Tuesday 22 Jul
 
 
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OKG Newsletter


Topic: Arcade Fire

British Sea Power — Valhalla Dancehall

Less rock, no dance, but good music


Rock

Stephen Carradini
British Sea Power is pretty amazing live.
 
Monday, January 17, 2011

Broken Records — Let Me Come Home

More emotional Scottish rock!


Indie

Stephen Carradini
Having fallen head over heels for Frightened Rabbit in 2010, I was more than excited to hear another emotion-laden Scottish band when Broken Records’ “Let Me Come Home” was passed my way. The album did not let its Scottish brethren down.
 
Monday, January 17, 2011

Typhoon — A New Kind of House

Astounding acoustic/folk/indie/Arcade Fire, etc. music


Indie

Stephen Carradini
I love music with depth. Give me a complicated arrangement with lots of instruments and a gnarly lyric to be parsed, and I’m happy as a clam.
 
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Colin Stetson — New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Vastly unusual in an incredibly good way


Indie

Stephen Carradini
Some musicians want to make you dance. Some musicians want to make you rock. Some musicians want your money. Some musicians want to make you think.
 
Monday, January 17, 2011
Typhoon

Speed Set: SXSW Saturday

Twelve bands in 700 words. Let’s go.

Just as SXSW-curated Speed Sets banged out a lot of music quickly, I’m going to do a Speed Set to bang out a lot of information quickly.

Danish electro-pop diva Oh Land played a very solid set. You may have heard the infectious single “Son of a Gun,” which she closed with. The rest of her set was nice, but not anything especially fantastic.

Versus played a similarly solid set of guitar-based indie rock. They’re a Merge Records band that has been around in various forms since 1990, so that should tell you a lot about the quality and content of the set. It ain’t trendy, but it’s consistent, strong music.

Dance-punk phenomenon !!! (aka Chk-chk-chk) turns its myriad of instrumentalists into one funky, fast-paced machine live. Their lead singer is an absolute wonder, as he prances, dances, makes eyes at the crowd, wanders into the audience, hollers, sings and generally goes ballistic. He put his hand on my head and sung into my face from several inches away for a line. I am not unique in this treatment. Yes. You must see them live.

Malajube’s rock was equal parts Muse and The Bravery. It was fun, but I keep wondering how long the hat-snare dance-rock beat is going to last.

Little Scream’s epic-leaning indie rock included a bass flute, group vocals (primarily led by a female vocalist) and great songwriting. They’re also from Montreal. Has Arcade Fire asked them to tour together yet? Please say “yes” when they do, Little Scream.
 
Owen Pallett’s looped violin and piano lines create polyphonic, mind-blowing, mini-symphonies. The fact that you can sing along to them is just a bonus. His energetic tunes had the impressed audience smiling. Pallett proves that string virtuosos can be cool.

Braids laid down a mesmerizing set. Starting off with highlight track “Glass Deers” off their album “Native Speaker,” they entranced the audience with their ambient, fuzzy indie rock. I got lost in the sound; it’s like listening to a warm blanket. They thoroughly impressed me, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Erin McLaughlin played a quick but beautiful folk show. Her poignant, acoustic-based songs speak for themselves. I was so moved that I bought her EP (the only music I bought in the entire SXSW week). You must check it out.

Slije Nes’ gentle and ethereal tunes so affected me that I was tearing up during the set. The Norwegian woman spent much of her time sitting on the ground playing, and she turned all the lights off, except for one tiny strand of Christmas lights piled next to her foot pedals. It created an intimate, immersive experience, as her gentle voice and hushed accompaniment (how quiet? One of the songs features the percussionist scratching his arm into a microphone — and we could hear it) created an absolutely fascinating performance. Beautiful, beautiful music, even when she ratcheted up the electric guitar volume for one track.

Sharon Van Etten’s speaking voice was hoarse, but her singing one was not, as she filled Central Presbyterian Church with her mournful voice and somber harmonium. It was gorgeous.

With horns, strings, four percussionists (two with drumsets, two with auxiliary percussion) augmenting your average guitars and such, Typhoon’s sound filled an entire church. When all twelve of them sang, it became a revelatory experience. The songs are brilliant in their recorded format, but they become something else entirely when played live. It was easily the best set I saw at SXSW. If you haven’t heard of Typhoon yet, you will. (That's as many of them as I could fit in a frame, up there at the top of the post)

The Rural Alberta Advantage’s “Departing” just came out, and I found it to be a lot different than their previous work. Live, however, the new tunes fit in neatly with the older ones. The set was fun, with a nice mix of old and new songs. The highlight was the encore/closer, which had the three members of RAA come down from the stage to the audience for an acoustic version of “Good Night,” the somber closer of “Departing.” It was an incredibly fitting end to a massive week of music.

by Stephen Carradini 03.22.2011 3 years ago
at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
gentleartoffloating

Music Video Monday, NMF hangover version

Nine of them! Nine!

So I’m just now recovering work-wise from Norman Music Festival. The below stack of music videos all came just before, during or in the week after the three-day extravaganza.

I’m even more sad that I missed The Gentle Art of Floating’s NMF set after seeing this video of what happened (and here’s a photo album, if you like cultivating regret):



Stuff catches fire inside a moving van during this Broncho clip:



The Royal Tenenbaums would approve of this hilarious clip from Arcade Fire-esque folksters Alcoholic Faith Mission, which details 12+ ways to bury your dead mouse:



Crossing the streams of awesome and ridiculous, here’s Jack Conte (Pomplamoose) performing the Mario theme completely on real instruments. Whoa:



The Black Ryder released this spaghetti Western video for “Sweet Come Down,” and it’s a clear example of a video outshining good-but-not-great track:



Emphatically dance-rockin’ Brits The Wombats invert “Lost in Translation” by having a party all over Tokyo, much to the chagrin of their tour manager:



Andrew Belle plays a delicate version of “The Ladder” that will please Ray LaMontagne fans while visiting The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, on which I wrote one of my first articles ever:



Still geeking out over my recent smartphone purchase, I’m thrilled that you can actually scan the barcode at 0:52 in this Lupe Fiasco video:



For no apparent reason, here’s Merge’s mellow-pop band The Ladybug Transistor performing a tune in a Holiday Inn bedroom:


by Stephen Carradini 05.09.2011 3 years ago
at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Oh, Deer!

Deerpeople may have been born out of boredom, but its live shows provide anything but.


Music

Joshua Boydston
Deerpeople with Junebug Spade
9 p.m. Friday
Opolis
113 N. Crawford, Norman
opolis.org, 820-0951
$8
 
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

VOTD: Catch a cannonball

Mavis Staples tackles ‘The Weight’ with a spark from Arcade Fire.

It’s not very often you get to see a soul legend sing an all-time great cover song accompanied by the front man of the biggest indie band to ever get buzzed. That happened this last weekend at Outside Lands when Mavis Staples brought Win Butler of Arcade Fire on to sing “The Weight,” The Band’s great contribution to planet Earth. Enjoy.

by Matt Carney 08.16.2011 2 years ago
at 09:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

OKS Chatter: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

The Detroit band talks Wayne Coyne, hip-hop beats, pop radio and Pitchfork.

The three best shows I saw at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival were two obvious choices (Kanye West, Arcade Fire) and one dark horse I’d pinned a lot of hope on. That band is Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and the duo’s Sunday-afternoon set showed off their flair for garish styles, fun-loving melodies, twinkling electronic textures, falsetto harmonizing, bubble machines and straight-up rock ’n’ roll. Also, they tossed Popsicles to a thankful crowd, heat-exhausted by three days of loud music in the Texas sun.

With those antics – the names, the games, the showmanship, these press photos  – it’s hard to tell whether or not Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have their tongues wriggling in their cheeks. Luckily, I had the chance to chat with them the day before their set, and the guys seem as genuine as the homegrown, preservative-free cheese I bought at Forward Foods during my lunch break yesterday.



My verdict: They’re ambitious, quirky guys who record weirdly lovable music and are nostalgic for a time when physical media was more important and radio stations crackled with music that was beautiful and challenging. But I’m rambling now. On to the chatting:

Zott: So what’s up with Wayne Coyne? He gets to do whatever he wants on a major label, and everyone loves him. It’s weird.

Epstein: He has like, three houses, right? Right in a row?

OKS: It’s actually four. He’s expanded. I think they’re all back-to-back, and connected by the backyard. It’s just a gigantic compound.

Epstein: That’s so weird.

OKS: It’s in the shady side of Oklahoma City, so the houses are probably pretty cheap. He’s spent a lot of money remodeling and redecorating them.

“Nothing but Our Love” at ACL 2011


Epstein: That’s awesome. Is he part of the community?

OKS: I see him at concerts all the time. There’s a venue in Norman called Opolis, where a lot of the smaller-name indie acts come through, and he’s there with friends and family at a lot of the shows I go to. He just walks right up to the stage, pulls out his phone and tweets photos. He’s checking out new bands and hanging around.

But on to you guys. One of the things I like so much about your music is that a lot of it’s textured with electronica — the little fizzly sounds that keep things going. How is that coming out of Detroit? It seems very different to me, from most of the music that comes out of there.

Music video for “Simple Girl”


Zott: You’re talking about the garage-rock scene.

OKS: Yeah, that’s usually what I think about when I hear about Detroit.

Zott: There’s that element, and we do have a rock element to our sound, but Detroit does have an electronic scene that’s really huge. It kinda started there.

Epstein: Yeah, techno music came from Detroit.

Zott: There’s a lot of bands doing that kinda stuff right now, and the roots are there for it. A lot of bands we like are electronic-type bands. It’s more natural than you think, there’s a lot of electronic tinkering going on up there.

Epstein: There’s a huge, underground hip-hop scene that’s getting notoriety also. I think hip-hop’s actually a big part of our music, too.

Zott: I’d say more so than electronica is a hip-hop type vibe. It’s a little bit warmer. There’s a groovier beat than a stale, 4-4 beat.

OKS: I definitely feel like – listening to you guys’ music – it’s more intimate and warm-sounding.

Zott: Yeah, there’s definitely some of that electronic texturing, but it’s Detroit to us.

OKS: You guys did the “Summer Babe” cover for The A.V. Club. Do you guys have a particular affinity for Pavement, or that song in particular?

Epstein: Well, the songs had to have “Summer” in the title, but I’ve always been a huge Pavement fan, so it seemed to be a pretty obvious choice.

Zott: And I hadn’t listened to them much. Usually when we do a cover or a remix or something like that, one of us has heard the song and the other hasn’t, so it makes it more fun because you can’t quite put as much of a spin on the song if you know it in and out. That’s really hard to do. I think we were able to get away from it because I wasn’t familiar. Josh kept the things that we needed to keep, but we also made it fresh.

OKS: Let me ask you guys about your album, particularly the Gil Scott-Heron cover, “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Did you guys pick that one out because you’re big fans of Gil Scott-Heron, or because of the hometown mention, or kind of a mix of both, or what?

“We Almost Lost Detroit” live on KEXP


Epstein: I think initially it was because of Detroit. We really liked the version we did. It felt updated, in comparison to the original. But also we really liked the sentiment in it. It sums up so much about our record, especially the name “It’s a Coporate World,” so it felt like we had to include it. It was just kinda meant to be.

OKS: Do you guys’ songs start out with words, or do you go melody first or what?

Zott: It’s different every time. I think the key is to keep it inspired and to avoid forcing anything. Sometimes Josh’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes I’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes we push something together, or sometimes we write a whole song and there’s no lyrics. Sometimes you need to make lyrics sound good. It’s different every time, I think.

OKS: If you guys had to record a pop album or a folk album, which one would you choose?

Zott: That’s where we’re kind of a mix. We want to be a pop band. We hate the idea that a pop band has to be dumbed-down — lyrically, sonically, chord structure-wise. It used to not be like that. “God Only Knows” was a massive hit worldwide, and that song has the weirdest chords in it, it has time-signature changes, a key change. It’s weird: It would never fly right now on pop-radio format.

God Only Knows:


OKS: It’s morbid, too.

Zott: Yeah! It was considered a beautiful love song, and it is. But it’s got these funky lyrics that aren’t typical love-song lyrics. But we think people can still digest that stuff, and people do. I’d like to write a pop album that breaks that rule. We’re just making music we love, that we think could be pop music and doesn’t necessarily have to be Top-40 radio. It can be complex. I think we’d do a pop record.

Epstein: To me, they both exist within me, and I don’t think I can separate them. I’ll still feel the need to write lyrics that are meaningful and challenging. You can do it. People just aren’t doing it in the Top 40 anymore. The system’s a bit broken. People at the radio stations want to keep their jobs. Radio plays a huge role to make bands visible to people who aren’t on blogs, who don’t seek out new things.

People who read Pitchfork fail to realize that most people in the world don’t read Pitchfork. I was working with this band, recording a song, and they were like, “Pitchfork’s gonna love this.” And I told them they were idiots. Do it because you love, not because Pitchfork’s gonna like it. They’re just one opinion, anyways. Somehow they’ve managed to make people think they’re the authority.

I just think that, ultimately, if it were DJs playing the songs they wanted to play, like it was in the ‘60s, then we’d have a much more diverse popular music scene. People are hungry for good stuff. That’s how Phoenix became a Top-40 band. I think mostly probably because it was so different when it played on those stations. People were like, “Holy crap! What is this? It’s not Nickelback!” y’know?

OKS: So are you guys going to get to go around at the fest at all? Who are you going to see?

Zott: If we have time, we’d love to see Stevie Wonder.

Epstein: As a musician, it’s really hard for me to go to a show and just be entertained. And when bands can do that, I’m always so blown away. Like going to a Flaming Lips show: You feel like a little kid and you just want to cry. I learn a lot from them.

Zott: I don’t go to concerts, which is kind of a weird thing. I guess I’m going to have to make up for it now.

Epstein: I go to too many. I played with OK Go one time, and they said something along the lines of, “Everything we do, we try to be like The Flaming Lips.”
by Matt Carney 09.28.2011 2 years ago
at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Name value

The indie rockers of Milagres want to be known for their music. Although their name translates to ‘miracles,’ it shouldn’t take one to succeed.


Music

Joshua Boydston
Milagres with Peter Wolf Crier and the Rockettops
9 p.m. Monday
Opolis
113 N. Crawford, Norman
opolis.org
820-0951
$8 advance, $10 door
 
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
 
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