released a double A-sided record in October and will release a full-length album on their own label later this year. I'd love to share a deeper Mazzy Star cut with you, but just in case you aren't placing them... here you go.

Click to play Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Performing punk music just this side of Anarchy and hailing from Sweden, Refused threatened to take over punk rock in the 90's but I imagine the world just wasn't ready. They broke up in 1998 and in 2006 the band's guitarist directed a documentary about the band's last year together, called Refused Are Fucking Dead.
Regarding the reunion at Coachella, the band says
It's been a motley 14 years since our band came apart. We've all kept busy in our respective endeavors but we've all remained friends and kept in touch. There have been offers, and lots of jokes about these offers. We've sort of looked down from our high horses and made fun of people who've just wanted to share the psychopathic intensity that we would deliver on a nightly basis in our post-pubescent prime. A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do.

We never did "The shape of punk to come" justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there's this possibility to do it like it was intended. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes. We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual.

The world pretty much heard about both Refused and At The Drive-In playing Coachella 2012 at the same time back in January this year. Playing South By? No. Playing Warped Tour? No. Playing Sasquatch (LOL)? That's a negatory. Playing mah-fah Coachella. Because that's where it is AT this year, kids. That's where it is AT!

Also from another country, and also having spent the last decade on hiatus is the band Pulp. Their reunion was announced in 2010 and they've played multiple dates in Europe throughout 2011, but they still count for this list. They've not been to the States yet. And they'll be here in a little less than a month. They're kind of weird. But you're kind of into that.

As for At-The-Drive-In, their decision to accept gigs at Coachella, Reading & Leeds, Japan's Fuji Rock and the like was pretty much just all about money. According to Omar Rodriguez-Lopez,
"Will there be a new album? No, no, no. At The Drive-In is more of a nostalgia thing – it's songs we wrote when we were all in our 20s and we're doing a couple of shows ... We're not getting any younger and there's been an offer of money every year. You can't avoid that. You'd be a fool and a politician to pretend that wasn't part of it."

I first heard of ATDI, actually, after they had even split. I fell quite deeply in love with the band Sparta, and in researching their beginnings, I came across the band's earlier work and Omar's continued work. He produced an album for Juliette Lewis and for The Butcherettes. And after Sparta split/went on hiatus, I continued to follow both Jim Ward and Tony Hajjar. So being a big fan of Ward, I am ridiculously giddy to have the opportunity to see him play with the thing HE started so long ago. After seeing both Mars Volta and Sparta live, this is just an exciting culmination for me and I am insanely jazzed for it.

Check out one of their signature frenetic tracks, off In/Casino/Out but be careful with the slam-dancing.
Click to play At The Drive-In - Chanbara

And now check out the only ATDI song with Jim Ward on vox...
Click to play At The Drive-In - Hourglass

Can't not share one of my favorites. You get three ATDI tracks in this post because I am literally that excited.
Click to play At The Drive-In - One Armed Scissor

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coachella Preview - Givers

Givers is a Lafayette, Louisiana-based quintet’s whose brilliant debut -- In Light, is a collection of 10 songs that feels like 30. It's filled with a happy warmth of funky time-signatures and bright melodic guitars and a pair of voices that coat the fun with sugary goodness.

The band’s start was with lead singer/guitarist Taylor Guarisco and lead singer/percussionist Tiffany Lamson both attending the music school at the University of New Orleans in the fall of 2005. A living arrangement gone awry led to Lamson crashing on Guarisco’s couch. The two of them grew as friends over their mutual love for music. Guarisco immersed himself in the sounds of New Orleans as a youth, which led him to play in a few different funk, Cajun, and Zydeco groups. This influence on his playing was easily complimented by Lamson's strong upbringing and appreciation for classic rock, soul, and pop. The musical connection between them was not something they could ignore. With her drums set up in the kitchen and Guarisco on bass, the duo would play together long into the night, eventually singing together as well as finding their voices matched each others’ perfectly. “There’s a very magical part,” explains Guarisco. “We slowly started inspiring each other to sing more and more. Honestly, that’s one of the major miracles of my connection to Tiffany, and hers to me. We didn’t have anyone else in our lives beckoning us to sing out.” That's a special moment I can relate to. My friend Juan reached out to me to sing while he strummed the guitar, and it builds a trust that trumps a foundation of years of friendship.

Fast forward a few months to a call from a club looking for a band to fill a last minute spot. Though there wasn’t a band to speak of between Lamson and Guarisco, they immediately called Campbell, Leblanc, along with keyboardist Will Henderson and saxophonist/keyboardist Nick Stephan.  The band improvised for over two hours and the crowd’s response was a confirmation. “Being into improvised music and having that be a big part or our lives has had a huge influence on our sound as a whole,” explains Lamson. The chemistry was there and the six of them began playing together regularly, deciding to call themselves Givers. 

For the next year the band headquartered in Campbell’s apartment, turning jams into songs, and recording an EP along the way in the very same place. “Kirby and Will and Nick all lived in the same house, and Taylor was basically living there,” explains LeBlanc. “Everyone was hanging out all the time, and that’s what solidified us as a group.”

Sometimes a "place" is the catalyst for the chemistry, Both Guarisco and Lamson credit being back in Lafayette as one of the major influences on what they were creating.  “I can't imagine growing up anywhere else and being the way we are. There is a life about the music here. People are drawn to dance with freedom; there is a sense of enjoyment in music that I haven't seen in many other places,” says Lamson. “Being from southwest Louisiana has an effect on everything we do,” agrees Guarisco. “The way in which we play music...the way we talk...the way we think...the way we dance...everything really. Because of the heat in the South, people take their time in their day-to-day affairs. Being from the South, we have all learned how to slow down and appreciate life as it is here now--something that in most parts of the world is totally lost.” 

Begging their future manager, Aaron Scruggs, booker for Baton Rouge venue Spanish Moon for a gig ended up impressing Scruggs.  That Friday night gig turned into a follow-up offer to open for Dirty Projectors in July--one of the only stops in their tour where they happened to need an opener. “With that one show, everybody dropped out of their college career, the touring Zydeco band, and whatever else prevented us from preparing for that one show.  And it wasn’t for a tour, it was for a single show” says Guarisco. Dirty Projectors liked the show enough that night in Baton Rouge to book them as an opener for the east coast leg of their fall tour. "It was that tour that solidified our paths in music. We thought, if this can happen, anything can happen." explains Guarisco.

Givers on Fallon

While on tour with Ra Ra Riot, the band made a stop at the Austin City Limits festival, where their set was seen by Daniel Glass, founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group (Home to bands Phoenix and Mumford & Sons) , who was immediately taken by their sound and charisma.  “Givers are genuine, unique and uplifting,” says Glass.  “Their live show is a visceral experience that captivates you, and makes you feel like a member of the band.”

I'm pretty stoked to see them at Coachella, especially after seeing them in that video from their Fallon performance.

Enjoy Givers - In My Eyes and pick up the album! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coachella Preview - We Were Promised Jetpacks

I was scrolling through my Twitter today, and chuckled (and RTed) over something Wil Wheaton said:
"Girlfriend in Tacoma?" "I know, I know..." "It's SERIOUS!"
So of course I started thinking about Morrissey, Morrissey songs, and lesbian Latino girl bands. Whut. Anyway. I had been listening to the 2009 We Were Promised Jetpacks album all day prior to that, which sounds a bit like a happier Morrissey, if he was Scottish.


And after the Girlfriend In Tacoma reference, (still chuckling), I began listening to In The Pit of the Stomach, We Were Promised Jetpack's 2011 album. They mention being in a coma on the first track! Kismet what!

Click to play We Were Promised Jetpacks - Circles and Squares

I know I've introduced you to Jetpacks before. What's more, I squawked all about how I would love to hear this kind of music live at a festival. Finally, THREE YEARS LATER, I get my wish.
Yeaah baby! Check out my post from 2009: Form In An Orderly Queue...

Here's what I said then: "Speaking of that energy, how about a love song that isn't slow and melancholy, but throws all those heartsick feelings into a power ballad of the indie persuasion?" I guess comparing it to Morrissey today isn't a terrible stretch.

I'm so proud of these boys for continuing to improve their sound and their presence. I can't wait! Coachella is just about 6 weeks away! Watch for Jetpacks to take the stage on Saturday of both weekends. And check out another fine tune...

Click to play We Were Promised Jetpacks - Hard To Remember